Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Proof Joe Theismann Is An Idiot

During the Monday Night game, Raiders QB Andrew Walters tossed a long bomb to Randy Moss, who was double-covered some 40 yards downfield. Moss grabbed the ball away from the cornerback, but a punishing hit by the crossing safety separated him from the ball, and almost separated his head from his shoulders.

Opined Theismann, "They should do that more often. If you throw that ball to Randy Moss five times, he's going to come down with it twice. The percentages are in his favor."

Two out of five is forty percent, you dumbass.

NB: prior post edited to remove material offensive to some readers. You know who you are. Blake.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Yummy Booze!

If you pour a shot of Bushmill's Irish whiskey into an Imperial pint glass of hard cider, you come up with an enticing combo.

Tag Cloud Of State Of The Union Speeches

Cool! Click the link, requires Flash.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I Believe Weird Shit

I believe that we would be able to manage the oceans better if we learned to talk to dophins (and porpoises, of course). Then we could have seafood for centuries, not just the next fifty years.

I believe that the deliberate hunting and killing of humans by elephants says something profoundly distubing about our place in the world.

I believe that many animals are tasty. No, I KNOW that.

I belive that when otters can blog, that'll be something to see.

What Libertarianism Lacks

I know, I know, most everyone who's ever read my blog thinks I'm an anarcho-syndicalist. And I will vote for Loretta Nall, the Liberetarian candidate, for governor when I vote Tuesday.

I will vote for her because not only is she the best candidate for the job, but also she represents the only party actually concerned with the real issues facing real people. She talks about prison reform, and education, and ending the senseless prosecution of marijuana smokers. She has real ideas about how to fit this shit together. She has an actual VISION of what the future could be like, if we'd just vote her in.

But there are no Libertarian candidates running in any other race I'm voting on on Tuesday. Aty least, I don't think there are. You'd think that my interest in Ms. Nall's candidacy (and look, y'all, Bob Riley isn't really all that bad compared to what we have faced in the past) would have sparked some sort of comminique from some Alabama Libertarian flunkie somewhere. You'd think they would at least see the sense in ACTING like a normal political party during election season.

That's not me pleading for attention (READ MY BLOG, BITCHES.). That's me observing that having staffers that sat down and did frequent search-engine sweeps and responded appropriately could possibly grow the fucking party from irrelevance to, uh...relevance.

Loretta is screaming into the void.

She's right, she's absofuckintively right about a preponderence of issues, and I sense that she's actually willing to listen to reasoned discussion about the balance of the issues. What a radical concept. Common sense.

But I can't vote for common sense, I can only vote for a Democrat.

I Love The New York Times

And one of my reasons is images like this.

It presents a beautiful ambiguity, but it clearly illustraters the slug: "Leaders of 48 of the 53 African countries are to arrive in Beijing this weekend for a huge diplomatic event, the China-Africa forum."

That's great photography.

Alabama Family Values

Click the link, bring a puke bucket.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tehran's Having A TV Party Tonight

I wonder if the powers-that-be felt a certain sickening sense of cultural deja vu when they read this in a recent Wall Street Journal. A priveleged elite whose wealth insulates them from an intrusive theocracy that same wealth supports. Hmm.

Don't talk about politics, we don't wanna know
we're dedicated to our favorite show!

Points to anyone under 25 who gets the Black Flag reference.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ooohh. Blogger Beta

Google sez they wanna plant a chip in my hed.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Paranoid Leftist Rant: We're Doomed

OK, here's what's gonna happen in my nightmares. Obama and Clinton run in 2008. McCain is unmanned by GOP backbiting and the lingering miasma of Bush and the Dems are swept into office, Hil as POTUS and Barack as VPOTUS.

Out come the snipers.

A woman and a black guy -- who gets shot first?

It has to be Clinton, thus eerily fulfilling the whole go from the Senate to the Presidency and get whacked thing (Kennedy, Harding, Garfield..). But once the first female President is gunned down, it's only logical to go after the veep, now the first non-white guy to hold the office. Horrors!

And so the already overrepresented rural frothy white guys who comprise an exceedingly miniscule proportion of the population compared to their inordinate power will get their way again and make the world safe for more of the same: environmental devastation, corporate collusion in government overreach, the whole military-industrial-complex nightmare that Mr. Repulican himself, DDE, warned us about.

It's globalization. The good guys can't win. The invisible hand is around our collective throats. No matter how good our policy, no matter how clever its implemetation, we'll still be trumped by the abyss of global inequity, and no matter how many dollars or people or Segways we toss into its maw, it will never be sated. The hunger will always exceed the banquet.

Because we are human, and we are hunters, and it is never enough.

And so we are doomed.

That is my nightmare. Please tell me I'm wrong.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Where've I Been The Past Month?

Oh, nowhere really. Here. At Mom's. Waiting in line at Wal-Mart to buy waxy apples and AAA batteries. Everywhere but the Internet.

Tonight, it seems, the 'Net gods smile. I am amazed, and unprepared.

And I have nothing to say.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Drunkem Ranting

At what point in the generational transition from Da Greatest to Da Leastest did the values of the Enlightenment get thrown out the fucking window? Why isn't there rioting in the streets over the Decider publically advocating torture with a wink and a nod? For that matter, why haven't investment banks and hedge funds been burned to the ground over the wanton mismanagement of middle-class American pensions, not to mention the failure of the minimum wage to keep up with the cost of living? Why hasn't ANYONE who means ANYTHING said, "You know, we could fight the War on Terror more effectively if we stopped throwing money at stupid shit, like the War on Drugs, and that would also give us a big PR bonus, since we wouldn't have to use seatbelt laws as a pretext to search vehicles and waste our patrolmens' time when they could be out tracking down real criminals. And we could, like, train them to distinguish Sikhs from bomb-throwing Islamofascists. And stuff."

I can't really blame Hugo Chavez for seizing the opportunity to get his anti-Bush freak on. If you handed me a microphone in a room full of world potentates, I'm sure I'd say something even more offensive. The demonification of Bush is perfectly pitched to strike right at the hearts of fuzzy-headed American liberals, who see Chavez's promise of "low-cost" gas to "poor" Americans as a gesture of solidarity with some cruddy 1930s suspender-sportin' "working man" instead of the crude political calculus that it is. Whussup w/ Danny Glover, anyway?

See, Venezuela and Iran HAVE petroleum reserves. In spades. We use WAY more than our share of oil. It is the economic underpinning of our economy. Venezuela has GI-FUCKING-NORMOUS petroleum deposits. The catch is that it's really, really hard to get to, and the capital investment of actually tapping that vast (and submarine) resource is so high that only a few select players can sit at the table. Venezuela's made sure that US oil companies won't be sitting in on that meeting. In the age of the "global economy" (police state, I'm just sayin') that rules out a lotta players. So who's left? A bunch of people who were hoo-hawing and high-fiving when Chavez made the "it still stinks of sulfur" comment. (And combining that rhetoric with the very humble traditional crossing-of-oneself-while-miming-kissing-a-rosary -- brilliant. Millions of otherwise noncomittal Catholics just started admiring your "spunk".) Too bad you shut down all the opposition newspapers and radio stations, Mr. Chavez, it would've played well.

My father and my uncle Bill actually went to Venezuela before the Chavez regime to look into some sort of hazily-described "mining venture". That's when I knew the Venezuelan government would fall to a populist socialist. My dad's idea of making money was simple and stubborn: save, save, save, buy some land, rent, rent, rent, save, save, save, sell, pleaseJesus, sell, profit. It worked. My uncle Bill, who was halfway between my father and uncle Palmer on the Family Integrity Black Sheep Scale, had a somewhat slipperier concept. He'd take a flyer, now and then. (Palmer, just to flesh the story out, once bought a decrepit hotel in the middle of downtown for ONE DOLLAR at a city auction, went in and strpiied out all the AC units, copper and hardware, sold his loot to the junkyard, and then turned around and resold the property at a necessarily hefty profit.) The point, I guess, is that if the least scammed guy in a family of scammers from MOODY, ALA-FUCKIN'-BAMA can get interested in a Venezuelan profiteering scheme, then where's the hope for us all.

OK, that was a totally bogus conclusion.

I guess my point is, bravo, Sr. Chavez, for successfully shaking your fist and encouraging your fair-weather friend in Iran to spout equally eyebrow-raising invective. I look forward to your economic policy meeting with the Iranian officials. You'll find it a whole lot more amenable right here in the US. Why? Because that's how capitalism works, bubbe, we don't hafta like you, but all the money is green.

Until China goes all-in, and then we're fucked.

Debra Lafave Should Totally Do Porno

OK, it's really old, but I've been outta Net for a few.

In the past couple of days (editor: weeks), male viewers of cable news networks echoed this sentiment: "I would hit it."

"It" being Debra Lafave, the stunningly gorgeous "child predator" and "deviant" who just waltzed out of her trial with no jail time. Perhaps the fact that she's a green-eyed blonde with beestung lips and a body that don't stop had something to do with it. Perhaps it was having savvy attorneys who knew that any jury containing at least one heterosexual male with at least 20/30 vision wouldn't convict her of murder if she were found bloody and laughing atop a pile of fresh corpses.

Pretty girls get what they want. That's the lesson this teacher taught her class, at least the ones who weren't selected for private tutoring. And that student, I'm guessing, isn't going to be scarred for life by the whole horrible trauma of sex with a beautiful, willing woman. Girls have to learn not to have sex with every boy who wants it. This is a much, much harder lesson than what boys learn: have sex with every girl who'll let you.

For a man, taking advantage of a 14-year-old girl is a selfish abuse of power that rises to the level of serious criminal deviance. For a woman, taking advantage of a 14-year-old boy is simply a selfish abuse of power. It may or may not be truly criminally deviant. Yeah, this is a double standard. Well, welcome to the real world, hippy.

And that's why, in this case, the system worked. A jury of her peers recognized that there was essentially NO VICTIM in this case, and they decided appropriately.

"But a haggard witchy 50-year-old with halitosis and dandruff and unspeakable personal hygiene wouldv'e been sent down for 25 years!"

That's because life is better if you are young and beautiful.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Why The Hell Not

OK, I Laughed

The truth hurts.

Holy Fuck, MORMONS!!!!

So I'm googling about, and I read the excellent MeFi pot thread, and I thinks to myself, Self, I thinks, I wonder if my marijuana-related misdeeds are recorded somewhere in teh dim dank bowels of teh intarweb>? I type my last name and the word "marijuana" into Google. And I stumble acorss an intricately detailed, exhaustively documented, painstakingly researched family history.

Of Mormons.


Then I think, well, there must be plenty more folks sharing my patronym back in the old country. So it makes semse that some of us went West instead of South and ended up in a different perverse subculture. Still, it makes me wonder. Is my whole family's geneology on file somewhere in a vast warehouse in Salt Lake City?

So I google further and I find that yes, my whole family's geneology IS, in fact, online in a vast warehouse in Salt Lake City.

Jesus fuck.

I'm related to Mormons.

I'm not sure how I should feel about this. I mean, most of the Mormons I know are cool, not that I know many, 'cause they generally get eaten in these parts, at least as appetizers, if not as whole elaborate apple-in-mouth long-pig banquet dining features, like Unitarians.

It makes sense, though, because there is a very deep part of me that yearns for special underwear.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

President Macklin, Part Three

"So, sir," Frank began. "This is...unusual, and I..."

"Here's the deal, Frank." Macklin leaned forward on his elbows and watched Frank roll the joint. "My wife is a drunk, my Presidency is a wreck, the nation's foundering in debt, much of the world hates us, and I've had enough."

Frank licked the doobie and produced a lighter. "OK. So what else is new?"

"That's why I keep you around." Macklin sighed. "No, Frank, I'm really going to do something about it. I'm holding a press conference. Not tomorrow, I'll be hung-over and the speech isn't ready. But Friday. I want your help writing this speech."

Frank looked doubtful. "Friday. Not good. The press will shred us on the weekend chat shows."

"See? That's just what I'm sick of. All this posturing, all this jockeying for position, this trasparent manipulative fakery..." Macklin realized his voice was rising and he was flapping his hands. He reached for the proffered joint, hit it, and immediately doubled over coughing, almost knocking himself out on the edge of his desk.

"Easy, sir. Can I bring you some water?"

"Stop...with the sir....or I start calling you...'Smithers'," Macklin gasped, his eyes streaming. "Jesus Christ -- pot really is stronger now than it used to be. I thought that was just ONDCP bullshit. Where'd you...no, never mind." He took a fortifying slug from the decanter and the burn worked magic on his raw throat. "Ahhhhhh. Here, Frank, have a drink."

"Do you have an ashtray?"

"Use the floor."

Frank pursed his lips and cast about for a piece of paper. As Macklin watched, absorbed, Frank folded the paper into an origami ashtray.

"That's the most useless skill I've ever seen demonstrated."

"It's useful right now, isn't it? I studied math in college and got into origami for a few months."

"It's an ashtray made of paper. That's like building a dam out of Jell-O."

"Or maybe like a taco salad? Hmm?"

"Only if you smoke it...wait, let's get back to the speech."

"Is this going to be like that guy in 'Network'? Do you plan to publically implode and take all of our careers with you?"

Macklin fixed Frank with the hairy eyeball. "I'm not a gravy train, Frank. And most of 'us' are guns-for-hire, anyway."

"I've always dreamed of a career in food service."

"Oh, fuck you. You'll have a think-tank gig within weeks. This is about principles."

"So this IS going to destroy my career."

Macklin paused and inhaled more gently. This hit stayed down. He exhaled and took a deep breath. "Yes, Frank, it might."

Frank took back the joint and leaned back in the chair, arms crossed. "OK, convince me this is worth it."

Sunday, September 10, 2006


How 'bout them Falcons?

And major kudos to Troy University (which I still think of as Troy State) for scaring the hell out of Florida State on Saturday.

Seems some prescient blogger was just writing about that very scenario....hmmm.....

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Drug War Ads Counterproductive, GAO Says

Perhaps having the ads sandwiched between ads for Paxil and Cialis has something to do with it. Just Say No to cognitive dissonance.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sportin' Life

Hindsight being what it is, I'm regretting missing out on last weekend's Tennesse-Montana State-Florida State parlay, the proceeds of which probably could finance a private Caribbean isle. I wish I could remember which stuffed shirt opined on ESPN last week that he expected no upsets on opening weekend so I could point a virtual finger and snicker in his direction. SEC teams win at home against the PAC-10, period.

Sportswriters are among the lowest of the low, down there with international arms dealers and Gary Glitter. But one of my favorite parts of the almost-upon-us NFL season is Gregg Easterbrook's TMQ column. I think I've mentioned it here before, but I felt the need to plug it again this season, despite the latest column's casual backhand slap to my state's (Troy University) Trojans and his indubitably crack-induced assessment of the Falcons (6-10? Bah.). His day job at The Brookings Institute leads to some interesting cross-pollination, and he is both refreshingly lucid in his football analysis and charmingly fanboy is his appreciation for pretty cheerleaders.

I second his motion for more TV time for NFL cheerleaders. They're down there on the sidelines all dolled-up and jumping around so people will look at them, no? The least we can do is oblige. Of course, that would mean we'd have to pay them more, and we all know that the only women in the country allowed to profit from professional football are players' wives and Suzy Kolber.

In this week's column, Easterbrook complains, "...football-factory big-college football ... can choose many opponents, and increasingly choose cupcakes with cherries on top." He points to West Virginia, and looking at their schedule it's hard to argue with him. But I'll offer a counterpoint -- some of those cupcakes may turn into real competitors down the road. UAB, a cupcake squad if there ever was one, fought Oklahoma to a standstill for three and a half quarters last weekend in front of the largest crowd in Oklahoma football history. They lost, because of some guy named Adrian Peterson who'll probably win some trophy called the Heisman, but they made a LOT of people go, "UAB? Huh?" And tiny Troy gets to go on the road for a three-game slog through Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Nebraska -- that's some serious seasoning for Troy's players, and some serious money for a small school. This cherry-picking process can make small programs more competitive and show the nation players that might otherwise get overlooked, like UAB QB Sam Hunt, who came into the game fighting for a starting role and left as the undisputed team leader. So while I have a problem with the big schools being able to schedule ringers, it seems inevitable that if this continues some of these ringers are going to get up off the canvas and start punching back.

Speaking of punching, another ESPN Page Two column caught my eye. Replete with references to Fight Club and hot pants, Mary Buckheit's column is all atwitter over the UFC. She gushes, "Our generation is embracing a new breed of bout .... It's not hype or press conferences or fluff that gives birth to thousands of UFC fans. It's the reality of the whole thing. It's the hard-hitting mix of punching and grappling. It's the blunt competition and simplicity of a one-on-one fight. It's the brutal honesty of a fist, and the frank candor of a knockout. It's something we can wrap our minds around. Finally."

I look forward to her coverage of muay thai. Manly!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

President Macklin, Part Two (Fiction)

(This story is continuing only because Dave Miller was kind enough to express some interest. This is for you, Dave!)

The President was staring woozily at his speech's working title, "Fuck This Shit, Solve Your Own Goddamn Problems: An Act of Political Suicide" when he heard the beep from his desk.

"Do you have the weed, Frank?"

"May I see you in your office, sir?"

"Unless I've cunningly concealed myself beneath the desk, you may. C'mon in."

Macklin set the speech aside and went to straighten his tie, then remembered that he no longer gave a damn. Frank came through the door with a stack of files and plopped them into the overstuffed chair by the Oval Office door. One of Macklin's predecessors had gotten his knob slobbed in that chair, rumor had it. Macklin had never even sat in. He used it as a staging area for paperwork.

Frank was a tall, sandy-haired man with pretentious little spectacles that he wore on the end of his nose, making him look much older than he was. Macklin liked him. Frank had worked for him since Macklin was a rookie representative. It was Frank who'd taught him the ropes. Good assistants are to politicians like good caddies are to golfers, he thought, not for the first time.

Frank pulled a baggie out of his chinos and placed it on the desk. "Here you are, sir. I don't want to know."

"What's there to know? I haven't smoked pot since high school, ok, maybe since college. I just needed the stress relief, you know?"

"Sir, are you intoxicated?"

"No, Frank, I'm drunk. Knee-walkin', bitch-slappin', piss-yourself drunk. And I'm about to be high, too. Did you bring some papers?"

"I..." Frank sighed. "Let me run to my car."

"Good man, Frank. Prepared. Were you a Boy Scout?"

Frank turned at the door and made a face. "They don't like 'my kind' in the Boy Scouts."

"Scout leaders only bugger the straight ones, huh?"

Frank opened his mouth, shut it again. "I'll be right back. Shall I send the non-essential staff home?"

"Jesus Christ, there are still people here? Yes, yes, send them off. It's a special night, Frank."

Macklin turned to the rapidly depleting decanter and thought better of another swallow. He didn't want to pass out, just get good and wasted to work up the courage for what needed to be done. He stoppered the bottle and replaced it on the sideboard, then thought better of it and put it back on his desk. Frank might want some, and Frank was essential to the plan. Hell, once Frank heard the plan, Frank would NEED a drink.

He wrote a few more lines of the speech, then reread what he had written. It was no Gettysburg Address, but so far so good. It was quiet in his office. Depressingly so. A powerful man alone with his thoughts in this quiet office might begin to think very strange things. Macklin shook his head.

"Man, am I trashed. Need some music." In one of her few thoughtful acts, Ol' Sparky had bought him one of those whizzy Bose CD player thingies a few years ago. It was on a shelf, buried beneath stacks of position papers and spreadsheets. He dug it out and was trying to figure out how to work it when Frank returned.

"Make this play music." He stabbed fruitlessly at the little white buttons on the CD player thingie.

"Sir, let me." Frank interceded and soon the office was filled with a honey-voiced tenor singing Schubert.

"That's gay. Sorry, Frank. Got any good CDs?"

"Do you like metal?"

"I like old metal, like Sabbath and Priest and Metallica. I don't like that Cookie Monster stuff."

"I've got just the thing. It's in my desk."

President Macklin wondered briefly about his gay metalhead assistant. He'd known Frank for twelve years, almost as long as he'd known Ol' Sparky, and he'd never known the guy liked heavy music. Live and learn, die and forget it all.

Frank came back with a stack of CDs. "Pick one."

"Are you running a radio station out of your desk? Christ, Frank. Let's see what we have. Marilyn Manson. That's so yesterday. Candiria. Never heard of them. Dillenger Escape Plan. Great name. What do they sound like?"

"A garbage truck running over a pack of dogs. Repeatedly. Very growly."

"OK, maybe later. Aha! Put this in. I like this."

A moment later the opening strains of Megadeth's "Peace Sells, But Who's Buying?" shook the office. Macklin turned it down a bit, picked up the rolling papers Frank had left on the desk. "How do you roll a joint?"

Frank cracked his knuckles. "Shall I do the honors?"

"Be my guest."

(Be sure to tune in for next week's episode, wherein the plot actually advances and we get to the point of the whole thing! Yay!)

Can Bush Google?

Evidently not. Because the answer to the Iran problem is right under our noses.
The idea of a thorium-based nuclear reactor is anything but new -- the idea has been around since the dawn of the Atomic Age. But recent engineering innovations and better mining equipment and techniques make this alternative to a plutonium and uranium reactor cost-effective. Looking more closely, it's also a little accounting legerdemain factored in: the half-life of thorium is only 500 years (compared to 10,000 for some nuclear waste), and it is much less radioactive than uranium waste to begin with, so a significant savings comes when disposal costs are factored in. Plus, where is all this thorium? Turns out that most of it seems to be found in Australia, India, Norway, Canada, and right here at home.

So here we have a safer nuclear technology built on US (and Indian) patents and reliant on raw materials we and our allies produce. Why not offer this to Iran? They can't build missiles out of thorium, they won't have any excuse to stockpile uranium, and they'll have reliable nuclear power of a form that makes economic and environmental sense. Plus, the spent material from a thorium reactor is unsuitable for building nuclear weapons. Ta-da. Apocalypse averted.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I Neglect My Blog

Here's the start of a story. Know me now before The New Yorker makes me famous.

President Hugh C. Macklin closed his eyes, leaned back in his chair, and contemplated political suicide. It felt good. He opened one eye long enough to glance at the clock. If he made the call now, he could be the lead story on the evening news.

"That's the night that the lights went out in Georgia," he sang aloud to the empty Oval Office. "That's the night that they hung an innocent man."

There was a pack of Pall Mall filters in his desk drawer. Macklin toyed with the idea of lighting one, put it aside. His desk bleeped.

"Go ahead," he said automatically, wincing at the interruption.


Macklin sighed. "No, Frank, this is Elvis. What?"

"Line three -- it's Mrs. Macklin."

"Thank you, Frank. Put Ol' Sparky through." No time like the present. When opportunity knocks, and all that. He opened his desk drawer and pawed for the pack of smokes. His desk made a blippety sound and then the voice of his wife blared forth.

"Honey, I'm in Baton Rouge at that thing with those people and I don't think I'll be back in town tonight because the weather's really bad and there's this reception that you KNOW will drag on forever and Curtis and and Nisha think it'd be easier to go directly from here to LA rather than having to fly back home and then leave again in the morning."

Macklin heard in the background a sussurus of conversation and the clink of glasses, then the unmistakeable "pop" that comes only from an inexperienced person opening a bottle of champagne. She was in a restaurant. No, that was being naively charitable. She was in a bar. Baton Rouge is to bars like houses are to termites. He lit the Pall Mall and gratefully sucked down its calming, cancerous smoke.

"Okay. Be safe, and call me when you leave for LA," he said, then realized he'd chickened out. "Oh, and honey? I want a divorce."

"Wh..." He hung up. There were no ashtrays in the Oval Office. He tapped the ash into his hand and wiped it on his suit pants. What the fuck. Step One complete. Step Two required further shoring-up. There was a cut crystal decanter half-full of some exotic decoction on the sideboard. Macklin hadn't touched it in in his two years in office, and he hoped it wasn't some sort of colored water. He opened it and sniffed. Ah. Some sort of brandy or cognac. Armagnac, maybe. He left the stopper on the sideboard and brought the decanter to his desk. When he hefted it to his lips, it rolled down his throat like hot honey. Delicious. A fire lit deep in his belly. He thumpoed the decanter to the desk and watched the amber liquid slosh through the crystal facets. He turned his attention back to his cigarette. The penultimate drag, he thought, exhaling, is always the best. People think it's the first drag, but it's not. It's that next-to-last drag.

He addressed the desk. "Frank?"


"Find me some weed."

I'm sor..." He hung up again. Presidents could do that. Hang up on underlings. Issue orders. Start shit. He had the desk page his appointment secretary. She was away from her desk, so it took a message. Sometimes, even Presidents get voicemail. "Sue -- cancel all my appointments for the afternoon, even the one with whats-her-name from Australia. If they ask, tell them I'm drunk."

He took another slug from the decanter and smiled.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Zombies! And Spelling!

Zombie Letters from e-zombie.com

I'm spellin' with zombies!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hooray Connectivity

Haven't been online in over a week and I'm jonesing like a junkie for a fix. I lap up some higher mathemetics at the Times, and zip over to MetFilter for a little netly nebbishness. Then to the wonderful Arts & Letters Daily where I find I can serendipitously indulge in that easiest and most satisfying of online endeavors, Coulter-bashing.

I love the Internet.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Casual Violations Of Alzheimer's Disease

We're private people.

Except for me, braying my woes about teh Intarweb, my family has always favored discretion over disclosure. This seems to me a perfectly sensible policy and Dr. Phil can go fuck himself, because we all know that too much familial truth is perhaps more unbearable than not enough. Hell, I was a teenager before I discovered my paternal grandfather had sired seven kids and then hied his sorry ass to Texas. I was in my thirties before I knew my mother had had a brief (and, I'm sure, tempestuous and romantic) marriage to a French soldier at the outset of WWII, before she met the man who would father me and be her husband for 52 years. Neither of these facts are particularly relevant to anything other than filling out the parental backstory, so to speak, no matter how much psychologists would like to believe otherwise.

But now it's different. As I daily dig through layers of stuff that Mom has accumulated, I find the kind of personal reminders and notes-to-self that give me an insight on my mother that I never had before. For instance, my Mom has sorted, stacked and tied with string every Sierra Club newsletter she's recieved in the past five years.

Mom has never recycled a can in her life. We brought him an injured baby bird home once, but the cat ate it.

And not just the Sierra Club. The Wilderness Society, the Nature Conservancy, Give Guns To Pandas, you name it. I haven't asked her where this eco-consciousness is coming from, because I fear that the answer is she probably sent one or more of them money and now she's on their sucker list.

And other things. A drawing. A smiling cat sketched on the back of a white paper bag. Broad, sweeping strokes. Beneath the portrait is written "Suki!" in curly girlish letters, the spike of the exclamation point bouncing on a a squat fat heart. I don't know who drew it. Mom didn't remember. Who knows how long it had been there.

And this is the surface. I've just gotten out the whisk broom. Wait'll it's time for the shovels. And Mom feels this, I think, as a violation. An intrusion, a meddling in her affairs. She squawked about me cleaning off the kitchen table today.

But just on that table I saw the sad neglect that comes with a mind newly unraveling. This all happened so fast. Last Christmas she was in my kitchen with my mother-in-law, clucking over the sweet potatoes and telling me I'd put too much salt in the green beans.

Eight months later, she can't remember what she had for lunch five minutes ago and is agitated when I tell her I've already brought the mail in. You're sure? Did you check? I checked. You're sure? Really, I am.

This will only get worse.

I Love Lester Bangs, And I'd Like To Emulate Him, Except For The Dead Part

A reconsideration of the greatest essayist of our age.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Don't Push The Button

See, I told you not to push the button.

Also, Don't Shoot The Puppy.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

We Must Defend Our Search Engines


I write heartfelt posts about life-changing family crises, and no one comments (hyperbole). I criticize ask.com and two snarks appear almost immediately. This is just like MetaFilter.

Teh Intraweb: Land'O'Perspecative.

I presume that I'm being pwned because ask.com actually has a picture of d if you query "d boon" and google does not. How nice for them. Irrelevant. The question wasn't "who is Mike Ness?", it was "how tall is Mike Ness?", a better test of the underlying search heuristics.

The second comment claims that google doesn'tr know who d is. I beg to differ, using the same damn screen.

Assholes. Posting anonymously, of course.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Reason To Love Google

So we're driving home from Weezie's house (Who's Weezie? That, my friend, is privileged information.), and the question arises: how tall is Mike Ness? Rather, how SHORT is Mike Ness? We know he's no giant, because he refers to some height issues in the live Social Distortion CD that's spinning as we drive (referring to fights in the parking lot before shows, he sez something like "Well I was only four foot nine in tenth grade and I kicked the SHIT outta 'em!" thus exhibiting the classic Napoleonic traits of Short Man Syndrome). But how short is short?

And I've been watching this stupid reality show on NBC called "Treasure Hunters" (fuck a corplink) and in a heavy-handed example of product placement the contestants are always saying things like, "Let's try 'Ask.com'!"

I figure "how tall is Mike Ness?" would be a great test of their search algorith. So we get home, I fire up Ol' Sparky, and I type "how tall is mike ness" into ask.com's search box. I get this. No help.

I go to Google. I type "mike ness height" and I get this. Bam! I don't even need to click through. He's 5'7", surely a candidate for Short Man Syndrome. Theory confirmed. Elapsed search time: seconds.

Then I figure, well, that's not really fair to ask.com since I refined my search term before googling it. So just for shits and giggles, I try "mike ness height" at ask.com, resulting in this.

See why Google rules? That's just BETTER.

Driving Miss Crazy

So I've figured out what Mom likes to do: ride in the car.

As long as we're in motion, she's engaged. She reads the road signs, the bumper stickers, signage on shopping malls. Every few minutes she asks, "Where are we going?" and I tell her (lunch, the doctor, Sam's Club for toilet paper and cat food, Mars, Cambodia, it really doesn't seem to matter what I say). "Oh," she responds, "That sounds nice."

And for the duration of the drive she is happy.

So I've taken to going the long way 'round. Extending every drive to its maximum, even inventing destinations so we can drive more.

"Let's drive by the movie theater and see what's playing," I suggest.

"Oh! I've never seen a movie!" Mom beams in anticipation.

Hmm. I know for a fact that Dad and I went to see a Charlie Brown movie (the Great Pumpkin?) while Mom went to "A Clockwork Orange", but I say nothing. I also remember rapturous retellings of "Gone With The Wind" that she went to at the Alabama Theatre. I briefly reflect on the fact that the last movie I saw with my Mom was when she took me and a bunch of my friends to the Alabama Theatre to see the 1976 "King Kong" and Michael Rasberry bought Ju-ju-bees and Mom thought it was strange that the boy didn't buy chocolate and popcorn like a good right-thinking American. Now there's nothing at the suburban gargantu-plex that catches her eye, and there's not even anything I want to see. We were hoping for "A Prairie Home Companion" but it's nowhere near our end of town.

We drive away and do our shopping. Back at the house, Mom is irritable. "The heat! It got to me. I'm going to sit in front of the fan." I unload the TP and paper towels and sundries. I marvel again at the power of the warehouse store: 72 rolls of toilet paper, divided among three people, for only $15.00. That's 4.8 rolls per person, and how long would it take me to go through a whole roll? I was assigned one in jail, guarded it zealously, even slept on it, and still there was plenty left at the end of my thirty-day sentence. Of course, the whole shitting-in-public thing kinda weirded my bowels, but still.... So one roll for one persom for one month. That's a TWO-YEAR supply for our little threesome, for only $15.00!

Of course, I also bought a box of frozen White Castle cheeseburgers, a month's supply of Glucophage and Pravochol, enough paper towels to cover a sizeable portion of Alabama's navigable waterways, and an ant trap.

(I applaud the young woman at the pharmacy who gamefully volunteered to check us out and then demonstrated her competence with one of those cord-free barcode scanners. She was a real time-saver.)

"I have to go home. There's raw chicken in the trunk and it's 100 degrees out here."

"I don't want you to leave," Mom said.

"I know, but I'm getting all my shit packed to move back in with you, and the sooner I get that done, the sooner I'll be here," I say.

Mom smiles.

And that's really all I can ask for.

Best Mel Gibson Headline So Far

Excuse the bandwagon-jumping, but this made me giggle.

From Defamer.com: "Hollywood's Power Jews Pause From War Planning To React To Mel"

Now THAT'S funny.

Friday, July 28, 2006

When In Doubt, Blog About Sports

NFL training camps started this week, so I checked in with my Birds to see how it's going. I find some guy named Mo who has a blog. He manages to blog every single minute of his day and say absolutely nothing. I can achieve this by blogging weekly, ands with much less expenditure of time and effort. The Falcons look...well, better this year. Roddy White is going to be a great wide receivcer. Maybe if I say that enough it'll come true. Vick will learn to plant his feet. Vick will learn to plant his feet.

The offense might be suspect, hinging on the mercurial Vick, an aging (but brilliant) one-cut-and-go running back in Warrick Dunn, and the recuperating Crumpler and Duckett; but the defense will be good, maybe better than good. The addition of Lawyer Milloy in the backfield and John Abraham on the line is huge. Funny, though -- they couldn't stop the run last year so the strategy this year is to dare teams to run at them? Hmm. Just win ten games, guys. That's all I ask. Win ten games and get a wild-card spot.

In other NFL news, this sucks, whether you give a damn about the Browns or not.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I Sleep Late, Yet Get Shit Done

Mom and I met today with LB and I'm feeling somewhat reassured. We tied up loose ends re living wills and POAs, and I noted with naive satisfaction that the accompanying files, most of which we never touched, made a pleasingly thick two-foot stack on the conference table. It's been my experience that the more burdened with files an attorney is, the better your representation. Ever been standing before a judge when your court-appointed schnook comes flying in late, holding a blank legal pad and a ballpoint pen? I have. That's a bad feeling.

Mom was in a sunny mood despite the sweltering heat. She ate all of her hamburger and stole half my fries at lunch. I saw her sneak a splash of sweet tea into her iced tea on the way out the door, but I figured she's taken her meds for the day and I've combed her house for sugary snackitude, so I let her pull one over on me. Sometimes it does a body good to feel like you're getting away with something. I hadn't intended to dine chez Ronald, but we got a late start and I wasn't exactly sure where LB's office was, so I wanted to allow enough time to get lost in the wilds of the Tiny Kingdom. Homewood, actually. Then I drove right to it and we were twenty minutes early. Oh well. On the way, we passed a sign directing people to The Islamic Academy of Alabama, which I didn't even know existed.

So I pick up a copy of US News & World Report as we settle in to wait and I see this article, positing a link between Alzheimer's disease and diabetes. Interesting. Everything is connected.

Now I've got to start packing this house, a dreadful prospect that brings out the packrat AND the neatnik in me so I agonize over throwing everything away versus saving and labeling it all in logically organized boxes; this leads to the worst of all comprimises, where I just start stuffing shit randomly into whichever box will hold it and then hope to sort it all out later, which of course never gets done and leads to an attic piled with dusty boxes marked "Books and Skillets" or "Bathroom and Patio" while downstairs I spend a vexing week looking for my favorite spatula before giving up and buying another one.

Of course, I have the luxury of not really having a timetable, and I can take the time to do it right. In fact I'm blessed in many ways. We have an attorney, long-term care insurance, a house that's paid for, and enough residual income to keep the lights on and the phone bill paid. Things could be a whole hell of a lot worse.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Until Inconvenience Do Us Part

I think I'm about to be single. Or, at least "separated". Lady declines to join me when we hafta move back into Mom's house.

"I can't be a nursemaid, and I can't bear her times ten following me around and digging through my stuff," she sez.

Overwhelmed by her empathy and compassion, as well as her can-do spirit and commitment to our almost 13-year-old marriage, I say little. Inside, I fume.

I could write a caustic diatribe on how this is a betrayal on every significant level, but I won't. I won't point out that when she was diagnosed with MS I took it in stride. I won't mention that in one of his last acts on this earth my dad had a wheelchair ramp built around the side of the house for her, anticipating the day that the house would be ours. I won't point out that Mom made the down payment on our nice little condo as a late wedding gift. I won't point out how fucked-up and selfish it is to abandon the person you ostensibly love right when things get tough.

I love her more than I've ever loved anyone. (Not true. I loved Laura Billings more, but she's dead, by all accounts. Lupus. I have a knack for picking the afflicted, I guess.) But still, I love my wife deeply and sincerely, but this pronouncement makes me question everything. Maybe she's off her meds. Maybe she's just on the rag. How sexist is that? Yeah, well.

I was implicitly counting on her help. I need her. For her hands and back and brain, sure, but also for her delight in the Simpsons, her love of the New York Dolls, the smell of her hair. For the way she makes the best coffee on earth. Her unerring ability to locate anything I've misplaced, a trait we attribute to "the homing uterus". For 13 years of in-jokes and do-you-remembers.

At the moment, I'm kinda numb. In a way, I feel liberated. Unfettered. But I also feel very, very alone. I've become accustomed to being half of a dyad, and this is going to take some getting used to.

I love her. I wish her the best. But without her, I'll be better able to make snap decisinos, to suffer minor indignities, and to grit my teeth and push on through.

So I tell myself.

Roald Dahl Puts It In Perspective

The life of a writer is absolute hell compared with the life of a businessman. The writer has to force himself to go to work…. Two hours of writing fiction leaves this particular writer absolutely drained. For those two hours he has been miles away, he has been somewhere else, in a different place with totally different people, and the effort of swimming back into normal surroundings is very great. It is almost a shock. The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. He wants a drink. He needs it. It happens to be a fact that nearly every writer of fiction in the world drinks more whisky than is good for him. He does it to give himself faith, hope, and courage. A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom.

Not that I'm a writer or anything. But it's cool to think about being one.


I spent more than one hundred hours playing The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.

This guy beats it in under ten minutes, no cheats used.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Grumble Grumble Grumble

Bush's decision to veto the stem cell bill is politcal hypocrisy of the rankest sort, distasteful and amoral in every way. Thousands of frozen embryos are destroyed every year by fertility clinics. Each one of those embryos is a source of human stem cells. Either mandate that fertility clincs keep their frozen embryos in perpetuity, the morally rigorous position (and the end of fertility treatment); or, since you've already allowed the sixteen extant stem cell lines already propagated to continue, admit that the use of these embryonic cells for medical research is the right thing to do.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hey, I Know, Now I'll Lose My Job

Fuck 'em.

I can make more oney grubbing for aluminum cans on the side of the road, if it comes to that. Fuck 'em, fuck 'em, fuck 'em. I just can't deal with that clusterfuck for one more minute. Took yesterday off with an eye infection and was told I needed a doctor's excuse to return to work. Sure. Can I afford to go to a doctor without health insurance? I don't think so. So.....fuck 'em.

In other news: townhouse for sale by owner, great location, 3 BR, 2.5 BA. Close to schools, churches, shopping, and interstate. Quiet community, great nieghbors. Priced to sell! Owners must go!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

"I Think I'm Going Crazy"

My Mom has Alzheimer's disease.

We found out two weeks ago. I was at work and I got a call from my wife. She said, "Call your Mom. She's acting funny, and it kinda scared me." So I called Mom (hey, look, I used the work phone to make a personal call. Fire me, asshats!) and asked her what was up. She said, "I was going to the store and I backed out of the gararge and then I couldn't figure out how to close the garage door. I think I'm going crazy." I asked her if she lost the remote. She acted like she'd never heard of a remote control. She was concerned that if she got out to close the garage door, then she'd be locked in the garage and the car would be running on the other side of the door. Without stopping to unravel the knot of irrationality contained in THAT statement, I told her to leave the car where it was, go in the house, and I'd be right over. When I got there she was flustered and upset. I calmed her down and put the car away (and took her car keys). I asked if she'd been taking her medicine, and again she looked at me like I was speaking Chinese. "I'm not on any medicine," she snapped, somewhat affronted by the suggestion. I went to the cabinet and looked at her meds. It looked like she'd been ignoring them for days, if not weeks.

We scheduled a doctor's appointment for the next morning, and he took one look at her and put her in the hospital. She stayed three or four days, and came out feeling better, with her blood pressure under control and her blood sugar regulated. A CAT scan showed moderate brain atrophy consistent with senile dementia.

The doctor asked her questions. "Who's the President?" She didn't know. "What year is it?" No clue. Now, my mom reads ten newsmagazines a week, is glued to CNN, and last year could probably have told you the name of the assistant undersecretary of the Department of the Interior. She follows politics like I follow the NFL; that is to say, closely.

I felt ice water drip down my spine when I watched my mother struggle to come up with the name of the president she loathes above all other politicians and then fail. She knew something was wrong. But she didn't know why, or how, or what to do. She looked frail, and scared, and vulnerable. It was wrenching. I wanted to cry. I wanted to hug her and make everything better. I wanted to run screaming from the room.

A trip back to the doctor this week confirmed the diagnosis. After the appointment, I took her out to lunch. The hospital is in a part of town near where she grew up, and my friend Adam recently bought a restuarant nearby that is famous for its fresh vegetables and home-made pies. On the trip there, Mom wold look out the window and say things like, "My first boyfriend lived down that street. He rode a motorcycle and my daddy thought he was dangerous. He died in the war."

"That's the church where your uncle got married. The first time. He doesn't talk about her. It was a pretty wedding, even though it rained. They had the reception at the Elk's Lodge. Can you imagine?"

"The trolley ran through here. You could ride it to downtown for a nickel."

"Don't turn left here. If you go up one block, you can turn on a one-way street that takes us right where we're headed."

Perfectly normal, even knowledgeable. Then she'd ask, "Did we already go to the doctor?"

At lunch, Mom demonstrated that her appetite is as yet untouched. She cleaned her plate (fried snapper, squash casserole, green beans)and hungrily eyed my roast beef until I gave her some. We ate well (though we skipped the pie: Adam, I'm coming back for a piece of lemon ice-box when I don't have a diabetic with me).

Then we went shopping for those items that are perpetually on the list: cat food, kibble, and litter. At the big-box warehouse store where we go to buy cat food by the metric ton, we lined up to wait in line to check out and Mom suddenly becomes agitated. "I lost my car keys! Where are the car keys?" I showed her that I had the keys, reassured her that the car was OK, that I was driving today, and that everything was all right. Then, as I loaded our cart (home delivery of cat food and litter would make someone a lot of money, I think), Mom paid. Twice.

Or, she tried to. The nice woman at the checkout, a zaftig, smiling, round-cheeked young lady with beautiful mocha skin that a supermodel would kill for, looked at me quizzically. I took back the second credit card and put it in Mom's wallet. Mom sighed. "I guess I shouldn't go shopping alone from now on," she said sadly. She looked at me with such unconprehending despair that I think I died a little bit.

"It's OK, Mom. I'm here to take care of you." I tried to smile, but it felt like a rictus and I'm sure it looked as false as it felt. I took her home, got her settled, gave her her meds, came home, told Lady she had the helm, and drank myself insensate. (OK, five beers

So now wheels are in motion. Doctors and lawyers and insurance agents squawking like carrion birds over a still-twitching roadkill. I shouldn't say that. I'm going to depend a lot on these high-dollar professionals in the coming months and years. But as someone who's always believed that the least trustworthy individual on the planet is a white man in a suit, I have a sinking suspicion I'm about to live out my worst nightmare.

Gee, BOP, sucks for you -- but how about your MOM?! How about HER living out HER worst nightmare? This woman watched her sister descend into abject dementia. She saw her little sister go through what she's now facing, and she saw that it was sad and ugly and undignified and protracted and hellish. What's THAT gotta be like?

And when I'm speaking and my words get tangled up or I forget my point before I get to it or I momentarily blank on a name I've known for ages, what's that? Is it the normal blips of aging and wear-and-tear, or is it something much more sinister tapping me on the shoulder and daring me to turn and face it?

My mother met her sister's death with remarkable equanimity. She had been fading for years and the end, Mom felt, was a blessing for her and her family. Mom had already said goodbye, though she continued to visit her and check in and do all that, she knew her sister was essentially gone long before her physical shell gave out. At least that's how she acted. My family reserves the melodrama for inconsequential tiffs, and meets the important stuff head-on with stoic shrugs and determination.

In a very important way, she's provided me a template.

I hope.

I think my blog has a new topic.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Proof Of The Imminent Apocalypse

Read my book! But first, "The Dance Of Love"! Hit it, boys...

The Sports Draught

Gone. All gone.

And Wimbledon doesn't count.

We have reached the nadir of the sports broadcasting cycle. ESPN has nothing better to show during the day than bowling. Sure, I can watch the rest of the World Cup and pull for Italy (and Ghana! as Jon Stewart said, "not the most malnourished country in southwestern Africa."). And there's maybe one major league lacrosse game somewhere on some channel at least once a week, if I'm lucky enough to find it.

And then there's baseball. It's June. Who gives a damn until September and the Braves suck this year anyway. I like Ozzie Guillen, though, and I like him even more for calling Jay Mariotti a fag. "Pompous, bloated toad" might have been more appropriate and less offensive, but I can't quibble with the sentiment.

And after watching Esera Tuaolo tonight on Big Idea with Whatshisname I thought, you know, if gay men in pro sports want to be able to come out to their teammates, they're going to have to win a few locker romm fistfights in the process, and wearing a lime green shirt and whining about acceptance won't get them there. A lot of noses, mostly black ones, but a few white ones, too, got bloodied during the Civil Rights movement, so I think these guys have to be willing to pick a few fights. I mean, Tuaolo played fucking nose tackle. I'm sure during his nine-year career, playing on one NFC Championship team, he had occassion to hear some 5'10" 175-lb cornerback crack a gay joke. Then he should have kicked the guy's ass and said, "You just got beat up by a fag. How's that feel?"

Strength respects strength, and two weeks later they'll all be singing Kumbaya and Tualo will STILL be enduring gay jokes, but they'll be told much, much more respectfully.

That wasn't even what I wanted to blog about but now the connection, she flickers.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

On Clothes

Aesthetic decisions rise from the urge to individuate.

One of the first such impulses I remember having happened to me in the Skee-Ball pavilion at Six Flags Over Georgia in 1977, when I was eleven. I'm still confident in my Skee-Ball skillz, but at eleven I was untouchable. I had accumulated an unweildy pile of tickets, and I was intent on winning a CB radio, but Mom and Dad came to collect us and I had to cash in my tickets. At the booth, a T-shirt caught my eye. It was canary yellow, and had one of those heavy puffy sparkly rubbery 70s iron-on decals on the front that had a picture of a Basil-Wolverton-style green-furred, popeyed drooling monstrosity motoring down the road in a Corvette convertible. Swooshing around the beast were the words, "Corvette: Wrap Your Ass In Fiberglas". I fell in love with it. I had enough tickets. It would be mine. I pointed and handed over the tickets.
"Oh no. Pick something else." Mom.
"Why?" Me.
"It's ugly. You don't want to waste your winnings on that ugly shirt."
Then I made my first aesthetic individuating announcement. "It's not ugly. It's cool."
"It's not polite. You can't wear it outside."
"Can I wear it home?" God, what a wuss I was! I'd already CONCEDED the terms of use!
A sigh, an eyebrow.
"It's because it says ay ess ess, right?"
"Right. That's just dumb. You don't want a dumb, ugly shirt."
Aha. Her mistake. She'd already conceded possession of thew shirt, and had moved on to terms of use. I pressed the issue.
"You let me buy those Car-toons magazines with all the monsters in it and stuff." This was true. (It was also true that my parents had a handsome Al Capp volume that featured Basil Wolverton's contest-winning drawing of Lena the Hyena, perhaps explaining their tolerance of the work of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, but I didn't put all that together until years later.)

Connection flickers. I'll post now.

Anyway, I got to keep the shirt, I only wore it at home, my friend Wallace laughewd at me when he saw me in it and I don't think I ever wore it again.

But I still rule at Skee-Ball, and there are many ugly things I find quite beautiful.

Friday, June 02, 2006

A Miracle Signal

I am not dead or imprisoned, merely Internet-impaired and inconstant.

Here's a tad of what got written but not posted in the past weeks (a month), and I've yet to check my e-mail. I shudder to think of it. The perfunctory followed by the increasingly indignant.

Mormons That Make Even Mormoms Look Sane

Why is Warren Jeffs an obsession of CNN yet the Reverend Moon is not? Oh yeah, I forgot. But CNN is painting this as an imminent Waco-type debacle. At least Anderson Cooper is. OK, so keeping women and children as chattel is reprehensible and the Welfare fraud is mind-boggling, but it poses an interesting question: how far are we willing to go to preserve "religious freedom"? Where is the intersection of God's law and man's? Polygamy is a fascinating issue, because it has both political parties bending themselves into pretzels to accomodate their distaste. Liberals are left arguing that these poor women are brainwashed and coerced, not exactly a ringing endorsement of gender equality.



I'm off to check e-mail.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Im writing this from the bar terminal at work. I have no net access at home. Its like losing a limb or something -- I feel so incomplete. I'll get fired for this if caught, plus the touchscreen keyboard is a pain in the ass, so I'll end here. Much more later when I get the laptop to a WiFi hotspot...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Pain In The Ass

Yes, all those commas and periods were COPY AND PASTE motherfucker so kiss my ass.

Random Lists

I read McSweeney's because I know that the best writing of my generation is coming from the school of metaliterary snarkiness best exemplified by that bashful bunch. Who better to diagnose and treat our ill age than painfully self-conscious writers whose IQ is equalled only by their preciousness?

OK, it's just sour grapes: they wouldn't publish my list which was "Words I've Never Encountered While Working A New York Times Crossword Puzzle" The sole entry was: "1. Cunt". For some reason that wasn't worth publishing. Even in light of the "scumbag" mini-scandal, which all crossword afficianados already know about (for everyone else, just google it, I really don't want to take the time to explain).

So, as McSweeneys won't have me, I'll have them. I propose to present lists that are antithetical to those chosen by the rosy-cheeked editorial staff of McSweeneys. Here we go:
OK I submit More about Chuck and stuff tomrrow

Friday, May 12, 2006

Chuck Blythe Has Left The Building

When I moved back to Birmingham around 1990 I took an apartment in Southside (1414 15th Avenue South to be exact) with my girlfriend Anita Our building had four units and faced a dilapidated little house shaded by a dead willow tree Chuck Blythe lived there Chuck had stapled painted paper plates to every inch of the walls Every horizontal surface was covered was littered with bits of wire bolts nuts and assorted electronic detritus Chuck taught electronics but wanted to be an artist He was a great neighbor to have for a late night insomniac like me I'd be awake at three AM and I'd make a pot of coffee and take it across the street Chuck was always awake I don't know when he slept but he was always up for coffee and a little conversation Chuck was a cosmic Christian He was convinced that the End Times were upon us and he had sketched out elaborate plans for a compound in the woods from which I suppose we could either greet Jesus or fight off the barbarian hordes depending on which side of the pre- or post-millenialist fence you chose to straddle

Many of Chuck's scultures were small semingly slapped-together figures made of circuit boards and transistors and copper wire Some were crucifixes Some were of his cat Sophie a grey and white ghost who would disappear from Chuck's lap like a puff of sweet smoke when anyone knocked on the door and spend the duration of the visit glaring at the intruder from beneath the couch One day Chuck handed me a gleaming assembly of nuts and bolts formed into two interlocked hands and spray-painted gold "Guess what it's called" he asked and I said "One hand washes the other?" and he smiled triumphantly and said "Midas' Last Touch"

I wish that I'd bought it

Chuck died this week

I don't know the details Dan called while I was at work and Lady took the message I'll know more tomorrow

Ironic that I have no periods or commas as I write this post There's no pausing there's no stopping it's just on and on until the end

Bye Chuck You were a pearl

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Long Time No Blog

My computer and I seem to have fallen ill at the same time -- In my case it's a strained back muscle that has me down for the count and as for the laptop it seems like the period and comma keys have stopped working so I can't end a sentence properly or even write HTML since the less-than greater-than keys are right there -- Dammit! I know! I'll end every sentence with an exclamation point! That works great!

I seem to have fucked up my back in a major way -- it hurts constantly and the muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories the doc put me on just make me weak and woozy; I've spent the past few days groaning on the couch and actually going to see a doctor so you know it's bad!

More later as I recover!


Saturday, May 06, 2006

I Think I'll Stalk Emmylou Harris

If there's no hell, what is this sun for? How can it be that I've been everything from Gram Parsons' Muse to Ryan Adams' Certainty? Why is it that I show up on every country record that has brains, but none of then that have balls? Why do people still offer me burritos? Why am I so fucking beautiful?

Let's Impeach The President

Neil Young rocks granite fucking balls. The link streams the whole record. The way it should be. Fuck you, hippy. You can't have him. I hereby claim him for punk, and I've got 25 years of work to cite, and you have merely ten. So fuck off, hippy. Live Rust, motherfucker.

Ask Me Gets Personal

From AskMetafilter:
How to cope with an angry mate
May 5, 2006 10:38 PM
Does anyone have any insight into living/coping with a mate who has unpredictable angry outbursts and a mean streak? Not a first marriage for either of us. . . 3 kids that are mine(2) and ours(1). Thought he was my long-awaited dream come true.

Our relationship seems to have devolved over the past year as financial stress has increased; we've been together for 18 months. He never, to my knowledge, has lied to me, but there were money issues from his past that he didn't tell me about. I put my name (and my good credit) on a mortgage. . . long story short, the house was lost, my credit blemished and he has been unemployed for 6 months. I am very angry with both him and myself. When we argue -- or even just try to discuss something seemingly safe -- he can suddenly reach a point where he doesn't seem to be hearing my words any longer and he gets mean, derisive, verbally abusive. He does have depression, has for years, and he takes a high dose (200 mg) of Zoloft. We have been in counseling, but I don't feel that it's making a big difference. My own feelings of self-confidence and self-worth have plummetted. I have been trying very hard to make this relationship work, more and more for the reason that I don't want to put my older kids through any more trauma than necessary. I do love my husband and, lest I make him sound like a beast, he is highly intelligent, fairly insightful, usually thoughful and very frustrated about not being able to land a job. Could his depression explain his Jekyll & Hyde behavior? Does anyone out there live with a mate who's got characteristics like this? Any advice?
posted by anonymous to human relations (9 comments total) [!][↑] No other comments.

I'm one of those guys like Alvy. [Read alvy's comment at ask.metafilter, above] I tend to internalize my anger and choke it back until I erupt on the people I love. (Usually, ok, invariably, my irrational rage is directed toward my wife of thirteen years.)

I have felt the same frustrations that your husband feels. I feel many of them today. I've just gone through a rough patch with my wife, and I'm happy to say we've come out stronger and better. At least we listen to each now, which is huge.

Before, I would rant and scream and get red in the face and my wife would coolly turn away and not acknowledge me and it made me batshit crazy. Later, she would fume and pout and throw stuff and I would play it off, thinking tit for tat.

We both realized that we were playing into each others' pathologies. Her script (you know, the "how-families-behave" script that you have in your head by the time you are ten) read that Dad drinks and yells, Mom covers and fluffs. Much older siblings provide role models. So her reaction to my bad behavior was to compensate by being superresponsible and attentive. But she hated me when I got like that, so she had to walk away. My script, however, says that everyone yells and points, all sulk, truce is called, things are hashed out. I'm an only, and everyone exists for my amusement. So my reaction to her bad behavior to was to play mind games and reestablish the status I'd previously held before losing my shit the last time.

Actually talking thorugh all this with my wife took:
a) appropriate herbal supplements
b) dinner at a nice restaurant
c) enough alcohol to prime the pump, not enough to drench it
d) pointlessly epic argument when we got home followed by sweet sweet love
e) learning to enjoy grudge fucking. It's really helped my marriage.

Let me clarify (but that was really cathartic to write, thanks for asking). Let's say you wake up in the middle of the night. Outside, a car and driver and moving vans with crews of movers are waiting silently. Your husband is sound asleep, and you know he will sleep soundly for hours yet. The driver of your car has all the papers you need to make the divorce legit and final and fair. All you have to do is sign them, amending them as you see fit. You have your pick of places to live, and your housing is guaranteed. You will never see your husband again on any occasion not of your own choosing.

Is this an opportunity, or a temptation?

If it's a temptation, keep him and take the good advice offered above. If he's a smart guy with a good heart, he'll shape up. If it's an opportunity, then your heart and your head are telling you to go, and all that remains is surmounting the very real difficulties of sorting out a marriage in court.

Loving him unconditionally won't make him a better husband. It may make you a better wife. But it won't make him the man you're supposed to love unconditionally. Discovering the capacity in oneself for unconditional love is revelatory and crippling. It's supposed to be that way.

Also, if he's a reasonably intelligent person who's out of work, I can find him a job waiting tables tomorrow. He'll bring home anywhere from $50-$100 a day.

Eat At The Bar

You want quick, attentive service; action; and laughs galore?

Eat at the bar.

Your favorite restaurant is on a twenty-minute wait and you're starving?

Eat at the bar.

It's Friday night, the place is packed, you were lucky to find seats at the bar and you're clutching the Talisman of Hostessness as if it were a holy relic.

Eat at the bar.

You'll have more fun. There will be more for you and your date to talk about. Having that final discussion before the divorce? Get a table. Having dinner and drinks before going over to that guy's house, you know the guy who has the killer hydro bud?

Eat at the bar.

Had it with your date, and want to expose his flaws to all mankind?

Eat at the bar.

See, bars bring out the best and worst in mankind. It's where we're at our most generous and our least defensive. It's also where we can be at our most combative and least rational. So take your date to the bar. Find out sumpin. Enjoy yourselves.

Remember, the service is better, and there's more going on.

Eat at the bar.

I need your $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Southern Greek Hot Dogs

This link about hot dogs led me to this link about Greek culinary culture in Birmingham. I'm proud to say that I've eaten in all of these restaurants many times (and worked in one). They omitted Nabeel's in Homewood, and given time I can probably come up with others. Oh yeah, like John's downtown, which has changed hands but was founded, I believe, by a Hontzas.

And I'll take a Pete's Famous over a Gus' any day.

Magical Trevor

I wanted these links in a handy place, as I can't get the jingle out of my head and the only way to make it stop is to watch the cartoon again. Funny flash webtoons parts One, Two, and Three.

And don't forget Weebl and Bob. They like pie.

Rhapsody Doesn't Understand Me

So I'm streaming the great Dillinger Four record Versus God and I notice that Rhapsody wants to suggest some tunes. OK. I scroll down. Huh? "Seal Uncut", Seal; "Rocket To Russia, Ramones (Check. Got it already. In my heart. Forever.); "Number Ones", Michael Jackson. Huh? I never even bought "Thriller"! And to top off the absurdist disconnect, "Jupiter's Darling" by Heart and "Maximum Backstreet Boys" by guess who. WTF? And when I look back it has changed. Now it's recommending "One Track Mind" by Eric Clapton.

The last stuff I streamed off of Rhapsody was: Opeth, a black metal band; Drive-By Truckers, country guitar apocalypse; and Morrissey's cover of "Moon River".

Rhapsody, your heuristics need serious attention.

I Have Seen The Future, And P.T. Barnum Would Have Been Delighted

Dude is making 12 large a month selling virtual real estate and collecting virtual tariffs on his imaginary space station. Why am I not doing this for a living? OK, let's say his business drops off 75% (it's a volatile market, right?). So now he's only making three grand a month. Holy fucking shit.

I just realized what I want to do with my life.

Let's see: I want to avoid the real world completely. Check. I want to have enough money to not have to worry about money. Check. I want to play videogames. Check. I want to be clever and noticed for it. Check.


What kinda computer does it take to run Entropia?


On second thought, there's this dissuasive analysis on Terra Nova.

Lobster Boy At The Stop-And-Rob

My beloved Alice has left the Stop-and-Rob, and I miss her. She always greeted me with a smile, she happily flirted with me when I was tired and grumpy from a rough night at work, and she taught me how to say hello in Swahili (I don't know how to spell it, but it sounds like, "Jambo!").

Her replacement is also African, and though I'm no judge of accents, I'd guess he's Kenyan, too. His stature is akin to Manute Bol: the guy has to be at least 6'6", and when he turns sideways he disappears. Dude is skinny. And he has interesting hands.

Remember Lobster Boy? No, not that Lobster Boy. The circus freak with the claw hands. This guy:

Well, the new guy at the Stop-and-Rob has hands like that, except he's so tall and skinny that his fingers seem like they are a foot long and he has vestigial (or maybe not, maybe they're functional) thumbs that project from one side of the fused digits. I'm fascinated by his hands. It's not like he's disabled: it's like he's got a different and in some ways better set of fine-motion manipulators than the rest of us. He has fewer digits, but the digits he does have look like they could crush rocks.

Imagine this. Make the Spock "live long and prosper" sign. Now bring your thumb next to your index finger, and imagine that those three digits are fused together as one. One big bone, one enormous tendon and bundle of muscle. Now see the vee? Carve that back to the middle of your palm. Fuse the ring and pinkie fingers together, and add accordingly big tendons and muscles. With your hand sliced so neatly down the middle, you'd be able to place the thumbdigit and the pinkiedigit face-to-face, and you'd have the strength of your whole hand to clamp down. That's some grip.

And his hands aren't exactly like Lobster Boy's were. This guy has that thumb thing working for him, too. And his digits are so long that he can prbably touch his own wrist with the tip of his finger. Imagine that.

No point to this, but I thought it was cool and bloggable(TM, patent pending, copyright controlled) so I thought instead of writing about politics or whining about work I'd do this instead.

Next time I see him, I'm going to ask if he knows Alice. Oh, Alice! My world is emptier without you in it!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Black Rabbit: Dill Hole

My methods of bullying people into listening to the Miutemen are paying off. Double Nickels On The Dime. Listen to it. I hate sounding like such a fucking hippie.

How To Celebrate 6/6/06

Why, it's the National Day of Slayer, of course!

The best thing about it is that it's sponsored by a non-profit corporation in the state of Wyoming.

Libertarians Like Titties

Here's proof!

I like titties....therefore, I am a Libertarian!*

*Not True, but damn close.

On another topic, I found an Alabama-based porn site! Support your local smut merchants! (Actually, it was this guy's posts to MetaFilter that led me to the lovely Loretta in the first place.

Who does NOT, by the way, need anyone writing for her. This:
All's fair in love, war and politics, says Nall. "I had to go one of two ways -- don a burqa so that maybe people like Bob Ingram will be willing to talk about my actual platform instead of my anatomy, or go with the flow and use dismissive attacks to my advantage. I don't back down easily. This is, if you'll pardon the expression, tit for tat."
...is simply priceless.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Stephen Colbert Speaks Truth To Power

I'm sure that my three well-read regulars have now seen for themselves the clips (1, 2, 3) of Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. His performance has been panned, praised, and ignored. So, yeah, I'm jumping in late with the 59,781st blog post about it.

Two things strike me. One, isn't it sad that we're all so gobsmacked when someone actually speaks truth to power; and two, Colbert scorched the media, too, and they're certainly not talking that up.

Do they think I don't have C-SPAN and teh intrewebs?

Bravo, Stephen Colbert. Now watch your back.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

This Is The Coolest Wrapping Paper Ever

Happy Fucking Whatever!

Welcome To The Suburbs, We've Got Fun And Games

I have it on good authority that a right-wing ideologue may be attempting to infiltrate my neighborhood. More on this alarming development as it progresses.

Blake, dude, you need an editor! The site looks great. Very clean. (Though shit that HAS AN ARROW POINTING TO IT should be clickable, because that's how we're all conditioned. I know it's brand spankin' new and you've got a lot on your plate and all but really...) And the copy needs help. Big-time. Feel free to cut-and paste.
Do you have a website, has your site not been updated in months or years. The Internet is one of the greatest resources that your business or ministry can have. Blakehelms.net is commited to giving you an attractive, functional and affordable website. We specialize in the DotNetNuke content management system and can customize it for your needs. Send us an email and see what blakehelms.net can do for you.
...should read:
Blakehelms.net is committed to bringing affordable, attractive, and functional web design to ministries and businesses everywhere. We use the DotNetNuke content management system to create customized websites that make our customers a lively part of the evolving conversational economy of the Internet.
OK, I used the word "evolving" just to piss you off. But "conversatioinal economy" is a mental hook, because folks will wonder, "what does that mean? I kind of get it, but..." and then you'll have created SPACE IN THEIR HEAD, and that translates into work=$$$. Let's continue.

About Us
Blakehelms.net offers quality web design using the latest in technologies and software. We can help you realize your dream of a quality web presence. We also offer graphics design and can help you create letterhead, advertising material and any other graphics design needs. We also offer computer services in the Birmingham, Alabama area. Click the contact link on the left to get in
formation on your specific needs.

...should read:
For the latest in web design and graphic design, choose blakehelms.net. If you're in Birmingham, AL, we also provide a wide range of on-site computer services! Your side of the conversation starts at blakehelms.net.
See where I'm going with this? And so forth:

Blakehelms.net is a new company specializing in computer media and web design services. We aim to create an attractive functional presence on the internet.A few of the services we provide are:

* ASP.NET Development: Using the new 2.0 framework we can build sites that are very functional, easy to update and maintain and can interface with existing database to ensure a seamless workflow.
* Content Managment: using the popular DotNetNuke custom managment system your website will never have been so easy to update.
* Shopping Cart Intergration: Why lose sales because you can't buy online. Turn you site into a twenty-four hour sales-force.
* For Ministries: blakehelms.net was founded on helping church ministries fuel their message through the power of media and technology. Don't fall into the age old stereotype of bad church web design let us give you a new online presence.

We have also partnered with M6.net to offer reliable quality website hosting.
should be more like:
blakehelms.net gives your ministry or business an attractive, functional, and securely-hosted website that integrates the Internet into the fabric of your firm.
OK, I got carried away. Let's try again.
blakehelms.net offers your ministry or business an attractive, functional, and affordable suite of computer media and web design services. We use ASP.NET and DotNetNuke to make sites that are elegant and easy to use -- for you and your customers. With our partner, M6.net, we offer secure, reliable and responsive web hosting. We were founded on providing great websites for ministires, and we continue to excel at bringing a lively online presence to churches everywhere.
And where did you crib your privacy statement from? I want one of those.

Buy the townhouse. You'll like it.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Free, At Least; Free At Least, Thank The Courts I'm Free, At Least

I'm THROUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I secured completion certificates from the CRO today, meaning I'm through with this shit, and I have to wait another two weeks or so to present the documents to the judge. Hooray! Everyone, spark one up for me! As soon as you read this! HOO-HAW!

Let's be clear, though, since it seems my previous links to "knowing how your neighbor is growing marihuana" have been pulled by YouTube (bastards!)and I fear that the hits I got from that link were from law enforcement instead of freethinkers: I do not smoke marihuana. I do not know anyone who smokes marihuana. Nor do I know anyone who speeds, rolls stopsigns, or masturbates. Everyone I know is knee-deep in conformity and placidly staring at their shoes. Thank you for listening.

Huh huh huh. You said, "masturbates".

Punctuation makes shit funnier, at least to me.

In the interest of full disclosure, the Libertarian Party candidate for Governor recently suggested to me that we hold a protest in front of the DEA offices, because the first week of May has been declared "Medical Marijuana Week" by what she terms "the activist community." She goes on to suggest that having someone dressed up as a Big Joint might be a Good Idea.

I demur.

OK, I agree, as long as the person in the big joint outfit IS NOT ME. I am a sissy, a coward, a craven dog quivering in the corner. I would no more wear a Big Joint outfit in front of DEA headqaurters than I would blog on teh infraweb about my apathy and subsequent ennui....


No, Loretta, I still won't do it. I am, however, willing to be your amanuensis. I'd also spend a lot of time calling the kind of small Alabama newspaper that I used to write for, and asking them if they wanted an interview with a gubernatorial candidate. Inevitably, they'll hook you up with a 22YO graduate of Englishness and you can proceed to snow them. I mean, tell them the truth.

Same diff.

Hire me, I'll make us immortal.

OK, at least memorable. I mean, what do we want to get out of this campaign, really? We aren't going to win, though we should play like we will. We may not even get on the ballot, because Alabama makes it extra super-duper hard for third-party candidates.

What say we throw caution to the wind and tell the truth? Let's be completely honest, something no politician has done since the days of Rome. When we don't something, we'll say, "I don't know. How can I find out more about X?" When we have differences of opinion, we'll say, "The Libertarian Party generally belives X, but I think Y makes more sense, because Z." Or not, depending.

Let's be the Voice of Ambivalence -- "you know, both these options make sense. If only there were a third option..." Let's admit our lack of formal knowledge and show folks how that's a wise way of evaluating stuff: we don't have preconceived notions or invisble lines of Pull attached....

I've run out of inspiration. G'night.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Cross Your Fingers

Meeting later today with the Court Referral Officer for what is hopefully the last time. I'm going to show him my shiny certificate of completion from brainwashing class and the receipt showing I've paid off the balance of my fines. The $5000 nightmare is soon to be over -- I still have to go back to court on the 17th of May and show the judge exactly the same documents I'm showing the CRO tomorrow, but that's more or less a formality.

Mom didn't want to go to The Bright Star -- we had Mexican food, at a new place called El Paisanos that was actually pretty good. Average guacamole, but for some reason the tacos were excellent. And tacos are generally not excellent, you know? Usually they're just....well, tacos. The flan was tasty, too. Mom had chicken enchiladas. What a boring post.

Wish I were off work tomorrow...I mean, later today....

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Administrative Professionals Day Sucks

Happy Secretarys Day! I mean, Administrative Professionals Day. OK, it was Thursday, and this post will be tagged Friday but it's still Thursday to me because I just got home from a 12-hour-long clusterfuck.

It's one of the busiest lunch days of the year, so the Powers That Be in their infinite wisdom decide it would be a perfect time to roll out our new menu, institute a new uniform policy, and update our POS system.


The wrong database gets loaded, so right as the doors open and a bunch of hungry women brandishing gift cards come pouring in the whole system crashes, and when it is restored, all the prices are wrong and all the menu items are written in some sort of garbled shorthand. I didn't know we had a location in Serbia!

Fortunately, the Big Boss is on hand to help. He spends the whole shift in a corner booth hiding behind his laptop with a cell phone plugged to his ear, as far from the crashing kitchen as he can get and still physically remain inside the restaurant. Thanks for your help, pal.

I end up running food, as there is no bar business and we have eleventy dozen servers on the floor (if this is so, why can't they run their own damn food? Oh, yeah, because it's taking TEN minutes to ring up a check).

Ticket times peak at about thirty minutes. For people with 45-minute lunch breaks (I notice you can't call it a "lunch hour" anymore). Great.

After the rush dies down, we stop to assess. "That wasn't as bad as it could have been," the GM comments. I ask if I can share some of the crack he's obviously been smoking. On reflection, though, he's right. No one walked out and comps were amazingly low considering how inefficient we were. Not bad. Maybe it's the snazzy new uniforms, which feature NAMETAGS!

Later in the day, I'm handed a sheet of paper and asked to sign it. It states that I have received my nametag, a copy of the new employee handbook, and have been informed of the new uniform policy. I politely demur, noting that I haven't received a nametag or a handbook, nor have I been informed of the new uniform policy, so it would not be in my best interest to sign something averring these falsities. I am Frowned Upon By Management. I shrug. Get me a nametag and a handbook, and tell me about the uniforms, and maybe then I'll sign it. They should know me better than that by now!

Dinner was slow, the usual suspects dined at the bar and we watched "Lost" which was a summary episode. Right when it got to the part of the plot I needed to catch up on, my printer went crazy and I had to make batches of rum runners (1 oz dark rum, 1/2 oz blackberry brandy, 1/2 oz creme de banana, grenadine, sour mix, float 151, garnish with a flag and a lime wheel) so I missed it. The usual suspects were kind enough to clue me in.

Enough. I must sleep. Tomorrow is Mom's 81st birthday! I'm taking her to lunch at the restaurant of her choice -- I hope she picks The Bright Star. Yum.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

In Which I Write A Christian Essay

Carl's freaking out. His paper is due tomorrow, and he has no clue how to begin, or even what he thinks about the topic. He enlists my aid, and since the guy has driven me home many many times over the past few months and he never lets me put gas in his car or buy him a beer (Carl, if you're reading this, I know you prefer white zin -- you sissy), I figured I'd help him out with his paper.

Even though tomorrow is Secretary's Day and we have a 25-top booked at eleven AM and I'm working a double. If there is a God, please make it rain like a sonofabitch tomorrow...I mean later today.

The topic of his paper involves The Wittenburg Door, a publication heretofore unknown to me. Carl attends Southeastern Bible College. I'm appalled by the motto on their website: "Making A Difference, Impacting The World". Impacting? Like a tooth? Or a turd? Eeeeew!

I get over it, and on to business: the paper is about whether this school should subscribe to this publication. Pro or con, pick a position and defend it. I, of course, pick "pro", and I go on to elaborate the ways in which subscription to a magazine of gentle satire can help expand callow Christian minds before they are exposed to the harsh give-and-take of the secular world, thus making them more firm in their faith. Huh huh huh. I said "firm".

I rant and write for a good hour before Carl tells me his view is "con". Jesus fucking Christ dude, it's 1:30 in the morning and your paper is due at 8 and I've got to be at work at 10 you could have said SOMETHING! Carl politely ignores my blasphemy (is it blasphemy if you don't believe in the first place? I don't think so, but for the record, Zoroaster was a goat-fucking inbred moron) and tells me that my arguments are persuasive, he's into the big tent picture now. OK, cool.

But now I'm out of ideas and looking at my watch ('cause I have to blog this, you know, before I go to bed, you heartless bastards). I suggest we examine the idea of "satire" and how it applies to Christian thought.

I recommend sourcing Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" and contrasting it with Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God".

Carl says, "Huh?"

I say, look, if you can't make fun of your own faith, it isn't worth believing. Carl tells me I'm an atheist, so what does that say about me? I suggest it's getting very late and I'm ready to go to bed and what little help he's getting from me is one "delete" away from evaporating.

I'm an asshole, and that didn't really happen, but it makes for good copy.

I end up writing less of his essay than he'd like, but more than I wanted to, and he leaves.

And I ponder what an excellent Christian apologist I'd be, and what that says about me and my commitment to atheism.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Net Neutrality

Congress wants AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast to decide which websites you get to see -- based on how much money they've paid to AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast. This is an outrage. Get involved and help stop the stupidity.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Downside Of Blogging

I had shelves lined with other people's prose while my best efforts
were buried on a Web site somewhere, underneath a lot of blah-blah about American Idol and my kitty cat.
Ouch! From an essay on Slate. I'd kinda been thinking the same thing, but I'm still in the early-romance phase of blogging, and since I've been lazy and unproductive as a writer for YEARS, blogging seems to be a decent way to get the juices flowing and at least get some immediate feedback (bad or good) that could prompt further words.

But blogging does not a writer make. It is way too easy (as my three regular readers have no doubt noticed) to just paste up a YouTube link or a funny ha-ha and not even make the effort to compose something. It also scratches the immediate itch -- it encourages quick response and little deliberation. That's bad and good. Often the first instinct a writer has is the right one, and I know I tend to get smothered in second-guessing if I don't get that first burst of words out on paper. But to be good at it requires discipline and a willingness to edit -- not something blogs excel at.

At which blogs excel.