My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pan’s Labyrinth, sadistically enchanting

This last weekend the misses and I ventured out through the freshly snow covered world to see what is being billed as an adult fairytale. Side jokes about the certain adult fairytales involving female prison shower scenes aside, we were excited about the prospect of a good fantasy flick aimed above usual Disney marketing level.

The first thing that I feel I should tell you is that this film is subtitled. This fact seemed to surprise only me, but I still need to share as it does lend to the level of mysteriousness presented when you look at the movie experience as a whole. The second thing is that even though the protagonist is a little girl, this is by no means is this a children's movie. Parts of this movie are stomach-churningly violent, but do work effectively in framing the story, characters, and underlying message.

In true Brothers Grimm style, the labyrinth, fantasy characters, and main individuals work well as both stunning allegorical pieces and indispensable parts in a symbolic tapestry representing a greater lesson to be learned. Entertainment and story are just the natural outcropping when that undertaking is successful. No where in recent movie memory have I seen that done more creatively than in this movie.

On a quick side note, an interesting outcropping of this movie was that after viewing it I finally and truly understood the appeal of religion.

I give this movie four out of four stars for making me think about it for a couple of days, and for moving me without resorting to jingoism, tired clich├ęs, or overworked Hollywood storylines.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

You don’t deserve shit

Alright, so I was reading through this months Popular Mechanics (come on people, you know I’m a nerd) and I came across and ad for the Tempur-Pedic® bed spouting the now commonly used phrase “You Deserve It”. Now I’ve seen this stupid phrase on everything from daytime TV ambulance chaser attorneys, to a time-share across from the “scenic New Jersey Turnpike”, all the way to an odor eating shoe insole. So you know what? Fuck you. Seriously. What the fuck makes you think you deserve my naked tired ass, fresh from an accident on the I95, which I had to walk home from?

Besides, what the fuck is “you deserve it” suppose to mean? Are you trying to imply that I should feel guilty about buying your odor eaters? Does my life suck that bad that I deserve an attorney with a bad hairpiece and a law degree from the Community College of Nicaragua? Am I normally incapable of living my fucking life, but somehow will find the strength to relocate next to an 8 lane highway because of your selfless, delightfully enchanted, encouragement? Maybe it’s that I’m just too stupid to lie down, so I must deserve your “Space Certified” sleeping apparatus to sooth my primate brain.

So you know what there you pity inducing, forcibly self-loathing, disappointment encouraging, marketing douche bags? You can go ahead and kiss my ass, because you deserve it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Some places speak distinctly

Over my life I have moved many times, more so in the last decade, and have come to realize that I miss certain select places within each of those locations just as much as I miss the people. And as it seems trite to drone on about friends and family, I would instead like to say something about the comfort of places lost.

I am currently living in Saginaw, MI and am not very happy about it. We had to move here so that my wife can finish the last of her med school. For this I blame neither her nor Saginaw. But still, I cannot find anywhere here that feels just right.

The last place we lived, in Roswell, Georgia, had two comfortable places located fairly close to each other. The first is in a small glass nook in which a breakfast table was located at my father and Sherry’s house. It was a wonderful place to curl up with a hot mug of tea and a good book when the weather darkened. The second was the most wonderful trail I have ever had the enjoyment of getting to know. It had everything from a 50 foot waterfall, to a covered bridge, to secluded paths weaving for miles over all sorts of terrain. I miss both immensely.

Before Roswell was a house in Anderson, SC near my mother and Edgar. The house lent itself to being welcoming though age and want -- but it was the distinct loop of streets around the house that seemed to speak the loudest. I was forever finding reasons to walk that route, dog happily trotting beside me, whenever possible.

Maine enjoyed a most warm bedroom paradise. It was that it was a converted attic bedroom above a second floor that we had rented out, and it was just the first place I remember feeling tangible love after leaving hurricane devastated Cayman. The bedroom itself was tiny, the bed was too small, and the floors all creaked. Still, it felt safe and needed me there.

In Grand Cayman we lived in two separate places. One for 90% of the time that we lived on the island, and the other for the last 10% before the storm. Neither felt hospitable in a warm way. Instead, there was a rarely touched beach way back in the National Reserve that drew Kela, our then new dog Lucy, and myself to it every time it could muster a voice strong enough to reach us. Hours, afternoons, thoughts, and memories slipped away there; always with no regrets and a promise to return. Hurricane Ivan destroyed that spot. I hope it returns to call someone else someday.

Previous to Cayman was Kennesaw, GA where Kela and I purchased a fixer-upper in hopes of something I no longer remember. Each room in the house took hours of work; carpet was laid everywhere, tiles redone, walls painted, decks rebuilt. Everywhere in that house felt mine and still does.

From there back I remember sparks of the fires of places. A spot near the river off of La View Circle, the top of the mountain near 7 Loves Lane in Woburn, my crawlspace in Dunwoody, the kitchen where I had a surprise party in the Order, the room in which I got to see Superman on my birthday, and the bed where I played with my Grandmother while my sister was born.

I don’t have a place that nurtures my soul here in Saginaw and I’m not sure I’ll find one. It’s not for lack of want or looking, but it still taunts me with its illusiveness. Maybe there isn’t one here. Maybe I don’t want to find one. Maybe it doesn’t want to find me. Or maybe one just doesn't exist.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Religious view on intelligent life elsewhere?

A new report released today shows that “two NASA space probes that visited Mars 30 years ago may have stumbled upon alien microbes on the Red Planet and inadvertently killed them” (1) and I’m just overly curious how the religious community will process and respond to alien life. Now I’m not saying that this find is in any way intelligent, but what happens when we do actually find another self-realized being?

I know that the Christian Church has no official position on this matter of intelligent alien life, but wouldn’t they immediately have to have one? How could they continue to assert their divine importance of humanity with existence of different life elsewhere? Could ancient scripture actually be stretched thinner to accept the entire universe and all of its new possibilities? Seeing how most religious text claimed man’s unique status, the earth’s position as the center of the universe, and that we were created in any perfect image, could it still claim to be valid? Or would the find of intelligent life elsewhere make most of our present organized religions so emaciated and archaic as to make them impossible to believe in?

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/01/07/mars.life.ap/index.html?section=cnn_latest

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Fun with Latin

Simple, convenient sayings for everyday use:

Vivere commune est, sed commune mereri.

Everybody lives, not everybody deserves to

***

Homines libenter id quod volunt credunt

Men easily believe what they want to

***

Bibamus moriendum est

Death is unavoidable; let’s have a drink

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Why they still believe

I have a number of friends who, after all that has happened and has been revealed since the beginning of the war in Iraq, still unwaveringly support the president’s decision to invade and still condone his actions in the decrease of government openness while similarly taking away individual citizen’s rights. Mutual friends have asked me why these individuals still continue to adamantly support this president who has been so wrong, unjust, and illegal on so many fronts. And I suppose, this is a question that many of you have about people you know as well. So let me take a minute to explain why this is so.

In the beginning of this conflict they listened to the government say again and again and again that something was true (or hinted and suggested and made connections – think about the nonexistent link between Iraq and al Qaeda), and then when the president finally denied the statement, its was not enough to penetrate what had already become a mountain of lies. This mountain of lies is part of the indoctrination process that imposes a willful blindness to evidence and contradictions.

These lies and contradictions are more readily embraced by the educated class to the degree that the more educated and specialized individuals become, the more interest they have invested in the system that provides them with special privileges and rewards for continued support. For this reason, we often see people whose consciousness has not been totally atrophied, yet they fail, sometimes willfully, to read reality critically and they often side with hypocrisy. In most cases, these individuals begin to believe their lies, and in their roles as functionaries of the state, they propagate these same lies.

This chosen ignorance is steadfast in its unawareness and hostile to anyone who dares try to disrupt their balancing act with what the rest of us would call 'reality'. Any attempts by anyone from friends and family, to simple facts from the media, are quickly internalized as mistruths meant to lead them to a path that they've already decided to be false. It is a sad place that they are in, but it is one that they have chosen because it reaffirms that they deserve to be part of the crowd who is told that they are right, just, and special for still believing.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Saddam taunted, hung, and made into a martyr



I understand the want and need for revenge - especially with someone like this who deserves it - but it does not solve anything. It does not bring back those people. It does not undo the pain their friends and family must still live with. All it does is creates an artificial end without addressing how and why a crime was allowed to happen.

There is no way for a government sanction killing without simply justifying more killing. It is obviously not a deterrent and only pushes the social acceptance that killing begets more killing. Only when that cycle is stopped can we move on to actual deterrents and social change towards acceptable revenge with a focus on initial prevention.

* Video does not show hanging

Monday, January 01, 2007

Lake Superior State University Banished Words List

Lake Superior State University proposes an exit strategy for 2006: the 32nd annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness.

On Dec. 31, 1975, former LSSU Public Relations Director Bill Rabe and some colleagues cooked up the whimsical idea to banish overused words and phrases and issued the first list on New Year's Day. Much to the delight of word enthusiasts everywhere, the list has stayed the course into a fourth decade.

Through the years, LSSU has received thousands of nominations for the list, which is closing in on its 1000th banishment.

This year's list is culled from more than 4,500 nominations received mostly through the university's website, www.lssu.edu/banished. Word-watchers target pet peeves from everyday speech, as well as from the news, fields of education, technology, advertising, politics and more. A committee makes a final cut in late December. The list is released on New Year's Day.

So gitmo chipotle-flavored eggnog, curl up with an undocumented alien, and cut-and-run to the 2007 list. It won't be coming to a theater near you.

GITMO -- The US military's shorthand for a base in Cuba drives a wedge wider than a split infinitive.

"When did the notorious Guantanamo Bay Naval Base change to 'Gitmo,' a word that conjures up an image of a fluffy and sweet character from a Japanese anime show?" -- Marcus W., St. Louis, Missouri.

COMBINED CELEBRITY NAMES -- Celebrity duos of yore -- BogCall (Bogart and Bacall), Lardy (Laurel and Hardy), and CheeChong (Cheech and Chong) -- just got lucky.

"It's bad enough that celebrities have to be the top news stories. Now we've given them obnoxious names such as 'Bragelina,' 'TomKat' and 'Bennifer.'" -- M. Foster, Port Huron, Michigan.

"It's so annoying, idiotic and so lame and pathetic that it's 'lamethetic.'" -- Ed of Centreville, Virginia.

AWESOME -- Given a one-year moratorium in 1984, when the Unicorn Hunters banished it "during which it is to be rehabilitated until it means 'fear mingled with admiration or reverence; a feeling produced by something majestic." Many write to tell us there's no hope and it's time for "the full banishment."

"The kind of tennis shoes you wear, no matter how cute, don't fit the majestic design of the word." -- Leila Hill, Damascus, Maryland.

"That a mop, a deodorant or a dating service can be called 'awesome' demonstrates the limited vocabularies of the country's copywriters." -- Tom Brinkmoeller, Orlando, Florida.

"Overused and meaningless.' My mother was hit by a car.' Awesome. 'I just got my college degree.' Awesome." -- Robert Bron, Pattaya, Chonburi, Thailand.

GONE/WENT MISSING -- "It makes 'missing' sound like a place you can visit, such as the Poconos. Is the person missing, or not? She went there but maybe she came back. 'Is
missing' or 'was missing' would serve us better." -- Robin Dennis, Flower Mound, Texas.

PWN or PWNED -- Thr styff of lemgendz: Gamer defeats gamer, types in "I pwn you" rather than I OWN you.

"This word is just an overly used Internet typo. It has been overused to the point that people who play online games are using it in everyday speech." -- Tory Rowley, Corunna, Michigan.

NOW PLAYING IN THEATERS -- Heard in movie advertisements. Where can we see that, again?

"How often do movies premiere in laundromats or other places besides theaters? I know that when I want to see a movie I think about going to a shoe store." -- Andrea May, Shreveport, Louisiana.

WE'RE PREGNANT -- Grounded for nine months.

"Were men feeling left out of the whole morning sickness/huge belly/labor experience? You may both be expecting, but only one of you is pregnant." -- Sharla Hulsey, Sac City, Iowa.

"I'm sure any woman who has given birth will tell you that 'WE' did not deliver the baby." -- Marlena Linne, Greenfield, Indiana.

UNDOCUMENTED ALIEN -- "If they haven't followed the law to get here, they are by definition 'illegal.' It's like saying a drug dealer is an 'undocumented pharmacist.'" -- John Varga, Westfield, New Jersey.

ARMED ROBBERY/DRUG DEAL GONE BAD -- From the news reports. What degree of "bad" don't we understand? Larry Lillehammer of Bonney Lake, Washington, asks, "After it stopped going well and good?"

TRUTHINESS – "This word, popularized by The Colbert Report and exalted by the American Dialectic Society's Word of the Year in 2005 has been used up. What used to ring true is getting all the truth wrung out of it." -- Joe Grimm, Detroit, Michigan.

ASK YOUR DOCTOR -- The chewable vitamin morphine of marketing.

"Ask your doctor if 'fill in the blank' is right for you! Heck, just take one and see if it makes you 'fill in the blank' or get deathly ill." -- R.C. Amundson, Oakville, Washington.

"I don't think my doctor would appreciate my calling him after seeing a TV ad." -- Peter B. Liveright, Lutherville, Maryland.

CHIPOTLE – Smoked dry over medium heat.

"Prior to 2005 . . . a roasted jalapeno. Now we have a 'chipotle' burrito with 'chipotle' marinated meat, 'chipotle' peppers, sprinkled with a 'chipotle' seasoning and smothered in a 'chipotle' sauce. Time to give this word a rest." – Rob Zeiger, Bristol, Pennsylvania.

i-ANYTHING -- 'e-Anything' made the list in 2000. Geoff Steinhart of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, says tech companies everywhere have picked this apple to the core. "Turn on…tune in…and drop out."

"Banish any word that starts with it. i am just tired of it. it's getting old. -- Brad Butler, Adrian, Michigan.

SEARCH -- Quasi-anachronism. Placed on one-year moratorium.

"Might as well banish it. The word has been replaced by 'google.'" -- Michael Raczko, Swanton, Ohio.

HEALTHY FOOD -- Point of view is everything.

Someone told Joy Wiltzius of Fort Collins, Colorado, that the tuna steak she had for lunch "sounded healthy." Her reply: "If my lunch were healthy, it would still be swimming somewhere. Grilled and nestled in salad greens, it's 'healthful.'"

BOASTS -- See classified advertisements for houses, says Morris Conklin of Lisboa, Portugal, as in "master bedroom boasts his-and-her fireplaces -- never 'bathroom apologizes for cracked linoleum,' or 'kitchen laments pathetic placement of electrical outlets.'"

LSSU accepts nominations for the banished-words list throughout the year. To submit your nomination for the 2008 list, go to http://www.lssu.edu/banished/submit.php.