Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Rumblings of Planet Earth

The Earth is once again giving us just a minor taste of how insignificant we tiny bags of biologic chemicals and mostly water are in the grand scheme of this planet's evolution.

The earthquake in Chile this morning, though one of the largest ever recorded at magnitude 8.8, didn't cause catastrophic loss of life anywhere near the scale seen in Haiti.  Which might seem odd to some, since the quake itself was 500 times more powerful than the one which ripped through Port Au Prince last month.  Chile is obviously a much more prosperous country than Haiti and its infrastructure has evolved specifically to deal with earthquakes and other natural disasters in mind, which helps limit the damage.  In many ways, Haiti and Chile are on opposite ends of the two extremes in this regard.  Another difference is that the epicenter was 22 miles underground, 70 miles from Concepcion and 200 miles from Santiago (it wasn't a direct strike on a large city).  Still, over a hundred are known dead so far and likely many more before it's said and done.  The direct strike was on the coast, resulting in a massive tsunami whose destruction is spreading far beyond the local region, threatening a good chunk of the pacific (warnings are in place as far away as Hawaii and Australia).  Good thoughts to our brothers and sisters in the southern hemisphere and pacific basin while they deal with this crisis.  

This is a good time to remind folks that the people in Haiti are still hurting and will be for a long, long time. Without any sort of lasting infrastructure to help them.  Please give if you can.  The global news cycle and associated throng of media have largely moved on to more recent events as is natural, but that doesn't mean things are all that much better here ...

Perhaps it's too soon for jokes but I've given fair warning that my humor trends toward the dark side.  When I first saw the news this morning on TV and they were showing damage in Santiago, I immediately thought of Something About Mary.  Specifically, the scene in which Pat Healy, pretending to be an architect, slings bullshit at Harvard educated and renowned  British architect Tucker, who he thinks is the real deal (but who later turns out to be a pizza delivery man named Norm from New Jersey).  Hint: neither of them have ever been to Chile.

Tucker: Really? Where would I have seen your work?
Pat Healy: Well, have you been to, uh well, let me see... Santiago, Chile?
Tucker: Twice last year. Which building's yours?
Pat Healy: Oh. Emm ... are you familiar with the soccer stadium?
Tucker: Did you build the Estadio Olimpico?!?
Pat Healy: No, just down the street the Celinto Catayente Towers. It's quite a fine example, in fact!  I recommend that next time you're up that way that you drop in and take a gander at it yourself.

Here's hoping the Celinto Catayente Towers is okay.

And in all seriousness, best wishes to all affected by this tragedy.   Give to the Red Cross, please.  For Chile, Haiti, and all those hurt by Mother Nature's wrath.   The Red Cross is pretty good at getting the cash to those who need it most.

"Talk" to you again maybe next weekend.  My flu's in the rear view mirror and it's time to tackle all things technology again for awhile.  If you're a masochist who finds something interesting on these pages, you can always visit my technology blog as it's more likely that I'll post there during the week.  Of course, I can't guarantee you'll like the subject matter much; often times, I don't either :-).

Friday, February 26, 2010

Stacking The Brooms

I've been watching the women's curling gold medal for the past two hours.  And I don't even have a fever anymore. As I write this, they're going to "extra ends."   A real thriller, with Canadian pride hanging on the line!

I've really been getting into this sport with a vengeance over these Olympics and don't understand why others can't see its genius.

I guess that's why there hasn't been a decent curling movie produced (or any curling movie at all, for that matter).  To that end, I'm going to write one, inspired by the '70's classic Slap Shot

Burt Reynolds will be perfect in the Paul Newman role as player/coach Reggie Dunlop (the "skip" in curling parlance).  Of course, we'll need to have the Hanson Brothers.  This time the boys will forever be getting in trouble for "high broom sticking" and "rock greasing."

Finally, let's not forget Ogie Ogilthorpe, the notorious Federal League goon.  In my curling-infused re-telling, he'll be infamous for his "prison shower" shenanigans (suffice to say it involves a sharpened curling broom handle levied in the vicinity of the opponent's thrower, just as he's bent over about to deliver the rock).  You'll laugh, you'll cry - it'll be better than Cats.   Of course, we'll need a new title.  I like Stacking The Brooms.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mary-Louise + Costello = Healing

Elvis Costello turning the table on his Sundance Spectacle show: he's the one being interviewed this time and by no other than Mary-Louise Parker.   Mary-Louise is a Costello fan?  I didn't think I could be more infatuated with her but apparently I can.  I do believe that I'll head to NYC right now and start my new career as her personal stalker (I hope the position is open).  I didn't know Mary-Louise was a music journalist in addition to her award winning stage and screen talents.  She writes a semi-regular column for Esquire.  I'll be checking out her work at once!  And we share the same favorite Elvis album (Imperial Bedroom).  The close up of her swaying to Elvis singing Town Cryer is almost enough to make me ... well, I'm only human (and I think I'm Turning Japanese, I really think so ...)

I needed this shot in the arm.  Because apparently other shots in the arm I've received were a bit less than effective.  Specifically, I refer to the flu shots I got in August and again in November, both received while in the depths of the flu.  The end of February and I've been knocked out with influenza once again, just now climbing out of the shit tank.  Perhaps I should have gotten an anti-flu shot instead or at least one that lasts more than a few days. Thanks, Dr. Nick!  I can't wait for spring to get here.  As one who hates the sunshine and flowers, I never thought I'd hear myself saying that but there it is.  Say goodbye to sickness and snow.   He says with another half foot of snow on the way tomorrow ...

In the meantime, I'll throw Imperial Bedroom on the stereo and a re-run of Weeds on the screen and veg myself to sleep in my recliner ...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Digging Skeleton and Graves

I'm OD'ing on Raspberry Diet Snapple and watching the Olympics.  My favorite sport, Skeleton, is now over (Luge is for chicken-shit wimps).  Skeleton riders go head first and the sleds are not allowed to have steering or brakes.  But there's still freestyle aerial skiing and more alpine action to be had.  And, always, curling on the lesser NBC channels.  Almost Famous is on the tube so I find myself switching back and forth between the Olympics and that.  I always gravitate to Almost Famous: any movie that includes Lester Bangs as a character is okay in my book.

Speaking of Lester Bangs, and other dead people, I stumbled across a fine online service today that helps you get the low down on the disposition of a dearly departed's remains.  It's called, appropriately enough, Find A Grave.  I can't believe I haven't found a need for their services up to this point.  Finally, a site with a useful purpose.  I dig it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No Hyperbole About It

I've never posted simply to point people to someone else's blog, but I really think Allie of Hyperbole and a Half could be famous one day.  She's got a huge talent for comedic story telling and mad skills for lunatic illustrations.  She's got a Ralph Steadman thing going with the drawings.  And that's high praise indeed, in my book.

Sweepers, Sweepers: Man Your Brooms

ActivStyle is the latest service sprung up to satisfy the incontinence craze sweeping our nation.  According to the commercial, your "personal incontinence consultant" will guide you through the maze of bowel and bladder control products on the market today, ensuring your needs are met.  Tell me, sir, do you shit your drawers, piss your pants, or both?  Or are you just a dribbler?  I want to be sure I formulate a plan custom made just for you! When I'm finished, we'll plug those leaky holes of yours so tight that there'll be no need for you to carry that mop and bucket around where ever you go anymore ...

Speaking of mopping up, I'm quite fascinated by the sport of curling and have been since I was a little kid.  I grew up about 75 miles south of Vancouver, B.C. back when there was no cable television, so you got whatever channels your rabbit ears could pick up.  In addition to the Seattle network affiliates, we got several Canadian stations and it seemed like curling was on one or the other practically 24/7.  I've lived in Philadelphia almost 25 years and so don't get the chance to see curling much these days, but the arrival of the Winter Olympics brings a bit of my childhood back home to me once again. 

I guess it's curling's strange shuffleboard meets mopping the floor that feeds my interest.  Perhaps it's no accident that the sport has become somewhat of a metaphor for my life at sea: I did lots of mopping and sweeping the decks in the Navy and later ventured out on a couple of short pleasure cruises where you could play shuffleboard, if you were so inclined.  Curling brings those two disparate experiences together for me, tying them together along with the experience of my younger self so taken with the sport from the great white north as a child.

As much as I "enjoy" curling, I'm even more fascinated by cricket, having been glued to the TV for hours watching it from the hotel whenever I'm in Europe.  I think the attraction there is that though I've watched extensively, I'm to this day completely confused by what's going on.  I do know they break for tea several times in the ten years it feels like it takes to complete a match.  They have bowlers and batsmen, and it's vaguely like baseball mixed with croquet.  I'm aware that there's a lot of talk about "overs" and such.  Simply magnificent.

But cricket's for another time.  It's the Winter Olymics now. Sure, it's great to see Lindsey Vonn come through with the Gold, even with a bum shin.  Gold too for mogul chick extraordinaire Hanna Kearney earlier in the week. And Shaun White will do his thing tonight and likely grab the top prize.  But me?  I recorded CNBC's coverage of curling this afternoon and plan to hunker down this later this evening and transport myself back to those childhood days of yore in front of the tube, digging on this sport of kings (well, sport of kings' housekeepers anyway). 

Sweepers, sweepers: man your brooms ... Fellow travelers who are familiar with that siren song understand.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Life So Far (Based on the Novel By ...)

This one is harder - I tend not to read books in the same year they're published (with a few exceptions).  So tying a book to a particular year is tough. Syd Hoff was my literary hero when I was first introduced to the joys of reading by my mother at the age of three. From three to six, it was all about Syd. It turns out that Syd and I share a birthday (September 4th), though I didn't know it until about five minutes ago when I looked him up on Wikipedia. It turns out that you can sort of classify my love of reading into eras:
I strayed a little, of course. During the prepubescent eras, The Phantom Tollbooth was the most significant of the "one hit wonders" I loved. And Where The Wild Things Are around the same time as Syd. Later came the Everything Else era which meant literally that: any single author/genre/whatever was now beside the point.

Everything Else started around 1975 when I made it out from the downstairs backroom of the Everett Public Library upstairs to the land of big people's books. Manchild in the Promised Land was the first "adult" strength read, a tale of growing up that was grown up with a vengeance. And wholly foreign from my way of life. In other words, brilliant.

The late 70's found me devouring Creem and Rolling Stone, the former handing me Lester Bangs and the latter the works of Hunter S. Thompson. That was all she wrote. Lester and Hunter were gods to me, especially Hunter. For me, there's Hunter and then there's everybody else. Even his later work, when he got lazy and repetitive. Didn't matter, it was all fantastic. It taught me what the truth really means.

Of the fictional variety, I loved/love Bret Easton Ellis (especially American Psycho), Jay McInerney (especially Story of My Life), Joseph Heller (especially Something Happened), John Irving (especially A Prayer for Owen Meany), F. Scott Fitzgerald (especially Gatsby and The Beautiful and Damned), William Burroughs (especially Junky), Charlies Bukowski (especially Ham on Rye), James Frey (I love his style, and especially A Million Little Pieces, even more now that I know portions were made up), Leon Uris (especially Trinity and The Haj).

My favorite book of all, hands down, no-contest, is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. I first read it in the early 1980's and have since re-read it a number of times. It never gets old.

The only book of any heft that I've read in one sitting on a single day is Christine by Stephen King. I'm not a huge King fan but have read more than a few of his tomes, many of them simply wonderful. I happened to start Christine early morning hunkered down in the laundry room on board CVN 69 while floating around the Mediterranean Sea during the summer of 1983. I was new to the ship, working in the Intelligence Center, but temporarily assigned to clean my division's enlisted sleeping area. Most lowly straight-outta-school enlisted types take a turn at this and the duties included doing the entire division's dirty clothes and towels. There was only one laundry room available and it was particularly backed up on this day, so I spent thirteen hours head resting on the large sacks of clothes, waiting for and then doing the shitload of uniforms, towels and other at-sea personal items I was stuck with. I spent that time with Christine.

Lately I've been going through random stuff, whatever I find on Amazon or in Borders. I love the Japanese novelist Natsuo Kirino, especially Out. Even translated, her books are bitter, cynical, funny, just great.

In the last dozen or so years, I would have to say that my favorite single book has been Lives of the Monster Dogs by Kirsten Bakis, published in the late 90's. God I hope she publishes again one day.

As evidenced by my King affection, I'm not immune to the charms of McNovels. I've enjoyed those by the likes of Tom Clancy, John Grisham and Michael Crichton, especially the latter. If I'm stuck at an airport and find myself without a book, these guys are nothing if not consistent. Crichton was a Harvard M.D. whose first book was a non-fiction account of modern medicine circa 1970, entitled Five Patients. It's one of my favorites. As is The Andromeda Strain. These guys tend to have good story structure but mostly fall short on character development and prose/imagery. Characters and imagery are the most important qualities of a good read for my money, but I can and do take story structure alone in a pinch. Sometimes you're surprised by these guys and get a good chunk of all three.

So that's the "list" as best I can put it. It's out of phase, out of time, not particularly linear. I've read a helluva lot more books than I've seen movies, more even than I've listened to songs (I'm not talking casually listening here, which I do many times a day, but really focused listening). Still, I can't bring myself to associate any one to a given year.

For those that suffered through this self indulgent literary life crawl, you can take comfort in the fact that I'm done with this particular obsession. No more lists for a while.

Now I need to go out to the porch and chip the rest of the ice off my front strairs (wouldn't want the postman to slip, fall and sue me). Then it's time to prepare for Chinese New Year coming our way tomorrow. The Year of the Tiger, my Chinese astrological sign. Of course, in China it's already tomorrow and Chinese Dick Clark has long since hosted the ball drop from Tiananmen Square. Back here in Philly, I need to get my last ditch New Year's Resolutions in order before our time about eight hours hence.

Oh, it's also Valentine's Day tomorrow. I don't know why Billy Ray Valentine gets to have his own day, but apparently he does. I'll drink some frozen orange juice in his honor.

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Life So Far (The Original Motion Picture Motion Pictures)

When I said I wouldn't be posting here on a near daily basis anymore ... well, today is an anomaly.  I think.

Like the songs, these aren't necessarily my favorite films, though certainly a good chunk of them qualify as such.  Some of them are pretty bad, in retrospect.  In the end, these are movies that remind me strongly of a particular year in my life (whether personal or in a historical context).

1962. Days of Wine and Roses
1963. Irma la Douce
1964. Dr. Strangelove (Or How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love The Bomb)
1965. A Patch of Blue
1966. Batman 
1967. The Graduate
1968. The Producers
1969. Midnight Cowboy
1970. M.A.S.H.
1971. Klute
1972. The Godfather
1973. American Graffiti
1974. The Godfather Part II
1975. Dog Day Afternoon
1976. Rocky
1977. Star Wars
1978. Grease
1979. Apocalypse Now
1980. Raging Bull
1981. Reds
1982. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
1983. Local Hero
1984. Splash
1985. St. Elmo's Fire
1986. Platoon
1987. Barfly
1988. The Last Temptation of Christ
1989. Heathers
1990. Goodfellas
1991. The Silence of the Lambs
1992. Glengarry Glen Ross
1993. True Romance
1994. Pulp Fiction
1995. Leaving Las Vegas
1996. Beautiful Girls
1997. Boogie Nights
1998. The Big Lebowski
1999. Being John Malkovich
2000. Almost Famous
2001. Vanilla Sky
2002. Minority Report
2003. Lost In Translation
2004. Garden State
2005. Sin City
2006. United 93
2007. Gone Baby Gone
2008. The Dark Knight
2009. District 9

A Whole New Meaning To "How 'bout them Cowboys?"

"Go Long!"

That's Jimmy Johnson's tag line as the new spokesman for ExtenZe, the "male enhancement" product.  That's not a joke.  I saw it myself early this morning on TV, his jovial fat face stuffed under that silver pompadour of his, yakking away about how everyone loves "bigger and better."

And  Johnson, the longtime college and pro football head coach and current Fox Sports NFL analyst, is no cynical paid celebrity stooge, just in it for the buck.  No, he's apparently a long-time enthusiastic customer.  He might have a few Super Bowl rings on his fingers to boost his ego but they did no good I guess in boosting the length of his disco stick.  And thus, "go long!"

My Life So Far (The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

These aren't necessarily my favorite songs (if that were the case, songs from 1965 and 1977 and 79 would consume almost every slot).  No, rather these are songs that remind me of a particular year in my life.  I might have been obsessed with the song, or heard it a lot on the radio.  For the songs prior to 1972, they remind me of a year in a historical rather than personal context, since I didn't really pay attention to music as such prior to my 10th birthday.  I've added more than one song per year only when I felt that one alone could not convey those 12 months for me (the mid-60's and late-70's, mostly).

I'm not sure why I felt the urge to list these here, but the compulsion was strong nonetheless.  I'm sure books, films and TV shows are soon to follow, I must warn you.  Or not.  You were warned.

1962. The Wanderer by Dion
1963. Please Mr. Postman by The Beatles (ironic that my favorite Beatles recording is a cover?)
1964. Don't Worry Baby by The Beach Boys
1965. Desolation Row, Ballad of a Thin Man and Positively 4th Street by Bob Dylan followed with You've Got To Hide Your Love Away by The Beatles
1966. California Dreamin' by the Mamas and the Papas followed with Rain by The Beatles
1967. Heroin by The Velvet Underground followed with Suzanne by Leonard Cohen
1968. Ball and Chain by Janis Joplin/Big Brother and Holding Co.
1969. Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley followed with Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones
1970. God by John Lennon followed with Dress Rehearsal Rag by Leonard Cohen followed with I Think I Love You by The Partridge Family (which one is my favorite now?)
1971. Moonlight Mile by The Rolling Stones followed with Yo-Yo by the Osmonds (which one was my favorite at the time?)
1972. Layla by Derek and the Dominos
1973. Captain Jack by Billy Joel
1974. Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks followed with Kung Fu Fighting by Karl Douglas (we could play records on Friday in math class at George Washington Carver Middle School 7th Grade)
1975. Backstreets by Bruce Springsteen
1976. Dancing Queen by ABBA followed with Blitzkrieg Bop and Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue by the Ramones followed with I've Loved These Days by Billy Joel followed with Night Moves by Bob Seger
1977. Alison by Elvis Costello followed with Career Opportunities by The Clash followed with Anarchy in the UK by Sex Pistols followed with Sheena Is A Punk Rocker by the Ramones
1978. Badlands and Racing In The Street by Bruce Springsteen followed with Big Shot by Billy Joel followed with (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea by Elvis Costello followed with I Wanna Be Sedated by the Ramones
1979. Dance This Mess Around by the B-52s followed with Oliver's Army by Elvis Costello followed with Discovering Japan by Graham Parker followed with Alternative Ulster by Stiff Little Fingers
1980. London Calling by The Clash followed with Los Angeles by X
1981. Shot With His Own Gun by Elvis Costello followed with Seven Year Ache by Roseanne Cash
1982. Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo followed with Add It Up by Violent Femmes
1983. Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2 followed with An Innocent Man by Billy Joel
1984. Country Death Song by Violent Femmes followed with Don't Go Back To Rockville by REM
1985. Just Like Honey by Jesus and the Mary Chain
1986. Dear God by XTC
1987. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2
1988. Everybody Knows by Leonard Cohen
1989. Fight the Power by Public Enemy followed with Tramp The Dirt Down by Elvis Costello
1990. Last Day of Our Acquaintance by Sinead O'Connor
1991. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
1992. Runaway Train by Soul Asylum
1993. Flower by Liz Phair
1994. Doll Parts by Hole 
1995. Sinaloa Cowboys by Bruce Springsteen
1996. Criminal by Fiona Apple
1997. Tubthumping by Chumbawamba
1998. Intergalactic by Beastie Boys
1999. Sleep Now In The Fire by Rage Against The Machine
2000. Stan by Eminem
2001. The Blower's Daughter by Damien Rice
2002. Complicated by Avril Lavigne
2003. Knockin' On Heaven's Door by Warren Zevon
2004. American Idiot by Green Day
2005. Reno by Bruce Springsteen
2006. Black Cadillac by Roseanne Cash followed with Dancing Shoes by Arctic Monkeys
2007. Sweet Jane by Cowboy Junkies
2008. The Bright Lights of America and The Modern Rome Burning by Anti-Flag
2009. Sulfur To Sugarcane by Elvis Costello followed with Lust For Life by Girls followed with Bad Romance by Lady Gaga

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

POL Wars Redux: The Loxodonta Empire Strikes Back (Linger on ... Your Palin Blue Eyes - apologies to Lou Reed)

I'm re-posting a July musing of mine, partly because I'm lazy and partly because it's even more relevant today given the current political environment.  Yesterday's satire and hyperbole become tomorrow's news, sadly.  But still, it'll be mostly a "Re-run."  That's for you late 70's TV aficionados.
It's snowing another couple of feet today after getting nailed with two feet just a couple of days ago.  I already shoveled last night's eight inches of the sleet infused sno-cone filler off my walk this morning, taking advantage of a break in the storm. It's going to be mighty painful shoveling for sure, after today's blizzard dumps another foot or so, with nowhere to put this new load of frozen H2O except to the top of the piles already there (lots of back twisting and muscle spasms in my future).

Before I re-post, I have to note two things I learned last night flipping through the channels that I really didn't want to know:
  1. Michael Jackson made a habit of peeing into bottles rather than a toilet, often doing so in front of others, even casual acquaintances, without a hint of self consciousness.  Apparently, half empty bottles of his wiz littered the Jackson estate.  They say it started back in his prepubescent Jackson-5 days when there were often no bathrooms within easy reach of the stage at the venues in which they performed. Thanks for expanding my Jack-o knowledge to new depths, E.
  2. There's a product called Kitchen Guard for those people who really hate the mess left behind by traditional fire extinguishers.  Damn, I saved my house from burning down but just look at all the foam on the stove!  I guess if the price is right, it might be a fine addition to my kitchen essentials.  Maybe it serves two purposes, a la New Shimmer.  In this case, instead of being both a floor wax and a desert topping, perhaps it's a fire extinguisher and a PAM-like no-stick cooking oil (it is an aerosol spray, after all).
And now, a re-post from early July 2009, enhanced with linked references, illustrations and an updated 2010 present tense!

I figure we're in the early stages of the Empire Strikes Back if one were to apply 'Lucas'-onian ('Lucas'que?) principles to current American political reality. The election of 2008 was the attack on the death star, the climax of A New Hope.  Or, more appropriately, A New Audacity of Hope.  But we're a couple of years yet away from Obama losing his hand to Dick Cheney and finding out the uncomfortable truth about his lineage. (Kenya is not Wyoming? They have similar forms of democracy, I've heard.)

Joe Biden is Chewbacca (or maybe he's Jar Jar, arriving appropriately inappropriate into the wrong movie).

Or maybe I have it all wrong and Cheney is the Emperor.
The appendage, perhaps then, is due to be lopped off by Darth Palin ("Barack, I am your Mother").

Perhaps, too, I also have wrong the particular appendage that is in peril.

It sort of fits, though.

Think about it. Okay, don't think so much - feel about it - the truthiness can't be denied.

They both apparently enjoy basketball (or, in Darth Sarah's case, at least basketball analogies and how apparently all the great basketball players like to leave the game in the 4th quarter). She can see Russia from her house - he saw Russia from his mobile home (Air Force One).

You'd think that her youth would rule such a thing out, but I always thought that she had a little 'Highlander' in her ('There can be only one - please God').

This would all imply that he got his literacy, poise, and sanity from his father's side of the family.

But the opening credits have barely trailed off the screen - we have a long way to go before we have to worry about Ewoks roaming the planet, Hip waders drying in the east room, book burnings and literature lynchings, and Michelle's garden giving way to a smelt pond.

A while to enjoy things before Mrs. Maverick and her Alaskan Geese (apologies to Dr. Green) go to Washington while Jimmy Stewart does cartwheels in his casket.

And that's another movie for another time.  But be forewarned: put your affairs in order while you can.

"I found America hiding in the corner of my wallet
It's a well kept secret, thought that I had better swallow it
Before they make me spit out the truth
Before they find you're lying about your youth

B movie, that's all you are to me
Just a soft soap story
Don't want the woman to adore me
You can't stand it when it goes from real to reel
Too real too real
You can't stand it when I throw punch lines you can feel" - Declan Patrick MacManus, 1979

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dyslexic Misanthrope

Dr. G is now on the Discovery Science Channel!  So there's a chance Oprah's destruction of Discovery Health next year won't mean the end of my favorite Medical Examiner (sorry, Dr. Quincy).  There's some solace in that.
Meanwhile, in other important television doings, Five-0's Steve McGarrett was on the witness stand on WFMZ 69 this afternoon.  Steve was testifying against some super villain loan shark and talking turkey about the exorbitant interest rates in the leg-breaking business, or "the juice, as it's called in the underworld parlance."  Classic McGarrett-speak.  Shuffling between that and a Twilight Zone marathon on the SciFi Channel brings to an end my last week on the dole, topped off with a rousing snow storm to boot.
And down the snow tumbles.  I can hear all the fuckers up and down my block cackling with glee at the chance to rock and roll tomorrow with their machines of destruction.  You know, I can't believe, we're on the eve of destruction.  They're probably already hunkered down in their garages, greasing up their Sno-Blower 10000s for the big day tomorrow, anxious to gun the engines and shoot that snow a mile high in the sky before crashing it back down to earth all over my freshly hand-shoveled walk, erasing the fruits of my manual labor.

The idiot across the street from me was revving up his monstrous contraption this afternoon before a flake had even hit the ground.  It was like qualifying day at the Indy 500.  Better find my headphones so I can drown out the screams of 20 Blowers doing their synchronized dance tomorrow while I'm breaking my back with the ol' faithful $5 plastic shovel.  I think a little Never Mind the Bollocks on the iPod will serve as a gentle alternative soundtrack to my back breaking efforts.  My body is already aching just thinking about it.  Of course I covered this neighbor problem in a December post, where I swore I'd break into my each of their garages at the dawn of the next big snowfall and fill the gas tanks of their blowers with nitroglycerin.  Better set my alarm early tomorrow. :-)

But who am I kidding?  I'm a dyslexic misanthrope: whenever I get especially angry at someone or something, I tend to take it out on myself, no matter how much I may want to lay into the true target of my fury.  It's perhaps just something ingrained into my DNA?  Nah.  Odds are, it was tattooed onto my psyche by off-brand byzantine parenting since recalled. 
I'm going to be signing off from this blog for the most part while I get back down to the business of business.  That means more postings on my technology blog at the expense of this one.  I'll still be checking in from time to time but probably not at the near daily clip I'd been posting to date, tossing globs of drivel-laden keystrokes at the web and watching precious little of it stick.  Which is not to say that the quality will improve just because I have a go at it less.  But I'll feel more guilty if it isn't.  So I'll try.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Dip - ri - van! It's my life and it's my wife ..."

Lots of slow - and not so slow - dancing going on this week ...

First, Rush Limbaugh boogied on camera to the beat of Lady Gaga at the Miss America pageant on Saturday night, no doubt helped by the halo of Oxycontin-based opiates tap dancing down his brain stem. When Rush is "rushing on his run" - which is always - bet he "feels just like Jesus' Son."

The dancing will be (mainly) verbal as John Stewart heads back to the O'Reilly Factor tonight and tomorrow for a two part taped interview between the Daily Show razor wit and the "No Spin Zone" host and resident wit of nits.  Should be something to behold.  Stewart was on Bill-O's show a little more than 5 years ago during an equally volatile time in American Politics (it was just a few weeks shy of the 2004 election). A good time was had by all.  Gitcha popcorn ready.

To get us primed, how about a golden oldie from Bill O'Reilly back in the early 1990's ...

Meanwhile, Michael Jackson's really, really slow dancing coach and Pusher/Doctor is finally "ready" to turn himself into the authorities.  Jesus, this thing is dragging out, almost as slowly as your heart beats when Heir Doktor Conrad Murray puts that spike into your vein.  The good Dr. Murray was Jackson's "travel agent" of choice, sending him off on many a Diprivan-fueled "anesthesiologist's holiday" with a skillful drip of the IV into MJ's blood stream.  I hear tell Michael was thinking of remaking the Velvet Underground's classic "Heroin" as "Diprivan" but I might have heard wrong ...

Speaking of dancing (and heroin) ...

Leif Garrett, former 70's Tiger Beat mainstay (he of "I Was Made For Dancin'" teenybopper fame; see below), was busted for heroin possession for the second time while loitering around LA's mass transit system (Los Angeles has mass transit?!?).   His previous LA transit bust occurred when he attempted to jump the turnstiles for a free ride and was caught holding.  This time, Cherry Valance's evil Soc boyfriend Bob was apparently shaking and sweating up a storm on the train platform when the cops came upon him.  Garrett has been dancing with Mr. Brownstone for nearly 30 years now and apparently has not quite hit bottom just yet.

I didn't fit Leif's teen idol target demographic and hated his sort of "music" but do remember his picture plastered everywhere in the late 70's and I did dig his 1999 VH1 Behind the Music special.  Seems they need to write yet another chapter.  He's just about my age and so serves as at least one Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, or Future for my generation. Which one? Depends on your perspective and outlook, but I'm hoping he's not the Ghost of Christmas Future.  He's certainly one barometer of where you stack up/how far you've come since the disco days of yore. Here's hoping you measure up fairly well when judged relative to Mr. Garrett.  Leif, we hardly knew ye ...