Thursday, August 25, 2005

Thursday Thoughts

I've frequently heard the assertion that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.

My answer to that is, "Why be lazy?"

Life is a sexually transmitted disease with a 100% fatality rate.

If you ever stop making mistakes, it means you're dead.

Love comes in spurts

Insurance industry = legalized, organized crime

Murphy's General Workplace Law:

If it works and it makes sense, they'll change it.
If it's stupid, they'll make it a written rule

As heard on the police radio:

A dispatcher once described a suspect as wearing "pan tants" (tan pants)

Dispatcher: See the lady who had her car stolen out of her purse
Officer: Was it a Matchbox?

(same dispatcher, by the way, who'd gotten it mixed up again)

Dispatcher: Can you describe the suspect?
Officer (who had just arrived on the scene): Yeah.....gone!

Dispatcher: Go to 100B Something Apartments. Caller complained there is a man masturbating outside her bedroom window.
Officer: Can you describe the suspect?
Dispatcher: He'll be the one with his pants around his ankles and his dick in his hand

Officer (while chasing a calf that got away from the stockyards): I think we'll need our special Smith and Wesson rope for this one
Officer 2: Tennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn-four!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Quotes and Comments

God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.

-- Voltaire

As a kid, I always wondered if God -- if God did indeed exist -- created the human race simply for amusement in a fit of boredom and loneliness. I always reasoned that an infinite being could have created perfect human beings, but that we were purposely designed to make mistakes, as that's infinitely more interesting and amusing that predictable perfection.

Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.

-- James M. Barrie

I've never had a job where I could go with the flow and work with my strengths and natural interests. I've always been obliged to take jobs where I had to fight my weaknesses in order to do the job. One day, it would be nice to actually have a job I didn't dread going in to.

An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't.

-- Anatole France

I've always believed that the beginning of wisdom is realizing just how much one does NOT know and the beginning of maturity is realizing that your parents weren't so stupid, after all.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Random Thoughts

What do the two following things have in common?

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Answer in tomorrow's entry for those who didn't already guess.

Name something you wish had never been invented.

The first thing that comes to my mind is "alarm clock".

What's the first thing that comes to yours?

Ever notice that when you trip over a shoe in the dark while in bare feet, that you keep on tripping over it? That is, the shoe rolls over and over in front of your foot, instead of being pushed to the side.


Sometimes when another person speaks to us they are referring to one thing, when we think they mean another. Confusion ensues, but at the end, they make it clear what they actually meant.

In such cases, I'll frequently tell them what it was I thought they meant, simply as a way of explaining what confused me.

Invariably, however, the other person thinks that you still don't understand and they don't get that you are simply explaining the initial source of your confusion. And they explain it again! And don't understand when you simply say you were clarifying the original reason for confusion. Grrrrr.

Ever have this happen to you?

Reading Roundup

Fairly recently, I read the latest installment of Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire series. When I mentioned to someone else that I thought it was a good story, but not racy enough, she recommended the Anita Blake series.

So I went to the used bookstore, where I found the first of this multi-volume set. After reading Guilty Pleasures, I thought it was OK, but not particularly sexy. I was then told that the books become more explicit as the series moves on. I went back to the bookstore and found Narcissus in Chains, which was indeed more explicit, both in sex and violence. But still kind of ho-hum plotwise. Now I'm on Cerulean Sins, which is beginning verrrrrrrry slowwwwwwly.

I've also been reading Eric Flint's time travel/alternate history series. I read 1632 ages ago, and I've made a start on 1633. The third volume, 1634 just came out in paperback, so I bought that and put it in the stack. I'm hoping these will move faster than the Anita Blake series.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Saturday Tidbits

In the last week, I've noticed a flurry of commercials, on both radio and TV, from car dealerships. Unsurprisingly, I found out that right now is a great time to buy an SUV. In response to the dramatic spike in gas prices, dealers, probably all over the country, are offering great deals to unload all the SUVs they can. I wonder if the short term savings will be enough to convince buyers to take on the long term expense?

I also wonder if the automakers will respond to this by offering fewer SUV models in the next model year? Will we see more hybrids, like the Prius that John Sherck recently bought?


It seems as if the police car that crashed into a pole the other day that I reported in my Summer Cloudburst entry did not hydroplane, after all.

The officer was driving down the street before the storm began when a bee came in the window and went down his shirt. It appears that he crashed into the pole while trying to get it out of his shirt!

Reminds me of that officer twenty years ago who had a similar problem. However, he handled it by immediately stopping the car in the middle of the road, jumping out, ripping his shirt off and dancing all around the median strip while traffic flowed around him.

The current officer should have done what the previous officer did, as his method of insect removal only cost the city some embarassment, instead of a patrol car.

I recently found out that the officer from twenty years ago died earlier this year (not even sixty yet!) and I couldn't help but think that he was laughing his ass off from whatever afterlife might exist!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Selfish Religion

When I was a kid back in the 1960s, I remember that most religious people I knew expressed their faith by helping people: the poor, the sick, the elderly, and so on. It was usually mainline denominations that did so: Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, etc.

Nowadays, more people are turning to fundamentalist churches rather than the mainline ones. However, quite a large number of such people don't become religious in order to be better people and to help others. Rather, many people "get religion" because they see it as their ticket to heaven. It's all about them.

Fundamentalist denominations encourage this mindset because they insist that people cannot be saved by "works"; that is, by helping people and trying to be better people. They don't consider that helping people might be worthy in its own right; that doing so isn't simply a means to "get saved" and help themselves.

They stress that the only way to get to heaven is by faith; that is, by accepting that Jesus died for their sins and accepting him into their lives. Period.

Such fundies don't worry so much about WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) when it comes to their dealings with others, especially that pesky empathy that Jesus was likely to show for people. They believe in an "inerrant" Bible, yet they ignore verses that say that whatever you do "unto the least of these, my brethen, you have done to Me", or if someone takes your shirt, that you should give them your cloak as well. And let's not even get into the "Get rich quick with Jesus" mega-churches -- that would be an entry of its own.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Time Travel Fantasies

I've always been interested in the idea of time travel, reading about it and seeing it on film, and the idea of actually doing it myself. It's a fantasy I've had since childhood.

I can remember sitting in history classes during my school years and imagining going back in time and how I'd convince them that I was actually from the future and not insane. I'd visualized meeting famous people and telling them how they affected history and how they are remembered in the future. I especially liked indulging in this fantasy at bedtime, as a creative alternative to counting sheep.

After my mother died, my time travel fantasies increasingly turned to imagining visiting my ancestors and telling them what had happened in the family since that time. Though I've imagined visiting several different ancestors, there are two specific "visits" I usually make.

In one fantasy, I go back to around 1940, to my mother's home to visit with her and my grandparents. My mother was sixteen then, and it would be two years before she would meet my father. My grandparents were in their late thirties, and their last child would not be born until four years later.

It would always begin with me knocking on the front door. Naturally, I was a stranger to them at first, but they would notice the family resemblance, without realizing just what it was. I'd tell them who I was, then drag out family picture I'd brought along to prove it. The pictures would include ones from their past, their present, their future, and those from my life. Slowly, they'd begin to believe, and invite me into the house.

I'd sit around the kitchen table, while my grandmother bustled around making lunch for us as we talked. I'd tell them how their lives would go in the future, and the main points of future history: how WWII transpired, presidents, etc. Sometimes, I'd bring along a history book to show them. Then I'd move on and tell how the world had changed and all that had been invented. But I'd always stop just before I'd tell them when and how they'd died. I always felt it would be better if they didn't know.

In the other fantasy, I'd return to 1970, the last full year of my mother's life. I'd always show up one day when everyone else was out of the house, when she'd be there alone. Because I was already alive as my 12 year old self, convincing her of my identity was different. I'd bring along a series of photos of myself, from babyhood, then including pictures of me from every year forward, so she could see the progression of change to my appearance. She would invite me in, and we'd sit around the kitchen table, where I would fill her in on what the family had done in future years, while also telling her how the world had changed. Sometimes, I was even able to bring her forward for a visit into the future where she could see the changes for herself. I'd enjoy her amazement at seeing computers, cell phones, and so on for the first time. Sometimes, I'd tell her that her time on Earth was short, sometimes not.

I still engage in these time travel fantasies occasionally, especially when I'm having trouble getting to sleep.


Monday, August 8, 2005

My First Job

Compared to most people, I entered the work force at a relatively late age.

Because my mother died when I was thirteen, my father let me get away with a lot of things he might not have otherwise. When I was in high school, and most of my friends were getting summer jobs to make extra cash and to learn a bit about the real world, I had no interest in doing likewise. Nor did my father encourage me to do so. Instead, I spent my high school summers sleeping late, having sex, and watching TV.

When I was in college, I got a social security check every month because I had a parent to die before I turned 18. The amount was woefully inadequate, so at the age of 20, I decided to find a job. They were building a new Burger King in the town where I went to college, so I applied and was hired.

I volunteered to help clean the place up and get it ready for customers before the grand opening. So far, well and good. Once we opened, however, I found myself either filling drink cups or washing greasy dishes. Never anything else, as they’d over-hired and there were so many people in there at any given time that if you fainted, you’d never hit the floor, as you’d bump into several people on the way down.

Less than a week after the store opened, while I was up to my armpits in greasy dishes, I was called into the office and fired. Just like that. I’d never been reprimanded or corrected for any reason, so I was completely blindsided.

When I asked why, and what had I done wrong, they were vague, and never gave me a direct answer to my question.

“You’re just not working out,” they said with no further elaboration or pointing out anything specific.

To this day, I have absolutely no idea why they fired me.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Odds and Ends 13

Have you ever heard a man or a woman say, "WE'RE pregnant"? I heard this on the radio the other night, and that sort of thing just makes me grind my teeth.

No, WE are not pregnant. SHE is pregnant and though he made her pregnant, he is most definitely not pregnant! His belly won't expand, his ankles won't swell, he won't end up waddling in the last couple of weeks, and most, importantly, he will not experience labor or giving birth. It's all on her.

I realize this isn't meant literally, but rather, it's a gooey appeal to togetherness, to emphasize the coming parenthood for both.

No thanks. Don't mind me, but I'd rather just say, "I'm going to be a Dad", and leave it at that.

Next thing you know after a man says "We're pregnant", he'll be wearing matching Winnie the Pooh sweatshirts with his wife/female partner.

Ugh. I think I'm going to be sick now.

While listening to the radio the other day, a song came on where it was very obvious whenever the singer took a breath. The loud sucking sound every few bars completely distracted me from listening to the words of the song. I wanted to hear the sound of music, not the sound of a 4 pack a day smoker at the end of a 10k hike!

It made me wonder why when the song was mixed prior to release, why these loud inhalations were simply not erased from the track. Surely, it is possible to do that?

I have two small scars on my head, both near my eyes, one above and eye and one under the other one.

The first I acquired when I was about three, when one of our family's roosters jumped on top of my head and tried to pluck my eye out, which the rooster perceived as simply a shiny object. My uncle grabbed the rooster and wrung its neck and we ended up eating chicken that night.

After more than forty years, this scar is hard to see and you'd likely not notice it unless I pointed it out.

The other scar I got back in the 80s. A prisoner being booked had broken away from the jailer and ran out the door -- smack dab into me. I ended up getting into a fight with this guy, who was hopped up on drugs. He sucker punched me, knocking me flat on my ass. I jumped up and eventually gained the upper hand and got him back to the jail, but I carry a small scar above my left eye from this fight.

I've noticed that internet computer usage has inspired some rather tortured word constructions, and not all from individual users. My internet provider is Earthlink and I prefer to use the Web Mail feature to check my email.

Sometimes, when I click onto the mail link, I get this message "Due to inactivity, your session has expired. Please re-login."

Re-login???? What the hell kind of a word is that? It's awkward, it's clumsy, and it's pretentious.

Why not have the message say, "Please log in again"?

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Star Trek and Social Commentary

I’ve been a Star Trek fan since its first inception in 1966, when I was eight years old. I continued to enjoy the show in reruns as I grew up, then in new spinoff series, beginning in 1987 with Star Trek: The Next Generation.

One of the things I’ve always liked best about the various Trek series was the way serious issues of our time were covered, disguised in fictional settings. Three favorite episodes from the Next Generation series that meet this criteria are “Up the Long Ladder”, “Who Watches the Watchers”, and “The Chase”.

In “Up the Long Ladder”, the Enterprise deals with two human colonies on different planets. The first, a group of Irish people living in a back-to-nature society, is in danger because their sun has become unstable. Picard brings them all aboard, then scouts the sector for a new planet for them to settle on. They come upon a planet inhabited by other human settlers whose ancestors left Earth approximately the same time as those from the Irish planet.

This planet has a stable sun, but the population consists entirely of clones from a mere five survivors when the original colony ship crashed on the planet. The population is suffering from “replicative fading”, as the same five original people have been cloned over and over again. Apparently, none of the original five had had children together, and by the time the Enterprise meets them, they’ve developed a revulsion at the very idea of sex.

To make a long story short, the solution is to merge the Irish settlers and the clones on the clone planet. In order to improve the gene pool for the new combined colony, Picard recommends that monogamy be abolished and that each woman should have at least three husbands.

As a libertine, I enjoyed this episode for the matter-of-fact and practical way Picard solved the problem and that he was able to see “out of the box” beyond one of our society’s sacred cows.

The next episode, “Who Watches the Watchers”, deals with ideas of God and religion. As the episode begins, the Enterprise is sent to a planet to help an anthropological observation team repair some defective machinery. A proto-Vulcan race, living at a Bronze Age level, is native to the planet and is the focus of the team’s work.

While the Enterprise’s away team is assisting the group at the observation post, the cloaking device hiding the post and its technology from the planet’s natives malfunctions and goes offline. The people on the planet are exposed to the observation team and the Enterprise crew -- one man is critically injured and has to be taken to the Enterprise to save his life.

The planet’s natives, the Mintakans, mistake Picard and his crew for gods, having witnessed technology inconceivable to them. Picard takes the Mintakan leader aboard the Enterprise, where he manages to convince her of his humanity, telling her that anyone witnessing technology sufficiently advanced to their own would naturally see it as magic and conclude that those having it were gods.

Others have suggested that something similar could have happened in Earth’s ancient history; that the “miracles” spoken of in the Bible were actually demonstrations of superior technology from a visiting alien race. It’s something to think about….

The third episode, also having an underlying religious theme, is “The Chase”. In this episode, Picard meets up with one of his old professors, an anthropologist, who has found related strands of fossil DNA on different planets in the galaxy.

To make a long story short, the Enterprise, along with crews from Klingon, Romulan, and Cardassian ships all chasing the same DNA fragments, end up on the planet where it all originated. They find a place where a recording has been left for those who have solved the riddle and visit the planet. It said:

"You're wondering who we are ... why we have done this ... how it has come that I stand before you, the image of a being from so long ago. Life evolved on my planet before all others in this part of the galaxy. We left our world, explored the stars, and found none like ourselves. Our civilization thrived for ages - but what is the life of one race, compared to the vast stretches of cosmic time? We knew that one day we would be gone, and nothing of us would survive - so we left you. Our scientists seeded the primordial oceans of many worlds, where life was in its infancy. The seed codes directed your evolution toward a physical form resembling ours: this body you see before you, which is of course shaped as yours is shaped, for you are the end result. The seed codes also contain this message, which is scattered in fragments on many different worlds. It was our hope that you would have to come together in fellowship and companionship to hear this message - and if you can see and hear me, our hope has been fulfilled. You are a monument, not to our greatness, but to our existence. That was our wish: that you too would know life, and would keep alive our memory. There is something of us in each of you, and so, something of you in each other. Remember us."

In other words, all the seemingly dissimilar planetary races are not so dissimilar after all. As well as having implications that shatter our idea of how God created life on Earth, it shows us that the minuscule differences between human beings (race, nationality, sex, etc) that people in the 21st century fight about, really don’t amount to a hill of beans.


Wednesday, August 3, 2005

In a Hurry? Or No Particular Place To Go?

I’ve noticed that many people are either almost always in a hurry or compulsive dawdlers. For people on both ends of this spectrum, there is rarely a happy medium.

The first type lives as if someone is following them around with a stopwatch. Everything must be done as fast as they can possibly do it. Cook fast, eat fast, shower fast, work fast, fuck fast, and so on. It’s as if they never heard the expression “haste makes waste”.

Nowhere is this trait more prevalent than when such people get behind the wheel of a car. There is an unwritten assumption that one must always drive as fast as they can get away with, regardless of whether they have to be anywhere at any particular time and even if they’re not running late. These are the folks who will tailgate even those cars driving at 20 miles over the limit, will swerve around you only to turn right at the very next intersection, and will drive as fast as they can to the next traffic light, even if it just turned red.

I’m guessing that an underlying reason for this mindset is that to take one’s time doing things is to be lazy and, especially in the case of driving, that it’s not “cool” to simply drive along at a moderate speed. Don’t get me wrong, I like to take my car on the interstate and put it through its paces, but I don’t have to always drive it as fast as I can get away with. I figure we’re all going to be in the cemetery soon enough, so why hurry towards it?

The other type, the dawdler -- whose car always seems to be in front, by the way -- can be equally annoying. These are the people who pick at their food, pushing it around on the plate long after everyone else has gotten up to do something else. These are the people who have to try on 900 outfits, while everyone else waits and waits and waits to leave for the movie.
Dawdlers block every grocery aisle, oblivious to others wanting to get by.

They are the ones who drag their feet walking smack in the middle of the road in the middle of the night, who won’t pick up the pace and get out of the way when a car wants to pass. They just look at you with that deer caught in the headlights expression, put out at the effrontery of a car actually wanting to use the road.

I don’t know which type is worse; the speed freaks or those living life seemingly in a coma. Mostly, I want to take things at a moderate pace, speeding up or slowing down as appropriate, without being prodded or hindered by those who want to live at a different pace.


Tuesday, August 2, 2005


All during the years I worked for the police department, the city would give every female employee a gift on Secretary's Day, regardless of what kind of job she held.

No one could understand why I thought this was sexist. I always maintained it was sexist towards both men and women.

I thought it was sexist to women because "female employee" is not synonymous with "secretary" or, for that matter, "subordinate position". Indeed, some of the women receiving gifts on Secretary's Day were department heads. I didn't see anything wrong with those in a secretarial job classification getting gifts on that day, but it was not Female Employee Day, so it was inappropriate to gift a gift to every female employee.

I thought it was sexist towards men, because no male employees were ever recognized in any way for simply performing their jobs, as the female employees were.

It would have been a better thing to have had an "Employee Appreciation Day" to remember everyone.