Thursday, March 31, 2016

There's a Song About That...

For the past two days, we've had a crew polishing and sealing the tiles in the bathrooms of our main building. These gentlemen were here until 11:20PM last night, and they'll be pulling another late night tonight. There are five bathrooms that are being renovated- two floors, each with a men's and a women's bathroom, plus a wheelchair accessible bathroom on the main floor with a diaper changing station. As an aside, we don't get stupid about our bathrooms here.

Looking around the main building, I am of the opinion that the drop-ceiling in the gift shop should have had first priority, it's looking a little ragged, with sagging tiles, some of them stained. The organization is a not-for-profit, so they receive grants, many of them earmarked for specific purposes- I suspect that the lady who liked clean restrooms was the one who donated this particular chunk of change. If so, her money was well spent, I looked at a finished floor, and it looked beautiful, like you could eat off of it.

In two of the bathrooms, there tiles missing from the floor. Yesterday, my boss told my co-worker covering the 5PM-9PM shift that he would bring over the missing tiles... nothing. The foreman of the crew cleaning the tiles asked me to let the boss know that the tiles were needed. I sent the boss an e-mail informing him of this.

Today, I arrived at 9PM, and my co-worker told me that the tiles never arrived... the boss thought that the daytime maintenance staff would be bringing the tiles over. This reminds me of a song from my childhood:

The missing tiles haven't been replaced... the contractors could always fill the gaps with grout before sealing everything... not a perfect solution, but perhaps the best one. In the meantime, I'm stuck in the main building until they leave for the night, and I'm not exactly great when it comes to chemical exposure- cleansers and solvents don't agree with my respiratory tract. I had opened up all of the doors to the building so there was cross-ventilation, but the foreman told me that early spring insects were flying into the building and falling onto the floor of the fume-filled bathrooms. I'm the only person in the loop here who would think that sealing insects into the finish of the tile floor would be cool, but that's because I'm a paleontology nerd. Once the contractors leave, I think I'll stay outside for the rest of the night, or maybe hunker down in one of the other buildings with these two.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Time of Year We Celebrate Baby Brother's Birthday

As we do every year, we take time out on the 30th of March to wish my baby brother, nicknamed Gomez, a happy birthday. He's currently working on a second master's degree, in sports management... besides his day job, he has been working as a hockey referee for several leagues (high school and adult recreational), and he coaches his daughter's hockey team as well. His day job is a good one, and he describes it as cushy, but hockey has been his passion since he was in middle school, so perhaps he's looking for a cooler career, an icy one, even.

Happy birthday, Gomez, stay frosty icy.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Old Dominion Whirlwind Tour

Yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, I drove down, in foggy and rainy conditions, to Northern Virginia to visit my mom. Mom has decided to sell the house she has been living in for the past eighteen years and to buy a townhouse. She's at a point where she doesn't want to be burdened with yardwork and keeping up a house that is too big for her. Better that the house goes to a family which could utilize the house and yard well. Mom had a good run in the place, and has hosted countless family and friends, but she'd like the luxury to be able to travel without worrying about the condition of the yard, and she'd rather heat a smaller place.

I got two hours of sleep before mom and I left to check out a nice place about two miles down the road- our inspection coincided with a realtor bringing a prospective purchaser over to mom's place. She put the house on the market not quite two weeks ago and already she's had nineteen interested parties. Things should be moving pretty quickly now- she decided that she'd put an offer on the place we saw, it was the nicest place she'd looked at, an end unit with a perfect utilization of space (the second floor is one continuous room, a kitchen/living room combo that is perfect for our 'hearth-centric' family lifestyle).

It's been a whirlwind tour- not a lot of sleep, a lot of busywork, but it's been fun. Mom and I even get along famously with her real estate agent. Mom's neighbors are pretty upset that she'll be leaving the house, but I spoke with one very close friend of hers (one of her many unofficial 'adopted' sons) and told him that mom would most likely only be moving down the street... she won't even do her shopping in a different store.

We'll see how things go, everything is contingent on the current house being sold, but I'm confident that things will go pretty smoothly. It's been a hectic couple of days, but I feel that we got a lot accomplished, and we even had fun doing it.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

Here's hoping that everybody had a Happy Easter. To me, Easter's always been about the Earth's return to vibrancy after winter. Once Easter rolls around, it's safe to say that Spring is in full swing. Here at work, the daffodils are at their peak. Check out these lovely cream colored ones with yellow centers:

They make a nice contrast with the more conventional yellow ones:

All over the site, there are green things popping up- crocuses, wild alliums, and my beloved stinging nettles. There are no chocolate bunnies growing on trees, but I can't complain... I prefer the real ones to the chocolate ones... though I guess a conejo mole poblano could be considered a chocolate rabbit.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Thanks, Obama John Bellairs

Now that my Saturday morning volunteer gig is over until October, I don't have to get up at half-past-seven in order to travel downtown. I typically set my alarm for eleven AM so I can listen to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!, which is a perfect coda to the week for a current events nerd. During this week's show, the special guest portion with bassist Esperanza Spalding, featured a question about Smead Jolley, a baseball player whose main claim to fame is having committed three errors on one play (the guy was apparently a monster hitter, though, so he would have made a fantastic designated hitter, if that had been an option back then).

I'm not a big sportball fan at all, but I actually knew about Smead, because I'm a huge fan of John Bellairs, whose The Face in the Frost is a particular favorite of mine, a short novel which happens to be simultaneously comical and unsettling. The book's protagonists, Prospero (but not the one you're thinking of) and Roger Bacon are two aged wizards who have to put aside their whimsical pursuits, such as watching 20th century baseball games with their magic mirrors, in order to investigate the machinations of a mysterious enemy which is out of their league (heh). Smead's name comes up when Roger Bacon recounts his misadventure with the brazen head.

I reread The Face in the Frost every couple of years. It's a quick read that gives me much pleasure- the funny bits are very funny, the horror bits really atmospheric without being gory or distasteful. The ending of the book is a bit of a letdown on first reading, being abrupt and vague, but on re-reading it begins to make sense, the mysterious antagonist is way too powerful for our protagonists to take on by themselves, so the final struggle takes place on multiple fronts, with only one being 'onstage'. At any rate, if you're a fan of 'weird' fiction of a somewhat comical bent, it's a great read, and an even better introduction to Smead Jolley.

Friday, March 25, 2016

No Trip Like the Nostalgia Trip: Retro Futuristic Edition

I've been poking around some of the weird corners of the intert00bz and, as a result, I've been on Gary Numan kick. Oddly enough, in all the years I've been blogging, I've only mentioned Gary in one post, and even more shockingly, I only have one post mentioning the fantastic concert film Urgh! A Music War. At any rate, I have been binge-listening to Mr Numan's back catalog, starting with his dystopian sci-fi/horror masterpiece Replicas, originally credited to his band Tubeway Army.

Replicas opens up with Me! I Disconnect from You, a story about isolation and alienation:

Are 'Friends' Electric?, which hit number one on the UK charts, continues the same theme of urban anomie:

Down in the Park is a straight-up horror story about androids and machines which hunt, abuse, and kill humans for the entertainment of the patrons of a club (no Laws of Robotics for these killbots). I am reminded of a William Gibson story, but the song was written before Mr Gibson's writing hit the bookshelves. The concert footage in Urgh! A Music War somewhat undercuts the grimness of the song- it's hard not to laugh at the wee, weird car that Gary rides in during his performance, disquieting lyrics be damned:

Gary is still active, and seems to perform entire albums during his shows:

He'll be playing NYC in May, I may have to consider buying tickets for this show.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Must Have Gotten a Diagnosis

I don't write much about Alex Jones, but I can't resist posting about his complete meltdown last week. Wow, talk about a complete farrago of whackaloon conspiracy theories... in under three-and-a-half minutes, Jones completely fills out a 'Conspiracy Bingo' card- we have aliens, the global elite, the media, vaccine manufacturers, Satan. Jones builds to a crescendo, ranting about the patrimony that has been stolen from him:

Humanity has got to get off world. We have access to life extension technologies. talk about discrimination...I want the advanced life extension!


The really weird thing about it, to me, is that Jones claims to be religious, yet he wants advanced life extension technology... wouldn't such technology thwart the will of God? Isn't the notion of wanting to live forever in a corporeal state the very essence of original sin? Sounds like Jones has his theology messed up, just like he has his history, sociology, and political science messed up. I think he may be freaking out because he got a rough diagnosis... he should have taken care of his gut flora, but he displaced them by keeping his head wedged up his poop chute.

The only quibble I have with Jones' rant is that he didn't mention any deros, I can't take Jones seriously, the guy doesn't remember Lemuria. And another thing, do you think a guy like Alex Jones knows what the queers are doing to the soil?

I like Alex, he's not like the other people, here, in the trailer park.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Existential Struggle

I was as angry and upset as anyone about the Brussels terror attacks, and it has got me thinking about the true nature of the conflict which has become known as the 'global war on terror'. In my estimation, the real struggle is the conflict between those who value pluralism and societies which value a monolithic approach to life. Tragically, even the most open, pluralistic societies harbor individuals who seek to bring about a monolithic society which conforms to their own narrow religious, racial, or ideological 'correctness'.

The Brussels attacks have been attributed to the Islamic State, a right-wing fundamentalist group which seeks to impose its Wahabist brand of Sunni Islam on the Fertile Crescent and the Levant. The refugee crisis which ISIS has created in Iraq and Syria has fueled the rise of right-wing movements in Europe. Here in the 'States, we have the ascendancy of right-wing politicians who fan the flames of religious conflict.

The real horror of terrorism is its targeting of random civilians- the idea that some poor schmo commuting to work or having a beer in a sidewalk cafe can be blown to smithereens by a fanatic is abhorrent. The world is dangerous enough without the added worry of violent death at the hands of an ideologue. Sadly, I don't know what the answer is... it's extremely difficult to neutralize the inflammable material that's been planted in the heads of the world's fundamentalists, racists, and misogynists. I've long been a proponent of soft power, but it seems as if a half-century of bad policies rooted in violent repression and benefiting a tiny elite have led to an intractable situation. The hunt for individual terrorists goes on, but the root causes of terrorism remain... reaction rather than prevention.

This morning, the Brian Lehrer Show featured two sobering segments, one on Belgian counterterrorism efforts and another on ordinary Russians' experiences after the fall of the Soviet Union. In both cases, I couldn't help but rue the United States' failure to engage in aid and development efforts in the past four decades, specifically the failure to rebuild Afghan society after the repulsion of the Soviet invasion, and the failure to aid the Russians after the fall of the Soviet Union. Add to that our proxy wars in the Middle East and the horn of Africa, and it's impossible not to conclude that our current geopolitical problems are the result of mistakes made and, worse, crimes committed.

I don't know how to promote pluralistic societies rooted in social justice, especially in the light of the 'West's' slide into intolerance, fear, and belligerence. I still believe that the majority of people just want to live their lives peacefully and without fear, but peace and fearlessness aren't profitable, and a lot of resources are expended on keeping people agitated and afraid. I guess I can do my part by not buying in to the fearmongering, and by trying to mollify others' fears, but there are times when that seems like a Sisyphean task.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

International Lovefest, with Combat

Today, I headed down to the storied New York Athletic Club for this years New York Open Judo Championship. This year, there were men's teams from Canada, France, Germany, Georgia, and two teams from the United States, with women's teams from France, Israel, and the United States.

Having to work Sunday afternoon, I knew I could only attend the sold-out open for about two hours. Over the last four years, my friend Francesco Rulli has transformed the venue from a basic, bare-bones affair to a hip event featuring a DJ, a beer service, and models manning the information desk. The lighting is moodier, the atmosphere more 'nightclub', rather than the old 'gymnasium' vibe.

Besides the competitors, the tournament draws spectators from dojos all over the country. Besides seeing players I know from New York and Connecticut, there were guys from Cohen Brothers' Judo in Chicago, and from the National Training Center in Colorado. There was a bittersweet element at work, seeing one of the old-timers, who is fighting cancer, in wheelchair, and hearing other guys talking about various ailments and injuries... though seeing guys in their seventies who still fight is heartening.

The best match I saw was the 48 kilogram match between the women's team members from France and Israel... the Israeli judoka won the match with a perfect 'blink-and-you'll-miss-it' ippon. Sadly, I had to leave before the finals in order to catch the train back to the Bronx, but I had a good time seeing a bunch of people, I had a couple of beers, and I watched some wonderful judo.

Here are some highlights from last year's open championship:

My favorite moment in the video is a 4:45, when all around great human being Kayla Harrison, after delivering a room-shaking uchimata, helps her opponent off the mat. It's a tender moment, after the fight, it's time to aid and comfort one's erstwhile 'foe'. That's the true beauty of judo, the focus on mutual growth and the care with which players engage each other. It's impossible to play the sport alone, so the safety of one's opponent is of the utmost importance. Each year, the tournament is a huge lovefest... funny for an event centered on interpersonal combat.

Friday, March 18, 2016

What's the Gaelic Equivalent of "A Shanda Fur Die Goyim"?

I can't seem to let go of the St Patrick's Day season, even though I figure I've got to return to more general blogging topics now that the day has passed. Glancing at Roy's Place, I decided that I had the kernel of a blog post...

Reading that Ted Cruz' campaign has taken on both Frank Gaffney and Andrew C. McCarthy as advisers has me reaching for the bottle of Brioschi. Both of these men are Irish-Americans, and there are few things more abhorrent to me than a fascist of Irish descent.

Frank Gaffney's main claim to fame infamy is the web of Islamophobic conspiracy theories that he has spun, including such howlers as President Obama being an agent of violent jihad and conservative money man Grover Norquist being an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood. Reading Gaffney's bio, it's interesting to note that his grandfather was targeted by nativists who were convinced that he was an agent of a Vatican plot to undermine a WASP-dominated America. Being an adherent to a minority religious group that had long been held in suspicion by the American mainstream did nothing to teach tolerance to Gaffney, he's as big a bigot as the individuals who targeted his own ancestor.

Then we have Andrew C. McCarthy, a big proponent of 'enhanced interrogation techniques'. Again, we have an individual who condones torture, even though he belongs to an ethnoreligious group that has been connected to terrorist campaigns to achieve its political ends, and has produced its share of imprisoned martyrs. McCarthy failed to learn the lesson about cruel and unusual punishment, that it doesn't achieve a positive goal, and that its victims achieve a moral status denied to its perpetrators. Ignoring the lessons of history tends to doom the ignorant to repeating the mistakes made by predecessors.

There is a certain wisdom that should result from a history of adversity, an empathy for the underdog, an unwillingness to leave the narrative of the powerful unchallenged. Throughout Irish and Irish-American history, there has been a thread of revolutionary and liberation activity, from the Irish independence movement itself to opposition to American imperialist wars against peasant populations to involvement in Latin American independence movements to protection of the rights of their own LGBTQ citizens... why, even that Boner guy has devoted time and energy to poverty relief in Africa. At their best, the people of the Irish diaspora have stood for humanitarian causes (at their worst, though, they've committed appalling crimes). Authoritarianism and intolerance have always been a disaster for the Irish people, and to see two prominent Irish-Americans (not to mention such blueshirts as Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity) promulgating them is the equivalent of a shanda fur die goyim.

Oy, gevalt! Saints preserve us!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St Patrick's Day, Folks

In a couple of earlier posts, I made reference to the 1986 Self Aid benefit to alleviate Irish unemployment. I've only seen bits and pieces of the fourteen hour concert here and there, but there are a couple of 'best of' videos released in 1996 by RTE:

Oof, there are some harsh comments on that video. Here's the second part of the 'best of' compilation:

My favorite performance of the concert has got to be In Tua Nua's set, about a half-hour into the first 'best of' video. The band should have been much bigger, but they apparently released their single 'Seven Into the Sea' right around the time of the Challenger disaster, so no American radio station would have played it.

Speaking of self-aid, I think I'll help myself to a double of Tullamore Dew... Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit, folks.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Balladeer Historian Humanitarian Friend

Tonight, I figured that I'd post a couple of videos of my friend Mary Courtney, the frontwoman of the Bronx-based band Morning Star. Besides having a heartrendingly lovely voice, Mary has a keen sense of history and culture... she often precedes songs with a quick description, placing them into their culture context.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Easter Uprising Mary playing The Foggy Dew, which exhorts the young men of Ireland to fight against English occupation, rather than to enlist in the English army to fight in World War One:

One of Mary's most celebrated performances was her duet with Larry Kirwan in Black 47's immigration ballad Living in America, which uses the tune to The Foggy Dew:

Here's Mary's take on Peter Sarstedt's Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?, which perfectly showcases Mary's clear, sweet voice:

I like to call Mary the star of the county Bronx. Besides her musical gifts and her knack for educating people about history through song, she is constantly playing benefit gigs for various worthy causes (the post-Sandy period saw a huge outpouring of support by local artists). It's been my pleasure and my privilege to know her all these years. Please give her other songs a listen, she's really wonderful.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

This Is a Rebel Song

Back in the early 80's an obscure singer used to open of his live performances of a particular song with the statement, "This song is not a rebel song." In some of the iterations of his introduction, he'd add, "This is a song of disgust." Of course, there is a long tradition of rebel songs, a folk history of resistance versus foreign occupation. One of the finest examples of the genre is The Rising of the Moon, which describes the mustering of a rebel force during the Rebellion of 1798. Perhaps the finest rendition of the song was performed by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem:

The song exhorts the pike-armed rebels to assemble by the rising of the moon. Of course, the pike-armed rebels faced a professional army armed with muskets... Ya know, come to think of it, that Boner guy was right after all, the songs of disgust are preferable to the rebel songs.

Monday, March 14, 2016

These Guys Are Big in Japan Uruguay

In our second post in 2016's runup to St Patrick's Day, we have the County Wicklow-based band Bagatelle. While very popular in their home country, the band never reached the heights of international superstardom that their contemporaries U2 gained, the band did have a big hit in Uruguay with their song Second Violin:

The song's production values are a bit slicker than I typically like, but as long-time readers will know, I tend to prefer songs that have pessimistic lyrics to overly twee songs. I listen to a song like "Endless Love" or "I Will Always Love You" and I can't help but think, "You say that now, but relationships involve patience, perseverance and, frankly, work. Anything can happen over the course of the years."

If I'm not mistaken, the band's biggest hit in Ireland was Summer in Dublin, a song which has some great slice-of-life lyrics about the stink of the river, and a garrulous drunk on the bus:

With its theme of getting the hell out of the city to someplace quiet, it could have been written about New York... better yet, it could have been Summer in Yonkers. Apparently, the band is retiring, and are conducting a farewell tour... maybe they'll end up playing a venue in the City of Y______.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Counting Down to the Solemn Feast of St Patrick

Since this is the week on which the Solemn Feast of St Patrick begins, so as is tradition around here, I'll be posting videos by Irish musicians for the next few days. I think we all need a break from 'Murrican politics for a while.

Today, I'm posting a couple of videos by Dublin band Cactus World News, whose Bono-produced album Urban Beaches was released in 1986. The band had a large sound, clearly influenced by U2's musical stylings, with edgy (heh) guitars and earnest, guileless vocal deliveries. Here's a live performance by the band, performing their songs Worlds Apart and Years Later (WARNING: video depicts mullet):

The band formed in 1984, but their high point was definitely 1986, when they released their debut album and performed at the Self Aid benefit concert. Here's the band performing The Bridge, which had been their 1985 debut single:

Personally, I enjoyed the band's output, but in retrospect, I guess they didn't sufficiently differentiate themselves from U2... who needs a pastiche when the real deal is still touring and recording? The band broke up in 1991, but they recently reformed and successfully funded a pledge campaign to release an album of unreleased tracks. I'm glad for these guys, they always seemed like a good bunch of fellas.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

End of the Semester

Where the hell have I been? I've been waiting with my best suit on... Today was a hectic day, the final day of the semester for my volunteer coaching gig. Even before the day began, it was hectic- yesterday I received a text message from my supervisor, informing me that a plumbing contractor would be stopping by my principle workplace at 9AM, so one of the guys in my department was needed to open up the building for the plumber. Yeah, not a lot of notice, but one of my part-timers was happy to pick up an extra eight hours. Even if I didn't have classes to teach, followed by a semi-formal luncheon, I wouldn't have been able to work this added shift... on a regular Saturday, I work until 4AM and then return at 5PM. I like to think of myself as a non-wimpy individual, but that would be too much.

At any rate, I got the coverage issue sorted out, so I was able to get my customary two and a half hours of sleep before heading down to Manhattan. On the first day of the program, in October, and the last day of the program, in March, attendance is always high. We had two classes this morning, a class of about thirty nine to twelve year-old girls and a class of about forty five to eight year old boys. The real kicker is that some of the kids have been attending regularly, while other kids just show up occasionally, so there is a wide skill gap at play. Because of the vast amount of kids, we actually ran out of judogis for the boys' class, so some kids had to share. We divided each class into four roughly equal sub-groups and ran a big randori- we had the kids play against each other, then had the winners of the individual matches face each other until one kid remained as the winner, then we had the four winners compete to find the big boss. It was a fun two classes, though hectic. After our classes, the amazing gymnastics coach ran two gymnastics classes- she played a bit of judo back in the day, so she's one of us. While the kids took up a half of the mat, we did a little bit of sparring ourselves, making sure we didn't squash any small children... can't have a couple of cartwheeling seven year olds getting squashed by a four hundred plus pound mass of flesh and bone now. I have to note that my right shoulder has been sore for about a week and a half, to the extent that I've been using a heating pad on it every night... after crashing to the mat for the first time this morning, the shoulder pain was no big deal- I'm reminded of an old joke about HMO's.

After the classes ended, we assembled for a luncheon and awards ceremony. Everybody's freshly scrubbed and awards are given to the best kids in each individual sport, and the kids who show the most improvement. This is where we can see which kids are natural athletes- they tend to rack up the plaques. Awards are also given to the kids who demonstrate good sportsmanship and the counselors who demonstrate the most dedication. Our best sportsmanship winner is a young lady who "mustered out" of classes today and will be joining the ranks of the counselors next October. Our best counselor winner is a prince of a kid who has doubled as a basketball coach on an as-needed basis- he'll be going off to college this fall, and everybody is going to miss him terribly.

The last day of the semester is a bittersweet one- we know that many kids will transition out of the program, but that we'll have an influx of new students next October. We actually have a lot of former students return for a visit (today, two of our former students, a brother act, returned to visit while on spring break from college) and some of our former students return as coaches themselves... three of our fencing coaches were former students. One of the great privileges I've had in my life was to see a kid I knew as a five or six year-old go off to college. One of our running jokes in the dojo is that we hope that the kids we're coaching take it easy on us twenty years from now, when we're a bunch of old folks.

It was a busy, busy day... I left the luncheon and headed straight to work, where I shocked my co-worker by showing up in a suit and tie. I joked that I had been in court... he doesn't have to know that it was a basketball court.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Weapons of the Fallen

Smut's been working the fuligin angle lately... which brings up memories. It's been years since I've had to engage in monomachy, using a strange and deadly plant as a weapon. While strolling the Sanguinary Field recently, I found a weapon dropped by a fallen combatant:

Notice the number of orbs still remaining on the stalk... I imagine its wielder didn't last too long in the duel.

Confession time, I actually love Brussels sprouts, and I found them on sale in a market near work that I call the Food TARDIS- it's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside... it looks like a tiny little place from the parking lot, but it has a cavernous basement with a mind-boggling array of produce.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Grifter or Troll? Yes

I missed last night's post-primary speech (*glug glug*) by Donald Trump, but I checked the news today and, boy, the damn thing took a bizarre turn:

This bizarre little display is surely a rebuttal to Mitt Romney's jibes at Trump's business acumen:

There's Trump Magazine and Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks, and Trump Mortgage? A business genius he is not."

Here's where it gets really weird, though... the majority of the products Trump displayed weren't his products. For a bit of delicious, premium aged irony, the steaks on display were from a company named "Bush Brothers Provisions". Seeing how Trump cooked one Bush brother in public, I think I'll pass on any of Trump's steaks... I'm not a fan of the Great Old Donner Party.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Skid and Nancy

Via Tengrain, I learned that Nancy Reagan died. Amid the media love fest, I'll choose to mourn the Latin Americans killed by right-wing militias and narcoterrorists, the nuns brutalized and murdered by Reagan administration proxies, the AIDS victims whose plight was ignored by an administration that wanted 'those people' dead, the Iranians and Iraqis killed in a proxy war with American weapons... need I go on?

Regarding Nancy Reagan herself, all I really have to say is that this is the woman who, twelve years after the United States government landed human beings on the moon and brought them home safely, brought astrologers into the White House.

There's a soundtrack for that:

Released in 1981, too... it's like they knew.

ADDENDUM: Maybe Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper can deliver the eulogy at Nancy's funeral:

Mojo's still around, at least he was four years ago, and he doesn't seem to have mellowed one bit.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

If Only I'd Known

Via Tengrain, I found out too late that today is National Absinthe Day. I have a bottle of Kübler in the apartment, a gift from my brother Sweetums (who lives in a cute suburb of Zurich). I take sparing drinks from the bottle, because I don't often have the time and inclination to go through the whole absinthe ritual. If I want to watch a batch of booze go cloudy due to a microemulsion, I'll just mix up a batch of limoncello, which reminds me that citrus fruits are cheap this time of year, so it's time to start a batch... luckily, grain alcohol is now legal in New York, so I don't need to drive to Connecticut to buy the stuff.

At any rate, I found out about National Absinthe Day while at work... if I'd known earlier, I would have had a nip of it before heading out to work... strictly as a cultural thing- when he first came to this country, my mom's mom's dad had a brief run with a smuggling ring that brought absinthe in from the old country. For the record, my mom's dad's mom had a tiny still explode in her kitchen during the Prohibition Era, family lore has it that she was scraping mash off the ceiling for weeks.

I'll drink to that.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Weak, Willard, Weak

I didn't bother following the 'Super Tuesday' coverage on Tuesday night... I was too busy drinking beer at a local bar's trivia night. I finally got around to watching the post-mortem last night during a quiet spell on the job. It looks like Trumpzilla is still stomping the opposition, which seems to have riled up the establishment to no end. The 'not Trump' movement is a bit of a joke, though, as even a Beltway lesser luminary can tell you, the opposition just isn't scoring any points against Vulgarmort.

In a desperate move, a 'Hail Moroni' pass, if you will, the Republicans trotted out Mitt Romney to lambaste Trump, even though Romney effusively praised the guy four years ago. Oddly enough, in his speech, Willard doesn't commit to a single Trump opponent, thus keeping the opposition divided, which has been a major factor is Trump's primary successes. He also levies a lot of criticisms at Trump that would be equally valid if leveled at himself, not to mention a side-splittingly funny crack about the Clintons being crony capitalists.

Romney's attack on Trump isn't going to work, as Trump himself noted, with some implied sexual innuendo on the side:

Trump gleefully noted that Romney was a loser, his entire political career post Massachusetts has been one YUUUUUUGE downward spiral. To add to the sting, Trump noted that, to guys like himself and Sheldon Adelson, Romney was 'the help'... he probably had to enter through the side door, and walk through the kitchen. Romney's an ass, and a plutocrat, but he's not as rich as Trump, and he's a chump, a pious boob and a priss... to use a cringe-inducing MRA term, Romney is a beta, compared to Trump's aggressive alpha, something only helps Donald with the trumplodytes. Romney will never be president, he'll never be a billionaire, and he'll never have a hot trophy wife young enough to be his daughter... therefore, he will never drink Trump's milkshake.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tyrannized by Government

If government is the problem, I'm in deep doo-Doo this morning. I purchased an automobile last January, and the dealership arranged the transfer of the registration from my old car to my new car. The hitch was that the registration has an expiration date of 3/29/16. I received a renewal form in the mail with the old vehicle information, necessitating a personal visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The Yonkers office of the NY State DMV is across town from my house- the drive is a pain in the ass and parking is even worse. Luckily, the Number 25 bus stops a block from my residence and stops in front of the DMV. I took a government bus to the government Department office. While at the DMV, a very courteous government employee directed me to a self-service kiosk and I was able to obtain a temporary registration and a notice that the new forms would be sent to me via the government postal service. I was in and out of the DMV in less than fifteen minutes. Damn that inefficient government bureaucracy!

I am writing this post in the beautiful government-run Riverfront Library, which is next door to the DMV. Again, I am subject to government tyranny. I subject myself to further tyranny when I board the bus to whisk me back to the east side of the City of Y______.

Such oppression! I've been in thrall to government all morning... and I have to say I'm enthralled.