Tuesday, February 26, 2008

John & Divine

These image hosting sites can eat up serious minutes on the clock. When the numbers of images are solidly in the billions, a simple search for say, "Divine" can illicit thousands of hits. I am sure when I went to the Photobucket site, I did not intend to download 25 images of Divine in various states of insanity. I cannot even remember downloading them. Yet when I cruised through my on site album, there they were. Divine in all her, er, his glory.

With no clue what to write about tonight, I decided to consider Divine and her, er his impact on my life. Certainly, claiming she, er he warped my young pot befuddled college mind back in the day and that's why I am what I am today would be easy to do. But it would be a cop out to blame anything worth blaming on a dead guy, er gal. I pretty much have made the bed I lay in now. Let's just say Divine, John Waters, and the 60s all had their effect on me. They rounded out the bizarre aspects of my coming of age period.

I was but a sophmore in college when Divine and John entered my life. Towson State, just north of Baltimore often had odd movies playing. There was also a very energetic local indie film movement. The Baltimore Film Festival was held at Towson when I went there. John Waters was at the center of it all. Filming locally and producing what still are the oddest and most disturbing flicks I had ever seen or would see in the future.

"Pink Flamingos" was an eye opener for me. It may be the most offensive movie ever made. And if it is not, then it sits comfortably in the top ten.

"Pink Flamingos" had it all. Cannibalism, sexual perversions galore, murder, mayhem and really really bad acting. Acting so bad, it was half the fun of the movie. Divine played Babs Johnson, the self proclaimed "filthiest" person alive. Mink Stole hated her for this and spent the entire movie trying to bring Divine down. The final shot had Divine winning the day by following a little poodle and when it pooped, she ate it. Her title safely intact.(Yes, Divine actually ate real bonafide dog poop freshly delivered)

I missed the premier, but caught it only a few weeks after it was released. That first viewing found me numb and dumb when it was over. I was sure it was the worst movie I had ever seen. It was not until I saw it the 3rd time did I come to appreciate what Waters and Divine were trying to do. Shock and awe cinema. Taking convention and viewing it through the eyes of a mad man. What a great movie.
Now a confirmed Waters fan, I have seen every movie of his I could. "Female Trouble" and "Desperate Living" marked the end of John's raw and jagged movie making. With Polyester, he had become famous enough to find real money to back his efforts. From then on his movies took on a more polished look. He went Hollywood. "Hairspray", "Serial Mom", "Pecker", "Cry Baby" all had real stars and high end production effort even if the plots still smelled like a Waters effort.

I guess what I really appreciate about Divine, John Waters, Mink Stole and Edith was their constant onslaught on the high moral ground America feels it is entitled to. That Life is not really as serious a business as most of us seem to think it is. That what some see as values are really just the manifestations of a part of our culture with a stick up it's butt. All they want is for us to lighten up. And watching them on the big screen helped me to do just that.

Many consider John Waters and his merry band from the 1970s a perfect example of how low our culture had sunk. The predictable aftermath of a generation that had not found it's limits. Over indulging and completely self absorbed, the baby boomers who grew up with "Father Knows Best" and "Leave it to Beaver", had done a 180 from the settled and well ordered lifestyle of their parents. There had to be more to Life than a house in the burbs with a two car garage. Split level living was not their idea of pushing the edge.

In my mind, the Waters cast and crew were members of the cultural redefinition we have been going through since civil rights and the Cuban Missle Crisis. They realized along with countless others that America was not well paved streets with Americans busily building a better world. It was an illusion. America was pretending that ugliness did not exist. Ignoring the travesties and indulgences of a culture too uptight to vent itself safely. In my mind, I am grateful for their efforts.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Number 407

Nothing was familiar. The man knew this. He tried to remember what it was about it that was not familiar. He could not. He just knew he was somewhere different.

He would have worried about this, but he had lost his ability to fret and sweat. So he stopped wondering and just existed. How long he existed did not, does not matter. At least it did not matter to him. Time had lost all meaning once he forgot that it existed. All he knew was he was here.

The present stretched on without a past or a future. The here and now was all there was. For all he knew it was all there ever would be. Mindless, the man's concerns for what had been or what might be had faded from his mind until there was nothing. No hint that he had ever been before. No more remorse. Any hopes, long gone. Not even the shadow of a doubt dwelled in the void that had been his mind.

Just as the last remnant of his humanity faded into nothingness, he was brought back. Returned rudely to that which he had forgotten existed. Slapped back to his past, to the reason and why he was here in the first place.

"Number 407. 407, you're up!"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Flu Thoughts on Alligators & Cats

Munching on pizza tonight in front of the local news, one story perked my virus numbed senses up. Seems Maine game wardens were tipped off to the presence of an univited and illegal guest up to "The County" in a town called Monticello, Maine. Yes, we have a Monticello also. I don't think Mr Jefferson had anything to do with it's creation, and I am pretty sure no buildings there were his handiwork. But we have a Monticello too. In your face Virgina.

Anyway, seems a young fellow had been keeping a 3 foot alligator in his terranium. Being 20 years old, he thought this was cool. So he posted some images on the internet. Imagine his surprise when game wardens knocked on his door and asked if that alligator had a permit. Some good citizen somewhere out in the WWW ether had dropped a dime on him. Apparently only alligators with the proper credentials can visit our fair state.

Coming on the heels of more news about a recent triple homicide in OOB, this story was just the right counter to the sadness and waste of a son gone over the edge. As I listened to the blow by blow, my flu infested cranium conjured up a damn silly image of an Alligator found in Maine in the winter.

I imagined an alligator sportin Bean boots, a Red Maine hunting hat with custom tied fishin flies danglin off it and a polar fleece hoodie with the hood pulled down so's it wouldn't crumple the the look or posture of the hat. In his craw a huge pipe stuck out. His sunglasses were perched up on the brim of his hat. And he was grinning.

This disguise might of worked had he not grinned. No Mainer worth his salt would be caught dead smiling for any Kodak moment. Least ways not a picture sure to be seen by folks from away. The tourist trade up here might take a serious hit if them folks from Mass and New York thought we was friendly. We have worked hard for that crusty old salt image. The tourists expect it, and we do our best to deliver.

The image got sillier the further it fell into that void I call my brain. I lingered on it until the last thing I thought of was him getting pinched standing out on the Maine Turnpike with his thumb out. On the Southbound side of course. The bonehead was on the wrong side of the toll booths. The thumb thing got me all confused. I couldn't decide if what alligators had on their feet passed as digits like thumbs, fingers, or toes or were they just claws and then my manic moment was over. I had to get up and close the pizza box before Fernando El Magnifico found the pizza on one of his illicit recons across the stove.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The New Challenge

Now that I have found and embraced this recent comfort zone relating to technical aspects of my blog, I feel the need to find out, learn, discern, get a grip on something new and exciting to spiff up this blog.

I am basically a "follow the prompts til I don't understand anymore and give up" kinda computer user/abuser. I have to show extreme intestinal fortitude and strength of character in order to step outside my box. But when I have set my eyes on the same old same old for too long, I find that strength eventually.

My computer education such as it is, has come by way of accident and mishap. As I said earlier, I love the prompt system. It has served me well enough to stumble my way to certain levels. When the prompts stop getting me the fix I need, I wing it. After too many crashes, bashes, and meltdowns because of my anarchistic loose dog manipulations, I did actually learn some basics. The big one being -

"Save often or be willing to sacrifice that which you have created"

With this rule firmly implanted by years of not following it, I now venture forth with the knowledge that I will screw it up but everything is fixable. But I still allow my misplaced fear of the unknown make me hesitate, pause, and reflect. Nothing pisses me off more than 4 hours wasted with the blink of a byte gone bad. Nothing drives me crazier than being lost in the "Help" jungle without a clue of what word to search out next.

But the itch always wins out. Time to scratch it.

My new challenge may seem a baby step or even a crawl to many if not most of you HTML savvy folks out there. Well, if not for bozos like me, you wouldn't get the chance to feel superior and be right. So bear with me okay? Go ahead and smile though. I find my stupidity a constant source of comedic relief also. Just not when fully engaged with brain out to lunch.

First a brief replay of my blogging evolution:

~2004 - One Miss Koffee Brown, famous former moderator with a serious attitude on the BF Forums mentioned she had a blog. I had heard of them, but had no clue what they were. I visited hers (Did not last long) and figured I could do it too.

Signed up with Blogger and went for it. Dove right in. Could not figure out how to post pictures, but quickly learned how to change the font and color. I hit the blogging world sure I would set it on fire. Discovered quickly there were also 400 million other folks who figured the same thing. Performers with no audience.

~2005 and 2006 - Happy as if I had a brain, I was sure someone would stumble by eventually. I was wrong. But I decided to not care and kept at it, even if sporatically. I liked to write and here was the perfect weapon to use. Even if for my eyes only. I did pick up the ability to link.

~2007 - I decided that my blog was a sad place. No zip, no growth. Whenever I visited other blogs, they were always showing some new hook or gadget that kept their blogs fresh. Suffering a severe case of Blog Envy, I searched out and found the right prompts in Blogger, Photobucket, and my hard drive and voila! I could post images. At the time it seemed an Everest, an epic computing adventure. As it turns out, it is the tip of the ice berg.

~2008 The here and now. The blank slate. Unfulfilled dreams of computing geekness just waiting to be served up. So what on the menu is next?

HTML and how to get it to post captions with my images.

Yes, it is a small insignifigant part of what blogs are capable of. Something that is taken for granted and there is probably a prompt for it if I knew where to look. But after learning what HTML meant a few months ago, I am also interested in finding some knowledge and ability in it's application.

Wish me luck. Light a candle.

The Afterword and Beside the Point

I am sure a few readers who would assume I only created this post so I could post the image at the top. Knowing even the slightest bit about my make up and character could give that impression. I am a guy afterall and for some reason, we guys just love jugs.

But honestly and no foolin. I wrote this well in advance of finding this image in Photobucket. I felt it had everything I wanted. A clever hook for the post and as a bonus, some jugs. Slightly tasteful with a hint of obnoxious. A win/win situation.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Arnold Palmer

This image of Uno, the overall winner at the latest Westminister Dog Show was borrowed from Kay's blog, White Noise Insanity. (Did I just say borrow? More like poached I guess. I certainly have no plans to return it when I am done.)

Kay was thrilled a beagle has finally gotten it's due at the biggest dog show in the World. Seems this victory of Uno's raises the status of beagles from the hum drum world of hunting dog and cute pet to the high end of the dog kingdom, the runway. Where it's all about how you look dahling. Regardless, the once pedestrian beagle must be taken seriously now. The judges have spoken. Expect an uptick in beagle sales at higher prices.

Kay went on to refer to the intelligence of some dogs compared to other dogs. How some breeds are quicker on the uptake and need shorter learning curves. Okay fine. Enjoy the moment and fool yourself one breed is smarter than another. I responded that after many years of living with these animals, no breed or even mixed breeds seemed much brighter than the kitty poop cookies they all love to pick out of the litter tray. Pretty much about as dumb as they come. I love em, but they are stupid for the most part.

All of this reminded me of Arnold Palmer.

"Gee Mike, why would a beagle remind you of Arnold Palmer?"

Well, I'll tell ya.

Arnold Palmer was and still is considered by many old golfer farts as the greatest golfer of all time. To his fans, there will never be another one like him. The Michael Jordan of the links. Well maybe the Gretzky of the links would be more appropriate. (Didn't mean to play the race card here, but I guess the Michael Jordan reference would be better used when considering Tiger Woods)

My oldest brother idolized Arnold Palmer. To him Arnold was as close to perfection as possible in this game of drivers, irons, and stroke counts. So of course he named his new beagle pup, Arnold Palmer Macrum. Arnie for short.

Arnie is long dead now. His lifespan coincided with the tail end of his namesake's golfing career. The last 12 or so years Palmer dominated the game. But when Arnie the beagle was alive, he managed to carve out his own little kingdom. He was a champion in his own right.

His one true talent besides being cute was his almost savant ability to locate the one can in the neighborhood that was stocked the best, open it and chow down on the cream of the neighborhood garbage. Oftentimes, the only part of Arnie the neighbors knew well was that cute little butt and tale sticking out of one of their cans at the end of the drive.

There was no trash can Arnie could not get into. If it was outside, he would have his way with it. Neighbors even tried the cans with locking tops. But to no avail. Arnie would just knock em over and keep pestering that can until it opened and offered up last night's dinner that had not made it to leftover status. He was a local legend. My brother always had a new Arnie exploit to relate.

Arnie was not picky. Pretty much anything went down his gullet. Vegetables, chicken bones, moldy meatloaf, moldy bread, the occaisional sock, or tasty plastic tidbit. It was all good.

But every genius or natural has an achilles heel. While they may be super stars in their chosen field, there is always some quirk or failing that brings them back to Earth. Arnie was no different. Arnie did not know or maybe care to turn off the eating machine once his belly had been filled. He would literally eat until there was no more food or he collapsed.

One day when my brother,nephew, or niece,went out and called Arnie home. He did not show. This was not out of character for Arnie. He marched to his own tune, especially on that one day a week everyone put their garbage out for pick up. The day stretched on and still no Arnie. He usually checked in at least by noon. So they hit the streets and looked for him. Checked all his usual haunts, but no Arnie.

Early evening (and this is one part of the story I am hazy on) they either located him, or he finally made it home. Regardless, Arnie was not too moblie and definitely not feeling well. It seems he had found the mother lode of all garbage treasures. Someone had tossed out what had to be 50 pounds of spaghetti noodles. And Arnie, when faced with such a delectable mound, had done his best to eat all of it.

My brother told me that when he first saw Arnie, the poor dog's belly was so swollen, it almost touched the ground. There were spaghetti noodles hanging out of his mouth and undigested noodles hanging out of his butt. The dog was literally chock full of spaghetti noodles.

So whenever I hear the name Arnold or see a cute beagle doing beagle things, I always conjure up this image of my brother's dog, Arnold Palmer Macrum, literally busting at the seams with noodles coming out of both ends. Imagine if you will this mindset as I watched Uno the show stopping beagle strut his stuff in Westminister.

This post is for you Arnie. A champion among champions. For never backing down to the challenge of a well filled garbage can. And though you are gone from this world now, your exploits live on in our memories. Thanks for brightening my day ya dumb ass dog.

The Daily Winter Sucks update:

~Sun's out. Wind's out. Temps damn cold. But the sump worked all night. Dry basement and my mood seems to be in for a better day than yesterday.

~Don't tell my wife, but I fell off the roof yesterday. Trying to break up the brick hard snow cover and well, I got a tad too energetic. At least I had time to set up the landing.

~Yeah, it's gonna be a winter to remember.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Rocket Man

I have never been a fan of Roger Clemens. I respect his abilities as a pitcher, but over the years, his temperament and self centered demeanor indicated that here was a man I would not care to have a drink with. I think the man is an asshole.

I had no problem with his big ego. Years of watching sport heroes and their “I am the Greatest” mentality had inoculated me against most of their stupid bullshit.

What soured me on Roger the first time was when I heard he was charging $25 bucks for his autograph. He was making something like $10,000 for every inning he pitched, yet he would not give his signature away. Unapologetic and cocky with that “hit me face” sneer of his, he explained that for all he knew, these “fans” were just after his autograph so they could cash in later. And besides he went on, his image, thus his autograph were commodities and why shouldn’t he pocket some jingle from their exploitation.

Right Roger. You just be a jerk. Tell that poor ass kid who waited for hours to get you to sign a ball he scrounged up $5 for that if he doesn’t have another $25, he loses. You’re a real class act. If ever there was a poster child for the ultimate self centered loser, it is him.

So forgive me if I am having trouble finding sympathy for Roger’s recent troubles with steroids and whether he used or did not use. And forgive me if I have not one iota of concern over this threat to his installment in the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. I flat out don’t care what happens to Roger. And I imagine there are many folks like me who are short on sympathy. He has definitely reaped what he had been sowing all those years he took our adulation for granted.

I am not even disappointed in him like I was over many of my cycling heroes who were caught being stupid. As a matter of fact the evil Mike in me is taking some pleasure watching him try to weasel his way out of this one. The wind is blowing hard Roger. Watching you twist in it seems fitting.

Now then. What really pisses me off here.

That members of Congress would feel the necessity to put Roger and Doping in front of the job we really hired them to do. This is not anything that affects our safety, our security, or our rights. Well, maybe our rights. Our right to be stupid. But that's a rant for another day.

Congress should stay the Hell out of situations not directly connected to our National interests. Colossal waste of time, money, and energy in my opinion.

Because I just don't feel another "Winter Sucks" post is in me - a brief update will suffice.

~When I last left this subject, we had been through snow, sleet, a million zillion gallons of freezing rain and my spiffy digital fiber optic line Internet access went down somewhere.

~Valentines Day - Sun's out, some thawing begins. Happy as if I have a brain, I am confident the sump will keep the water out of my basement.

~After no Internet for 12 hours, it comes back online around noon. 20 minutes later we lose power. Shit!

~No electricity, no Internet, no heat, no sump pump happily keeping my basement dry.

~ 4 hours later, we have power. Whew! Close Call. Sump hole was almost overflowing. I go to bed later happy in the knowledge that I will wake up to a dry basement.

~6:00 AM today, my darling wife informs me the basement floor is flooded. Double Shit!! I had not even had that first coffee yet.

~Seems all that thawing I had been thrilled to see yesterday had a dark side. The tons of snow on my metal roof had become double tons of wet snow after the rain. When the roof warmed up, the snow came down. Yeah, that's right. Right the bleep on top of my sump hose. Which then froze up because my carefully constructed downhill gravity friendly water expulsion sytem had been compromised. And well, ..... I have wet shoes now, a really sour attitude, and this winter has gone beyond sucky to.........

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

And Another Winter Whine

Okay, okay already. Just about the time I post what I thought was going to be the last “woe is me – I’m having a really sucky winter & you should feel sorry for me whine”, the elements proved me wrong.

“Yes dear”, Mother Nature informed me, “it could be worse and just to show you, here’s a sample. Enjoy!”

We started out with a nice little 8 inch snow in the wee hours around dark-thirty when no one wants to be out there dealing with it. About 8:30 AM, that snow turned to sleet and then into my favorite, freezing rain. It rained until well past sunset. Buckets of rain fell from the sky.

With nowhere for all that water to go because of the 8 foot snow banks everywhere, brown nasty pools of water threatened to swallow small cars whole. The incessant gunshots of huge branches breaking in the pines across the road peppered my day as the ice overwhelmed them. Branches that did not break hung down so low, it seemed a miracle they did not submit and snap.

Thankfully, I was either smart enough or more likely just lucky enough to have cleared my drive of the snow just as the sleet began in earnest. No major slush shoveling for me. Well, there was plenty to go around as it turned out, but not as bad as it could have been.
I had suffered through the dreaded find the sump hose that was buried deep and frozen hard in the snow bank next to the garage and unthaw it procedure just yesterday. The sump pump began to cycle every ½ hour or so. But because I had been smart or just dumb lucky, the water now had free unfettered access to the road and away to wherever it goes when it is not draining into my basement.

I have done everything I can do to meet this new twist on the winter of 07/08. Whatever happens now is out of my control. The lights flickered off and on all day, but so far (knock on wood) we have not lost power. We are screwed big time if we do. I have no generator. With no power, all those creature comforts I have taken for granted will become creatures all right. And I will not be comfortable.

But of all the inconveniences and lousy events of the day, the one that really got to me was when I lost my connection to the Internet at exactly 5 in the evening while taking a break from the soaking I was getting outside. I had looked forward to doing some googling, reading some blog posts and just generally wasting some time on the World Wide Web while my duds dried in the basement.

Sure I still had heat. Yes, the sump pump was still pumping. And yeah yeah yeah, the phone worked. But no Internet? How is one supposed to exist amidst such primitive and barbaric conditions?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This Winter, the Joke is on Me.

This is a recent snow pack report from NOAA. It reinforces what I already knew. We have a boatload of snow out there. I am located in the red zone dipping into southern Maine. According to this chart, I am either in the 25 to 30 inch zone or the 30 to 35 inch zone. My own crude measurements across the road indicate both are on the low side.

At this point in Mary's Woods, the nature preserve across the road, the yardstick measurements I took more often than not needed a stick longer than a yard. Okay, so we will just say conservatively, there's a solid 30 inches of snow on the ground. This pack is also what has accumulated since the ground finding thaw of a month ago.

So with lots of snow, I have had the snow blower out quite a bit this winter. I have used up two impeller belts, one traction belt, and run over 12 gallons of gas through the beast of a 13 HP Tecumseh engine. Then just today, as a sort of garnish on top of the whacked winter I have been having, I managed to find the sump pump hose with the damn thing. Wound that hose up nice and tight inside the auger.

Oblivious at first, I figured out something was wrong when the blower began to buck and moan. Made an awful sound. Seems it only takes about 2 seconds for 20 feet of sump hose to wind up into a snow blower.

This pile of previously almost new hose took me an hour to extricate from the auger of the Ariens. I thought changing a belt sucked. Spend some time unwinding and unjamming cold frozen sump hose in 10'F weather and changing belts in the garage seems like a luxury now.

With this most recent screw up on my part, I have now thrown in the towel. I have decided that this winter I have been targeted by Ma Nature as one of her go to flounders. This winter has been one comedic event after another. 27 years as the man of the house and I do not remember any period so chock full of boneheaded plays foisted upon myself by myself as this winter. I am hopeful that the events of this winter represent an anomaly and not the beginning of a trend.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Historical Duo

Forget for a moment the views of the top two Democratic contenders. Set aside for argument's sake any displeasure about what they might have done, what they haven't done, or what they might do. Take a minute and let the bile drain that fills the back of your throat when one or the other opens their trap. No really. Take a moment and do this.
I'll wait ...................................................................................

Okay. Now consider just what these two represent in the historical context of Presidential politics. Both are bonafide contenders, not token gestures and half ass attempts. But real candidates with real machines and real money behind them. One is a woman. One is a Black. That my friends is historic.

These two represent a major swing in American politics. Mainstream America it seems is now ready to deal with one or the other as our Commander in Chief. And rather than be scared witless over the possibility, I am heartened. I am encouraged that our citizens have finally admitted that capable people can come from any group, gender, or corner of our huge country. We prattle on about equality, freedom, and other intangible nonsense. Well these two finally represent some real manifestations of those ideals. Not their views, but their presence.

Each election I have been assured by many opinions over the years that if so and so gets elected, Life as we know it is over. The axe will fall. Daughters taken and sold to slavers, storm trooping socialists forcing us to be nice to each other, or some other fate worse than death.

And then these bozos get elected. And guess what? Life did not end. Our kids were still safe in their beds. And America continued to stumble it's way through another day. Neither one will suddenly toss the country down the crapper. The system won't allow it.

So even if you disagree with these two over what essentially none of us have much control over anyway, be proud to be an American when and if one or the other takes the oath of office in January 2008.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Dissension In The Ranks

Seemed appropriate to place John's picture on the left side of this post. According to many within his own party, he really belongs there. Labeled a RINO by many, a maverick by some, he seems to be anything but a Conservative. He claims he is, but according to his many detractors his track record tells a different story.

The Defiant Infidel, a fellow Mainer and keeper of the local Neocon flame, is absolutely astounded his party has apparently chosen to go with this guy. From his "Fools Gold" post:

"So along comes Tuesday, January 29th, 2008. In Florida, a majority of dim witted, apparent crackheads step up to the voting booth and marginally give the Primary to a devout, verifiable liberal double-talker (McCain) that Conservatives had shunned and apologized for only hours earlier."

He does not start right in with the oh so predictable rant about Liberals and how they are ruining what God gave us. Instead, he lays into his own party for bailing on the ideals and ethics that have made this country so great these past 8 years or so. He is sure now that the race is one between 3 liberals - Barack, Hillary, and McCain.

For some balance from the Right not so close to the edge, I also visited Ala's blog, blonde sagacity. As a former Thompson supporter she has chosen to fall in line like a good little Republican. Party first and all that crap. She contends:

"I ask this seriously... Do people actually believe McCain, Hillary and Obama are interchangeable and indiscernible? I mean really, honestly think that --or have they gotten themselves so worked up that the hyperbole seems real now?"

Normally I would not care what the Republicans are doing. I gave up on the party the day Ronnie ruined it when he ran for president. But since I am not above holding a grudge, I will admit to having a large sense of satisfaction with this current dissension among the ranks. Their internal bickering is music to my ears. Listening to Rush rant on about it, I can just imagine foam forming at the corners of his mouth while he reaches for his bottle of OxyContin so he can calm down a tad.

It would appear that the Republican leadership and a majority of their faithful have figured out the US population does not want another 8 years like the last 8 years. So offering up a candidate who appears more moderate makes sense. IMO, it is their only shot.

Personally, I find very little difference between the 2 parties. Running the country sucks hind tit to their quest for power, holding onto power, or returning to power. The fact that Life moves on regardless is not so much because of them as it is in spite of them.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Touching Base

When I think about what to share here in the blog, I more often than not cannot think of anything specific to drone on about. My posts will either start out as a stream of conciousness spiel or I find too many options and can't focus on one long enough to convey anything close to coherent.

Today - too many options, decided lack of coherent and clear concentration. I wonder if one follows the other as a rule? Or is just me? Well duh, of course one follows the other. What am I? An idiot? But if one follows the other, which came firs........See, this is just what I am talking about. Space shot. BTW, that was indeed a rhetorical question.

Anyway today I came up with more choices than I could do justice to. Or more likely injustice to. My kid recently had her second car stereo ripped off. This one is ripe for a rant about "those damn kids". But I won't go there. She's 800 miles away and 24, almost 25 years old. Apron strings here seem to be a waste of my parental bile. It'll get figured out. Besides, my wife is disgusted enough for the both of us.

Or I could relate how much enjoyment I am having as a lurker on a town spat via e-mails. How the 21st Century has finally come to Acton, Maine. The hens are pecking at each other, exposing dirty laundry and I get to read all about it right here in the comfort of my own home. No trip to the dump or Town Hall needed to get caught up on who's pissed at who or what particular town issue is creating the most recent fuss. More fun than some forums I have been known to lounge about in.

There is always my favorite and most recent go to subject. The weather and how much my dooryard has resembled this for the last 2 plus months. Tales of sno-blowers and the wonderful strings of obscenitiies I have strung together after the town plow just plowed me in for the fourth time today.

Nah. Winter woes fall on deaf ears. If you are in the South where the Sun still shines you think, "Dude, sure sucks to be you", as you reach over for that frosty cool mint julip with the sprig of fresh mint hangin off it. If you live up here and are enjoying our fine "seasonal" weather, you think, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Dude suck it up, I have my own snow bank growing down to the end of the drive."

I really considered today's entry would be about my neurotic 3 legged black girfriend, Stubeetchka. About her growing phobia of riding shotgun when I go to the dump, the store or the shop. Fill you in on the treats I have to have handy when her quavering and quaking body redlines. And maybe ask if this is normal for a dog who at one point in her life lived to ride. Yet now she seems content, no make that intent on staying home at all costs. This one seemed ripe for sharing. Another pet piece, but without all the lovey dovey I love my critters nonsense.

Of course a bit about the current Presidential election would make sense. What with the recent Super Tuesday we just had. Something about ole Tim here maybe and how crazed he gets and looks when he is in the middle of handicapping another political contest. Like a rabid Sox fan, he lives for the game more than anything else. Gleefully he filled us all in on the "what ifs" that might happen if so and so does this or secures support from the pygmy women fundametatlist buddhist group. If not for his many years in TV and the short leash I am sure the network uses, he might be foaming at the mouth and peeing his pants he is so excited. Calm down Tim, it's just like the Olympics. Happens every couple of years whether we care or not.

I could respond to the negative reactions I recieved regarding the "Nuclear Etiquette" post from the other day. I could tell you I meant it as a joke and really feel there is no proper moment to fire off a nuke. Relay my view that using weapons and armies often only benefits the few who bring them to war and then only if they win. The rest of us end up suffering in one way or another. But I figure if the joke was not understood the first time, maybe looking for humor there should be more obvious.

Even with all this material just begging for my opinion, I can't do it today. So call this a how ya doin post. Just checkin in is all.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Nuclear Etiquette Revisited

Back in '04 on a political forum I visited frequently, a poster posed this question -

"What is the proper situation in which to use Nuclear Weapons?"

Giving this well thought out question every bit of consideration it deserved, I hesitated before I fired off my usual smart ass response. I pondered the variables, weighed the possibilities, and broke down the question to it's core before I answered. I came up with this........

The answer would seem straight forward. The proper situation in which to utilize a little nuclear influence would be when talking nice doesn't cut it anymore and tossing a few billion dollars into the right pockets does nothing to calm the frazzled nerves. Ultimately though it is necessary to get other countries on the same page we are on. And flingin a nuke in the direction of trouble will always get their attention. Besides, what's the point of owning a tool if you aren't going to use it once in awhile?

Possibly more important than when to nuke, is which nuke do you pick to nuke with?

Use of nuclear weapons is not a task to be taken lightly. The deployment and detonation of the wrong size nuke, or even worse, dropping one on the wrong target can be real blunders frowned upon by the boys in the international nuke club. So picking the right weapon for the job is paramount.

You have a little flare up in some backwater country. Assume only the indigenous population is affected. Well, you don't drop a 500 megatonner on the capitol. That would just be a waste of a good weapon. Bush leaguers kill a fly with a sledgehammer. Lobbing a few low yield tactical nukes from a tank or cruise missle is usually enough to calm things down.

But say you have 2 countries going at it hard and vital resources are threatened. This might just call for 2 larger nukes, one for each capitol but safely distanced from the vital resource. This sends a strong message that we don't want any more funny business from either side. At least not while their resources are still there and not here. They may own the ground the resources are in but we own the rights to them. Manifest Destiny and some banana companies proved that over 100 years ago.

After picking the proper nuke for the job, targeting becomes the next important task. People often do not appreciate the importance of this apparently minor detail. But believe me, hitting what you are aiming at will keep the respect of your peers and allow you to sleep soundly at night. Nothing worse than just wounding them. All it does is piss em off and then you have to come back with another, possibly larger nuke. Calculate twice, and blow it up once. Anything else is just inefficient and inexcusable.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect

I cannot speak for these young men, but when I was a kid, there were certain things we learned to do as boys that ensured we remained safe within our respective gang of friends. The basic bag of tricks every boy picks up to be cool with his fellow fools. I am sure these fellows picked theirs up early on as I did. It seems though only one was instructed in the correct and proper way to give the finger.

Some of the things we learn come naturally, some have to be practiced over and over again before we get them right. I remember this lesson well from my days as a 2nd grader trying to break into the crew of 3rd graders who terrorized my street in Bethesda, Maryland.

Jimmy was the defacto leader. If he thought something was cool, it was cool. If he decided something was not hip, it was quickly excised from the group repertoire. Chuckie and Al always seemed to agree with him anyway. So here I was, once again the new kid on the block and searching for some wedge to fit into the crew who had this block by the short hairs. We played some kick ball. I passed that test. We did the dodge ball thing up against my dad's garage with me as the target. I proved tough enough after many shots to the head.

Chuckie and Al were happy to include me, but Jimmy was not convinced. This new kid had to be a loser. I was in 2nd grade afterall. He was determined to find my weakness. My size was up to their standards. My expertise regarding all the typical ball sports up to snuff. I could spit as far as any of them. Belching on command was no problem. But there had to be something. He would search until he found it. I would not be accepted before he had broken me at least once. No one is perfect.

One Saturday a month or so after I moved there, they decided to include me when they visited their clubhouse. The clubhouse was under the steets in the storm drains that led out to Mass Ave. This room was a special place where plans were hatched, cigarets were smoked, candles stolen from mom burned, and nefarious activities of all sorts played themselves out. Chuckie told me they even had some dirty books there. I wanted in.

But, Jimmy insisted, I would have to pass one more small test first. I could tell from the grin he had, he was sure he had me. A foolproof exam sure to keep me home on Augusta St.

"Show me how you flip the bird", he said.

Right away he knew he had me. The look on my face must have told him I had no flippin clue what flippin a bird was, let alone how to do it. They left me dejected, rejected, and sad sitting on the curb in front of my house. To make matters worse, they all flipped me off as they left. And I still did not get it.

A few days later I cornered Chuckie, held him in a head lock and made him show me what flippin the bird was. He did. I asked him what it meant. Go to Hell, screw you or some such nonsense. He seemed vague about it's real intent, but knew it was not a compliment.

I made him show me again. I tried to imitate him. He made a big deal out of telling me I had it wrong.

"No, no no! You have to curl up the fingers on either side just like this", as he formed the proper one finger salute.

Try as I might, I could not get those two fingers to curl up just so. One was easy, but pulling it off with both in the right position seemed impossible. The only way I could present it was with my thumb crossed over the uncooperative fingers. Damn! I knew from Chuckie's demeanor, half assed was not going to cut it.

So I practiced. I worked hard. I was caught and scolded by my parents. My older brothers found it humorous and laughed at my singleminded focus on getting it right. They would not tell me why, but warned me to be careful how I used it.

Eventually I nailed it. I had it down. I even practiced with my left hand so I could give it with either hand. I worked so hard I imagine I even did it in my sleep.

The day came when I mustered up the courage to show the boys my new talent. We had been called in for dinner by our respective moms. As I seperated myself from the group and was what I felt a safe enough distance away, I hollered at Jimmy to look. He turned around and was greeted with my soon to be infamous double bird. And then I high tailed it into the house and the temporary safety of my mother's skirts. There would be payback, but that was another lesson waiting to be learned.

Thanks to brambor of widereach.net for permission to use one of his fine photos from the State of Maine.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Small Feet for an American

Okay so I have been on a kind of social/enviromental conciousness tear of late. First I get all fired up about over population and this morning I heard the words "Carbon Footprint". Yesterday too many people. Today too much exhaust. See a theme here?

I was not going to mention my concerns over how high we are setting the global thermostat. I have already been crowned by Noah as a blogosphere party pooper when he renamed me "Crumudgeonator". But when I get my bowels in an uproar, I fidget and fuss until they have been purged. So bear with me and we'll both get through it. I can then go back to ignoring the obvious once again.

This is not my first show of concern. I have been a fair weather friend of the global warming trend for many years. Way before Al invented it. The Earth Day celebrations of the 70s saw my hippy ass right there crunching granola and planting trees with the best of them.

I even went on record as a concerned business owner when I virtually signed a petition by the Massachusetts Climate Coalition submitted to the then great governor Mitt Romney in 2004. I admit to being somewhat puzzled about what ole Mitt would be able to do about it, but I signed up anyway.

I cannot remember when the concept of "carbon footprint" and "carbon credits" first set off my sonar. Right out of the gate though, I smelled something fishy. The idea or calculation of the overall pollution we as individuals create is a great idea in my opinion. Figure it up and see where improvements can be made. But the idea that we could somehow "buy" our way to a cooler World just did not compute cleanly.

Lord knows, Americans could certainly trim some fat by working on their individual footprints. The World average is 4 tons per human per year. The World industrial nation average is 11 tons. Here in the States, we Americans belch out 20 plus tons per person each year.

The fish smellin aspect of this began when I figured my footprint on 2 different sites. The first one put me and mine at a tad over 11 tons per year. I was really feeling full of myself now. My impact paled in comparison to the folks next door. I was green without even trying. I could hold my head high and look my tree hugging friends in the eye.

To obtain a sense of fairness and just because another site offered to calculate my contribution to the overall warming trend, I punched it up. When it was done crunching similar numbers in a different way, it indicated I was not the accidental green man I thought I was. According to this site, I was spewing out 18 plus tons a year. Less than the national average, but hardly anything to be proud of.

Both sites had handy shopping carts available for me to buy off my guilty conscience. The disparity between the two puzzled me until I realized the second site was a bill paying sponsor of Google. A higher overhead because of advertising and the fact they were located in the DC area filled in the blanks. Everything in DC costs more.