Monday, February 28, 2005

Saddam's half-brother captured!...

... cause, you know, there's a big threat!

Next up, his gardener!

On writing and writing and … okay, so I played video games…

It has often been said that writing a novel is like running a marathon, you need a lot of longevity and get ready for a sprint at the end.

Well, I'm sprinting. I can see the finish line. I am winded and I am sore and I am tired. I can't imagine what writing this book in one stretch would have been like and understand fully why I had to stop when I did - I pulled a muscle from overexertion. But I stretched with some acting and I walked it off by writing some plays and I'm back. Oh, baby, am I back!

I wrote some great stuff Friday and I was ready to spend my Saturday hammering out even more pages! Four hours on Saturday! Six hours! Eight hours!

… but then we went to Target and I bought World of Warcraft…

(Okay, so we all need some down time, right?)

I returned to work this morning feeling… cooled off. Like running, you can't just start and stop. You need to warm up if you take too much time away.

And how do you warm up your philosophical muscles? You think? You see, I'm coming to a pretty pivotal scene towards the end - actually, they're all pretty damned pivotal at this point. I had to set it up in my mind. I knew what I wanted to have happen but I had to find the context in which it would. Philosophical context, that is. Context about the Vampire Society, a society whose highest virtue is consumption. I began to think of public policy: the privatization of national parks, welfare reform, etc. But this is a very deconstructionist philosophy - that is: it all comes down to YOU - so government becomes but a scapegoat. You must move beyond that. You must reduce. You go to the scale of a city. You go to the scale of a neighborhood. You go to the scale of a family. You move smaller and smaller and then, finally, as if on its own, it starts to hit you and you get one, single line.

Here's what I got today: Our society is only as ethical as you are when you're given the wrong change.

And then you put that into the context of a love triangle… and then you realize you still have a long way to go...

Friday, February 25, 2005

You listen to my bitching - I give you game…

As many of you know, I was one of the Alpha-Beta testers for World of Warcraft last year. (And to think, before the Lucky's merger, that would have made for a great grocery store joke…) I loved WoW (as we affectionately call it). It was fun, easy to use, addictive, beautiful to look at - it had everything!

But, alas, I had to give it up, cause, well, the Beta test ended and I'd have to pay.

PAY?! PAY?! How dare they!!!

I may be cheap but at least I'm consistent.

But now I've found another MMORPG to play - and if you don't know the acronym you really should join us here in the 21st century, we've got great wars you know - and that one is Anarchy Online.

And now, you can too! And it's so cheap, it's free! Sure, you don't get the cool expansion packs but, hell, IT'S FREE!

Mind you, I only started playing last night and things are still a bit shaky. I mean…. It's not WoW.


What are you complaining about? IT'S FREE!

Ben & Jerry's, please take note!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Canada to USA: "You ain't my daddy!"

Canada, once again, has shown the good sense to not in line with the United States. They're too smart for that and they're too smart for a missile shield that could, at best, not work, and at worst start a new arms race (no, not the present one - a NEWER one). Sorry (burning) Bush, but not everyone's going to bend over when you say "Jump".

Head hit wall - Brains splatter forth…

I have a headache this morning so you'll have to forgive me. Yes, you will, too.

I'm about to write more stuff about Vicky and I can't help but think, "Who would want to read such tripe?" The answer, of course, is NO ONE. So, why do I write it? Well, considering I've been writing like this for over 20 years, I guess it's a little late to start asking stupid questions now.

Vicky and I are having problem. What couples don't? Vicky has this "you will" mindset that's beginning to drive me right to the edge. It's especially noticeable when it comes to the wedding. "You will wear this kind of tuxedo." "You will behave this certain way." "You will do this at this precise time." If she keeps this up, she'll be lucky to see me there at all!

I don't think anyone ever explained to her that giving orders, in any situation where you're in no position to do so, is a fast way of finding disappointment. Or, they didn't do a very good job. And, after a while, I begin feeling more like table-dressing than a groom. (You know, 50% of the wedding couple.) She never asks, "Could you?" She never says, "I would like it if." She never even tries, "I would like".

And, quite frankly, I'm getting sick of it.

This only becomes a problem when, after suggesting we talk over and over, she completely ignores me. Yes, obviously, we're riding two different rails here and, folks, I did that once. I'm not doing it again.

Maybe it's her upbringing. Her folks, wonderful people, are decidedly middle class. Mind you, when I first met them, I couldn't help think they were upper class but then I started reflecting on what "middle class" once met and…. They is that. But they are people who are used to quick requests in short terms, i.e. orders. My family is from the lower rungs of lower middle class - we considered ourselves "upper destitute". My mom had to beg and plead a lot. There was no, "Do the dishes." It was either "I'd really appreciate if you did the dishes. I had a rough day and will probably die if I do one more thing but if you want to live with your mother's death on your head, then…" or "Do the fucking dishes god-dammit! Can't you stop making my life hell?!" - very little in between. So, I'm not used to orders and, in fact, react very poorly to them. I'm more apt to do just the opposite! Requests I can consider and threats I can acknowledge but orders tend to get laughed at.

Vicky and I seriously need to work on how we communicate and I write this only because I know she's a reader. We need to work together. Seriously. And you know it's serious when I'm putting it out there for everyone to read.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I love the smell of dead televangelist in the morning...

In case you didn't know, Gene Scott is dead!

... so, where do you think he's going????

On weekends and women…

Vicky and I went up to Lancaster this weekend to see her family. Vicky's family is very different from my own, which is to say I get along with them. It's quite a shock, especially when you consider my previous in-laws and the ex-mother-in-law who threatened to have a "hit" put out on me. It's nice.

We visited her grandmother, who lives in a residential rest-home. This isn't your stereotypical rest-home, with elderly folks cramped together like cattle. She has her own room, which she'll soon be sharing with her husband. They have a nice living room, kitchen - it's just a regular house. And I was glad to see that because she's such a nice lady. Vicky and she talked for a while, had a nice visit, as I watched this horrible movie with Snoop. It was one of those typical "black man on a rampage, taking a helpless woman prisoner in her own home while the white police (and "oreo" cop) (Okay, so I HATE the "safe black man" stereotype because it basically says there's nothing about a black man that can't fixed by making him white!) try to coax him out by saying they'll treat him with respect though you know they won't, not in our society, anyway he has to be evil because, after all, he is black" kind of movies. Worse than junk food, completely disrespectful towards anyone's intelligence, just preying on our fears. I was ashamed for Snoop. Worst still, I didn't get to see how it ended…

Then, we had coffee at an IHOP with her aunt and uncle and grandfather. I feel terrible for her grandfather, who's mental faculties have left him over the years. What a sad way to age.
We finished the evening at her mother's restaurant. Thankfully, she didn't stuff us like the last time - though we did leave there FULL. They're so good to me!

And on top of that, her mom bought me a watch. A rather expensive watch! Now, I don't like watches. I don't wear watches. I'm not at all attracted to watches. I already own three and they just gather dust! Well, I figure I'm going to wear this one because she was kind enough to think of me. I think I'm going to like being their son-in-law.

Oh, one more thing. Her grandmother - whose name is Audrey, pretty funny considering my mom and sister also have that name - asked took my hand before we left and asked if I would like to be her grand-son. Now, look, I'm not a big fan of old people. Not only have I been conditioned through years of television to consider them disposable, I don't like the previews of coming attractions, you know? But this old woman has such incredible grace and the undeniable dignity of love, I would have given her what little youth I have had she asked and had such a thing been possible. I guess I’m fortunate it's not! I leaned in and said that I would be happy to be her grandson… and it was kind of liking proposing all over again. They say you don't just marry the girl but that you also marry the family. With Rosa's family, I never felt that. They were all to quick to take advantage of me while disrespecting me. Now, with Vicky, I'm not even married yet and I already feel this incredible devotion to them.

… which is good because Vicky can be a real pain in the ass sometimes. (Sure, but I love her.)

The rest of the weekend was not what I'd call a thrill-ride. I awoke Sunday morning with my shoulder screaming "I HATE YOU!" and Vicky was feeling pretty crappy on Monday. But a weekend is a weekend, after all, even the worst of them. We went to a birthday party on Sunday and spend Monday saying, "We should start getting up", which we did around 5pm…

Friday, February 18, 2005

Geek Addictions...

Everyone knows I'm a smoker.

Everyone knows I'm a drinker.

Everyone knows I'm addicted to ice cream and video games and puns of many lands...

I am what they called an "addictive personality", which is to say I get into shit.

My most recent addiction has been moderately better for me than most but so steeped in geekdom that I have to a crown of geekliness around the house. Vicky makes me. I'm not kidding.

Yes, we're talking about Audible. Oh my god, how I love Audible. I joined back in July, thinking it would only be temporary... and was shocked to discover that this morning! Temporary?! Sure, like life if temporary! Hell, if this keeps up, people are going to wonder which relationship will last longer: Vicky or Audible!

With that in mind, I decided to cancel my account. It was getting to be too much! (Submitted for your consideration for the Understatement of the Year Award!) I downloaded my last two last night, one history book and one travel book (by Michael Palin), and this morning I was ready to cancel the whole thing.

... But then, I found out I could lower my subscription to the Basic level, saving me some money. Sure it would mean only one book each month but - believe me - once you burn a book on CD and put it in your car and listen to it as you drive - OKAY! SO I'M A GEEK! FINE! I SAID IT! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?!

... I need help.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Scatologically speaking…

Today's My Side is dedicated to the foul and gross. Here's to you! (clink!)

So, this morning I was at the gym again, as I am most mornings. As I went to the sit-up/cruncher bench, I realized, to my dismay, that I really had to fart. But you don't do that in a gym. There are other people around. They'll know where it came from.

But you can probably understand that doing sit-ups puts pressure on your stomach muscles. It squeezes things….. Out.

And so, I crunched.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

(Uh oh. I really need to…)

Six. Seven Eight. Nine.

(You'd better stop this, son…)

Ten. Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen.

(Pressure building. Can't hold it back…)

Fourteen. Fifteen. Sixteen.

(This is gonna be loud. Seriously. Cut it out or I'm cutting it!)

Seventeen. Eighteen. Nineteen.

(Control! Must have control!)

After 120 sit-ups, I got up. I finished my workout. I went outside into the empty parking lot.

Boy, did it echo.

Now, to Suki…

Suki is my dog, through Vicky, and like most dogs she feels compelled to eat most things we wouldn't.

Cat shit, for example. She loves the taste of cat shit. The texture. The bouquet. I don't know what it is about it but she just loves it. (Vicky calls it "Almost Rocha"…. Totally ruining almond rocha for the rest of my life. To think, I used to love it.)

A couple of weeks ago, when Tim was visiting, he told us that cat shit is composed mostly of protein.

… Hmmm… Protein.

And I suddenly realized that Vicky and I could save a heck of a lot of time and money. It would work like this:

a) Cats eat cat food.
b) Cats poop.
c) Suki eats poop.
d) Cat box is cleaned.

But Vicky doesn't want Suki to eat the poop. Vicky is the wrench in so many of my great plans.

And, of course, I can't close this without making one more scatological statement: George Bush.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Is he really writing?...

For those of you who know me... and know that when I say "I'm writing", I usually mean "I'm playing video games"... I've got some news.

This morning, I hit the 65,000 word mark on Vampire Society. I've actually made a dent. I not close to done but I can see a glimmer of light out there on the horizon.

Thanks for your support and I'll keep you posted.

Monday, February 14, 2005

The Greatest Generation…. Today….

So, Vic and I went to the in-laws house (hers, not mine) for dinner last night and something happened that has really stuck in my craw. (The worst thing about something sticking in your craw is that no one really knows where the "craw" is…)

Joe, my step-dad, isn't a particularly bright man. He makes spurious statements as if they're true. He said that the allies catch-phrase during WWII was "No retreat". Wrong. That was WWI, pre-US involvement. He likes to watch war documentaries because he sees some glory in it. Again, not too bright.

So, at one point, watching his WWII doc, he asked, "I wonder if people alive today would be able to fight a war like that?" I was surprised to hear Vicky say, "You bet, we could." That's some optimism!

For my own part, I wanted to bitch-slap him. I've often said that the problem with people isn't that they don't say the right answers, but that they don't ask the right questions. This is a stupid question to ask. If you put your energy into planning for wars or for fights, you take energy away from preventing the same. If you can only see in two dimensions, you'll never see your way around the seemingly inevitable. It's deterministic thinking. It's fatalistic. And, again, not too bright.

Must remember to make my kids never listen to this man…. And laugh at him…. A lot.

Valentine's Day, after all these years…

This My Side is about Vicky. I write about Vicky in this space as much as I used to write about Rosa. Just get used to it and shut up! Anyway, as I said, this is about Vicky…

… it's just going to take some time to get there, is all.

When I was a kid, I never had Valentine's. Never got cards. Never got dates. Girls just didn't like me. I was the shy kid with glasses, the little, wimpy kid. And so, year after year, nothing.

I think applying Valentine's Day to kids is a stupid idea, anyway. What the hell do kids know about that shit?

But even when I got into high school, I was pretty much overlooked. Even when I had girlfriends, it was never around Valentine's Day. Christmas? Sure? Summer? Sure. Autumn? NO! NEVER! Honestly, Tim, it meant nothing!!!!!

….er, where was I?

Then, of course, there was Rosa, with whom I celebrated nearly 15 Valentines Days (Valentine Days?). Now, you'd think with so many of them that one or two would stick in my memory. But, no… nothing. I can hardly remember. I know they happened. I remember cards and dates and things but, with the trauma of our divorce, it's all buried under so much scar tissue.

After Rosa, the only people I dated near Valentine's Day was DeAnna and Kerry…. And DeAnna broke up with me the weekend before, after I had her gift ready and everything… And Kerry, as nice as she was, was nothing more to me than a good friend… though she did give me candy. But, basically, it was years of spending these stupid Valentine's Days all alone…. Probably getting drunk, if I know myself…

But then, along came Vicky. (See, I told you I'd get to her!) And she was good and she was fine. She was like a cool breeze blowing all the dust and cobwebs off of my shut-away heart.

I'm not going to recap the whole story. You know it. Met - proposed - moved in together - bought a house - and then realized we'd been together only six month. (Whad'dya know! I did recap!) But here's something I haven't told you, something Vicky does not know.

When Vicky and I were first together, I was crazy about her and had no doubts at all about how I felt. Then, I proposed. And then, we moved in together. And I realized something that really frightened me. I realized I didn't love her like I loved Rosa. You see, I loved Rosa with a love that was totally encompassing and, well, a bit intense. (He means "psycho".) But my love for Vicky is lighter, it's easier, it makes me feel good. And I was terrified that this meant that I didn't love Vicky as much as I loved Rosa.

So, I went to San Diego to visit Tim and I told him about this. He told me not to worry. Of course, I loved Vicky differently, that's just how it worked. "You're never going to love anyone as intensely as you did your first," he said.

So, I took his advice and hoped things would change.

They didn't.

And now, here I am, at my first Valentine's Day with Vicky and I can tell you that I'm glad they didn't. I'm glad I don't feel so intensely about Vicky that it drives me nuts. I'm glad I can just sit by Vicky and enjoy her being there. I'm glad and I realized something Tim didn't tell me that day and that is that it's better than when I was with Rosa. This is so much better and so much nicer, which only makes me love Vicky even more.

I've waited a long time for this and it has certainly been worth it.

Happy Valentine's Day, Vicky. I love you very much.

Contradictory jackass…

I don't mind calling myself that because I know that, deep down, it's what we all are. We are all contradictory jackasses.

Say it with me. "I am a contradictory jackass." Good. Now, don't you feel better?

And so it was that I spent my Saturday afternoon shuffling through my valuables. I had finally found a place to put our CDs. I set up the cases and displayed them in alphabetical order. I also had to sift through all the receipts and paperwork I'd gathered over the past year to get ready to start preparing my taxes. Oh, I looked through piles of Costco receipts and DVD Planet receipts, receipts for booze, receipts for cigarettes…

Concurrently, as I do this, I am also working on a novel about ethics, a novel about the evils of the consumer-based society. I'm telling people to consume less. I'm telling people that if they don't need it, they shouldn't have it.

And I was also wishing I had more wall space. There's so much I could do with more wall space!
And then, Sunday night, Vicky and I went to the mall and bought me a pair of sunglasses and some perfumed soaps…



It's what I am. I can't deny it

But, for all we know, Freud probably did his mom, Nietzsche was probably a wimp, Descartes probably never was...

Friday, February 11, 2005

Fortunately, I couldn't understand them…

It's a story that happens far too often, someone suffering from a mental illness cannot get treatment because hospitals are criminally under funded.

Let's stop and think for a minute. Hospitals heal the sick. Wars kill. But what gets the lion share of our society's money? It's just fucking sick.

So, anyway, the story happens far too often. This wasn't the first time I heard of it. It was how the story ended, however, that makes it special.

I'm talking about Joseph Parker, who, two years ago, walked into a grocery store in Irvine and went on a killing spree with a samurai sword. He'd tried for years to get help but no one would help him. We were all too busy putting our money into wholesale slaughter to help a fellow human being. I'm sure that someone exclaimed, after seeing the bodies on the news, "What the fuck is wrong with this world?!"

And the reason this story is special is because of what I read about him today. Turns out that he heard voices for years and he had troubles sleeping… sounds awfully familiar.

Now, I haven't heard my voices in nearly half a year and, for the most part, I sleep just fine. But there were long years there when I'd hear the voices daily and nights were spent walking in my sleep, screaming awake from nightmares, or too terrified to sleep. I think back on that time (trust me, without a single desire to go back) with a great deal of fondness for the people in my life who helped me make it through. Without you, I might have ended up like Joe Parker. Now, okay, I would always joke that I couldn't make out a word the voices were saying but they were so loud at times, I would often think I was losing my mind. I look at Joe Parker and think, "There but for fortune…" and I feel a strong compulsion to thank those who were with me - you know, even if they don't read, the bastards! - for helping me get through.

Now, of course, the only voice I heard at night is Vicky's and she's saying, "Stop snoring!!!" And I consider myself amazingly lucky.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Did somebody say "Recount"?...

Turns out they're going to recount the votes!... in Iraq. Yep, looks like we don't like the result over there so we (being the US, not you and I) are going to recount the votes there.

Funny how they couldn't do a recount here. Isn't that interesting?

Mind you, we probably had more votes in the US than a few Shi'ites and a Sufi...

More proof... as if more was needed...

According to a story out in today's NY Times, the Bush administration received 52 intelligence warnings naming Bin Laden or Al Qaeda in the six months before 9-11 that planes would be used in a terrorist attack. Rice denied it even happened. So did Bush. More lies - and who was hurt, do you ask?

It's time for a visit from Mr. Sleepwalker…

(run Mr. Roger's theme music)

Hi. We're gonna talk about some really neat things today. We've got some special friends to meet and some special places to go, too. Can you say that? To? Sure. I knew you could.

We're gonna take a trip to slumberland and visit with the magic -

(Kill Mr. Rogers.)

(Can't. He's dead already.)

Undead Mr. Rogers?! Holy Shit! Oh, Dreamworks Pictures?! I've got your next summer blockbuster!!!!

Where was I?

Oh, right. Sleeping.

Didn't do too much of that last night. My brain decided it would much rather have me sleepwalking all night. This should come as no surprise, as I told Vicky, considering how my sleepwalking started, years ago.

But back to last night, we went to bed around 10pm, since I get up so early these days (4:30am!!!!) to go to the gym in the morning. Soon, I was up and getting ready to hit the gym. I got my PJs off and put on my shorts and… looked at the clock… 11:45pm!! So, I went back to bed. Soon, I woke up, put on the rest of my clothes, put on my shoes, went downstairs to put on my sweat-jacket… looked at the clock… 1:30am!! Grrrrr…. So, I went back to bed.
And, of course, woke up late…

Can you say "crap". Sure. I knew you could.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Being American means working THREE jobs...

Remember when working two jobs was a bitch?

Well, now (burning) Bush seems to think that's not enough. He seems to think it's funny to have to work three jobs! (I don't normally link Drudge but this is an exception.)

MS. MORNIN: I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.
THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?
MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)

Puritans get weirder every day...

Some people have serious problems with body parts. Tits, dicks, nipples, vaginas, asses... they'd probably be happier if we were born without them!

And you know it'll just get weirder don't you?

You should.

And you don't even have to wait long! Because today the state of Virginia has passed a law that makes it illegal if people see your underwear! That's right! Your underwear! Your garments! They're not even attached to you! They're not even a body part! And yet the uber-right over there can't bear to see the sight of fabric that just might have touched your naughty bits.

Idiot of the day? The whole fucking state of Virginia!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Progress on my first novel in five years…

As I might have mentioned a while back, I've decided to start working again. This old machine has got to get revving or it's never going to get anywhere! To much time has been flying by. Time wasted. As I might have mentioned, I'm back to work, this time on a book.

The book is called "Vampire Society". I started writing it sometime in 1998 and set down the last few words without finishing it towards the beginning of 2000, just before Rosa and I split up. For two years, I agonized over it because - and I say this only because I am assured that you are fully aware of my deep and suffering modesty - it's painfully well-written. Every word added had to be just as good. Every idea had to hold true.

Shockingly, they were and they did and it was shockingly well-written when I printed it up and started reading it a few weeks ago. All told, it held about 60,000 words. I took those words and hacked and slashed my way through it, changing quite a bit, molding it to allow continuation after all this time, and adding another 1,500 words before I even continued the story.
So, you're probably wondering just what that story is.

Well… it's the story of you. And of me. It is the story of us. All of us. Our whole, damned society. Told as through the eyes of two unusual souls - one a black young man adopted by white parents, the other an hispanic girl raised alone by a struggling father but with a confidence ignoring that - this novel delves into the ethics of consumption and the everyday crimes of the modern world. What happens when an entire nation, an world strives for nothing more than to consume all it can? That is when you have a Vampire Society. Without question, it is thus far the most profound philosophical novel I've written to date. (I'll leave to you how meaningful that statement is.)

Now, I have about 20,000 words to go until my projects 80,000 total. This is actually short of my standard 100,000 but only because the culmination of the book is in a final essay. The point of this essay, having spent 80,000 words examining the crimes of the Vampire Society, is to delineate a workable solution for the Vampire Society. In other words, having written a book about what's wrong with the world, I will then tell everyone how to fix it.

And I don't know which is scarier, the fact that I would put myself in such a position without knowing what I'm going to write… or the fact that I'm sure I can write it.

I'll keep you posted.

Possibly the site of the day…

43 Things.

Can you post 43 things you really want to accomplish in front of a world of people who knows you have yet to accomplish them? Sounds interesting as an opportunity to make a bold statement as well as to network a little. Hey, couldn't hurt. Might even be entertaining.

Let me know if you do it.

Monday, February 07, 2005

They have alternatives, one of which is bravery…

After writing my treatise against the celebrity of murder, I found a great article (published in the LA Times but this was a free link), illustrating just what soldiers should do in response to this horrible war.

Sgt. Kevin Benderman served one tour of duty in Iraq but is refusing to serve another. He will no longer slaughter innocent people for fun and profits. (Not just his, yours too.) He's been in the army for 10 years. Like most of those over there, he didn't join up expecting to go to war; there was no war then. After 10 years, you'd think he's done enough. This is not the case. He's been humiliated by his commanders and his chaplain - for fuck's sake, his chaplain! - as a result of his decision, but he will not allow that to deter him.

He has decided to lay down his weapons and behave like a civilized human being.

"War is the greatest form of wrong," Benderman wrote in his seven-page conscientious objector application. "I believe that my moral obligation to humanity is to not allow myself to be a part of this destruction."

In the six months he spent in combat in Iraq in 2003, Benderman said, he was badly shaken by what he witnessed. He saw a young Iraqi girl with her arm horribly burned and blackened, standing helplessly on a roadside as Benderman's convoy rushed past. He saw dogs feasting on civilian corpses that had been dumped into pits. He saw young U.S. soldiers treat war like a video game, he said, with few qualms about killing or the effects of the invasion on ordinary Iraqis.

Benderman said he begged an officer to stop and help the girl, but was told that the unit couldn't spare its limited medical supplies. "I had to look at that little girl, look into her eyes, and in her eyes I saw the TRUTH. I cannot kill," Benderman wrote in his application.

I would like to applaud soldiers like Sgt. Benderman. We all learned in World War II, we learned from the Nazis, that a soldier's greatest task is not always to follow orders. Sometimes, you have to use judgment. You have to think for yourself. You have to be brave. How much better would this world be if such were the case.

Applauding killers…

There was this ad during the Super Bowl that really turned my stomach.

Setting: Airport.
Actors in khakis walk off of a plane and into an airport. Actors in business clothes applaud them.
End commercial.

What a horrible message this is sending.

Are we supposed to applaud people who willing go into countries that aren't a threat to us and kill innocent men, women and children? Because that's what they are. This is, as (burning) Bush and his cronies keep pointing out, a volunteer army. These people volunteered to kill innocent men, women and children and (burning) Bush gave them the opportunity.

So, applaud them? Hell no! I'd sooner throw a rock.

I'm sure that many of you reading this will immediately think of that mythical story of soldiers returning from Vietnam only to be spit upon at home. Well, let's look at that. After all, Iraq is the Vietnam for this generation. So, what's the difference?

These people asked to do this. They asked to do this job. They asked for the opportunity to kill innocent men, women and children. They wanted to do it. They weren't drafted. They weren't forced. They went of their own free will and said, "Please give me a weapon and a chance to become a monster." They can throw down their weapons at any time and in any place but choose not to.

So, applaud them? Hell, no.

Is this extreme? Sure, it is. But so is the idea that we should have an ovation after a war. Wars, especially this one, should be concluded with silent reflection, even prayer, that it never happens again. Humanity should be ashamed of wars, not proud. We've forgotten about this as a society and, lest we forget, we volunteered to do it.

What was (burning) Bush doing while you were watching the Super Bowl?...

Continuing his war on America, that's what!

Yes, (burning) Bush has come out with his new "budget". (The quotes are to signify sarcasm; he's a much a master of budgeting as my ex-wife!) And, if you thought it'd be "more of the same" you're right.

Cuts to the EPA. (Who needs breathable air or drinkable water?) Cuts to HUD. (The homeless aren't our concern.) Cuts to welfare. (The poor should be culled anyway.) Want more? How about cuts to the Dept. of Transportation?! Sure! (You don't need that, do you?) How about cuts to law enforcement aid? Why not? (Stop bitching about wanting your streets safe!) How about some more cuts to development of alternative energy, Health and Human Services, and mass-transit subsidies? Why the fuck not?!

Meanwhile, he's increasing the defense budget to nearly $420 billion - remember that next time someone bitching about the poor taking all the money. And what is he going to "defend" us from? Absolutely NOTHING! We have no need for his B-2 bombers or missile defense and the only people shooting at us as those trying to save themselves from out invading forces! But it's not all bad news, his budget also includes "tax relief", which is his way of saying "tax cuts for the rich".

What else?

Well, there wasn't anything in his budget to help Social Security. He wants to see the system weak so he and his corporate cronies can gut it and feast off of its corpse - while you and I get to feast out of trash cans.

As much as I hate to say this, you know this is going to be passed. The Repugnicans have their wagons circled and the Dems are too weak and too few to make a dent. So, for those of you who voted for this embarrassment of a human being who some are calling "President", I hope you are getting your money's worth. God help you if you have a conscience.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Air America is here!...

I don't think I've mentioned this in a My Side before but, if you're paying attention to these things, you may have heard of it already.

Air America premiered about a year ago as the nation's only progressive, mainstream talk-radio station. (I say "mainstream" because NPR and Pacifica, as splendiferous as they may be, don't fall into that category.) Their first year was filled with financial difficulties, as any station trying to find its footing will, but have come back with a vengeance, especially after that "election" we had.

And now Air America has an LA affiliate! I'm stoked! Now, I can listen and so can you! (And so can Tim and Autumn, and so can Dwight and Richard, and so can my dad and Blanche, and so can Tim Clostio, and so can Rich Lind… maybe.)

This is an official plug! (I expect payola in the mail… dammit!)

For the record...

I'm getting so sick of people saying that Alberto Gonzalez is hispanic. He's as hispanic as Colin Powell was black!

And another thing, that bitch Condi said that (burning) Bush's administration has no plans to go to Iran. Oh yeah? Well, they had no plans to go to Iraq, either!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Bush lies… no surprise but read it anyway…

For those of you who missed the State of (Dis)Union last night, I thought I'd post something to help you understand just how amazingly untrue (burning) Bush's statements were. It wasn't too hard to find something, news is all over the web. Hell, I even heard criticism on the morning news (which might actually be a sign of hope).

I decided to send you this post from fellow Blogger, Bob Harris, which reads in part:

Bush glossed a lot of details, but he did give at least one plain, specific fact on the numbers... I quote:

By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt.

Horseshit. According to the Congressional Budget Office's authoritative numbers (.pdf document), updated just last Monday: if absolutely nothing changes, benefits aren't even projected to begin declining until 2053, at which point (prepare to quake in mortal terror):

CBO finds that the benefits paid will be 22 percent lower than the scheduled benefits.

Bankrupt? Bankrupt? Bullshit. Even something as mainstream as CNN"s Money section is now running a "Reality Check" article, politely saying Bush "may have overstated Social Security's problems," given that (in the exact words of the head numbers guy at the GAO) "the program will never go bust."

Bad days, folks. But best you stay informed.

And let's not forget that lying to Congress is an impeachable offense. Hands up all those who think that means anything!... anyone?... anyone?

Update: care of The Rude Pundit:

And the Rude Pundit is sick of hearing how "bold" is every fucking thing Bush proposes.... It is not "bold" to target gays for isolation and denigration in the Constitution; it is not "bold" to cut domestic programs that mainly help those in poverty so that massive tax cuts can be made "permanent;" it is not "bold" to say that you want to create a Social Security system that no longer guarantees a retirement benefit for seniors and that cuts benefits to others; it is not "bold" to hinder scientific developments under the veil of "protecting life;" it is not "bold" to declare that that we should make sure that people on death row are actually guilty; it is not "bold" to imply that you will use military force to impose your political will on other nations. If this is what passes for "bold" in this America, then, indeed, cowards should hold their heads high and declare that their pusillanimity is actually "bold" retreat.

Commenting on comments and the lack thereof…

It seems there have been a lack of comments on this site. "Non commentus" as one might say, meaning, in the latin, "to not mean anything in latin at all. Honestly, who are you kidding?"

So, what's the deal, folks. I know you're out there; I can hear you reading!

(tap) (tap) Hello? Is this thing on? (tap) (tap)

("I commented," comments Princess Vicky.)

Okay, what about the rest of you?

Talk to me.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Writing, Running, and Rosa…

Yes, I know. I bet you weren't expecting to see her name in a headline again… well…

It's been a couple days since I last wrote and I can't say I won't wait another couple of days. You see, I've been very busy. Not busy in the traditional sense. I'm not running around like the headless chicken. No, I've been busy in other ways still.

For one thing, I've been writing. I'm back at work on Vampire Society and I'm nearly 100 pages and 35,000 words down. Mind you, over 60K has already been written, written by me back in 1998 and 1999, so my work now isn't in setting down new words but, rather, in fixing those that exist and putting my mind in a state where new words will flow. And I've made a lot of progress to that end. So, much of my time has been taken in thought and understanding.

Here, for example, is something I wrote down the other day when trying to come to some understanding as to how the Vampire Society (a society that excels only in consumption) could have risen: Our golden rule was plated.

At the same time this is going on, I've also returned to the gym. Crap, I'm fat. These last six months have been so happy, I no longer look like the bachelor who has missed a few meals… if even that was true. No, I look like I eat small cars for a snack. So, it's back to the gym for me. Every morning, for the past couple of weeks, I've awoken at 4:30am and hit the gym before going to work. I'm jogging two miles in addition to doing some weights. It's a slow start but it is a start, so…

Mind you, I'm not entirely happy. Vicky and I have been at each other's throats the past couple of days and it pains me to admit that the reason for this is Rosa, rearing her ugly phantom like some Scooby Doo villain!

Vicky's back has been hurting and I suggested that a good doctor would do more than simply prescribe her Advil, might actually treat her problem rather than give her pills. I told her I know this because I had 12 years around doctors and grew to know something about the better ones. Vicky thought I was talking about Rosa, though Rosa's not a doctor, and was hurt to think I was bringing her up when talking about Vicky's back. I wasn't - not at all.

But that wasn't the end of it. Next, was my turn. We were viewing this sample wedding video. Vicky's grandparent's aren't going to make it to the wedding, so we've decided to have it recorded for them, posterity, and the occasional party trick… and so we can look back and see ourselves thin (diet and exercise willing). So, we're viewing samples to see who we should hire. But this sample was so…. Acidicly trite! The showed pictures of each person from the time they were children to just before their wedding and I thought, We certainly won't be able to do that. I got angry and started making insulting comments about the couple and Vicky got mad. (In my own defense, though, she didn't know those people. Why not let me have a little fun at their expense?) So, I tried to explain to her how things with us are a bit different. We're not in our early 20's and I was married before. I can't put pictures in of those years! But she doesn't seem to get it and she doesn't seem to understand how difficult this is for me.

It's extremely frustrating, to say the least. She haunted by a specter she thinks is still lingering and I'm haunted by a 15-year long gaping hole in my past. So, she and I need to talk, seriously talk. The only problem with that is that Vicky doesn't talk. She's more pragmatic, thinking that problems can be fixed with a cleaner house or - - - okay, that's just my judgment, just how I see things. Maybe I'm still a bit pissed.

On top of that, I'm exhausted. What kind of idiot wakes up at 4:30am???

So, that's my past couple of days… how's about you?