Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Morning Musings

I'm not sure when I started obsessing about life and how quickly it seems to pass as I get older. It has definitely been a bigger blip on my radar since I turned 40.

When you are 20, you feel immortal and the world awaits you. Yet, if you can manage to make it through four consecutive average cat life cycles from that point, you are indeed lucky.

The unfortunate event on March 1st when I broke a number of bones in my face, the resulting surgery a bit more than 2 weeks later, and then my 50th birthday a month later, have all had an impact on how I view life. It seems so much more fragile now than it ever has before. The reality is that any of our seemingly stable lives can be turned upside down in the blink of an eye. Moreover, it is inevitable. The older we get, the greater the odds that we are on the cusp of a shattering event.

This understanding, which bears down upon me without my approval, is truly maddening sometimes. I see other people carrying on with their happy lives in what appears to be blissful ignorance of reality. I wish I could be like them. But are they all really unaware? Do they just have a more effective method of dealing with it and suppressing the associated emotions and anxiety?

We spend our lives gathering stuff: material possessions, friendships, and memories. We stuff our brains full of music, films, books, travels, sports scores, work experiences, Excel spreadsheet functions, HTML code, user IDs, passwords, credit card numbers, and expiration dates.

Our closets are packed with clothing and boxes in which stuff was delivered. Most people can't even use their garages because they are overflowing with possessions. And this is a relatively new phenomenon. My mother still remembers a time when she only had what was truly needed. She remembers her father telling the story of the first time he ever saw a motor car. He was so frightened he hid in a ditch. Running water and electricity inside the home were new luxuries, and still out of reach for many.

In that short span of time we have evolved into a people who have been born into such luxuries and take them for granted. We no longer need to hunt and gather for survival. Millions of us sit in a chair each day, tapping our fingers on plastic to manipulate data. And millions of us are paid well for it. But not in cash.

Someone else is tapping their fingers on plastic buttons to transfer "money" from one place to another place. When my place receives this transfer, I can then tap my fingers to move it from my place to the place which owns my house. Never having to lay eyes upon currency is a luxury.

I buy my food by swiping a piece of plastic through a chunk of plastic. That's how I get my groceries, my housewares, and fuel for my car so I can drive around and buy all this stuff. Quite amazing.

I don't even need to leave my house for a lot of the stuff I get. Tap tap tap on the plastic, select something you desire on a screen, type in a few numbers which gives instructions to computers to transfer a bunch of numbers from one place to another, and voila! A few days later, stuff comes to your door in a brown truck. And all of this is achieved by data passing through the air, or wires, at the speed of light.

Even in my lifetime, I remember how labor-intensive it was to gather information. I actually had to get up, get in the car, and drive to another building which housed thousands of books. I had to flip through drawers packed with thousands of little cards that contained directions to find the book which would contain the information I needed. And that was all well and good as long as someone else hadn't borrowed the book. There was even a human there to help you, if you needed it. Free of charge!

Now it is possible to gather data on a little chunk of plastic that you can carry with you, and tap on, or so I've read on this big piece of plastic I'm staring at as I tap these thoughts on my plastic buttons -- soon to be available for reading by anyone in the world fortunate enough to have a similar plastic device and viewing screen. You can even do this while you are driving around, buying shit you don't need, and swiping plastic to pay for it. Amazing!

What a world we live in, however briefly against the longer timeline of existence.

In this world of wonder and achievement, I am truly baffled that I can be so depressed. I don't just see the beauty and the wonder; I see everything. While this world in which we live would be unrecognizable to my grandparents in their youth, a few things haven't changed at all. Things like greed.

If we were truly immortal, or even if we could live 500 years, or 300 years, I could understand the concept of greed more easily than I can from my perspective of life at 50.

I am truly aghast that greed remains as pervasive and unevolved as it is. Greed is what compels us to do absurd things like drilling a mile deep -- underwater -- for fuel to power these moving boxes of steel we need in order to drive to a bigger, fixed-position box and punch plastic all day so that we can acquire a bunch of other (much smaller) numbers which get shifted around in the ether. After accruing enough of these numbers we call our own, we can drive around and buy stuff.

Greed is what allowed us to come here, take this land, and call it ours. Greed made us establish arbitrary and artificial boundaries, staking poles in the ground, adorned with absolutely meaningless pieces of patterned cloth in order to have what is essentially a meaningless and hollow identity.

Now that we have that, greed is driving us to destroy it. And we're no longer content to take advantage of people from outside our artificial boundaries with identifies different from our own; we seem eager to screw the life out of anything and everything we get our hands on in order to get more personal numbers stacked in our favor, whether it's our neighbors, the fields which grow the food to keep us alive, the water we need to quench our thirst, or the air we breathe.

We seem to have become completely uninterested in the numbers of our brothers and sisters who have had their equally short and fragile lives ended sooner than necessary by greed.

If nothing else, life is about adjusting and adapting to changes. Life is about caring and understanding. Life is about overcoming selfishness and greed. Life is about understanding that we are of the world and not vice-versa, and behaving accordingly. Failure to comprehend these simple facts is criminal. And we seem to be a nation and a world of criminals.

I have my own issues with comprehension. I cannot comprehend how, in this wondrous short time of bounty and achievement, so many of us cannot be content and enjoy our own personal experiences. Instead, we feel a necessity to exploit and control others, and often to focus on the most asinine of restrictions, while allowing all manner of other profligate atrocities to run rampant. I cannot comprehend how this path of greed we have chosen can be sustained much longer, nor can I comprehend how those of us who never ponder the ramifications of our enormous footprint will deal with the reality when it finally does deliver the ultimate smackdown.

On this day, arbitrarily set aside by some authority, in which we are asked to remember those who have fallen (some of whom still were not even allowed to be open and honest about who they were), and as I also include those who gave up a portion of their life, perhaps the best portion of it (and in many cases, a limb or two, if not their entire life), in their gift of service to this relatively recent nation of artificial boundaries conceived of, and awash in, greed, I have to ask myself if it was a truly necessary and noble cause, or simply a more short-sighted exploitation to fulfill a craven lust before casting them aside like spent fuel rods.

Sorry. I know I can come across as a major downer sometimes. But I think a lot. And I will honor our veterans today by saying we need to do everything in our power to stop creating so many of them for unjust causes. Those numbers (a trillion or two) piled up in someone's account which were used to fund the recent and ongoing wars could have been better transferred elsewhere in our relentless pursuit of stuff.

Live and let live, gently, and with responsible awareness and compassion.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

RIP Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hopper died on Saturday at age 74.

I was obsessed with his bizarre roles throughout the 1980s. And he had quite a few of them. Obviously Easy Rider is near the top of the drug-induced heap. But for my money, Blue Velvet was the one placing him on the Pedestal of Weirdness.

I can't even remember how many times I saw that film when it was running in theaters. I have a copy on DVD. And to this day, I still quote lines from the film, spoken by Frank Booth, the character played rather convincingly by Hopper.

I can't even see a Heineken without hearing "FUCK that shit. PABST BLUE RIBBON!" playing on a continuous loop in my head.
Mr. Hopper, who said he stopped drinking and using drugs in the mid-1980s, followed that change with a tireless phase of his career in which he claimed to have turned down no parts. His credits include no fewer than six films released in 2008 and at least 25 over the past 10 years.

Thank you, Dennis. Rest in peace. You were a rebel without a pause.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

1975 Farrah Fawcett Flashback

Check out the "full array of instruments," and Saturday bonus pussy for your enjoyment.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Pussy Blog: Floral Pussy Edition

Tiger is just stunning behind the bougainvillea.

The Tot admiring the yard cameraman from the bedroom window with a flowering sage backdrop.

That reminds me, I need to go out there and get that screen firmly attached to the window. I went out a few weeks ago to put the screen up and there was a pesky wasp hovering. I didn't get to finish the job and then forgot about it.

What's everyone doing for the long weekend? Any big plans?

As for me, I'm just going to be hanging around. May try to clean and organize the office in preparation for painting the room.

DADT Is Getting Tossed (Sooner or Later) and Rightly So

The US House of Representatives voted 234 to 194 on Thursday night to repeal DADT. The geography of the vote didn't look much different from the highly-emotional vote on health care reform.

While there were legitimate pros and cons to the health care legislation, a repeal of DADT is at least a decade overdue, and the repeal should have been supported by all but the most zealous of wingnuts.

Umm, wait. It was! Sorry, I keep forgetting that our Congress is about evenly split between rational people and irrational lying manipulators who are hellbent on the continued oppression of anyone not like them.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spacebook Suckin'


Here: read it, in case you didn't see it on the news today or you think it's just another konagod stream-of-consciousness moment.
Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the FRC, Peter Sprigg, told reporters that his study on "homosexual assault" in the military was based on analysis of public documents with the help of former US military officers. He said that in 2009, 8.2% of sexual assaults in the military were perpetrated by gays. The most common type of gay attack, according to Sprigg, is "one in which the offender fondles or performs oral sex on a sleeping victim."

8.2%. Wow, the dude is real precise with his measurements. Or is he just having a fantasy?

The Religion of Politics

Never discuss politics or religion if you want a civil discussion. That is probably good advice. Never the less, after reading and watching Glenn Beck’s animated, and perhaps chalk dust induced ramblings on the founding fathers I felt I had to had to put forth an opinion. It seems to me, that although most of the founding fathers would have counted themselves as Christians, there were wildly varying degrees to which their faith, or even lack of faith affected their actions in the founding ot the United States. I focused on the first five presidents, and on Thomas Paine. After reading The Age of Reason by Paine, I was particularly struck on how this book, if written today by a politician or political advisor would have him branded a heretic, and probably precluded him from any political influence, except perhaps in the same vein as Reverend Wright, i.e. negative. He actually advocated the tolerance of all religious beliefs, and even though he was a Christian, he had an equal disdain for organized religion, in particular the Catholic Church.

Like self described “rodeo clown” Beck, I too think many of the founding fathers would have been appalled at state of politics in the country they fought to give birth to, The fact that a candidate’s religion, or suspicion thereof was used by many as a reason to suggesting precluding him from office would have been viewed with disgust by the likes of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Madison. The abuses of the constitution under Presidents GW Bush and Barack Obama, the pandering to the Christians (Moral Majority) by Reagan, and all the other mixing of politics and religion over the past 50 years would have disappointed many of the folks who fought and sacrificed to create a nation that had a strong and meaningful constitution and did not just give lip service to the separation of church and state.

The following quotes, I think may surprise some people. I’ve done my best to make sure they are not taken out of context, and I have given the sources from where they were derived.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
-- Thomas Paine, (1737-1809), The Age of Reason, pt. 1, "The Author's Profession of Faith" (1794),

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression.
-- Thomas Paine, Dissertations on First Principles of Government (July 7, 1795)

Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects.
-- James Madison, letter to Bradford, January 1774

We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition ... In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.
-- George Washington, letter to the members of the New Church in Baltimore, January 27, 1793

As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?
-- John Adams, letter to FA Van der Kamp, December 27, 1816

The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature.... [In] the formation of the American governments ... it will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of heaven.... These governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
-- John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1788,

As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] ... it is declared ... that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever product an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries....
"The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation."
-- Treaty of Tripoli (1797

I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved -- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!
-- John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson,

Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Just Can't Shake My Frustration

Melissa at Shakesville has this post up today with photos of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a visit to China, including this one (via Getty Images) which caught my attention.

When I first started reading Melissa's post, I felt a swell of pleasure, pride, and emotion at seeing Secretary of State Clinton meeting with women activists in China. And I will confess to having a few seconds where I wished she was President Hillary Clinton. Perhaps these photos would have been of Secretary of State Obama while President Clinton was home in the US getting some shit done!

It was a lovely fantasy. Then I clicked below the fold and was astonished by the change of direction, and I suppose the post title, Today in Trailblazing and Misogyny: Photos of the Day, should have given me a clue. I was about to be shaken from my trailblazing fantasy.

The "misogyny" springs from this Getty Image:

Yes, I shit you not. But then, maybe my definition of misogyny is outside the norm.

Thus begins Melissa's rant.

Aside from invoking other memorable "Look—disembodied ladyfeetz!" images like this one, are you fucking kidding me with the phallic boom mic inserted between two women's lower halves?!


I don't for a moment believe that there wasn't a single person along the path from photographer to photo editor to publisher, at either photo agency, who didn't notice the unfortunate implications of the above image.

Yeah, it's a "little thing," but it is the pervasive, ubiquitous, inescapable "little stuff" that creates the foundation of a sexist culture on which the big stuff is dependent for its survival. It's the little things, the constant drumbeat of inequality and objectification, that inure us to increasingly horrible acts and attitudes toward women.

As Melissa accurately points out elsewhere in her post, the Getty photographers do seem to have a "thing" for photographing boom mics. Maybe it's a weird fetish. Maybe it's an inside joke, or a bizarre tradition, within photographic circles. Who knows.

I, with my little pea-sized manbrain and insufficiently feminist credentials, am clearly unable to discern the blatant conspiracy at work here to reinforce the sexist foundations of our culture, simply because I only see a nothing-to-write-home-about photograph of a boom mic with blurry ladypartz in the background. And it's not like someone staged the photo in order to have the boom mic appear to be shoved up in some asshole's crotch! (Gee, thanks for that one, Getty!)

Rather than walk away from that post with a President Clinton fantasy, and a momentary positive feel-good distraction from all the truly heinous shit going on in the world right now, I left feeling anger. It was not anger directed at any perceived or real misogyny, but anger at the blatant attempt to manipulate me into agreeing with a premise and to accept that as a fact without question, while my dumb mangut tells me it is a crock of reeking feces.

And in questioning the validity of Melissa's assumptions about such boom mic photography being representative of misogynistic foundations, I am therefore, by default, incapable of seeing the reality. I think the expectation is that I should be having an "oh wow" moment: Of course it's misogyny at work. How could I not have seen it? And then of course I should accept that I have so much more to learn from my great teacher. I should throw my teacher some praise and support, and maybe a few bucks.

It's a damn good thing my commenting privileges were revoked at that blog many months ago. If they hadn't been, they would be today. Because I do question Melissa's points, as do others, I would be disregarded as a concern troll. And I'm still being far nicer than some have been.

I guess that's what I get for going below the fold. I should have just wallowed in my Clinton-as-President fantasy, admired her for representing the United States so well while overseas, and moved on along, blissfully ignorant of boom mic photography and the dark evil undercurrents thereof.

It is an event which has rendered me with little desire to visit that blog again. And the irony is that the post didn't even come with a trigger warning.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Spider That Got Pissed Off

A story by James Thurber konagod.

"Is it Friday yet?," the old drunk yelled while observing various insects on the patio. "I need my Thurber Friday."

"See the firefly?," said txrad, lovingly.

"Yes, I can grab it. No wait, that's a moth. Oh, I see the firefly! And look, there's a spider," said the old drunk.

The old drunk proceeded to move his finger in the direction of the spider, but above it to avoid disturbance. Then he touched the web, by accident of course. The spider was not amused, and poised itself as to attack the next human who intervened.

Meanwhile, the cat was shitting behind the television.

The Power of Twitter (and Irony)

After spending more than a few minutes this past weekend and yesterday playing around with Twitter, I still wasn't seeing the allure. I understand how it can be used for networking as you can put in keywords such as "microbiologist" which brought up 5 tweets from just within the past 2 hours. Useful. But I wasn't seeing the real power of Twitter.

After taking yesterday off from work, I arrived at my desk this morning and started checking office emails. One was marked urgent.

I am in the television and radio advertising business, and many of you know. And there's a wee bit of irony in the fact that I handle a network that is no friend of the left, and I'm about as left as you get.

I had placed an ad campaign to start yesterday on that network. As is usually the case, I was given a list of networks on which to place a buy, along with the time period. I immediately recognized the time period as being a program which is ridiculed on an on-going basis for being extreme. I made a mental note to check with the account manager to see if she wanted to reconsider, and then promptly forgot.

The urgent email I received this morning was asking me to "get out" of said program. Apparently the client was getting bombarded with emails protesting their sponsorship of the program, and the Twitter was abuzz with noisy tweets after a blogger who specializes in protesting sponsors of this show had posted about it.

[I apologize for being intentionally vague about the specifics here but that link should shed some light on all this.]

My questions about the usefulness of Twitter, and its power, were answered.

While I was in the process of relocating the client's ads to other programming, I noticed another client which had been placed in the same time period yesterday by my backup. (This was an "oh shit!" kind of morning!) That campaign wasn't scheduled to start running until May 31. So I got that one moved out as well. I learn fast!

Much to my surprise, this additional client was also listed on that blog under the tab labeled "Remaining Sponsors." Since the television ad hasn't even started yet, I couldn't figure out why that client was on the list. I emailed the blog owner -- very discreetly using my konagod address -- to inquire.

Shame on me for being so focused on what I do -- primarily television advertising -- that I forget this guy also has a radio show and a website, both of which are being sponsored by this 2nd client. Kudos to the blogger for being as good and thorough as Maude Lebowski's doctor. But as I don't have anything to do with radio endorsements or website banners, I've done all I can to protect client #2 from the wrath of tweets.

Twitter suddenly has my respect and attention.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'll Take Breaking News, Please!

This past weekend I decided to give Twitter another shot. Installed the Tweetdeck which makes the experience a bit more fun. Just not sure about the column of Tweetdeck recommendations to follow. For now, we'll see how Breaking News works out. Pass on that other option.

But I swear to you, if Breaking News tweets crap like this, I'll be unfollowing:

Question of the Day: If you could follow only one band or artist on Twitter, who would you choose?

I actually haven't given it much thought. I am currently following only one band: Radiohead.

By The Time You See This, The Tomato Will Be Gone

Because we just ate it.

The first tomato from the garden this season! Small, but flavorful.


Secure the Border Sing-Along

You know, we're overdue for a few normal weeks in which absurdity is out of the picture for awhile. But, I guess this isn't the week. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has removed any hope of that happening.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

This Blog Is 4...Only 4?

How old is that in blog years?

Honestly, I feel like I've been maintaining this thing for something like 10 years. That's not to suggest I don't enjoy it. As with life, there are days and weeks when I've been very excited about it, and other stretches of time when I'm so busy and uninspired creatively that I can't do a post for days.

It has been an important and much-needed outlet for me to get things off my chest from time to time as well as to share some humor, and express a little creativity from time to time. Entering the world of blogs as I did in early 2006 was also a great step which enabled me to get to know a lot of truly wonderful people. I must give credit to two blogs for inspiring me to start mine: Shakespeare's Sister and Pam's House Blend. Shakespeare's Sister (which has since evolved into the blog "Shakesville") particularly could be considered my inspiration point and the place where I met the bulk of my circle of virtual friends, starting with those who were contributors to that blog at the time, and many Shakers in comment threads.

That flash point of excitement for me seemed to stretch for a decade. And yet, the reality is that it lasted maybe 20 months before all kinds of shit started to hit the fan. But I value the friends I have made far more than I can adequately express.

Other highlights for me during this span of time include being asked by Pam Spaulding to guest blog with a few other Blenders during a time when Pam was out covering a political event, if I recall. Honestly, I was nervous as hell having the keys to the coffeehouse and hoped I'd do a great job and not let her down.

It was also a tremendous honor being asked by Melissa McEwan if I wanted to be a contributor to the Big Brass Blog. And I was blown away by the support I received from many after being nominated two years in a row for a Weblog Award. Never won in voting, and knew I wouldn't, but it was a memorable blast!

All of this happened within the first year of my starting this blog. But by 2007 I was going through a major job change after not being able to keep my own business operational. I had to focus a huge amount of energy that year on an overwhelming workload and responsibility with the new job.

By the end of 2007, I was unemployed again after a major client moved their advertising to another shop. It wasn't until the summer of 2008 that I landed back on my feet and the time between then and now has been a blur. Maybe that's why my four years of blogging seems like so much longer: there's been a lot happen and a lot going on during that time! In some ways, I feel like the 12-year-old child actor who got one starring role in a film, and got caught up in the excitement and the attention, and then it vaporized. The real world requirements trumped the superficial newness and glamor very quickly. However, I still get a feeling of excitement whenever I'm linked to by Crooks & Liars!

Gone are the days of Weblog Award nominations; gone are the days when I thought I was trying to build a major blog, or even a minor one. (Also gone --as in deceased-- are a few bloggers with whom I had the pleasure of working.) This blog is simply a personal diary now for the most part. But if you want to stay along for the ride, be my guest.

I am looking forward to year #5 and I promise, next year, I won't eat most of the cake before I post it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Raising Plenty of Hell

I am thrilled to have appeared in his presence in San Antonio (where he pissed on the Alamo).

Kona's High School Reunion

My high school reunion is today. For me and my graduating classmates, it marks 32 years. Hard to fucking believe.

I almost wish I was there. Especially if it could be like this.

Somehow, I suspect it would be way less glamorous.

And a tad fake with a lot of effort...

But if I really wanted to make it like 1978 never was...

I'm kinda glad I stayed home.

Tell kona all about your high school reunion horror stories!

Friday, May 21, 2010

And You Thought Your Day Was Bad?

This came to me from a friend of mine. I had asked her, in so many words, how she was doing. And this is what I got. She told me I could "clean it up" for grammar and whatnot, but as this is a blog headed by a guy with bad grammar, great spelling and a strong propensity for typos, I'll just leave brilliance as is.

today a client is ranting and raving about socialism, communism, bill clinton, insurance companies, etc. then griped his medicare didn't cover his heart attack bills, then complained that the monkey in the white house is letting all the Mexicans take the country over. That's when I politely asked him to leave and said you have said enough. He went over to another agency and asked to be transferred after we had "words". This is after he told me the story of how upset he got in Walmart about some Chinese shoes that were no good, they had to calll a store manager and he threatened to hit him between the eyes with the 100% satisfaction sign if he didn't get some new shoes. He said call whoever you want, I've been in the CIA and went to 'Nam. Ain't nobody gonna do nothing to me.
ahhhhh what a day.

I started to get lost at "monkey."

Friday Pussy Blog: Reclining Pussy Edition

I've never been happier to see the arrival of a Friday, so I'm putting up the whole family for your enjoyment!

Sweet Pea has been limping around for a few days. Still he manages to get up on the table so maybe it's not too serious.

Sissy is preparing for a long morning nap on the bed.

Tater Tot is preparing for a long morning of office supervision.

Tiger is the guardian of the water bowl.

Friday Isopod Blogging

Thursday, May 20, 2010

You Oughta Know

OK. Here we go. My brother was born damn nearly 13 years before me. And then I was a "surprise" baby. (A mistake, some would say.) Now here's my question. How did my parents in the 50s avoid having more children (and not intending to have more than one, and I have to commend them on that)? They weren't exactly what you'd call birth control fanatics (assuming that was an option in the 50s on SE Arkansas), and I would stake my stock market holdings on the fact that my mother never would have had abortions, so how did they do this? Did he pull out a lot or did they just not have sex?

Come on, I need to hear from my peeps about how this shit works!

Thursday Sloth Blogging

This gets the Cute Award for 2010 I think! I'm lovin' me some sloth!

Meet the sloths from Amphibian Avenger on Vimeo.

Borrowed from blueberry.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Random Facebook Pages

Don't Be Saucy With Me, Bearnaise!

Do you enjoy having the last word but tired of the struggle to get it? Here's a tip: start a blog! And then when you get tired of retorting, just do this:

Maybe it's just me, but I don't get this for several reasons, most notably:

1. There were already 17 newer posts vying for attention.
2. There were only 6 comments between noon today and the time the thread was closed at roughly 6:40 PM my time.
3. If no one else seems to give a fuck, why bother closing the thread?
4. Why bother making it a negative thing if nobody gives a fuck?

Why not just:

1. Leave it, and there might be a residual comment or nine before it completely dies off.
2. You could just close the thread without making a big grandiose and bitter announcement about it.

In the first scenario, you do risk having a continuation of the debate requiring your attention and troll-banning powers which are better diverted elsewhere. So I'd go with #2. But then, you don't get the last word, do you?

Who gives a fuck?

But I will tell you this. I have no issues whatsoever with the word moist. It sounds snack cakey to me.

Feel free to answer that question in comments as well, while we're at it, and since it fits in so well with the blog. Almost a flashback!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Avoiding Jury Selection

I've been stressed out for a week about my appearance today for jury selection. I'm not sure why I stress about it because I honestly think it would be fun -- if I was healthy and unemployed. Or lightly employed. But I'm still recovering from surgery, get tired easily, and absolutely bombarded at work.

It would also help if I could be teleported downtown to the courthouse rather than driving in rush hour traffic.

I had all my documents in order: discharge papers from the hospital and all medical bills and I was fully prepared to go in and make a case for why I should be excluded from serving as a juror right now. And yeah, some of it might have been exaggerated to some extent, but not by a lot. I do tire easily, and I often need to have a horizontal rest during the day. And those benches in the courtroom remind me of church (which only lasts an hour if you're Methodist) and are not good for the back for long periods of time. (However, the juror chairs appeared to be leather and would probably kick some ass.)

None of this mattered in the end as I was excused. I didn't even have to plead my medical condition to the judge.

I was obsessed today with observing other personalities in the room, along with the state lawyers for the persecution prosecution and the defense lawyer. Initially it starts off very well. The lawyers question selected potential jurors about their views on a number of "hypothetical" scenarios. Here and there, a few potential jurors will not answer appropriately and be red-flagged. Some of them have been in similar situations as the defendant which creates a bias.

This particular case was for an aggravated robbery charge. The state of Texas apparently has a law that a person being charged with a 2nd felony has to serve a minimum sentence of 15 years vs. 5 years if it was the first felony. And 25 years if it is a 3rd felony. And here's where I managed to get off, I think, although it probably wasn't music to the ears of the defense attorney.

He posed a "hypothetical" scenario for us in which a defendant, we are told, has had a prior felony conviction. Would we be able to consider the minimum sentence of 15 years or would we have a bias in favor of the maximum penalty?

I found my escape route. I explained that I had a problem with the 15 year minimum sentence based on it being a 2nd felony conviction vs. 5 years for the first, because I'd want to know what the prior felony was for. I didn't elaborate. He seemed confused and asked me to clarify. I said, "if the first felony was for a non-violent offense, then I'd have a real problem tacking on an extra 10 years just because he'd served time for a prior non-violent felony.

Drugs. For instance.

And when txrad and I first moved to Texas, our co-habitation arrangement (on certain nights) would have been classified as a felony if the cops had busted down the door and charged right in. I shit you not.

So, yeah. I do have issues with all manner of three strikes laws involving mandatory and extended sentencing because it's all too easy to see those abused. Two or three violent felonies in a row, and I might say throw the person in jail for 99 years. Or a history of violent behavior without a felony conviction would even carry some weight. But I need a clarification on the felony details. Consensual ass fucking and non-violent marijuana cultivation don't count.

So on that note, I'm pretty sure I was discharged.

Your Monday Morning Direction

Is it wrong to be right?


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Back when txrad and I first moved into our first apartment together in Los Angeles, I was working and he wasn't. (Gee, kind of like now!) Our apartment manager must have had some connections to the film industry because she got him involved as an extra in an Ice-T music video shoot. He ended up on the cutting room floor.

In the late 1980s when Mike Nichols was shooting Biloxi Blues in Fort Smith, Arkansas I went to a casting call for extras and got selected. I was living in Little Rock at the time so it was a long haul over to the site of the shoot. I may have stayed at a Motel 6 for a day or two. I can't even remember.

My biggest moment in the film was during the theater scene. I was running late that day. When I showed up, all the other extras had already been transported by bus to the site where filming was taking place at Fort Chaffee, a military training facility just outside Ft. Smith.

I was kicking myself for lack of punctuality and thinking I'd really blown it. But I did have full unrestricted access to the snack table of various fruits and other goodies, and I suspect that was for the principals, not the extras.

Soon I was escorted to a room to have my hair buzzed again. This happened a week or two earlier when I was selected to be an extra in the film, but apparently my hair had grown enough to require re-militarization. There were only three other people in the room besides me: my groomer, and another groomer who was working on the actor seated behind me, and that actor happened to be Matthew Broderick. I was about to shit myself. He was having fake five o'clock shadow applied to his face.

After this we were both transported to the room where the theater scene was being shot. As we arrived, all the other extras were present and seated. It was a big room filled with extras. I expected, being late, that I'd be in a back row. Instead I was escorted down to an empty seat near the front about 2 or 3 rows behind where Broderick was placed. I've always wondered how the hell that happened.

In the film, I am clearly visible for several seconds as the camera pans back and forth in the theater scene. I am munching on popcorn.

Anyway, what brought all this up was that I just asked txrad about his experience as an extra. He thought the Ice-T video was low-budget and not very well coordinated. They didn't give them any detailed instructions on what to wear or anything. And I said, "Oh, you should have been an extra in a decent budget film like I was."

Upon selection as extras, we were taken to a big old army barracks building where we had to dig through boxes of military attire -- and I'm specifically referring to garments that would not even be seen on camera. Like....underwear. Yes, I had to pick out an army green wife-beater to wear under the shirt I was given to wear. Can't remember the socks but I'm sure those were in character as well. Crazy.

It's kind of weird knowing that you are out there, and a few million people have probably seen you, and will continue (in decreasing numbers) long after you are gone. When I'm watching any film, I tend to notice extras because of my experience, and wonder why they got involved, how they got involved, whether they did anything else film-related, or just went on with their lives?

Which leads me to a Question of the Day. Who saw Biloxi Blues and did you have any idea you were having a konagod moment? :-)

I probably would have been given a speaking part in the film, if only I'd been fluent in Italian Spanish. (Yeah, Litbrit, I studied both, but you'd never know, would you?)

Friday, May 14, 2010

For a Friend (Or For Me)

[Edited completely rewritten for clarity and to make it less "cryptic."]

On of my blog pals/Facebook friends has been dealing with depression related to loneliness. Been there, done that. It was routine for me to have that when I was in my 20s and searching for love.

However, depression is a sneaky bastard. It will find other ways to creep into your life. Solve the loneliness issue and, like magic, you can get depressed about any number of other things. I know. I've been morbidly depressed since March and what is ironic is that I have absolutely nothing to be depressed about!

Sure, falling on my face and breaking an eye socket and cheek bone wasn't exactly a blast, nor was forking over $9,000 and some change -- out-of-pocket -- my idea of a desirable spending spree. I'm not even depressed about that.

I just seem to get depressed for no reason whatsoever. A cloudy day on the wrong day, or too many of them consecutively. Or getting a letter requesting my presence for jury selection on Monday.

Yep, that's a sure winner! And I can't even look at the bright side: that I get an afternoon off from work with pay, or that I might get 8-10 days off from work with pay. Seriously, if I wanted that I could do it. It's called a vacation. And I need one. But my idea of a vacation sure as shit doesn't involve paying for parking in downtown Austin and sitting in the courthouse watching lawyers make money. Pass on that.

That isn't the source of my depression though. It just helps fuel it. I get depressed by politics, racism, people who think the state has a duty to control what women do with their bodies, oil spills, economic disasters half way around the world, wars with or without end, gang violence, assholes trying to control the minds of children by editing textbooks, tornadoes, earthquakes, (sinkholes are cool though as long as no one gets injured or loses a house), getting old, people dying, spent fuel rods, abandoned animals, hunger, AIDS, waste, inefficiency, forced genital mutilation, and low fidelity.

Those things and a hell of a lot more depress me far more than sitting here thinking about the cost and inconvenience of having two titanium plates installed in my noggin'.

I ache when my friends are depressed. And I don't have any answers. It is a mystery to me. And apparently a fact of life. I guess this is why some people use Jesse Ventura's "crutch" of religion. It gives them a sense of hope, something to lean on for emotional support in times of need. Lucky them. Speaking only for myself, I find that having a lifelong dream of visiting Italy and having to settle for the Venetian in Las Vegas.

When someone figures it all out, let me know.

Friday Pussy Blog: Pussy Foot Edition

And a Tot belly!

Just realized I haven't posted anything since last Sunday. Yes, it has been that kind of a week.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

OK, I'm Done Playing Family Feud on Facebook

Because if this wasn't a top 7 answer, then I'm not at all like the average American.

All Hail Epicatechin

I love science!
Something in dark chocolate seems to help protect the heart, and now researchers say they have identified the molecular mechanism by which a compound found in cocoa can guard against the damage of a stroke.

The compound, a flavanol called epicatechin, triggers two built-in protective pathways in the brain, according to a report published online last week in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Friday Pussy Blog: Yawning Pussy Edition

Another brutal week bites the dust. And it was a tad warm as well down here in Tejas.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Go Ozzy!

I swear I was looking for something serious tonight and I found this comment on a page of some sort. Sorry, no linkage, you've either got to trust me or trust me.

Single Ozzy Osbourne Bites heads of mice, birds, bats and other animals. Should he be allowed to continue doing this, its so bad how the screams of the animal while he bites into its neck trying hard to kill it but failing so many times.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Eat Your Veggies

I've been curious to see if anyone had compiled any lists of vegetarian-friendly cities and towns in the US, and I ran across this list. Interesting!

I have a book around here somewhere that has a list of vegetarian restaurants by state, and although it's outdated, I was not surprised by some of the cities on this list. Norfolk, for instance, is not a place that would immediately come to mind when thinking vegetarian cuisine.

Salt Like City did surprise me. Asheville being #1 in the list of small cities was also a surprise.

My only complaint about this list is the inclusion of Santa Monica in the list of small cities. On the one hand, it is a small city. But when I think small city, I think Asheville, Eugene, Athens, but not Santa Monica -- a small city in a county of 10 million people.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Hard Throbbing Turbulence

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Monday 俳句

Crude crud heading north
responsibility where?
oh, wash it away.

We've been down this road before and it's one of those frustrating situations in which I want to just give up.

Have no fear. BP will take care of it. Just give them a few months.

We will clean it up," the company said in a statement.


BP, working with an array of government agencies and private companies, has been unable to stop the flow of crude from the well.

Bob Fryar, the company’s senior vice president for operations in Angola, who was brought to a command center in Houston for the engineering effort, said that on Monday, BP hoped to install a shut-off valve on one of the three leaks. That may stop some of the oil flow, Mr. Fryar said.

May stop some of it? Just relax; they're working on it.
But the biggest leak, at the end of the riser pipe, which Mr. Fryar said was the source of most of the spewing oil, cannot be shut off this way. The company intends to address that leak by lowering a containment dome over it and then pumping the oil to the surface. That effort is still at least six days away, Mr. Fryar said. Another containment dome, for the third leak, which is on the riser near the wellhead, would follow two to four days after the first.


Speaking of the accident, Mr. Fryar said the blowout preventer “has lots of redundancies, there are lots of opportunities to shut these off. None of these worked.”


Officials still plan to drill relief wells, which would allow crews to plug the gushing cavity with heavy liquid. Drilling of a first relief well was set to begin “as soon as the weather clears,” Mr. Fryar said. Drilling for a second well was expected to begin in two weeks. The relief wells, however, will take months to execute.

Why am I getting a really sick feeling in the pit of my stomach?

Sunday, May 02, 2010