Friday, February 29, 2008

Impossible Dreams

The other day, Phil asked his readers:

Is there something you've dreamed of doing for a long time? If so, why haven't you done it yet?

I thought I'd ask a similiar question of my readers that has one minor difference:

Is there something you've dreamed of doing, but would be impossible with current technology?

I'll go first:

1. Ever since I was a kid, I've always wanted to visit other planets, and not just the ones in our solar system.

2. Related to the first answer, I'd like to see the Earth in orbit. Granted it's not technologically impossible, but it's near-impossible, considering the current cost and availability.

3. Time-travel, both forwards and backwards. I'd like to visit famous people in history and I imagine how I'd convince them I was from the future. I'd also like to bring someone from the past for a visit to my own time just to watch them marvel. I'd also like to visit ancestors I've never met as well as family members no longer with me. Going back to the past with a sports statistics book would also be a great way to become rich.

4. Invisibility. This one's pretty self explanatory.

5. Flying ability. And I don't mean being able to fly a plane! Since I've been a kid, I've dreamed that I'm able to fly at about tree-top level and it still sounds like a neat skill to have.

6. I think it would be great to be a wizard like in the Harry Potter world. Being able to wave a wand to do all sorts of mundane and not-so-mundane things appeals to the lazy man in me. The longer lifespan and slower aging would work for me, too. Let's hear some of your impossible dreams.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Libertine's "Blogger's Grab Bag of Topics"

Anyone who has blogged for any amount of time has dealt with "blogger's block", when nothing comes readily to mind to write about. The blogger might be tired, distracted, busy with other things, or simply uninspired to write. Some people solve this problem by just not posting on such days. But others, myself included, want to write every day and feel vaguely guilty if we don't put up something each day.

Like other daily bloggers, I go through phases where I'm really on a roll; things all around me become inspirations for writing and the posts almost write themselves. Unfortunately, there are other times when my creative juices have dried up; when I'm creatively constipated and have to pull out the entries, word by word, out of myself. Presently, I've been in that mode for a couple of weeks now, but I have a good reason why -- I'm working on another writing project that is sapping some of my blogging energy away from me.

But that isn't the point of today's entry. Today, I will show the reader my "grab bag of topics" I use as sources for blogging fodder.

1. Rants/Peeves
For me, this is the richest source of blogging material -- everyone has plenty of things in their lives or in general that just piss them off. These types of entries tend to write themselves. These are "what I think" entries. I find it best to write rants with a touch of humor to them, so as not to come off as a whiner, or a "whinger" as the British prefer to say it.

2. Daily Life
Again, most people find it easy to talk about things that are going on in their lives, both good and bad. These are "what I do" entries. I'd caution not to write too many entries about mundane daily events, however, as a little goes a long way here.

3. Current Events/News
Trolling the news sources for interesting news often provides good blogging material. I tend to choose political news or odd news most often, but any sort of news that interests the blogger is good, as it gives the reader insight into the blogger's personality.

4. Reminiscing

Talking about one's memories from years ago, or those of friends and family members give the reader a chance to identify or contrast with the blogger.

5. Lists
These can be humorous or serious and can be about any topic under the sun. These types of entries also invite reader participation. They can be personal, as in "My 25 Favorite Songs" or general, "25 Celebrities Who Were Only Children", for example. This is also a good format for writing entries about trivia/useless knowledge.

6. Quotations

Quotations that resonate with the blogger can be used in two main ways, either as a list of quotes, with or without comments, or a single quotation can insire an essay entry. I've also written essays based on a single word, which have turned out well.

7. Humor
Humor can be used in many different ways. One can write about funny things that have happened to them, write about annoyances in a funny way, post a funny cartoon or photo with our without comment, post a joke you've found somewhere or gotten in an email.

8. Informational
A blogger can write informational pieces about topics they have special knowledge and/or interest in. My blogging original started in this mode, as some people I knew wanted to know about my libertine life, the hows and whys. "How-to" pieces also fall under this category, as do entries about one's hobbies.

9. Opinion Pieces
This is related to the rants/peeves and informational categories. These differ as they're not necessarily presented as something that pisses the writer off, nor are they always strictly factual. These also tend to produce good comment interaction.

10. Polls/Surveys
This is related to the opinion pieces, but is more focused on the readers' opinions more than what the blogger thinks, per se.

11. Memes/Quizzes
Ranging from the serious to the silly, memes are good for days when nothing else comes to mind. They also inspire copy-cat entries for other bloggers similarly uninspired. These are best when used sparingly.

12. People
Other people, whether it's those in our own lives or someone famous, are often a source of good blogging material.

13. Photos and Illustrations
Using photos or other types of illustrations offer versatile entry possibilities. A photo can be posted for artistic value, for humor, or for something about it that inspired the writer. They can be posted with little or no comment, they can illustrate what the blogger is talking about, or they can inspire an essay.

14. Reviews
Reviews about books, movies, TV, and music are another good category, which can be useful to readers.

15. Odds and Ends
This is a miscellaneous entry cobbled together with bits and pieces of elements that are interesting but not long enough to make entries of their own. Such entries often include items from one or more of the other categories.

I'm sure there are more categories I use, but this is all that comes to mind at the present time. Feel free to include some of the elements in your "blogger's grab bag of topics" in the comment box.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Patriotic Window Dressing

This cartoon pretty well sums up my views on the topic. Some people confuse the trappings and idols of patriotism with actual patriotism itself.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What's the Difference?

Above is a photo of a street scene, taken around 1912 or so. There was one element of this photo that struck me as being quite different from a typical city street scene of today.

Can you guess what it is?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Book Review: The Lost Life of Eva Braun

The Lost Life of Eva Braun
by Angela Lambert

Few biographies have been written about the mistress of Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler. Many students of World War II wonder how any woman could have loved Hitler or dismiss her as a shallow bimbo who was just as evil as he was.

This book explores these questions and portrays Braun as an average, unremarkable German woman of her times who was no more evil than the average person.

The author covers Braun's childhood experiences, focusing on the typical cultural attitudes of the time and her father's strict parenting style in particular. These experiences molded her into an impressionable 17 year old who was easily susceptible to the charisma of an older man who had the aura of power about him (his election as Chancellor was four years in the future when they met).

Several chapters deal with how their relationship grew and developed, including their sexual relationship, which was perfectly normal, despite urban legends claiming that Hitler was gay, impotent, or into odd fetishes.

One chapter speculates on what, if anything, Braun knew about the Holocaust, with a follow-up chapter asking what could she have done, even if she'd known. Related to these questions is coverage concerns Hitler's misogyny; how he generally disapproved of women being involved in politics and how political topics were never discussed in mixed gatherings; that most high-ranking Nazi women were deliberately left in the dark about the grisly details about the Holocaust and conduct of the war in general.

The book also explores how she willingly chose to share Hitler's fate, despite those around her, including Hitler, urging her to save herself.

In essence, the book shows her life as representing that of many Germans of the time -- of how millions of average, unremarkable, otherwise moral people could be taken in by someone like Hitler, and continue to do so, living in denial, even after it was obvious he was leading Germany down an evil path.

The author relies heavily on the accounts of those who knew her personally, including one still-living cousin who visited her at Hitler's private home, the Berghof.

Overall, I liked this book, with one quibble: The author includes several short segments comparing Braun's life with that of her mother, a German woman of roughly the same age and background. I understood that the author's purpose was to underline Braun's utter ordinariness of how evil is capable of seducing good people, but these digressions are distracting and the author would have been able to make this point sufficiently without these segments.

I give this book four out of five stars.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

An Incomplete List of Obsolete Things

I recently came upon a site which listed skills that are now obselete, some of them only recently so. I plucked a few of the ones I found interesting for this entry. Enjoy!

Adjusting Rabbit Ears On Top Of aTV

Adjusting Horizontal And Vertical Holds on a TV

Be Kind-Rewind

Calling A Phone Sex Line

Calling Collect On A Payphone

Cash Register Used Manually Entering The Prices

Changing The Ribbon On A Typewriter

Converting Your Albums From Vinyl To Cassette Tape

Cuff Links

Dialing A Rotary Phone

Filing Cards In A Library Card Catalog

Finding Channels On UHF

Getting Off The Couch To Change Channels On Your TV Set

Having Your Gas Pumped For You And Your Oil Checked At A Full-service Gas Station

Kick Starting A Motorcycle

Knowing What Part Of Town Someone Lives In By Their Phone Exchange

Loading A Reel To Reel Tape Drive

Making An Operator Assisted Phone Call

Making Hot Chocolate By Heating Milk in a Pan, Then Adding Cocoa Powder and Sugar (remember the "skin" on the milk?)

Marriage (NOTE: This was actually on the list -- it isn't my addition)

Meeting People By Answering Personal Ads In A Newspaper Or Magazine

Opening A Can Of Beer Or Soda With A Church Key

Peeling The Developer Layer Off A Polaroid

Percolating Coffee

Placing A Coin On A Tonearm To Prevent Skipping

Popping Corn In A Pot With Oil

Porn Not From The Internet

Putting A Needle On A Vinyl Record

Rewinding An Audio Cassette Using A Bic Pen

Selling Something In The Classified Ads

Shave With A Straight Razor


Smelling A Freshly Mimeographed Test Paper

Switching To High Beams By Stomping On A Button In The Floor

Taking The Tape Out Of An Answering Machine

Testing TV Tubes At the Drugstore

Using Carbon Paper To Make Copies

Using Correction Fluid

Using A Party-line Telephone

Using A Pay Toilet

Feel free to add some of your own.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Confession

Today, I thought I'd rattle down a bone from the skeletons in my closet.

Not too long ago, a young guy at work called me an "old has-been". Naturally, this pissed me off big time -- because as long as I can do what I want, then I'm an "is", not a "has-been". And "old" is a matter of perspective. Some people in their 20s might consider me "old", which, obviously, my primary lover does not. But to someone in their 80s, I'm just as young to them as a teenager would be to me.

I have to admit my first reaction was one of revenge. Particularly, I thought it would be a fine idea to find his girlfriend and seduce her -- "I'll show him who's old!". I knew that what I didn't have in raw youth, I most certainly had plenty of experience and finesse.

But then my conscience inconveniently kicked in. I thought that it's not her fault that her boyfriend is a pretentious jerk and that it would not be fair for me to use and then discard her simply for the sake of my own ego and to get revenge.

Did I say old? I meant mature.

But I have to admit that ten years ago, I wouldn't have stopped to think of the woman's feelings, but would have gone with my first instinct without a moment's hesitation.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Cat Humor

You suck!

You will pay, as God is my witness, you will pay.

Go fuck yourself!

I don't think I like you anymore.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Academic Stage Parents

I was uninspired about what to write today, but while reading an entry at Sorting It Out, I was inspired by what he had to say. You can read his take on the subject on his blog, but I will reproduce my experience of it here, which grew from the comment I made on his blog.

Most of you who are parents are familiar with the science fairs that most schools have each year. During his school years starting in the late 80s, my son was expected to do some sort of science project each year for the fair. These fairs were heavily promoted by the school, with family and friends duly turning out to see the science projects, which would then be judged by scientific soundness, originality, and so on.

The entire point of these fairs was to have children learn something about how science worked and to see how it applied to their everyday lives.

Or so I thought.

What made the science fairs at my son's school totally suck back then was the fact that most kids' projects were done by their PARENTS for them, in the hopes of winning first prize. Very few were done by the kids themselves and very few kids had actually learned anything, as their parents had shunted them aside to make the perfect project for them.

As for me, I'd rather see a science fair actually done by the kids themselves, however makeshift or primitive they would look. At least then the kids would be actually learning something and meeting the goal of why schools hold these fairs in the first place.

I made my son do his projects himself, knowing full well he had no chance in hell of ever winning the prize. But he damned sure learned something about science doing these projects, which made him the winner in my book.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Some Thoughts on Love

I was strapped for something to write about today, so I went to a quotation site, intending to do a list of quotes and comments. The following quote inspired the diarrhea of the mind that follows, so the list will have to wait for another day.

Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.
--Ambrose Bierce

I think one of my aversions to marriage is related to the difference between doing something as a hobby, simply because you enjoy it and doing that same thing as a daily job, as a way to earn a living.

Many people have told me, some only half in jest, that because I like having sex with a wide variety of people, that I ought to head out to Nevada where prostitution is legal and get a job with a brothel that caters to female customers and make some money doing something I enjoy.

Though I agree that it would probably be fun for a weekend or so, I'm guessing that once the novelty was gone, it would strip all the fun out of sex and quickly become just another job.

I'm guessing the same would also hold true for other activities I enjoy, such as writing. Those people I know who are published authors who describe the demands of their agents, editors, and publishers make me believe that the business aspect of writing just sucks all the joy out of it.

You bring money, scheduling, and obligation into the picture and often times the enjoyment packs its bags and flees.

With love, I do better when I'm able to give freely without strings, without the baggage of "shoulds" that marriage inevitably brings. For me, if love has to be labeled and structured, then it becomes a cage.

Your mileage may vary of course.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An Interesting Character

In an IM conversation with a friend this morning, I told her that if I could, I would go out in public wearing my bathrobe and slippers. I can't think of when I'm any more comfortable in clothes than when in my green fleece robe and fur-lined slippers.

This reminded me of a guy who I went to high school with. This guy actually did keep a plaid robe and slippers in his locker and he wore them when hanging out in the bandroom, as most band kids did at every possible free moment. If students had been allowed to smoke, he'd have had a pipe to go along with the robe and slippers.

I hadn't thought about this in years, but I'm laughing, remembering the character he was. He would kind of remind someone of the character Hyde from That 70s Show; he looked a bit like him and his personality was similar. He was an intelligent guy who was fun to hang out with, and he definitely marched the beat of his own drummer. As I remember, he could quickly learn to play any musical instrument put in front of him.

Did any of you go to school with any interesting characters?

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Waste of Suicide

Many times after I get off work late at night, I stop in at this one store to pick up a few things before heading home. I go there often enough that I've gotten to know the clerks on a first name basis, and I'll often chat with them for a few minutes before heading on my way.

The other night, I asked about a clerk I hadn't seen in awhile, one who always had a joke or two for me when I came in and always had me leaving with a laugh.

The guy I asked hesitated, saying that he didn't want to ruin my day, but then extended a folded newspaper to me, pointing at a column near the bottom.

It was the obituary of the man I'd asked after, a man only 35 years old.

When I asked what had happened, he told me that the man had committed suicide -- on Valentine's Day. I was floored; the man was always laughing and joking, and never gave the slightest clue to the depths of depression that must have been lurking beneath. Plus, he was a devout Catholic, so I was doubly shocked that he'd chosen this method to deal with his depression.

The other clerk told me that he was worried about his mother's health -- but I don't see how killing himself would have helped her in any way. Indeed, his mother was the one who had the horror of finding his dead body.

And this man meant to die -- his suicide was in no way an attempt to cry for help. He'd used two guns to make sure he got the job done. As a former cop who had seen the remains of those who used a single gun to do away with themselves, these kind of remains are especially grisly to view. I pity his poor mother -- she will have nightmares for the rest of her life after what she was confronted with after she opened his bedroom door.

I knew the guy had some issues and I'd suspected that he was a lonely, socially backwards man, though he never spoke of it. First of all, he was living with his parents at the age of 35, and he did not drive, despite not having any physical or apparent mental handicaps that would make him unable to drive. And though I can't say for sure, I'm guessing that he never had any intimate love relationships, either straight or gay. The fact that he chose to commit suicide on Valentine's Day just seemed to confirm my speculations.

But I'd always thought his religious faith had given his life some satisfaction and meaning, but it seems as if his faith failed him in the end.

Thought I've dealt with the aftermath of suicide before in my former job in law enforcement, I've never really known anyone personally who has killed themselves, save the grandfather of a high school friend. When dealing with this kind of tragedy with strangers, one can and must detach one's emotions in order to do the job. It's rather different, when it's someone you know, to say the least.

Have any of you personally known someone who committed suicide?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sexy Female Celebrities

Recently I did a post about female celebrities I found unattractive. Today, I'm doing the reverse; the ones that do put the lead in my pencil. Enjoy.

1. Terry Farrell

She played Dax on Deep Space Nine

2. Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Elaine from Seinfeld

3. Katharine Hepburn

If only I could have met her at that stage in her life...

4. Sophia Loren

Likewise, with Sophia Loren in her younger days

5. Lisa Kudrow

In my previous entry, I picked one from Friends whom I wouldn't do, now here is one I would. I don't normally care for blonds, but something about her appeals to me.

6. Benazir Bhutto

She was a classy looking woman; a mature beauty.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentine Summary

Valentine's Day can be a logistical nightmare for those of us who are non-monogamous. Currently, I have eight regular lovers, though, admittedly, not all eight of these relationships are at the same level of intensity.

There wasn't any way I could have celebrated the holiday with all eight on Thursday and go to work as well. Well, I could have done it if I'd wanted to have an "eightsome"....a "ninesome" if you count me, but that would have taken more time and energy than I was willing to expend on a workday. And I don't think I could have persuaded them all to come together for such an event, anyway. They all know that I have other women all over town, but it's kind of a "don't ask, don't tell" kind of a thing.

I'm also not a rich man, so I couldn't be buying a bunch of expensive gifts. What I usually do each year is buy a dozen red roses and give them out singly, after wrapping each one in a red ribbon, along with a card. Because there were eight women this year, and not twelve, I gave out seven single roses, and the remaining five were for my primary lover.

I also took her out for lunch. She's a teacher, so I picked her up at the school and took her to a nearby restaurant for a quick lunch. Along with the roses and card, I also gave her a gift certificate for the local bookstore, as she said she'd much rather have something to read and keep, than the traditional box of candy. She didn't know what book she wanted, hence the certificate. (She's here with me now for the night, so I'll need to hurry up and finish this entry, then shut down the computer for the night.)

After I took her back to the school, I went and gave out the other roses in the evening when I was working. I'll no doubt go and visit each one over the next month or so to spend more time with them.

Valentine's Day is exhausting and I'm glad it's gone for another year.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Teacher Fired for Being Single and Pregnant

Recently, an unmarried teacher at a Catholic school in Minnesota became pregnant. Because she does not believe in abortion, she decided to continue her pregnancy and raise the child on her own.

Unfortunately, when she informed the school administrators of her condition she was given the "choice" to either resign or be fired. This was because she violated Catholic ideas about morality by being pregnant without being married; i.e. by having non-marital sex. Never mind that she upheld the Catholic ideal of eschewing abortion; indeed, she could have done the easy thing and had an abortion and no one would have been the wiser.

It would seem that the Catholic Church would rather have a single mother become unemployed or on welfare than either have an abortion or a job to provide for her child. Would Jesus have reacted in this manner? I think not. After all, his own mother was single and pregnant.

And let us not forget that a male teacher at the same school can have all the non-marital sex he likes but no one has to know because he cannot get pregnant. And I'm guessing that if he happened to knock a woman up, he still wouldn't lose his job because he'd have no need to inform the school about it.

This decision also reeks of hypocrisy, considering the countless number of priests who have molested little boys under their care over the years, with the church generally sweeping such incidents under the rug.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Caption Contest

Let's see who can come up with the funniest caption for the photo below:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday Rants

Today, I have a grab-bag of rants, all heard on the radio.

The first is an increasingly common element I'm hearing on radio commercials. As an announcer speaks, one hears an amplified, steady bass drum beat in the background, sometimes alone and sometimes with a repeating loop of three notes or so from a guitar or wind instrument. The announcer talks at a fairly fast pace, and is nearly drowned out by the incessant, "WUMP, WUMP, WUMP, WUMP, WUMP, WUMP, WUMP, WUMP, WUMP, WUMP" in the background.

To me, there's nothing that says "cheesy, homemade commercial" quite like the "wump, wump" machine going in the background. One of the most recent offenders in this category I've heard in the last week is an ad for a local car dealership. This commercial has the ubiquitous yelling announcer along with the wumping bass drum, which combined together has all the necessary elements for classically tacky commercial. A second ad is one for a local gym, which has a similarly slick and sleazy effect. But the last one is an ad for Petco "Where the Pets Go". This commercial would have been an OK ad, except for the addition of the "wump, wump" effect. The only thing I can figure is that the "wump, wump" machine must be the latest ad agency gimmick.

About a week ago, I heard a song that's been on my "Songs I Love to Hate" list since it was first released, nearly 30 years ago:

"You Can't Change That" by Ray Parker and Raydio

What I hate about this song is that the line, "You can't change that" is repeated 28 times during the course of the song. I know, because I counted.

After about the sixth, "you can't change that", I DO "change that"...the radio station, that is.

Next, is my newest addition to the "Songs I Love to Hate" list:

"That's the Way It Is" by Celine Dion

Basically, this is a fairly unremarkable song; pretty much of a yawner. What grinds my gears about this song is her enunciation of the words, particularly the word "love"

One line is:

"So don't surrender 'cause you can win
In this thing called lo-o-o-o-ve"

The problem is that she sings the drawn-out "lo-o-o-o-o-ve" as "ler-her-herve"

"Ler-her-herve"? What in the fuck is "ler-her-herve"?!

The damned woman sounds like she doesn't know if she should sing or hock up a loogie!

As always, feel free to mention commercials or songs that you love to hate in the comment box.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Disagreeing Isn't the Same Thing As Being Rude

I had a busy day off today and on the way home, I stopped at the dollar store to pick up a few items.

They had only one register open, so I was stuck waiting in a rather long line. Fortunately, the clerk was efficient, so the line moved quickly.

Unfortunately, an obnoxious, irate customer reached the register when I'd reached the second person back in line from that. She of course, ground everything to a halt.

What was her major maladjustment you might ask?

She was angry that the price was 20 cents higher than the price printed on the bag. It did not occur to her that the store could have raised the price since the bag containing the product had been printed. I understand being unhappy with a higher price, but the clerk has no control over such things and must sell the item for the price the store sets.

The clerk was very polite, telling her that the true price was on a tag attached to the shelf below where the product was shelved; had she noticed that price? She then asked her if she still wanted the item, despite the price.

The customer copped an attitude and insisted, "Yes I want it, but at the price printed on the bag! I want to talk to someone in charge!"

That person was standing right there, and she reiterated what the clerk had said. The customer said, I want to talk to the manager, and when told the manager was off that day, she raised her voice and said, "I want your names!"

At this point, I said, "That's it, lady. Hold up the damned line for twenty freaking cents!" The line behind me was quite long at that point. "Just because they didn't tell you want you wanted to hear doesn't mean they were rude. They're just doing their jobs. Now, either buy the damned thing or don't buy it, you f-in dumbass!"

She bought it at the store's price, then left quickly after giving me a dirty look.

After she'd left, I turned to the clerk and said, "I said that because I knew you wanted to and couldn't." She laughed, as did all the customers in line behind us.

Now, if it had been me, I'd have just bought it, then looked for a cheaper alternative next time. There was no point in giving the clerk a hard time, as they have absolutely nothing to do with the cost of the item.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Unsexy Celebrities

Following is a list of female celebrities I would never want to have sex with. Your mileage may vary, but these women just don't put the lead in my pencil.

1. Jennifer Aniston.

I read that she was voted as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People magazine in 2002, but I just don't get it. That jutting jawline, the bony arms and legs showing tendons, and the claw-like hands don't turn me on at all.

2. Amy Winehouse

Just plain ugly to me. And she's not helping herself with the heavy eye makeup, nor the excessive, trashy tattoos

3. Natasha Bedingfield

Again with the prominent jawline! Gaining some weight would likely bring her out of the unsexy category for me, but at this weight, she's too horsey-looking for my taste.

4. Cher

She's been on my unsexy list for a long time. I don't know how she always manages to look drunk or high in every picture ever made of her. Sleazy, flashy dresser, too.

5. Nicole Richie

She looks like she just escaped from a concentration camp. Those protruding bones and claw-like hands just scream, "Feed me!". I was curious how old she was, so I looked it up. She was born in 1981, but she looks well into her forties in this photo.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Losing My Mind, Among Other Things

There are some days where I couldn't find my own ass and I'd lose my head if it wasn't bolted on. And yesterday, my brain was definitely out to lunch.

It was car payment day, so I went to where I keep my "to be paid" bills. I found the envelope and went to sit on the couch to write the bill out, after getting my check book. But when I opened the envelope, I found I'd chosen the wrong one; it was just the stub from last month's payment.

So, I got up and looked again and it wasn't where it should be. I had to tear the house apart looking for it, and I finally came up with it, but it was missing the payment envelope. I went to the computer this time and filled out the check, then found a plain, white envelope to substitute for the usual one.

After addressing the envelope, I remembered that I didn't have a stamp right there, so I got up to get one from the drawer. That done, I returned to the computer, where the check was still there waiting, but the envelope had vanished into thin air. I looked all around the computer desk and on the floor for it, but it was just gone.

Now pissed off, I filled out another envelope, but neglected to put the PO Box on it, so I ended up having to do it a third time. I quickly put the check inside, then stamped it before it could magically vanish yet again. Then I placed it under my car keys, so I'd have it as I went out the door to mail it.

Sometimes I think I'm losing my mind and that on some days, I'd be better off just staying in bed.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

My Exit

This is the interstate exit closest to my home. My neighborhood is approximately where the red dot is in the upper middle part of the picture.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

Now that Mitt Romney has formally ended his presidential run, John McCain's lock on the Republican presidential nomination is all but assured. Huckabee and Ron Paul are still hanging on, but they trail far behind McCain and it's unlikely that they could make up the distance, let alone pass him.

Because of McCain's age, his choice of a running mate is of particular importance. Traditionally, the vice presidential candidate chosen is someone who contrasts with the presidential candidate in such a way that the combined ticket will appeal to the widest cross section of voters possible. For instance, John F, Kennedy, a northeastern liberal chose Lyndon Johnson, a southern good old boy politician, as his running mate -- the two men couldn't have been any more different.

McCain's main obstacle to getting elected is that fundamentalist Christians don't like him because he's not particularly conservative on social issues. Focus on the Family leader James Dobson, who is pretty much the current leader of the Religious Right, has stated several times that if McCain is the nominee, that he will not vote at all and will advise his followers to do the same. If this plays out and fundamentalist Republicans follow suit, this would effectively hand the election to the Democrats.

I'm predicting that in an attempt to prevent this, that it's quite likely that McCain will choose Huckabee, a Baptist minister, as his running mate to keep the fundies in the Republican fold.

I don't know about you, but the idea of Huckabee, an avowed theocrat, being second in line for the White House scares the shit out of me.


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Criticism of a Song

In the last couple of days, I've heard the same song twice, which was a song I'd never heard before. The lyrics both disturbed and pissed me off, hence this blog entry. The song is "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood, which is about a woman with a straying boyfriend:

Right now he's probably slow dancing with a bleach blond tramp,
and she's probably getting frisky...
right now, he's probably buying her some fruity little drink cause she can't shoot whiskey...

Right now, he's probably up behind her with a pool-stick, showing her how to shoot a combo...

And he don't know...

That I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive,
carved my name into his leather seats...
I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights,
slashed a hole in all 4 tires...

Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats.

Right now, she's probably up singing some
white-trash version of Shania karaoke..
Right now, she's probably saying "I'm drunk"
and he's a thinking that he's gonna get lucky,
Right now, he's probably dabbing on 3 dollars worth of that bathroom polo...
And he don't know...

That I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive,
carved my name into his leather seats,
I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights,
slashed a hole in all 4 tires...

Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats.

I might've saved a little trouble for the next girl,
Cause the next time that he cheats...

Oh, you know it won't be on me!

No...not on me
'Cause I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive,
carved my name into his leather seats...
I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights,
slashed a hole in all 4 tires...

Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats.

Oh.. Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats...

Ohh... before he cheats.

Damned straight it wouldn't be her he'd be straying from the next time if I were the man in this song. That psycho bitch's ass would be sitting in jail for vandalism; destruction of property.

This song was disturbing to me because it portrays violence as a normal, commendable expression of jealousy, Unlike raging anger (which this really is), which has generated methods to manage it, jealousy is shown as something that is uncontrollable that someone is perfectly justified in expressing in extreme ways as is shown in this song.

Columnist and broadcaster, Glenn Sacks criticized this song, saying that it is a prime example of the "double standard about domestic violence [that] manifests itself in ... popular culture".Sacks notes that a "song and a video approving of a violent, jealous man destroying his girlfriend's car" would likely receive dissimilar treatment, and undoubtedly draw widespread criticism.

I know it's just a song, but music reflects the culture that generates itself and this song doesn't say something good about ours.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Distracted Ramblings

I really don't have much to say today. I've been off for the last two days and let's just say that I've been more than a little....distracted....these two days. I've got a new lover and she's been keeping me busy, to say the least. I've just not been in a writing frame of mind.

So, tonight, I will write about whatever pops into my head as I write. I've got the TV on in the background and the newest commercial I love to hate just came on. It's a McDonald's spot with some yuppies sitting in an office spouting tired buzz words about the decline of the dollar: the dollar is tanking, it's in free fall, ad nauseum. Then one of the office flunkies returns to the office with a bag containing McDonald's double cheesburgers, which cost a dollar each. At this, all the cliche-spouting yuppies suddenly change their tune -- "the dollar's looking goooooood!" Ugh. Spare me the pretentious jargon, please.

The temperature was nearly 70 degrees here today. In February. I hope this doesn't mean that winter is over already. I'm not ready for the hot weather to start again so soon. I can only hope that this week is simply an aberration and that more seasonable temperatures will return.

I recently read that scientists in England have created human embryos by using the DNA of three people, two women and a man. The point of these genetically altered embryos is to produce children without inherited disease. So far, none of the embryos have been allowed to develop into fetuses. I'm guessing that this is something that will elicit quite a bit of protest, if the protests against human cloning are any indication.

While driving around town in the last few weeks, I've seen quite a few Hillary yard signs in people's yards, mainly in working class neighborhoods. I've seen exactly one Huckabee sign, a handful of Obama and Romney bumper stickers and a couple of McCain yard signs put up at busy intersections. I wonder if this cross section is any indication of how the election will go?

Well, that's about it. I'm kind of worn out, so I'll end this for now.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Proposed New Law Takes the Cake. Literally.

In recent years, many new laws have been proposed, and some passed, that are what I consider to be creeping nannyism in our society. That is, the government has been inappropriately intruding into the private behavior of adults that does not affect the rights of others.

But what I read most recently takes the cake. Literally.

In January, Mississippi House Representatives W. T. Mayhall, Jr., John Read, and Bobby Shows introduced HR 282, which would prohibit state-licensed food establishments from serving food to any person who is obese based on criteria prescribed by the Mississippi State Department of Health. That means anybody with a BMI of 30 or above won't be able to eat with everybody else.

As well as being blatant discrimination, it would restrict the rights to restaurants to do business and would put restaurant workers in the inappropriate position of having to determine the health status of potential customers, a role for which they would be grossly underqualified. Let's not even begin to address the fact that one's weight, either fat or thin, does not always accurately measure a person's health.

And what's next? Will smokers have to prove they don't have emphysema to buy a pack of smokes, and drinkers have to prove they are not alcoholics before buying a six-pack? And let's not forget, that while smokers and drinkers don't have to engage in those behaviors to survive, even fat people have to eat.

The government has no business acting in a parental role for adults who have not been judged to be mentally incompetent. In a free society, competent adults have the right and the responsibility to make decisions about their own health and that includes the right to make what many other people would consider to be the WRONG choice.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

A Few Language Rants

I haven't done a language rant for awhile, so here are a few language related peeves:

Thinking back the other day, I remembered that one of my first language peeves was people who say "hahhhh?" or "huh?" instead of "what?" or "excuse me?"

It irritated me because I thought how lazy could someone be if they couldn't open their mouths completely to say a real word, instead of a noise that sounded like a pregnant cow with indigestion or like half a laugh.

I remember being a teenager and wanting to slap my idiot sister in law because she did this all the time.


In relation to the post I made the other day about people who use blogging mainly as a way of making money, I've often come across the neologism "monetize".

This one annoyed me immediately as it sounds like it's going to be the next trendy business-speak buzz word in the tradition of such gems as "interface", "solutions", and their ilk.

I'm sure every one of you has been asked countless times in your life, "Where do you live?"

What a person actually means by this is "Where do you sleep?", "Where do you keep your belongings", and/or "Where do you get your snail mail?"

They cannot mean it literally because wherever a person happens to be at any given moment is where they live. It's not as if you're dead the moment you step out of that place where you sleep, keep your belongings, and get mail.

When I'm at work, I live in my car. When I want to buy a book,I'm living at the bookstore. And so on.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Cat Puke and Keyboards: A Bad Match

I came home last night from work and sat down at the computer to surf the net. As is my usual habit, I didn't turn on the light, but surfed in the dark. Everything was normal until I went to leave a comment on someone's blog.

I reached my left little finger to hit the "w" key and encountered something wet and nasty. I discovered that the cat had horked her dinner up all over the top left portion of the keyboard some time before I'd arrived home from work.


I cleaned it off as best as I could, plus the puke in the area behind the keyboard. But it was too late. The caps lock no longer worked, nor did the w,r, f,and b keys.

Fucking hell. Knowing that the keyboard was a goner, I went to bed, resigned to a trip for a new keyboard this morning.

Around noon, I dragged my ass out of bed and went down to the store and picked up a Microsoft keyboard. When I got home, I put the installation disk into my computer and was promptly informed that this keyboard has compatibility issues with some programs on my computer, including Windows.

Fucking great.

However, it gave a link to check for solutions and, fortunately, the Microsoft website had an upgrade that would make this keyboard compatible.

I downloaded the program and thought my problems were over. But that was a silly notion on my part. When I rebooted the computer to complete the installation, the keyboard wouldn't respond for me to type my password in. And to top that off, the cursor was frozen in place.

Picture me ready to throw the new keyboard out the window at this point.

But I rebooted a second time, re-adjusted where the mouse was plugged into the computer and tried again.

This time it worked.

Tonight, before I go out, I'm going to wrap the keyboard up in plastic, so if the cat takes a notion to blow chunks again, the new keyboard won't be a casualty.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Quotes and Comments

I'm feeling a bit under the weather today, so I leave you with some quotes and comments

I feel like a mosquito in a nudist camp -- I know what I'm supposed to do,
but I don't know where to start!

I always know where to start. It's knowing when to stop that's my problem!

I keep reading this book about anti-gravity and for some reason..... I just
can't seem to put it down

This one would make a good tag line.

If you don't like the answer, don't ask the question.

This reminds me of when I'd be on desk duty at the police station and after I'd tell them something they didn't want to hear, they'd ask to talk to someone else.

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
--Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

Talk about being wrong in a big way!

There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.
--Ken Olson, 1977

I'll bet he's embarrassed now.

Time is money, money is the root of all evil, and knowledge is power. Therefore, procrastination is the key to world peace.

Works for me!

I don't need cybersex -- AOL goes down on me all the time!
--AOL user

I've never used AOHell, so I couldn't tell you if that was true.

Its not the boulders in my path, but the pebbles in my shoe that really sends me over the edge.

It's the nit-picky small annoyances constantly plaguing me than get me down most often.

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.
--Doug Larson

Why is it that everything that tastes good is bad for you?

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
— Dr. Seuss

My friends love me for who I am, not what I could be.