Wow. It has been nearly a month since I’ve written anything here. Well, you know, I have a few pretty good excuses. First off, as of 15 December I have a job. Woo! And, as of 15 December, I have an apartment. Woo! So, I’ve had to spend a lot of time outfitting said apartment. And, well, the holidays, right? Woo! So, for the holidays, Yayoi came up and spent a lot of time helping me to outfit the apartment. Woo!
Mom’s got a new cat. Woo! Mom’s got another new cat, too! Woo! Okay, the cats? One is named PJ. She is a yellow cat, not at all unlike Madeline. Well, okay, she isn’t Madeline, but the physical resemblance is close enough to be really weird, okay? But the other day Mom was chasing off the little black and white kitty who’d been wandering around several weeks in the cold. She was pregnant, and the neighbors had been neglecting her. It was painful. Then the neighbors explained that the owner had moved out and left her, barefoot and pregnant, out in the very cold cold. (It got really cold here a ways back.) I said hey, if there’s abandoned pregnant cat who needs a home, I’ll put up with her and the kittens! After all, I got room, now. Well, Mom since let her in the house.
But the story gets more complex than that. You see, she really likes this cat, who is horribly affectionate. Except, well, she don’t get along with PJ, so well, but I’m getting ahead of myself. This new cat, Mom took her to the vet, and the vet said we can get this cat fixed up, kittens and all. You know how they fix girl cats? Well, they do a hysterectomy. Hysterectomy is actually an interesting word. The Greeks or some other ancient types called the womb hysterium, or something, and so anytime women got crazy, it was attributed to that organ that woman had that men didn’t. Thus, hysteria is in fact, a general label for women acting crazy. It is, or at least, was, in fact, sexist. Kind of like getting gyped, or receiving and Indian gift, but we can talk about that later.
Anyway you see, they take the womb out of kitties so they won’t go having baby kitties. This helps cats mellow out, because when you take the womb, you take the ovaries, and you take the hormones. Hormones can make you a bit, if you’ll pardon my choice of word, hysterical. So, there’s two things going on here: if you take all that stuff out, you will have a more mellow cat. You’ll also have no kittens, who were until so recently busy gestating in that womb.
I thought it was pretty bad for Mom to have to go and make so many feline life and death decisions, especially after Madeline was sick. Well, she contacted me, to get my opinion, and explained that while she’s totally pro-choice for human women, she doesn’t like making choices for others. She said the cat shelter was full of kittens who needed homes. Well, you know, if a homeless cat can’t get adopted, in our imperfect world they don’t live long. So, well, I agreed, with the same sadness, that yeah, getting the new cat fixed that way, that was wise.
I still feel kind of bad, though. Having choices can be tough, but making tough choices beats being stuck without options.
Well, so, me and Yayoi visited the new cat today. She sure is cuddly. She’s black and white, looks kind of like Joe and Lorah’s Max. Well, not really, except that Max is also black and white. Anyway, I’ve never been much for naming cats. I got one in high school and called him Kitten until Grandma came over and pronounced him Dinkum. Well, in California I found myself with two more kittens, and took to calling them Stripey Cat and Gray Cat. This because, well, I’ll let you figure out why.
Mom said that this new cat was kind of struggling without a name. Well, Mom was struggling. The cat herself didn’t seem so worried about that. She was more concerned with PJ, and whatever crazy hormone balances were floating around her body since her life-changing surgical procedure. She tends to hiss at PJ, and then at whomever is petting her, even though she really loves petting and actually doesn’t mean to hiss …
Well, so, you see, PJ came to Mom from my Sister, who has another crazy cat who used to terrorize PJ. So, if this new cat can’t stop being a nut, well, I might have to take her in. PJ was really horny and weird today and this new cat wasn’t exactly herself either but after Mom gets PJ fixed this week, she’s hoping her girls can settle down a bit, and live in playful harmony. She says the vet said that if you have kittens, better to have a pair, because they can entertain each other, even while the humans are busy spending most of their time going to work, sleeping, reading books, and sewing quilts, like my Mom. That, and Mom really likes both of her new cats.
Well, so I was talking about how I don’t name cats but today I looked at sweet little black and white cat folded up in my arms purring in ecstacy, and Mom explained that Uncle called her BF as in “Bare Foot” as in “Barefoot and Pregnant” but Mom, being the liberated woman that she is, had a hard time liking that name, and I did too, and I looked down at this cat and called her Oreo.
Cookie, for a nickname. And then we can call PJ “Biscuit” for after all, she does have that nice honey color.
PJ’s got her own name problem. She was named, as I recall, by my Sister and my Sister’s then-boyfriend, and they … well, they think divergently from each other, so PJ stands for Persephone José.
Yeah, I can’t handle “PJ”, so maybe, just maybe, Oreo Cookie and PJ Biscuit or something? Well, Mom likes “Oreo” so as far as that goes, maybe Oreo she is.
I was actually thinking of the time that Sheila said that she’d gotten pregnant with Dad’s baby, and they referred to this would-be black-and-white baby as an “oreo cookie” so when I had to go thinking about aphorisms for black and white critters, this half-sibling that I may in fact have out there somewhere in the wild jungles of the South Side of Chicago shares a very strange nomial heritage with Mom’s black and white kitty.
Well, it beats “BF” anyway.
Speaking of which, time to return the GF’s call. I had to drop her off in Kankakee today so she could drive home to Champaign, thus freeing me up at long last to start writing some more here for a change. That I had to drop her off in Kankakee is another story. So, I guess I got plenty of material to work with this week, in terms of telling stories, but like I said, first I gotta call the GF.
So … where to start? On Sunday, Yayoi went back to Champaign. By Tuesday, she had determined that yeah, she really was better off in Chicago, and I said yeah, I think you really are better off in Chicago, won’t you please come to Chicago? And she said yeah, well, but you’re enjoying having your space to yourself and getting it kind of cleaned up and room and time to think and I said you know what, that is not so important that I couldn’t have you.
So, I have a new roommate. She came up on Tuesday and registered at Harold Washington College. On Wednesday we ran around and bought a lease form at the office supply store and then got it filled out so that she has saved 70% on tuition, she now being a bona-fide resident of Chicago.
And it is kind of nice, since she’s a foreigner, that since I’m working full-time at home, I can sponge some of the enchanting alienation of being a Stranger in a Strange Land off of her own private odyssey that she now shares with me.
Tangentially, I was watching the Daily Show last night and I was digging that Carol Mosely-Braun was a guest. You know, I think she’s put on some weight? But nevermind that, I really like her. And I was thinking that I should vote for her in the Illinois primary because I like her and she should get a few votes in her home state! Ah, well, but today she dropped out and endorsed Howard Dean! HAHA! Well, I guess nowadays a vote for Carol is a vote for Dean.
Yayoi and I were both enchanted with the latest Republican smear ad on Dean, that he should take his latte drinking, sushi eating … body piercing freak show back to VERMONT, where he belongs! I love that ad! It is awesome! Yayoi is further enchanted with the notion that some Americans would equate “sushi eating” with being unforgiveably liberal. And, well, we saw this on the Daily Show, but as Jon Stweart pointed out, the type of person described doesn’t exactly belong in Vermont anyway. I love that the only people this ad would appeal to would be the people who are inclined to believe it anyway. What, if Dean’s so bad, don’t you want him to win the Iowa thing so he can be an easy foe for Bush to defeat? Who are you trying to convince: the xenophobic, homophobic portion of the Democratic party? It is more entertainment value than anything else!
Ya, anyway, Yayoi is calling me away for dinner, so I guess we’re done here.
I’m exchanging IMs with my father, and I’m reminded of his brother, Uncle Bill, and I’m getting set to tell some strange and wonderful story here, and I’m reminded that you know, mad rambling on and on kind of runs in the family. And it must be genetic because I wasn’t raised by my father, but he imparted that gene for rambling on and on, constantly shifting between obscure topics, he imparted that into me before I was even born.
Well, if you’re going to inherit a quirk, it might as well be mildly entertaining.
Yayoi is out for the evening. She’s spending the night in Champaign. This is just as well, as I’ve got some leftovers to consume. She has a thing for cooking new foods. That’s not such a bad quirk, but with her out of the way for the evening, I can clean the fridge out a little.
Part of my job is checking the Technical Support voicemail in the morning. I called one lady who seemed like she was kind of still in bed, or wish’t she was. I apologised with my understanding that we had a few customers in California, but she said actually she was an hour behind California, up in the great white wilderness of Alaska.
She didn’t call it the great white wilderness, that’s just my penchant for flourishing embellishment. I ramble a bit like a mad man, if you’ll recall.
And I said to her, how cold is it up there? We’ve got twenty five below windchill here. As I explained to Yayoi last night, twenty five below means fifty seven degrees below the freezing point of water. She’s used to thinking in Celsius. But, you figure if we’re fifty seven degrees below the freezing point of water, that’s opposite of fifty seven degrees above the freezing point of water, or ninety degrees Farenheit.
It is really god damned awfully fucking cold in Chicago these past days. Not just like, really really bad god damned cold, but like, worse than that. Real bad. And I asked the lady in Alaska, and she spoke of zero, and twenty degrees, and maybe even getting up towards freezing, but you know, while it is definately really cold in Alaska, “we don’t get that kind of brutal wind chill you get.”
I don’t know if she was just trying to humor me. “Oh that poor midwesterner wants to believe it is that cold down there.” But, well, anyway, it makes a good story at any rate that it is so cold here that people in Alaska say it is warmer up there.
And we don’t even get oil revenue checks merely for living here six months out of the year. Nosiree. But, I can’t complain if they’re giving Yayoi resident tuition.
I have innovated. We got Yayoi’s stuff up here this weekend, and among her inventory was an electric space heater. Well, now we get to do it Japanese style at night. We turn the main heat off and just warm the bedroom. Cutely enough, we’re already sleeping on a futon. So, the rest of the house gets down to about 45 when I get out of bed to turn the heat on. This poor garden apartment just sort of leaks heat. But we’ve got a gas fireplace and a space heater so it aint so bad. Yayoi points out that we probably lose out on the bottom, since heat rises.
Oh yeah, what other random things to share real quick? Moveon.org! I wrote a few words of my own on that matter today:
I am not a football fan. As far as I am concerned, half the fun of the Super Bowl is watching the commercials. If you want people to watch the Super Bowl, you should provide us with entertaining, compelling, and topical commercials that raise interest in the institution of popular culture that is the Super Bowl. The White House anti-drug ads suck – give us all something to get excited over!
First off, if you have broadband, and you haven’t seen them already, see these awesome commercials. Well, they were going to go and air one during the Super Bowl, but in our land of Free Speech, where the Founding Fathers carefully crafted a weak Federal Government that would have limited access to the Abuse of Absolute Power, in this very same nation of ours CBS has declared that it doesn’t air “issue ads” unless of course the issue is whether the big beer companies think men should be inspired to drink more beer by the image of skinny, bikini-clad hot hot babes getting wet to help you cool your manly self off, or, unless, of course, the President of the United States, this very same man who has had one hard-drinkin’, coke-snortin’ year of his life expunged down the memory hole, well, if his office of whatever it is wants to scare kids into thinking that one toke off of one joint of marijuana will destroy you for the rest of your life, that’s okay, but if some collection of citizens wants to remind us all that maybe, oh maybe, lordy lordy lordy god almighty maybe you know, running up this massive Federal budget deficit for no good reason is going to have ill consequences for our childen?
I lost my train of thought.
But you know where I’m going.
And where I went, where I went was over to http://www.moveon.org/cbs/ad/ to help sign the petition and tell those silly people who make those silly decisions that you know what? It only makes sense to air a cool commercial!
As Howard Dean would say, “YEAH!”
Now, I’m going to get some dinner.
It got cold again. I seem to only post when it gets cold. Gives me something to ramble about, I suppose.
Ah, so, my laptop is getting older and older. The mini keyboard I hacked in to replace the old internal keyboard has now failed. Just before that though, I invested in a desk. Yayoi gets her own desk, ya see? Well she liked the first one I picked out so much, so I went and bought another to go with it. Where she had liked the broad, open spaces of now-cluttered desktop, I opted for a compact footprint that reaches for the skies. It’s designed to hold a nice computer system.
Well, so what good is a desk designed to hold a nice computer system without a nice computer system to hold!? I went over to MicroCenter and spent a whole bunch of money on parts. I already had a hard drive, you see, and a sexy video card, and a mouse, keyboard, lotsa stuff. So, I bought a case, a motherboard, a CPU, and half a gigabyte of DDR RAM.
Dennis volunteered a DVD drive and a CD burner, and with all these parts and a fair bit of patience, and a lot of weird random black majic and mojo tweaking to get Windows XP to accept its new environment, I’ve now got a nice workstation in my home.
The system is nice. 2.66Mhz Intel Pentium 4, 800 Mhz bus, to 400Mhz DDR RAM, weighing in at half a gigabyte, which is excessive, unless you’re trying to do something with Windows XP, as I am, in which case, it is just right. ASUS Motherboard has such bells and whistles as on-board RAID, gigabit ethernet, an AGP slot for the graphics card, and a WiFi expansion slot. The case is really nice, with low-decibel fans, and rubber bushings for the hard drive mounts, all to reduce noise. I can not hear the computer, especially with the apartment’s heat, water heater, washer, dryer, or dish washer running, or the space heater, which we have out here because it is so damned cold!
Eh, I lost my train of thought. As if I had one. Let’s play SimCity 4! Now I’ve the first computer I have where this game doesn’t suck through a straw.
||Oh and the debate was funny last night.
||When TOM BROKAW repatedly referred the “the Muslim world” as “the Nation of Islam”
||Then he asked Al Sharpton about the conflict between the West and the Nation of Islam.
||And Sharpton perked up, like “I can’t believe he just said that”
||And he goes “First of all, when you say ‘Nation of Islam’ I assume you mean ‘Islamic Nations’ because we already have a ‘Nation of Islam’ in the United States’ …”
||good, I hope he smacked down Tom
||what he meant was the conflict between the White Man and the Nation of Islam
||And Tom Brokaw recovers from his Gaffe with “Well, I mean the Islamic movement, in general, which in many ways, transcends nations.”
||It is worth grabbing that on TiVo.
||Well, Sharpton let tom be after that and stuck it to the Right Wing.
||because Islam is a “movement”
||A beautiful answer about how right wing Christians are no more representatives of Christianity that terrorists are representatie of Islam.
||heh, I would have liked to have heard that
||Yes, Islam is so in these past few years. Must be riding the wave of Hip Hop.
I mean, this is funny, because Tom Brokaw is like a big-time news anchor. You’d think he’d be aware of “The Nation of Islam” movement in the United States. Maybe he’s seen the movie “Malcom X”? Okay, well, maybe not. But maybe he’d understand that, aside, possibly, from Saudi Arabia, there is no Nation of Islam. As Al points out, there are Islamic nations …
Okay, but then he tries to pass as sophisticated by sliding under the words “movement” and “transcend” … like all over the world, people are coming together under the banner of Islam as a response to contemporary challenges of globalization and the excesses of the right wing policies of the Bush administration.
Well, actually, I don’t know what he was thinking. I’m just highly amused that he’s running a Presidential debate, mistaking contemporary world Islam with a 1960s era black power movement, and choosing to deploy the term in a question to Reverend Sharpton.
No wonder we are so doomed.
Special multimedia feature, from someone else’s website:
This is a video clip that’s been raging around the Internet the past few days. It is a one-minute clip from an Apache helicopter, shot from the sights of a night-vision gun. In it, you hear one man giving instructions to the gun operator, who tracks down three moving figures, squeezes the trigger, and blows each one into a great big mess on the sand.
I’d have warned you that it was graphic, but aside from the fact that the figures going splat are actual human beings, it is nowhere near as graphic as a kid’s video game.
Welcome to future warfare. Now, even men are glowing blips on a video screen. Configure your weapon, spot your enemy, point, and click.
I got a thrill out of watching this video, because it is educational. I’m not living in the sandy, gritty, heat and cold and cultural alienation and homesickness and constant fear of death that my countrymen are going through over there, and I have even less of a chance to really understand the Iraqi experience over there, but I appreciate … knowing. Seeing a little bit, of what it is like. It gives me a chance … to wonder, what is that guy behind the video screen, pointing the weapon and clicking away the lives of his enemy, what is he going to go through later?
There’s a big, and old, and to many people, a tired debate in this country over what constitutes a human life. This is the abortion debate. Many of the same people who adamantly advocate the humanity of even the smallest collection of cells, gestating embryonically inside a woman’s uterus, are the same people who support the subsequent murder of convicted criminals, who may even feel a sense of righteousness at a video like the one above. The philosophy is that human life is sacred until it has proven itself to be evil. Only then, may we exterminate it, and in doing so, we can take pleasure in eliminating evil.
But I don’t think that way. To me, every human being is a source of potential. Potential good, and potential evil. An embryonic human? A fetus? Its potential is based in large part upon the determination and capacity of its birth parents. The potential is infinite, but the investment is also small. I feel uncomfortable at the thought of abortion, but morally, I can accept the idea that it is better to back out before you embark down a difficult road you are ill-prepared for. In the old days mothers and communities that could not accept the burden of the newborn dispatched with the baby soon after birth. Abortion is the modern equivalent, for a world that remains imperfect, where the new being is smaller, even less identifiably human. We erase potential. We erase life, before it has happened.
But the debate wears on. Was that baby a human being?
And the debate wears on. Was that blip on the screen a human being?
Or was it an arbitrary, non-human arrangement of cells, which for some unfortunate accident found itself trying to kill our human beings, and had to be aborted?
Are the murderers on death row, are they human beings? (Well, there’s the harder question of whether they’re even murderers, and would they have made it to the executioner’s hall had they been wearing another color of human skin.)
Are they human only before death? Are they human even after they’ve ceased to be alive? Is the embalmed corpse, cold to the touch, in the casket, human? What of the steaming streaks of entrails in the sand?
We know why we kill convicted murderers, and we know why we kill enemy soldiers, but from a video console from far away, these recipients of our justice are no more than abstractions to us. How many inmates awaiting execution have any one of us known, face to face, in a human capacity? How many idealistic, or just plain confused, and desperate guerilla warriors have any of us known? They remain just as unknown to us as the babies who are never born. We must trust that to others, they were human beings.
A big problem is, we’re hung up on this question of abortion, and we’re rolling along full steam into the DNA age. We are already changing the cellular blueprints of living cells, and designing altered organisms. We have a debate on the legality of using “stem cells” … human cells that can grow into any other human cell, because they come from the process of conception. But if these same stem cells come from bone marrow, that’s okay, because bone marrow doesn’t normally grow into a baby … though it probably could, under the right circumstances … is a fetus that is not itself the product of conception a human?
It gets worse. We’re working on the transgenic pigs … pigs grown under very careful conditions, because they are pigs who have bits of human DNA in their own pig DNA, and these pigs are conceived, birthed, fed, grown and killed, not for their delicious pig bacon, but to harvest their organs, which thanks to their hybrid, human DNA, can be used to replace the failing organs in a human being. Are these pigs human?
But, wait, it will get even worse. We currently train intelligent animals, including dogs, dolphins, and our primate cousins, to assist us in ways in which they are uniquely capable. Some dogs lead the blind, or sniff for contraband. Dolphins are able to spot and tag explosive mines underneath the water. Some species of monkeys are trained as service animals, who help humans with physical limitations to get through their day, by opening the fridge and whatnot. Let us not also not forget the innumerable animals currently confined to laboratories, which are using them as test subjects that will educate us on the dangers of the world, and potential medical practices to improve our survival. Any number of these creatures might serve their function better with a little human DNA. Once upon a time we marked black people as non-human, so that they could labor in the brutal heat of the southern fields, growing sugar and cotton in the worst of conditions. What will we make of some future race of especially intelligent gorillas, designed, “manufactured” and marketed as companion animals, who may have sufficient aptitude to drive the car, perhaps fix it, or work in factories. Are they human? What if we design them without human DNA, but they have sufficient intelligence to do our taxes?
We’ve got plenty of work cut out for our philosophers.
I had a minor epiphany in Thailand. I walked into an American-style shopping mall. It felt like any store in America, except that every five feet, peppered through the merchandise, was an employee. How can they afford so many employees? Because labor expenses are low. There’s a question of supply and demand … the most alien thing for me about Thailand was the population density in Bangkok. I come from one of the largest cities in the United States, but what passes for a crowd in the U.S.A. with its mere 280 million human beings, aint as impressive as New Years Eve in Bangkok, where getting off the Sky Train, I was in a mind-boggling human gridlock, that started a few feet from the train platform, that took me half an hour to walk a block to my destination.
Someone remarked on Colin Quinn the other night that “sure, the Middle East is full of Weapons of Mass Destruction — they’re called Arabs.” I attended the lecture of a Neoconservative “Objectivist” last year in California. He explained that the solution to the War on Terror was to eliminate Radical Islamists. This meant that we had to invade not only Afghanistan, but Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and anywhere else there were Islamic Radicals, figure out which people were predisposed to killing us, and kill them first. Aside from the logistical problem of scale, the real problem I have with this strategy is that, well, you just don’t know who is, or who would be, a Radical Islamist. If the roles were reversed, which among us would be the suicide bomber? And just what would it take to bring us to such an act?
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Human potential: where are you going to go today? These folks are hopping a freight across the Malay-Thai border.
I looked around, when I was in Eastern Asia, agape at the density … the sea of people. The amount of life surrounding me. And I had just passed through Jordan, a poor, easy-going Arab country, sandwiched between Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iraq. I travelled in Southern Thailand and briefly crossed the Malaysian border. Muslim territory, where the women wore scarves on their heads. I wondered at the people I met, the people that passed before me, the infinite seperate stories, and I wondered how does Thailand provide for all its people? How does China provide for all its people? Japan is very crowded, with limited resources, but they are one of the most successful nations on Earth. In contrast, how do we do in America? How do they do in Afghanistan, mess of a nation that it is. How are they doing in Arabia?
The key is potential. If you have humans, they could go either way, or both. A woman can be both mother and suicide bomber. All these humans, spinning off in their various directions, could go either way. We can be saints, and we can be monsters, devoid of what the rest of us understand as “humanity” … and it is a matter of potential … we are what is made of us. If we can not give our gestating baby humanity, then we will not have a baby. And whether we have babies or not, we must reassure the rest of us that the humanity in each of us, the good, is more valued than the inhumanity, and the evil. Whomever operated that gun in that Apache, had to call on their inhuman capabilities, their capacity for evil, to kill three more humans who were themselves, as best as we can tell, operating from that same evil. Each evil was done in the service of a larger perceived good. We murder to make the world a better place.
But at the end of the day, we each have to live with our humanity, and our inhumanity …
Maybe I should just stay away from videos.
I was cleaning out the spam trap today, when I stumbled on a link from Aaron Fischer.
Hrmmm. Does this seem at all familiar to you? Maybe? Just a little? His top index page reveals the influence of a superior web designer too.
I love you, Aaron! Now publish an RSS feed so I can follow you in my aggregator!
Meanwhile, if you like to post data about your finances on the web, I have a pretty sad-looking graph to share as well:
Yeah, kind of extremely flat there in the middle. I just started started using Quicken in July 2002, when I saw a major income spike from severance pay that helped tide me over for the next six months of world adventuring. Then it was back to America, and only this past December did I land a middle-class income, incurring some credit card debt on new home furnishings.
Not as responsible as Aaron, but I have my good times.
I’m still kind of freaked out that I have a job. And that despite my misgivings, I’m actually digging the gig much more than not. And, it is really damned nice to have my own place, and a girl to share it with. Too bad she’s allergic to Cats, but then Jordan’s been letting his kitten run around the office during the day, so that he’ll be less hyper at night.
Got it all.
On Wed, Feb 04, 2004 at 12:50:06PM -0500, Ed Burns wrote:
> >>>>> On Wed, 4 Feb 2004 09:19:44 -0800, Danny Howard <email@example.com> said:
> > On Wed, Feb 04, 2004 at 06:48:56PM -0000, David Jeske wrote:
> >> — Rev. Joe Doyle Ardent wrote:
> >> > (all other candidates pale in comparison to Kucinich in my eyes).
> >> Why is that?
> > Openly anti-war.
> > Advocate of single-payer healthcare.
> > Concerned with equitable trade agreements.
> > He’s a solid liberal. The Ralph Nader of the Democratic party.
> Here’s a digression. Could anyone please explain to me why it seems
> that “liberal” is a bad word in today’s America? I don’t understand
> why being seen as “too liberal” would be such a bad thing.
Liberals are reluctant to kill the enemy.
Liberals would have protested at the systematic extermination and expulsion of the Native Americans.
Liberals would have questioned the Spanish American War that brought us half our territory.
Liberals are responsible for the socialism of Roosevelt, and the evil 1% rate-of-return from Social Security.
Liberals like French Wine.
Liberals would just as soon have seen a Red America where labor unions control the means of production, instead of free market capitalism. This is why Germany sucks.
Liberals hate nuclear power.
Liberals want you to walk.
Liberals eat tofu.
Liberals live in cities.
Liberals are well educated.
Liberals think they are better than you.
You need to hate somebody, and it sure shouldn’t be your patriotic corporate overlords. And you can’t openly hate black people anymore. So, you have to hate Arabs, Muslims, foreign migrants, and Liberals, who are responsible for the existence of Arabs, Muslims, and those “illegal” foreign migrants, who might speak to you in Spanish. They also made racism passé.
And remember, even though freeing the slaves was arguably a liberal act, it was a backwoods hickerbilly named Abraham Lincoln who founded the Republican party and yes, fought a long and bloody war to bring it about. That is the threshhold for when liberalism can be tolerated.
All other liberalism is anti-American. And you know where that belongs: Guantanamo Bay, Cuba!
P.S. Or if you prefer footnotes on why GWB is Evil, ask Dave.
Yesterday I dropped Yayoi off at Harold Washington so she could join a ski trip to Wisconsin. Not a big fan of skiing myself, I returned home, and it being a pretty nice day, I struck off in search of adventure, or at least a quiet coffee shop to have a sit and read through my magazines.
I made my way to a coffee shop I like, Filter, in the Flat Iron building at Milwaukee and Damen. The place was crowded, and a poster in the window accounted for it – there was one heckuva artist’s exhibition going on upstairs. I wandered for hours the serpentine hallways of the Flat Iron building, visiting studio after studio, and all along the hallways were artists who didn’t have their studios there, but had brought their art to show and tell and sell as well.
It was a great time.
On my way back, I read through a New Yorker article that talks about Howard Dean, and his biography, which he has avoided sharing with us so much. He’s the eldest of four brothers, from a wealthy family, so of course he went to Yale, just like George, where he was also an underachiever, getting a B- average, just a little higher than George. Except, well, Howard’s kind of different. He requested black roommates, because the place was integrating. Those roommates recall that, unlike many white liberal contemporaries, Howard was approachable and open-minded, and not at all uncomfortable with open racial dialogue.
After Yale he went into the stock market business, but he wasn’t really enjoying it. He had this weird notion that maybe he wasn’t put on this Earth to make money. Well, what then? He hadn’t been a big fan of 1960s radical politics, and figured that the way to change things for the better was to help one person at a time. He’d done some volunteering at a hospital. He went to his Dad and said “I want to become a Doctor.” His Dad thought he was crazy, but didn’t say so, and gave Howard the support he needed.
And, well, he met a girl, moved to Vermont, eventually got engaged in politics, almost as a hobby, ended up Lieutenant Governor, which is pretty much a ceremonial position, then the Governor died, and he found himself with a full-time gig and a great big budget deficit. He turned that around by pretty much just being smart and sharp and persistent and listening to the right people.
Hey. I like the man. Whenever I see him talking, I feel like I’m really hearing him, and not John Kerry’s focus-grouped, campaign-managed message. Howard Dean is complicated enough as he is without having other people tell him who he should be. What I dug was his bizarre explanation as to why he isn’t in to dishing his biography out:
“That I don’t talk about my background, I have a feeling, is what makes me as passionate as I am. If I laid out the biography for everyone to kind of ooh and ah, it would be gone. I know this is sort of Zen-like. I don’t really have it down. The fact is, the experiences that are the most intense in my life are the ones that are not readily available to me, so they come out in a different way. I think that has a lot to do with my desire to have social justice, the passion I have about fairness and truthtelling. The two are connected. The fact that I’m the least autobiographical is very much connected with the fact that I’m the most passionate. Experiences that I don’t have access to consciously are what drive me — personal experiences that I can’t tell you about because I haven’t processed them.”
“I know this is kind of Zen-like. I don’t really have it down.”
Folks, the man is in it because trying to make the world a better place is what gets him off. Yeah, he’s prone to get carried away and let loose a war scream, and that’s because he really wants to fix your country bad.
Or, I’m just believing the hype. I’m ascribing what I will to Howard Dean, because, slacker college student kind of drifting through life as I am, I identity most readily with Howard Dean. My friend Jesse, a Marine Corps Veteran, digs Wesley Clark. Southerners dig Edwards, and his syrupy drawl. There are at least a few black folk who dig Sharpton for being an eloquent black man. And, well, there are plenty of squares in our nation that identify with Kerry.
At any rate, I hope Dean pulls through Wisconsin, and at least keeps the primary interesting. I’ve read some analyses that win or loose, he has made a great contribution to invigorating the Democratic party. It is important to get people who might vote excited about the idea of voting. That is what Al Gore failed to do. John Kerry’s riding around on his motorcycle, and dropping his Senatorese, and inviting George to “Bring it On”, where “it” is a debate as to which party is better at national security. So if he is the nominee, he ought to get not only the “Anyone But Bush” crowd, but also the “Damn, I’d like to feel maybe just a little inspired by our leaders” crowd as well.
Anyway, I went an picked up Yayoi at around six. Took forever to get my car out of its slippery, snowed-in spot. But after I picked her up and turned the corner we saw what looked like a big fireworks show inside of the Sun Times building. Huh? Gotta be a reflection in the windows. So, I swung right on to Wacker, and there were fireworks lighting up the scene, and well, Yayoi loves fireworks, and she squealed that this was indeed a very very good day, and I pulled to the curb so we could watch the fireworks.
A cop shooed me away. I left Yayoi on the street to enjoy the show as I slowly navigated the wagon up the road a bit, pulled a u-turn, picked Yayoi back up, and we cruised up the pretty winter lights of Michigan Avenue.
Yes, folks, Chicago is truly the greatest city on Earth.
On Tue, Feb 10, 2004 at 05:01:41PM -0800, Benjamin Feen wrote:
> Hey, this reminds me — it’s time once again to talk about Italian
> Anyone have a recipe that can approximate the real thing?
I saw some in the Deli Case at Jewel today. I bet you get a few pounds of that sliced up REEL THEEN and some beef stock, french rolls, and peppers and onions, if you’re in to that stuff, you could have yourself a good ol’ time.
Personally, I dig the italian beef at Pizza Chicago. It aint all that authentic, but when I worked there’s I’d fuckin’ drench that thing super-juicy, and slide a slice of provolone in there that shit was good.
I just got some Natural Ovens whole grain bread, toasted it, good mayo, good good wonderful mustard, deli pastrami, swiss, tomatoes, lettuce .. put that shit together so fine my baby was like damn it’s like the elements blend harmoniously I feel like I’m on Iron Chef and I’m like yeah baby, this is the European equivalent ta SUSHI!
Guess I need some horse radish to dip that shit in.
Cleaning out the e-mail box. A few gems:
- Which Dysfunctional Care Bear Are You? — A link to my sister’s blog. She’s Bondage Bear and I’m Gay Bear. That’s what we get for disdaining the Christian Coalition.
- Moveon.org are up to … advocating censure of President Bush for misleading us into War. Hey, it’s not like he lied about a blowjob or something pernicious like that!
- Let us say your local municipal or state website is disinterested in helping you register to vote. Franchisement is such a pain in the ass! Okay, well, You can visit rockthevote.com and get yours squared away. They asked me questions and generated a PDF file for me to print out and mail in.
- Billed as “Yet Another Mirror” — A Crazed Lunatic Prevaricator — I’m told that the P word fits and “sounds a bit fancier than ‘liar’.”
- Ever had to send a test message to a mail server without relying on sendmail and/or DNS, but couldn’t recall the SMTP commands? Yeah, I hacked up a little script to take care of that for me.
- Does your Windows box maybe have one of the many virii that have been ravaging the Internet the past few weeks, but you’re too lazy to install a danged virus scanner? Well, drop in on Trend Micro and they can help you clean your hard drive up quick and free.
And then, I share with you a bit of my childhood that I typed to another list . . .
The song on my schoolbus went like this:
I was down at the bar
Tryin’ to pick up some chick
But none of the girls were good to go
So I said “Hey what’s wrong [with my dick]?”
I looked over down
At the other side of the cantina
I asked the guy why you so fly?
He said “I’m funky Daniel Howard!”
My factual lack of funk in those days had a profound impact on the gifted, bored children I rode the schoolbus to and from the magnet school every day. By the way, some of you get excited because I’ve dated quite a few Asian girls what’s my strange fetish from? Heck if I know — I don’t really worry about these things — but since I mention many a long hour of my adolescence spent aboard the schoolbus, I will note that a very cute Korean-American girl blossomed before my eyes on a daily basis over a few years, a couple hours a day. I shall always have fond memories of that young lady, yes indeed.
See, we live at the far north end of the city. My grammar school was downtown. We were the first to board in the morning, and the last to alight in the evening. About an hour each way. Those were long hours indeed. Confessions of lab rat.
On that note . . . BADGER BADGER BADGER BADGER ! ! !
He will not be our next President, but he has already helped change our country. Put best by Robert Menendez, House Democratic Caucus chair, via Thomas Ferraro, of Reuters:
“He gave a stiff spine to a lot of Democrats.”
Menendez said he and other members of Congress who had backed Dean had a conference telephone call with him shortly before his speech in Burlington. Dean first disclosed his plans to drop out about an hour earlier in an online message to backers.
Menendez said Dean told him many of his supporters backed consumer advocate Ralph Nader in the 2000 White House race.
Democrats with stiff spines, who oppose George Bush instead of appeasing George Bush. Bringing disaffected liberals who voted Green in the last election. I’d like to think that even though he’s not the candidate, he has already helped his party to win this year’s election.
I’m still disappointed that he didn’t get anywhere.
Thank you, NTK:
More cheap hacks to counter-impress smug MacOS X owners.
Yes, Panther's "Preview" app is a super-fast PDF viewer that's
a lot snappier than Adobe "OMFG! A vector! How do I draw
that??!!" Acrobat. Close the gap of shame (and stop yourself
eating your own fist off waiting for Acrobat to start up) by
running ADOBE READER SPEED-UP, a eensy-weensy Windows
program that deletes a bunch of Adobe plugins that you don't
care about. Voila: spend your spare time reading your doc
rather than watching Adobe go "Loading dumb-ass marketing
rubbish/lousy DRM feature" for a thousand hours.
I was feeling ill just before New Years and went to bed early on New Years Eve, but Yayoi dragged me out of my dreamy reverie to watch the ball drop. I saw the throngs of happy people cheering on a cold Winter’s day in New York City, and I felt unusually emotional about it. I let it go … let it go, and figured that what it was is that it has been a pretty strange few years, for the country and for my own self. Strikes and gutters. World travel and layoffs. Lovers and heart breaks. Progress progress always progress. And nothing seems to symbolize a victory over the things that dog us more than a throng of New Yorkers packing in to Times Square to boldly shout that they are alive and happy. Ah, what a tasty target they must be … but they don’t care. They’re proud, and confident, and even if times are a bit rough they believe that tomorrow ought to be better. Fates bless ‘m!
Some time on the first I managed to pull this one out, to the tune of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s _Woodstock_:
Well I came upon a child of God
He was walkin along the road
And I asked him “Tell me where are you goin?”
This he told me,
Said “I’m goin down to NYC,
Gonna join with the American way
Got to get back the people,
and set my soul free.”
We are stardust
We are golden
We are billion year old carbon
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the Apple
“Well then can I walk beside you?
I have come to lose the fog
And I feel myself a cog in something turnin
And may be all the time that we live in
Or maybe too much CNN
But I dont know who I am,
and life is for learnin.”
We are stardust
We are golden
We are billion year old carbon
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the Apple
By the time we got to Times Square
We were over one million strong
And everywhere was the sound and the celebration
And I dreamed I saw those death-bombin planes
And those buildings in the sky
Turning in to butterflys
above our nation
We are stardust
We are golden
And we all die Americans
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the Apple
I read something on the BBC today that gave me hope. You know how John Kerry and John Edwards are scared to say anything nice about gay marriage because the Republicans would use it as a wedge issue to deny Democrats the bigotry vote? Well, the thing I read made the point that if Bush is going to come out, so to speak, on the Straight Marriage Amendment, then the rumors that he could replace Evil Dick Cheney with Gay-Friendly Hero of 9/11 Rudy Guliani were entirely pointless. And it occurred to me that, in this scenario, Gay Marriage could cost the Republicans the election.
It is hard to hold a big tent up when your specialty is driving wedges.
Yeah, well, I should get back to work. A little bit of reading for those interested:
If anyone is doing some sort of pink pride parade, I’m down with that.
If people want to love each other, I’m down with that.
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