Monday, October 31, 2011

Nobody Dreams of a White Halloween!

To put it bluntly, Mother Nature pretty much stepped on my dick this weekend... while wearing cleats. One of the big news stories locally has been the monster snowstorm which hit much of the northeastern seaboard of the United States. Locally, we got about four inches of slushy stuff near my home and my workplace, but some areas of the New York Metro Area got slammed by a foot and a half of wet snow.

Of course, this snowstorm hit on the biggest fundraising weekend of the not-for-profit for which I work. We had three major events scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, all of which had to be cancelled. I started off Saturday as I typically do, taking the subway down to midtown Manhattan for my volunteer coaching gig. We had two classes, and then (instead of our noon to one P.M. Class) the kids had a Halloween party. It started snowing around eleven o'clock, and the snow had started accumulating on the sidewalks. Right outside Central Park, I made eye contact with a young woman, and we instantly started chatting about the snow. She was visiting from Australia, and was unused to seeing snow in such quantities. She said, “I've never seen snow like this.” I had to laugh, and said, “I haven't either- not in October!” Yeah, green leafy deciduous trees should not have snow on their boughs... it's just wrong, wronger than a soup sandwich (although pretty).

After an uneventful subway ride, I had a few hours to kill before I had to show up at work, so I decided to hit a really good Indian restaurant on the way to work and descend upon their buffet lunch like an avatara of gluttony. I hadn't had breakfast, and I didn't know when I'd be able to leave work, so I gorged myself, leaving the owner silently weeping, and cursing the cruel fate which allowed me to be able, uncharacteristically, to arrive at his place before 2:30 in the afternoon.

Not having anything else to do, and not wanting to drive on messy, messy roads, I decided to head to work early. I knew our fundraising events were cancelled, and I knew that the sheer foulness of the weather would work in my favor. I thought I'd be standing in the parking lot with my dick in my hands, telling people to go away, that they'd automatically get a refund. Needless to say, nobody even showed up looking to attend an event.

Shortly after I arrived, the power died. The heavy snow, combined with the weight of the leaves still on the trees, caused a lot of tree limbs to come down, many of them on the electric wires which our bass-ackwards municipalities have not buried in the ground. My dreams of being able to surf the web during lulls in the job, maybe put up a post, were dashed. I did, though, get a nice picture of a tree on the site which, because of its orange-and-white color scheme, reminded me of mah prehshuss kittehs:

For a few hours, things were a little scary- I could hear the crashing of falling branches, so many that I was reminded of boyhood days spent on Bronxtucket, listening to the fusillade of shots coming from the NYPD firing range on Rodman's (and not the one you're thinking of ) Neck. Yeah, it was pretty ugly, especially considering that I'd have to do a couple of walkabouts throughout the night to assess any potential damage on-site.

Things actually got better, weatherwise, as the night progressed- the snow was less heavy, the wind less fierce. Inside, though, it was a different story- I basically sat watching the emergency lights slowly dying as the backup battery power bled out, listening to the various quacks and beeps of different alarm systems (which eventually died out as the power completely went kaput). Thankfully, I knew where I could find some candle stubs (the grounds staff often puts out candles during nighttime events to lend a certain atmosphere to the sites), and was able to find a widemouthed jar in which to stick them (my relief took my cue, and now I have a fat, four-wicked votive candle sitting on my desk.

Not being able to surf the net, and not having much juice left in the laptop, I did something very appropriate to the season, I busted out a copy of Dracula and started reading it in the candlelight, in the rapidly cooling building (I'm on a bit of a Transylvania kick, having just read **FUTURE BLOG POST**). I got as far as the bit with the three **SPOILER** hot vampire chicks **END SPOILER** part before my relief came.

Thankfully, when I got home, the power was on. Yay, light and heat! Of course, I was so beat, I crawled into bed within twenty minutes of getting home.

I arrived at work not knowing what to expect. When I got here, the power was still off. The day was characterized by beautiful weather, though the roads were a mess due to the prevalence of downed limbs. Having no power on site, we had to cancel the fundraiser yet again, though this time, I had to stand in the parking lot giving the “No event, you'll get your refund. So sorry, go away” routine, along with the site director and an assistant manager. Everybody was pretty cool, even though some people were upset to be missing the event. Telling people there's no light or heat, and the road to the parking lot is closed due to a downed electrical wire tends to put things in perspective, though. Yeah, you don't even want to stop in and use the bathroom, people... you'd be more comfortable pissing on a shrub.

It's late enough now that people have stopped coming, and I am sitting in the candlelit office, typing this out (the light and scant amount of heat provided by the laptop help make the room more comfortable. I warned my relief that the power was still off, so he should bring batteries for the radio if he wanted to listen to anything other than the ticking of the battery powered wall clock (or, if he were to step outside, the sound of the generator that the good people of Consolidated Edison are using to run their worklights). I just received a call on the company cell phone from the site director, directing whoever is on-site to call him as soon as the power comes on (I am sure my relief will be thrilled at the prospect of calling the site director at home at four in the morning). It's been a bit of a downer, having the marquee weekend of our fall fundraising events stomped by snowstorms. As hectic as the events are, I actually enjoy working them- I see people I haven't seen in a while, co-workers, contractors, and repeat visitors who I have come to like. I even enjoy running around for the better part of a night, though the all-day Saturdays kick my not-as-young-as-it-used-to-be ass hard. I'd take the hustle-and-bustle over the silent dark anytime.

While a White Christmas is something that many people look forward to, a white Halloween just flat-out sucks worse than candy corn (I'm expecting some dissent from outraged candy corn lovers, but really, you candy-cornballs need to get your heads checked, and this is coming from a guy who eats spleen sandwiches). White Halloween has been on my mind so much this weekend that it manifested itself as a couplet:

Nobody Dreams, of a White Halloween
The Very Concept itself, is striking me as obscene

Of course, not being the sort of person to let a joke go to waste, even when up to his ass in suckitude, I have to say this about our snowy Halloween... this whole weekend kinda feels like The Nightmare Before Christmas 2: Santa's Revenge:


Saturday, October 29, 2011

H.P. LOLcraft

Alright, this being Halloween season (I think all holidays should be like Chanukkah- multi-day celebrations, rather than one day affairs), I think I'll do a little riff on riffs on "horror" literature. I make no bones about being a fan of H.P. Lovecraft, even though a lot of his work is problematic. HPL's kinda like America's lovable racist uncle (even though he's kinda horrible at times, you just can't throw him under the bus, even if he would have written a letter complaining about Rosa Parks riding in the front seat), unlike Pat Buchanan, who is America's contemptible racist uncle.

One thing about Lovecraft, though, is that, not sharing the man's considerable hangups, I don't really find his works scary. The best description of HPL I've ever read (can't remember the source) is "he doesn't write scary stories, he writes stories about people who are scared." That being said, I think the one story he wrote which I find genuinely unsettling is about the slow disintegration of an isolated New England family, a theme which is also that of the scariest book I have ever read.

Most of the time, though, I find HPL to be funny, and I'm not the only one. Some of the best HPL take-offs are "Muzski's" hilarious Tintin/Lovecraft mash-ups.

Another hilarious send-up is DrFaustusAU's wonderful Dr. Seuss/Lovecraft mash-up. Hilarious, though true to the source material.

Also very true to the source material (it's The Shadow Over Innsmouth condensed into a hilarious one-and-a-half minutes, so the whole video is one huge spoiler) is It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fishmen:

Another funny take on the Old Gent from Providence's work is The Casting Call of Cthulhu (the production team has done several funny Lovecraftian shorts):

Confession time, I think the actress who played "Stacy Gilman" in the video is dark, smallish, and very good-looking... girls who are gilly drive me silly.

Yeah, I love Lovecraft, but I find his writings more funny than horrifying. If I were to have an opportunity to do a Lovecraft adaptation, it would be a workplace comedy based on The Shadow Out of Time, in which (***MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW***) the day-to-day frustrations of the captive minds laboring in the Great Library are mined for LULZORZ:

Yeaahhhh, Wingate, if we could possess your body for another two, three years, that'd be great. Mmmm-kay?

Friday, October 28, 2011

An Ageless Beauty

Maybe it's the fact that she's French, but, at 125 years old, the Statue of Liberty looks as good as it ever did. Bearing the full name "Liberty Enlightening the World", the statue has stood as a symbol of the promise of new life in a country that embraces freedoms since being erected in New York Harbor. Like many other immigrants, the hearts of my ancestors (except my maternal grandfather's, because he was born on a boat steaming to New York City from Buenos Aires and was more preoccupied with the flesh-and-blood goddess who was cuddling him that the copper giantess in the harbor) must have beaten a little faster upon seeing the statue, with its promise of hope and opportunity. Of course, others have looked upon the statue, and their hearts have beaten faster for entirely different reasons:

While most people don't look on the Statue of Liberty with erotic longing, it's safe to say that most people don't see the statue as a demonic idol, foisted on an unsuspecting United States by French Freemasons. The crazy is so strong in this assertion, I think I have to embed the video:

It's funny how all those people who claim that the United States was founded as a Christian country ignore the goddesses who seem to pop up throughout our cultural history (many of whom are on my blogroll). Yeah, the country has always had a majority Christian population, but its culture is rooted in the values of The Enlightenment, and acknowledges an indebtedness to ancient Greek democratic principles and the ancient Roman (specifically, the Republic) ideal of the rule of law. Yeah, pagan goddesses are as American as apple pie and anti-intellectualism, and they are gorgeous.

I think I'll have to do an All Saints' Day piece on the pagan divinities who have snuck into the Communion of Saints (some of whom still make the grade, and some of whom have been dropped from the liturgical calendar.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Proud Descendent of Headhunters

This being Halloween season, I decided that I'd emulate the cool kids and do a little skull blogging.

I make no bones about describing myself as a descendent of headhunters. Yes, the forebears of my mirthful, moon-faced saint of a paternal grandmother used to chop off the heads of their enemies, and display them:

A magnificent, brown-purple buckler he bore, with five wheels of gold on it, with a rim of pure white silver around it. A gold-hilted hammered sword at his left side. A long grey-edged spear together with a trenchant bye-spear for defence, with thongs for throwing and with rivets of whitened bronze, alongside him in the chariot. Nine heads he bore in one of his hands and ten in the other, and these he brandished before the hosts in token of his prowess and cunning. Medb hid her face beneath a shelter of shields lest Cuchulain should cast at her that day.

Yeah, the prevailing attitude in those days could be summed up as "two heads are better than none, a hundred heads are so much better than one" (I love that video- it seems like it could be the inspiration for Stonehenge).

Being the descendent of headhunters, the best way to honor this proud tradition is to engage in it. Simply put, I've collected skulls since I was a child. Most of my collection is now in the family camp in Maine in the cabinet of curiosities (my apartment is too small for a large collection of crania). I could not bear to part with one particular skull, though, a gorgeous raccoon skull I found while hiking with my maternal grandmother in a park near my house:

I leave it on the bookshelf, next to Kinsella's retelling of The Táin. Unfortunately, I never saved the brain of the raccoon, in order to fashion it into a weapon for home defense.

If you have some free time, and want to read one of my all-time favorite pieces of literature, The Táin is available online, in all its ultra-violent, scatalogical glory.

POSTSCRIPT: It's a shame that people of Irish descent have given up headhunting- what ancient Celt wouldn't have given his eye teeth to be able to display this giant-sized baby-head as a trophy?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

M. Night Shabba Doo

If you are a fan of movies that feature a twist ending, you will love the films of M. Night Shabba Doo. One of his most famous films is the medical thriller Dr. Boogie:

Twist ending: He's not really a doctor!

Here's another M. Night Shabba Doo film with a shocking twist ending:

Who the hell could have seen that coming? Even the cast was surprised!

As an aside, I've never seen The Sixth Sense. I'd read a review of it in the local paper, and shortly afterwards a co-worker had mentioned that she'd seen it, and that it had an incredible twist ending. I was familiar with the premise of the film, so I said, "Incredible twist ending? Let me guess- **REDACTED: SPOILER**." She scratched her head and asked, "You're right, how did you figure that out?"

Sheesh, doesn't everybody have to read Ambrose Bierce in middle school?

As another aside, one of the best movie reviews I ever read was a review of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo which proclaimed that the movie was "primarily of interest to Shabba Doo completists." I wish I remembered who wrote that brilliant line.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nein! Nein! Nein!

I can't let Gocart Mozart have all the fun ripping on Herman Cain's horrible 9-9-9 tax plan. Here's my little effort in the "making fun of Herman Cain" song parody sub-genre:

Nine nine nine is the plan
Put out by that pizza man.
It's regressive, dumb as hell.
That is why it polls so well.
The voters in the GOP
Love this kind of fuckery.
Crushing on the pizza man,
With the dumb nine nine nine tax plan.

Nine nine nine is the plan
Put out by that pizza man.
Cut tax on capital gains,
Tax the milk and tax the grains.
Spare the rich and soak the poor,
That's what nine-nine-nine plan's for.
Why should rich folks share the pain?
Cast your vote now for Herman Cain.

Nine nine nine is the plan
Put out by the pizza man.
Working stiffs, hey, life's a bitch.
It's your fault you aren't rich.
"Lazy bums" old Herman mused,
"Just buy clothes and food that's used."
The next election's on the line,
With old Herman's stupid nine nine nine.

Of course, this is a takeoff on the biggest hit by my liebchen Nena Kerner and her eponymous band. For those of you who have lived much of the last three decades under a rock, the video is available, though cannot be embedded. Huh, there's a recently recorded remake of the song, which isn't as good as the original, but Nena still looks fantastic, and there's a moment in which a certain political figure is mocked...

I'm going to reiterate that any disparaging comments about Nena and her eponymous band could very well result in a lifetime ban. I think that, if I were to hear any disparaging comments about Nena made in my presence, I'd give a beating to the mocker. Hell, I'm even kinda pissed at myself for writing this parody... I think that I... uh... just might have to beat myself... just as soon as the video is over.

What the hell are you snickering about?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Good, But a Little Stringy...

October is a month of long workdays and poor sleep habits for myself, so I figure I'll put up a short post now and work on something more substantial when I work the upcoming midnight shift.

In the recent past, when I met up with Substance McGravitas and Ned, I ran across an interesting restaurant in the shadow of Ned's peen-like abode:

The fried guitars were good, but a little stringy- perhaps a long braise would have been a better way to prepare them.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Overzealous Valet and the Competent Troubleshooter

I've been posting a weekly narrative about work throughout October- I covered the persistent visitor and the hapless temp, now it's time to write about the overzealous valet who threw a monkey wrench into my workday last Friday and the competent troubleshooter who unfucked the fuckup.

Because we have an influx of visitors for our fall fundraisers, the organization for which I work rents out additional parking at a site adjacent to our "campus". The huge lot is not properly lighted, so we rent a couple of light towers, similar to those you would see at the side of the highway when nighttime construction is underway. The units incorporate a diesel generator, and a "tree" with four powerful lamps sitting in for the fruit. Right before sundown, I hightail it to the "satellite" lot and fire up the units. Turning on the units is simpler than brewing coffee in a typical drip coffee maker, but one must activate the units in a particular order- first one has to turn on the diesel generator (which has an ignition key similar to that in an automobile), then one turns on the 240 volt circuit breaker, then the circuit breakers for the individual lamps can be turned on. Easy, but one needs to follow the procedure. When one turns off the units, one reverses the steps- first you cut the lamps, then you turn off the main 240 volt breaker, then you simply turn the generator's key to the "off" position. I'm the guy who's supposed to kill the lights at the end of the night.

The previous weekend, I found that someone had taken the liberty of turning off the lights, but they didn't follow the procedure- whoever turned off the lights simply cut the ignition switch. I was a little miffed, but didn't think that this would be that big of a deal. Come Friday, I turned on one of the units, and trudged over to the other one. The generator started up with no problem, I tripped the main, breaker, then I flip the light switches and... it is pitch dark (as you can surmise, I was not eaten by a grue). Facchinello! I had to call the head of the maintenance department and explain the situation to him. He had to call the rental company, and request that they send a technician over to check out the unit. Now, I have to tell the team leader of the parking contractor to tell her crew not to touch the light trees (I learned that one of the valets took it upon himself to cut the lights at the end of his shift), and find the site director to explain the situation to him.

The site director's first reaction was to ask, "Who told the valets to turn off the lights?" I told him that they valet who killed (in one case literally) the lights had taken it on himself to turn off the lights, thinking that he was doing us a favor. The site director had this notion that someone had told the valets to do this, and asked me, "Do you think that (**REDACTED**) told the valets to turn off the lights?" I answered that he wouldn't have gone out of his way to tell the valet to do his job- he's not the kind of guy who likes to kibbitz unnecessarily. I don't know why the site director has it in his head to look for a more complicated explanation than the one I got from the valets themselves- the guy who killed the lights, and killed the unit thought he was doing us a favor, and he took the task upon himself.

I spent a good deal of the night out in the parking lot, waiting for the technician to come to repair the unit. It took him a while to get to our site, because the weekend traffic is so horrible. When he finally came, it was an absolute delight to deal with him... ever watch somebody who really knew his or her job at work? This guy was very young, in our conversation, I found out that he was twenty-two. He went about troubleshooting the problem in a very thorough, methodical fashion. He'd been on the job for two years- starting when he was just twenty. He made it a point to keep all sorts of spare parts in his truck, joking, "The older guys always ask me why I keep so many parts in my truck, telling me 'You'll never need that', but I figure I'd cover all my bases." I had to tell him, "Maturity isn't a function of age, some people never get it, no matter how many years they put in." The kid was level-headed, competent, and thorough. He determined that the problem was a blown capacitor. Because he was a stickler for preparedness, he had a spare in the truck, so he was able to fix the problem lickety-split. I don't hand out the accolades lightly, but Alex from United Rentals is the kind of person you want in your corner, whether you are a co-worker or a client.

After he got the light on, I sent a text message to the head of the maintenance department, who (like myself) has a bit of a smartass streak: "Problem is fixed." His reply was: "I'll alert the media!" Yeah, a real smartass- we get along very well.

I'm hoping the site director doesn't try to make a big deal about this ultimately trivial issue, based on his unfounded suspicion that my co-worker **REDACTED** delegated his responsibility to the parking contractors. The simple problem is that one of the guys working in the lot thought he was doing us a favor, and forgot the rule, "Don't play with the other kid's toys."

I also want to take a moment to say that I absolutely hate it when I am asked to speculate about things on the job- I like to keep to the facts as I observe them. I also refuse to voice speculations about the motivations of others- "Why did so-and-so do that?" I dunno, ask so-and-so. I come to work to work, and avoid the merest hint of interpersonal drama like the plague.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Objectivist Morrissey Didn't Go Galt

Back when I did my bizarre 24 posts in 24 hours postapalooza, I debuted the "character" of Objectivist Morrissey, a Bizarro World Morrissey who was a huge fan of Ayn Rand. Objectivist Morrissey appealed to me so much that I thought he merited his own blog. It's been a while since I've revisited the guy, mainly because real-world Morrissey can be just as horrible as his parallel universe doppelgänger. I can't stay mad forever, especially if it gets in the way of a good joke, so here's Dagny, Take a Hike, the latest from Objectivist Morrissey:

Is it wrong to want to keep what you've got?
Ayn Rand would tell you, “Surely not!”
How can this world be just
When lice aren't shot?

Dagny, take a- Dagny, take a hike.
Stop the wheels of the world in their tracks, dear.
And don't produce tonight,
Go Galt and find the one that you love and who loves you.
The one that you love and who loves you

Is it wrong to hate your lessers, my dear?
No it's not wrong, so have no fear.
Leave them all in your dust,
Your way is clear!

Dagny, take a- Dagny, take a hike.
Stop the wheels of the world in their tracks, dear.
And don't produce tonight,
Go Galt and find the one that you love and who loves you.
The one that you love and who loves you.

Find my gulch and disappear.
La la la la la la la la.
Throw your blueprints onto the fire.
Come out and find the one that you love!

I have an an additional verse, but it would throw off the flow of the song:

Is it wrong to scorn the weak and the poor?
Ayn Rand would tell you "No!", I'm sure.
How could you be so rich, if you aren't pure?

For those of you unfamiliar with The Smiths, this song is a spoof of Sheila, Take a Bow:

I divided this post into two smaller posts, cross posted (where else?) at Objectivist Morrissey.

Friday, October 21, 2011

We Almost There!

So, the Rapture didn't occur in May... there must have been an error in the math or something. Well, undaunted by his total FAIL!!!, addlepated lunatic Harold Camping has decided that the world will probably end today. Protip- don't make grandiose end-of-the-world predictions when the stink of failure still clings to you so strongly. I took this photo a few months ago, when I didn't know what the hell the sign on the minivan referred to:

My favorite feature of the sign is the admonition not to buy cars from a particular dealer, right under the "rapture" sign. First of all, if you really think you're going to be taken bodily from this earth in a few weeks, why even bother with such worldly concerns? Even better, though, is the person's ability to smell out a small lie while living a huge, huge lie. Yeah, you realize that the car dealer lied to you when he told you the transmission would be sound for another 15,000 miles, but you believe that the fundamentalist kook who asked you to squander your life savings is on the level.

You just can't make this shit up.

UPDATE: Shoulda thought of this before... I guess the term for a failed Rapture is "apocaletdown"... "apocalapse" would also be suitable.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gaddafi Dead

The big news story of the day is the death of Qaddafi. I've hated Gaddafi ever since the death of a high school friend in the Lockerbie bombing. I can't be elated at his death, though- the whole "dancing in the streets to celebrate death" is repulsive to me. That being said, I think the world at large, and the Libyans in particular, are better off with the colonel dead. I just hope that our foreign policy fosters real democracy and a just society in Libya. We don't have a good track record when it comes to that, though. The third-world strongmen are toppling, let's not replace them with more of the same.

UPDATE: Fuck, the looters are already making their plans to plunder Libya. What the hell is wrong with these monsters?

I Can Haz Dikpiks?

Blogroll member and Chicago gal-about town Von wrote a post about one of the problems that women almost invariably encounter on the t00bz- receiving emails containing pictures of stranger men's penises. Yeah, the unsolicited peen lurks all over the web, because a lot of d00ds are just plain foul.

In the comments to Von's post, Lauren writes:

I am also considering an I Can Haz Cheezburger-type spinoff site, in which readers can add captions to the unsolicited penises that make their way into my email inbox. Your dick might someday be internet famous!

Of course, there can be only one description of such pics- LOLcocks.

On a side note, my name for the Anthony Weiner "sexting" scandal was "Snapadickpic".

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Beaver Post

In my last Secret Science Club lecture recap, I mentioned that I showed some beaver pics to lecturer Dr Sanderson. Well, they weren't pictures of beavers per se, but they were pictures of evidence of beavers. Of course, as well all know, the beaver is a large, semi-aquatic rodent that subsists on wood and often builds extensive dams to produce ponds in which to build dwellings. Insert your own "beaver consuming wood" joke, my dirty dears. Contrary to the Medieval authorities' writings (linked site is a personal favorite), the beaver does not bite off its testicles to elude its pursuers. Oddly enough, for purposes of Lenten abstinence from meat, the beaver was declared a fish by French bishops.

Trade in beaver pelts was important enough to warrant a depiction of beaver on the seal of the City of New York. Greed for beaver pelts insured the eradication of the beaver from the city, but in 2007, a beaver established an abode in the Bronx River in the extensive Bronx Park. I work a few miles north of the city, but around this time, we had a beaver population on the grounds.

I don't have any pictures of the beavers that inhabited our site- they were shy and tended to be nocturnal (I was pretty freaked out when I heard this at two in the morning for the first time). The beavers were taking down trees at an alarming rate, so the head of grounds hired a trapper to remove the beavers- ten were caught on site (I'm told that they were humanely relocated, but I've been told a lot of things). Here is the "beaver series" of photos taken on the job:

Every once in a while, I'll spot a sizable rodent in the water on site, and I try to observe closely whether it's a beaver or a muskrat- so far, it's been nothing but muskrats for a couple of years.

That's the beaver post, folks, let the hits begin! Sorry, horndogs!

Prelude to the Beaver Post

A couple of posts ago, Aunt Snow, the blogger formerly known as "g", wrote a post on ways to beckon traffic to your blog. In the comments, I wrote that a full five percent of my traffic comes from my tongue-in-cheek yet affectionate memorial for Frank Frazzetta. The common search term that leads hapless horndogs to my letdown of a site is "voluptuous women"... poor guys. That being said, I imagine I'll get a lot of hits from hapless horndogs who will type the search term "beaver pics"... poor guys.

Oh, if you're not reading Aunt Snow's blog, you're missing out on something special. Aunt Snow is waging a one-woman campaign against beauty deficit disorder, so check out her gorgeous blog. To give you a hint about how awesome Aunt Snow is, she can even handle stories about gastrointestinal distress in a creative, classy way.

I'm composing the beaver post, and will set it up to take to the t00bz this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tic Tac Totalitarianism

Some right-wing lunatics are convinced that the "Occupy Wall Street" hashtag is a stylized swastika (I'll be damned if I'm going to link to Pajamas Media). Yeah, bet you never knew that the "#" sign was all Hitlery and shit. In fact, children are being indoctrinated into liberal fascism every time they play a common children's game. Yes, dear readers, now the truth can be told about tic tac totalitarianism!

On a serious note, the whackaloons who are accusing the "Occupy Wall Street" movement of antisemitism conveniently omit the fact that a Yom Kippur observation at the protest drew hundreds of participants- once again, the facts don't back up the allegations.

Imagine Science Film Festival 2011

Somewhat against my better judgment (I am currently working a graveyard shift), I headed down to the beautiful Bell House to attend the Secret Science Club sponsored night of the Imagine Science Film Festival- yeah, I'm going to pay for it later, but I had to show solidarity with the S.S.C. and the I.S.F.F. staff. I limited my imbibing to two beers, and am currently drinking enough yerba mate to keep the entire staff of the Biblioteca Nacional de Argentina buzzing for days.

Imagine Science Film Festival impresario and all-around good-guy Dr. Alexis Gambis was the M.C. for the event, which was a night of shorts. The shorts are available on Vimeo, so I'll embed my favorites:

Fossil Carrion Feeders from The Field Museum of Natural History on Vimeo was particularly enjoyable. The fossil carrion beetles are extraordinarily well-preserved in exquisite detail. To think that these eaters of dead dinos were fossilized so beautifully is mind-boggling. The fact that certain structures found in modern beetles are present in these Jurassic coleopterans is even more of a mind-blower.

E. chromi from Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg on Vimeo was another lovely film, with a sometimes hilarious extrapolation of the uses to which genetically engineered pigment-secreting bacteria could be put.

Breast Stem Cells (sorry, Vimeo doesn't seem to have the video), was an interesting computer animation of the changes which occur in the creameries during pregnancy, resulting in the production of milk.

Blank was a starkly beautiful short about genetically engineered mice with Alzheimer's navigating a water maze. The dark eyes of the swimming mouse were set off rather dramatically against the stark background of white fur and white maze. I had a brief conversation with director Boris Hars-Tschachotin before the program- he's one of the good guys. We spoke primarily about therapeutic approaches to delay the onset of Alzheimer's and he indicated that social interaction was a key component in staving off the affliction. In Germany, multigenerational multi-unit dwellings are being built so the elderly can have social interaction with a wide range of neighbors.

CreatureCast - Footage From The Deep
from Casey Dunn on Vimeo was a gorgeous film of live siphonophores, diaphanous relatives of jellyfish.

The Chosen from Catherine Chalmers on Vimeo was my favorite short of the night. First of all, I have been a sucker for leaf-cutting ants since writing a term paper on Acromyrmex and Atta for my college "Bugs for Thugs" (just kidding, it wasn't a gut course) class. Secondarily, the film had a great vibe- a "what if Clark Ashton Smith wrote comedies instead of weird horror tales?" vibe. When the "reveal" in the film took place, I couldn't contain my laughter- I'm sure glad I wasn't drinking anything at the time.

All told, it was a fun night, and I'm glad that I trekked down to Brooklyn (as if I'd blow off the Imagine Science Film Festival). I'll be dragging my ass after this graveyard shift, to be sure, but ya gotta pay for your entertainment, even when it's free.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Hapless Temp

Last weekend, I related the story of the persistent visitor- this weekend, I have the tale of the hapless temp. This is the busy season at work, so the organization hires a small army of temporary workers to augment the in-house staff.

Last Friday, I had to deal with a young man who had been hired to restock the shelves of the gift shop as they steadily became defeated. This guy is a nice guy, and has a good work ethic, but, putting it kindly, he's in orbit. At one point in the night, he realized that he had parked his car in front of somebody's driveway. I want to point out that we have a parking lot, and we actually contracted with the municipality to have an additional parking allocated for our needs. There was no need for this guy to park on the street, much less park in front of somebody's bleeping driveway. Poor guy thought he lucked out, he told me, “There were a lot of cars on the street, I was surprised I found a space.”

When he realized that he had blocked somebody's driveway, it was too late to unfuck his fuckup... his car had been towed. Poor guy had no clue what to do, so I told him that he had to go to the town hall to find out the location of the impound lot to which his car was towed, and to find out how much it would cost to get his car out of impound. Since it was past the hour when the local bus stops running, I told him to walk to the town hall and find out what he had to do, then come back, so I could give him a ride home (I had about an hour and a half to go before I could leave).

He didn't have to go to town hall because he found a police officer in a cruiser, and was able to get the lowdown from the P.O. He came back early, and I had some running around to do- he was very apologetic, and asked if he could stay in the gift shop. I told him that I trusted him, he wasn't the type to risk his job by doing anything unethical, and, at any rate, was there anything in the gift shop that he'd be tempted to steal? Yeah, this guy's the sort of guy I'd trust with my wallet, even if I wouldn't trust him with a book of matches. I left him to his own devices, and the poor guy promptly fell asleep.

After running around dotting i's and crossing t's, I returned to the gift shop, and he was still napping. A few of the event crew members were still in the building, and they promptly dubbed him my “boyfriend”. Thanks, guys, even if I were gay, I think I'd be attracted to someone who wasn't such a n00b.

At the end of the worknight, I told the guy to saddle up for the ride home. I asked him if he knew where the impound lot was, and he told me he didn't know the street (it's a good-sized side street of a major county road). When we traveled past the side street, I pointed out the landmarks, so he could find it later. I then asked him where he lived (he's in a town that's between my workplace and my beloved City of Y______, and I'm familiar with the major roads), and he told me that he lived near the place “where the town trucks are” (that would be a good title for a children's book). I asked him if he lived north or south of the major east-west county road that bisects his town, and he drew a blank, “I don't know.” Uh, d00d doesn't know whether he lives north or south of the major road through his own town? Ruh-roh! I ask him if he lives near a well-known restaurant, and he draws another blank. He tells me, “I know it by sight, I'll tell you when I see something familiar.”

Somewhat stymied by his almost complete geographical cluelessness, I say, “You seem to be visually oriented, I imagine you're a gifted artist.” It turns out he went to art school, and studied traditional hand-drawn and stop-motion animation. He's involved in puppetry. I was somewhat relieved- at least the guy has some skills, I just don't know if he knows how to market them (I know people, I'll drop a word, see if he can get an audition).

All told, it took an extra twenty minutes to help the guy get home- no real effort on my part. I was home at a reasonable hour, and got an acceptable night's sleep before a long, hectic day of volunteer coaching and work.

While I was driving to work on the major county road, I passed my “boyfriend” at a bus stop, perusing the schedule. I thought about pulling over and asking him if he needed a ride, but I decided that he really needed to learn how to navigate his own hometown, and to shake off his perman00b status. Additionally, I had to get to work an hour and a half before he started. More importantly, I had to grab something to eat after spending the whole morning teaching and fighting (for the record, after the formal classes, I fought two tough guys, one of whom makes me come across like Rainbow Brite, and a determined six-year-old warrior- I'm not supposed to play favorites, but Kevin's got to be one of my favorite kids, he's a tremendously cute little guy, and he's hilariously fierce when he gets on the mat). Yeah, I passed him by, for the good of his self-reliance and my stomach.

When he got to work, I asked him how he made out. He found the impound lot, and was able to get his car after forking over two-hundred and fifty bucks. When he got his car, he found a parking ticket on the windshield. Needless to say, he parked in the lot as I suggested. He thanked me profusely, and wanted to give me a couple of bucks for gas, but I told him, “You're already in a hole, I really can't take your money. I've been in situations like yours, when I had to rely on friends for help- just help the next person who comes along, and we'll call it even.”

Poor guy, his entire week's pay just evaporated. How the hell could I take his money?

POSTSCRIPT: Until today, I never knew there was any "Sexy Rainbow Brite" fan art out there (at least there doesn't seem to be any "Rainbow Brite" porn... yet.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The New England Horror Tradition

Here's a little horror story set in the Miskatonic River Valley- a family became lost in a maize maze and turned out to be a mere 25 feet from an exit. The funny thing about this incident is that it takes place in Lovecraft Country, and it echoes the plot of a Lovecraft collaboration, but the Lovecraft story it is reminiscent of is not set in Lovecraft Country.

Somehow, though, I think the Old Gent would be pleased...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Post Lecture Recap

Last night's Secret Science Club lecture was yet another tour-de-force- Wildlife Conservation Society landscape ecologist Dr. Eric Sanderson, author of Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City, compiled extensive information about the landscape and ecology of the New York metropolitan area before Henry Hudson sailed the Half Moon up the river which now bears his name. While Mannahatta was concerned with the island of Manhattan, his new project is a reconstruction of the ecosystems of the all five boroughs of New York City. Taking it's name from a Lenape word meaning "my good home", the Welikia project is a ground-up approach to determine what the landscape of the city would have looked like had the European colonization and subsequent development (the Lenape did modify the landscape through their agricultural activities, but they tended to move around seasonally to exploit different food sources) not occurred.

The lecture centered on Manhattan, and began with a discussion of what has come to be known as the British Headquarters Map of 1782 (video is of a presentation by Dr. Sanderson), which depicted the topography of Manhattan in excruciating detail. Much of the topographic data in the Mannahatta Project came from this map. Data about the bedrock and soil types were used to extrapolate what sort of ecosystems would have been present in a particular region- for example, East Harlem was a grassland, and Foley Square was once a body of fresh water which came to be known as the Collect Pond. The Lenape had a settlement on the shore of the Collect Pond. The pond was eventually filled in, though the aroma of rotting vegetation ensured the the resultant neighborhood Five Points was a wretched hive of scum and villainy until it was razed, and the government center was built, making it a well-appointed hive of scum and villainy.

Most of the lecture dealt with the various features of the Welikia Project- the methodology used to compile the information, and the Muir Web (an exploration of the interconnectedness of all things, the name of which is inspired by John Muir's quote: "When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.") which, in many ways, forms the heart of the project. By figuring out the requirements for any particular species, one can extrapolate what other species would be present in a particular ecological community (Manhattan once had 55 separate ecological communities).

I'm a little pressed for time because I have to get my ass to work soon, but you should check out the Welikia Project website- I'm afraid to click on the interactive map, because it is bound to be a glorious time eater. The various layers of maps are gorgeous, and allow one to see what Times Square (for instance) would look like if it weren't the "crossroads of the world". I'm sure I'll be playing with the various map features as soon as I have time.

Just for the record, during the Q&A, some bastard asked about the prevalence of invasive species in the New York metro area, and about the return of the beaver to New York City. After the lecture, said bastard showed Dr. Sanderson some beaver pics he'd taken on the job, but that's the topic of a future post.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Just Another Wimpy Synth Band?

It's 5:30 in the morning, and I am working a graveyard shift- I need an excuse to blast some music. In high school, a good friend of mine who was raised on his older brothers' Stones and Zappa records once excoriated me for being a big fan of Liverpool's Echo and the Bunnymen. Hearing the name of the band, he razzed me, "Echo and the Bunnymen, sounds like just another wimpy synth band." A few days later, a bunch of us were hanging out at a friend's house, watching this newfangled music-video channel, when this video came on:

"Wimpy synth band my ass!" was my rejoinder, as I smacked my friend upside the head.

The best thing about the video is that the audience looks a lot like lead singer Ian McCulloch, who looks a lot like Rick Hunter.

Hell, I think I need another blast of live Bunnymen, here's one of my all-time favorites, an epic seven-minute version of Do It Clean:

Yeah, that's pretty far from wimpiness, or synthetude, for that matter. Suffice it to say, the Bunnymen were badass!

NOTE: Please note that, in no way am I disparaging the Stones or Zappa.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Persistent Visitor

I promised to write of a nice, though somewhat creepy loonie I had to deal with on the job on Saturday night. October is our major fundraising month, when visitors descend on us- we rely on the revenues from admission fees, the merchandise sales, and the effect that increased "door" has when it's time to apply for grant money. Suffice it to say, I have to deal with the public quite a lot throughout the month.

On Saturday night, we had a visitor who was a nondescript woman- she was of indeterminate age, small... the sort of individual you'd never notice in a crowd. She was very pleasant, and she turned out to be a barking loon. After a couple of hours of running around setting up for the influx of visitors, I ended up in the visitors' center/gift shop to help visitors (this usually involves telling them where they need to go) and to dissuade potential mischiefmakers through force of presence.

While holding court, the shop manager approached me and told me that one of the visitors had purchased $1300 worth of merchandise (yikes!) and needed help loading her purchases into her car. Unusual, but not an unreasonable request. I toted a half-dozen bags full of tchochkes (she'd also bought a couple of paintings which we had on consignment) to her SUV, which was full of all sorts of stuff. As I pondered where the hell to put the bags, she told me, "Don't worry, everything's clean." I made a joke about being the sort of person who regularly trudges through mud, so my definition of "clean" was pretty elastic. After we loaded her car, she told me that the shop manager had mentioned, in offhand fashion, that the artist who had painted the paintings she'd bought was at another event about ten miles from our present location. She asked me if I thought she'd be able to make it there before the event closed down, and I told her that the prognosis wasn't too good. We parted ways, for the time being (add ominous ellipses).

After the woman left, the shop manager told me that she'd left her bag in our gift shop. When she realized that she'd forgotten her bag, she called to say that she'd swing by in order to pick up the bag. Being the person who dots the i's and crosses the t's after an event, I had the dubious honor of waiting for her to return. All of the regular staff had left, and I was in the building with a half-dozen contract employees. One thought kept running through my head- "Hand off the bag in the parking lot, and whatever you do, don't let her into the building." After fifteen or twenty minutes of milling around, I got sick of wasting time, and started on the tasks that I needed to complete so as not to dick over my relief. I had to grab a sign from the road adjacent to our property, about six-hundred meters from the door to the building. Big mistake... as soon as I grabbed the sign, I spied her driving down the road, and realized that she would get to the door of the building before I did. I must have looked hilarious scuttling down the sidewalk carrying a "sandwich board".

When I got to the building, she was waiting outside. Damn, damn, damn, I had to open the door to get her bag. I get the door open, and hear the dreaded words, "Can I use the bathroom? I have to pee." Oh, double bing-bang hell, I really can't say without feeling like a heel.

She entered the bathroom, and I figure she'd be out in five minutes tops. Tick... tick... tick... what the fuck? Where the hell did she go? Did she fall in? Not being the sort to barge into the women's bathroom, I asked one of the contract employees if she would check the restroom. The visitor was in there shooting the breeze with one of the other contract employees... for what seemed like twenty minutes.

After she left the bathroom, a kitschy, overpriced ornament caught the woman's eye. One hundred bucks for a goofy, whimsical curio. She instantly fell in love with the damn thing.

"Can I buy it?"
"The sales staff has left for the night, and I can't do any sales."
"Can I give you the money?"
"I'm not authorized to handle sales, even if I were, the registers are closed." Are you nuts? The salespeople will see this thing missing, and a loose hundred dollar bill stuck under the till- I'd fire me for pulling a stunt like that!
"Can you leave a note on it telling the sales staff not to sell it?"
"I don't know who will be here, I don't know if our staff can reserve items." Lady, nobody is going to buy this piece of crap out from under you.
"Can I come tomorrow?"
"Sure, we open at 9:30 in the morning."
"Will I have time to go to church before coming in?" What the fuck? I don't know where you live, I don't know where your church is. I don't know if you go to one of those three-hour ecclesiastic extravaganzas every Sunday. Why would you even ask such a question?
"I'll be back tomorrow." Great, just fucking great, now please get out of here.

By this time, the lady had eaten up almost an hour of my time, and I still had shit to do so I didn't dump it in the lap of my relief. While she was unfailingly polite, I felt my soul being sucked out of my body slowly- my will to live was being sapped by the persistent inane inquiries. When she finally exited the building, I literally ran off into the night to get away from her. I had to go to an auxiliary parking lot to kill the lights, and I figured she wouldn't follow me down the darkened pedestrian walkway. Usually, the only thing I run is a tab, but this was one of those instances in which the "flight" response was appropriate.

As I write this, I have to note that the kitschy crap she was so concerned about buying still sits on the shelf.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Canadian Thanksgiving and Columbus Day

Today marks the celebration of Thanksgiving in Canada, the mysterious land to the north of the United States. Canadians are interesting- they are a lot like the citizens of the United States, but there are subtle, sometimes eerie, differences. One difference between Canadians and U.S.ers is the choice of bird eaten on Thanksgiving... in the U.S., the traditional centerpiece of the Thanksgiving is a turkey, while Canadians typically roast a loon for their Thanksgiving meal.

Uh, just kidding folks- I have a lot of Canadians on the blogroll, ranging from Ontario to British Columbia (C'mon Maritimers and Newfoundlanders, come out of hiding so I can get coast-to-coast coverage of your nation!). Happy Thanksgiving, jim, MenD, Laura, D-KW, SMcG, interrobang, and all other Canadians. This Canadian Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for Canadians- you folks are great!

Today is also Columbus Day, the day in which Italian-Americans celebrate their heritage. This pains me to say, because my paternal grandfather's parents emigrated from the Greater Genoa Metropolitan Area, but Columbus, the most famous child of Genoa, was pretty much a horrible person. Yeah, his accomplishments were many, but he was, in many ways, responsible for a legacy of appropriation of land, extirpation of cultures, and genocide. I think that Garibaldi might be a better exemplar of Italian achievements in the Americas- he even lived on Staten Island for a period of time. Whether or not you disagree with me about commemorating Columbus, you pretty much have to agree with me about cannoli. Cannoli are awesome- whenever it is an option, take the cannoli. I'll be celebrating my heritage with pride, but I'll be showing my allegiances by wearing a red shirt.

CONFESSION TIME: The red shirt also hides the tomato sauce stains...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fell in a Dungheap...

Came out smelling like a rose beer.

After my volunteer gig/work extravaganza, I have to confess I slept until noon today. When it's a dreary, cold day, sleeping until noon is one of the great luxuries in which one can indulge. Today, however, it was a sunny, summery day (mid-80's Fahrenheit), so I felt a minor pang of guilt in sleeping in on such a glorious day.

When I finally got my ass in gear, I decided to take a long walk on the path by the Bronx River Parkway. After getting the blood moving, I stopped by to patronize the local ice cream vendor, who I have known for years. While buying my "toasted almond" popsicle, I ran into an old friend and former housemate, my great and good friend **REDACTED**, a guy who I have known since high school, who was one of my housemates in the infamous "beach house without an ocean". Hail and well met, old chum! He was meeting another old friend and former housemate at a bar which had recently opened- Growlers Beer Bistro in Tuckahoe, NY.

Upon arriving at the bar, we discovered that the owners were throwing a fundraiser for a friend who'd come on hard times. Twenty bucks for unlimited pints of Brooklyn Brown Ale and Lagunitas IPA, along with a couple of absurdly large sandwiches (chicken cutlets, FTW!). To put it succinctly, Christmas came early! The unexpected Big Beer Nights are the best Big Beer Nights, especially when they start in the afternoon, and are well-nigh ridiculously inexpensive.

I'm a little beery even now, after having downed a couple of cups of coffee, but I promise to write of the extremely nice, but sorta creepy lunatic I had to deal with last night. I think the story is worth it, but I need some time to write the post.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Ghost Who Haunts the Downstairs Apartment

This time of year, I tend to be scarce- on a typical Saturday, I leave the house by 8AM and don't get home until 1AM Sunday (potential burglars, I don't have anything in the apartment worth stealing- the only thing I have worth stealing is on my person, being typed on). I am pretty much the ghost who haunts the first floor.

Today, I left the house around eight and drove down to the vicinity of Gaelic Park, where I usually park to catch the 1 train to midtown Manhattan for my volunteer gig. There was construction on the elevated tracks, so I had to take a shuttle bus to 207th St in Manhattan to catch the A Train. It took me an hour to get to midtown, and I arrived just in time for the first class.

Once I got to my destination, all inconvenience disappeared- I was among close friends, doing productive work. Since the kids were kinda rusty (and not Rusty in a groundbreaking way), we had them practice ukemi for a while, then went over the basic grip, having the kids practice kuzushi- unbalancing techniques. We had two classes, then I had to shower up, power up, and start to wend my way back to the Bronx, so I could drive to work. I'm writing this in a library close to my place of employment, and plan on grabbing a couple of slices of pizza before punching the clock.

It's a gorgeous day- sunny, with temperatures in the 70s- motivating myself to leave the house was easy, and I walked inside with a bit of a pang (of course, this is just a five minute stop). Thankfully, I'll be working outside today- I have to run around performing those last minute tasks which are crucial on nights when we'll have a few thousand visitors, then go on standby during the course of the event. After the event, I have to run around shutting things down and locking things up... I'm the i-dotter and t-crosser on nights like these. The one thing I really dislike about this time of year is the extreme fluctuation of temperature- I have to dress for seventy and I have to dress for forty... what a pain in the tuchis! I'll be dragging my ass when I get home, the yerba mate only takes one so far.

Yeah, that's my typical Saturday in the fall- I should look into doing one-day subletting of apartment to pick up some extra moolah.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Decade of War

Today marked the tenth year of war in Afghanistan. Ten years, almost three thousand coalition casualties, uncounted Afghan casualties, $455.4 billion to wage war in a country with a GDP of $16.63 billion- and for what? The violence continues, the horrible repression of women goes on... what the hell have we accomplished?

A few years back, my mother reminded me of a conversation that we had around Easter time in 2001, shortly after the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, during which I said that I thought that war with the Taliban would be inevitable. I'd forgotten the conversation, but mom brought it up years later, when my baby brother, Gomez, was going to Kandahar for the first time. My brother Vincenzo is there now- my two younger brothers spent some weeks together there earlier this year. Of course, both of them have also done tours in Iraq. As you can surmise, I take the awful, awful foreign policy of the U.S. personally.

I could write about the U.S. failure to systematically build a sane, stable society in post-invasion Afghanistan, but that's not really what I want to rant about. The real failure of U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan goes back decades, when the U.S. armed and trained religious fanatics to fight a proxy war against the U.S.S.R.. American spooks taught the mujahideen how to deploy Improvised Explosive Devices and how to shoot down advanced military helicopters (yet another case of Chinooks chickens coming home to roost).

When the Afghans finally drove the Soviets out, where the hell was our State Department, giving the Afghans aid in building a civil society? There was a time when we treated our enemies better than we were treating our allies. We didn't drain the swamp, and now we're futilely trying to swat mosquitoes (albeit ones carrying a virulent disease) with sledgehammers. Ten years of war, thirty-two years of immoral, poorly thought-out foreign policy, and what positive outcome is possible?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Few Short Takes

The Muse is pretty half-assed in her ability to inspire me today, so I'll just put up a couple of short bloviations.

How's this for a Christmas tale? Frothy Ricky Saves Christmas It's the tale of a young lad who saves Christmas from a Baby Jesus hating cultist, truly a frothy mix of Christmas cheer and political wankery. Sheesh, remember when the War on Christmas didn't start until December? We haven't even gotten through Halloween, and the War on Christmas has started- I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords decry this crass commercialization of the War on Christmas.

While it's not getting any media attention, I hear there's a guy in LEAFS SUCK!!! who is holding an OCCUPY YOUR MOTHER rally.

On Rush saying I Was More Self-Sufficient At Age 10 Than "This Parade Of Human Debris Calling Itself Occupy Wall Street"- this d00d was too chickenshit to score his own Oxycontin.

Finally, I figured I'd post the video for Common People by Pulp, one of the best critiques of the new economic reality, encapsulated in under five minutes:

The first time I heard Common People on the radi-adi-o, it knocked my socks off- this was one of those times when I scrambled around looking for a pen and paper so I could write the title of the song down when the DJ did his spiel.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bronx Beautiful

When the movie 30 Days of Night came out, I thought, "Gee, this pretty much describes the month of October for me." October is a busy, busy month for me, but I can't submerge myself into routine. Sometimes I work the graveyard shift, sometimes, I work the four to twelve shift... I basically throw my "internal clock" out the window for the entire month of October. Once in a while, though, I have to see the sun (it hasn't helped that it has rained almost every day for the past week) and boost my Vitamin D synthesis.

Today being a beautiful day (and not having enough time to head to downtown Manhattan before work) I decided take a walk from my Yonkers abode to the Bronx, where I walked the perimeter of Woodlawn Cemetery. While a pleasant walk, the stretch of Webster Avenue on the eastern verge of the cemetery is pretty desolate- not much traffic, and no pedestrians besides the occasional freak. There is, however, an abundance of wild grapes in the area, so I was able to snack on the go.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Bronx, here is a view along Jerome Avenue, on the western edge of Woodlawn Cemetery- Van Cortlandt Park is to the left of the photo, the Woodlawn terminus of the Number 4 Subway is to the south.

Here's a picture of a D.A.R. memorial north of 233rd St, dedicated to Chief Nimham of the Stockbridge Wappinger tribe, who perished fighting on the side of the revolutionaries in the War of Independence:

A detail of the monument gives a brief mention of the sacrifices made by the Stockbridge people:

Most people don't think of the Bronx as a particularly verdant part of the world, but those of us in the know are aware that the Bronx is the Borough of Parks.

After my walk, I stopped by Rory Dolan's to conduct some research (honest!). Of course, sleuthing being hard work, I had to fortify myself with a pint and a burger. A second pint would have been unseemly, seeing as I had to prepare for the workday.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Koch Tease

I forced myself to maintain radio silence during the middle of the day to avoid Hudson Harkonnen's grandiose press conference in which he emphatically declared that he would not run for president. All over the land, establishment Republicans have a major sad. In particular, the Koch brothers must be upset that their union busting sweetheart has been stringing them along all this time. With his teasing ways, I imagine this guy:

Prancing around, singing this... sorry about the imagery, folks.

So, yet another GOP "hero" has gone bust. There's no cowboy riding in on a white horse to save real 'murka from the Kenyan Usurper. No white horse, but there may be a proper candidate waiting to sweep into the race on a mule, and by that, I mean on a mule. Why settle for "man on dog" when you can have "man on mule"? Hell, how about a ticket that truly befits the modern Republican Party?


Monday, October 3, 2011

I Get Mail- Alternate Title "Rehumanize Yourself"

I recently received an e-mail from a right-wing former co-worker- his typical e-mails are in this vein, and I usually delete before reading, though sometimes, they yield comedy gold. Well, I actually read one of his recent e-mails, and I was pretty surprised. Here is a selected part of the e-mail, in all of its dubious glory:










Damn, what is it about right-wing ideology that affects one's ability to write grammatically sound sentences and use correct spelling? This guy was all about Obama bashing since 2008, and all about the teadhad since 2009. I don't know what happened to turn his ire toward these new targets, and I have to confess, anybody who thinks that this joke (you've been warned!) is funny is not really somebody with whom I want to associate. That being said, I wonder how many Teabaggers have gotten the feeling they've been cheated. I hope that some of them can find their way past their animosities (for the record, this guy refers to undocumented immigrants as "mutts") and rehumanize themselves:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Break From My Usual Musical Nostalgia

I heard this song by Warren Teagarden on the radi-adi-o, and figured I'd post the video:

There's a quality of Mr Teagarden's voice which reminds me, for some reason, of Lloyd Cole. I can't quite put my finger on it, but here's one of Mr. Cole's best known numbers:

By the time this post hits teh t00bz, I'll be sleeping off one of my trademark yerba mate fueled all-nighters (got savvy about the "post options"... uh... option). Yeah, I wasn't joking when I wrote that October kicks my ass, and starting right off the bat with an overnight "double" sets the tone for the weeks of ass-kickery to come.

Maybe it's the sleep-deprivation which makes me compare Messers Teagarden and Cole, but I'll let the commentariat judge for themselves.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Captain Nemo Sails Again

It's that time of year, when I pull a Captain Nemo, going under and not surfacing for a good long time. October is the major fundraising month for the non-profit for which I work, which means long hours on my feet, running hither, tither and yon. I'm busy before an event starts, during an event, and after the event ends, so I don't have as much time to write as I do on one of my quieter days. I hope to post regularly, but the posts may be shorter than usual. Last year, in response to my sentence: Captain Nemo going down in the submarine, Smut Clyde wrote:

Needs moar Filthbot.

Operating, to some extent, on the principle "You wish it, I dish it", here's some hilariously cheesy submarine related filth, a piss-take from one-time Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson:

For the record, my favorite "submarine" themed song is Submission by the Sex Pistols. I dig it so much, I'll post it again: