Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Ultimate Fixer-Upper

I'm not terribly excited about which democrat wins the nomination because there is one thing I believe all of them get.....that we can't keep ignoring domestic matters. This alone puts all of them ahead of all the republican candidates who are too busy looking for Osama under their beds to care if American children go to bed on full stomachs or if they even have a bed of their own to go to.

Then too I have my doubts about how much even the most dedicated president will be able to accomplish given the fact they'll have the peanut gallery we call congress to deal with. I hope for the best but plan for the worst.

All of this led me to contemplate the faux news conference held by FEMA. Hold yer horses before you scream....they just might be on to something there. Maybe we ought to just go with a faux government altogether. They could issue faux statements, hold faux press conferences, pass faux resolutions that do absolutely nothing and basically just let the rest of us deal with the problems on the ground. Oh wait, that's already happening. The only thing we need to do is eliminate the presidents ability to actually act upon any of his positions and we'll have this mess all sewed up. We'll make him some foreign Head-of-State avatars he can teleconference with on the internets to keep him occupied. Faux news can be in charge of covering all the proceedings.

In the meantime the rest of us can begin going about the business of doing what needs to be done. I think this might just be a do-it-yourself project.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Whatever Didn't Kill You Probably Made You Mean As Hell

Re: my previous post which upon reflection probably comes across as a bit flip about California's troubles. Ok, I admit it, quite often my posts are somewhat flip about a lot of troubles. I'm not about to apologise for it but I'll go as far as giving the curious a l'il bit of context.

I lived in southern California for 20 years. Not once but twice an arsonist tried to torch my neighborhood, it's a daily fact of life there. Lots of mentally ill folks and lots of angry folks all looking at the herds of happy-happy, joy-joy families with their 500k houses. Shit is bound to happen.

100 years ago, back when I was a young, broke-as-hell, struggling single parent, the jackass who lived three doors down from me caught the building on fire and burned us all out on Christmas Eve. There I sat with a pile of burnt rubble, three small children and no place to go and not one person said "hey, is there anything I can do to help". Not that we had anything to start with.

Not whining, whatever does not kill you will make you stronger or at least meaner, tougher and thicker skinned. I did what I always did, figured a way to work things out on my own. So, while I'm not jumping for joy that a lot of people lost homes in the fires, I figure they'll live. Yes, there is an element of "most of them are people who would have spit in my face back in the day". Can't shake that completely, we are what life makes us.

I have lots of stories, most of them far, far worse, but really they're no more interesting than the stories of a few million other people. The only difference between me and them is most of them don't blog. Many of them didn't survive their stories. I save most of my empathy for them, the people who really are screwed in this world and there seem to be more of them every day. No, I don't feel anything but laughter welling up inside me when I see Mr. 80k per year crying about his student loans or his mortgage payment. I do not feel his pain. I think that's what some call "coming up hard" and that's what it does to you.

If it seems like I'm thumbing my nose at the world most of the's because I am. Nearly half a century down the road and plenty of money in my pockets but the rage never quite goes away. Multiply that by a few million and you've got at least part of your answer as to what the hell is happening to our country. Think about it, millions of angry people who haven't been invited to the picnic and not all of them will content themselves with taking out their vengeance at a trading desk.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Let Them Eat Cake

Every now and then when I'm not in the middle of separating some republican from their cash or posting something to annoy them I do something useful or at least different.

Not sure if it was the craving for toasted marshmallows the California fires gave me or the fat piles of money I've taken from some stupid trader-boyz over the last couple of months but I was inspired to bake a cake. That's about as out-of-character as it gets for me considering I once tried to buy a house without a kitchen. Don't get me wrong, I can cook, it just isn't something I choose to do very often.

Anyhow, just to piss off the food police crowd here are a few pointers.

  • Never, ever use store bought frosting.
  • Add cream cheese to your frosting.
  • Always use real sweet cream butter. For sweets (or my nappy hair) the only oils worthy of consideration are coconut or peanut. Corn oil and margarine are for pigs, not humans.
  • Never ruin a chocolate orgasm with cheap ass waxy chocolate. Buy the good stuff.

Feel free to preface your chocolate cake orgy with some nice fried chicken (bread with real grated parmesan). Accessorize with fresh baked bread and wine of your choice (screw the French, the Turks got it goin' on). So far none of the above has given me high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. If it ever does I will at least die happy.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Common Sense: Not So Common

I've had at least a gazillion things floating around in my head that I could have posted about but the thing is, they're really all about the same thing: the almost total lack of common sense in this country today. If you stop and think about it that's the key to just about every other problem facing us. What we used to call "horse sense", good, old fashioned, down-to-earth pragmatism, is nearly non-existent in the public dialogue today and frankly it was the one thing that distinguished the US from nearly every other nation on the planet. It was what made us great.

My better half has a knack for nailing an issue without ever trying and often some of his most offhand remarks will sum up an issue in a simple sentence that I, in my infinite wordiness, would have needed at least a 200 page essay to explain. Case in point: some political talking head or other posed the question, "who is your least favorite candidate" and Dear One passing through the kitchen spit out "everyone currently running".

Ding, we have a winner. That's exactly right, I couldn't even begin to improve on that answer.

I watched the pundits scrambling to weigh in on whether or not Gore would run now that he's won the Nobel prize with great amusement. When you win a Gold medal in the Olympics do you set your sights on winning the sack race at the county fair? The US presidency used to be a prized and respected office, today it's a stepping stone to a great book deal and a career as a public speaker. It's one way of obtaining "street cred" to go on and actually accomplish something for those who have any real ability. For those who don't, it's tenure and a fat pension. It is impossible to accomplish anything of real value while holding public office and everyone who is anyone knows this so for the most part, smart, capable people do not run for office.

We the People with a little help from our friends in the media made it so. For the record: while Fox news does come to mind in the forefront I include 90% of the rest of them as well. Lately I find myself filtering my news intake through Mika Brzezinski and Jon Stewart. What does it say about a nation that can only tell the truth on the Comedy channel?

How did we get so stupid? I dunno, maybe we could start by taking a look at our schools. I'm going to piss off a whole lot of teachers here but I have to say it: more than half of our teachers are as useless as tits on a bull. That's right kids, idiots are raising our young. Given the current system what makes anyone think that someone capable of having an independent thought would seek a career in education? Toss in the fact that whoever came up with the idea that tossing 500 or 1000 adolescents together and expecting them to learn anything we'd like them to learn ought to be drawn and quartered. Cost effective maybe but you get exactly what you pay for, children who've been raised by other children.

I loved the ruckus over schools banning children from playing "tag". Mr. Principal of one such elementary school went on air to explain that some children were harassing other children during the course of this game. When asked by the interviewer why the school did not simply discipline the children who misbehaved Mr. Principal explained that the school did not "have the resources to manage the problem". Parents in the district were applauding this move. M'kay, you just had the principle of your childs school go on national television and admit that he and and his cadre of teachers could not manage a group of 10 year olds. What part of "entrusting your child to such a group of idiots makes you an even bigger idiot" are people not understanding? That is what Dear One would refer to as "shit-for-brains".

With that in mind is it so surprising that all we can focus on in an election is what lapel pin or hair style a candidate is sporting? Is it any more surprising that few if any sane, capable people would even consider running for public office? Oh yes, just what I'd love to do, go on national television and debate how to meddle in the people's private affairs by legislating weight control, smoking, and sexual preferences while the dollar is doing a cliff dive and we are spending billions of dollars trying to do something or other, we aren't quite certain what, in Iraq. That's a job interview for an idiot.

Sometimes it isn't just the right wing that's insane. What the hell makes the left think that ending the "War on Drugs" but declaring war on smokers and chunky people makes any kind of sense at all? Move to the back of the class. If you don't like smokers or fat people, don't associate with them and mind your own damned business. Maybe they don't like you either and maybe, just maybe, most of us would rather not reallocate more assets to a "War on Fried Chicken".

Then there's that whole "Global Warming" thing. I did not post about it the other day when all the blogs got together on it because, because, while it is most certainly a worthy issue I think most people are once again a little slow on the uptake. It's here, it isn't going away and no one knows how much or how fast regardless of how we spin it. "Tipping point" my ass, we passed that decades back so it's moot. Stop adding fuel to the fire or don't and gamble on hotter being better, your choice. Frankly I see an upside to Florida disappearing into the ocean, it troubles me not one bit and that is the coldhearted truth.

The not-so-common, common sense thing to do would be to focus on how to adapt to the changes. Tip of the day: don't plan to retire in the Florida Keys. If you already own a home down there, well, you're fucked. Cut your losses and get out while you might still be able to get something out of your investment...there's always a bigger sucker right behind you. Or sit there and whine, it's all the same to me.

You have no idea how it warms my cold little heart to see water wars erupting between Georgia and Mississippi, North and South Carolina, etc. Having spent my entire life in the southwestern deserts I can only laugh hysterically when observing an Alabama farmer complaining on TV about the severe drought whilst in the background he is running giant overhead sprinklers over his crops at high noon. Apparently the news about evaporation has never made it to Alabama.

We're so busy with the Great Immigration Debate that we've failed to realize it's about to become a moot point. Immigrants, in particular the bulk of Mexican immigrants, come here for employment. Now that we're on a collision course with rising unemployment and economic slow down, THEY AREN'T COMING. While we weren't looking, have you taken a gander at Mexico's burgeoning economy? Care to guess how many "US companies" are now owned by Mexican companies? I don't know the exact number but it's quite a few....didja know that Rinker Materials, one of the largest US building material manufacturers is now owned by Mexico's Cemex? Hopefully they'll be smart enough to move headquarters out of West Palm Beach or I'm selling my Cemex stock. Besides all that, Canada is recruiting them, at least till their right wing nutbag "culture warriors" try to dent that action. I'm seeing Moose Tacos in the not-so-distant future. Yo quiero Toronto Bell.

We've been screaming about our idiotic congress and I have to agree, 90% of them are idiots but I don't see much point in replacing them with another group of equally idiotic political shit-for-brains people. Maybe it's time we looked in the mirror when we seek the source of senatorial stupidity. Maybe if we stopped behaving like morons we could entice someone other than morons to run for office, ya think?

Stop and think people. What are our priorities and what exactly do we want government to be responsible for: national energy policy, fiscal responsibility, national infrastructure and foreign policy or controlling our obese, chain-smoking neighbors? Are we more concerned with climate change or monitoring the height of our neighbors grass? Do we want affordable healthcare for everyone or would we rather use our healthcare system like a slot machine and sue every time an outcome doesn't please us? Keep it up people, pretty soon you'll be delivering your own babies at home because no one wants to be an OB-GYN nowadays...too many lawsuits.

It's way past time we went back to using a little common sense and got a grip on reality. Reality is you can't control everyone else and sometimes bad things happen in spite of all best efforts and no, you don't get a million dollars every time an outcome doesn't please you and expect the system to be able to function effectively and there will always be people and behaviors that don't suit you and no, you cannot behead your neighbor because he's an obnoxious drunk who doesn't mow his lawn. Quit behaving like spoiled teenagers and grow up and deal with it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Never show Them Your Hand

I watched a whole lot of really bad sci-fi the last week or so. I plead self-defense, in the interest of not hating most humans any more than I already do I could not expose myself to the Clarence Thomas circus or the possibly even more idiotic reactions to it.

Yes, I am still angry enough over this to need a news blackout to deal. I will still be angry about it the day I die even if I live to be a hundred and ten.

It wasn't really ever about Thomas for me, he's a man, he's a pig, a lot of people are, no surprise there. What sent me into a rage that still burns white hot was what some of our elected senators did to Anita Hill. I don't care what you call it, what it was was the equivalent of a public rape. Yes, I'm talking to you Arlen Specter, no, I will never forgive you and I curse your name every time I'm unfortunate enough to recall it. If I prayed I'd pray that all of your offspring be sterile.

It was unfortunate that Ms. Hill was pestered by a pig but not tragic, it happens every day to millions of women. What was tragic was seeing that our own elected leaders saw fit to attempt to humiliate, debase, and degrade Ms. Hill and half of our citizenry saw nothing wrong with this. They still miss this point for the most part. You were wondering why the country is going to hell in a handbasket, do I need to explain?

Thomas was incredibly lucky it was not me he messed with because unlike Anita Hill I would never have just told the tale and gone about my business. Anita is just a nicer, finer, more upstanding person than I am and look what they did to her for it. Forget what your mama told you about being a nice girl, nice will get you eaten, beaten and dragged through the mud.

So ladies, if you should be unlucky enough find yourself in a similar situation consider this: reporting the matter might not be the wisest course of action. Deviously and systematically using all legal means to utterly destroy the life, career and reputation of said perpetrator....more my style. There's nothing like seeing your former tormentor divorced, bankrupt and living like the dog he truly is.

Now if someone close to Specter would just adopt this philosophy I would sleep better at night.