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.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Make sure that you watch the whole thing, especially the background, and see if you can pick out the not so subtle symbolism.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Menacing Mud Flaps of Mayhem

Above is a picture of my car after an 18 wheeler lost a retred that flew across the highway into high speed traffic. There is over $1000 worth of damage in the form of dents, scratches, and broken pieces. Not to mention that I had my entire family in the car while the huge chunk of rubber was hurdling across the highway, sending drivers skidding in every direction.

This is not the first time that I have had the displeasure of dealing with the fallout from big rigs on the highway. Below is a picture of one of my previous cars after I was forced onto an uneven breakdown lane at high speed, lost control, spun out and hit the guard rail.

And although multiple people were injured in these accidents, with loads of witnesses, neither of these truckers was found.

My friend Tom swears that when he is Ruler of the World, trains will once again be the preferred method of mass transporting and big rigs will be banned from all but short distances. And while he may not get my support for ruler of everything, he does have my vote for future head of the US Department of Transportation.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Subtle as a Clown on Fire

This blog post is a message to all of those out there in the US who have lost the ability to convey any form of subtly whatsoever. So in the spirit of blunt language that leaves nothing to the imagination, I would like to formally ask everyone who doesn’t know the art of subtly to go fuck themselves.

Please let me explain.

Over the last decade or so America has been experiencing a time of wealth not seen for several generations. We are living in the time of abundance, where things are cheap and life is good for most people. This has created a society that thrives on whatever is new, the best, and, above all else, as showy as possible. Women wearing clothes that were once the fabric of art nouveau couches from the 1960s, men have labels so large that they might as well be price tags, we now believe that we are only the sum of our sums.

The only possible path from where we are now is embarrassment (see the fallout from the fashions of the 1970s) or clothing that flashes your net worth across your chest. So let me suggest a couple of ground rules for you to remember before purchasing anything new.

If a shirt looks like it could be hiding a 3D Magic Eye image, don’t buy it.
If the label is large enough to contain a storyline, don’t buy it.
If a shirt is cleverer than you, don’t buy it.
If something is leather covered and disposable, don’t buy it.
If you are considering designer clothes for someone or something that can’t read the label, don’t buy it.
And last but certainly not least:
Do not advertise on your ass unless you are actually selling your ass.

Breaking any of these rules will make you the major form of ridicule five years from now. Just think back to all of those people smiling like jackasses in striped polyester suits or bellbottoms with 12” cuffs and realize that will be you in a couple years if you keep this shit up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monty Python launches YouTube Channel

Monty Python has launched a YouTube channel. And although the page features a slew of clips from the show, most noteworthy is its featured video, which blames users for "ripping" the show off.

"For three years you YouTubers have been ripping us off, taking tens of thousands of our videos and putting them on YouTube," it says on the Monty Python YouTube page. "Now the tables are turned. It's time for us to take matters into our own hands.

"We know who you are, we know where you live and we could come after you in ways too horrible to tell. But being the extraordinarily nice chaps we are, we've figured a better way to get our own back: We've launched our own Monty Python channel on YouTube.

The post claims Monty Python has put an end to "those crap quality videos" that have been posted across YouTube and will start delivering "HQ videos" from the "vault."

All videos posted on the Monty Python channel will be free to view, but the show doesn't want viewers to watch the free shows and do nothing. Instead, it asks for something in return.

"None of your driveling, mindless comments," Monty Python wrote on its YouTube page. "Instead, we want you to click on the links, buy our movies and TV shows, and soften our pain and disgust at being ripped off all these years."

So far, the Monty Python page features 24 videos, but more clips are promised in the future.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Entry for November 15, 2008

Unhappy People Watch Lots More TV
Jeanna Bryner - Senior Writer -

Unhappy people glue themselves to the television 30 percent more than happy people.

The finding, announced on Thursday, comes from a survey of nearly 30,000 American adults conducted between 1975 and 2006 as part of the General Social Survey.

While happy people reported watching an average of 19 hours of television per week, unhappy people reported 25 hours a week. The results held even after taking into account education, income, age and marital status.

In addition, happy individuals were more socially active, attended more religious services, voted more and read a newspaper more often than their less-chipper counterparts.

The researchers are not sure, though, whether unhappiness leads to more television-watching or more viewing leads to unhappiness.

In fact, people say they like watching television: Past research has shown that when people watch television they enjoy it. In these studies, participants reported that on a scale from 0 (dislike) to 10 (greatly enjoy), TV-watching was nearly an 8.

But perhaps the high from watching television doesn't last.

"These conflicting data suggest that TV may provide viewers with short-run pleasure, but at the expense of long-term malaise," said researcher John Robinson, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, College Park.

In this scenario, even the happiest campers could turn into Debbie-downers if they continue to stare at the boob-tube. The researchers suggest that over time, television-viewing could push out other activities that do have more lasting benefits. Exercise and sex come to mind, as do parties and other forms of socialization known to have psychological benefits.

Or, maybe television is simply a refuge for people who are already unhappy.

"TV is not judgmental nor difficult, so people with few social skills or resources for other activities can engage in it," Robinson and UM colleague Steven Martin write in the December issue of the journal Social Indicators Research.

They add, "Furthermore, chronic unhappiness can be socially and personally debilitating and can interfere with work and most social and personal activities, but even the unhappiest people can click a remote and be passively entertained by a TV."

The researchers say follow-up studies are needed to tease out the relationship between television and happiness.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Walking With God

I once met God while I was walking through the woods. I said, “There are a lot of people looking for you”.

“Yeah,” he said, “I’ve been here the whole time.”

“Really, I mean, there are some vague images of you, but nothing that we would consider to be definite or absolute.”

“Oh, that’s because I’m not always visible to those who don’t venture this far”.

“I see” I said.

“You know, we are one in the same, you and I. We have the same history, come from the same place, and are brothers.”

“Wow, I always wondered, but it’s not like you were around to answer questions. We all would like to spend some time talking to you.”

“I think that I’m ready to see the world and answer any questions that you might have”.

So God and I walked out of the woods, hand in hand, and it was there that we happened upon our first group of nonbelievers. Some screamed, most ran, and a few who were faithful stood there in awe. Eventually a small child came forward and approached God. Innocently she reached up to take his free hand and he took it in hers.

After a few minutes of us all staring and basking in God’s’ presence, I asked the little girl what she thought of Him. She smiled and looked up into his large face and said, “My Grandmother always said that you existed, but no one believed her. Now I can go back and tell her that Bigfoot is real”.

It was then that I realized my mistake.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Atlas Knows That He Will Fail

Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor - Norman Mailer

No man is comfortable with himself in relation to his responsibility. Our role models are stoic men of few words and unfaltering action: as all men are expected to quietly lead ourselves to the slaughter for the good of others. If we are allowed to live through our lives, it is only to be silent and strong role models for the next generation.

Unfortunately I am not a simple man and have the same expected weight to carry as my forefathers. This has led to my realization that martyrdom, no matter how romantic, is no way to live a life.

That being said, inflicting pain on others is something for up which I will not stand. If given the choice between self-sacrifice and harming others, I will obviously offer myself up for vicarious atonement. I am not a brave in any way, and recoil at the thought of being recognized for such an action, but see it as the only real choice.

This is not an affirmation of weakness laced with anger or silent rage for my gender. Instead, I plea for patience for those of us who must deal with someone like me, who has an equally conflicting situationally-driven paranoid endurance and a desire for simplistic character. I wish that reality gave those of us with strong backs less to carry, but evolution always proves that we have them for a reason.

So I accept my position, but only on the terms that everyone understands that it is mostly unrealistic and I will occasionally fail.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

and then the dust settled...

"This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America." - President Barack Obama

So now what?

Feel free to rearrange these in the order that you believe that they should. Here is the quick jot list for the next four years:

End the War in Iraq
Rebuild our aged national infrastructure
Put education back as a high priority
Push a national science mandate
Find a way to make healthcare available or affordable for all
Fix our international reputation
Complete the War in Afghanistan
Move towards energy independence
Reverse the slide of our dollar
Stop selling ourselves to China
Repair the damage and find a balance with the environment
Shore up our borders
Deal with the threat of terrorism in a realistic way

Pick one and get to work.