Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Free Pay TV, Not On TV

I've never had the pay TV channels. Not because I can't afford them or don't think they're worth it. I'm just not willing to commit to spending the money.

One of my theories, recently, is that everything is on the Internet, if you just look.  So I looked for the pay channel drama series. Sure enough, most of them are there. I've been watching them.

Some of them are good, some not so much. They're different from commercial TV or the movies. The production values aren't as slick as they could be with a little more money. I don't think they spend a lot on the actors. That's not a problem.

I liked Rome and Deadwood, they're epic. Weeds is a comic family soap opera that manages to go one step further than any before it. Dexter and Nurse Jackie take very dark main characters, examine their lives and make you care about them. The worst are those that mimic in most ways, things you can already see on the networks, Arliss, Sex in the City, True Blood, Hung and the Sopranos, for example and they should be ranked with the very best that is available there.

My favorite, so far, is Californication. Very artsy and hip. They use a lot of Warren Zevon music. You can hardly go wrong doing that. It makes me laugh sometimes and sometimes makes me sad. It never makes me cringe and that's good. I do enough cringing when I think about my own life. I don't need to go elsewhere for more. It's supposed to be about a guy who's a sex addict but it's not. It's about trying to make real, lasting emotional connections with other people and failing. I'm not very sure that we can make real emotional contact with others that is much more than transitory and the attempts we make often have seriously negative repercussions. It's important that we keep trying though, because that's what makes us human and being human is all we can hope for. That's what this show is about. You should watch it if you get the chance. It's on the Internet for free. Manywhere.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Great American

Did you ever hear of Smedley Darlington Butler? Me either. He was a Quaker boy who dropped out of high school, falsified his records and joined the Marines at the outbreak of the Spanish American War in 1898. He never fought in that war (or any declared war) but managed to get commissioned an officer and even promoted before it was over. He was soon promoted again, a Captain before his nineteenth birthday. He served in the Marines, off and on, for 33 years, promoted as the youngest Major General ever at the age of 48. Soon after, he was arrested and held for Court Martial but the charges were dropped, proven to be a fabrication of his enemies, among them, Herbert Hoover.

He drank heavily, was probably a homosexual and had a large Marine Globe and Anchor tattooed on his torso that extended from his neck to his pubis. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, twice and claimed he never deserved it at all. He tried to refuse it and had to be ordered to wear it. He went undercover as a spy in Mexico during the Revolution for Admiral Fletcher and his intelligence was instrumental in the decision not to mount a major amphibious invasion with the capture of Mexico City as its target. He excelled at small group, counter insurgency actions employing irregular tactics, against much larger forces on their own home ground, that routinely resulted in the annihilation of his foes and few if any casualties to his own men.

After his retirement, working for the State of Oregon, he organized and virtually invented the concept of the modern State Police Force. He helped organize and lead the Bonus Army that was gassed and cut down by the cavalry of the coward Douglas McArthur during the so called Hay Market riots. Later, he exposed a plot by big business and the military to overthrow Franklin Roosevelt and establish a fascist military dictatorship in America. In retirement, the only time he ever wore his uniform was at his daughter's wedding, at her request.

Here's a statement he made before he died.

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class thug for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.[12]

I wonder why we don't read about this guy in the history books? Seems to me like the biggest American military hero since Stephen Fucking Decatur.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tuli Dead. Fugg That.

Tuli Kupferberg died last week. One of the heros of my youth.

He was eighty six. I had no idea he was that old. I guess you can't say he died before his time.

I always admired how he combined rock and roll music with the themes of practical reproductive health and hygiene for the young people. Saran Wrap and Coca Cola Douche were two of my favorite Fuggs songs. He covered a lot of ground though and I liked all of it.

Picking Tomatoes

I've been picking tomatoes for a couple of weeks now. They're good but not great. If I go to a good produce store, pick carefully and pay a little extra, I can get just as good. If I go to the weekly farmer's market downtown, I can get way better.

I don't think I'll grow tomatoes again.

Next Republican Presidential Candidate

The 2012 nominee will be a Governor or ex Governor. Republicans cannot afford to run anyone legislative after bashing all of them so hard for the last few years. It won't be Romney or Huckybuck, who are seen as has been also rans. Jindal's too ethnic. Pawlenty is too Right Wing whacko. Halley Barbour would be a great choice but he's too blatantly deep South.

My guess, Mitch Daniels of Indiana. Bland. Successful Governor. Not a sex fiend as far as anyone knows. Not much of a paper trail.

What do I know? They'll probably go with the Salmon Slut.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jerry Springer Special

Bristol and Levi, young, dumb and illiterate, already have a two year old child together. While she was pregnant, they planned on being married. Bristol's mama Sarah went along with this but after the baby was born, everybody got cold feet.

Now, two years later, Bristol and Levi have, against their families wishes reconciled and once again, plan to tie the knot.

It's kinda romantic, like Romeo and Juliet. I hope things turn out better for them, for the baby's sake.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Read Free

I always go to the library for books to read at home. I buy used paperbacks to take along when I travel or am otherwise out and about and think there might be down time because I don't want to lose library books scattered about in hotel rooms and public places.

I have had many friends who have little electronic readers. They can download most books in the public domain for free. I always took for granted that copyrighted books were unavailable. Then I got to thinking the other day, as I was watching streaming video of a popular movie that only got into theaters the day before, that everything is on the Internet.

Sure enough, every book that a substantial number of people are interested in, is available for download somewhere, usually manywhere.

I may never have to go to the library again. Local public libraries may be already obsolete.

Whup, Whup, Whup

While I was drowsing.

My wife and the big orange cat were asleep in bed last night snoring in a very synchronized manner, just like Larry and Moe.

It occurred to me that I should make Curly's Whup, Whup, Whup noises.

I woke up laughing and they stopped.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Forced Bloom?

I'll tell you one of the things that bothers me about society, politics and religion today. There are plenty of people selling hatred and paranoia. There are also enough "let cooler heads prevail types" around.

What we're missing is Utopians. Nobody is out there preaching that we're on the road to paradise, with a song in their heart and lyrical poetry on theirs lips. I've never been one of those people and have never believed the kinds of things that they say but I think they make up an important, even necessary component of a healthy, vital society, at both ends of the spectrum. They are like flowers in the Spring, signaling after a rough Winter that everything is as it should be.

About the only place you find Utopian sentiments these days is in the scientific and technology communities. I think this is because in these areas, at least, there is still advancement and progress being made and it's inspirational, inspiring among its denizens the feeling that progress in the right direction is being made and better days are ahead.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Fun With Your New Head

I was reading an article about how it's possible that clinical depression can lead to dementia.

Several doctors over the last couple decades have advised me that I exhibit most of the symptoms of a chronic depressive. Most of them have tried to push meds for it on me. I always refuse. That's one of the great things about being a depressive, you just don't give a shit.

So, back to the idea that depression might be a precursor to or even a causal factor for dementia. Hey, that might make for a nice change.

Other dementia news. They're working on a blood test that could diagnose Alzheimer's a full decade before symptoms start to appear.  Man, I'm looking forward to that one!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Biggest Fireworks Show Ever

A lot of towns didn't have fireworks this 4th of July because they're out of money. That's not an option in my town. 4th of July has become the biggest weekend of the year for beach goers. the local merchants clean up and demand fireworks on the 4th. I'm sure even the City makes a profit off it. They were charging $25 a car today for parking at the City beach lots and those lots have capacities measured in the thousands. Then they charged people another $10 or $15 that wanted the convenience and exclusivity of bleacher seats.

They closed Pacific Coast Highway to motor traffic for a few miles along the beach and on Main Street for a few miles inland. We walked down there and it was wall to wall people, might have been a million people there for all I know. There were huge numbers of people on bikes and everybody living downtown was having a beer party. The police have tried to crack down on alcohol in the streets in the past, with riotous and violent results. They were just going with the flow this year and there were no problems. People just want to enjoy the day and for a lot of them, that includes getting snot slinging drunk. Some things never change.

Anyway, the fireworks were great. The view was equally good from anywhere downtown or along the beach for at least a couple miles either side of the pier, where they launched them from. Probably the most extensive display I've ever seen, hot and heavy for maybe 45 minutes. They probably got a volume discount because not a lot of cities had big fireworks shows this year and there was a surplus of supply

I really couldn't care less about fireworks but my wife loves them. I'm happy to indulge her, it's free and only once a year. What kind of an asshole would I be if I didn't?

The surf was huge, eight feet at least.

Push Over

My Celebrity Tomato plant became unbalanced with all the ripening and rapidly enlarging fruit and just tipped over. Maybe 15 of the smaller green fruit dislodged.

I propped it back up and made a jar of green refrigerator pickles. No harm done.


One of the Republican goals in November is to turn Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid out out of their seats, depriving the Democrats of established top leadership.

I don't know who they have running against Nancy. I don't think it's anyone that can beat her. A Tea Party candidate named Sharon Angle is running against Reid for the Senate seat in Nevada. She doesn't seem to me like she has legs. In fact, she seems kind of like a joke candidate. Does anybody out there know anything about her that might indicate she can beat Harry?

The Republicans are sure that they are going to make significant Congressional gains in the upcoming mid term elections. I think they will make some gains. The balance is pretty lopsided right now. I wonder how extensive those gains are doing to be though? There are some seats they could lose as well as some they can win. I don't think they have a very good shot at taking control of either Congressional body. If they can't do that, there's not much else they can do either.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Cinema Display

I got a new Computer monitor today. Previously, I was using an Apple Sony Trinitron 20" CRT. I believe it was the biggest dedicated color CRT monitor Apple ever sold. The resolution and image quality on it are really good and the brightness of the CRT allows for a good picture even in a Sun drenched room.  The only real draw back to this monitor is that it weighs probably 60 or 70 pounds and takes up several cubic feet of space. I can manhandle it around by myself but you really need two people to safely schlep it around. I once placed it on a perch nearly shoulder high. I would never attempt that feat alone again.

I have now come into possession of the original model, Apple 22" flat panel Cinema Display. I believe this model first came out as many as 7 or 8 years ago but I don't think this one is that old, maybe 5 or 6 at the most. While it was sold, it was Apple's top of the line professional video monitor. The brightness is probably a little faded but there are no dead pixels and once you adjust expectations away from the superior brightness of the CRT, it is an excellent monitor. The biggest change is that the Cinema Display is shorter vertically and longer laterally, so you get a real wide screen effect, even though the actual area of the display probably is about the same as the older CRT.

My blog site looks very spacious on it, comparatively.

Somebody just didn't think it was worthwhile trying to resell this monitor. It has a funny input that feeds in the power, audio and video through one plug. It might have required some fancy adapting to make it work with a newer computer. Luckily, my computer is about as old as this model display and has a native connection. Lucky boy. I'm sure they could have got a hundred for it. My gain. I love free stuff.

Soppin' John

Yesterday, on National TV, Joe Scarborough called House Republican leader John Boehner, a drunk.

He's always looked like a drunk to me. Whenever he's on TV he either looks like he's three sheets or hung over.

I got nothing against drunks but why would the Republicans choose and keep a bad drunk as their House leader? It can't be helping their cause.

Kagan Walks

I haven't really been following her Senate confirmation hearings to the Supreme Court, have you?

Nobody's put a dent in her yet. No talk of a filibuster. They're not going to need Robert Byrd's vote to put her in.

You gotta wonder what's wrong with the Republicans. Are they all sick in bed?