Monday, January 31, 2011

How Much Time

I woke up this morning with these words on my mind - "How much time".  Not really posed as a question being asked, but more that they were a smaller part of a larger thought.  I searched for some memories of the last dream I was having.  Nothing but a memory of climbing crowded stairs that brought me from one old Euro village street to another old Euro village street.  Seated or standing on the steps were laughing people exchanging pleasantries in some unidentifiable language.  I had to wind my way through as I climbed the stairs.  Recall failed once I hit the next street level.  No help there.

How Much Time  - I considered these words as they related to my bike shop.  Worries over the bike shop bring these words to the forefront on a regular weekly, every other day, almost constant concern as I struggle to pay vendors, power companies, phone companies, and loan companies.  "Payment due by........"  and all that.  The slacker income of winter always puts an emphasis on these words.  But the emotion I felt when I woke up to these three words was not the emotion of a man overwhelmed by crushing debt.  Oh I'm being crushed alright, but there was something else on my mind.

How Much Time - I briefly wondered if my recent diddlin and fiddlin around websites dedicated to the Mayan Calendar might be what I was worrying about.  My conscious self really does not care about worrying whether the Mayan intelligentsia got it right or not.  What happens or doesn't happen happens all the time.  I deal with it as it happens or doesn't happen.  But what about the guy I become in my dreams?  Maybe that guy is really worried about it.  Hey George Lucas is worried about it, maybe I ought to be also...................Nah, the Mike in my dreams is usually less concerned about the shit Life throws at us than the Mike who actually deals with it out here in the Real World.

HOW MUCH TIME - Now I'm getting angry.  You can tell because I used all capitals there back a few words.  What the Hell was I thinking about when I left these three words hanging in my sleep for me to pick up and run with when I woke up.  Maybe it is the fact that I think more about what time I have left than the time I used to have  ...........................Nope.  Every time I try to project into my future, all I see is nothing.  I treat the future the same way I did 40 years ago.  It just does not exist until I get there.

Okay.  After two cups of coffee and more head scratching than those three words deserve, I have decided to drop them from my list of daily concerns.  If "how much time" is important, I will find out how important and how much time was left when it finally runs out.

Classic Monday I guess...................................................

Imaged copped from Gizmodo

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Life I've Got

Distracted by posturing pols, smiling TV idols, bulging muscled meatheads driving fast cars, and little old ladies bearing down on me with Walmart carts full of the finest Asian goods, I wander through the days I have left and wonder just what, just how, and why I even take up space in this place.  Thoughts of paradises that probably do not even exist ease my angst.   I create scenes of what ifs that might just take me away from all this.  I conjure up mindsets and places that whisk me briefly away from that part of the my world that seems so pissed.

I will seek help with the quest every once in awhile.  Sip on spirits, suck on some smoke, or lose myself in some fantastic book.  But always and without fail, when the smoke clears, the story ends, and the lights go up, here I am back again with the meatheads, the whining pols, with that part of me that never left.  No matter what, no matter what trip I just took -  Forget the life I think I deserve.  I always return to the life I've got.

And that's okay.  It has finally dawned on me.  Life offers promise, but comes with no warranty, no guarantee.  Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  The trick is while I'm here, the trick is not to rust.

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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Not too Sexy for their Shirts

Portland, Maine has recently been highlighted by several magazines as a wonderful place to live.  GQ Online added Portland to their "Coolest small Cities" list back in November, 2010.   Forbes Magazine rated Portland their number one most livable city in April of 2009.  And finally, Outside Magazine rated Portland as the best over all city in the East for outside living in 2010.

Portland is a great little city.  I have had many good times there.  As a mountain biker, I am always impressed with the trail network the local cyclists have managed to find and connect not very far from the city center.  Casco Bay is a wonderul body of water and apparently the big Cruise Ships are beginning to agree.  The number of art galleries, artisan shops, and music venues is impressive given the size of the city.  There is lots to do any day of the week. 

The old school atmosphere created by the working waterfront keeps Portland's feet firmly planted in reality.  Any given day you can head to the fish markets and hear the crusty old lobster men cuss and fume over the price of lobsta, halibut, or scrod.  Take a break in one of the local dives and you might even find someone to pick a fight with.  Portland has it all in one small package.  I was once cold cocked by a drunken indian who came out of some bar and hit the first person he came across.  I was maybe 16 and my mom who was with me laid into the guy.  A strange encounter in Portland that has stuck with me all these years. 

So imagine my disappointment when I noticed that Men's Health Magazine just rated Portland the "least sexiest city" in the country.    Least sexy?  What the Hell?

First of all I have no clue what criteria is used to determine "sexiest".  Seems to me, that is one of those notions that relies on personal taste rather than being based on tangible and quantifiable data.  Or is it?  Apparently the creators of this list found the data needed to factually judge the sexiest city which by their standards is Austin, Texas.

The data used is:
  • Total Condom Sales (Portland - 95th /100)
  • Birth Rates (Portland 95th / 100)
  • STD Rates (Portland 100th /100)
I see.  Obviously they have done exhaustive research into this and determined that the city with the most drippy faucets, the most pockets packed with condoms and toss in the highest birthrate, that means that town knows how to party hardy 'tween the sheets.

Maybe it's just me, but I never found condoms to be the least bit sexy.  Nothing dampens the moment more than a last minute errand to the local pharmacy for a hoodie.  Though I never picked up any STDs, I imagine that showing up bed side with the faucet running cannot be that much of a turn on.  And please, the only real sexy thing about birth is the initiation process.  Birth is beautiful but certainly not sexy.

All in all, I would say Portland is at the right end of this list.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stepping Outside of my Box

Instead of going right to the mainstream or even not so mainstream news sites for my morning news fix, I punched up some funny news links.  The usual odd collection of  dumb criminal stunts and silly pets doing silly things for silly humans greeted me as I sifted through the various sites that focus on the odd and funny truths that are scattered here and there among the normal bad news that seems our daily staple.

Not sure why, but I punched up the link "Weird Penis Roundup"  .  Immediately, I couldn't get past the headline - "Man cuts off own penis".  An involuntary shudder ran through me as the little guy ran for cover.  He still refuses to come out.  I don't think he trusts me now. 

A woman was convicted of murdering her boyfriend, yet it was the police who killed him.  That one still has me scratching my head.

Willy Nelson has created a new political party.  He calls it the Teapot Party.  Its goal is to legalize Doober, Mary Jane, Herb.  Apparently he came up with the idea while sitting in stir after he was busted for pot possession in Texas.  Set up a Facebook page and over 50,000 people have punched their "like it" button.  He's facing a possible 180 days in jail after border patrol cops stopped him 100 miles from the Mexican border at an "alien checkpoint".  .................Hmm.  And people think the cops won't abuse their authority when given the chance. 

I reached my limit when I got to all the bestiality stories. I had to bail back to the safe and predictable stories of countries being over run, climatic disasters, dirty politics of lying leaders, and crimes I could get my head around without flinching.  Suddenly all was right with the World again.  Hopefully the images I conjured up during this trip through the world of the bizarre do not stick with me like the images burned into my corneas when I once made the mistake of visiting the Execution video websites. 

Curiosity satisfied does not always leave one satisfied.  Later..................................

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cycles, The Game You Can't Win - 250 words

As the countries of the World began to cooperate and share knowledge in their efforts to quell the ever growing unrest inside their own borders or unrest imported from afar, the noose around all the World's population drew tighter and tighter...........and tighter.

Suicide bombings became daily occurrences at  airports, bus stations or municipal buildings somewhere on the planet. Unhappy groups from every fringe of the globe began to adopt each other's techniques and complaints until the battles waged between Authority and everyone else became one struggle instead of many.

The sapient population on the third planet from it's home star eventually consumed itself along with most of the life forms left on the planet. The Earth fell into dormancy.

Epochs and ages passed as Earth healed itself. More time swept by as another phylum of life clawed its way up from the crumbled ruins left by the previous occupants. At first and according to rules set down across the Universe, early survival depended more on luck and mutation than conspired advantages.   Food Chain laws based on adaptation and flexibility kicked in and the predictable rise of a dominate species began.

So it went until the moment the first artificial advantage was found and manufactured. And another species began to close in on its demise. The end game was always the same.

"Xracll, you always play this game the same. You are so predictable. How many games am I up now? 6, 7?"

"Screw you. Let's go again. Double or Nothing?"

Literally just some train of thought stuff with two lines of dialog at the end to turn it into fiction.  Whether it works or not does not matter.  Just the exercise was fun.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Snow Removal Theory

Having dealt with snow in many parts of the nation over the years, I noticed that depending on the local attitude and regional preparedness, snow can be everything from someones worse nightmare to just another day on the planet.   Six inches of snow in Richmond, Virginia might cripple that town for a couple of days.  Here in Acton, it might be an inconvenience for a couple of hours. 

The amount of snow is but part of this regional situation.  In areas where measurable snow is rare, the roads get whacked by as little as a couple of inches.  The locals have no clue how to deal with it.  They drive in it like the roads are just wet and end up in the ditch, the curb, or into another car.  They usually do not have very many plows ready to take on significant snowfall and only the main drags get serious attention, leaving neighborhoods to their own devices.  A snow storm can create a very ugly place to live south of the Mason Dixon Line.

My first real memory of snow removal was maybe 50 years ago in Bethesda, Maryland.  My dad handed me a special kid's snow shovel and we went out and dug out the cars.  There have not been very many winters since I haven't at least picked up a snow shovel a few times.  Many winters it seemed I never put that snow shovel down.  Not for very long anyway. 

So, it is no wonder I have come up with my own take on snow removal.

Up here the roads are pretty much ready to drive whenever you want to head out, or when you can get out.  Snow removal budgets are huge here.  Lots of trucks and crews who do a damn fine job most days of keeping roads drivable.  Once a storm starts, the trucks are attacking it repeatedly until it stops.  Unless it is on a weekend.  Then they might only make a few passes, leaving the bulk of the cleanup for after the last flake has fallen.

Winter 2010-2011 has gotten off to an odd start.  I was wearing shorts and a tee shirt well into November.  I think we had one snow of consequence just before Christmas which salvaged the "White Christmas" everyone likes to see on postcards, gift cards, and outside on Christmas morning.  I was beginning to think all that work I did to my snow blower at the end of last season was wasted effort.  What was I thinking?  This is Maine.  The snow always comes.  Just be patient.

According to some real estate website that offers information on areas around the country for prospective emigres from away, Acton's average snowfall is 66" a year.  That's 31" over the national average.  As of today we have received in the last two weeks almost half our yearly average.  Counting the paltry 10" or so in December, we are at 40 plus inches for this winter.  We still have at least 2 & 1/2 months to go. 

All of this snow means that snow removal is a big part of our lives.  How big depends on how far we want to take it.  Personally, I have exhibited several different attitudes over the years.  From wilfully ignoring it to anal retentive clearing every flake from my drive.

Ignoring it does not work unless one is comfortable with not leaving the house for weeks at a time.  Anal retentive snow removal might be good for some folks who are wound tight to begin with, but I found I just could not keep up the intensity required to create and maintain the "perfect driveway".  There's a couple of old dudes who live next to each other on Rte 109 who engage in driveway battles every storm.  I think they both are out there as soon as the first inch falls, hoping to get a jump on the guy next door.  Every time I go by, their drives are clean right down to the pavement. 

So I have hit the happy medium.  I ignore it as long as I can, but when I do go after it, I hit it with a vengeance.  And I am not afraid to use hand weapons either.  I take it seriously once I get started and move it as far away as possible given the equipment I have to work with at the time.  Because I know that in another week, I am likely to face another foot of the stuff.

I never retreat, I just reload.

Uh,....... later I guess.  I have to go clean up what the town plow just put back in my driveway.  Damn, I just love Winter.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Town Dump Angst

Last year sometime I discovered a web service called Topix.  Specializing in below the national, regional, or state radar, it presents news of the local kind.  Topix is the Internet equivalent of the local paper that informs us of PTA meetings, local board issues, and events pending at churches, schools and local parks.  Topix also sponsors local forums for folks to speak their mind on any number of topics that may or may not be of any interest outside a ten mile radius.

My family and I have been active residents of Acton for 45 years.  53 years if you go back to when my aunt and uncle moved here.  Our family are keep to ourselves types.  We don't gossip, but will listen if it is offered.   And now that I have Topix, I do not have to wait for the juicy tidbits until that next trip to the dump or that next encounter with someone at the town hall while registering my truck two months late.  Every burning issue of the localized kind is there at my fingertips whenever I wish to check them out.

Acton may on the surface seem to be a very cosmopolitan and trendy place.  If there's a hot new camo pattern in hunt wear, you can bet our hunters are the first to show it off down to the Trading Post every November.  Using descriptive words like chic and hip do not do justice to the intense and often contentious socializing that goes on at the two bars we have within the town limits.  I hear some of the locals are not always asking for Bud Light on tap, but will often ask for Miller Lite.  Yeah, we have a very sophisticated population here in southern Maine.  Must be the influence of all those folks from away who crowd our lakes and our roads every summer.

So it is no wonder that the Topix forum dedicated to the Acton area is always busy.  Hot bed topics like the local pot gardens and who should be in charge of the road committee all get plenty of opinion and attitude.   Who is sleeping with who gets some attention.  Which town employee is the most corrupt or useless gets its fair share of attention.  But out of all the recent posts, the Town Dump is by far enjoying the most hits and posts.

The Town Dump is our social center.  Conversation and interaction with fellow citizens is as important there as tossing garbage in the hopper.  Having a pleasant visit there is paramount in the even flow of our local days.  When the rhythm of the Dump is interrupted or confused, the residents get pissy in a hurry.   The recent firing of two of the dump stalwarts has resulted in folks displaying their displeasure on the Topix forum.  My favorite dump guy, Rodgah was let go.  As was Irvin Pillsbury.  Both were bedrock employees for years.  A trip to the dump will never be the same without the smile of Rogah and the scowl of Irvin.  My world has been changed and I don't like it.  I had a bond with these guys.  They never questioned me or poked around my garbage.  They knew I was one of the responsible dump users and did my best to follow the rules.  Now?  Well, who knows.  We might end up with some Dump Nazis again like we had back in the 1990s. 

My stress index is spiking.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Real Reality Sucks

Rabid Right Winged warriors, flush from recent victories, throw a party in one house and celebrate by wishing something dead before it arrives.   Limp wristed Lefties cower in the next house brandishing brave words that their will is what matters.  In the meantime, the leader of the Free World sets a lavish meal for the leader of the Unfree World.  Discussion of commerce and abused souls of the World fill in the dead time between courses of Lobster, Steak and of course, Apple Pie.   The Leader of the Free World comes away from this meeting feeling good that he has ensured Walmart's shelves will continue to be stocked in the foreseeable future.   All of which proves that Life is about money and Happiness is a commodity.  The abused souls Worldwide will now rejoice.

Slack jawed minions pick their noses and watch all this unfold.  Not able to comprehend anything beyond the paycheck they get or don't get, they tune in their favorite reality show and dream of team competition on warm  palm clad islands with nothing but a Barlow knife and a camera crew standing by to record their triumphant destruction of the team with the Bitch everyone hates.  Oh how they wish their lives were real like on TV.

With nothing to offer but sharp words, contentious hacks wearing ties and makeup line up to toss insults and unfounded accusations at each other.   Lost in the love of their own words, they waste our time attempting through fear to get us on board or be run over by the bus.  Hope is not relegated to the back of the bus.  Hope is kicked off the bus.

And the minions suck up the fear.  But then they tune in to the latest "American Idol" and for thirty minutes, their world is real again.  Their world makes sense as they cry for those they loved who lost and cheer for those still contending.  For in this Reality, sometimes the good guy does win.
Written in one breath so to speak with little editing, just some spelling and such.  Not sure where this was hiding, but it obviously needed to be regurgitated as I am feeling slightly better now.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Third Week of January, 2011

It's Monday evening and I see America is set to embark on another week of energetic mediocrity, with its usual dash of stupidity tossed in.

Top billing News to set up this week:

Of most importance and offered up as lead ins were the wasted words printed, spoken and sucked up regarding some Brit comic and his less than flattering remarks as host of some ego stroking actor award show.   He rubbed some customized Hollywood noses the wrong way and they whined about it.  This makes me sad.  I may just lose some sleep worrying about how Bruce Willis and RD Jr will deal with disrespect and not the praise they have learned to expect and demand.  Their lives are just so more important than mine.

My own governor told the NAACP to "kiss his butt" and his national worth to some right wing group somewhere just jumped.  A white man dares to say what's on his mind?  Had it been some issue of real contention, I might have more respect for his candor.  But it was all about refusing an invitation to breakfast.  Hardly anything worth the time and effort to send it around the World.

And then there is Sarah.  As I write, the talking heads and politi-media self proclaimed experts are still weighing in with what her recent blood libel remarks have done to her political aspirations.  Don't they flippin get it?  She just doesn't care if it's good press or bad press, as long as she gets to primp, pimp, amd gimp her less than a full deck persona in front of the camera, even if it's the one she turns on in her living room for Facebook.  The resulting fallout, positive and negative, is money in her bank.  She knows this.  Why don't the high paid political hacks and self important media drones know this?  And they say she's a dumb bimbo.

Moving along, I notice Obama Man rec'd high marks from both sides for his remarks following the recent shootings in Arizona.  Yes, it was a very good speech with just the right amount of guilt placed properly in both camps for the absolutely awful political environment that exists today. 

Because a deranged man bought a gun and killed people, Gun Control sabers are beginning to rattle once again.  And once again I say why bother?  That horse left the barn hundreds of years ago.  Americans love their guns.  Making them illegal will be as successful as the War on Drugs.  Fight a battle you might have a snowball's chance in Hell of winning............Like maybe saving Social Security, or the Healthcare Bill, or maybe create some legislation that actually puts Americans to work and doesn't just beef up Corporate America's bottom line.  Or what do you think, maybe actually protect some rights we have instead of trying to find new and clever ways to take more of them away?

Apple's head dude, Steve Jobs is taking a medical leave of absence again and all his I-Pod disciples are in a panic.   The saviour is leaving?  Oh my god.  Who will deliver us our next greatest must have it before anyone else does electronic gizmo that really offers nothing new except it will be faster than the speed of light and will access 20 billion more beings on other planets..  The shit being stirred up reminds me just how hollow and sad our existence really is.  While my life has been enhanced through electronic wizardry, I could get along just fine without the HD widescreen Internet camera texting gadgets people now think they cannot live without.

Our new Speaker of the House, John Boehner decided to go to a GOP cocktail party instead of the Arizona Shooting Memorial on Wednesday.  What's more important than a dry martini, a tan, and a good cry?  Apparently nothing is.

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer is planning to blindside the visitor from China when he visits and demand China play fair with money, rare metals, and other important stuff.   I'm sure stamping his feet just right will make the right impression.  China has us by the short hairs as does much of the World.  Suck it up Chuck and get used to it.

And even though the upcoming sainthood of a dead Pope is actually old news, I figured I'd toss it in just to round up the offerings this Monday.  He is being praised for his efforts to bring the Catholic Church more into line with its flock.  Modernizing it, cutting away old ways and bringing in the new.  I guess being only a couple of centiries behind the times is indeed a step forward.  I mean the Church needs to at least keep up with the Amish, who are now making electronic fake fireplaces in barns all over southern Pennsylvania and selling them in infomercials at 3:00 AM.

And that's how I see it as we move into the third week of January, 2011. 

Same Shit, Different Day.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Gnarly Dude Rule

My eyes popped open at 5:00 AM this morning.  There were options and chores to do, but none of them would have been affected had I rolled over and gone back to sleep for another couple of hours.  I tried, but the cats, the dog and my 58 year old bio-rhythms all conspired to make sure my feet hit the floor by 5:15AM. 

Just to show I am still in control, I sat at the computer for two cups of coffee and surfed all the Pats/Jets Playoff articles I could find on the internets.  It's 7:30 AM now, and the time to step up and decide the direction of my day is upon me.

Do I fix the snow blower?


Do I go for a ride with the boys?

Hey, both of them are hard to resist.  I mean, changing an impeller belt on an Ariens Snow blower has to to rank right up there with riding in the freezing cold with 5 or 6 other whacked humanoids.  And both activities bring with them subtle and not so subtle pressures to swing in one direction or the other.

Recently embedded memories of having to move tons of snow by hand remind me that fixing the snow blower sooner than later might be in my back's best interest. 

But then there is the Gnarly Dude rule.  The dudes will give me shit if I do not ride.  It matters not that I have a good excuse to skip the ride.  The Gnarly Dude Rule dictates that when faced with the opportunity to ride with your buds or do anything that resembles yardwork, housework, or stroking the ego of that significant other, the ride always wins.  Or you better be ready for some serious teasing the next time you show your face at a ride.

"Dude, momma finally let you out to play?"

"Who's this clown?  Anyone know this guy?"

And so it will go.  Do I face future humiliation or do I man up and spend fifteen minutes dressing for 15'F temps? 

And what about the snow blower?  Well, the snow blower won't be any broker if I fix it this morning or tomorrow?  Right?

Later......I have to go find my riding gloves.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kiss My Butt

I did not vote for the man.  But I am willing to give Maine's Governor LePage a chance, even with his recent refusal to attend a local MLK function.  If nothing else, he will be a constant source of entertaining buffoonery.  I just hope his public gaffes are not indicative of his governing abilities.  I will try to give him a year before I decide how he is doing.

Him telling the NAACP to kisss his butt is understandable.  It's not like MLK day has any meaning here in America.  How can the man get anything done if he is wasting time at useless functions around the state?  Isn't his job to be governor and not be some special interest group's boy toy?.....................Hmm. That's his take anyway.  Claims the NAACP is nothing but a special interest group.  He says and I quote:

"Tell 'em to kiss my butt. If they want to play the race card, come to dinner and my(black) son will talk to them."

"I'm not going to be held hostage by special interests."

I wonder if he will refuse an invite to the next Pro-Life get together?


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Knee Jerker's Paradise

Oh Please someone stuff a sock in Sarah's mouth.  Maybe use two as she seems to talk out of both sides of it.

"Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn," she said in the video released on her Facebook page. "That is reprehensible."

The righteous indignation coming from the talking heads on the Right is well, I guess it is typical.  Typical of them to not see how hypocritcal their indignation is regarding the questions of political motive for the recent shootings in Arizona.  The Limbaughs, the Hannity's, the Palin's read political motive into everything if it even hints at serving their purpose, which is to defeat Obama and the evil Left no matter the cost.  And they have the balls to be huffy about questions of their possible influence on someone who might be one of their own.  Gimme a break.  The Right has been so hate filled and angry for so long, it is no wonder those on the Left bring it up.  Suck it up Palin and don't whine about it.  You reap what you sow.

Come on now.  Just what the Hell did they think would happen after they told their minions it was okay to pack a firearm to a political rally?  What kind of result did they think would happen by placing targets over the faces of their political rivals.  Sure 99.9% of us took it is as intended.  But do not deny the obvious logical leap that there are enough unbalanced minds out there who might pack these extreme political stunts in their "why I do the things I do" quiver.  Insanity needs little provocation.  The loudmouths on the Right and the Left do not seem to care.

Incitement is incitement, even if it somehow squeeks by the legal measuring stick.  What is the point of bringing a firearm to a political rally anyway?  Personal protection?  Right.  It is because their exalted leadership told them it was their right and in some cases told them it was their duty.

This tendency to read political undercurrents into everything is also found on the Left.  But no where to the degree or with as much vicious hatred the Right seems to generate.  The Right has perfected the between lines reading to a new high.  They have also, through their various propaganda media outlets, been able to get away with dispersing outright lies as fact, repeating them long enough they are sucked up as fact by folks who do not want to think for themselves.

Why do we allow these flounders to even be on our radar screen?  Do we really think they will fix whatever perceived problems we are having?   Or do we just like being told what we want to hear?

We have become a nation of knee jerkers.  Quick to assume and quick to blame someone who is "on the other side".   We have become slaves to the notion of instant gratification in not only our pleasures, but our anger also.  You want to blame someone for this country's situation?    Look in a mirror.  And please stop blaming all our problems on one group.  Nothing that is wrong is all any one group's fault, it is the nation's fault.  If you are a citizen, you and I own some of it.

Okay - Rant over.....................I'm feeling better now.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Dash Jim May Have His "Fatback" But His Tube is Still Too Short

 An irrevocable $300 mistake was made today at the Bikeshop.   One of those you know you have screwed up totally and the only thing you can do is laugh or cry.  Take your pick.  Either one works I guess.

It couldn't have been a less expensive or less hard to get part Dash Jim and I ruined.  No, of course it couldn't.  Both our Karma's were heading the wrong direction this afternoon late when I neglected to check on Jim's progress with a hacksaw.  The man with the experience dropped his guard and the capable but not quite yet ready for prime time mechanic could have really used Mike's eagle eye today and not his blind one.

Failures on two levels seem to illicit a geometric expansion of the negative result.  When the checks (me) and the balances (again- me) are MIA, the focus of the rank and file (Dash Jim) became skewed and now there is a beautiful brand new stupid expensive carbon fiber fork beginning it's existence with it's steerer tube too short.

An old Frenchman I used to bang nails with on occasion always rode me hard when I was the "cut bitch".  "Mike you see that board there?  You measure it twice before I hear the chop saw." 

"Yeah, Yeah, Reny, I got it covered - Measure twice, cut once, blah blah blah."  And I would go into a slow burn at his constant harping on the subject. 

Well maybe I should have listened to Reny yesterday.  Lord knows I had plenty of his advice stored up somewhere in my brain.

Later....................I have some crying to do and then maybe a laugh or two.

Image taken on Dave P's fancy new high falutin Black-ish Berry-ish Ipod-ish, Kindle-like multimedia gizmo the size of a pack of Lucky's.  I wonder if it has a machine gun and rocket launcher stashed somewhere inside?

Friday, January 07, 2011

My Bile Index & The Right Munch on Each Other

Last Fall I put a hold on commenting on other blogs.  Not sure why now, but there must have been at least a half assed reason when I did it.  Had something to do with not wanting to be exposed to too much of the world outside my influence.  Because when I commented, I would more often than not follow up with poking around for more info, new info, or even old info.  And any info tended to cause the bile index to reach toward the redline on my stress index.  But that's just what I think the reason was now.  Who the Hell knows why I really did it.  But that almost sounded like a plausible excuse, doncha think?

With the incoming year, I rescinded my self imposed ban on blog commenting and cheerily stepped out into the light once again.


So I have decided to re-engage with others in this wonderful place of bits and bytes.  And almost immediately, that pesky tendency to nose around for more information than is healthy has raised its ugly little noggin.  The other day, Tom Harper's post about some looney tune outfit called the American Family Association got me right fired up.  Turns out my belief system is all screwed up.  Here I was comfortable with the notion that evolution did exist (it doesn't) and that the Moon was gonna hang around awhile.  Apparently the Moon is leaving us.  Not thinking about leaving, but actually moving on.  Thankfully it is not sprinting, but at some point it will be gone.  On top of that I found out that there are some things that are true outside of the Bible while everything in the Bible is absolute fact.  I re-read most of Genesis later and yeah, I guess it's the real skinny alright.  Makes me angry I wasted all that time in college.

That was yesterday.  Today I made the mistake of following links again.  Kulkiri got me nosing around the earlier proposed "Transaction Tax', where all or most transactions would be taxed at the rate of 1%.  There is a world of difference between proposing something and then following through with passing it.  When it was proposed, it was but one of many ideas tossed out there to help fight the deficit.  It was and is a bad idea and no one in Congress followed up with any support.  It still fired up the mouth foamers of the Right.  Damn, those fools will use anything they can as ammo against their opposition, even when it has no chance of becoming law.  I could feel my bile index creeping higher.

And then I visited Tom Harper's blog again.  Seems the some on the Right are not content feeding on the left, I guess they are now looking at each other for a meal.  Apparently Grover Norquist, that champion of Conservative ideals is really a Muslim terrorist.  At least according to some other even more conservative fellow name of Frank Gaffney, ex assistant Secretary of Defense under King Ronnie.  Suddenly I could feel a drop in pressure on the bile index.  And I smiled. 

Damn this world is hilarious.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Post That Keeps on Giving - Wingers with Woodies Revisited

Just before the end of the last year I had momentarily considered doing a "Best of 2010" retrospective regarding what I considered my favorite posts of 2010.  I gave up on the idea.  Not sure why, but I did.

Then this AM I opened my blog and there in front of me was another new comment on a post I wrote back in January of 2010.  Of all the posts to my blog, this one post has by far had the most hits and resulted in the most consistent flow of comments.  Not many of them have been friendly comments either.

Since I have a moderation hold on any post older than two weeks, I see every comment that comes in before it posts.  I do that to try to limit the amount of spam that used to sneak in the back door so to speak.
Seems there are folks on the Right side of aisle who take exception to my "Wingers With Woodies" post.  It is not what I consider a post that deserves the attention it is getting, but it certainly has pissed off someone or a few someones.  At first I deleted any comment that was posted as "anonymous".  But so many great ones were being missed I decided to post them when the acrimony was not filled with profanity and racist stupidity aimed at Obama.  I bet I deleted 30 or so comments before they had a chance. 

The most recent comment received this morning, over a year after I wrote the post:

"Anonymous said...
By the looks of his pic Mr. Macrum is really Mr. Macscum. Why the hell don't you take a long shower and shave and clean up? And while you're at it wash your mouth out with Lysol. Your politics are twisted, and besides needing to clean up your brain is badly misguided. "

This one is fairly typical of the kind of comment you might find if I had posted all that came in.  Obviously most folks commenting on my post have little experience as trolls or as writers. Rather than make me mad, this comment made my day.  I just love it.  It is indeed a keeper.  I published it to the post and will respond once I have finished this post about it.

To all you Wingers out there swingin serious wood over what I write, please stop by.  Your comments bring a smile to my face and reinforce my contention that the only reason the Right is successful is because they appeal to the lowest common denominator of our great population.

Y'all have a great day.................................................

Image from 2040 World View  - Had I noticed that Ms Perino wore a halo, I would have never called her a Right Wing Hack.  One more reminder that God loves Conservatives more than the rest of us.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Another Butterfly to Follow

I assume anyone with a Blogger Blog looks at the same thing I do when they have the "manage posts" section open.  A list of their posts, drafts, scheduled publications and imported posts are there.  At the top a short list of filters exist so that the blogger can break down their existing list of posts, drafts, imported posts, and scheduled posts to these respective categories.  I recently began to utilize this feature just to find out how my huge list sorted out.

Of the 1196 entries there are 911 published posts since I began this blogging madness back in December of 2004.  With no scheduled or imported posts on the list, that leaves 285 drafts sprinkled in among the posts that actually saw the light of day.   I filtered out the published posts and began to open some of the drafts. 

I have what I call a 5% rule regarding my published posts.  That is I figure maybe 5% of what I wrote is worthy enough to be considered almost decent and may at some point be worth re-reading.   Applying this same rule to my list of drafts, that means about 14 of the drafts may be worth finishing and/or publishing.

I began to read these unfinished pieces.  So far it seems many are actually finished, but because of  the subject matter, its time has passed.  Commentary on events that have long ago lost their relevance as the event or occurrence has been buried by the time that has passed since.  Others are just not worthy of being saved.  And some are barely started and when I read them, I cannot for the life of me remember just what I was thinking when I started them. 

So what to do?  Delete them?  Or keep them?  In that I am trying to turn over a new leaf and not accumulate stuff anymore, it would make sense to lose them.  But the pack rat in me resists.  I find rationalization for their continued inclusion sneaking by and through the logical and probably smart notion of divesting myself of uneeded and unused crap.  They don't take up much room.  It's not like a corner of the house will suddenly be found or storage space in the basement  opened and emptied.  Deleting them will make no impression on my wife.  She wants my focus on the things we trip over day in and day out.

So wasting my time editing them is the logical thing to do.  Why you may ask?  Well, because this is the butterfly that flew in front of me today.  And I know enough about myself that following butterflies beats putting my nose to the grindstone nine times out of ten.


Image poached from Google Images

Monday, January 03, 2011

MVP - Vince Wilfork

Racism.  Damn if I just don't hate this insidious aspect of our culture, or any culture for that matter.  If there is one thing about our species that points to the truth of a higher being with a twisted sense of humor having set all this up, it would be that there is more than one race of humans on this planet.  Sure there are physical aspects that separate us aesthetically, but essentially all of the races start out with the same tools.  Jeez, the fact that we can all interbreed ought to be a strong clue indicating there really is no difference between us other than the ones we come up with in our minds.

But then I have to consider the fact that ethnic prejudices, religious prejudices, and which side of the tracks prejudices are also part and parcel of our collective makeup.  Not a one of them makes a lick of sense to me.  Not a one.

I am sure some anthropologist or archaeologist could quantify, specify, and explain based on exhaustive study of runes, ruins, and the interactions of some tribe buried deep in the Amazon why the need to discriminate exists as part of our collective makeup.  Frankly I just don't care why we are assholes to one another based on stupid criteria, I would just like to see us stop doing it.

I only bring this up because of my recent lurking on sports forums.  The recent debate on who should be anointed the MVP(Most Valuable Player) of the NFL(National Football League) this year has pushed racism into the mix.  There are really only two contenders, a white guy and a black guy.   They have both had great seasons, but on paper, the white guy has by far the best stats.  If we were color blind and used just the stats to base our choice on, the white guy wins hands down.  But to be fair, the black guy offers more excitement potential.  The white guy is a machine I think.  He makes it look easy.

Sports fans are found everywhere in every corner of the globe and exhibit every positive and negative of our species.  Sports fans probably represent one of the best cross sections of our country there is without the baggage of religion, political slant, economic status, or intelligence level.   At any sporting venue out there, you have Whites, Blacks, Asians, doctors, truck drivers, Baptists and Jews all sitting on the same side and rooting like Hell for the team of their choice.  When the game is on, they all cheer in the same direction.  But when it comes time to pick a favorite player, many of them fall into the stupid trap of putting race in front of record.  Subjectivity overrules Objectivity and emotional baggage often tips their choice one way or the other.

A recent sports article I opened online pretended to offer an objective look at who the Pros themselves thought should be MVP.  The problem with it was the sample group used.  In my opinion this article was nothing but a race baiting ploy to ferret out the racist tendencies on both sides.  Several of the player responses were the responses of black players who have a history of having a black chip on their shoulder.  And the comments that followed from an obviously mostly white group of readers were sprinkled with idotic responses that must have satisfied the authors need to prove that racism was not dead in this country.  Like we needed another reminder. 

Of the two who are in contention, I would have to pick the white guy.  Not because he is white and I am white, but because in my opinion, he is the best choice.  Added into my decision is the fact that he plays on the team I root for.  If he was a black player, my feeling would be the same.  And if truth be told, my real choice would not be either of them, but would be a black guy who plays defense on the team I root for.  But he is just a huge lineman who plays his heart out every game and has for many years.  If I could pick, it would be Vince Wilfork.   It's not his accomplishments that matter to me so much as his ethic as a ball player.

Am I just trying to prove or disprove my racist tendencies?  I hope not.  I cannot deny that over the years I have had racist thoughts pass through.  That they just passed through and did not settle in is what is important in the scheme of whether I am racist or not.  Because when it comes right down to it for me, content of character wins out every time. 


Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Inflatable Pecker

Dave Gutter tossed the 6 foot inflatable penis out into the crowd.  "Harumph", I thought, "Back in my day we threw frisbees with joints taped to them.  A big blow up pecker?  That's just wrong."  But the crowd loved it and batted that damn thing around like the obscene beach ball it was.  And so Rustic Overtones began their set on the stage at the Port City Music Hall last night at around 11:30 PM.

Every New Year's Eve for maybe 15 years, I have celebrated the incoming year with my wife and my daughter.  Traditionally, it was meal out and a movie.  No likker, no high jinks, no waking up on New Year's Day looking for a Bloody Mary instead of OJ.  Not this year.  Lis wanted to go see Rustic Overtones instead.

Great.  A rock show on New Year's Eve.  Show was slated to run to 2:00 AM.   All day I considered my inclusion with this trip to Portland a necessary parental duty to make my daughter happy.  I was positive I would not enjoy it.  Any fascination with being crammed into a hall filled with young folks partying to music played way too loud had lost it's charm I guess about 20 - 30 years ago.   My inner whiner was in high gear all day.

So we get to the Portland area around 5, stopping off at Bull Moose Music near the Mall.  All of us had gift cards to use up.  Bobbi and Lis both walked out with music or books in hand.  My card stayed in my pocket.  I did not want to fritter it away just because we were in the midst of umpteen gajillion cd's retailing at very low prices.  I'd rather cruise the smaller local Bull Moose in south Sanford.  I knew that store like well, the inside of my pocket.

Had a meal at a place called Macaroni Grill.  Italian food, but oddly, no grilled macaroni on the menu.  Good meal going down, but later I would regret it some after I threw some beers on top of it.   We parked in downtown Portland around 7:30 PM and had to walk around for awhile before the Music Hall doors opened at 8:00PM.

First of all I should mention that I have been out of the hip loop for quite awhile.  No better evidence existed than my fascination with some of the outfits the women wore.  Obviously many wore their "Look at me, I'm in a partying mood" outfits.  Sequined clingy things or bare shouldered tight I guess they were dresses. On many dainty lady feet, boots that climbed high like the tops were looking for something.  And then there was the grunge crowd or should I say the folks who wore what they left work wearing.  Quite a mish mash of garb standing in line to get in.  It seems everyone had two things on their mind, see a concert and pound lots of alcohol into their bodies.  I did not know likker would be served.  Uh Oh.

Lis had scored the three of us "VIP tickets".  What that meant was 50 of us had chairs and a waitress to fetch our likker.  The rest of the 500 or so people stood, leaned, danced, and staggered around for 6 hours.   About the 3rd PBR pounder, I was grateful to have a chair under my butt.

A group named Gypsy Tailwind or was it Tailspin opened for Rustic.  They were good, but more country than I had prepped myself for.   But they did their duty.  They warmed the crowd up and by the time Rustic hit the stage around 11:30, the crowd was rockin. 

I have always liked Rustic Overtones.  I did not know how much until last night.  Even with some rough moments when they got a tad out of sync, the energy and complexity of their music came through loud and clear.  Dave Gutter is a dynamic front man.  Decent voice, just enough guitar, and he knows how to work a crowd. 

Speaking of their music, I have no idea what category they would fall into.  Rock, Funk, Reggae, some jazz, a smidgin of Metal and just when you think they haven't covered all the bases, some Techno tossed in just to give them a hat trick.   Let's just say my inner whiner was quickly subbed out with my inner grinner.  I had a great time.  Good music, a young crowd that partied but kept it sane, and I was out with my two favorite ladies.  Leave one year to music and greet the next one with more.  What more could a man hope for on New Year's Eve?