Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Teabggin Governor Can Whip Your Tea Baggin Governor

Frankly I am disappointed some Midwest Teabaggin pretender from Wisconsin has managed to hog the national spotlight this past week or so.  It is a matter of pride for me that the World knows we Mainers can be as numb as any  Bud swizzlin don't tread on my camo boots redneck out  there in Fly Over Land or where the South will rise again.

Anybody's governor tell the NAACP to kiss his butt recently?   Yeah that's right mine did and yours didn't.

Anybody's governor follow up this classy remark with the claim he weren't racist cuz he has a "black son', even though as it turns out his "son" is from Jamaica Mahn and not even his son.  Yeah, right again.  There's only one and it's my governor.

Anybody's governor have trouble remembering just where he has lived since childhood, claiming he "has lived here in Maine his whole life", when in fact he lived long enough up Canada way to get married, father a couple of kids and land a job and keep it?  I bet none the others have, but mine did.

Anybody's governor claim he won't be held hostage by special interests at, wait a minute.......... you guessed it, a luncheon put on by a special interest group and then the next day show up to a Pro Life hoe down just to drive home his point?   Yeah, there's only one and he's ours
.
Anybody's governor tell Obama to go the Hell?  Yeah?  Well, I'll give some of y'all that one.  At least he's keeping up appearances.

Paul LePage is emerging into a figure larger than the legend in his own mind.  A true blue red Davy Crocket, aw shucks ma'am want me to skin that there Bahr fer ya.  Paul is not afraid to tell tall tales, manufacture falsehoods about his enemies and build mountains where no molehills had existed before.

After winning the Governorship with a landslide victory with 38% of the vote, the governor has now settled down to the serious business of  freeing Maine from the iron grip of it's evil citizenry and handing over the reins to the kind gentle stewardship of developers and carpet baggers from away.

Thanks Paul, I know you and the Koch brothers have Maine's best interests at heart.

See Ya......................................................

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Naked Truth & Nude Allegations

Randal commented the other day that the word "naked" would illicit a higher number of hits to my site than the boring titles I usually come up with.  Being prone to Bush Texas league tactics and cheap shots at immortality, I figured I would exploit mankind's weakness for things unclothed.  To augment the potentially astronomical number of numerical  hits to my blog, I included the word "nude" just to make sure folks knew what they thought they knew about what to expect when they punched up this post was indeed the disappointment they were looking for.

The only nudity and naked truth they may find here will be accidental and unplanned.  Because Truth is never naked and nudity is just something practiced at the Sunny Villa Nudist Park up near Hiram.  Disappointing the wayward googler will be their own fault and not mine.  Google makes no promises.  Google does not judge.  Google just takes you there and kicks you off the bus.

So this is a Test.  Not a test of wills.  Not a test of time.  And certainly not any test that will push my limits to some height never before achieved.  But maybe I will be able to see if indeed blog titles can suck traffic this way.  Of course I expect it will be hordes of nasty ole farts in raincoats, but hey any audience is better than none. 

So this post doe not end up a complete and utter waste of bandwidth, I will take this opportunity to post an update that will be of no interest, but I figured I should anyway.

I recently had both of my computers shit the bed within days of each other. 

First, the one at the bike shop went.   I unplugged the tangle of wires in the back and lugged it down to South Sanford so Scott could perform some magic and get it back up to speed.  I had picked up one of those virus infestations that are quickly followed, and suspiciously I might add, by a anti virus outfit who must be keeping an eye on me whether I want them to or not.  Bam - the message read "You have been infected with 38 ugly gremlins"......And then a millsecond later, "We can take care of this for $79.95.... Please enter your credit card number in the slot to the left."

"Oh no you don't," I thought.  "Not this time you bastards.  Last time you let me down.  Took my money and went to the bar and got drunk or something, leaving me and my computer high and dry, stuck in the back alley lot computers get towed to when they are found locked and abandoned.

I still had my computer at home, so I really was not worried.  I could still get my fix.  I head home to await Scott's call telling me Life is beautiful again.  Of course with a months worth of chores to do, I go on the computer at home immediately.  The third or fourth link into what I had hoped would be an insightful and educational experience, the home computer spasmed, blinked a few times, belched or farted (one can never tell which is which when a computer does it) and then the BSOD (Blue Screen of Death).

"Damn.  Looks like I have to enter Internet Rehab whether I want to or not."

I give it the hard kill and unplug the tangle of wires it has in the back and wait silently in my chair for Scott to call me to pick up the other one.  Now I am out of computers to use.  I head into my wife's office and consider for just a moment that I might..................And then her twisted and angry face flashes before my mind's eye and I remember the last time my fingers fondled her keys. 

"No, not worth it.  There will be no verbal chastising, it will go postal if she even thinks I touched her computer."

So I retreat back to my hovel and lick the wounds my nightmare of rough encounters of the wifely kind have inflicted on my pysche.  Scott calls and I trade computer towers with him and now I have the bike shop computer back.   The home computer, well, maybe Monday he tells me.

So anyway, my appearances for the next few days might be erratic.

Later................................................

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Last Heathen Standing

Has anyone ever spent time punching up the "next blog" icon at the top of their page?  Every once in awhile when I am feeling restless and have cruised my usual sites for stimulation I will seek new voices by hitting that button.  Just the other day I did this.  And what did I find?  I found God.

Of the first few blogs I saw, all were right in my face with Jesus, the Lord is my shepherd, and praise be it that God smiles on all of us. 

I took a breather.  Too much religion in too short a time.  I walked away from the computer to collect my heathenistic soul and regroup.  Many minutes later I plopped into my hard wooden chair and punched up "next blog" again.  Again another blog touting the wonders of prayer and duty to our saviour.  Punched it again.  And yeah, once more I was told in no uncertain terms that Christianity was the path to true enlightenment.  Even given chapter and verse.

Almost in a panic, I began punching the "next blog" button over and over again, hoping against hope that the whole blogosphere had not been born again while I slept.  But no, every blog that came up had serious religion wrapped into every message or post.

Where were the obnoxious teen angst blogs?  The Mommy blogs?  The I hate Liberals blogs?  Not even one blog that used squares and other wingy dingy font like images came up.  I must have hit that button 50 times and God was all I got.

Like some biblical previous believer who had been beat down over the years and lost his faith but then was confronted by events that were supposed to bring him back into the fold, I was struck dumb and stupid because nowhere did I see anyone who was not all a twitter over their religion.  Sacrilege had disappeared, replaced by pleasant faced bible thumpers urging me to see the light.

It is said there are no atheists in a foxhole.  What do they say when one is in a foxhole hunkered down to miss the fire and brimstone being lobbed at them?  What do I call that?  I am not exactly an atheist.  I am not exactly a believer.  Something in between suits my fence straddling style, but I felt inundated and overwhelmed.  What I wanted, no, make that needed to set the Blog World right for me was one blog that spouted the teachings of , oh I don't know, Satan or maybe at least Ozzie eatin a bat on stage.  Something that reflected the reality I thought was really out there.  Hell, I would have gladly accepted some brooding Goth or Emo blog.

Have I been hiding in Maine too long?  Has the western world really gone over the edge?  Am I alone, the last heathen standing? 

Where's Randal when I need him?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dueling Philosophers

WARNING - if you do not like Blasphemy explained(Phelps) or Twisted Logic (Carlin) or a few swear words bother you, then please do not open the video.  Consider yourself warned. 



I am not a religious man.  I am not an atheist either.  Being true to my fence straddling ways, I hide behind the term agnostic.  I want to be able to switch sides when and if the game seems to be heading one way or the other.  Yeah, so it's a cop out.  I'd prefer to consider it hedging my bets.

I came across the above George Carlin/Fred Phelps video duet the other day.  Carlin's part is video from one or some of his stand up routines.  Fred's excellent counterpoint in the Name of the Holy Fag Hating Father was obviously filmed shortly after George Carlin died.  Whoever spliced this together did a great job.

As I watched Rev. Fred Phelps try to convince me that George was now living in excruciating pain and discomfort in the bowels of Hell, I assumed Fred thinks he personally will be in Heaven when his clock stops ticking.  Logical assumption?  Maybe.  But go with it anyway for the sake of the point of this post.

So what I thought was who would I like to hang out with more, swap tall tales with, ogle the babes and make nasty remarks with?   Fred or George? 

It was a tough decision.  Both have so much going for them.  George makes me laugh.  Fred makes me laugh.  That knotted things up in a tie.  So I dug deeper.

Would I want to exist in pain with George?  Or painfully deal with Fred's non stop homophbia?  Again I was stuck.  Neither one seemed very appealing.

Would I want to hang with a guy who thinks most everyone on the planet is an idiot like George does?  Or try to have eternal conversations with Fred who knows everyone on the planet is an idiot........Hmm, we have our first tie breaker..............slight advantage - George Carlin.  He at least recognizes the possibilty that all of us are not idiots, though he is pretty sure we are.

George doesn't wear a hat.  Fred does..........Damn...........People who wear hats know what their heads were designed for.  Sign of intelligence.  Advantage on this one - Fred.  Back to a tie game.

Back and forth, I wrestled with this question of who I might like to hang out with once that last shovel full had been tossed on my grave.  And almost always it was a tie.  Went on like this for at least five minutes.

And then the clincher.  It was just a field goal, but it tipped the margin of victory to George.  I would rather laugh in Hell than be bored in Heaven.  And Lord knows, Phelp's routine got old here on Earth.  I just can't imagine listening to it in Heaven.

Keep it 'tween the ditches..................................

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Analytics

Google is always trying to hook me up with their latest and greatest gadget for making my blog be smarter, be hipper, and make all the little girls swoon.   I have at times taken them up on their new gizmo offers, but generally I ignore them.  New gadgets mean I need to decipher language and instructions that often leave me saying ?huh? even after reading them four times.  Such was the case when I hooked up with "Analytics" a few years back when Google first introduced it.  It just doesn't tell me how many people have stopped by.  I think if I know what filters to use, it will tell me their underwear size and what color they were wearing when they stopped by.

It's got bounce rates, number of visitors, number of page views, how long they view each page, percentage numbers that move up and down to some mystical formula only the google gurus have the key for.  Analytics breaks down my blog into mathematical language that is probably valuable if I cared about making money.  But since my Life has proven its unwillingness or lack of interest in making money, I sort of stopped worrying about what numbers mean.  I got money in my pocket or I don't.  If I don't, then there's always the credit card.  And by using it I will ensure a steadfast adherence to my Life's will to not have any money.

So I have this fancy gadget I barely looked at over the past few years.  It doesn't care if I ignore it.  It patiently does it's job, day in day out crunching numbers and having them ready to report at a millisecond's notice.

My habit would be to check Analytics when taking a brief breather from writing posts or reading posts.  I would open it up and look at all the numbers, graphs, pie charts and what not and say to myself,  "Oh look 30 people stopped by yesterday."  And then I would leave.  But like any good habit, I broke it as soon as I could.  I stopped checking at all.

It had been maybe a year since I last checked Analytics.  I opened it up and I was surprised to find that my daily average had jumped from 0 to 30 or so hits to over 100 hits a day.  There were even some days that cruised into the stratosphere or my stratosphere of over 200 hits a day.  And instead of the same 30 people from 3 countries, I had been visited by at least one person from 68 countries. 

I have no delusions of grandeur.  I know my blog is not shaking the World.  In the scheme of A-B-C ratings of blogs, mine probably sits somewhere between P and Q.  But it did pump a little more P.S.I. into my already inflated ego. 

I only bring this up because yesterday.....no make that Saturday........1,124 visitors swung by my blog.  And then Sunday, Life returned to a normal 106 visitors.  The dynamics and flow of my Analytics graph are all screwed up now.

I wanted to find out what suddenly caused 1000 people more than normal to check out my blog on the same day.  So I dug deeper into the belly of the beast and was immediately lost as I tried to decipher page after page of where the hits were coming from.  Direct traffic, referring sites, Search engines, who knew, who cared.  My suspicion is that a post I wrote over a year ago caused this.  The spike coincided with a snarky comment on Wingers with Woodies.  But then I have only my gut to rely on and my deeply seeded mistrust of those evil doers from the Right.  Far and away that one post accounts for over 70% of my traffic.

One post out of almost a thousand posts  A post that was my usual nonsense, nothing I worked very hard on.  I wrote it to tweak noses and apparently I did.  The comments keep coming.  And most of them are concerned over the obvious photo shopped image of one of their sacred talking cows.

This Blogosphere is indeed an odd world.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Two Ronnies

I haven't looked yet, but I guess one of the polling organizations created a poll regarding who America thought was the greatest US president ever.  I probably won't look either.  I am not interested.  A poll like that would have to have 44 choices.  I can't see any American worth their salt sitting through more than maybe 3 pr 4 choices.  Especially if the pollster called during  the show most of America can or probably should identify with, "The Biggest Loser".

"The greatest president?  Jeez man, how long's this gonna take?  You say there are 44 choices?  Why so many?...............Nah, call me back, The fat guy with the attitude is about to weigh in."........click

So I would guess in their quest to be helpful and create a more positive experience while accommodating our less than 30 second attention span, the kind pollster filtered out the obvious dogs and also rans boiling the choices down to the obvious.  Ronald Reagan, JFK, FDR Teddy Roosevelt and maybe Lincoln, although he has gotten some bad press of late, especially in the kindly Sun Belt.  Oh yeah, George and Thomas J might make the cut.  These guys might be included only if the poll was created by a non-Republican and almost independent polling group and they dialed numbers outside the Texas area codes.

If the Republicans sponsored and paid for it the choices would be:

A - Ronald Reagan
B - Ronald Reagan
C- Ronald Reagan
D - Ronald Reagan's Dog
E - All of the Above

I know if I was trying to be fair and objective I should keep my trap shut until after I have seen the results of the poll.  And of course any of you who are thinking in this direction, well, you would be right.  Life isn't fair and I can make up anything I want on my blog.  I can delude myself.  I can try to delude you.  The only thing I cannot do is sell ludes to you.  That would garner me copious amounts of the wrong kind of attention.

The other factor to consider is that I know for a fact that St Ronnie is not the greatest president ever.  He is the worst.  I know because I lived through his hamfisted governorship of California and then had to feel the pain  as he took credit for saving us from the Commies and did not take credit for selling us out to Iran.  So there you have the facts and truth.  Believe it.  My facts don't lie to me and yours probably do.

It really is a no brainer who the greatest President of all time was.  It wasn't Lincoln.  No, it wasn't George.  And forget FDR, he bogarted the office way too long.  And forget JFK, he was a Catholic.  The obvious choice, the hands down number one pick of the litter has to be.............drum roll please............................

William Henry Harrison ..............Ta Da

His slogan was "Tippecanoe and Tyler too."  With a slogan that catchy, he just had to win.  Bill became a war hero by turning down the sheets for Gen. "Mad Anthony"  Wayne after a hard days work tossing those injuns off white man's land.   He worked himself up the ranks chasing Indians until the grand day he was given credit for killing Tecumseh, the most underrated chief in the annals of the Indian Wars.  Indians or Commies, it mattered little who was the enemy as long as a guy could get credit for kicking some butt.

Harrison was cast as a simple backwoods hero, chaste, humble and he sipped cider by the night fire in his log cabin.  When off the set, his glasses tended to have champagne in them and his top pocket a hanky of the finest lace.  He was Ronald Reagan before Ronald Reagan was Ronald Reagan.

He had everything going for him to be just another one of the bunch, lost in the herd, a face in the crowd., nothing but another flounder cashing in on fame he didn't deserve.  Suddenly fate threw him a curve ball he could not resist.  A chance to pontificate for two hours in the rain during his inauguration.  And of course he died a month or so later.  Heroics like that have to come to untimely ends.

Because of his inability to get anything done, undone, or even slightly started, he is awarded the BoZone Award for excellence in Presidential stuff.  He did no harm as President.   He took care of  the harm factor before he took office.

Later........................................

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wingers with Woodies - The Saga Continues

Wisconsin being taken over by communist agitaters concerned citizens in recent days has bunched the panties of every Right thinking American in the country.  I know this because I visit their sites, gag on their news views, and revel in their swill.  I would do the same with the Commie Left, but their swill and their sites don't have the bite I need or want when trying to set my righteous fires aflame.  They are all about getting along and worrying about grandma and her meds.  While the Right Swingers know how to party.  They are sure we are going to Hell in a handbasket because ..........this week it's the unions.

Damn.  There are still unions around?  Far out.  Thought they had all lost their jobs when owners figured out it was cheaper to build huge factories overseas and stock em with workers who knew the value of a buck.  And that's what they paid em.  A buck.

Michelle Malkin I can almost stand.  At least she doesn't look like Ann Coulter - the horse faced woman from .....either Palm Beach or Manhatten. Take your pick.  Whenever I see Ann I want to hand her a carrot.  I think Michelle is actually a better writer and she is the only one to ever stand up and tell the World that Chris Mathews is a brow beater.  I heard she joined a brow beater support group nestled next to but not too close to that Libertarian Think Stank, "Competitive Enterprise Institute".  But I digress.

Michelle's blog has been on the defensive in recent days.  She is doing her best to thwart those evil union bosses from poisoning the various state wells with their anti- American propaganda.   At least she has a sense of humor.  Her satirical article about using GPS tracking on truant teachers was actually pretty amusing.  And she is at least willing to offer information and links that will take her readers to opposing viewpoints.  Her latest is her posting of the "Purple Army's" schedule of state visits to rev up the solidarity of the teachers.  And she also has posted the links to sign an online petition for the evil NEA.

Say what you will about her views, at least she is confident enough in them to not hide behind just her opinion.  She gives the opposition some read time.  I do not like her politics, but I respect the way she does it.  She is not afraid.
_____________________________

Note - if any Winger claims this is a fake photo - please take it up with Wikipedia - I poached it from their site.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spinning Yarns

How does one find the truth about anything?  For that matter how does one find the facts of a thing, when the facts do not even jibe from one source to the other.  Everything and I mean everything that even hints it may have an effect on public opinion in the slightest is spun out of home made yarns and knitted with cross stitches, step stitches, side stitches and stitches many of us never even knew existed.

When I look within the innards of the various political disciplines I notice that even there the spin breaks down into a multitude of colored threads that once spun into whole cloth remind me of Joseph's Technicolor Coat, the twisted and perverse version.

Right, Left, Liberal, Conservative.  It doesn't matter.  They all are intent on bending the truth to fit their slant on things.  One side claims the other spins false cloth and the other sticks out their tongues and say, "Nuh uh, you do."  Then it is off to the races and any kernel of truth there at the beginning is milled into useless meal beneath the heels of advocates and lackeys stomping their feet.

So if facts and the truth have failed, where do I turn?  If the sound of millions of fools speaking at once drown out any clear message I might latch onto, where do I turn?

I am told to seek guidance from the Higher Power that surely must exist, because hey, we exist, so must he.

Others council me to look inward to my core beliefs, my inner soul.  God cannot help me, but maybe someone inside can.

But most advice it would seem leans to  "my way or the highway", just cuz that's the way it should be.

And anxieties rise as my center flounders leaving me to try on one technicolor coat and then another.  When none of them fit, not even a little bit, I pull out a strap on and tell all of them to suck on it.  And not just a little bit.
_________________________________

The previous has been brought to you by a very frustrated and angry citizen who knows we "all just can't get along", but wonders why the Hell not?  We used to sorta.  Now we don't even try.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vanity at the End of a Gun

Recently Sen. Thomas Martin (R-Kennebec)sponsored a state bill (LD583) to produce a vanity license plate that would let anyone who passed my truck with this plate or who were passed by my truck with this plate that the occupants were card carrying and now plate hanging members of the NRA.

Okay fine.  I have no problem with this.  Shout your allegiances any way you want.  You love guns and the freedoms you are fooled into believing guns protect, it's fine by me.

What I do object to though is state financial support given to a private sector interest group on the state's dime.  Apparently $10 of the $20 cost of the license plate will be sent to the NRA.  This really really pisses me off.

This would be the first advocacy plate, and Maine has more than a few, where the income derived is partially used to support a private group outside our borders.  All other incomes from the plates are utilized in state.

We have Vet plates.  The extra income goes to supporting Mainers who are Vets.  We have college plates - the money goes to the state colleges to help scholarships defray expenses.  The list is long, but in every case, the money stays home.  If a private citizen wants to send some extra jingle NRA's way, let them send it.  But don't, through legislated means, make the State of Maine subsidize a private interest group.

In a period of state overdrafts and economic woes, it seems odd to me that the newly elected Republican majority would even consider doing this.  The word at this point is they probably won't.  But we are experiencing some very odd times and stranger shit has already gone down elsewhere.

The republicans came into power on the promise of setting our economic boat on an even keel.  And yeah even though the money derived is chump change in the big scheme of state budgets, even Maine's, writing a check that is going to have no direct benefit to the residents of Maine seems to be more than hypocritical, it is just wrong.  If this is the kind of "fiscal responsibility" I am to expect from our State representatives, then I would say that any efforts they push in the areas that really matter are suspect.  The more I pay attention, the less confidence I have they have my state's interest at heart.  More fodder to support the notion that Maine is being sold out from under us is more like it.

Later.............................................
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Image is a Photoshopped mock up I poached from Dirigo Blue

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rampant Anonymity

The rampant anonymity I find where ever I go to exchange ideas on the Internet has always stuck in my craw.  I grew up with old school newspapers and their Letters to the Editor sections(always a favorite).  The insistence by the editors to include the real world name of the person opining was taken for granted.  You had something to say then stand up, let us know who you are and what you think.  Honest exchange by people willing to do it in public.

The Internet changed all that.  I went along with it at first, though I never felt right using a trumped up name in the first few newsgroups I joined way way way back in the 1990s.  I had been warned of dire and evil things happening to me and my family should I go public with my name.   My child snatched away by evil wraiths in the middle of the night.  Or my bank account drained more than once - that one never fazed me, my bank account is a dusty empty place and always has been.  It was a jungle out there they said, and the less the evil doers knew, the better. 

I am not sure when I made the decision, but at some point, I stopped using a fake cyber handle and began using my name or a part of it.  When all the basic names had not been taken, I used "Crum".  It had been my real world nickname since I was a little tacker.  But as the Internet became more crowded "Crum" became less and less available.  My nickname request would be spit back at me, "This user name is unavailable, but crum1357 is available." 

I began using my first two initials and my last name.  "MRMacrum" set me free.  Using "MRMacrum" forced me to at least take a second before I wrote something I might later regret.  "MRMacrum" made it easier for my shaky grip on recall to deal with keeping all the aliases in some kind of order.  One name and if I forget it, I can always pull out my birth certificate for reference.

I also began to fill in my location correctly.  No longer was I from "the edge of the Universe" or "The 3rd dumpster down in the alley behind Jake's".  Though I always did like using "Somewhere" as my home port in the appropriate profile blank.  With my name and real town listed, I was putting myself out there.  Again, if there were any memory lapses, I could pull out my drivers license and copy the address on it.

So here I sit in my home on Sam Page Road in Acton, Maine punching the words out that will connect me to the electronic jungle that comprises the World Wide Web.  I don't do it for any other reason than it is just easier for me this way.  Take from it what you will. 

A great example of a reasonable reason for staying anonymous is T.Paine's explanation from his sidebar.  T.Paine is someone I have traded barbs with from time to time on the various political blogs we both visit.  I find him a reasonable voice from the darkside and not a frothing at the mouth mindless advocate of all things evil on the Right. {Insert emoticon here - ;)  }  In other words, I can have a conversation with T.Paine once I have stopped frothing at the mouth.  I poached his side note and it goes as follows:

"Obviously my true name is not T. Paine nor do I want to give the impression that I speak for this founding father and American patriot. I simply admired much of what this man stood for and for his contributions to the birth of our nation.

My thought in hiding behind his name by using it as a pseudonym for my considerably poorer writing was to protect the guilty and to provide a slight degree of anonymity as I posted my sometimes acerbic thoughts and ideas on the web for the few souls that cared enough to read them when they happened onto this silly blog. Make what you will of the thoughts and weak prose within, as they are mine alone and not to be accredited to so great a man as the real Thomas Paine."

His handle is a tip of his hat to one of his heroes (and mine, but don't tell him.  It would ruin my image).  Other than that, I have no idea nor do I care what his reasons are.  If he is doing it because he might be embarrassed what folks think of his writing, then he is being silly.  He writes clearly and well.  His points are not wrapped in superfluous and bombastic paragraphs like mine are.  I guess he just has higher standards than I do.


I understand the myriad of reasons people use to justify their use of pseudonyms.  Retribution, Identity theft, cyber stalking, the list is endless.  I respect that.  If nothing else I am all about letting folks do as they will as long as they don't try to instill their will on me.  But with all the cutesy clever names, this widespread use of anonymity brings with it an ugly side.  It enables losers to cruise the Internet with impunity and wreak havoc with their hate and discontent.  It enables lies and innuendo to confuse the truth.  Anonymity forces a second guess about what we read or see when we upload a new link. 

Maybe it is a good thing that thinking people are forced to second guess their sources of information.  Unfortunately, it appears that The Internet has also allowed many otherwise thinking people the pleasure of not thinking for themselves and accepting whatever they read if it supports their individual viewpoints.

The Birthers are the prime example.  They are also indicative of how easy it is to manipulate the flow of ideas on the Internet.  Unscrupulous agitators on the payroll of various special interest groups now have the best venue for spreading disinformation and propaganda Mankind has ever seen.  They can set into action, lies, rumors, and fabricated incidents to fire up their loyal minions into actions that move their interest in the direction they want. 

All in all, the positives of what the Internet has done and might do for our World outweighs the negatives.  But will this last?  Or will the evil doers, no matter what cause they push, overwhelm us with their bullshit and make the Internet irrelevant.

This is beginning to make my head hurt.  I gotta go.  Later...................................
______________________________

Image poached from Cyberbullying - Check it out.  Interesting site

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Conversation Between Me, Myself, & I

Gullible Fool wants to believe his chosen one is just lulling the evil robber barons into a a false sense of security.   That any day now, he will shout "Gotcha" and unleash some serious whupass on their thieving butts.  He wants to believe this, but he is being worn down with each daily news cycle that tells him his chosen one is but a pawn.

Cynical Man who rooms with the Gullible Fool is sitting back with a crooked smirk on his face, "I told you so you idiot.  Why do you do this to yourself?  Set yourself up like a chump?"

Gullible Fool sits in the corner, his head in his hands.  He looks up and weakly, almost in a whisper, "You should never give up hope."

"Bwah, Ha, Ah Ha".  Cynical Man holds his gut and bends over hard.  He looks up.  "Everything works out in the end.  There are no evil people, just misguided souls.  And that chick you took home last night looks as good now as she did at last call.  Right............You two really crack me up."

"But fellas come on", I chime in, "I have to give both sides a chance.  Isn't that what bi-partisanship is all about?  Besides, I really thought this guy would................."

"Bring everyone together and sing kum-by-ah?  Right.  Slobbering Do Gooder over there is crying in his beer and you, well you have had another spike driven up your ass."   Cynical man looks at the two of us with a mixture of satisfaction and disdain.  "Didn't I always say.......

"Yeah, yeah, yeah,  all those guys are the same.  They just pretend to be different so they don't lose control, blah  blah blah." 

"Am I right?  Come on now, admit it.  You've had 40 years of revolving pick pockets, pimps and whores and you still hold out hope somehow this time it will be different?"

Gullible Fool looks up.  "Hey man, there's good in everyone."  Cynical Man stares him down and Fool puts his head back in his hands.  I throw up my hands and open the fridge to find another beer.

And so the conversations go in the BoZone now days.
______________________________________

Hang in there.  It's not like we have much choice.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Smile When You Brandish That Gun

Todd over to "Power Elite" wrote about Atlanta's recent efforts to consolidate all the video cameras in the downtown area into a giant monitoring network of public and private cameras to "prevent crime".   They will even be juiced up with spiffy software so that if someone should brandish or fire a gun, the cameras will swing into action and catch at best a fuzzy image of the aftermath.

And the nations of the world  scramble to jump on this latest law enforcement tool.   Somehow we are supposed to feel safer knowing that catching a crime on tape somehow prevents it.  I guess there is some logic here.  I'll let you look for it, I'm too busy trying to duck the cameras.

On my recent trip to Philly, once we had left the wilds and semi wilds of my rural outpost, I saw cameras everywhere.  My image is now safely trapped in computers up and down the eastern seaboard.  I flipped a few of them off and one I even contemplated mooning.  But being a mature adult and the fact that it was cold outside allowed me to find my center and just move on.

I don't hate the cameras.  I just hate the idea and excuse used to place them on the streets on my dime.  Just as I hate supporting through my tax dollars multi billion dollar agencies tasked with listening to my phone calls, sifting through my electronic communications, and stopping me on the street just to log in my name.  As our private lives become less ours and more theirs I am not feeling safer.  I actually feel less safe.  Allowing the government or even commercial entities to scrutinize my habits, movements, and inclinations increases my up til recently healthy level of paranoia. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah.......We are supposed to fall for the line that "if we are following all the rules, we should not be concerned who is watching".  All the government wants to do is protect us, protect our rights, blah, blah blah..............Bullshit.

The government, any government's first priority is to stay in business.  Staying in power is the main focus.  Protecting the citizenry runs so far off the back as to be a laugher in the scheme of government action.  This is a basic truth that is found in every government everywhere. 

Some governments keep their hands on the tiller through repression.  Some manage their countries through carrot and stick policies.  And some like ours bullshit us with slogans and empty promises.  No matter the means, the end remains the same.  To keep us grunts on the street from getting out of control.

It is only going to get worse.  Egypt's recent revolution has caught the attention of the bureaucratic paranoid  the world over.  Already the worse of the bunch have instituted efforts to handle their populations with a tighter rein.  The noose is getting tighter and 99% of us do not even care to take notice.

Nothing is so precious until after it is gone.

Later.......................................................................

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Blogger's Demise

When the blogoshpere had finally lost its appeal, the blogger knew it was time to leave.  He posted his intentions and signed off.  He washed the few dishes that sat in the sink.  He replaced the empty toilet paper roll in the bathroom with his last Scot tissue roll from the 4 pack he bought at the corner market.  He made his bed and put on his favorite Carhart jacket.  Not the one that was 3/4 length nor the one that was waist length, but the one that seemed to hang just right in between.  Then he left his apartment leaving the door unlocked and open.

He knew he would have to wait at least a half hour for the bus to Ft. Washington Park.  He had done this on purpose.  He wanted the extra time to possibly reconsider the future he had just laid out for himself.  Standing there in the cold next to a dark haired domestic he was sure had no green card or knowledge of his native language, he turned and smiled at her. 

"I am going to kill myself", he said.

She looked at him and smiled back.  "Si senor".

He continued smiling and reached in his pocket for what could turn out to be one of his last smokes.  He lit his cigarette and took a long drag.  He took another. 

"You see, I am going to the GW bridge and jump off of it." 

The domestic smiled again and said, "Si Senor".  So this was how his last conversation was going to go.  Like most conversations the blogger had had these past few months, he talked and all he got in return was some version of "Si Senor".   He stood there in the Plexiglas shelter and silently finished his cigarette.  The domestic clutched her shopping bag and umbrella and stared straight ahead.

The bus to Ft. Washington Park pulled up.  The blogger decided that he was right to end it all.  Everyone around him was a domestic with no green card and would never understand his language.  He stepped onto the bus and used his pass for the last time.  He had to wait for the aisle full of departing passengers to clear before he could move to the back of the bus.  The last passenger off looked at the blogger in surprise as he passed his monthly bus pass to them with more than two weeks left on it.  He found a seat near the rear of the bus and sat down.

The 30 block ride passed without incident.  People got on.  People got off.  A half block from the park, the blogger pulled the cable.  The bus stopped and he exited with determination.  As it pulled from the curb he turned to watch it billow diesel fumes and continue its route deeper into the Bronx.  He pulled another cigarette out of his top pocket and searched for the lighter he always kept in his front right pants pocket.  Lighting the cigarette, he began to walk towards the corner of West 177th and Cabrini.   The pedestrian and bike entrance of the GW bridge started there.

Entering the pedestrian gate of the bridge, the blogger noticed that the snow from the previous night had not been cleared and a thousand feet had pounded the walk into an ice filled path that would make him earn his last steps on this planet.  He paused before entering.  He smiled again and realized that his life was going to be a struggle right up to the end.  He began to pick his way around the worse humps in the ice.  The slow progress caused by the ice gave him more time to dwell on just where he would decide to jump.  He had planned to leap from the exact center of the bridge.  All the ice on the walk now caused him to reevaluate that decision.  Anywhere over water would do he thought.  Did it really matter if it was the center of the bridge or just 100 yards onto it?  He decided it did matter.  He would continue to the center.

As he approached the middle of the bridge he noticed someone hanging on the rail looking south down the Hudson.  They were loitering exactly where he had planned to make his big exit.  This irritated him.  This he had not planned on.  He slowed his progress and worried about how to deal with this obstruction placed in his way.  Some 40 yards short of his goal he decided he was close enough to the center to call it good.  He stopped and faced the river.

He must have stood there lost in thought for a few minutes.  A voice broke his trance from less than five feet away.  "You know this is not the middle don't you?"

The blogger jerked as if he had been goosed.  He turned and saw a medium sized fellow standing only a few feet away with a camera in his hand.

"Who are you and what business do you have with me?"  The blogger was very irritated now.

"Oh don't worry fella, I'm not here to stop you.  I'm here to record your last moments on the planet.  It's the least I can do."

The blogger had not counted on an audience.  "You read my blog?"

"Yes EMO-Man I did.  And I understand.  You gotta do what you gotta do.  But don't you think you owe it to all those who have followed you these past five years at least the pleasure of seeing you jump?  We have been hoping you would for more than a year.  Christ, you talked about it so much, we were getting tired of it.  Shit or get off the pot ferchrisakes."

"But no one ever said anything.  I haven't had a comment in months."

"Had you picked up Twitter or even included the Follower App on your blog you would have known there were at least 1200 people interested in how your life was panning out.  One sick bastard from Maryland even placed odds on when you would finally pull the plug.  By the way, I thought you were ready last week.  I lost $50 bucks."

The blogger turned and faced the Hudson again.  He shook his head and straightened his back.  His mind raced.  His heart pounded.  His temper flared.  He had an audience and didn't know it.  There were people interested in his trials and tribulations.  Only they were more interested in watching him die than offering possible life saving advice.  "Well screw them", he thought, I'll show them, the fuckin assholes."   The blogger squared his shoulders and turned to face the fellow with the camera.  "Get out of my way."  He brushed past Camera man and continued toward the center of the bridge.

The blogger did not stop at the center, he kept going.  Behind him Camera man shouted, "Hey EMO-Man where ya going?  You missed the center of the bridge."

EMO-Man stopped but did not turn around.  He turned his head and over his shoulder, "To New Jersey.  Fuck you voyeuristic leeches."  And he lifted his right hand and flipped Camera man the bird.

The next day the followers of the blog "Saving EMO", saw the image of the back of a  man wearing a Carhart jacket flipping the bird.  The title over it read,  "Saved Another One - Who's Next?"
__________________________________

I just do not know where this shit comes from.  I decided that today I would try to write some fiction.  And what you just read is the result.  I honestly had no plan or outline, just a few troubling notions floating around.  The story unfolded as I wrote it.  Whether it is good or not, again, just the effort made it worth it.

Keep it 'tween the ditches and stay away from the bridges......................................

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The 46% Stupidity Rate


I had an anti Reagan post well started when I remembered the saying, "Never speak ill of the dead".  And even though I will never ever ever think positive thoughts about St Ronnie, I decided to let his 100th birthday pass without any snarky or vicious commentary on my part.  Let the fools who worship him, worship him. 

Okay so I blew off a wonderfully soul cleansing rant to write about...................what?

The current situation in Egypt?   Well it seems to be stuck in limbo at the moment with the images of protesters on the tube losing more ground everyday.  Mubarak is supposedly out but.............If it goes on much longer, no one here in the States will even notice when it is finally over.  You can only divert our attention from "reality" TV for so long.

Okay what about the recent troubles within the ranks of the Republican Party.  Well, I guess they got pissy with each other (which by the way is noteworthy in itself because they did it publicly).  Snarky comments passed back and forth.  Queen Sarah snubbed the big wig CPAC hoe down and Santorum claimed her absence was because there was no money in it for her. 

The Donald hinted he might run for president.  This caught my attention for a couple of minutes.  I imagined a new Trump Plaza in place of the White House.  High hatted attendants wearing long coats opening doors while dignitaries holding fancy miniature poodles stepped out of 30 foot limos and looked for paparazzi to take shots of their latest outfit bought on Rodeo Drive.  Donald and his hair would transform the American experience completely from apprenticeship stupidity to full on no bullshit stupidity.  His comments that "we are becoming the laughing stock of the World" told me how out of touch he and his well heeled band of clowns are.  Donald, we already are the laughing stock.  That boat sailed at least 8 years ago.

In the meantime, Republican elders clashed with the Tea Party punks over how much and where to cut 100 billion dollars out of the budget.  Basing their demands on the notion that they were bound to fulfill their campaign promises and do it right away.  Wonderful sentiments and even though the old Republican farts caved, the reality that is DC politics has yet to sink in or through the thickened skulls of the noobs from the fringes.

On the sidelines, the Democrats are rubbing their hands and cackling.  The shoe is on the other foot now and they get to play spoiler.  I am sure they will do it well.  They have had many years of education courtesy of the Republicans, who mastered the technique back in the 1980s. 

And the fiasco that is American politics continues. 

I noticed that the State of Arizona has now filed a counter suit in response to the Federal suit filed by the Justice Department over Arizona's new tough immigration law.  Arizona bases their suit on the fact that the Feds have done nothing to protect their borders and it is just too expensive for them to do it themselves.  Maybe it is just me, but violating rights with arbitrary ID checks is not supported by any language in the Constitution.  Anyway, both the Feds and the state of Arizona seem intent on wasting more precious dollars and manpower in an effort to somehow put the cork back into a broken bottle.




At Yooper's Blog I was entertained with a video of Lawrence O'Donnell interviewing Rep. Steve King (R- Iowa). Apparently according to an Examiner poll, 46% of the Republicans polled believe Obama is a Muslim.  I wonder how many believe the World is flat and that Ronald Reagan is the center of the Universe?

Rep. King claims he believes that Obama is a Christian, but he has done nothing publicly to dispel this idiotic claim oozing from the Right.  To Lawrence O'Donnell's credit, he would not let King off the hook.  Asking him questions like "Do you have a Christian ID?" - or "Can you prove you are indeed a Christian?"  The man was squirming so much I was waiting for someone to ask him if he needed to pee.

My first thought about this religion hang up is who the Hell cares?  Apparently 46% of some sample group does.  Then I thought about why religious affiliation is so important in a leader who is supposed to represent all the people in their constituency, regardless of religion.  Apparently the religious folks hold more value to how our leaders pray than what country we invade and why.  Tied into this is the stupidity over where Obama was born.

If you actually believe it matters what religion Obama favors then you are an idiot.  You are assigning him more power over your life than he deserves.  Pray to your god and let him pray to his.  Our country is set up to allow this.  And you should respect that. 

If and when he leads us down some irrevocable road like Bush did, then you may have something worthy to bitch about.  Until then, you Birthing Islam hating idiots may as well just shut the Hell up.  The man is president and that's the fact of the matter.  Your whining now is just so much background noise.

So then I noticed................................

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Duke of Puke

Four Dinners caught my eye with his post entitled "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" .  It references a great song by Ian Dury & the Blockheads.  His post was not really about the song.  It covered his take on comments, free speech, and applauded a fellow blogger's free spirit and in your face style of commentary.

Ian Dury was a punker/new waver from across the pond.  His rise to fame paralleled the rise to fame of what might be considered an obnoxious American version of himself - Root Boy Slim. (punch this one for the song "Boogie til you Puke"). Both performers were considered outrageous for the times and both left this world earlier than they should have. 

I first saw Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band in some bar in the Washington DC area back in the late 1970s.  Touted as a cross between the punk experience from England and the great Blues of the South, Rootboy Slim put a jagged edge on contemporary American music.   His music was best heard after too many beers in some run down dive with a tiny stage crammed into the corner.  His most famous song, "Boogie til you Puke" still ranks as the best binge drinking song ever.  One concert at the Varsity Grill in College Park, Maryland turned into a riot that spilled into the streets and onto Rte 1.  He was banned by local bureaucrats from playing there ever again.  But public pressure brought him back for a coliseum gig a couple of years later.  He died in 1993.

What I knew about Root Boy was his public persona.  I had no clue of his real world life until I googled it.  Raised in what I would assume was upper income circumstances, he misspent his youth getting kicked out of one prep school after another.  But he did land a scholarship to Yale and was in the same fraternity with Dubya, the future president.  Dubya, as president of the frat, banned Root Boy from ever stepping foot back into their frat house after an apparently raucous night of debauchery when Root Boy came back to campus the year after he graduated.  Root Boy was also arrested for climbing the White House fence while way too high on LSD.  All this before he formed his band.

I often wonder about guys like Root Boy, Divine, Iggie Pop, and all the other icons of outrageous behaviour I enjoyed back in the day.  Their music and films maybe did not reinforce my own struggle to come to grips with the bland culture I found myself in, but their music and films did prove I was not alone in my dissatisfaction with the status quo.  It seems that youthful rebellion is woven into our humanity more as a reality check for the rest of us than just the surface pain in the ass it seems to come off as. 

I have no clue now years later why I did some of the things I did as a brain dead punk.  I am guessing it is because I had no clue at the time of entering into foolish and destructive behaviour why I was doing them.  If it felt good, I did it.  I survived.  Root Boy did not.

Keep it 'tween the ditches.....................................

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Doodle Bugs


A post about a pet field mouse on the Frumpy Professor's blog prompted a memory of mine from my life while living in Tampa, Florida in the early 1960s.  The Professor wrote about his experience of finding a Field mouse and then convincing his parents to let him "bring it back to health".  He promised to let it go the following Spring.

I asked my parents once to save an injured bird from the obvious evil awaiting it should I let it go.  My request was shut down almost as quickly as I said it.  "Absolutely not!  We've been through that already with your brothers.........Get rid of it."

I was not aware of the saying "It is easier to ask forgiveness than ask permission."  I utilized it's wisdom anyway.  I took the poor critter in, hid it in my room and tried to nurse it back to health.  It died anyway.  Plus I was caught and the wisdom of that saying was lost in an instant, replaced by the wisdom of, "When I tell you to do something, you damn well better do it."  I remember some restricted to quarters time and extra chores followed in due course.

I then embraced the wisdom of, "Just don't get caught".  I had mixed results over the following years, fine tuning my efforts until the day I figured out that often "not getting caught" was more of my parents not saying anything until I pulled a more flagrant and obnoxious break in accepted conduct.

I continued to bring creatures home.  Some I got away with, some I did not.  Every snake I tried to keep under wraps always managed to escape and then all Hell would break loose.  I had better luck with the mole and the several lizards I befriended.  Though the night my dad stomped the life out of one gecko while trying to find the bathroom in the dark had maybe the most memorable consequences.  Corporal punishment and a school bus missing interrogation awaited me in the morning. 

Of all the illegal animals I kept finding and bringing home, the ones I remember best and the ones I successfully hid the longest was my colony of Antlions, or Doodle Bugs as they are often called in the South.

They existed in the soft sandy dirt under the eaves of our house in Tampa, Florida.  I first noticed their cone like pits in the dirt.  As any 10 year old would, I had to know why these pits were here.  I got down on my knees and really looked at them.  At first nothing.  At some point I must have watched an ant stumble into one of the pits.  As it struggled to scramble out, it's efforts only caused it to fall further into the pit until out of nowhere from under the bottom, a nasty looking creature struck in the blink of an eye and dragged the poor unfortunate ant to it's doom.

WOW!  Now that was cool.

For awhile I enjoyed my antlions outside where they lived.  I got so I could get them to come out through trickery.  I would tickle the sides of the pit with a twig or blade of grass and slowly move it down until ...........the claws came out and struck the twig.  It always made me jump.

I decided to capture one and take it inside with me.  I found a shoe box with a top and filled it with the dirt from under the eaves.  I caught an antlion and tossed him in the shoe box, and stuffed the the box under my bed.  I don't think I named him or her.  But for the next week or so I made this bug the focal point of all my spare attention. 

It quickly constructed a pit and took in the first ant offered.  I began to feed it an ant a day until I noticed many ants were going uneaten.  Instead of cutting back on the ants, I captured more antlions until I had at least 6 pits going 24/7 in that shoe box.  I would waste hours messing with their pits just to watch them re-build.  Eventually I found that an ant every other day for each pit seemed to be the right feeding schedule.

It all ended after about six months when my mom found the box and tossed it out.  She asked why I had a box of dirt under my bed.  I had learned by that time any answer but the truth would have been caught immediately, so I came clean.  Oddly, all she did was tell me to not say anything to my father.  No problem there.  My lips were sealed.  And my brief encounter with antlions came to an end.

When the Professor's post jogged this memory, I googled "antlion" to re-acquaint myself with them.  As usual multi thousands of hits popped up.  I even noticed that one can "buy" antlion farms on the Internet.  And my first thought was, "Well, that must have been the first million dollar opportunity I missed in my life."  I could have cornered the market if I had kept at it.

Later.................................................................

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Julius Scissor

On my recent whirlwind trip to Philadelphia I took several walks.  My focus for these walks was:

~ A - To get out of the hotel room even though it was raining.

~ B - Take pictures of things, people, and more things on my walk.

A few blocks from The Rittenhouse Hotel on Locust street one of my strolls took me by a nondescript hair cutting joint stuck in the middle of a block of Philly rowhouses.  The first thing I noticed was the clutter of hairy objects hanging on walls and in the window.  I stopped and looked in.  Then I saw it.  A bust of Ronald Reagan with lights on the tips of his pompadour.  The handwritten sign next to it - "Ronald Raygun - Julius Scissor".   Since I am the ultimate anti-Reagan fan, I took out my camera and took a picture.  A slightly crazed looking fellow who appeared to be about my age looked out the window at me.  I smiled, pointed at the Ronnie bust and gave him a big thumb's up.  He smiled back and I continued my stroll.

Little did I know I had just had a close encounter with a local celebrity.  I would not know this until this morning when I decided to find a better image of the Raygun bust than the piss poor one I took through the glass.  Julius Scissor has been cutting hair famously in Philadelphia since the early 1970s.  Rated the best hair cutter in town for ten straight years, he was disqualified from the competition to "give others a chance".

To be honest, I am not much of a hair guy.  Hair doos come and go and I don't even notice.  Hair is just something that is either in my way or it is not.  Hair is there to keep my hat from chaffing the skin on my noggin.  So the fact that Julius is a famous haircutter is maybe interesting, but it is his art that catches my attention.  One of his favorite mediums is .......yeah, that's right - hair.  He has done some very odd things with hair.  Make me chuckle things.  And that's okay.  Art is about creating a response, good, bad, and even comedic.  You go Julius, your bust of Ronnie was a real treat.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Fancy Toothpicks

My recent whirlwind visit to Philadelphia is over.  I'm back home nursing the residual effects of too much travel, too much food and drink, and too little sleep.  I am also pleased that this visit to Philly left me with a good feeling.  The trip down was uneventful with the exception of the Boneheads in Connecticut slowing down for no reason from time to time.  The trip back was even less eventful and that was good as both my wife and I were hard into the day after too much imbibement.   Tempers could have flared if we hit a traffic jam.  Never fun to deal with each other's hangover in a small compact on I-84.

Weddings seem to fall into one of several categories.  One  - wish I never went.  Two - it was the strangest few days I ever spent.  Or - this wedding was one of the best times I ever had.  I have experienced all three at different times.  This wedding fell into the best times category even though I had primed myself early for a bad time so I could whine about it later.  All I have to whine about though is the throbbing head and queasy stomach I brought home to Maine on Sunday.

Two mid Atlantic cultures came together for this wedding.  One family raised on the crabs and beer of the Chesapeake Bay and one raised on scrapple and cheese steaks found between the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers.  Neither family's blood ran blue but all seemed solid multi-generational citizens from their respective areas.  The type of folks who are the bedrocks of their communities.  Tradesmen, professionals, good people all.

My nephew and his new wife are employees of "The Rittenhouse Hotel" , a five star hotel located on Rittenhouse Square.  All of us from away stayed there and I have to say, there is something special about first class accommodations, though it took me a few hours to get used to some guy wearing a fancy hat rushing to the lobby door to hold it open for me.  The ceremony was held next door at the Church of the Holy Trinity, an old Anglican church with apparently very old stained glassed windows.  Attached to the side of the hotel were a bank of at least forty camera-like boxes trained on the stain glassed windows of the church across the alley.  Once inside the church, the windows glow as if facing an eternal sun and not a 25 story glass and concrete hotel.

The ceremony was poignant and short.  The Episcopal priest was a Brit with a sense of humor.  He did his homework or knew his audience as he invoked Vince Lombardi wisdom into I guess it was his sermon.  It made me smile for sure.  By 6:00 PM I was standing in the open bar line in the Mary Cassatt Room off the hotel lobby eyeballing the row of high end liquor choices.  My first drink was Chivas on the rocks.  White gloved attendants wandered around with trays of choice tid bits skewered with fancy toothpicks.  Adding to the festive mood,  live music from a piano and sax duo filled out the sound created by 150 people talking at once.  "Oh Elsa, I just love your dress" - "Jack here, well he's an accountant over to BJ&M" - "This is your daughter?  Well she's a cutie" .......and so it went.  The ones not talking were sipping on their drinks or choosing delicious mouthfuls off silver trays wandering through the crowd.

At 7:00 PM another white gloved attendant wandered through banging a set of gongs and the throng moved up some stairs to the reception room.  A live band stood on a raised stage and got things rockin early with some great cover music.  I hit the open bar up there for another Chivas on the rocks. 

The meal kicked off with a salad and some wine.  The plates were cleared.  A few minutes later some frozen dish with a tablespoon of something in it was served.  I was perplexed.  Someone at our table said it was something to "clear my palate" for the main course.  "Oh, yeah right."  It had been a few years since I "cleared my palate".  The main course was probably the best pork chop ever cooked.  I wanted so badly to grab that sucker and really gnaw on it, but as I was wearing a tie, I restrained myself.  Sometimes the clothes do make the man.  I cut off what I could and watched the waiter haul away what may have been the best part.  Dessert was the wedding cake.  Multi layered gastronomical delight that still lingers in my mind. 

My trepidation at visiting a city that has often treated me over the years as an unwelcome guest opened its arms this past weekend.  I managed to skip the ugly side of Philly this trip and find some of the charm that hides under its tough veneer.   Of course any trip with free Chivas on the rocks would be hard to ruin.

My thanks to the families of the newly weds for putting on a top class shin dig.  May Sean and Mary continue with the great vibes their marriage started out with. 

Some Images from the Trip

Friday, February 04, 2011

Cheese Steak City

I'm heading to Philadelphia in a few hours.  My nephew is getting married tomorrow and would like my wife and I to be there.  It is to be a quick trip.  One day to get there, one day to celebrate the nuptials, and one day to get back.  Minimal interruption of the lifestyle I have surrounded myself with these past 30 years.  Unless of course one adds in the hours spent chasing new duds, getting a haircut out of season, and anguishing over which bag will hold it all.  Then there is the time spent at the vet as Stub was checked out and ok'd for her weekend at Bowser's Canine Retreat in Lebanon, a town nearby.  Then hauling her quivering ass to the retreat and filling out more forms than I would face when taking out a car loan.  Of course we have to take into consideration the extra time I spent fine tuning the snow removal so the drive and emergency exits at the bike shop and at home were free and clear of snow.  All told I bet I can add an extra 24 hours to this trip in preemptive prep.

But in less than 72 hours I should be back at home lounging on the couch with remote in hand deciding if I want to watch the Super Bowl.  Life will get back to normal, whatever that is. 

I have mixed feelings about Philadelphia.  As a truck driver cutting my teeth driving out of Baltimore, I had many runs to the City of Brotherly Love.  With the exception of my trips with bands to the Spectrum, my pick ups and deliveries there were always harder than they needed to be.  It seemed every worker bee in that town I dealt with had some kind of chip on their shoulder.  A union chip when I wasn't union, a non-union chip when I was union, and cops who were not that understanding of the difficulties of delivering furniture off crowded streets to 4th floor walk ups.

I used to attend a national bike show there back in the 1990s.  We would stay at the Ho-Jos that was located almost under the Ben Franklin bridge.  The Expo was only an eight block ride on our bikes from the Hotel.  On one trip when I was out doing some urban assault surfing, a young man all duded up in the latest gangsta style reached out from a pedestrian crowded corner and shoved me into the path of the traffic coming up on my back door.   On that same trip, my partner at the time and I were leaving a small bistro after a sumptuous Philly breakfast and from across the street a man came screaming and staggering at us.  He was wielding a very large knife.  I can remember just standing there watching him close in on us.  I couldn't move or maybe wouldn't move.  Thankfully his synapses clicked in.  He changed direction and staggered back across the street still screaming and wielding the knife.  No one on the street seemed to even notice or care. 

I was hanging out at the city hall around lunchtime on a weekday once.  Propped up against a building with busy power tied pedestrians rushing by was an homeless fellow with no legs.  His zipper was down and he was pissing on the sidewalk.  One well dressed lady walked by and carefully stepping over the rivulet of piss, gave him a dirty look.  Other than that he was ignored.

To be fair to Philadelphia, I have had my share of good times there also.  Drinking with strangers, sharing a joint with the guys at various loading docks, catching the many tourist sites.  Philadelphia always leaves an impression.  It is always a crap shoot what kind of impression is left when I finally leave Philly in the rear view.

See you all in a few days....................................

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Waiting for Summer

I don't know who to thank for the less than awesome storm we had yesterday and the day before.  But my snow blower and I thank you.  Only about 11" of new snow fell here in Acton while Chicago and many other parts of the country got hammered.  For us here in Maine it was just another winter day.

I thought an image taken yesterday of my yard throne waiting patiently for the snow to melt and the buds to open was appropriate for this post that will most likely end up as a whine fest about how much winter sucks in Maine when February comes. 

That lawn chair is at the least 45 years old.  For the last 15 years it has sat perched under the red maple on the kitchen side of the house.  Next to it standing on end imagine a cinder block that has been there just about as long.  The seat has provided me many moments of respite from the toils of yard care over the years.  The cinder block has provided a safe haven for a cup of coffee, the occasional beer, and once I used it to hold a bottle and shot glass as I got pasted in the warm evening breezes of July 1998.  I do not now remember what caused me to celebrate, but celebrate I did.  I woke up at dark thirty in the morning with a shitty taste in my mouth and a new spider web trying to pin me to the chair. 

I placed the chair under the red maple because I don't have a porch.  Well not much of a porch anyway.  The porch at the front door is more of a staging area.  It holds snow shovels, buckets of sand, a milk box and just enough cover to get out of the rain.  The red maple however offers me safe haven in all but the hardest rain.  I can survey my kingdom and be pleased.

I have considered placing a stone patio under that chair.  But as most considerations I come up with go, the imagined patio remains locked in the conceptual stage.  But I will say this, the patio I imagine as my feet kick leaves out of the way and brush cobwebs off the chair is a patio fit for a king.  To the left I have built in my mind a natural stone grill with a ten foot stone chimney.  To my right a small rock shelf to replace the cinder block that has been dependably covering until such time as I actually build that shelf.  And under it all, the beautiful stones I have spent years collecting that now collect dust over near the garage.

Yeah, I can't wait to enjoy that patio again.  Even if it is only in my mind.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Comments

I was wondering what to write about this morning as the Blizzard that rocked the country works its magic outside.  I've fired myself up enough reading and then writing about all the crappy news out there.  I have tried to find good news to write about.  I even considered trying my hand at some more fiction, but for some reason I did not feel the love at the moment.  So I got another cup of coffee, sat down and did my duty.

I visited other blogs with the intention of commenting.  That would be my contribution to the blogoshere today.  Not just lurk, but interact with others by commenting on what I had just read.   Besides, the only other alternative is to go outside and move snow out of the way.  A warm cup of coffee and some light reading seemed a more enticing activity. 

It is odd that I feel I can say whatever I want to complete strangers located who knows where , yet if we were face to face, I would most likely be silent.  Somehow I have a misguided trust in the protective aspects of the Internet.  I know it is misplaced confidence, but there it is.  If I were to piss off the right, or rather the wrong person with my often acidic comments, they could find me.  I use my real name and post the town and state I live in.  I have even given out my address more than a few times.  I figure it this way.  I am what I am and hiding behind an alias has never been my style.  If someone wants to haunt me, hound me, stalk me, then I say go for it.  But I do not feel I am a very high priority target.  Just another slob on the Internet who has an overblown perception of his own importance. 

I'd say I was just a regular Joe, but that would be incorrect.  We are all different, just most of us are uniformly different.  I feel I am safely inside the lines we draw between crazy and not crazy, stupid and not so stupid.  A face in the crowd you skip over because I'm standing next to some hot babe who really is the eye catcher.

This morning I must have ingested a silly pill or some dufus gas because several of the comments I left came from not out of left field, but outside the ball park completely.  I threatened to drop a dime on someone because their video tour of their basement exposed some glaring electrical code violations.  I also got off on some tangent of hiring a local to take photos of cars running the stop sign at Sam Page Road and Rte 109.  A poem I read found me trying hard to be serious.  I managed to, but it was a luke warm effort.   And then in desperation, I invoked the "Leave to Beaver" emergency comment on Demeur's serious post regarding dominoes and the SOTU. 

I gotta say, it is more fun being silly than the alternative.  Later......... I have some snow to move.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Warmup

I dug out a pathway through the accumulated snow from the front door to the back door this morning.  I had hopes that allowing the snow to just melt this year instead of creating escape routes would work.  I did try to stay lazy.  Or as they .......wait a minute, someone or something is raising Hell in the kitchen..........................Stupid cats.  Buster's got a mouse and of course it is still alive.  Well, I hope he doesn't tear the house up playing with it.................................Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah.

I did try to conserve my vital juices and stored energies for more important and self satisfying endeavors than picking snow up and moving it manually.   But I could not open the back door this morning.  Too much snow and too many fallen icicles had piled up in front of it.  Add in the fact that by tomorrow night there may be 2 more feet of new snow on top of what we have now, and suddenly what was less important yesterday is now at the front of the line.

As I finished the hour and a half's worth of shovel and grunt, it began to snow.  We aren't supposed to get more than .........wait a minute......now it's no more than 8 inches today.  A four hour break tonight and then tomorrow, the main event.  Up to another 18 inches tomorrow.  Yee Hah!

I only bring this up because should we get nailed tomorrow, according to the under achieving real estate folks,  another average year of snow fall will have fallen.  But based on the actual average for the last ten years, we will need another 15" to reach our true average.  At the pace we are setting in 2011, it's looking like another 90 plus inch season.

I broke a favorite snow shovel this morning also.  The plastic one with the steel edge.  Found some ice that overwhelmed it's ability to handle.  That makes three snow removal implements busted this year.  None of them owed me anything I guess.  Worn out is worn out.  But it sucks to drop $100 on new snow tools in the space of a few weeks.  Also ten years seems to be a damn short lifespan for a shovel.  Okay, so the snow scoop was probably fifteen years old, but well, it's only snow ferchrisakes.  Yeah, yeah, I guess the ice counts too.

The snow we are getting here this year is nothing out of the ordinary  for our area.  But it seems the national media has taken more interest in it than ever before.  Maybe it is because more snow has fallen in New York City this winter than has fallen here in Maine.  The East Coast snowfall is 83% above normal for this time of the year.  Central Park has usually gotten 10-11 inches by this time.  They are closing in on 60 inches.  I would guess that after this storm, they will be at or above 70 inches for the season.

Snow removal budgets up and down the eastern seaboard were over drawn awhile ago.  Residents of the coastal plain are tired of digging out their cars, their walks, their lives.  I sit here and wonder what the big deal is.  We dig out all the time.  And I guess that's the problem, the rest of the East south of Connecticut is not used to more than a few minor dumpings.  This year they got a Maine winter.  Maybe next year we'll get a Maryland winter.

See Ya.............................................................