Sunday, January 31, 2010

Who Loses, Who Gains?

Is it only me that thinks this or was Scott Brown, the newly elected Senator from the State of Massachusetts, hiding his light under a bushel before election day? I got the feeling during the campaign that he was an empty suit, a pretty boy shill for the party leaders, who would do their bidding in every important way.

I don't get that feeling any more. He seems like a strongly progressive guy on cultural and civil rights issues and mainly interested in pursuing fiscal austerity in government. I don't think he has any intention of rolling over for the pedochristers. You know the kind I'm talking about. The ones that teach Sunday school but who you wouldn't trust to help your little child in a bathroom stall. My Congressman is exactly like that. I really hate them.

I like Scott. I'd trade guys like him one for one with the kind of Republicans in Congress now, all day long. Hell, I'd trade away a lot of the welfare state Democrats we have now for guys like him.

Charles Darwin

When I was in school I certainly heard a bit about Charles Darwin and The Origin of the Species. I never actually read the Origin of the Species, did you? Most of the references I learned were about the adaptation of birds on the Galapagos Islands to different ecological niches. I know he also did some studies of marine invertebrates and worms. Mostly he was an observer who made speculative observations. His education was mostly in Anglican theology and geology and his work was done under the auspices of a geographical society. He was not a biologist by training, as far as I know.

I never heard that he theorized that humans descended from apes. I never heard that he was an atheist or ever uttered any sentiments against the existence of a creationist God. I never heard that he theorized about or advocated for any type of eugenics or birth control. Malthusianism was very popular during his lifetime among those of his social class. He was not one of them. The concept of Social Darwinism wasn't developed during his lifetime. I never heard that he engaged in activism or even radical thought of any type.

Charles Darwin was from a rich family against whom he never rebelled or was estranged from. He was very well behaved during his student days, received high marks and was popular with professors, students and the Anglican clergy that administered his college. I don't think he ever made any money from his research or publications, which never sold more than a few thousand copies although he got pretty famous in academic circles. He was ill for much of his life and became reclusive. He married his cousin and with her raised several sickly children. By all accounts they loved each other and the sickly children deeply. I don't think he ever was interested in influencing public opinion about politics, philosophy or religion at all.

Where do the fucking wingnuts get all this shit about Darwin? Do they just make it up?

UPDATE: I just want to clarify. I'm not saying that I don't believe that man didn't evolve from common ancestors with other primates. Go back far enough and we have common ancestors with sea slugs. I'm just saying that Charles Darwin never said so.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Cautionary Tale

I took this post down. Too much bad stuff about a guy that doesn't deserve it.

I'm not a nice guy.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Is It Alright To Like Two Man Luge If You're Not Gay?

NBC says it will lose big money televising the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC because nobody will watch. I grew up and lived all my life in a warm, Sunny place. I find Winter sports very exotic. I will watch a lot if it's the stuff I like. They play too much figure skating. I don't like it that much. I really like the stuff that mostly consists of free falling and sliding downward at steep angles and high speeds.

They should make it so that multiple contestants in these types of events compete at the same time, like at a track meet and if they lost control, they would crash into each other, then continue tumbling helplessly to the bottom of the course.

Their ratings at NBC would really increase then.

Roeder Guilty in Kansas.

For some people no amount of punishment is ever enough. I feel that way about Scott Roeder. It isn't that I have a particular problem with him. He's just some sad, pathetic, crazy asshole. He represents the entire pro life community though and as such deserves a horrible, lingering punishment culminating in death. Just the way I feel. I'm sure it's not universal.

I don't know how the death penalty got taken off the table with him. I guess killing an abortion doctor doesn't satisfy the special circumstances requirement in Kansas.

Franny and Zooey in the Rye

I never read any JD Salinger. He was a spoiled rich kid, older than my own parents. Why would I want a guy like that's opinion on how and why to be an alienated and disaffected youth? That's one thing I never had any trouble with on my own.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hear the Band. See The Crotches of Baton Twirling Cuties.

I remember when I was in high school, the Superbowl was a recent phenomenon. I think it was in 1968 they made the theme of the event "Up With America" and featured a super patriotic half time extravaganza. This was a time when the country was extremely polarized politically and the Vietnam War and and the protest against it were both at their peek.

This year they are going to have Carrie Underwood sing the National Anthem and then Queen Latifah, "America the Beautiful". At half time, the Who will hobble out and sing all the CSI theme songs. It's hard to find words to express what I think about this. They always say times change. I think maybe what they really do is melt.

Pimp Mama

Mother Teresa plucked homeless orphans off the streets of Calcutta. She raised them Catholic. She steered them into religious vocations. She sent them off to Europe to do the mundane work of the Church and care for the ever aging generations of European priests and nuns, vowed to lives of poverty. If they try to escape they are deported back to India, to starve on the streets of Calcutta, which is where they would have been anyway, if not for Mama T.

How does this fail to qualify as human trafficking of the most reprehensible type?

That's Why They Say Choose Life

Sarah Palin and her daughter are quite vocal about choosing life. Tim Tebow and his Mama are going to be on the Super Bowl and talk about why she chose life. They are proud they chose. Are they going to say they wish she hadn't had a choice? Are they going to say that they wish no woman would have that choice?

I don't think so.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Did you like Barry's SOTU speech? If you are a Dem, you probably did, if you're not maybe not so much. I thought it was a pretty good speech but that's all it was, a speech.

The last time I was moved by a political speech was Jesse Jackson, at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. I was 33 years old. I guess that was still just young enough. New day commin', ya know. If I watched that same speech today, I wonder if it would have any effect on me?

So far, I still like Barry. I'm still with the Dems. I'll keep voting for them. That just means that nothing has changed in America.

I wouldn't read anything else into it, either way.

Bigger Balls

So, we know JD Hayworth is going to run against McCain for Senate in Arizona. I don't think he can beat McCain but he might.

Hayworth is a posterboy socon. He's a birther, a warhawk, homeschooler, fetus worshipper, woman hating, immigrant bashing racist. He wears the big flag pin.

If Janet Napalitano doesn't go on the Supreme Court, she could go back to Arizona and beat Hayworth in the general election. Arizonans like her. She's smarter than Hayworth. She has bigger balls.

If A Guy's Wife Holds A Press Conference To Say He's Not Gay

He's Gay.

I wonder what she says about him on the bad days?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

We're Not In Kansas Anymore

We had quite a storm system come through here last week. Not record breaking rainfalls but some of the valleys and canyons got flooding. Some tornados formed off the coast. No big damage that I heard about. Unusual.

This one is threatening Huntington Harbour, one of out trendier neighborhoods.

Waterspout off HB Pier

I wish it had clipped Ruby's Cafe at the end of the pier. It's a Gyp joint. $12 burgers and $7 shakes. The view is just ocean. You can get the same one outside for free.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Subverting Our Right To Deliciously Preserved, Wholesome, Pork Byproducts

Something is very wrong here. To make the favorite foods of my people, you don't need cleanliness. You don't need refrigeration. No use by dates are required.

You just need a Barnyard, a big tub, a big knife, a source of low, smokey heat, a pig, and something to macerate it's flesh with. One more thing. You need small but adequate amounts of nitric acid compounds. This is as it ever has been, is now and always shall be. Amen.

Preserved pork is a religion to the men of the West. In America, it is the glue that binds us all together and that glue is loosening for lack of a proper chemical binder.

The government strictly limits the use of nitrates and nitrites in the preparation of the preserved pork products we all love and desire. Who gave them the right? I don't remember any sausage plebiscite. There is nothing about it in the Constitution.

People buy the pork products they need in good faith, only to find them corrupt. The people sicken and die. Is it Arab terrorists that have done this? Godless Atheists? No, it is meddling, big brother government.

Let us fight to restore the honored meat curing preservative substances of our forefathers!

Old Dogs, New Tricks

Have you been watching any NBA Ball? I follow the Lakers. On paper, they're the best team in the league but they're kind of disappointing this season.

You know what they need? They need a couple of young guys, brand new to the league, with really short contracts, for not much money. Guys like that are hyper, crazy and take a lot of chances. They aren't worried about getting hurt. They aren't worried about maintaining their rep. They're worried about being back on the street next month. They're like the fizz and crushed ice in a Highball. The booze may be the active ingredient but it's the fizz and ice that makes the drink go down quick and produces the desired result.

The Lakers have a lot of talent. They aren't old. The problem is they are too professional. They pace themselves too much. They need a couple of crazy boys on the floor to speed up the action and spur them on. When they lose, it's because the other team has a couple of real aggressive young players, who hope that in a year or two, they'll be playing for the Lakers. Some of them will probably even make it. The problem is, once they get there, they start counting the money and pacing themselves.

Best Guy For The Job

A lot of people are starting to think that Ben Bernanke shouldn't be allowed to continue on as Fed Chairman. I'm not one of them. He seems to be holding up pretty well in the job. Admittedly, he's not very believable but given the line he's got to spout, who would be?

The last thing anybody wants right now, is someone who will tell the truth and advocate the kind of policies that would do some good. We all just want to pretend things are under control and will soon get better. For that, Ben is our guy.

Why change horses in the middle of the stream? All you're going to accomplish is drown more horses than you already have to.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Towel Heads

Apparently, Americans do not like Muslims.

I usually like Muslims better than those of other religions. They are friendly to me. They don't criticize my beliefs. They don't proselytize.

You always hear that Muslims want to impose their religion on others. That they want Sharia Law. That they despise America and Americans. I've never seen much evidence of that. Most of the ones I know are clean, well mannered, mind their own business and have respect for other people and their property. I have not met many Muslims who are afflicted with progeny that fall victim to drugs, crime, idleness or violence. I know a lot of Christians that you can't say any of these things about. I'm sure there are Muslims that are real scumbags. Probably a lot of them. They must be the ones everyone else meets.

Muslims have a different culture than I do. They dress funny. They are very strict about their behavior and the way they raise their children. Does this make them bad? I don't know.

Maybe all the Muslims I know are on their best behavior. Ya know, stranger in a strange land kind of thing. Maybe if I lived in a country or city that was mostly Muslims, their attitudes toward me would be different and I would feel differently about them. So far though, they seem OK. If I was a Jew I probably would feel differently. The Muslims I meet don't like Jews at all and they hate Israel and Israelis. It's not uncommon that immigrant groups have cultural, political or religious enmities that they bring with them when they come here. Mostly they keep them under control and that's the case with Muslims but it's not real attractive. On the other hand, if I was them, I'm not sure I would feel any different than they do.

How Often Do You Wash?

Really frequent bathing is a relatively recent innovation. Neither one of my parents grew up in families where daily bathing was commonplace. The tub would hang on a hook at the back of the house. Before a bath, the tub had to be taken down, water had to be heated on the stove and the tub filled. Usually, everyone in the family bathed one after another and used the same water. This usually happened on Saturday night, so that everyone was clean when they put on their church clothes, Sunday morning. My Grandfather never even bathed that much. Nobody was certain just how often he did bathe. I don't think it was very much. He did smell a little different than most people but not bad.

My parents never required me to bathe more than once a week. Sometimes I bathed daily. Sometimes I didn't. During the time I was growing up in the '50s and '60s, society changed. Everyone started to bathe every day. Soap and toiletry manufacturers advertised the fact. People expected they would and expected everybody else would. So I ended up bathing every day. Also, in the '50s and '60s people started to take showers more than tub baths. So I ended up showering every day. In high school, we all showered after PE. So I got used to showering twice a day. Sometimes, I'd do two a day workouts or go to the beach. Eventually, three or more showers a day didn't seem that unusual.

In the Navy, they teach water discipline. You get wet, soap up, scrub, even shave if you need to and then sluice off. Saves time as well as water. I got used to that pretty quick. I mostly still do it that way.

I'm old now. I bathe whenever I feel like it. Sometimes I miss a few days. Sometimes more than a few. Who gives a shit. Most people bathe every day now but dissidence is good for the soul.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Speak Out

Freedom of speech just is. It's not about who. It's not about what. It's not about how much money you're willing to spend to get your message out.

I'm with the Supreme Court on this one. I just wish they were as eager to protect all of our basic freedoms.

I Can't Help Myself

Whenever I'm watching CNBC's financial commentator Maria Bartiromo, I can't help but think what a natural she would be on MTV's Jersey Shore.

Pass the dipper brother. I'm a feelin' thirsty and we've a long way to go.

The stock market bottomed last March. The rebound essentially ended in November. Since then, it has been in a trading range. The last month it's been looking like it wants to make further moves up. Looking isn't doing. The last two days of declines, are showing that it probably will fail to do so. Time will tell the story.

This is a change in market momentum. It may not be an auspicious time for further investment. If you have been raising cash. You're probably smiling.

Without Ma Ingalls, The Little House On The Prairie Stands Empty

A lot of people characterize the Republican Party as the party of angry White men. That may not be entirely true but there is some validity there. I think an increasing number of their women are moving on. Maybe not most of them, maybe not right now but they are shuffling closer to the door, even while passing around the coffee and delicious home baked cookies.

If they leave, the Republican party will turn into a wake.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Republican Party?

If a victory by Scott Brown in Massachusetts today is going to herald in a new Republican party, a couple of things are going to have to be true. Republicans can't run on on Bush's failed neocon agenda. Most voters have soundly rejected it. Except in the Southern and South leaning border states, candidates can't run on the toxic mix of racism and religious zealotry commonly labeled as social conservatism. Most people everywhere else are repelled by it. The Republican platform is going to have to be all about smaller government and austerity budgeting.

I think that's good. Whether they can sell that in the midst of an economic depression and monetary meltdown remains to be seen. It's worth a try.

How will they keep the neocons and wingnuts in the fold? They still need their votes. I will never vote for them while those guys are still on the inside, singing their song of war and hate. Sorry.

I think their best bet is to back way off on military interventions and push all the hot button social issues into a States Rights plank of their platform. Then they can devote all their efforts to cutting away government spending. Just that one thing alone is enough to keep government busy for a couple decades.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Good Holiday?

Do you think having a holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr's birthday is a good idea? I'm not that crazy about it. It isn't because he wasn't a really admirable guy who did great things. It's because he really doesn't encompass what the Civil Rights movement is all about. There were a lot of leaders in the Civil Rights movement during the time MLK was active. Millions of people participated. A lot of them suffered. More than a few died. They came from different places. They had different motivations. Each of those people was just as big a hero as Martin Luther King Jr.

The Civil Rights movement is about the equal protection under the law and equal opportunity for participation in society for all people. It's not about any one race, culture, religion, age or sex. It's not about any one time period.

Civil Rights for all is a goal that can never be achieved but that the quest for is never in vain.

I'm not singling out MLK for exclusion. Most of the heroes, whose lives we celebrate, are inappropriate.

The life of every person and every society should be a journey of discovery and change. Minds open to all possibilities and the ability to discard mistaken assumptions are the most valuable resource humanity possesses.

Idolized past heroes too easily become roadblocks to future growth and discovery.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Playin' A Mean Voo Doo Fiddle

Here's an interesting flip side to the earthquake devastated Haitian Capital, Port Au Prince. Does anybody have a problem with this? I don't.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Walk Like An Eygptian

One of the things that gives a generation comfort and support as they age and pass from the scene, is the ability to maintain the look and style of their glory days. It lets other people know where they are coming from and establishes their place in the passing parade. I have seen this phenomenon among the generations that came before me. My grandfather wore railroad striped overalls, lace up, black leather, high top shoes and carried a railroad watch until the day he died.

It is very frustrating to the members of my generation not to be able to do this. Have you seen that crap we used to wear, in the Sixties and Seventies? You can't walk around in public wearing that kind of shit unless you're a circus clown or an Old Elvis impersonator. What a bummer.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Life, Liberty and the Pusuit of Happiness

Divorce is not the worse thing that can happen to you.

I don't want to get all personal and introspective about this, so I'll just hit the high points and you can fill in the blanks.

When people get married, they make their relationship official. The two partners usually have mutually agreed upon roles. Sometimes the relationships change, sometimes they don't but the changes are mutually agreed upon.

When a marriage is broke, it's broke. If it gets fixed, there is a winner and a loser. From that point on, the balance of power is irrevocably tipped in favor of the winner. The game is over. That's no way to live, especially for the loser. I know many people whose marriages have been "saved". They are pitiful wretches, zombies of love.

Divorce is not such a bad thing. People move on, it's for the best. Sometimes they try again and remarry. Sometimes they don't. The goal is to maintain personal integrity.

People who say that marriage should be for life, at all costs are evil.

Massachusetts Heats Up In The Dead Of Winter

Republicans are already proclaiming the victory next Tuesday of their candidate Scott Brown, in the special election for United States Senate from the State of Massachusetts. He's doing really well in the polls.

The Democrats brought this on themselves. They changed the rules in order to have this election, otherwise the Governor would have appointed a replacement to serve the rest of the term.

I think the Republicans do themselves a disservice with their actions. They should keep their heads down and keep campaigning vigorously as if the result was in doubt. In that way, even a close defeat for such a long held Democratic seat could be advertised as a victory. As it is, if they lose, it will be a big let down for their supporters and it will be said that they couldn't even win with a carefully groomed RINO ringer.

I'm looking forward to the election results next week. I'm sure the whole country is likewise.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Good Christian Girl

This is a personal statement of Christianity by a young woman in the Bay area of California. It seems completely appropriate for our World today. You should read it and let me know if you find anything untoward because I don't.

Who says I hate Christians?

Hold The Smoke In As Long As You Can But Don't Hold Your Breath

California may become the first State to legalize the general use of Marijuana. It'll be fun to watch. It may speed up the cause. In the end, it will fail. I don't think that the drug cartels will let it happen.

Everybody likes the Marijuana laws just the way they are except people that smoke a lot of it and even they are pretty mellow about it most of the time. How could they be otherwise?

Death Dance in Port Au Prince

I knew some Haitian creole aristocrat emigres to this country once. It's more than a generation ago now. They left everything behind and got legal status during Reagan's surrender of citizenship debacle. None of them pined for the old days at home or regretted coming here. They were all starting from scratch, working hard, at the kind of jobs they were ill used to, with me, in the dark hours between midnight and dawn. They did fine.

Anybody with brains and opportunity left Haiti a long time ago. It is a feral state, with no hope for improvement. Now an earthquake has destroyed much of what little urban infrastructure is left. Poor Devils.

Trolling the Bay State

I think that running Brown against Coakley in the Mass Senate race is a good move. It seems to me like what the Republicans have done is take a very well cut and empty suit and filled it with just enough talking points to make it attractive to the voters. Kind of like a shiny, twirly, fishing lure with big, barbed hooks all over it. The race won't be long, so it won't cost them much. There's a small chance they might even get him elected. I'm puzzled though.

So what was all that hype about Conservative ideological purity in the Scuzzapalozza race in upstate New York last November? Does this mean Micheal Steele and his posse of RINOs carries the day?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Supreme Court We Can Be Proud Of

Some people think the Supreme Court is too conservative. I don't even know what that means anymore. I think the Supreme Court is OK. The two guys W put in, Roberts and Alito, are nice, polite, Gay, Catholic Boys. What could be better than that? The two most reviled members of the Court by modern Progressives, are Thomas and Scalia. Those guys are all about individual rights. Man, they're my homies. Got my back. There isn't a single member of the court that I have any problems with although Ruthy may be getting frail and senile. She really should consider hanging it up. I wouldn't have minded if Bork had got on the Court. I never thought that he was the intellectual giant he was touted as, like Thurgood Marshall was but he would have been a nice addition.

The only balance I would like to see redressed is sexual. The Court should have more women.

Red State Wet Dreams Can't Stand Up To The Light Of Day

Republicans want to reduce government spending without raising taxes. It's OK with me if they do. I'd welcome it. The overwhelming majority of spending comes from three things. The military, including the cost of the Middle Eastern wars. Entitlements, for the old, sick, poor and education. Finally and most expensive of all, huge numbers of redundant government employees with bloated salaries, benefits and retirement, that nobody else gets. Does anybody out there dispute this? They're never going to cut any of this stuff and the people that get it always want more. This spending, fueled by huge deficits power what's left of our economy. Cut it and the house of cards collapses. Virtually every voting member of society either is or aspires to be a recipient of this spending.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sarah Moves Up To The Show

No matter what you think of his ideas, there is no question that Roger Ailes is a savvy guy. He doesn't make many missteps. He's going to let Sarah Palin into his stable of Stars at Fox News. This says a lot about what he thinks about her. It says she has more going for her than most people think. It doesn't say she isn't a polarizing and controversial figure in American culture but it says he, at least, believes she can hold her own in the big leagues. There are a lot of major figures on the Right that you never see on Fox News. You don't see Victor Hanson Davis or Deal Hudson on Fox News a lot and these guys have huge followings and a lot to say about almost everything. These exceptions are never simply oversights.

I'm surprised. We'll see how it goes. Sometimes you see people on Fox a lot for awhile and then they disappear.

Strom and Harry

Do you think that Trent Lott saying Strom Thurmond was a great man and that if he had been elected President on the segregationist Dixiecrat ticket in 1948, the country would be a lot better off and Harry Reid saying that Barry O is a gifted orator with light skin and no Negro dialect are similar things?

If they are, the American people can evaluate the information and draw a conclusion. I think that's what they're doing. I think it's a good thing. Different types of people will undoubtedly evaluate the comparison differently and draw different conclusions. That's the way these things always go.

I don't think Strom was a racist in the sense that he thought people of color were inferior. Strom lived intimately all his life, with many in the Black community. It's unlikely a man as intelligent as he was, would harbor beliefs that they were in any way inferior. He just believed that White people should remain in control of society and government. Harry was conjecturing positively on the idea that Americans were disposed to elect a President of color based on his exceptional communication skills and the fact that his affect minimized the perceived differences between Black and White culture. These two statements seem fundamentally different to me but neither are, in fact, about racial prejudice.

I found many things to admire about Strom Thurmond personally. He was quite a guy. I didn't agree with him much on the subject of race relations. I also find much to admire in Harry Reid. It's a struggle though. Growing up in the West, I was raised to distrust Mormons. I still have to fight against that prejudice all the time and many others I was raised with. Sometimes I have not treated Mormons with the respect they deserve. We all have our prejudices. I do. I may have more than most. I'm glad that society is becoming more accepting of diversity and that most young people today are not being raised with the degree and multiplicity of prejudice that I was. I find in many of the young today, an example for myself.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Who Goes To Church?

When I was a kid growing up 50 years ago, no more than a third of the families in my neighborhood went to religious services regularly. Maybe another third were religious enough that they had a church that they were affiliated with in the area and went a couple times a year. The last third never went to church. Most would claim some kind of religion if asked but they weren't really interested.

Nobody in my neighborhood now goes to Church regularly. A few go on big holidays. I know a lot of people from work that go regularly. Black Ladies are big church goers, immigrants too. It's clear that religious observance is declining. I think it's just happening on its own. Religion isn't the glue that holds society together anymore. Religion doesn't get you any concrete benefits, socially, vocationally or any other way. Church isn't a good place for young adults to find prospective mates. Children don't see other kids they know there. It's rare for people at work or living on the same street or apartment complex to attend the same church. You don't really know the people at church with you. You can't really trust them more than anybody else. They always want money at church and there's never enough to go around as it is.

My parents are still alive. They're real old. Church is only a couple of blocks away. They know everybody there. They've known them all their lives. There's a shuttle bus. They don't go. They say they've been to all the church a person needs to go to in their lives. My sister married a Catholic guy. They go to an Episcopalian church, the kind that lets Gay women be bishops. They always took the kids. The kids don't go any more. Of all the kids in that generation there is one girl that always liked church. She married a Jewish guy who grew up in Russia, came here when he was about twelve. They have two children. They may have more. They just started going to church. Unitarian Universalist. Does that even count? So out of an extended family of three generations, maybe thirty people, six go to church. Two where they have Gay, lady bishops and four where you don't have to believe in God.

I'm sure there are other families where they have a stronger religious tradition. On the other hand, my family went to church every single Sunday, the whole time I was growing up. I don't think my family is that atypical. We're not lowlife scumbags or anything, except for me. Church never had a chance with me. I never believed any of that stuff. I don't think anybody much does, especially the people that go to church. They lie, cheat, steal and fornicate more than anyone. Especially the preachers. I hate being in a church. Occasionally I have to go to funerals. I have to contain my anger even then. It's pretty pathetic.

Do you go to church? What do you get out of it?

Shit Happens

Some people believe that the nation is polarized politically. Some people are worried about it. Things like this are relative. The left and right aren't that far apart compared to where they were in the past. Both are now true populist movements. They both give at least lip service to the concept of freedom and equality for all people. Neither side is keen on cutting back education, or social safety net spending, or the military. The status quo rules, until it's not the status quo anymore. If you think about it, the modern President who advocated the most radical philosophical changes was Carter, he was awhile ago and didn't get too far.

To find a third party candidate who was truly odious, you have to go back to John Schmitz in 1972 and he had very little support.

I'm not a big war guy. I didn't like the Vietnam War. It's hard to say who really got the ball rolling on Vietnam, Eisenhower or Kennedy but Johnson really escalated it. I think it would have happened no matter what, whether Nixon was elected in '60 or Goldwater in '64. I don't think we would have gotten out much earlier if Humphrey had won in '68. We lost a lot of good boys. I knew some of them. Maybe you did too.

All of the Middle Eastern wars have been stupid and they have been Republican wars but the Democrats went along and Obama is doing nothing to end them today.

The economy is totally screwed up. The truth is, that the present economic meltdown has its roots in the deficit spending of the Depression and WWII but was helped along greatly by Eisenhower's escalation of the Cold War, Nixon's abolishing of the gold standard and the universal adoption of the American dollar as international medium of exchange. Most responsible is the modern American mantra that the superiority of our system can only be demonstrated to the World, by an ever increasing and unsustainable standard of living. There's no use arguing about it. What's done is done. There is no way to lessen the pain of what is to come and our elected leaders, right and left, wouldn't even if they could. They will continue to push the final reckoning back as long as possible because that's exactly what the people want.

You can argue that particular Presidents or Congressional majorities did good or bad things but for the most part they only made real change when they were forced to because the country was moving in that direction anyway. The country itself has a way of moving along the way it wants to, regardless of what leadership wants. I think that's been true in the past. I think it will be true in the future. The real motto of the United States should probably be, "Shit Happens".

Dead Is Dead

One of the things I used to do at work, was pronounce people dead. It's a responsibility but it's not that hard. Dead is completely different from alive. It's hard to mistake one for the other and after several minutes, it's impossible. Little children can tell. Dogs and cats can tell. Nurses don't always notice for quite awhile. They get bogged down with the minutia and don't take in the big picture sometimes. It's an occupational hazard.

I always went through the drill. No heartbeat or breath sounds. Check a whole minute for pulse and chest expansion/contraction. Pupils fixed and dilated. Everybody deserves that, even if they are dead as a doornail.

The most important thing about pronouncing, is knowing whether or not to call the Coroner. There are several automatic flags that require notification. Any unusual or unexplained circumstances leading up to a death merits a call. If the Coroner is not notified, the body is released for burial, the medical record gets archived and you can literally get away with murder. At most hospitals, the protocol requires that the doctor be notified of a patients death and they state whether or not they are willing to specify a cause of death. If they are willing to do so, the shift supervisor can pronounce and if all other conditions are met, release the body for burial.

Sometimes a lot of interesting situations go unexamined.

Friday, January 08, 2010

What, Me Xenophobic? Too Late.

My Ancestors have been in this country awhile. Even the most recent arrivals were already here at the time of the Civil War. For all their being a mixed bag, they pretty much were all Christian, Northern Europeans. Like most families, we lay claim to the proverbial Indian princess, the odd Jew and always whispers of some few who had "Negro Blood". By American standards though, a lily White, Jesus proclaiming crew.

That's all changing though. In the last twenty years, we've added a few more Jews, some Hispanics and one Pakistani, Muslim man, all in unions with multiple offspring. Given the number of the most recent generation who still haven't settled down and the rate of out marriage so far, I think there will be a lot more diversity added soon. From what I can see, most families are like this.

You read a lot of Winger screeds about how we are going to be out bred by the bad aliens, whoever they are. It's clearly not true. Long before we are overrun by them, we gonna BE them.

Cool. I like those man dresses and little beanies that the old Arab men wear around town. Loose. Nice airflow. I think I'll pick up a few but maybe a little more colorful. Aloha shirt materials in a loose cotton weave would be nice. Hula Girls. Grass Shacks. Woody Willies with surfboards hanging out the back. Big pair of Ray Bans. Yeah, Baby. Stylin'. Head on down to the Hookah Lounge. Flirt with the nautch girls awhile.

Republicans, Enjoy It While You Can

I just read a very interesting article yesterday. I forget where I saw it but you can probably find it through the wonders of Google if you try.

The gist of it was that almost all of the Southern states have or will have soon, a majority of minor children within their population, who are both poor and racial or cultural minorities. What that means is Blacks and Hispanics. I had not realized this change was taking place so rapidly.

Another demographic feature of the Southern States is that large numbers of national and international businesses are moving into the Southern states because of its cheap work force and relatively inexpensive cost of living. Many highly skilled and educated people from other parts of the country are moving South all the time and assuming leadership positions. Population wise, they are the fastest growing of all the States.

Many Southern states are getting near the tipping point between Red and Blue. It's possible in 8-12 years there may be very few Red States left. Hopefully in 8-12 years, the complexion of politics will have altered radically into something more reality based.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Maybe They'll Throw In Claudine Longet And A Bass Boat

Don't you agree, that if Jay Leno moved to Branson and opened a Comedy Club/Automotive Museum, he would have a great future there? I think he'd really enjoy it too. If I ever went to Branson, I'd pay a few bucks to get in, especially if it was lunch time and they served up a steaming hot basket of catfish and fries, maybe a cold beer or two. Ya know, like a Tom Sawyer Special. Ha Ha. Maybe have some Keno waitresses, in short sexy skirts. He could buy Andy Williams' property cheap and renovate it. Nobody under 80 remembers who Andy is anymore and he must be about ready to die. His kids could use the money to bury him and move to Leisure World.

Jay could take Conan O'Brien along to act as emcee. He's so charming and contemporary. I'm sure he would be real appealing to the younger folks, who remember him from Saturday Night Live in the Eighties. I bet everybody at NBC would wish them well.

Neighborhood movie rentals

I think it was 1981 when I first had a VCR. Not too many people had them them then. I would never have bought one but my girlfriend had a rich brother who bought a new model with many features and gave us his one year old model that worked perfectly well. Since then I've always had a VCR and then a DVD player. I don't have Blue Ray and I guess I won't get one.

Wherehouse Records was the first place in my area to rent tapes and they ran frequent specials. A lot of times you could rent two or three for a buck. It was a good deal. I used to rent a lot. I don't rent many movies anymore. I stopped about the time I quit drinking. I wonder if there is a connection.

I always have rented movies someplace in the neighborhood. Most people subscribe to an online mailer service now, mostly Netflicks. Up until the last few years there was a Blockbuster close by, a couple even. No more. The only place around now is a Hollywood video store and it's having a going out of business sale. I guess it's going to be Netflicks or nothing. It will probably be nothing for me. I never liked mail order media services. I joined a record club once thirty years ago and it was a nightmare. They were crooks and almost impossible to get rid of. Finally I just kept sending everything back return to sender, unopened, including their bills and threatening letters, after a couple of years they stopped sending me stuff.

Things sure change quick. Brick and mortar video rental stores only started thirty years ago and became a huge industry. Now they're gone. Think about all the commercial enterprises that were institutions in most communities, book stores, music stores, Dry Goods, travel agencies, trading stamp redemption stores, frozen food lockers, news stands, shoe repair, drive in movies, bus stations, that you rarely see. What kind of places did you go to that don't exist anymore?

It's all about the coalition, stupid!

One of the things that you read a lot out in the Winger blogs is that a majority of Americans don't support federal funding of abortion in a health care bill. That's not exactly true.

Some people don't support abortion funding as part of an acceptable comprehensive health care bill and some people don't support a comprehensive health care bill at all. Together, these two groups probably constitute a narrow majority.

The question is, are there enough people for whom abortion is really the only stumbling block to passage of meaningful health care reform to make a difference in the final outcome if abortion language is excluded?

Maybe, I kinda doubt it. The one issue, true believer, anti abortion people are a small group of weak sisters, tools and cranks, whom everyone else holds in contempt. Eventually they will figure that out and drink the Kool Aid.


I don't think 3D television is going to be a big hit with consumers. I tend to be a skeptic and very late adopter of new technology, so I'm not a good predictor of these things. Still, it seems a singularly bad idea.

I always thought that HDTV was a good idea, the industry has just been years too slow perfecting an acceptable product at an affordable price. These things take time, as anybody who remembers the fifties and the kind of reception we used to get on very small screen black and white TVs knows.

I would prefer that they continue to work on getting the clearest, most natural looking picture possible. They still have a long way to go.

Would any of you be interested in buying a 3DTV? Would you be willing to spend a lot of your time lounging around with those funny glasses on? I wear glasses anyway, so this would require an even more augmented life experience than I already have. I'm going deaf too, so augmented hearing can't be far in my future.

If they want to work on something good. I would like to see virtual reality audio/video, where you wear a helmet and it seems like you're there. How about direct inputs plugged right into your brain? If they were any good and the experience interactive enough, I'd go for that, in a second. The porn industry would really come into it's own. Old folks like me could enjoy hyper realistic travelogues and saccharin depictions of days gone by that never really were.

Big Bowl Swirls Today

So, do you like the Crimson Tide or the Longhorns today. I guess somebody thought it would sell a lot of plane tickets, hotel rooms, over priced booze and restaurant meals. I'm hoping for a seismic event that opens up the Arroyo Seco and sucks the whole mess in with a belching, sulfuric, magma flush.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Stand Off In San Sebastion

The priests of a Catholic diocese in Northern Spain have overwhelmingly rejected the bishop sent to them by the Vatican. This is a different situation than what occurred last year in Linz, Austria. In Austria it was a conservative bishop sent into a liberal diocese. In the case of predominantly Basque San Sebastian, Spain it is a Spanish bishop that has been sent.

The Catholic Church supported the Royalists in the Spanish Civil War and greatly benefited when that side won and set up dictatorial rule for the next 35 years. The exception was in the Basque region in the North. The Catholic Church there, as well as the populace, supported the Republican cause. During the War, many Basque Catholic priests were persecuted and some were killed. After the war, the Catholic Churchmen in the North continued to lead the opposition and armed insurrection against the reviled Generalissimo, Francisco Franco. The Basque Catholic Church and the Church in the rest of the country have never been friendly since. The Basques see this new bishop in terms of being asked to take a viper to their bosom.

The Pope seems disposed to push the issue and force the North to accept his choice of a Spanish man to lead this Basque diocese. The upside for the Pope is that he hopes to finally heal the rift in the Church between the North and South. The downside is that he runs the risk of more deeply alienating Basque Catholics. Basque Catholics are the most devout and traditional of all the Catholics in Spain. The Basque lands are also the most prosperous areas in Spain and the population the most educated and affluent.

It may not be simply an exercise in debate. The Basque Churchmen are still the political leaders of the Basque separatist movement and largely responsible for the autonomy of the local government. They have great influence in that government. They also have great influence with the partisan movement, who are very skilled with the knife, gun and bomb. This new bishop may not be disposed to spend much time at his new home in the North.

Big Rain Down Under

North Eastern Australia has been getting rain, ending a drought that has lasted a decade. It's a good thing.

I think global warming will be a good thing for Australia. Warmer temperatures in the surrounding seas will mean more evaporation and probably more rain, which has always been rare there. Australia is well positioned to become a supplier of agricultural and mineral commodities for Southern Asia as its population and productivity burgeons. If I was younger, I would seriously consider making myself eligible to migrate there. I have always heard good things about temperate Perth, in the far West but tropical Brisbane might not be bad either.

I still like Southern California though. Things are pretty bad here. I think that unemployment figures, vis a vis the undocumented population, are woefully under reported and the real estate meltdown here still has a long way to go. Demographics are shifting and will continue to shift rapidly but that may not be a bad thing. In some ways it's better here than it ever has been. The people are friendly and hard working. Everybody gets along pretty good. The State government will surely go bankrupt soon and that will undoubtedly precipitate hard times for a lot of people and speed up the movement of some people in and some people out of the area. I think I'll stick around. A lot of good ethnic restaurants, the girls are pretty and dress lightly. Good place for an old man. We need better public transportation. The Bay area and San Diego have done it, no reason we can't too.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Your Eminence

Here is the latest press release concerning one of our local Southern California Roman Catholic bishops. He was arrested a few days ago. As far as I know, while there have been many allegations, this is the first that he has confessed to any wrong doing.

This story will continue to unravel, I am sure. It is a story of narcotic use and trafficking, theft, gun violence and sodomy/rape. Dashiell Hammett could have turned it into a nice serial contribution to Black Mask Magazine, in his day. It makes you wonder how long this kind of thing has been allowed to go on by the Church and civil authorities and just swept under the rug.

Nice, Your Eminence.

UPDATE: It turns out this guy was a Catholic priest until 1993 and then kicked out. Now, he has his own church and calls himself a bishop, when he's not indulging in mayhem and degeneracy.

Brit Hume, A Christian Paragon

Brit Hume says Tiger Woods should become a Christian because only Christianity offers the scope of forgiveness that Tiger needs to regain his place in society and continue his career. Well, Brit should know.

I think Brit should share with us the sexual infidelities and profound personal failings in his life and there have been many. Then he could better illustrate to Tiger how the Lord's forgiveness works.

What an asshole.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Republicans Need A Broader Brush

The statesmen on the Right are wackos. Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Victor Hanson Davis, Deal Hudson, name some more if you like. They continue to claim we are threatened by "enemies". Religious enemies, cultural enemies, political enemies, name some more if you like. They don't mention any military enemies. They don't mention any economic enemies. They tell us we need more war, more imprisonment without trial, more torture, more domestic surveillance, more restrictive laws, more fundamentalist Christianity.

Where are the elder statesman on the Right that command universal respect? Where are the concrete plans, outlining what we need to do over the next twenty years? When do we get to the part where we all agree on some basic truths and solutions to problems?

Say what you like about Barry O but he's clearly trying to steer a middle course, when it would be easier for him not to. Liberals don't know why he is still supporting the wars. They don't know why he hasn't rammed through health care legislation that covers everyone and protects abortion. They don't know why he hasn't turned over most of the leaders of the last Bush administration to the Hague, for trial on charges of crimes against Humanity. People would be a lot happier with him if he did.

Republicans think they are headed for big midterm electoral gains. If they moved to the center politically and started to talk seriously about fiscal austerity, that might even be true. They are determined to keep the conversation on the Deity and why he wants abortion and birth control outlawed, so that there can be more White people in the future. They want to keep talking about the need to protect Israel and kill Sand Niggers. They want to keep ragging on Homos. They want to keep talking about why rich people are the only endangered ecological niche worth protecting and nurturing. That will get them some votes but they are votes they already have. It's not enough. Even rich people and the Jews won't vote for them. They might even drive the Homos away and they're about the only educated, literate block left in the Republican party and from whom they draw most of their elected politicians and successful candidates for office.