Saturday, December 30, 2006
Okay, let’s accept that at face value.
So, are the Americans who sold Saddam the gas he used to commit the war crime also going to be tried and, possibly, executed? I’m talking about Donny Rumsfeld. Are they going to execute him?
Of course, not!
Does this mean that we’re executing people who commit war crimes now? I’m talking about Shrub, Mr. War of Aggression, Mr. Torture. Are they going to execute him?
Of course, not!
Don’t be confused. We didn’t kill Saddam because we’re a just people who kills those who commit war crimes. We killed him because… we could. We are not a society ruled by law, people. We are just ruled. The message from those with the guns is clear: Don’t fuck with us.
Toms of Maine – Natural Whole Care Toothpaste: Orange/Mango Flavor!!!
You think I’m nuts, don’t you? But the thing is, it’s damn good! It’s not too sweet and it’s not to bland and, if you like tropical citrus flavor – oh my god! Good stuff!
And good for you! Hello! All Natural! A portion goes to help communities! Recycled packaging! Not only is it a good way to help makes things better in this crazy world (if only a little – after all, it is just toothpaste), it’s good stuff that’s good for you!
(I’ve seen Tom’s in “regular” stores but I don’t know if they’d have the Orange/Mango. Vicky and I picked ours up at Henry’s. Whole Foods might be good as well.)
Friday, December 29, 2006
This headline on Yahoo reads: Bush taking more time to craft Iraq plan.
It's the word "craft" that makes this art. Who would have ever thought Shrub would "craft" anything? Now, suddenly, he is "crafting" his "plan" and his "plan" is a "craft"...
... a little honesty? Folks? Hello???
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
It got me to thinking. Here I am, Mr. Atheist, and I’m getting ready to celebrate another Christmas. I thought about what certain readers might be thinking and about what any future child of mine (should I be so lucky) might be tempted to ask… actually, about how they’d be ready to blow the Hypocrisy horn at any minute!
Sure. I’ll admit it. It’s odd for an atheist to celebrate Christmas. For that matter, it’s odd for anyone to celebrate it. It’s a mixed up holiday, confused as hell, cobbled together with big chunks of paganism and folk traditions, Christian self-righteousness and Roman leftovers – indoor trees and cynical drummer boys and nose poems by Robert May and let’s not forget good old, American CAPITALISM!
It’s about at fucked up as a holiday can get in this day and age.
And yet, I do celebrate it. Every year.
For all of its befuddlement, it’s a reason for loved ones to come together – which is a reminder (for me, personally) that there are loved ones and that I am loved. It’s one of those regular reminders that we have each other in a world where we seem so alone.
And maybe, for a minute or a second, there’s good will toward men… unless you’re a Republican, then it’s mostly just White Men… Rich White Men.
Merry Christmas, folks.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
So, this time those geniuses at Yahoo are telling us that Quitting Smoking is Beneficial After a Cancer Diagnosis. Seriously.
So, let me see if I have this straight...
You've been diagnosed with cancer...
So, it's probably not a good idea to get more cancer?...
NO FUCKING WAY!!!
(Breaking news tomorrow: Quitting Smoking Even More Beneficial Before Cancer Diagnosis.)
Friday, December 22, 2006
And so, here we find ourselves deeply plastered in the 21st century, and it is without a sprig of irony that Miss USA and Miss Teen USA really do in the truest sense represent America.
There they are. One of them going into rehab due to her drinking and the other one still young enough to get goofy blitzed and fucked in a bathroom stall.
There's no better representation of America - a country that wastes and murders and maims and lies and steals and just doesn't give a fuck - than that right there.
Long may she wave, folks - and let's hope she picks up the bar tab...
Thursday, December 21, 2006
That’s not what I’m going to talk about today…
I’m getting tired of these fucking “news” articles that aren’t just “not news” but that don’t even have any bearing with our universe!
Take a look at this article from Yahoo, for instance. These bozos wrote a whole article, trying to make it appear as news, about something that never happened and probably won’t happen. It’s about what the possible results of things that could happen!
Sure, and we’d all freak out if Galactus showed up to eat Earth or if King Kong really went to New York only to find the World Trade Center long gone!
The point of the news is to inform us about our world, not to conjecture like a bunch of bored 4th graders during recess, you underdeveloped, pointy-toothed cock suckers.
…. Honestly, I don’t mean to sound bitter but some of us writers know what the fuck we’re doing and we’re out here looking for a job.
When it comes to buying cards, the only thing I hate worse than buying them is not having one to give when someone gives me one. And so, here we are at Christmas.
“You didn’t buy me a Christmas card, did you?” I asked my beautiful wife the other night.
“Yes, and don’t freak out and think you have to buy me one just because I bought you one.”
Dammit. You think she’d know me by now.
So, today I drove on over to Target, hoping that my eternal love and devotion, my gratitude for how she’s stood by my side through all of this unemployment, my irritation at how difficult it is to find anything to say that she might find witty, the happiness that fills my heart when I think of how lucky I am to have Steve and Noriko and Mike and John and Rayna and so many others as in-laws, can all be summed up in a way that’s marketable enough for every shopper this holiday season.
You can probably imagine how long I stood there, reading card after card. You can probably imagine the dull hatred descending from my tired brow after reading pap after pablum. Every card for a wife assumes you met in elementary school. Every card for a “loved one” assumes you haven’t yet proposed. There’s no winning.
Then again, maybe it was me.
You see, Vicky and I have had some problems of late that I haven’t discussed in these parts. Rosa problems. (Forgive me for being redundant.)
A couple of weeks ago, before the attack, my sleep was disturbed for a couple of nights thanks to Rosa popping up in my dreams. Actually, she sort of just waltzed on to the set like an unwelcome groupie. I didn’t want her there but there she was.
We later found out that, right about that time, she was selling her home, the home she and I had shared together. (When I say “we”, oddly enough it was Vicky.) Not only did I find it strange that I was dreaming of her those nights but news of the sale also gave me a creepy feeling. After having several days to think of it, the only way I can describe it is as if you learned that someone moved your grave. (Take a minute. I’ll still be here.) Or, perhaps better still, it was as if someone sold Auchwitz.
Vicky didn’t get it and I didn’t do a great job helping her understand. Think about it from her perspective. Here I am dreaming about Rosa and then I’m shocked to hear she’s moved. It didn’t look good. And Vicky hit me with the worst thing she could think of – she went for the big one – and told me that Rosa was “the love of my life”. (My life. Not hers.)
And there’s no coming back from that, no way to defend yourself. I loved her; I can’t deny that. Losing her tore me apart. It was the end of my life as I knew it.
It’s a cheap shot and Vicky knows it. That’s why she saves it for the big whammy.
It’s cheap because Vicky knows the truth. She knows that, as much as losing Rosa was the end of my old life, Vicky is my life now. Rosa was the love of my old life but Vicky is my present and my future, the love of my life now and from now on (if I can help it). I hated losing Rosa but I’d never give up my life now for her and what I had then.
What Vicky probably doesn’t realize is that I know how horrible it would be to lose her and I don’t ever want to risk that. If losing Rosa tore me apart, losing Vicky would break me like cheap glass. I’d never recover. Vicky probably thinks that my years of obsession over Rosa mean more than my years of love with Vicky but nothing could be further from the truth. The thing that makes my love for Vicky more powerful is that I don’t need to work so hard for it, I don’t need to fight for it. Vicky makes me feel loved. In a time when everything is about to fall apart around us, Vicky makes me feel safe.
And how the hell do you find a card that says that?
You walk out and you tell her. That’s all.
You mean more to me than anything, Vicky La Celle. Merry Christmas.
(Then, I went to Hallmark. After all, I’m not crazy!)
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
I know that might have come as a bit of a shock or surprise to some of you – others probably just thought “that’s Ken” – and I probably (in hindsight) shouldn’t have even posted it, but I assure you things are much better.
I’ve spent the past couple of days in a strange state. Every moment stops and starts instead of running fluidly so I’m shaky on my feet. And things feel very close.
… it’s like being hung over, without the benefit of getting drunk.
But I haven’t let this stop me. I got in my car and drove yesterday. Today, I even took the freeway. In fact, I even went to the gym tonight. While I only jogged five miles, it made me feel A LOT better. Guess there might be something to that talk about endorphins.
Okay, Vicky also got me some St. John’s Wort. Those of you who’ve known me a while might remember how that helped me out (not so) long ago, when I was trying to stop me from killing myself. (Okay, that sounded weird.) Well, since I’m going on the belief that this has all been stress-related, some of the Wort might help. It certainly couldn’t hurt.
One more thing. While I was at the gym, I thought of a couple more ways I can get more aggressive with the job search. There’s no way I can have the faith in me Vicky appears to have but I can try by getting more aggressive, which is what I’ll do.
I’m down to less than eight weeks left of unemployment insurance. I better do something soon. We’ll see…
Friday, December 15, 2006
Listen, having eaten there before, now I get sick whenever I drive by one!
Today, I was “c”. And I haven’t been for a long, long time. I wasn’t nearly ready to assume it would never happen again but I was hopeful. So much for hopeful.
I’ve heard voices – screaming in my ear. I’ve seen people that weren’t there. I’ve had anxiety attacks that made me want to run screaming.
And those weren’t fun.
But never before – never before – nothing like this.
It was about a half hour ago… maybe forty-five minutes.
I had just brought my car in to have a brake light fixed. Vicky insisted that I stop by Pep Boys on the way home and change my windshield wipers, too… and I even grumbled about what a pain in the butt she was. Vicky, thank you for being a pain in the butt. (Add another reason why I love my wife.)
If I hadn’t left the freeway to drive up Katella, I would have had the attack while I was driving on the freeway. No fun.
Don’t ask what set it off. Don’t ask me to tell you why it happened. It just did.
I was stopped at Batavia, waiting at the red light, and I noticed some static coming off of the book I was listening to… Actually, it’s hard for me to write this in the first person. (Put yourself in my shoes!)
Imagine yourself hearing this static and it’s buzzing in your right ear. It gets louder and louder until it’s deafening and then you realize that the buzzing is gigantic bugs, fierce bugs. And you know that they exist only in your head but you start swatting at them because you also know that, if you don’t, they’ll bite you. And your vision starts going all over the place – it’s like the world is on roller skates. So, you’re sitting in your car, swatting and screaming and deafened – fucking incomprehensible.
Now, imagine you were the lady at the light next to me! That poor woman. The look on her face.
Oh, it came and went in the time it took the light to change – crazy has its own schedule – and I realized what was going on, and the look on her face.
Granted, I was shaking and crying and out of breath and my face itched (don’t ask me why – I think it was the bugs), so I pulled my car off to the side.
I got the wipers, by the way, but I was shaking the whole time. I’m still shaking after driving home.
(I haven’t even called Vicky to tell her. Part of me doesn’t want to. Part of me wants to just shut this away. But that’s not me. I think it’s a part of my upbringing. Back when I was a kid, whenever I was sick, my mother would say I was doing it to get attention.)
Now, I know what you’re going to say – and if you’re Vicky you’re bound to call me and say it – I know I need help. Moreso than ever. But I need to get a job first. My rational mind is telling me that increased stress is pushing all my mental buttons and that’s what is causing this. (Trust me, this isn't the first bit of instability recently.)
But I promise you right now that once I get a job, I’ll seek help.
Sometimes crazy can be fun – the odd, hallucinatory visit can be enjoyable – This was neither. This was fucked up.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I said, “Hi, honey. I don’t really feel like going to the gym to day. Do I have to?”
And this is what I heard her say:
No. You don’t have to. Odds are you probably won’t get off your fat ass long enough to take a shit, shamu. Stay on the computer and order a new crane for wiping your ass, you lethargic fuck. You corpulent pile of crap. We’ll just hire Exxon/Mobile to cart you around from now on if they can afford another environmental disaster. And you can stay in front of your fucking computer playing World of Warcraft in an attempt to remember what real movement is like until the cheese between your ass cheeks sprouts grubs! Hell, you can keep them as pets! You really want to find a job, you unctuous, swollen leech? Why don’t you auction off your methane and solve the world’s energy crisis? You wanna write a book? Write down your last meal and fill a thousand pages? Can’t act? Bitch, you can’t fucking fit on a screen, no less a stage! I realized why you remind me of working on my old VW Bug – cause it’s all I can think of when you roll that tanker truck you call a body on top of me and “have sex”. We’ll have sex when the dough boy comes out of the dough – shit, it’s like watching a twig being swallowed by an avalanche! That Rolo hasn’t seen air in months – it could be dead! How about you get your flabby ass out of that chair for five minutes? Or are you afraid the fat whiplash is gonna crush your spine?!
What she actually said was, “Probably.”
Which makes me think I might be slightly neurotic.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
109th Congress a success at naming buildings
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Despite criticism for adjourning last week without acting on several major legislative initiatives, members of Congress can boast significant achievements in at least one area of federal lawmaking -- naming post offices.
Of the 383 pieces of legislation that were signed into law during the two-year 109th Congress, more than one-quarter dealt with naming or renaming federal buildings and structures -- primarily post offices -- after various Americans.
Three post offices were named after entertainers. Ray Charles, the late singer and musician, was honored with a post office in Los Angeles in July 2005 in a bill sponsored by Rep. Diane Watson, D-California Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, authored a law naming another Los Angeles post office after actor and former American Express pitchman Karl Malden.
And in March, Congress passed and the president signed legislation naming a Smithfield, North Carolina, post office after actress Ava Gardner. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Bob Etheridge, D-North Carolina.
Several members of the U.S. military killed in Iraq or Afghanistan were honored with post offices, and the late civil rights leader Rosa Parks was honored with a federal building in Detroit, Michigan.
Some federal facilities were named after deceased members of Congress. The late Rep. Robert Matsui, D-California, was honored with a courthouse in Sacramento. A Brooklyn, N.Y., post office was named after former Rep. and one-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination Shirley Chisolm, D-New York.
And one of the final actions Congress took before adjourning early Saturday was naming a Delaware bridge after that state's long-time GOP Sen. William Roth.
-- CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon
Now I don't know about you, but I can think of just a few TINY more pressing issues to be dealt with...oh like war, poverty, and racism...just to name a few.
At a time when our elected officials find it more important to their own business than the people's business, this serves as a reminder that we need to do more than just elect people and expect them to do their job.
You wanna tell your mom?
Calling John Edward!
These charlatans, frauds, crooks, what have you have been around forever but have only recently gained celebrity status. We live in a society that is, more and more, abandoning reason and logic for threads of desperation and these people feast on that. It’s not just a waste of time; it’s dangerous to any attempt at reasonable thought.
A woman on the treadmill beside me, speaking to another person, said, “I don’t really believe in that but I love to watch it ‘cause it’s fun.”
To encapsulate: She find this completely irrational behavior… “fun”.
I wanted to punch her.
After all, how many other irrational beliefs have we been tolerating lately that seem harmless on the surface but end up soiling any attempt at a reasonable society? How about giving tax cuts to the ultra-rich in order to create jobs for the poor? How about torturing the innocent to win a war on terror? How about brutalizing a country so that it might have “freedom”? How about Exxon’s newest attempt at donning the corporate image of an environmentally friendly benefactor? Or underfunding public schools? Or letting corporations monitor their own pollution?
When I get upset at the sickness of irrationality in our society, its recoil from reason, I am often told not to worry. That it’s harmless. To me, that example is like saying that gangrene is fine if left to the feet.
People don’t talk to the dead, folks. Just accept it. It might be a good start.
According to conservative rag WorldNetDaily and self-professed “health food guy” Jim Rutz, the secret ingredient to the world-wide gay conspiracy is… SOY!
Yes. Soy. You know. The bean.
Beans are turning your kids gay!!!… or so Rutz would have you believe. According to his… um… logic, soy contains estrogen so that when you drink you are slowly and secretively being turned into A WOMAN!!! (No shit. He also insists that it shrinks penises... we won't ask him how he found this out...)
… pardon me while I dip my head in shame for all humanity.
Listen. Soy contains estrogen-like compounds and isoflavones that are incredibly weak, 1/1000th of estrogen, so even if there was a connection it would be slight at best. (All of this has been heavily documented with regards to breast cancer.) Where the argument really falls apart is in the fact that estrogen is in guys who don’t eat soy. In fact, it’s a very necessary hormone!
I guess if I was going to humor this guy, I’d say…. Okay. To get the effects you want, you’d have to increase a man’s soy intake A THOUSAND FOLD! The guy would die from overeating before he sucked his first cock!
But let's humor this guy. I suggest he start the experiment. Any volunteers? Bush? Cheney? Robertson? Gingritch?
Do people really take this guy seriously? Sure. They’re called “stupid”.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I must have known something - I was the luckiest guy in the world.
What I didn't know what that, behind me, Vicky's dad was taking pictures, capturing the moment on his cell phone's camera! And only recently has he forwarded those pictures to us.
Now, there are a few pictures but I'm only posting one for now. It's this one. This was the moment...
You'll notice that Vicky's looking down (she calls herself "Cousin It" in this shot) but that's because she's blown away by the enormous rock! (... kinda) You may also notice the bottle of champagne that her father so kindly put out for us. (Okay, he had an employee do it. Still...) And, yep, that's her mom's restaurant.
It's one of those moments you wish you could live over again. Thanks to Vic's dad, we can a little.
Monday, December 11, 2006
But this jackass wants to let them have guns!
What the fuck?
Yep, Texas State Representative Edmund Kuempel wants to let the blind hunt. He says, “This opens up the fun of hunting to additional people, and I think that's great.” Sure, you do.
This is actually a joke with no punchline – or, at least, there was none, until Vicky walked through the room and suggested they hunt near Tom Delay’s house.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
What? Are you kidding me? The Bahamas? What do you have to tan, dahling? I’m asking you. What do you have to tan? You’d be out there with tropical drinks leaking onto your robes – those little umbrellas got more meat on ‘em than you.
Okay. Okay. No need to get personal. Well… how about a cruise to Alaska? I heard those are a lot of fun.
What? With your bones? You know what they got in Alaska, doll? Nothing but cold. With your arthritis, you’d be cursing the day I sold you the package. You’d be out there on the ice flow with your arthritic knees knocking together, saying, “When I get back… ohhhh… I’ll give her the finger of death!” And that’s what you’d do!
I would not!
Listen, cupcake. I had Adam Sandler in here. Said he’d stop making bad films. Enough – I know!
Well… what about the Colorado Rockies? Huh? That’d be nice! I could get some mountain air. Take a hike. It’d be good for me –
Sweetheart. Dahling. Pumpkin Pie. You know what they have in Colorado? Bears. I’m telling you, they feast on bones like yours.
Well, I don’t care! I’ve had it! I need a break! You know how long it’s been since my last vacation? Do you? Decades! Years… at least! Look, they got me on fourteen hour days! Fourteen hours! I get home. Have some rat – go to sleep – and I’m at it again! You think I like that! Do you?
Calm down, bologna-on-rye. Listen. You gotta take it easy.
I know! This is what I’m saying!
Why don’t we set you up with something easy. You do a little Sedona. A little Santa Fe. I get a discount and –
Um, excuse me. But you have a little shmaltz on your face there.
Just a little…
On your – just – right beside your nose.
Did I get it?
No, it’s still there.
Did I –
How about –
Here, let me get it for you.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Certainly makes me wonder exactly what qualificatons appointees of this administration have exactly...
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I’ve been taking a lot of hits lately from just about all sides. I’m outta work. I can’t get an interview. I can’t generate any interest in my writing, my acting, just about anything. I keep getting knocked back down onto the mat.
And every time it’s been happening recently – and let me tell you, it’s a daily occurrence – I realize I can’t stay down, even for a rest. I have to get up faster every time because time has become such an essential element. I’m not a kid any more. I’m supposed to be saving for retirement, supposed to be done raising kids not looking to start, supposed to be comfortable in my career not scrambling for any work I can find…
There are days when I just want to sit down and give up – if, at least, for a while – but then, I realize how little time I have.
Nobody ever told me about that.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
But last night’s was pretty good.
Vicky was sleeping on the guest bed due to her back (it’s a firmer mattress) so I had our bed all to myself. We usually keep five pillows on the bed for reasons clearly unbeknownst to me.
When I woke up, I was pillowless. I turned around and found the pillow.
They were all stacked up in a single column. It’s a balancing act, to be sure, but even more impressive when you consider I was asleep.
… I wonder if I know how to juggle when I’m sleeping…
I’ve been known to post a blog or two about Christians. I’ve even been known to post a blog or two that quotes the Bible. My overall point is to show how the public face of Christianity is usually quite un-Christian and that each of us could actually be better people if we really listened to Christ’s message.
… I’m not saying I do a good job of it.
Anyway, Vicky was reading her email the other night and, in the midst of chuckling at one of them, asked me, “Did you read this?”
“How could I read that,” I asked, lying in bed. “I’m lying in bed.”
“No,” she amended, “did you read the one you received?”
“The one what I received?”
“The email from Christian Bloggers?”
Well, that certainly got my attention! I sat up and quickly asked her to tell me more. She did. I wanted her to post a blog about it but, considering that it was my blogging that evoked the email, I figured I would.
So, here’s the email:
Dear blog author:
We recently came across your site, twolivesonepath.blogspot.com, while searching for fellow christian bloggers.
A small group of us have started a new site called Christian Bloggers. Our prayer and intent is to bring Christians closer together, and make a positive contribution to the Internet community. While many of us have different "theologies", we all share one true saviour.
Would you be interested in joining Christian Bloggers? Please take a few minutes to have a look at what we are trying to do, and if you are interested, there is a sign up page to get the ball rolling. We would greatly appreciate your support in this endeavour.
… now, call me evil but… well, with all the laughing I was doing, I guess I sounded evil. I mean here they were, the Gay-Hating, Science-Loathing, Reason-Repelling, War-Mongering, Hypocritical as a Christian, Christian Nutbars knocking at my door and asking Vicky and I to join.
How beautiful is that?
But then, I got to thinking just what a disservice I would be doing if I didn’t, at least, visit their website. So, I did.
Sure enough, there were your articles against Islam, your articles against Democrats, there was even an article that addressed "speaking in tongues" without breaking into laughter or Excorcist references. The whako contingency of Christianity in full regalia.
But the most startling part and relief to my mind were the pro-environment articles and the articles about tolerance, even indictments against the Westboro "Baptists".
Listen, I’m not going to start reading Christan Bloggers – and I’m certainly not going to write for them – but it felt pretty good to see the administrators allowing (at least somewhat) differing viewpoints from their contributors. It wasn’t Faux News by a long shot, I can say that much.
So, Vicky and I had our laugh over the irony in the situation and I originally felt I’d be writing a very different blog. It might help public perception of Christianity a great deal if the administrators of Christan Bloggers allowed real people to contribute and left the money-grubbing praisathoners and the right-wing hate mongers to the television. We’ll have to wait and see.
(Meanwhile, I’m gonna go sacrifice me up a virgin! – punchline added because I couldn’t help it.)
Monday, December 04, 2006
Now, a month later, John Bolton – Ambassador to the UN and that guy who also said the UN didn’t exist – has resigned. Basically, Shrub’s folk knew he wouldn’t get confirmation. They’re actually going to have to find someone… qualified!
Big changes? Earth-shattering?
I actually think the Dems might be a bit too gleeful in the midst of the fresh taste of winning. They’re getting a bit optimistic. That worries me. Remember what happened last time they got optimistic – the Supreme Court put Shrub in power.
I think this is all only the beginning and the Dems have got to work even harder if they really want to turn things around.
First, and in no particular order, they need to run absolutely tight ships. They have to be the most ethical politicians the country has ever seen – and considering that we started with slave-holders, it shouldn’t be tough… but it will be, so watch out! Next, they need to start holding those impeachment hearings – not to actually impeach, because the odds of that aren’t worth putting money on, but to get the proof out, to make sure the history books get it right and it doesn’t happen again.
Get us out of Iraq
Repeal all those tax cuts for the mega-rich
Make sure our other treaties start getting honored while they’re at it
Yes, I mean like the Geneva Convention
After they’ve done that, I’ll consider it a good start.
We’ve still got a world of work ahead.
While I was away, I learned that my dad is very ill. I don’t know what this will mean in the end but it did stop me long enough to realize that, somehow, in the midst of everyday confusion, I’ve grown to love the old man. He and I have something of a relationship – not perfect, of course (he is a Republican), but something – and that’s enough. Learning I could lose him helped me to appreciate what I do have.
I got to spend a bit of time with my youngest brother, Richard. Turns out that, despite the lost job and failed dreams, he still thinks I’m pretty cool. I think everyone should have somebody like that in their lives.
My mom and I have had another falling out (in a lifetime of falling outs). I won’t go into details but just say that it added a kind of punctuation to the whole story. Family is impossible and we all try to make the impossible work as best we can.
Anyway, Vicky helped Jenn decorate her apartment for Christmas while we were up there and, this weekend, Vicky decided to let the Christmas spirit explode in our own place. It all looks beautiful – she should post some pictures (HINT). Meanwhile, Vicky has also decided that I make up words…
… which I do, of course. That’s not the problem. The problem lies in the fact that I made up some real terms I bandy about (Yes, I said bandy about). Like nook, for instance, as in a baby's nook. She doesn’t think there’s such a word. Oh sure, it’s a slang word, but it’s a word just the same. Or lie in – I said, yesterday, that I really enjoyed our lie in… she thought I was looney. But I meant it!
Anyway, that’s enough for news from down here. Yes, I’m still out of work – still looking! Still working hard… just not getting paid. Back to real life…
Sunday, December 03, 2006
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7. If you're looking for IP computer software, there's always www.ipanywhere.com
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Saturday, December 02, 2006
Friday, December 01, 2006
I don’t know what to say short of how much I hate it. Most people can just close their eyes and drift off but that’s not my lot. Tonight, when I put my head back and closed my eyes, I saw my bed and room around me – then I saw my old apartment – then I saw my old place of employment – then Interstate 5 – then Washington – then a map – and on – and on – finally I opened my eyes. I was fed up. My mind just won’t shut itself off like most people’s.
This has been going on now for a little over two weeks. Occasionally, I’ll force some sleep onto myself with some melatonin but that knocks me out and I’m not much of a fan of that, either.
And that’s pretty much it. No story. No revelation. I’m just not sleeping.
Vicky’s up there right now, snuggled down in bed. I’m glad she can sleep. I wish I could join her. I figured I’d come down to my computer and do a little writing.
Nice talking to you.
Actually, I thought it was nice to see her enter my world of the video game addiction, if only for a while.
And I think it's time to welcome her back again. This time, it isn't Bookworm.
It's even better!!!!
See you in a few months, Vic. I love you!
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Towering redwoods. Glistening falls. Thundering rivers. And all too intimidating mountainsides. It was sublime... which is to say that the beauty was easy to miss through the sense of never making it home. One thing this comment (which you're about to read, I assure you) reminded me of was the many times Vicky and I told each other how great it would be to spend some time hiking up there... one of these days.
But now, the comment in its entirety:
I enjoyed your travelogue. I am former Executive Director of the Smith River Project, and I now run the Siskiyou Land Conservancy. Both organizations have a lot to do with protecting much of the land you and Vicky drove through in Northwestern California. I would like to send you more information about our work, for even though you got rained on, and couldn't enjoy it much, this territory is some of the most beautiful, biologically diverse and ecologically important in the world.
Please see: http://www.SiskiyouLandConservancy.org/ for more information.
Yes, we are seeking donations. We rely on donors from outside the area to keep our programs afloat. Our work benefits all Californians, and Americans. Can you help?
Donations may be sent to:
Siskiyou Land Conservancy
P.O. Box 4209
Arcata, CA 95518
We are a non-profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible.
Thanks for your good writing, keep it up!
Siskiyou Land Conservancy
Yes, it was a sales pitch - and I have to admit its message, if not its timing, was perfect. After all, looking back I wish we'd taken pictures for both of you readers to see how beautiful it was. Did I mention we saw elk? How cool is that?
Okay, so I don't have any money right now, being unemployed and all, but that doesn't mean one of you readers don't have a job. Looking for that tax write-off with a terrific cause? I don't ask for money much (which may explain my current financial situation) but I think this guy is a part of the values Vicky and I are always trying to espouse.
Take a look at his website.
And listen, Greg, though I cannot offer money (sometimes I cannot remember money), let me know if you ever need any writing done. I owe you one.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Driving all that way – Anaheim to Seattle is about 1200 miles, after all... most of the time – wasn’t exactly our idea of fun but, as explained, it was our only option.
The first leg, we decided to split in two. On the first day, we left home after 9am and hit traffic in LA and Stockton. We were glad when we pulled up to the La Quinta in Redding later that night. As Vicky checked in, we asked the girl about the restaurant next door. “Is it any good?” “Yeah. We all like it,” she said. Wearing my grubby, driving clothes, I asked her if I’d need to change. She said, “No. You’re in Redding.” Nice town.
And the food was fantastic! The restaurant, Cattlemens, was quiet and warm – we loved the warmth and it was only our first day out! We each ordered Pete’s Special… okay, here’s the thing. If you live close enough, go to this place. Fantastic! Big, juicy Harris Ranch steak (healthy meat = good steak!), aged so well we didn’t even need steak sauce. Spuds. Veggies. Beans. Bread. And a glass of this incredible, Bonterra organic wine. With it, we ordered the artichoke/cheese dip and walked out of there for about $40!! Not bad!
Okay, enough about dinner. We hit the sack stuffed and woke up not too early the next day. We started off at nearly 8am on Wednesday and made pretty good time into the mountains and over the pass. That ended south of Salem, Oregon. Traffic was stop and STOP! Vicky was flinching every time we had to stop again. (She had issues with me looking at the scenery. But, come on, when you’re driving less than a mile an hour…) From our stopping point and all the way north through Portland was over 40 miles, and we crawled the entire way. Vicky was ready to kill – basically anyone – just to get out of the car for five minutes, her own personal edition of the “nic fit”. Strangely though, as soon as we hit the Washington border, traffic opened up again and we were moving. But what we didn’t know was that we were moving with great speed into a rather unpleasant rain storm and, for over 50-60 miles leading up to Seattle, we drove through some absolutely horrible rain with some of the craziest drivers (one a double-trailer Fed Ex truck that thought it was in Nascar) along side of us. Finally, Vicky put on her iPod, I think to stop herself from screaming (at me – at the road – does it matter?), and I turned off the music to concentrate on making out the road in the midst of the deluge. At around 8pm, we pulled into Lynnwood and our hotel.
Vicky hated the drive because, for her, it was more of a ride than a drive. She didn’t like riding along all that way without anything to do. But she had more than her opportunity on the way back. We knew the drive back would be worse weeks ago. Simply, we’d need to do it in one shot – we’d have less than a day – though I’d done that a few times, Vicky must have thought I was kidding.
I awoke especially early on Sunday morning. We had come home from Dwight’s wedding the night before to find Titanic on TV… and Vicky wanted to watch it. Damn. I hate that movie. I’ve never been a fan of watching anyone (even Republicans) die slow, painful deaths and that’s all Titanic is, basically. Worse still, I awoke at 3am Sunday morning from a nightmare, watching Vicky’s face sinking into her watery grave. I didn’t go back to sleep.
I awoke Vicky at 4am and we dressed and packed and were ready to leave at 4:30. We were supposed to leave at 5am, but I talked her into an earlier departure time… and I’m glad I did. North of Tacoma and all the way until we were far south of Puget Sound, snow fell, a goodly accumulation of it. Vicky took the first driving shift and I was none too pleased to watch as she sped into the downfall – I got a taste of what she must have felt on Wednesday night as I sped through even harder rain. She told me not to worry but she wasn’t fooling me. I was just thankful when we hit Salem again and pulled up to the Almost Home restaurant for breakfast. Good grub!
I took over the driving after, not knowing what I was in for!
Dad and I had talked over the options for the drive south after I found out how much the chance for rain in the passes had increased. By Sunday, it was a sure thing; we wouldn’t be driving through the Siskiyous on the way home. My first thought was to take the 97 but Dad was certain that, with the way it was raining, my only safe bet would be to drive west, via the 199, to keep the snow behind us. The 199 connected with the 101 and this would have been a safe bet for driving home but we were also concerned with speed. We had to get home faster than the 101 would have taken us. And so, despite even Steve’s warning (he’s my dad-in-law) about how we should have stayed away from the 299, I decided to trade comfort for time and take the 299 once we reentered California. My reasoning was this: The 299 was a 2-lane but Sunday traffic shouldn’t have been too bad. The big storm dumping rain and snow in Oregon and Washington was forecast to stop at the border. And, finally, I needed to shave every unnecessary mile off that I could because Vicky had to get to work on Monday and I wasn’t going to have her blaming me if she couldn’t.
The 199 split from the 5 freeway in Grant’s Pass. I was ready for a switch in drivers already by the time we reached that point. But I wasn’t going to say anything to Vicky because I’d promised to take this unknown stretch and let her rest. My first clue as to how this drive would go should have been when I saw snow-warning signs on the 199, the western road with the lower elevation. What I didn’t know was that the storm was moving much further south than forecast and that Vicky and I were heading straight into it.
The 199 was an exhausting road, made for scenery – and we weren’t seeing any of it, just rain. At the California border, the road entered Smith River Park, filled with redwoods and started to wind through river valleys and around mossy hillsides. It hit the 101 at Crescent City and Vicky and got out for a much-needed stretch and potty break. (Yes… I said “potty”.) But when we walked out… the rain had turned into a deluge to make Noah blush. Vicky asked, “What do you want to do?” “Keep driving,” I told her.
There was a lot of traffic on the road – a lot more than I liked, at least. Soon, we entered the Redwood National Park. Gorgeous? Yes. Fast, what with the other cars and the torrential flooding? No.
But! We saw elk!
At points, we could see the Pacific, roiling untitularly. This storm was not nice. And it seemed to take forever to reach the 299. On the map, the distance had seemed so short! (Inches!)
By the time we reached the 299, I was tired but I didn’t want to tell Vicky. Our GPS said that we only had about 150 miles to go. I could make it, I told myself. But you put two tired people in a car for that long – the sun was going down – and tensions flare. By the time we were past the coast and past the forest and well into the mountains…
… any arguing had stopped…
And here’s why. We were in another snowstorm. And either the clouds had dropped enough or our altitude had climbed enough (signs designating 2000 and 3000 feet kept popping up on the roadside) to put us in a cloudbank. And it was dark out. And I couldn’t really see the road. And I was tired. And people kept whizzing by… To Vicky’s credit, she never said she told me so… or that her father had. To my credit, I kept my speed up, gritted my teeth, ignored my paranoia towards driving off of cliffs, and kept going. I had hoped that our detour would put us in Redding by 6pm.
At 6:45, we pulled into Redding. Not too bad if I do say so myself… and I do…
But we still had an incredibly long way to go. After a quick bite at Carl’s Jr, Vicky took us the next leg of the drive. The rain even stopped for a few minutes. We thought we were past the storms. Little did we realize. The rain kept coming back, now and again, our entire way home! Somewhere south of Santa Nella (Pea Soup Anderson’s!), Vicky ran out of steam and I took over again. It was around midnight and Vicky was too tired to listen to any CDs or the radio. I drove on in silence.
Boy, was that a bad idea! The only thing keeping me awake were my imaginary conversations with the other cars and snippets of songs half-remembered. Vicky told me she was never fully asleep so she must have really worried to hear my improvised sketches and conversation – ANYTHING to keep me awake! (Okay... not anything...)
Arriving at the Grapevine took forever and traffic picked up. We entered another patch of rain all through the mountains and I was too tired to take the road quickly. I kept our speed down to an ungodly 65 mph and grumbled at all the people flashing their high beams at the asshole going the speed limit.
After Magic Mountain, Vicky awoke and, together, we passed the last few miles home. I was ready to pass out at any moment and only kept myself awake and driving thanks to the acid reflux causing intense pain.
We pulled up in front of our house at 3:45am… we’d been driving for nearly a day straight… which, coincidentally, is just about enough to make me never want to do that again.
People joked about us killing each other on the road but we actually made it pretty well. At least, well enough not to need to prove it again!
... and, no. Vicky did not go to work on Monday.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
But the driving I’ll save for another entry.
We were, originally, going to congregate as a family (descend as a horde) on some unsuspecting restaurant. But Vicky had a better idea – we’d save the restaurant and torture some unsuspecting friend.
As you can probably guess, Jenn was that friend.
I’d never met Jenn before, though we’ve come to know each other a bit through blogging (he said, actually using that word as a verb). I liked her immediately! And I was the guy who, when Vicky first had the idea, decided it would be a bad, bad idea to do Thanksgiving at her house.
I was wrong.
Vicky and I drove over to her place early to see Jenn very relaxed and organized. The dinner – a spread with all the trimmings – was totally under control; Jenn could sit and watch TV with us as we waited for everyone else to show. And watch TV, we did. We kept it on the TV Food network, watching other people make Thanksgiving dinner! But, soon, others began to arrive.
I was concerned that my family might be too much for Jenn. After all, her place is rather small and my family (totaling more than the expect nine) was a platoon! But Jenn’s thinking was that, being in a stranger’s home, they’d all be on their best behavior. And she was right.
Actually, looking back on it, I realize that they were never the problem. That side of my family is the un-neurotic side, the friendly side, the comfortable-in-social-situations side – no problem. I, on the other hand, come from the other side… the neurotic, uncomfortable, awkward, easily-saying-the-wrong-thing side. The person I was most worried about… was me.
Thankfully, I did fine.
My dad and Blanche (who is far more than a step-mom to me), her brother Mitch and his wife Cherryl, my brother Richard, his wife Teri, and their son Hayden, Vicky and I, along with Jenn all fit in quite nicely. Cherryl even guilted another brother, Dwight (the guy getting hitched in two days), to make an appearance. He brought his bride-to-be, Monica, and a friend along. There was a little back-biting but none you’d notice and Jenn made so much good food that we all ate like pigs.
There was a lot of laughter and smiles… nothing like the Thanksgivings I’m used to – but, then, I come from the other side of the family. Even Vicky noticed this. She told me later how separate I seemed from the rest of the bunch. Sometimes, I almost feel adopted by them.
Jenn’s been adopted, too. She’s as good as part of the family now, which makes Vicky her sister-in-law, I guess.
After the family left, Jenn, Vicky, and I sat with our wines – Vicky and I (the winos) had brought with us a trunkload of primo vinos – assessing the dinner. Mitch had helped carve. Blanche and Cherryl had helped with dishes. Vicky and I had helped clean. Richard and Teri and helped by changing Hayden – a very important job! We’d all worked together as a family.
I’ve never been comfortable with family. The concept had been torn in two when I was five. As the years pass, however, and I am fortunate enough to be surrounded with people who unbelievable love me, I think I’m starting to get it… maybe…
We prayed before the meal… well, they prayed while I stood silently… we all stood in a circle, joining hands. I wish someone had asked me what I was thankful for. I would have said that, being out of work, my future so up in the air, I was thankful for that day and that moment.
Thank you, Jenn.
And thank you, Vicky.
And to all the others in my life who put up with me and, mysteriously, think well of me, thank you.
Oh, and Jenn made fresh whipped cream for the pies Blanche brought. Fucking awesome, man.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Whatever happened to "Peace on Earth"? Have we become so war-hungry that we cannot tolerate that? Has our sense of right and wrong become so perverted?
What the hell is happening, anyway?
For the past week, Vicky and I have been up in Seattle. We drove up there (kind of a “Driving North, Part Trois”) and spent Thanksgiving with my family, thanks to the generosity and fabulous cooking of Jenn (not just an Internet myth), and also attended Dwight’s wedding.
My last monologue, as some of you may know, was based on a trip up north, around the time of my divorce. I didn’t know how I would write about this trip, what form it would take, so I thought I’d just forget the writing and just experience it. What came out what disjointed, fragmented… We were put inside a box and the box was well shook. Now, we’ve come out and returned home. I’ve got a few things to talk about.
But that’s for later.
For those of you wondering if I've given up... I didn't.
For those of you who think that, after the week I've had, I wish I could do a little of both... You're probably right.
All the same, as soon as I get a little sleep I'll fill you in.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
His message wasn’t too hard to get, as it was repeated… repeatedly as I watched. It was abhorrent enough to make me remember and to make me write.
The crux of it was to explain why God allows suffering, which you’d think would be a noble enough thing to talk about.
According to this preacher – a Baptist preacher if you believe the captions – “God allows suffering to increase righteousness.” God allows suffering to increase righteousness.
Not a bad thought. Suffering increases righteousness. Kind of a Lord of the Rings kind of worldview, right?
But then, you throw the word “allow” in the mix. God allows suffering to increase righteousness. So, then, children starving and dying in the Sudan are very righteous! Children in Iraq are righteous! A kid raped and tortured by his parent is righteous!
But why couldn’t we just skip the suffering and have God increase righteousness??
And that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that if suffering increases righteousness, more suffering bring more righteousness. So, we should kill more children in Iraq. More kids should be raped and tortured! (And the best part is that the Bible doesn’t have a problem with either.)
And finally, this means that suffering is a good thing that should be promoted, cultivated, and allowed to thrive.
Then, this idiot went on. His next message was “God allows suffering to increase obedience”. Both of these messages were so important, they were captioned on the screen! “God allows suffering to increase obedience.”
Now, not only is this saying that God wants you to obey and that he’ll punish you if you don’t but, if suffering brings righteousness and obedience, then if you are one you are also the other. So, an obedient person is a righteous person! Righteous people don’t think for themselves. They follow blindly. They do as they are told. And God wants you to be this way – if you’re not, you’ll get it!
… sounds a bit wrong to me.
Oh, and if that wasn’t the final insult, each time this message was repeated, the preacher started in about tithing. If you want to be righteous, he seemed to say, you’ll be obedient and give us your money!!!
And he was doing God’s work – spreading the good word… and making a few bucks while he was at it.
Now, I know I’ve been going on for a bit but I want to test this theory for a second. If suffering brings righteousness and obedience, you would think it should apply to me. I mean, I can’t seem to get a job – I’ve become the least likely person to get hired. I get turned down almost daily with no encouragement. My friends are bailing on me about as badly as during my divorce. Things are looking pretty bad for me and my family.
That should make me pretty righteous and obedient… right? Well, probably not. I mean, would you call me righteous? I’m a friggin’ atheist. And as for obedience, well, let’s just say, “Good fucking luck.”
Let’s face it, this jackass preacher didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. He was just using God to make a buck, which is neither righteous nor obedient… but then, I don’t see him suffering.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Vicky has this theory that I catch a cold every 3-4 months. Sadly, this year, she’s been on the money. When we returned from Hawaii in April, I got sick. In August, I got sick. And now that it’s November… yep, I’m sick.
It started out as a stomach flu that had me… um… well… it wasn’t pretty. Now, it’s moved on to the suburbs of my body and I’ve been enjoying a dandy, little fever since yesterday. I’m exhausted. I fall asleep all the time, have the wickedest dreams, then wake up from body aches and fever… ugh! So, I’m basically wiped out right now.
Actually, I’m sitting at my desk, squirming from muscle aches, and trying to remember what it was I was going to say…. Dammit…
The only upside to this that I can think of is that, by getting sick now, I’ll be better for my brother’s wedding. Hate to say it but I’m not really looking forward to it. I’ve been trying to lose weight for it but that’s been kind of a bust. This unemployment thing has only served to further isolate me from my family because I’ve been so ashamed of myself. And, to top it off, I can’t even write…
… as is probably evident right about now, huh?
I’m going to go crawl back into bed now...
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
We’ve got a country full of gun-toting, gay-hating, Bible-thumping, war-starting Christia… er, hypocrites and these people have come out with a movie filled with evidence disputing that their almighty Savior (you know, the one who preached the tolerance and love they so conveniently ignore) never even existed. Sure, The God Who Wasn’t There is filled with old evidence, long substantiated evidence, stuff I’ve known about for year, not too much new, shiny, cool shit, but it takes some balls to release a movie like that in a country filled with people who hate anyone who doesn’t love their big, spooky, imaginary old man in the sky (or young man impaled on wood, if you prefer the gayer interpretation). Yeah, you'll love the trailer!
As for me, I’d have no problem with Christians if they’d just be Christian, if they’d just follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, but that would require them to love their enemies, turn the other cheek, provide for those less well-off than themselves, and…. oh right, FORGIVE.
That ain’t happening.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
But I assure you this has nothing to do with last night’s dinner! Vicky ate some and she’s just fine!
This is the first time I’ve been sick since losing my job. You might say that unemployment agrees with me.
In fact, this whole unemployment business is beginning to freak me out.
I only have three months left of unemployment insurance. After that, my writing career will be over and my career at Target/Costco/gas station/etc. will have begun. After spending over a decade building a career as a writer, well, it’s not something I’m looking forward to with any enthusiasm, let me tell you.
And I haven’t been doing the best job keeping these fears from Vicky. She’s been doing a great job at being supportive but I think I’ve been relying on that a bit too much. But I guess that’ll come to no surprise to those who know me – the strong, silent type, I ain’t.
Anyway, I guess I’ll go watch some TV and hope that, with any luck, you’ll hear me complaining about having a job that doesn’t give me enough time off soon…
Monday, November 13, 2006
A couple of weeks ago, Vicky and I picked up a package of pre-chopped butternut squash from Costco (where America goes to get obese). We didn’t know what we’d do with it but we wanted to eat healthier and, well, how long can you eat baby carrots, anyway?
(And why do they call them baby carrots? It’s not like they are actually very young carrots. My theory is that they put a regular carrot inside of some kind of grinder and out pops three or four baby ones.)
We found this great recipe for Moroccan Slow Cooker Stew, which called for – you guessed it – butternut squash. It’s very healthy, good for you… and we were figuring it would taste like shit.
Surprise! It didn’t!
We decided to make it again this week. Actually, we decided I’d make it this week.
So, here are the ingredients:
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium garlic clove, minced (but who are we kidding? Go crazy!)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup baby carrots (it’s not like our fridge wasn’t full of them anyway)
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
15 oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp salt
Preparation is one of those 1, 2, 3 kind of things:
First, wilt the onion and garlic in a pan with a couple sprays of cooking spray (you may know this as “Pam”).
Second, throw that, along with the carrots, tomatoes, broth, cinnamon, cumin, pepper flakes and (oh yeah) the squash into your slow cooker and simmer for six hours.
Third, write me a check for all of your money and mail it to me while adding the chickpeas (rinsed and drained) and salt and letting it cook for about five more minutes.
Don’t forget to give it a few stirs. Also, if you don’t want to buy one of those monster cans of crushed tomatoes (the only way the sell the bastards, it seems), you can crush the tomatoes yourself. Just get some tomatoes (peeled) and crush them with your blender, hand mixer, food processor, or small child. (Paying attention?)
Making this again turned out to be a slight problem. When I took the remaining butternut squash from our fridge, it had obviously gone bad. In its bag, it was coated with a creamy, white film.
(… wait… um… just a sec… maybe I shouldn’t mention “creamy white film” in a blog entry about my butter nuts…)
This is how I came to find out why you don’t often hear about people cooking with butternuts. I had to go to the store and actually buy one! Actually prepare it!
Okay, the thing is, if you can get it pre-chopped in a bag – DO SO!
If you’re thinking about buying one from the store… just a few things:
1) The peel is actually wood bark. And, yes, you have to peel it.
2) Splitting it is probably best done with a chainsaw.
3) They were pretty cheap at the store. After a few hours of chopping, peeling, and getting Band-Aids for the cuts on my hands, arms, and face, I can see why.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
"...face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."
It's almost as if it just doesn't pay to commit crimes against humanity any more.
In case it's not clear: "Germany was chosen for the court filing because German law provides "universal jurisdiction" allowing for the prosecution of war crimes and related offenses that take place anywhere in the world."
Oh, sweet irony.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I was very disappointed last night. The election, while good for thoughtful people with regards to checks and balances and having more than one group of people in control (we’re hoping) still had many pitfalls.
Take, for instance, the landslide victory of the Mad Austrian here in California. What the hell? Just a year ago, this guy holds special elections to try and bust the unions of teachers, firefighters, and other people for whom we should provide a living wage and now he’s everyone’s hero? This is the guy whose disdain for our environment is as big as his car and we can’t wait to get him back office? What the hell is wrong with you people, anyway?
Oh, I know. I’ve heard it. Schwartzenfucker is supposed to be cool because he was a… um… an actor. Sure. That makes as much sense as hiring a guy with a big ass crack to fix your plumbing – HE SURE LOOKS LIKE THE JOB, RIGHT?! I thought you people learned your lesson with Reagan? After all, they’re both about as talented.
But when it comes to people being conned into voting against their own best interests, nobody takes the prize – steals the prize – better than the tobacco and oil lobbies.
Proposition 86, here in California, would have put a tax on cigarettes. That should have been a NO BRAINER! Let’s see… more revenue and fewer smokers. Shit! Wouldn’t want that!! Proposition 87, also in California, would have invested in alternate sources of energy to help clean our environment. Clean Environment?! Ewwwww!!!
The tobacco and oil lobbies convinced Californians not to vote for these measures with one great, knockout punch. They basically said, “We should have that money! It’s ours!” And California responded with a brave and hearty, “Oh…. Okay….” And so, California turned its back on health and well being for cheaper smokes and more smog.
I’m ashamed to live here…
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
It’s beyond nerve wracking. It’s petrifying.
And so, it was interesting to find the following equation in the book I’m reading by Abraham Maslow: No Future = No Neurosis.
Makes sense. What’s there to be neurotic about if there’s no future. Context. Meaning. These things are important.
And it got met thinking about success – after all, that’s why I’m reading Maslow in the first place.
I tried simple substitution: No Success = No Neurosis.
… Um, no.
But there was something there; I could feel the bee buzzing in my heading. Something about context and meaning.
Neurosis is created by reference. That reference is the future.
And then: BINGO. Success – Reference = Meaningless.
… which was a lot like saying: Success – X = 0. Um… it didn’t really mean anything.
What’s the Reference?
That’s when I realized I had an algebra problem on my hands. I stomped around the house, bitching and complaining because, basically, I hate algebra!!! And Vicky gave me that “I married a lunatic” look she’s been giving me so often lately.
… solve for X.
If Success – Reference = Meaningless, then… umm….
Taking away the reference removes the meaning of success… that means that success connects you (provides context) to the reference…
I went around the house. “What’s the reference? What’s the reference?”
I began a list. It couldn’t be things people think of as success (money, fame, fortune) because I wasn’t trying to find that. I was trying to find the thing that success connects a person to… and, strangely enough, it started to come together. Money is meaningless without… Fame is meaningless without… Fortune is meaningless without… Put in those terms, the reference was obvious.
I sat down with Vicky and asked her help.
“I think what I’m saying is that success is meaningful when it connects you with people in your life.”
“Sure,” she agreed.
“But what else does this? What connects you meaningfully with other people?”
Vicky didn’t realize it but she was about to give me the answer the blew the whole thing wide open. She said, “Just interacting with people.”
I was so stupid!
Success – Reference = Meaningless
Success + Reference (that being a connection with others) = Meaningful. Which is to say, success is meaningful when it connects you to others.
Therefore, connecting with others in a meaningful way brings success. It blew the whole thing open. That’s why those who have little material wealth but have people who love them feel successful and who those who have amassed millions but have few friends feel empty.
It also answered the question I’ve been asked so often, “What’s the point of this?”
A mathematical way of expressing decency to others….
I’ve got to finish this book.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Just when you think it can’t get any worse, here comes this lady selling Christian Diet Books & DVDs. (Along with the EVER POPULAR Christian message: Why We Want You To Be Rich!) Cause, you know, Christ was all about shedding those extra inches. Isn’t that why he fasted in the desert???
This woman’s exploitation of Jesus’ message is nothing new or unique. It’s just so… cheap. It makes me ashamed to say, “Yes, I’m human, too.”
And you don’t have to actually change money in the temple to be a hypocrite…. Really…
Friday, November 03, 2006
A lot of sites allow for feedback, linking, what have you... but I want one more.
Take Yahoo for instance. One of their featured stories today is how P. Diddy wants to be James Bond. Dumbass, who doesn't??
So, I'd like to suggest a single button that any reader can click: the "And how is this news?" button. You think stupid stories like the one about P. Diddy, or the one about people getting addicted to the Internet, might get a few clicks?
Getting the people who run the sites to pay attention would be a different story, of course.
“All I listen to is Big Band. It’s the last, good music.”
“I wish it would come back.”
“It had a resurgence in the ‘50’s but…”
“It couldn’t fight rock and roll.”
“I can’t stand that stuff.”
I was finding their discussion ironic because, overhead, “Smokin” by Boston was playing, a song constructed very much like a Tommy Dorsey song (listen to “Sing Sing Sing with a Little Swing”). A few songs later “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” by Offspring was on and I could see the similarities between that and Boston. I also thought about Christiana Aguilera’s new disk and how it borrows a lot from the 40’s. It’s all related. Big Band was co-opted but not forgotten!
Now, I’m not saying that those old timers (who probably weren’t more than 15 years or so older than me) should start listening to Offspring. Don’t get me wrong. What I’m saying is that, while I can see how the music is all related, one of these days something’s going to come around that’s so offensive that my old fogey self is going to shut myself off to it, too. Things change. That’s the nature of life.
I wish I could see that when it came to the job hunt.
I’ve been at this now – what? – for nearly three months!? When’s it going to end??? I mean: FUCK!!
I’ve been asking for feedback from employers who turn me down and, let me tell you, that hasn’t been helping.
One employer, last week, wrote that my writing was above-average and that my personality was animated and eager… but he didn’t say why he didn’t hire me. I just wasn’t “the one”. He ended his email, “I trust that a quality copywriting position is both imminent and appropriate for you.” Now, seriously, what the fuck does that mean?
This week was even worse, though. After going for multiple interviews with an employer and completing a test that I was emailed at home, I wasn’t given the position. Why? Not because I wasn’t a good write. Not because I wasn’t personable.
Because I finished the test too quickly! I thought it would display my sincerity and my interest. They said it showed a lack of “thoughtfulness”… huh? They also said I displayed some red flags, such as telling them one of my hobbies was acting and that I seemed desperate for the job.
It’s like you can’t win.
So, anyway, impermanence.
This job search could be impermanent. Right? I could find a job tomorrow (or, at least, Monday), right? On the flip side, I could lose everything if I don’t find a job.
Not good. Not good.
The only truly bright side to all of this has been Vicky, who has been nothing but supportive. I’m a very lucky guy.
Her luck stinks.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
First, there’s Foley.
Now, there’s this guy! Evangelical, gay-hating Christian (of which there are, sadly, more and more each day), and he’s paying money for the cock!
It’s tempting to, um, insert a joke about the Log Cabin Republicans just about now! But, seriously, what is with these people? They’re the strangest bunch I’ve every witnessed!
“Hate the gays! Hate the gays!… (Hey, wanna suck on my…)”
And they call the left a bunch of perverts…
But you don’t hear them calling us hypocrites.
Monday, October 30, 2006
(Vicky: KEN’S WRONG!)
… um, I’m the second to admit when I might be wrong.
… I know I went into this whole Weight Watchers thing like it was a joke but I have to say it actually is helping. I’ve lost nearly five pounds in two weeks and I’m not starving or anything… much.
You don't take any pills. You don't buy their food. You just learn to eat more sensibly. The thing is, it’s helping me eat like a regular human being instead of a big, fat pig. I figure that’s a good thing.
(Anyone got some ice cream???)
Sunday, October 29, 2006
The first thing I did was sign up for the LA Peace March, which took place yesterday in Hollywood. I got Vicky to sign up, too, though I knew I wasn’t always going to be so lucky. It was good to have her there, though; I hadn't slept Friday night and I was pretty tired. We got on the freeway after our WeightWatchers meeting and made it to Hollywood and Vine by about 11am.
There was obviously something going on there. Crowds of people were flooding both sides of the street, along with crowds of cops. Traffic hadn’t been blocked, yet, so everyone kept to either side of the street.
At a bus station on one corner, tables and booths were set up from a variety of organizations supporting (or so I thought) the event. Vicky and I checked these out, bombarded with buttons and t-shirts, banners to carry, causes we hadn’t heard of, and people, people, people. The diversity of the political left never ceases to amaze. It is the strength of tolerance and, I think, too often ignored.
Eventually, the press of people had us both moving up the street, to a place that wasn’t so crowded. On the way, I met my first communist in twenty years. I thought their breed had died out – I would be proven very wrong. But, hey, I used to be a socialist, too, so I can sympathize. I say “used to be” because one thing I learned yesterday was, like it or not, I’ve experienced some middle-aged creep over to the political right; I’m a lot less liberal than I used to be.
Take, for instance, the lunatic fringe. I said to Vicky, “Politics is perception. We’re going to make a lot less headway with moderate or the right as long as they see us as a bunch of hippies and communists.” But enough of that.
We were handed picket signs to carry through the march, provided by ANSWER. They read US OUT OF IRAQ, a sentiment I had no problem supporting.
And we waited for the march to begin.
As we waited, more and more people started crowding our space. Let’s face it, we were in the middle of a peace march – what else was I expecting? Wide open spaces??? But my claustrophobia started pounding at my skull and saying, “You really need to go. NOW!” No fun. But the monotony of the wait was passed by people watching and all the folks coming by with their causes.
A girl with a very low cut top on and pasties (and no bra!) stopped in front of us and took pictures with some guys. (Their interest was world peace…. SURE! Both the left and right ones!) Vicky moved her sign in front of her face and said, “I don’t want to be in the picture with the boobs.”
I felt like a boob when a guy with a bullhorn stopped in front of me and started speaking to the crowd. Everyone around us was looking and I was acting like, “Yeah, I’m with him.” I didn’t realize he was there to talk veganism and I, the ex-vegetarian, felt like a colossal hypocrite. So, I lowered my sign.
Representatives from a couple “third parties” were there. Stewart Alexander, Peace and Freedom Party’s candidate for Lieutenant Governor of California, walked by us, campaigning and shaking hands. Green Party representatives were there – but I’m already a member. Several Hispanic groups were there, spreading the cause of immigrants rights (those pesky “human rights”).
I would say the worst groups of all were the communists and anarchists, people whose message was that it doesn’t matter who gets elected because everyone’s the same and there’s nothing you can do… except what they tell you to do. Yep, authoritarianism is alive and well on the left as well as the right.
My favorite bunch of loonies, however, had to be the NESARA bunch. These people were even nuttier than the “chem-trail” people. (“Chem-trailers” believe that the contrails left by jet engines are the intentional seeding of the air with chemicals harmful to humanity… with no proof of any kind.) (Of course.) NESARA, the National Economic Security and Reformation Act, folk will tell you that it’s a bill passed by Congress in 2000 that a) removes all elected officials from office, b) declares “peace” in Iraq (funny, considering it was supposed to have been passed years before we went into Iraq), c) zeroes all credit card balances, d) reinstates the gold standard, and e) abolishes income taxes.
Listen, I know I say a lot about the political right but I’m not above admitting that there are some loonies on the left. And this is a bad thing because, as I kept pointing out to Vicky, politics is perception. Loonies on the left make the left look loony. One of the weaknesses of diversity is that you’re going to have some loonies. It’s a pickle.
Thankfully, though, we were there for a good cause aside from the loonies. The march began a little late but when it did it was like a wave of humanity. Over a thousand people, from what we could see, moved cheerfully and inevitably down Hollywood Boulevard, chanting slogans of peace. The sun was not being friendly; we were happy whenever we hit some shade. People watched us from windows and balconies. Some waved homemade signs showing support. Some crowds gathered at street corners. And through it all the police, like a motorcade on bicycles, followed alongside. There wasn’t a single problem.
Well, there was one. When we turned down Wilcox Avenue, the sun was hitting us right in the face. Vicky, my pragmatic wife, simply held her sign a little lower and used it as shade. I knew there was a reason why I married her.
The march ended at a rally where we saw a few people speak. (And I got to meet and shake hands with Mike Farrell!) (I’m a MASH geek.) But the weariness from not sleeping, on top of that from the walk and the heat, killed my interest. I was tired and hungry… and Vicky sat down to watch the speakers…
So, I waited.
After a while, she said she might need to find a bathroom. I said, “Let’s go!” and dashed her off. Probably not what she was expecting.
And off we went (eventually) to Cold Stone. (I’m horrible.)
It was an interesting day. Educational, definitely. And it was nice to be a part of it and know that, when my kid asks what we did during the war, I can say more than, “Looked for a job.”
A footnote to this story.
I’m always interested to see how things get handled in the press and I’m never disappointed by their incompetence. This website has a story about it with the headline, “Protesters March on CNN for Pro-War Coverage”.
… not quite.
We were protesters. We did march. We did end up in front of the CNN building and we did hold a rally there.
But Pro-War coverage was the last thing we wanted. I’d say there’s been enough Pro-War coverage. In fact, it’s pretty much all we get!
Ugh. Let’s just hope I don’t find a story saying we were marching for WAR!