Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm Still Here. I'm Still Queer. And Busy As Hell.

Light posting so far this week. Work is zapping me to my core, but hey, it's work and it pays.

Meanwhile, until I can get up and running with a real post, enjoy some Tweetlejuice.

There's a 15-second ad at the beginning. Once you get past that, it's actually worth the watch.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chicago Or Rio?

Question of the Day

Which city would you like to see host the 2016 Summer Olympics? The contenders are Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, and Tokyo. I'm reducing this to two choices but you can vote for any.

I love Chicago and would love to see it host the Olympics. However, I love to pull for the underdogs, and the fact that no South American city has even hosted the Olympics doesn't seem fair. So I'd have to pull for Rio, under the circumstances.

“It would be overwhelming for our city, for our citizens and for Brazil as a whole,” said Carlos Osorio, the secretary general of Rio’s Olympic bid committee.

While three other finalists — Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo — have also mounted strong bids, Rio has drawn support outside of Brazil’s borders. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, who has been negotiating military deals with Brazil, said he supported Rio’s bid “100 percent.” King Juan Carlos of Spain has said he will throw his support behind Rio if Madrid is eliminated in the first round of voting.

And some International Olympic Committee members have been reported to be enamored of the idea of correcting the Games’ historic neglect of South America.

And since the publication of that article which mentioned that Michelle Obama was going to make the pitch to the IOC, Barack has changed his mind and will attend to make the pitch for Chicago.

Frankly, I'd rather he stay here and continue to pitch for health care reform, but whatever.
Previously, Mr. Obama had said that the pressing issue of health care reform would prevent him from making the trip to Copenhagen. Advisers had also said that they were worried that he could be embarrassed internationally if he traveled to Copenhagen and the committee did not vote for Chicago.

Actually it will be more embarrassing if he fails to get health care reform pushed through than whether or not he can secure the 2016 Olympics for Chicago. And probably more costly in 2012 which should be a bigger concern than 2016.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kona the Thrifty Shopper

I was going a little stir crazy at home this afternoon and decided to go browse the Goodwill store before heading over to Kohl's. I will occasionally find a shirt I really like at Goodwill, something that is well-made and not made in China. No such luck today.

So txrad and I journeyed on to Kohl's. In my pocket I had a coupon for $10 off any purchase of $10 or more when using the Discover card. I didn't see anything I really wanted or needed but txrad found a lime squeezer priced at $10.99 so we got it. Yes, it's a unitasker but he does squeeze limes almost daily so it will get used.

Upon checking out, I was expecting to pay about $2 with tax. As it happened, the gadget was on sale for $8.79 including tax and while the coupon stipulated the discount would be applied to purchases over $10, it went through anyway, so we walked away with a freebie.

Also stopped at HEB for some bulk spices: marjoram for 8-cents, cayenne pepper powder for 67-cents, and dried ancho chili powder for 96-cents.

Total outlay for this haul: $1.71. Not bad.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

This Is Not About Obesity and Sodas Are Not "Food"

I have been seeing this advertisement, placed by Americans Against Food Taxes, every night on cable networks. It grated on my nerves the first time I saw it and I get more irritated with each subsequent viewing.

This fictional mother and her kids are shown driving through a neighborhood where families might be struggling to put food on the table, a foreclosed home, and then an "out of business" store front, finally arriving at her nice 2-story home in a well-to-do neighborhood, while driving a new car. I just don't buy the premise that she is indeed concerned that "those pennies add up."

I simply smell a Republican or a Libertarian who likes things just the way they are and has whatever selfish reasons for being opposed to a tax on sodas. If the average American soccer moms with the 2 1/2 children and the lovely homes on a bucolic suburban street are genuinely concerned about paying a soda tax, I'm quite sure they can find painless ways to offset the tax. How about adjusting the thermostat on the air conditioning one degree, or reducing the time the kids are slurping those sodas in front of the television by 30 minutes a day. Unplug a few gadgets in the house which you rarely use. Not only will you more than offset the soda tax, you'll be reducing your carbon footprint. Perhaps I'm asking too much.

The advertisement might have been more effective if the fictional family appeared to be living near the poverty level, driving a 15-year-old car, or taking the bus because they have no car.

On the other hand, perhaps it would be less effective because we don't really care much for seeing poverty in action. And some, including me, might wonder why a family barely squeaking by would be squandering money on sodas in the first place.

Another gripe I have is the way the soda tax proposals are being framed as a way to reduce obesity. Yes, it might work in a few instances, but that is clearly not the point, and it's a bad marketing move. It would make far more sense to frame it as a way to curtail tooth decay.

The fact that sugar-free sodas would be exempt also chaps my ass. The point of the tax is to raise billions of dollars in revenue from a non-essential product. If you are adamant against the tax, you can choose to opt out. And you know what? You'll be better off if you do! Sodas are not part of the food group pyramid and they have no positive health or nutritional benefits, even of they are sugar-free and caffeine-free. (At that level, I argue, what's the fucking point?! The only thing that isn't a big fat zero is the cost of it!)

Nevertheless, people with the financial means to buy sodas would continue to do so -- especially the addictive sodas with the caffeine -- and many people who are struggling financially would probably drop these unnecessary purchases. Many probably have already. And they will not suffer as a result, even if they cannot afford healthy, all-natural fruit juice. Why? Because there's absolutely nothing wrong with drinking water.

If we are serious about finding creative ways to pay for health care reform, or any of the dozens of other urgent needs in this country, we're going to have to buckle down and realize there is no free ride. We can do this in a variety of relatively painless ways, pennies here and pennies there, with all of us in this boat together, contributing in our own ways for a huge societal benefit, or we can fight and argue against any and every tax, regardless of how much or little it might affect us personally.

I am steadfastly against sales taxes on essential grocery items: dairy and soy products, grains, bread, beans, fruits and vegetables. However, we could makes huge strides in achieving and paying for universal health care by placing a small tax on non-essential items: processed foods, items packed with artificial flavors and colors, and candy! In doing so, we as a people would be promoting healthy responsible behavior while still allowing people the freedom to buy crap, if they can afford it. For those who can't afford it, they shouldn't be buying crap foods.

Whatever route we choose to go, you can bet your ass someone with a vested financial interest, particularly at the corporate level, isn't going to like it, and they will fight it. We must resist those fights.

Progress doesn't just happen; it requires an investment. It isn't free, nor is it cheap. But it is essential if we are to survive and prosper in the long run.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Bob Herbert is fed up.
Americans’ minds are on other things, like trying to figure out why, if the Great Recession is over, as Ben Bernanke seems to believe, the employment landscape still looks like a toxic waste dump.

A New York Times/CBS News poll found that eight years after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, there is a general feeling of disenchantment with our military involvement there and a desire to bring it to an end. About half of all Americans believe that the war has had no effect on the threat of terrorism, and a majority want the troops out of there in two years.

Americans are tired of the war. Some of the young people currently being outfitted for combat were just 10 or 11 years old when Al Qaeda struck the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. They are heading off to a conflict that most Americans are no longer interested in.

Friday Pussy Blog: Butt Spanking Edition

The Tot gets it!

Sissy gets some as well.

A few days ago I went out to love on the Sweet Pea. You can see him stretched out across the table. Notice Tiger in the chair on the right at the beginning of the video, and then observe feline jealousy in action at the end of the clip.

Happy Freakin' Friday! It's been a grueling week.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Service With A Smile

My workload situation has increased substantially this week. I do have a blog post building up inside me with a vengeance and maybe on Friday or the weekend I'll get around to it. Today was my mother's 86th birthday and I barely had time to spend 15 minutes with her on that high-tech thing that you pick up and punch a bunch of numbers into in order to hear a disembodied voice on the other end of the tin can.

I try very hard to give blog service with a smile and a wide mouth but it can be difficult for those of us with real jobs which get quite demanding on a seasonal basis. Meanwhile, I've been listening to a lot of Dirk Wears White Sox by Adam and the Ants at night lately.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gas Wars

I noticed the other day that Condi Rice chipped in her two cents on the strategy being employed by Barack Obama in Afghanistan. Specifically she said “The last time we left Afghanistan, and we abandoned Pakistan," she said, "that territory became the very territory on which Al Qaeda trained and attacked us on September 11th. So our national security interests are very much tied up in not letting Afghanistan fail again and become a safe haven for terrorists. It's that simple," she declared, "if you want another terrorist attack in the U.S., abandon Afghanistan." Sounds pretty ominous. Stay and continue to fight in Afghanistan or be attacked. Scary stuff.

We were told by W in 2001 that the Afghan invasion purpose was to find Osama Bin Laden, remove the Taliban from power, and bring freedom to the Afghan people. Like many times during the Baby Bush years, we were lied to. Unfortunately though the real reasons for the invasion, and the continued presence of the US in Afghanistan are based more on greed than some noble crusade to free the Afghan people and bring to justice the man who masterminded 9/11. Ask yourself, “ Why is it, long after Bin Laden stopped being hunted, and instead became Bush’s Emmanuel Goldstein, a scary underground enemy, occasionally issuing video taped threats, the Muslim boogeyman extraordinaire, that we continue to spend lives and money fighting in this country that for 2000 years no one has been able to conquer”? The very simple answer is natural gas, and lots of it.

There are vast reserves of natural gas in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, countries north of Afghanistan on the Caspian Sea. Unocal, a huge oil and gas company that later was acquired by Chevron, wanted a way to get these massive reserves to market. The answer was to build a gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea, through Afghanistan, through Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean, and then transport it by tanker to their many gas hungry customers.

Unocal was good friends with the then US backed Taliban and there is speculation that they even helped finance the Taliban in their war with the Soviets. Up until 1999, Unocal were such great friends with the Taliban leaders that they hosted delegations of Taliban leaders to the USA; Texas to be exact (while W was governor), in 1997 and 1999. ( After Taliban guest in Afghanistan Osama Bin Laden attacked two US embassies in 1998, things started to go sour. Negotiations broke down for good as late as 2001, and as Toronto's Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin put it, "Washington was furious, leading to speculation it might take out the Taliban. After 9/11, the Taliban, with good reason, were removed -- and pipeline planning continued with the Karzai government. U.S. forces installed bases near Kandahar, where the pipeline was to run. A key motivation for the pipeline was to block a competing bid involving Iran, a charter member of the 'axis of evil.'"

In April of 2008, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India signed a Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement to build a U.S.-backed $7.6 billion pipeline. It would, of course, bypass Iran and new energy giant Russia, carrying Turkmeni natural gas and oil to Pakistan and India. Construction would, theoretically, begin in 2010. Put the emphasis on "theoretically," because the pipeline is, once again, to run straight through Kandahar and so directly into the heartland of the Taliban insurgency. Queue the renewed interest in the Afghan war. Queue the increase in troop levels, and subsequent increase in troop deaths. Sorry Condi, this war has nothing to do with preventing terror attacks, and you know it. It has everything to do with making a lot of money and being willing to sacrifice lives to do it. It has everything to do with building a fucking pipeline. And Barack Obama is far from innocent; he suggested increased troop levels in Afghanistan before the election, and will in all likelihood continue the escalation he has already begun. Like his predecessor he continues to lie about why we are still in Afghanistan.

Just a couple more facts to note: Condi Rice was a former employee of Chevron, who as you recall, acquired Unocal and are partners in the pipeline deal. She even, inexplicably, had an oil tanker named after her Marinucci, Carla (2001-05-05). "Chevron redubs ship named for Bush aide". San Francisco Chronicle., which soon after she became the Bush Secretary of State, was wisely re-named Altair Voyager. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was installed by the US as interim president and then “elected” by the Afghan people, is a former consultant for Unocal. The connections here are by no means tenuous.

There has been a flurry of reportage on the revived pipeline plan in Canada, where -- bizarrely enough -- journalists and columnists actually worry about such ephemeral possibilities as Canadian troops spending the next half century protecting Turkmeni energy. If you happen to live in the U.S., though, you would really have no way of knowing about such developments, no less their backstory, unless you were wandering the foreign press online. The BBC, the CBC, and English Al Jezeera are all good places to start.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Are You Brothers?

I suggested to txrad that he blog about this but since he doesn't have a blog, I'll volunteer.

We get this question rather frequently at various restaurants. And it's bugging the hell out of txrad to the point that he said tonight, "I want to slap the shit out of the next person who asks that."


I take it a different way. We've lived together 19 years and during that time, couples start to merge. We both have long hair. (Yeah, mine is curly and his is straight.) And we both wear glasses. And we both exude a certain.. queerness maybe.

He was so taken aback by the question at a Petco awhile back that he responded, "NO, we're a couple." To which the sales clerk responded, and I'm paraphrasing, "Oh, cool."

I just don't think these people mean any wrong. Maybe they aren't projecting all possibilities, but that doesn't mean they harbor ill will.

Personally, I think it's interesting that they have enough perception to pick up on anything.

txrad countered that they probably don't ask heterosexuals that question, and I'll grant him that one.

What do you all think?

Are these people just not exposed enough to gay couples that they cannot fathom that scenario as a possibility on the front-end?

Most Irresponsible Advertisement of the Day in a Long While

The disclaimer in fine print, which you can barely read when you see this commercial airing on television says, "Professional driver on closed road. Do not attempt."

After some of the unprofessional driving I saw on open roads yesterday while driving 23 miles to a restaurant, I'm wondering why they don't just show professional drivers driving responsibly. Clearly, too many people take this shit literally. It might as well be an advertisement for texting while driving.

Or it could be a liquor advertisement showing a drunk driver crashing through a plate glass window with the disclaimer, "Drink Responsibly. As long as you don't kill anyone, it's fine to drive drunk."

Yeah, right. Mercedes-Benz, you and your ad agency have disappointed me.

Petulant's Red and Green

I'd been emailing back and forth with Petulant for the past week about various and sundry things such as how to take an herbal bath without burning your testicles with eucalyptus oil, and so forth. You know, the usual mantalk. Gardening and farmer's markets came up in the email exchange as well after I was so pleased to learn back in July that the three of us share a passion for gardening. We had quite the comment exchange on that post and most of you remember how that ended, and why. There's no escape from simultaneous humor and drama when dealing with Petulant!

He mentioned that he was going to send some samples of his kitchen labors over to the kona ranch this week. I suggested he address it to txrad who celebrated his 48th birthday yesterday and it would be a nice surprise for him to open something, particularly since it ended up being the only thing he got to open for his big day! (Bad kona!)

Anyhow, txrad went out to fetch the mail and came in with a priority mail package while mumbling something about a town in North Carolina -- obviously having no clue what it could be, or from whom. But his biggest concern was the very wet corner of the box. Uh oh. "I hope this is nothing toxic," he said. I wanted to laugh but I was too stressed out wondering if everything in the box had broken.

I knew what was being shipped and it involved some glass jars! In the end, there was only one very messy mishap involving what had been a jar of very much-anticipated blackberry jelly which would have been mine, all mine.

The red & green salsas survived though! And beautiful they are!

Also included was a bag of dried tomatoes which we will put to use starting this week. Positively mouth-watering!

Never did I imagine 3 1/2 years ago that starting a blog and getting to know bloggers could result in such fun!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Details Derails

Awhile back when I ordered a pair of shoes online, I was offered a free subscription to a magazine and the choices were rather limited. I chose Details because I used to enjoy flipping through it when I was younger. They would always have cute guys in various states of undress featured in either articles or advertisements.

I'm not sure why I didn't simply pass on the offer because I was quite happy with no magazine subscriptions. Through the past few years I'd managed to rid my life of all of them.

Now that I've had 4 or 5 issues sent here, I am about ready to tell them to stop sending it. Cancel the free subscription. It's almost nothing but advertisements, many of them for fragrances which I detest, and there are several fragrance samples in each issue. I really don't want that stinky shit in my house.

The issue which I received this week is 164 pages and it took me all of about 5 minutes to flip through prior to discarding it. Pages 120-121 have a piece titled "63 Signs You May Be A PRETENTIOUS TOOL."

#7: You think about the lighting at restaurants.

Well, yeah, I do. Sometimes it's too harsh and sometimes it's so dark I can't read the friggin' menu. So yeah, lighting is kind of important. If that makes me a "tool," well, so be it.

#31: You've ever tasted notes in a beer.

You mean, something besides piss & water? Yeah, sure. I drink good beer. One of my favorites has a note of banana.

#38: You have a thing for typefaces.

Well, yeah, because some of them are pretty cool, and some of them look like crap. And this magazine is too full of them, all clashing against one another on page after page after page.

But seriously, they forgot to include one sign that you may be a PRETENTIOUS TOOL.

#64: You have a subscription to Details magazine and you PAY for it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Pussy Blog: Tot Lovin' Edition

Rachel Maddow, the Tot, and txrad.

Tot gets a back massage from txrad.

Happy Friday!

And a very HAPPY NEW YEAR -- 5770 -- to our Jewish friends!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


During the George W. Bush years many “real” things happened.. For instance, the USA really did get attacked on 9/11/2001, by terrorists. George Bush sat reading “My Pet Goat” in Florida, at the Emma T. Booker Elementary School for five minutes after he had been told the second tower in New York had been attacked. Really, there is even film of it. Bush hastily enacted the Patriot Act after the 9/11 attacks. This act allows the government to do warrantless searches (Section 213), it really allows warrantless wiretapping (Section 206). It allows the subpoenaing of personal records without probable cause or judicial oversight (Section 505), and Section 412 gives the attorney general authority to order a brief detention of aliens without any prior showing or court ruling that the person is dangerous. Really. George Bush initiated two wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Iraq war really was based on lies, the Afghan war, a supposed hunting down of Bin Laden and eradication of the Taliban has really been a dismal failure. Over 4000 American military personnel, along with countless thousands of Iraqis and Afghans have died in these wars. They are really dead, and every day more people are really killed. Bush really opened detention facilities where “enemy combatants” could be held, indefinitely, without charges. With the help of the Attorney General, at the request of the CIA, he and Dick Cheney really did authorize and then allow the use of (as defined in the Geneva Conventions) torture such as water boarding, sealing people in boxes with stinging insects, and dousing them with ice cold water.

In 2008, just before leaving the presidency, George Bush really did request that Congress provide money to AIG, and several failing financial institutions and Congress (which included Barack Obama) really did grant his request, setting aside almost a trillion dollars to be doled out to these failing giants. George Bush started the “bailout” on his watch, giving away almost a half billion dollars to failing banks and Wall Street firms. Really.

Despite of all of these real things done and said in the prior eight years, for the first eight and a half months of the Obama presidency it seems we have entered into Superman’s bizzarro world, some version of an alternative reality. A world where, if you listen to those on the right, the government is itching to turn America into some sort of Socialist/Fascist hybrid, a world where the President is a secret Muslim, a world where the government is poised to unleash death panels, hell bent on killing the infirm and elderly. A world where the man who inherited the biggest deficit in history, two wars, and an economy on the brink of collapse, with a constitution stripped by the previous administration to it’s bare bones, is actually the man responsible for it. Reality or reason has no place, it would seem, when it comes to discussing Obama, only raw emotion and pent up rage, not just over the loss of an election, in my opinion, but the winning of the presidential election by a black man. That is sad to say in the very least because it precludes any genuine discussion based on facts, of issues such as health care for those who do not have it, turning the economy around, or any other change for the better in the real world, that my lovely wife, my children, my friends, my fellow countrymen, and I live in. Ironically, it also makes it nearly impossible for any genuine criticism of the Obama administration, because how do you separate reality from the bull shit based on out and out lies, wild unsubstantiated conjecture or disingenuous interpretations sold as “fact”, and then propagated by an irresponsible press and the ignorant racists who want to believe them?

There is of course, a difference between thoughtfully supporting the president and unconditionally supporting him like you would a sports team, or a pop star. “Fans” leave reason at the door, and blindly support the object of their fanaticism. The fans who supported George Bush through one disaster after another during his eight year reign of incompetence are no different that the “fans” of Barack Obama who blindly support anything he does. Personally, I do not agree with Obama’s decision to forgo prosecution of those whose committed acts of torture, including those who authorized it. I do not agree with his supporting, with my tax money, companies who have mismanaged themselves into near bankruptcy. I do not agree with his continuing compromise with an opposition party that does not control any branch of the government, but seems to continue to call the shots when it comes to policy. I don’t agree with allowing Van Jones, who could have done immense amount of good for the country, to resign from his green jobs creation position appointed by Obama, after pressure from ass-clown and seditionist Glenn Beck. I don’t agree with including the health care providers in any discussion of health care reform. That is sort of like getting the foxes to negotiate with the chickens on diet reform. I think we should be pursuing a single payer health care system; or in simple terms, Medicare for all. I don't think we should continue to pour troops into an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. These points of contention though, unlike death panels, Muslim conspiracies, and Obama’s alleged desire for a ridiculously dichotomous, socialist/fascist America are based in reality, they were not the product of some primeval, visceral rage against someone based on their party affiliation, or skin color.

Reality seems to be an unpopular basis for debate these days. It would be refreshings, and a whole lot less mind numbing if the debate on health care specifically, and the new administration’s policy in general could be discussed rationally and thoughtfully, minus the fan’s blind admiration, and the people who seem to hate Obama for reasons other than his policies. Really.


"Fuck that shit! PABST.BLUE.RIBBON!!"

As it turns out, Frank Booth was 23 years ahead of his time.
Sales of PBR are up an astounding 25% this year, according to Information Resources Inc.


"It's an anti-establishment badge," added a major market wholesaler. "It seems to play to the retro, nonconformist crowd pretty well."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jimmy Carter Must Read My Blog

Or maybe he's just a smart Southern white guy with experiences, not unlike my own.

And why, exactly, did some Americans think he was the worst president ever?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Polls North of the Border

I received an email earlier today with a link to Pride of Toronto 103.9 FM. The music is not my preferred genre which I suppose makes me way less gay than I should be. But I did find an interesting poll on their website. Normally I only vote in very public such polls in order to view results to confirm just how ridiculously biased people can be. These results surprised me, but then again, it's a Queer radio station in Toronto, not a CNN website in the US.

In fact, under the circumstances, I would have expected option #1 to have more than 65% of the vote. One can only hope the 20% "on the fence" will eventually get the hell off it, and in the right direction.

Interestingly enough, while I was voting and viewing results, I was listening to the station. The DJ had a caller on the line and he asked her the poll question. She said "absolutely" to #1, and noted that she has several transgender friends.

And I kept trying to imagine this conversation taking place on a typical radio station in the US -- let's say the alternative rock station in Austin for instance. As liberal as this city is, I can only imagine some of the stomach-churning calls the station would receive.

By the way, you can click the graphic above and cast your vote -- today only!

RIP Jim Carroll

Poet Jim Carroll has died at 60 of a heart attack.

As a teenage basketball star in the 1960s at Trinity, an elite private school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Mr. Carroll led a chaotic life that combined sports, drugs and poetry. This highly unusual combination lent a lurid appeal to “The Basketball Diaries,” the journal he kept during high school and published in 1978, by which time his poetry had already won him a cult reputation as the new Bob Dylan.

“I met him in 1970, and already he was pretty much universally recognized as the best poet of his generation,” the singer Patti Smith said in a telephone interview on Sunday. “The work was sophisticated and elegant. He had beauty.”

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday Nyanyan Blog: Rainy Day Lounging Around

A special Saturday pussy post dedicated to Eric’s girls.

Sissy sprawled across the bistro table.

The Tot is holding down the junk mail.

It's another very wet and rainy day on Austin, Texas. No excuses for avoiding house cleaning today! Check out those totals just to our north in Jarrell which resulted in I-35 being closed for two hours.

The total thus far at kona ranch (indicated inappropriately by the sun icon) is nearly 3 1/2 inches.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Casual Friday

Question of the Day.

Define success in terms of what it means to you.

We had lunch at Chipotle today and I had a rare sighting there of a guy in a dark blue business suit. It got me thinking about how happy I am that I never had to get into that kind of career move, simply because it's sooooo not me. It would be torture for me.

And he might be raking in tons more cash than I am (or not, you never know), but cash isn't king.

Here's my 10-point definition of success as it pertains to me.

1. I wear what I want to work.

2. I love my work and am passionate about it. Lack of "professional attire" has no impact whatsoever on my professionalism.

3. I do not own a suit or a necktie.

4. I can pay my mortgage and pretty much buy what I want, short of a yacht, a 2nd home in the Hamptons, a Maserati, and the like.

5. I work at home.

6. With any luck (and it might require a lot of luck in this day and age), I might never need to prepare a resume again.

7. There is nothing for sale in the supermarket that I cannot afford to buy, and yet I still prefer to grow my own.

8. If #6 holds true, I will have my house paid for within 3 years and will lose that interest deduction, and therefore will forfeit my income tax refund. And I don't care. I'll be better off without it.

9. My car is over 6 years old and has less than 40,000 miles on the odometer and I love it as much as the day I bought it. And it's paid for. And I plan to drive it another decade or so. Maybe longer.

10. I'm real. I'm who I am. I'm honest. I have managed to maintain a moral structure in the absence of organized religion. I don't need a membership in the Country Club to prove I have "arrived." And I'm thankful I managed to get this far without sacrificing too much of who I am. In fact, I think I have received back anything I ever did give up in an effort to fit a mold created by someone else.

That might be more than 10. Fine me.

Friday Pussy Blog: The Sequential Edition

Today was typical of the Friday's I've been experiencing for the past few weeks: lots of unexpected work. So not only is the pussy post up later than I intended, I never got around to that other post I mentioned on Facebook last night.

And to really top things off, the battery went dead on my camera as I was taking the last shot so I cannot upload them to post. Therefore, I'm resorting to digging through the archives for a personal favorite from around 2003/2004. Sissy and Samantha always napped on my bed.

Now that both the other old ladies have passed on (Samantha and Jezebel), Sissy is left with the Boy Tot. While they might occasionally be seen on the bed together, they most definitely do not cuddle. I think she wishes he would move out!

Happy Friday everyone! It couldn't get here soon enough. Time for me to go pour myself a glass of the Glenlivet single malt scotch I picked up on sale today and kick back on the sofa for some TV. I need to see who else made a complete and total ass of themselves today in the world of politics.

19th Century Dixie Making a Comeback

I've been saying this for awhile now: the Deep South, conservative and religious, is gearing up for a wild swing deeper into right-wing morass in 2010. The election of a black man into the White House has jolted them into preferring a sinning crook in political office, as long as he’s white.
Those familiar with Louisiana and its Republican senator, David Vitter, knew he would survive the summer of 2007, after he showed up on the client list of a Washington prostitution ring and then refused to address the matter beyond admitting to a “very serious sin” at a brief news conference.

What came as a surprise to many here is how he became a strong early favorite going into his 2010 re-election race. That turnabout is largely due to one person. “Along comes Obama,” said Elliott Stonecipher, a political analyst and demographer based in Shreveport, “and it changed everything.”

I'm not sure how much things actually changed as opposed to simply reawakening suppressed racism.
It is difficult to overstate President Obama’s unpopularity in most of Louisiana. He lost handily to Senator John McCain here, picking up only 14 percent of the white vote (the state is roughly two-thirds white). His health care plan is unpopular. His cap-and-trade plan to reduce greenhouse gases, in a state so dependent on oil and gas, is anathema.

In fact, in the South, which largely voted against Mr. Obama, the anger at his policies has been palpable, as shown by Wednesday outburst of a South Carolina Republican congressman, Joe Wilson, during Mr. Obama’s address to Congress.

Obama got only 14% of the white vote in Louisiana. That speaks volumes about the electorate.
Though nearly 22 percent of the state’s adult residents have no health insurance — one of the highest rates in the nation — pollsters and political experts say voters in the state are overwhelmingly against Mr. Obama’s health care proposals.

It would be interesting to find some statistics to determine how many of those 22% uninsured are non-white. I wonder about those who "overwhelmingly" oppose the health care proposals, those who will have a knee-jerk reaction at the polls in 2010 to the idea of a black man in the Oval Office, and those who can't get over the fact that they lost the Civil War. I've decided they are dis-eased.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Changing the Atmospherics

Come on, come on, let's go


Yeah yeah yeah, the freaks said.

“I thought the speech was partisan, uninformative, disingenuous and not likely to encourage those who have honest disagreements with him to be able to work towards some kind of common solution,” Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican, said.


“I don’t think he solved a thing in terms of votes,” Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York, said of Mr. Obama’s speech. “I think he did a lot in changing the atmosphere.”


“He was talking to the American people, particularly to independents,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York. “I don’t think anyone thought after hearing the speech 12 Republican senators would get up and say, ‘I’m for you, Mr. President.’ But when they go back to their constituencies who did hear the speech, they may feel differently in terms of how to approach this.”

Yeah. Right. Cue up Aerosmith's "Dream On."

I Am Woman

hear me roar.

Tests show that controversial runner Caster Semenya is a woman ...and a man!

The 18-year-old South African champ has no womb or ovaries and her testosterone levels are more than three times higher than those of a normal female, according to reports.

The tests, ordered by The International Association of Athletics Federations after Semenya's 800-meter victory in the World Championships, determined she's a hermaphrodite - having both male and female organs.

Semenya could be stripped of the gold medal she won in Berlin last month and her competitive future is in limbo, according to Australia's Daily Telegraph.

And Pam Spaulding has a relevant question involving the F-word. Go Pam!

Gay Adoptions on the Horizon in Uruguay

Along with the usual opposition from The Big Church.
Lawmakers voted Wednesday to extend adoption rights to gay couples in Uruguay, the latest measure to relax laws on homosexuality that has drawn criticism from church leaders in the country, which is predominantly Roman Catholic.


Gay people are allowed to adopt under Uruguayan law, but only as individuals rather than jointly as a couple. Gay marriage remains illegal.

The Parliament in Uruguay, a small South American nation with a secular state structure, passed a law in late 2007 to permit gay couples to have civil unions, which grant similar rights as marriage.

Earlier this year the center-left government also lifted a ban on gay people serving in the armed forces.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Lighten Up, and Then Get Down to Business

I Still Believe

And fuck those Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats who stayed seated during the most poignant moments of his speech. Damn them to defeat.

#9 at 9:09 on 09/09/09

Banking on Dirty Tricks

Don't get me wrong; I'm not against banks having a fee system in place to discourage and punish those who willfully and routinely are guilty of overdrawing on their accounts. I do, however, think most such fees are grossly excessive given the automated nature of most banking transactions and the check processing system. A $29 insufficient funds fee is virtually all profit for the bank aside from the 50-cents for a computer-generated notice printed out and mailed to the customer in an envelope.

It is all too common for several such fees to be applied in one day if a customer paid some bills and the checks all hit at once. Obviously the customer does bear some financial management responsibility in avoiding this scenario, but it does happen, even to the best of us who do keep a close eye on our finances.

There is now a more troubling and grossly unfair practice emerging which involves debit cards and fees for spending more than you have in the account.

Wait a minute. Debit cards are like cash, right? How can you spend more cash than you have? It's not like buying something on credit, or exceeding your credit limit. Nonetheless, some banks are now allowing this to occur with debit cards, the customer isn't declined on the spot for the transaction, and are having fees applied to each transaction which far exceed the cost of the item being purchased in many situations.
When Peter Means returned to graduate school after a career as a civil servant, he turned to a debit card to help him spend his money more carefully.

So he was stunned when his bank charged him seven $34 fees to cover seven purchases when there was not enough cash in his account, notifying him only afterward. He paid $4.14 for a coffee at Starbucks — and a $34 fee. He got the $6.50 student discount at the movie theater — but no discount on the $34 fee. He paid $6.76 at Lowe’s for screws — and yet another $34 fee. All told, he owed $238 in extra charges for just a day’s worth of activity.

This is clearly excessive, and extremely profitable for the banks, so of course they don't want to be more upfront than they are required to be. (Hint: we need regulation to keep consumers from getting screwed.) And they are also being quite deceptive and tricky to increase their monetary take from honest mistakes.
But because consumers use debit cards far more often than credit cards, a cascade of fees can be set off quickly, often for people who are least able to afford it. Some banks further increase their revenue by manipulating the order of a customer’s transactions in a way that causes more of them to incur overdraft fees.


Bankers say they are merely charging a fee for a convenience that protects consumers from embarrassment, like having a debit card rejected on a dinner date.

Ahh yes, of course. The banks are always looking after the little guys, helping us avoid "embarrassment." You know what? Screw that. I'm not sure what percentage of the population would rather get screwed out $238 or even $39 rather than have an embarrassing moment, but if it were me, I'd be content to leave a situation red-faced than have my pocket picked by a financial institution.
William H. Strunk, a banking consultant, devised a program in 1994 that would let banks and credit unions provide overdraft coverage for every customer — and charge consumers for each transgression.

“You are doing them a favor here,” said Mr. Strunk, adding that overdraft services saved consumers from paying merchant fees on bounced checks.

What a load of BS. They are doing nothing more than hijacking the fee which would have been collected by the merchant and thus boosting their own profits.
In all, $27 billion in fee income flows from covering overdrafts from debit card purchases, A.T.M. transactions, checks and automatic payments for bills like utilities...


Yet fees, and how they are generated, remain a mystery to many consumers. Because regulators do not treat overdraft charges as loans, banks do not have to disclose their annualized cost to consumers.

And often, the price is enormous. According to the F.D.I.C. study, a $27 overdraft fee that a customer repays in two weeks on a $20 debit purchase would incur an annual percentage rate of 3,520 percent. By contrast, penalty interest rates on credit cards generally run about 30 percent.

Yep, always looking out for the little guys.
Ralph Tornes, who lives in Florida, is pursuing a lawsuit against Bank of America for charging him nearly $500 in overdraft fees in 2008 after it rearranged his purchases from largest to smallest. In May 2008, for instance, Mr. Tornes had $195 in his account when he made two debit purchases for $8 and $13; the bank also processed a bill payment of $256.

He claims that Bank of America took his purchases out of chronological order and ran the biggest one through first. So instead of paying $35 for one overdraft fee, he was stuck with three, for a total of $105.

This is simply insidious. It's spreading the wealth...from the bottom to the top.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The RNC In Action

Sudanese Dress Codes

Lubna Hussein was spared a whipping in Sudan for having the audacity to wear this attire. She still faces a $200 fine or jail for the "indecency" of wearing slacks in public.

On Monday night, after refusing her lawyers’ advice to pay, Mrs. Hussein was whisked off to jail, though her lawyers said that in the coming days a committee formed for her defense might pay the fine and free her.

Sudan is partly governed by Islamic law, which calls for women to dress modestly. But the law is vague. According to Article 152 of Sudan’s penal code, anyone “who commits an indecent act which violates public morality or wears indecent clothing” can be fined and lashed up to 40 times.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Hope You Enjoyed Your Labor Day

I had a rather uneventful weekend with roughly zero accomplishments. We went out for lunch at Veggie Heaven for some "veggie ham," tofu, and other veggies in a spicy red sauce over brown rice, and a steamed spring roll. Then I came home and took a long nap.

I'll be having the leftovers for lunch tomorrow served over pasta. And the dish will be even spicier the second time around.

How was your holiday weekend?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Obama to Employ Backmasking Technique in Address to Children

Each new day brings disturbing new accusations from the less-sane elements of society.

Pam Spaulding had this to say on her blog regarding an NPR story yesterday.
I think I was really going to lose it this afternoon when NPR was doing a story on this and they were interviewing some of the parents who were going to make their kids stay home. I almost drove off of the road when I heard this one mother say that even if all President Obama says is the benign "study hard" message, she's afraid -- and I sh*t you not -- that there would be a subliminal message in there. I assume it would be a subliminal socialist message that can only be perceived by young minds.

I'm guessing if you play the speech backward with the volume turned up to eleven, you'll hear Judas Priest doing "Hellbent for Leather," and suddenly we'll be seeing first graders getting into bondage gear.

These people are nuts.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Virtual Outhouse Is Open!

Click it, or ticket.

Friday Pussy Blog: Resistance Is Futile Edition

Witchay Woman sent this shot with the caption: Resistance is futile. The evil eye always cracks me up.

Back in 2003 I had taken this picture of Samantha with her eyes so bright they were reflecting off the vinyl foor!

She was always keeping tabs on the whereabouts of her daddy.

This morning Sissy was using a towel as a pillow.

Meanwhile, the Tot was perched in the bedroom window, probably tormenting the birdies.

Happy Friday! Enjoy the three days of weekend!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I'm in the mood for something blackish & lesbian.

Konagod Is a Violator of Established Policy

You can bet your ass on that fact! AND he is a sock-puppet, quite experienced in disguising his identity for subversive disruption by using... his real name!

A couple of nights ago, during a night of John Coltrane, Black Sabbath, tequila and weed, I finally decided to email Melissa McEwan, blogmistress of Shakesville, for some clarification as to why my comments had been deleted in a post about gardening. I wrote a post about the incident in which I compared myself to an invisible rabbit, if you recall.

Today I was sorting through 140+ emails and found a reply from Melissa.

--- On Wed, 9/2/09, Melissa McEwan wrote:

Your comments were deleted and your commenting privileges revoked because we don't allow sock-puppeting.

In your July 15 comments, you said you hadn't commented in months at Shakesville, which was not true. You commented here under another account and name (your real name, but that's not something you've made common knowledge at Shakesville), a comment that would quite obviously not be well-received by most of the Shakesville community.

Returning to your old, familiar handle after opening and using a new Disqus account at Shakesville appeared to be an attempt to distance yourself from that comment, underlined by the contention that you hadn't commented in seven months. Creating multiple user IDs in order to leave comments with which one doesn't want to be associated is, obviously, the purpose of sock-puppetry and something that commenters can't be allowed to do.

Contrary to what you may believe, I did not orchestrate your banning because of anything you've said about Shakesville or me personally. It was a call made by one of the moderators, and upon review by both myself and all of the other mods, it was found to be consistent with our established commenting policy. We have previously banned commenters for sock-puppeting, including commenters who have been posting favorable or neutral comments. If we had allowed your commenting privileges to stand, not only would we be making an exception for you, but also tacitly condoning deception of the community. There was a legitimate violation of established policy on your part, and I stood by the mod's decision.

Yeah, sock-puppeting. And you know, I may be stupid. I have forgotten whether I did a tequila shot 30 seconds after I just did one. I have rinsed the shampoo out of my hair and then reapplied more shampoo instead of conditioner. I have applied conditioner to my hair before shampooing and wondered why the fuck I wasn't getting any lather. I have gone to the store for one item and didn't take a list and forgot why I was there. One time I even went to vote in a presidential election and forgot to vote for president! I shit you not!

But I'm not SOOOO stupid as to use my real name on a blog where I'd been chummy with many of the moderators and where I met the bulk of my blogging Facebook friends, in some attempt to "distance myself" from konagod.

For the record, here is the sock-puppet comment which I posted during a time in which my konagod Disqus account was locked into some kind of circular black hole of log-in-in-order-to-comment requests. My statements were not exactly the kind of opinions where I'd feel the need to deliberately want to disguise my identity in order to make them. As I pointed out to Liss in my reply, "it was directed to Deeky..." and most of you know me. Enough of them knew me to get my commenting privileges revoked.

Here is the reply I sent to Melissa this evening:
Well that's interesting. When I said on Petulant's post about not commenting in 7 months, I was referring to the fact that my konagod Disqus account wouldn't let me in and I had just figured it out. [Note not included in the email to Liss: I had been trying to comment to Deeky under konagod and couldn't post it, and resorted to setting up an account under my real name in order to get my point out to him.] I was always getting prompted to log-in when trying to comment and when I did it would prompt me again to log in and that cycle would continue indefinitely.

I tried again every few weeks with the same result and finally gave up until Petulant's post, and I don't recall what I did differently but it was similar to the sign-up process, they sent me an email and I had to log in through that link, and paste something in or some such shit.

And unfortunately since the comment is gone I can't quote it verbatim -- but I think I said I hadn't been able to comment -- as konagod. This was certainly not an attempt at deception or sock-puppeting by using my real name! LOL!

The comment was directed specifically to Deeky, not a generic opinion directed to the community at large, and if my intent was to disassociate myself from konagod, I believe I would have made up an entirely new handle since every mod at SV probably knows my real name as well as some old-time regulars. As a long-time dedicated reader of the blog, I felt compelled to tell Deeky why I and some others were "obsessed" with the blog while "not being part of the community."

A mistake that many of us made was attaching ourselves too strongly to the blog, making it our home in our minds and expecting nothing to ever change (another big mistake because things do change; they have to) and then being shocked to realize one day that we were merely squatting as the owner puts in new curtails, carpet and paint.

Anyway, yes, I see that technically I clearly violated an established policy and rules are rules, even if it was not my intent and never crossed my mind. That seems to be how I got into trouble on many occasions. Mindlessness. And Shakesville comment threads are clearly not the place for that condition.

I had a blast though back in the day and wanted to thank you for providing the warm friendly environment via Virtual Pubs and excellent content, not to mention the dozens of friends I have made online who can be directly attributed to Shakes.

Yes, I may be mindless but I'm not stupid; those are two entirely different conditions. I don't sit around trying to tie one series of comments on a blog to something entirely different in nature which might have happened months before, a week before, or a day before.

Hell, I'm lucky if I even remember commenting the day before. Anywhere.

What is really interesting about this series of events is that I have virtually no philosophical differences with Liss on political or social matters. I'm pretty anal and so is she -- especially as it pertains to "established blog policy."

Where we differ I suppose in on the concept of intent. And since we come from vastly different backgrounds on that subject matter, I can't be one to criticize. I am, however, content at this point to just let it go.

The real irony here is that, back in the fun, old days, I used to sock-puppet in the Virtual Pubs constantly, and humorously. And everyone could figure out it was me either by the fucked-up content of the comment, or the fact that I kept the link to my blog in the Haloscan comment. I guess between then and now, the rules changed somewhat. Damn me for not reading them.

I think the intro to this next one is a severe Violent Femmes rip-off, but still, you gotta give Conbain trauma some credit.

Lock Up Your Children! Obama Wants to Eat Their Brains!!

Well, not really. But from the reactions of some parents you'd think that was the case.
On September 8, in what the Department of Education is touting as a "historic" speech, President Obama will be talking directly to students across the U.S., live on the White House website. But some parents and conservatives are blasting the president, calling the speech an excuse to brainwash American children.

The more I read the article the more astonished I became. I knew a Democrat in the White House was going to drive the lunatic fringe off the deep end and I expected to relish every moment after suffering through eight years of that last regime. Unfortunately, I'm not enjoying this as much as I had hoped. People are scarier than I ever imagined and I have a pretty vivid imagination.

If it's gotten this bad after a bit more than seven months, how bat shit crazy will these people be after 2 or 3 more years of this Kenyan-born, communist, brainwashing, Nazi, killer of old folks black man who wants to now corrupt our youth actually address a serious issue of vital importance?

The horror! Obama expects children to think while watching television! {Gasp!}
NBC spoke with Katie Gordon, a spokeswoman for the Florida Republican Party, who said the party's "beef" is with the accompanying lesson plans. The guide for pre-K through grade 6 suggests questions students think about during the speech, such as "What is the President trying to tell me? What is the President asking me to do?"

The plan for grades 7-12 includes a "guided discussion," with suggested topics: "What resonated with you from President Obama's speech? What is President Obama inspiring you to do?"

It is worth noting, as the article does, that George Bush and Ronald Reagan gave a televised speech to children nationwide. The Bush speech was anti-drug in nature; no brainwashing going on in that one, I'm sure.

Bourgeois Madness

It's always good to start off the day with something humorous. Bob Lancaster, in an op-ed piece in this week's Arkansas Times, explains why the town hall folks are so mad.

Here are a few of my favorites.

You're mad they let common people with rashes, cooties, and probably v.d. into the church pool.

You're mad that you used up all your lifelines while the questions were still real easy.

You're mad because it's so undemocratic, and just plain rude, that your presence is going to be required at this Last Judgment business, even if you don't feel like it, or have a prior commitment, or they don't have a ramp.

You're mad because death is going to screw you out of your Second Amendment gun rights. (No, despite what you've heard from the NRA, they don't allow firearms on the Other Side. Not even Yosemite Sam could get one in.)

You're mad because someone else's 6-year-old child always beats out yours in these beauty contests that doll up baby girls to look like whores.

Meanwhile, Senator Blanche Lincoln held a town hall meeting yesterday at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, and that went down fairly typically.
Lincoln faced occasional shouting as she spoke before more than 800 people packed into an Arkansas Tech University arena Wednesday. At one point, an audience member referred to advisers to President Barack Obama as "communists."

These people are mad.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Dan Savage Makes Me Feel Good

Even if the message he conveys is disturbing.

Dan Savage commenting on the Republican Party during yesterday's Countdown: "...there are no adults left in the room..."

If you can find video of the entire interview, it's well worth watching. Here's another excerpt which had me screaming with approval.
Michele Bachmann is a religious extremist and a nut, and she‘s the kind of person who, once upon a time, the Republicans could count on her vote and her support for saner, more middle-of-the-road Republican candidates who could work with Democrats and who weren‘t bat crap crazy.

And now, she‘s the one who‘s in there and they‘re stuck with her and her extremism.

Or you can just read the show’s transcript.

The Black Backlash

It's pretty obvious that much of the opposition to Barack Obama's health care reform is due to skin color. Prior to the election I knew that Obama was going to have a rough time carrying any Southern states on account of race. But I wrongly assumed we'd get over it and deal with it once he was elected, and once the opposition realized he wasn't going to turn the White House lawn into a watermelon patch.

Oh, how wrong I was.

The best examples of this can be found in the editorial pages of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, particularly in letters to the editor where vile ignorance prospers like cross-burnings. Health care reform is routinely regarded as turning the US into the Soviet Union circa 1970. No, not France, or Germany, or Canada, or even Sweden; those aren't scary enough. Only communist Russia will do as a comparison for the havoc which will result from reform.

My first hint that a certain element of American society was about to come unhinged was when the votes were tallied after the election. For months prior to the election, the approval ratings of President Bush in Arkansas were so low the state was one of the bluest between the two coasts.

And yet, voters there went to the polls in November, 2008 and overwhelmingly cast their votes for McSame and his Alaskan trophy. I interpreted the message being sent by voters as "we're fed up with the status quo but anything is better than a black man in the White House."

Hardly a day passes without some politician uttering something ridiculously racist. Watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann these days is like having a weird and senseless dream, only I'm not dreaming. This shit is real.

Keep a close eye on the 2010 elections. I believe you are going to see some interesting things going on way down in Dixie. Not that I believe for an instant that it will lead to a Dick victory in 2012, it will be troubling nonetheless.

Republicans in Arkansas are positively salivating on themselves in an attempt to unseat Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln because she's perceived as "too liberal." And the mere fact that she is involved in the health care reform debate makes her suspect, despite her Blue Dog status. She already has six Republican challengers who will be stumbling all over themselves to get as far to the right on the political spectrum as possible.

We can hope that by the time the next election cycle rolls around, all this rhetoric about communism and death panels will have faded. Unfortunately, I dropped my hope somewhere along the way and can't seem to find it. The far-right Republican base may be alienating moderates and even a few right-of-center folks, but they are still capable of influencing elections in states like Arkansas.

One thing that won't fade by 2010 is Obama's skin color. Racism will be a factor in the next election cloaked in some fear-based issue to be determined.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

John & Eric Get Their Shit On

Dish Network Is The Man

I've been a Dish Network subscriber for close to 14 years, dating back to Los Angeles. I've been a happy and loyal customer until they introduced these PVR pieces of shit which allow you to record programs and pause and play.

We've had this happen twice before we upgraded to an HD receiver. Both times I called in to report problems with the PVR functionality and they immediately sent replacement units.

Within the past year we upgraded to HDTV which required a new receiver and now we are having the same problems with pictures freezing up while audio continues, and only while in PVR mode - that being where you hit pause and come back 5 or 10 minutes later to continue watching.

This has been happening to us for months and finally in mid-August I called Dish Network to report the problem. The agent told me to call back the next time it happened, without doing anything to fix it, so they could witness the situation.

Tonight it happened again. I quickly jumped on the phone hoping for a quick resolution (i.e. replacement unit). I was on the phone for nearly 47 minutes being instructed to select this and that, unplug and restart, etc. At the end, I was told that detailed notes had been taken and to call back within 72 hours if the problem persists. That's the problem. It doesn't happen that often. But I'm hellbent on recreating it in that time frame.

After I explained to this Dish Network agent that I'd been a customer for close to 14 years and that I'd had 3 receiver replacements, and that I was grasping at my last straw (Hello DirecTV), she agreed to credit my account for charges since my last complaint. But I still need to report my next problem within the next 72 hours.

I will replicate that problem, you can bet your ass. But what happened to the old Dish Network which valued their customers and replaced shit no questions asked?

What's really funny is that before I started protesting, she was trying to upgrade me to a "better" receiver and she needed a credit card number. Fuck that shit.

That's when I launched into my tirade and got my service credits, but still no new receiver. I'm wondering if there is such a thing as a decent PVR. I'm almost ready to go back to a "use it or lose it" receiver. Fuck.

Do they even offer those?

Whatever. I lost 30 minutes of Countdown with Keith as well as a good portion of Rachel tonight.

Politics had been scheduled as my next rant. Corporate greed supersedes. Again.

Tasteless Advertising

Aw, jeez. Sometimes it isn't difficult at all to determine if the creative geniuses behind an advertisement are heterosexual males. I would vote to fire the ad agency but someone at Guss' must have thought it was money well spent.

Now I'll confess I am no stranger to penis humor when it comes to vegetables which actually look like a dick. But I laugh about it and move on.

Next time, you adolescent creative-types, save your budget and go find a horny 15-year-old boy to design your ad. You might get the same amateur result. Meanwhile, I'll stick with Gundelsheim Barrel Pickles, the delights of which have never resulted in this queer having a blow-job fantasy with a woman.

Sometimes a pickle is just a pickle. Sometimes a bad ad is just a bad ad.


Oh, it gets worse. In the marketing gone haywire arena, there's the pole dance for the kiddies! I shit you not.