Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Odd Solace

As anyone reading this blog on a regular basis knows, this has been a hell of a bad couple of weeks for me and my mine. I tend to be even-keeled to a sometimes cartoonish extent, though. It's been rough, but I've never been one to wallow in the Slough of Despond (when I was still in my teens I lost two friends in two unrelated incidents in one week, and I was a sobbing **note the b's people** basket case for a whole weekend, but that horror of a time inured me to despair). Things have been rough at times, but ya just gotta carry on. Every birth is a death sentence, so you have to enjoy life, and to work so those around you get a shot at happiness (this is why I've always abhorred bullies). One role I try to play is the rock, the steady center that will hold when the shitstorm comes. Unlike Paul Simon, I am not an island... you can't just shut yourself away because life is going to kick your ass. Love ends up as loss every time (that "til death do us part" lies at the back of even the most perfect relationships), and is all the more precious because of that inevitable fact.

Saturday, I was able to take solace in routine and in physicality. I went down to midtown Manhattan for my volunteer gig and, during lulls in our class schedule, was able to fight like hell with one of my friends. Six three-minute rounds of tachi waza randori with a bad mofo is a hell of a distraction! At one point, the kids in the class were running laps around the dojo and a couple got a little close to where we were fighting (they were cutting corners, when they should have been on the different colored mats on the border), I actually snarled at one kid, "Move it! You see we're fighting, do you want to be hit by a 400-odd pound meat meteor?"

The dojo is a strange place... it's a place where one puts aside mundane concerns. The conflicts, though real, are friendly... although you are fighting full-tilt, there's a mutual trust, a mutual obligation to keep each other's safety in mind. We beat the hell out of each other, but every time someone crashed down to the mat, we'd be laughing our heads off. I don't know what the parents thought of the whole spectacle, but I do know that I was glad that, in the course of a bad, bad week, I was able to lose myself in the role of a crafty, formidable brute. Not having to think about anything more complicated than fighting another large, fierce terrestrial mammal (which is complicated enough), and being able to channel one's stress into action, without any negative emotions intruding, is an amazing thing. The fact that I've taken beatings on a regular basis is perhaps the greatest contributor to my equanimity. When you've had a giant beating the bejeezus out of you, the ordinary day-to-day stresses just don't get to you.

It's an odd solace.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Yorkshire Wit, Yorkshire Grit

The mark of a good life is that there's as much laughter at the memorial services as there are tears. Today, at the funeral of my dear family friend, there was a lot of both. Mrs. Stoffel had left her mark on everybody around her, and the reminiscences came fast and thick. At the wake, I had summed up her personality in six words: unstinting hospitality, boundless generosity, and devastating candor. Add a wicked wit, and a stoicism in the face of adversity to those characteristics, and you have a good idea of her character. She was a woman who was impossible to embarass (much to the chagrin of her children)... she had no problem asking strangers for directions or advice. She'd approach anybody and strike up a conversation, truly embodying the "strangers are just friends you haven't met" outlook.

She never pulled her punches, although she was never mean-spirited. She told her kids to "always call a spade a bloody shovel!" One could never harbor any illusions while in her company. If you were dressed like a slob, she'd tell you, "You look like a hobo." If you were acting like an idiot, she'd let you know. My friend George told us that she once chided him, "I love you, but you're a bastard!"

Her eldest child, John, came down to help her out every weekend since Christmas... he related how she took bad news from her doctors in the same way that she would a weather report, with a joke and that famous stiff upper lip. She had the gracious resignation of a person who had nothing to lose- she'd traveled the world (she worked for years as a travel agent), and she had seen her children start families of their own. She lived well, and she went bravely.

Mrs. Stoffel and I always joked about belonging to a mutual admiration society. We got along famously. I'll miss her terribly.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

One Week, Two Wakes

The charcoal grey suit has been getting a workout lately... in the space of a week, I've attended two wakes. So far this year, I've been to three wakes (the father of a friend died three weeks ago). It's been a rough year, but one can't get morose. Remember the lives, celebrate with the living... that's the best way to cope.

The old charcoal grey suit could use a break, though.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Losing One of the Best

It's been a pretty horrible week... it started with a road trip to upstate New York to attend a wake, and it continued with the death of another dear family friend. Previously, I'd written:

In other horrible news, an old grammar school friend of mine recently called to tell me that his mother had terminal esophageal cancer. She decided to forgo chemotherapy, and will be receiving hospice care in her home. She traveled extensively in her youth, and she saw her children marry well and start to raise kids of her own, so she decided (with her characteristic Yorkshire stiff upper lip) that she didn't want to buy a few more weeks at the expense of her quality of life. Her door was always open, so I'll be sure to visit her when she needs support.

Mrs Pauline Stoffel of New Rochelle, New York died in her home on Wednesday night. She was a tremendous individual, and her unfailing hospitality, wit, love, and support meant a lot to me throughout my life. Her door was always open, and she embraced an enormous, diverse extended family, of which I was a part. Her complete lack of b.s. was a salutary thing for any kid to experience- if she thought you needed to "come correct" about anything, she made sure you knew (which is something a lot of people are afraid to do). She was as fearless as she was generous. She raised three incredible children- John, Kate, and Peter, who I have had the privilege of knowing since I was in grammar school, and had a coterie of beautiful, brilliant grandchildren. News of her passing hit me particularly hard... I had planned to visit her on Friday, after a terrible, terribly busy week.

It's been a rough time lately... thankfully, the extended family is incredible, and we'll get through this.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ahem, Pinko

Look at the blogroll
Lotta "Ahem, Pinko"s there.
Bastard's jumping in!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Romneyo and Newtiet

I think the Newt Gingrich/Mitt Romney campaign is the most mutually destructive relationship since that of (the admitted fictional, but are Newt and Mitt real, genuine human beings?) Romeo and Juliet. Like the star-cross'd lovers of the Bard of Avon's tragedy, Mitt and Newt seem bent on a path to mutual destruction. Unlike the hapless, loveable Romeo and Juliet, Romneyo and Newtiet's (insert "Crapulet" joke) destruction is not a tragedy... although the fact that they are the frontrunners in a political primary surely is. The 2012 GOP presidential campaign is one long, extended tragicomedy. It just remains to be seen if Romneyo supporter Suredoucheyo survives the third act.

Two campaigns, both alike in perfidy,
In fair Amurka, where we lay our scene...

This post is an elaboration of a comment I posted at T&U's place.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Crazy Day

Yesterday was a crazy day- I got up around five o'clock in the morning so I could make sure that mom got on the road in time to beat the traffic on her ride home to Virginia. After getting her bags in the car, I bid her godspeed at a quarter to six. She made decent time, although visibility was piss-poor due to foggy conditions all along the Atlantic seaboard, there was little traffic. About five hours after she got home, she left for the airport.

On a lighter note, I got my ass to Times Square last night to celebrate the birthday of my great and good friend, Secret Science Club Goddess and Force of Nature, the divalicious Dorian Devins. Dorian being Dorian, she celebrated in style, singing standards backed by her jazz combo (Lou Rainone on piano and Austrian Jazz Machine Alex Gressel. After a hell of a week (even though it was only Tuesday) it was a much needed night of strong coffee, good friends, and fantastic music. Ya just gotta get the hell out of Dodge every once in a while.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Whirlwind Sadness Tour

Today is going to be a crazy day- last week, one of mom's oldest friends from her Bronxtucket stomping grounds died from chemotherapy complications. He'd been suffering from inoperable cancer for a long time, and his chemo regime wreaked havoc on him. Mom is leaving Virginia tomorrow morning, driving to Yonkers, where we'll rendezvous, and drive together to the Catskills area for the wake. After the wake, we'll drive back to my place, where she'll stay overnight, then she'll wake at the crack of dawn to drive back to Virginia, so she can fly out to Colorado to visit my brother Gomez and his family, and my brother Vincenzo's family (Vin's in the greater Kandahar metropolitan area right now). She'd booked her flight a few months ago, and changing it would have been a major boondoggle. I'm sure she'll be glad of the opportunity to get the hell out of Dodge for a couple of days.

In other horrible news, an old grammar school friend of mine recently called to tell me that his mother had terminal esophageal cancer. She decided to forgo chemotherapy, and will be receiving hospice care in her home. She traveled extensively in her youth, and she saw her children marry well and start to raise kids of her own, so she decided (with her characteristic Yorkshire stiff upper lip) that she didn't want to buy a few more weeks at the expense of her quality of life. Her door was always open, so I'll be sure to visit her when she needs support.

It's been a heavy couple of days... gotta put the brave face on. The snark will resume sometime soon- it's my primary coping mechanism.

UPDATE: Thanks for the outpouring of support, people. I am privileged to have you in my online circle of friends. Mom and I drove upstate in a heavy fog, and a constant drizzle. The wake was really something... my mom's friend John had retired from the NYPD with a 75% disability pension after being involved in a bad motorcyle accident while on duty. About thirty years ago, he had an opportunity to buy a lumberyard upstate, and he quickly became a pillar of the community of Cairo, New York. I had total strangers coming up to me (I seem to be the sort of type that people approach to shoot the breeze with) and telling me about how had been a great person to deal with- honest, generous, and compassionate. The local contractors all told about how he'd assist them when business was tough, how his handshake was as good as a contract. One woman told me about how she'd had a run of trouble, and John was able to help her out so she could turn her life around. It's a horrible irony that a guy without a bad bone in his body would succumb to bone cancer.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Fistful of Butter

It's shortly after five A.M., and I am at work, so I think I'll expand a comment at fish's place into a post (I blame fish for this laziness). Not being a T.V. watcher, my main familiarity with Paula Deen is from videos like this, which (no doubt) fixate on her more heinous concoctions... Kathleen has a few more of these dishes chronicled. I don't hate Paula Deen, I don't even know her, but I think it's pretty crazy that the woman who is pushing the bacon and egg topped hamburger served on two glazed donuts is also pushing medicine for type 2 diabetes sufferers.

Paula deen is playing gastrointestinal "Yojimbo", she's playing the stomach off against the pancreas, ensuring their mutual destruction, all the while earning some serious cash.

Of course, the Italian remake of Yojimbo was A Fistful of Dollars, in which Clint Eastwood played the role of the amoral mercenary, originally played by superbadass Toshiro Mifune. The movie has also been remade as Last Man Standing, which I couldn't be arsed to see.

I think a remake starring Paula Deen is in order. Titled A Fistful of Butter, it would feature Ms. Deen, playing The Woman With No Restraint, supplying the bacon-donut-burgers and diabetes meds to the ravenous residents of a small town... the sugar-laden burgers and the diabetes medication then fight it out in the gastrointestinal tracts and blood vessels of the town's residents, thereby making big bux for The Woman With No Restraint and the local coffin maker- "Make that four coffins, y'all!"

As an added bonus, unrelated to busting Paula Deen's battered, breaded, and deep-fried chops, the soundtracks to both Yojimbo (by Masaru Sato) and A Fistful of Dollars (by Ennio Morricone) are fantastic.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Finally Feeling Like Winter

It's been a weird winter here in the New York metropolitan area- a mix of warm days (50's Fahrenheit (that would be around 10 Celsius) and some bone-chilling days (teens in Fahrenheit, about -10 Celsius), but no snow until today. We received more snow during Halloween weekend than we have all winter. While that snow was a heavy, bough-breaking slush, what's falling now is a nice, light powder.

Uncharacteristically, my scheduled volunteer classes don't start until around ten A.M. I had planned on leaving for the volunteer gig directly from work, and then sacking out on a spare mat in the dojo for an hour or so, but I'm going to take a "wait and see" approach... I may have to let the Manhattan-residing coaches handle today's classes. I imagine attendance will be light because of the precipitation.

That being said, there was a lot of hype for this storm , probably because last winter was brutal, and the region's transportation adminstrations were largely caught unprepared. I think the MTA will be on top of things this time, but still, I'll have my ear glued to the radi-adi-o for up-to-the-minute information about the travel situation.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Troglodyte Tears

Earlier this week, multi-instrumentalist and novelty-funk impresario Jimmy Castor died at the age of 71. I first became aware of Mr Castor's work through a post at Thunder's place. Let us remember Mr Castor, not only for his music, but for his work in the field of paleoanthropology:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Secret Science Club Post-Lecture Recap

Wow! Last night's Secret Science Club lecture by NYU's Dr David W. Hogg was attended by a standing room only crowd at the beautiful Bell House. An overflow crowd in the front room was able to hear the lecture... I think an expansion of the Bell House may be in order!

Speaking of expansion, the talk was about the Big Bang, the event about 13.7 billion years ago which kicked off this universe of ours. As large as that number may seem, it's generally thought that the "lifespan" of a proton is ten to the 33rd years (sorry, can't be arsed using superscripts for a better looking expression of scientific notation), while the universe is a mere 13.7 times ten to the ninth years old. Yeah, the universe is still pretty much a pup.

The universe has been determined to be expanding- light from distant stars shifts toward the red end of the spectrum due to the Doppler Effect, so those stars are moving away from us. The early universe was a lot denser and a lot hotter than it is now- go back far enough, and a lot of the gas in the universe would actually have been plasma... before the formation of protons and neutrons (as the universe expanded and cooled), the matter in the extremely young universe would have been a quark-gluon plasma. Approximately 300,000 years after the Big Bang, the formation of atoms would have been possible.

"The Big Bang" was originally a pejorative name coined by astronomer Fred Hoyle who believed that the universe was relatively unchanging, and that there were many sources of matter, rather than all matter originating at once in a, so to speak, big bang.

As an interesting aside, Charles Darwin noted that hundreds of millions of years would have been necessary for evolution by means of natural selection to have resulted in all of the modern life forms on the earth, but physicist Lord Kelvin determined that the sun was, at best, tens of millions of years old- Kelvin made his determination based on the assumption that the sun's energy was due to its contraction from a less dense state. Nuclear fusion hadn't been discovered at this time (for a good overview, this blog post is a great, and amusing, read. Think of it, Charles Darwin could have revolutionized physics as well as biology!

Dr Hogg also gave an overview of black holes, and mentioned the supermassive black hole at the heart of a typical galaxy.

The talk veered into a more speculative vein, as Dr Hogg opined that it may be possible that multiple universes were formed in Big Bang, each might have different "laws of physics", but laws of physics in observable universe seem to be constant. In a very funny aside, he mentioned a statement by another scientist who joked- just think how fucked we'd be if, instead of three spatial and one temporal dimension, there were two spatial dimenstions and two temporal dimensions.

The observable universe is homogenous and isotropic- there seems to be no observable center to it... wherever you are, you are the center of the universe. Well, last night, the center of the universe was in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn.

I apologize for not doing the lecture the justice it deserves- I'm a little rushed as I write this. It was another great talk, and Dr Hogg was a funny, engaging lecturer who seemed to be having a ball.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Going Dark Today

Today, "Big Bad Bald Bastard" will be going dark because I will be running errands in the morning, meeting up with a friend of mine in Manhattan in the early afternoon, and then heading down to Brooklyn so I can drink copious amounts of beer while learning about the cosmos in order to protest the draconian SOPA and PIPA acts.

It is pitch dark:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Holy schmoley, it seems that over a million signatures were collected in the effort to recall Governor Scott Turdwaffle Walker. Damn, I knew there'd be an overwhelming number of signatures, but I didn't know that they'd hit the one million mark... Walker has basically been nuked from orbit. Of course, there's a funny hypocritical comment from Walker, who was in Manhattan attending a $2,500/plate fundraiser hosted by world-class scumbag and economy-wrecker Maurice "Hank" Greenberg when the recall petitions started coming in:

During the Limbaugh interview, Walker warned of recall "shenanigans" and said recall organizers have gotten "tons of money from the big government unions in Washington."

Damn, Scotty, there's enough projection there to run a goddamn multiplex!

Of course, the real fun now begins, with the upcoming election. I honestly can't see Walker winning against any opponent now, even with donations from awful out-of-staters pouring into his coffers. It's funny to see all those well-heeled shysters doing to fiduciary equivalent of pouring water down a drain, trying to prop up this stupid "Weasel in a Badger State".

The anti-Walker efforts have certainly rekindled the fervor of liberals across the country, hopefully this enthusiasm will last until November. Thank you, Badger Staters, thank you very much- before there was an "Arab Spring", there was a Wisconsin Winter.

Of course, some loon with a rag named Scott Walker 2011's "Governor of the Year", and I have to agree with the guy. Scott Walker should get that distinction because his stupidity led him to overreach in his greedy, regressive policies, thereby tearing the mask off the GOP playbook and sparking a massive backlash. Well played, dumbass!

About that title... the funniest park name in the Northeast seemed like the perfect title for a post about Wisconsin... and sorry about those Packers. **snerk**

UPDATE: Edited to substitute "turdwaffle Walker" Google search results for Yahoo search results in original post... yeah, I was stumped by the Yahoo results myself.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I Get Mail

So, just the other day, I find that I have received a sizable envelope from the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When I open it, I find this lovely sketch (uh, I can't rotate the image in Blogger, and I can't save the rotated image of the downloaded pic, so bear with me). UPDATE: Hat tip to the redoubtable M. Bouffant, whose suggestion saved the day, so to speak... thanks, old chum!

The sketch, of course, is a rendition of this photo, drawn by everybody's favorite zombie architect. Wisely, he focused on the good-looking one for the sketch. The writing on top reads, "This is not actually a CAT scan." I have had "This is not a CAT scan!" running through my head all day.

Thanks, old chum. I'm going to have to bring the sketch in to work to show all of Moses' other buddies... can't keep this all to myself!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Funny, I've Never Posted This At My Blog

I have a confession to make. Tonight, I posted links to the song Stuart by The Dead Milkmen on two other blogs. I have linked to the song on my own blog, but I have never posted the video of the song. Tonight, I rectify this grave, grave error.

Stuart, originally released on 1988's Beelzebubba album, is a perfect evocation of the paranoid streak in American culture in under two-and-a-half minutes. Whenever I read of FEMA death camps, black helicopters, chemtrails, and the like, I always think of Stuart. The "narrator" of Stuart is the sort of guy who'd subscribe to Ron Paul newsletters, the kind of guy who'd consider voting for Rick Santorum, a typical John Birch Society, Lyndon LaRouche, Ron Paul, Alex Jones whack-a-doodle. Stuart, almost a quarter-century after its release, is one of the great political satires (even if not originally conceived as such) of our modern era, when the lunatics have taken over the asylum. Plus, the song starts out with one of the all-time greatest opening lines in the history of pop music everything:

You know what, Stuart, I LIKE YOU. You're not like the other people, here, in the trailer park.

The 'Milkmen have recently reformed, so here's a clip of them performing Stuart in Brooklyn:

If you find the lyrics hard to understand, there's always the brilliant album version... so many hilarious lines, all crammed into 2:21.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the Thirteenth Horror Movie

I'm going to say that I'm not a huge fan of horror movies (or for antipodean readers- never heard of these guys before today), and I am really not a fan of slasher films at all, finding them reactionary and misogynistic... although I do like the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which kinda plays (in my estimation) like a slasher film made by PETA.

That being said, I finally got around to purchasing the 2005 Call of Cthulhu film by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (I am a big fan of their loving parodies), and it is a charming piece of work. Beautifully done by brilliantly creative amateurs, the movie (filmed in "Mythoscope") pays homage to not only the old gent from Providence, but to great silent horror films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (I'll have to do another post on CoDc). Here's the trailer, for those who are interested in HPL or silent movies:

The film is really a nice piece of work- although filmed with digital cameras, small splotches and other flaws have been added to it, to lend it the air of an old film. The sets are well done (the horrid city of R'lyeh is very much like the nightmare village in "Caligari", and one particular scene nicely captures a bizarre moment in the story, in which a hapless sailor meets his doom due to some unearthly geometry:

Parker slipped as the other three were plunging frenziedly over endless vistas of green-crusted rock to the boat, and Johansen swears he was swallowed up by an angle of masonry which shouldn't have been there; an angle which was acute, but behaved as if it were obtuse.

And you thought you had a hard time with math!

The cast of unknowns does a yeoman's job, and the gaudy Fleur de Lys building of Providence makes a notable cameo. The props are really well done, and our boy, the monster god who launched a million memes is nicely rendered in glorious Willis O'Brien-esque stop-motion animation.

If there's one slight beef I have with the film, it's a minor plot change- **SPOILER ALERT** in the film, the crew of the Emma find the Alert deserted, rather than being attacked by the crew of the latter. It's a shame, because I would have liked to see a portrayal of the "particularly abhorrent and desperate though rather clumsy mode of fighting" employed by the cultists.

If you like the old silent horror movies, or the writings of Lovecraft, by all means check this gem of a film out. For those of you who haven't been acquainted with the daddy of all sanity-crushing horrors, the original tale can be found here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Phony Soprano

I make no secret of my contempt for New Jersey governor Chris Christie. I think he's a goddamn boor, a looter of public employee salaries and pensions, and a hypocrite.

Chris Christie made a big point about the T.V. show Jersey Shore portraying a poor image of New Jersey, saying, "I am duty-bound to ensure that taxpayers are not footing a $420,000 bill for a project which does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the State and its citizens."

Meanwhile, Chris Christie basks in similar stereotypical (albeit a stereotype promulgated by the entertainment industry) behavior when he mock-threatens Iowa voters if they don't vote for Mitt Romney, "But let me tell you, you people disappoint me on Tuesday, you don't do what you are supposed to do on Tuesday for Mitt Romney, I will be back, Jersey Style."

He thinks he sounds like Tony Soprano when he says this, but a "Jersey Style" Chris Christie reminds me of a New Jersey style hot dog- overly fatty and not good for you at all.

Another recent example of Chris Christie's faux tough-guy act is his misogynistic retort to a female audience member at a Romney rally, "You know, something may be going down tonight, but it ain’t going to be jobs, sweetheart." He sounds so catty, and he's so sure of himself, that I'm convinced that he's really talking about how Romney will be blowing him for his endorsement.

Chris Christie's faux tough guy act is really obnoxious. Chris Christie's great at haranguing retired teachers and young girls, but I don't think he'd be able to take his fair share of hits on a level playing field. Oh, and, if you haven't seen Tengrain's amazing, hilarious photoshop, you are deprived (if you've seen it, you're depraved- warning: you can't unsee the image!). Show Tengrain some L-U-V!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Laptop Situation, Continued

Okay, so the laptop I purchased (used, but "current"- if that term can ever be applied to computers) last year is still in the shop. The screen was extremely dark (oddly enough, I could "read" it if I shone a really bright light at the screen), and it's been in the shop for about two weeks. In the meantime, the power supply that I finally got around to ordering for my 2004-vintage Compaq Presario 2000 arrived in the mail. The old machine's held up pretty well, though the "finger pad" is partially worn through, the cover of one of the "mouse" buttons has fallen off, and there's a slight crack in the "case". Besides being slow due to a nearly full hard drive (damn, 60 Gigabytes sure seemed like a lot of memory), the machine runs pretty well. I am using an outdated browser, so the Y00t00b gives me some grief, and some websites inexplicably crash, but I can write, and I can read, and I can write on what I read... it feels great to be the bastard once more!

Post Scheduling and the Laptop Situation

The last couple of posts, and this one, were composed in the wee hours of Sunday morning so I could "work around" my laptop situation. Hopefully, my laptop should be back from the shop (and/or the power cord I ordered for my antiquated Compaq laptop will have arrived in the mail) by today, so I can put up some more substantial, more topical posts.

Although these posts have been spread out over the course of a few days, the fact that I wrote them in the course of a few hours reminds me of my 24 posts in 24 hours effort... though I seem to be less inspired then I was then.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Future Just Isn't What It Used to Be

Last week, Ned posted a 1900 conceptual sketch of New York in the year 1999... lotta dirigibles, lotta really, really tall skyscrapers. In the 1960's we had a view of a future characterized by flying cars and bubble cities.

No bubble cities... no moon colonies... no flying cars... at least we've got one thing those old-timey futurists never foresaw, we've got phones we can watch porn on.

Monday, January 9, 2012

"Blah" People

I don't know why there's such an uproar about Rick Santorum saying that he doesn't want to make "blah" people's lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. Why the hell would Rick "frothy mix" Santorum want to make "blah" people's lives better by giving them money? After all, he's running against some of the most "blah" people, one might even say blech people, on the planet.

Still using the work computer to post... firewall don't like the first "Santorum" result.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Largely Unsung and Way, Way Too Young.

I just found out recently that Jennifer Miro, the lead singer of San Fransisco "Art Punk" band The Nuns and fetish model died of cancer on December 16, 2011 at the age of 54. The Nuns were one of the opening acts at the Sex Pistols' infamous last concert.

Their early work was arty punk, sweetened by Ms Miro's vocal (she sounds like she's channeling Debbie Harry here):

Their later work could better be characterized as danceable pop music with some Goth-y and dreampop-y hints. While the male lead vocals could be somewhat cheesy, when Ms Miro sang, the music positively soared (I had a hell of a time tracking the video for It's a Dream, It's a Nightmare down, because it's not listed by the title):

When's the last time you've heard anything so unabashedly pretty? Well, since the last time you heard Ghosts of American Astronauts by The Mekons, that is... It's almost criminal that this dreamy music wasn't better known while Jennifer Miro was alive to enjoy the acclaim.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

GOP EPA Mendacity

Hey, presidential candidate and almost lifelike human simulacrum Mitt Romney has some lies to tell about the Environmental Protection Agency:

Of course, the reality of the job-killing EPA trope is bullshit. The critics of environmental regulation aren't interested in creating well-paying jobs, they're simply trying to squash any alternatives to the fossil fuel industry.

Tighter regulations would force innovations in the renewable fuel sector and in the efficiency of our appliances and conveyances. The fossil fuel extractors really aren't engaged in grand, sweeping innovations- they just refine techniques that date back to the 19th Century. In addition, environmental remediation would result in the creation of many jobs which can't be outsourced. Meanwhile, other nations will leave the U.S. in the dust in the alternative energy field. It's way past time that we do something to end our dependence on fossil fuels- it's been a problem for decades. Deregulation and a "more of the same" approach to our energy production will hasten the seemingly inevitable decline of 'Murka. As much as I am disappointed in President Obama's approach to governing, if a GOPer wins the 2012 election, things will be much worse.

VOTE GOP 2012: building a bridge to the 19th Century (uh, without the plentiful resources to exploit, that is).

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lost Opportunities

Foo, my laptop is still in the shop (I have just ordered a power cord for my seven-year-old laptop as well so I'll have a backup), so I have been away from the t00bz. Thanks, people, for thinking of me while I've been out of the loop (this is the first time I've been able to use a workplace computer since Sunday).

I missed some good opportunities for snark... I would have named my Tuesday post Idiots Out Wandering Around (that's some biting Wisconsin humor, there), with the follow-up yesterday "Trail of Santorum from Iowa to New Hampshire" or "Santorum Trailing Behind Mitt"... stupid firewall blocking offensive content! I didn't know this, but the Santorum was gritty (insert "sand in the Vaseline" joke).

I was kinda blindsided this week- New Year's Day was so quiet, with so little news coming in, that I didn't set up any posts for the week ahead, and I figured that I'd have had my laptop early in the week. I have been doing a lot of reading, though, reading books... you know, those slabs of paper, with the individual slices being marked up with ink. Of course, this means that I'll have some material for posts when I have a bleepin' laptop that works!

I'll have a couple of quiet days coming up, during which I hope to be able to compose some posts. Not being able to blog (having a blog clog) has been pretty annoying. I missed blogging, and I missed you.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

All is Quiet

I rang in the new year at work, and had to be back for an atypical 8-4 shift. I set the kidney clock when I got home from work, so I had no problemo waking up. Much like Christmas Day, today is very quiet and, as an added bonus, it's absolutely gorgeous outside... sunny and mid-40s. I spent a good deal of time playing with the beautiful Ginger. Life is pretty tough, innit?

Of course, the title of the post refers to a song by an obscure band led by some guy named Boner, or something... but you knew that, didn't you?