05/07/2011

The long awaited, "Blog after the last one."

Blog on blog on harvest moon

Up in the sky

I ain't had no blogging

Since I was so sick that I prayed to die

prayed to die

Prayed to die...

 

In the words of Jack Nicholson. " You can't handle the truth!"

 

04/08/2011

Unflappable

Time to use this ridiculously small keyboard again. It's not me either, my daughter who actually can type, also thinks it's ridiculously small. But, it's wireless and so we're all supposed to drop to our knees and worship the ground it writes on.

I gave the old one away along with the accompanying computer, the old dell was full of tricks but this one is an apple and oooooh an apple. There are things I can't master with this machine, ohhhhhh, the pain.

As you can deduce, if you follow my blog at all, that I'm feeling better. A week at death's door, two days in the hospital, having every Dr. this side of the western hemisphere ask me the same questions twice, some IV fluids and near starvation, was all it took. Now to try to get back in shape.

No, not the shape I was in when I was in my best of shape, that's out. I just want to be strong enough to handle the operation and recovery.  Wouldn't you give it your all if your life was on the line? well mine is.

I walked almost 3 miles today, ran some errands, came home and craved coffee. This is unusual stuff for me, for well over a couple of months the thought of coffee repulsed me. I drank a cup and a half of Columbian. I felt good. Nancy made some cheese ravioli in butter and garlic. She passed out after dinner and haven't heard her make a squeak. I did the dishes for the second time today, did the laundry folded the laundry and I'm wide awake.

This morning I spotted the blankets I've used over the past week and I must say, they frightened me. I felt as if I wrapped myself in either of them, I'd be inviting the nightmares and sickness back. I know it's irrational but that didn't keep me from avoiding them. I remember once, waking up as a child, after a particularly hellish nightmare, and asking my mother if dreams can hurt you. I don't think she was prepared for the question, I don't remember getting an answer, and now my kids are grown, but I'd answer yes ... Well that may scare them too much, so change that to "The Easter Bunny told me, no".

Today and yesterday I was unflappable. I caught a glimpse of what life is. The trees, the skys, things just the way they are ...

04/02/2011

The state of the state

Surpriseligly, I feel better today.  This week and last week have been a whirl of doctor visits, tests and feeling very sick. The kicker is the tremor and the weakness that I've felt. I guess that makes two kickers.

My world consists or the red chair, the TV and sometimes, the couch. I haven't had to take a bathroom cabinet full of new drugs though, if anything the doctors cut back on them. But I do take a laxative to flush the ammonia out of my system. The increased ammonia levels are[[[[ responsible for my confusion. I couln't write the bills out yesterday. When your liver is shot, no job is too small and no number is too big to trip you up. You feel the ultimate in frustration and you cry.

Maybe my crying or all the good people that say the'll pray for me turned the tables a bit, but today, I felt better. I wish I could say I saw death as a personage like in the Ingrid Bergman movie where the noble night plays him a game of Chess for his life ... Maybe if we thought in symbols more ...

But, unless an accident is involved, death comes in sickness. A bummer for modern man who should die on the battlefield, holding his talisman and knowing no fear.

Today was a reprieve.  In fact, the medical community has given me a reprieve. If they call with a liver I have to be ready to leave right NOW. The second time Liver surgery is more difficult, the mortality rate soars around and you have to pretty sick to begin with before they'll consider you for a transplant. A second transplant is something that a lot of hopitals won't even do.

So pray for this deceased body and this bereft soul, some day I may do the same for you.   Gene

03/17/2011

The Arty Biffman Show

Arty:

Hello, this is Arty. What do you want to talk about?

Caller:

I just want to say that you're the greatest Arty.

Arty:

That's been well established caller, do you have anything else?

Caller:

... welfare, taxes, republican drivel, litany of republican  talking points, etc., etc.

Arty:

Great call, caller thanks.

Arty:
As you know I'm a Independent so I'm in no way biased. If you believe otherwise, you're ignorant or a hater. I make a lot of money so don't mess with me. I'm King of the Hill here. Some of my best friends are police. I love police. I'd like to be sodomized by a whole bunch of young, handsome cocks, I mean cops.I can say whatever I want and you can't stop me or shut me up, even if I'm wrong or don't know what the hell I'm talking about. I don't know why so many people say they hate me. I have kids and a wife, I live in affluence, in a beautiful house and you're jealous. When I talk about poor people, I don't have a clue, why should I? I may contradict myself constantly but that's part of my charm. Tomorrow or a week from now I won't give a shit about what I'm outraged about today. I use the facts I like and throw the rest away. If you disagree with me on the phone eventually I'll say something rude and won't give you a chance to talk, so call me if you disagree and you'll go to the front of the line. I'm fair, ask my black sidekick Elvira and she's black! Did I mention she's black? She's my go-to-negro. My dad worked harder than your dad. He a Jim dandy crackerjack ace. My mother is a saint and I'll kill you if you say anything bad about her. The trouble with the world today, parents don't use discipline anymore, I had to kneel on rice 2 hours every day! If you poor people weren't so busy with your guns, drugs, welfare programs and irresponsible screwing maybe you could someday hope to be decent parents too but I doubt it. And yes, cops shoot innocent people a lot and most of them are black, but cops, by and large, are good and because I say this I can usually get out of most driving violations. I live for ME, not anyone else. I pretend to care but I don't, it's a job like anything else. I try to hide my contempt for most people behind a mask of righteousness. I hate unions, I love unions, I'm in a union, unions are destroying the country I forget why, I'll have to ask Mike Pinhead coming up next he knows everything too. Thank God I can go home in the early afternoon and know I've, in some small way, made America a better place to live. Being a kiss up, kick down guy is great! Hahahahahah, what a life I have. I even claim to be an investigative reporter, I wouldn't know a fact if it womped me upside my head. You stupid mindless drones, hahahahahha ... Now a word from our sponsors ... Mostly that charlatan hypnotist guy ... hahahahaha ... he has as good a racket as I do ...

03/15/2011

Mark my words

It's just a matter of time before the first republican spins the nuclear disaster in Japan as a good thing.   Gene

03/08/2011

Signed, sealed and de-livered

Didja ever notice the cold indifference that sets in, oft times, when you get what you want? Maybe my case isn't typical, after all, it's a life and death issue thinly disguised behind a series of choices and decisions that all must remain within strict tolerances to insure my survival. Still, that initial first step, the one that paves the way for the progression of more dramatic steps has been met with a cynical rejection, as if to say, sure, I've finally been re-listed for a second transplant but am I up to the task and whole heartedly willing and capable of taking that chance? Just as importantly, are the doctors?

Although I've considered death as a viable alternative to suffering, the mortality rate for dying in surgery having a second transplant is high. The second time around the myriad of tiny blood vessels needing reconnected are more brittle and delicate and recovery is always difficult.

Complications arise and while some can be dealt with, some amount to nothing more than a crap shoot whether or not they heal.  

I know, in the end, if I'm eventually next in line to receive a 2nd new liver, that I'll take the chance, but not awakening on the operating table isn't the way I ever fancied going. It's too passive a death and I've been anything but passive most of my life.


Gene

03/04/2011

The revolution WILL be televised

03/01/2011

Not available in stores

Persona non grata:   

Gee, Gene, you've been spending an awful lot of time in your                                                         basement, what gives?

 

Gene:                        

I've been working on a new invention.

 

Persona non grata:   

Really? What is it?

 

Gene:                       

It's a revolutionary device I call the UST.

 

Persona non grata:   

The UST? Just UST?

Gene:                       

Yes, just UST. It's an acronym for the Ultmate Sex Toy.

Persona non grata    

How about TUST for THE Ultimate Sex Toy.

Gene:                       

No, just UST.

 

Persona non grata:   

UST?

Gene                        

Yes, UST.

Persona non grata:   

It looks foreboding.

Gene:                       

No you idiot, it's not for boating, it's for sex.

Persona non grata:   

Please explain.

Gene:                       

I thought you'd never ask. First you turn it on and then it turns you on, ha ha ha, a little sex machine humor. After you flip the switch, you put on these 3D glasses and dial up what you'd like to have sex as: an aardvark, an iguana, or a tree for example.Their will be apps for simple organisms and one celled animals eventually.

Persona non grata   

Fascinating!

Gene:                       

Wait, don't be fascinated yet! Over here you dial who or what you want to have sex with. Right now I'm a fruit fly about to have sex with an elephant.

Persona non grata:   

Is that even possible?

Gene:                        

Ngog ... ngog ... ngog ... WHOOOOO... oooo... oooo ... grable de groin etc ... etc ...

Persona non grata:  

My God man, that was ugly.... Do you mind if I try?


Gene:                         

Be my guest.


Persona non grata:    

Hmmmm ... I can't find an Ibex ...

Gene:                       

Spanish? Alpine? Nubian? Siberian?

 

Persona non grata:   

Spanish?! (drool)

Lovingly brought to you by persona non grata and Gene

02/22/2011

Still it cried "Sleep no more!"--Macbeth, also referred to, since saying its name carries a curse in the theater world, as, "That Scottish play"


Yesterday, I caught up with the sleep fairy, tackled her and made her cry "Uncle."

I have lousy sleep habits, lousy eating habits, a liver turning to rock, but, at least, my personal hygiene habits are average.

Is anyone ever happy being average? Don't we all want to be special (?) but isn't there an inherent contradiction here, It's like when Garrison Keillor talks about his imaginary home town, Lake Wobegone, and he says, "All the women are strong and all the children are above average." If we were all "above average" then that would become the new average and so we'd all be average again, but he's a humorist and humorists have been know to slip internal contradictions in their routine just to keep us on our toes.

There's a big difference between being a 'humorist' and a comedian. A humorist is more cerebral than a comedian, you'll never see a humorist grabbing his nut sack or using wisecracks against a not especially receptive audience. Humorist will use satire, more of a witty sarcasm

I remember when Calvin and Hobbs ran out of insults to hurl against one another, Calvin said, "This is you," and ran around in circles making strange faces and noises. Hobbs' retort was, "Oh yeah? You go like this," and then he ran around in circles making strange faces and noises. This was satire at its finest.

Bill O'Reilly doesn't get satire and takes everything literally. So if you say, on national Television, "I'm Bill O'Reilly and I'm looking out for YOU," and then you bug your eyes out of their sockets and spin them in opposing circles, the next day he will tell his audience that his eyes are not capable of such maneuvers and then he'll invite an ophthalmologist on his show to confirm that he has never done an eyebugprotrusion followed by an eye spin.

It's becomes clear that the more open and fluid amongst us are the ones best suited to satire. We don't need to laugh like Hyenas all the time, we enjoy a subtle joke too. Most of all, we enjoy when stereo types are portrayed in such a way that we recognize their behavior but it's either taken to such an absurd level that they become caricatures of themselves or they put themselves in such ridiculous situations that they have to enlist even more ridiculous behavior to extricate themselves, think Jackie Gleason or Archie Bunker.

If, like me and you've reach your 6th decade and you haven't made your mark, you have probably lived a pretty average life. Some people combat this simple truth by becoming notorious which is much easier than becoming successful. Take the guy that shot John Lennon, that bastard will live forever in history. I would rather he'd have shot John Lennon because he hated him and not because he admired him and wanted to become him.

History is full of people doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons and we all have our personal history that never will be told: the moments when we were noble, insufferable, generous or mean. Each one of us is special but only in relation to how we've lived our lives and how our lives have effected others. This is probably for the best but those nights when I can tackle the sleep fairy and wring her gifts from her have become the sweetest and most precious in my abysmal world.  Gene






02/20/2011

Wisconsin, home of the 40 hour work week, unemployment compensation and worker's compensation to name a few

If there were ever a lesson on "How to peacefully protest a governmental decision" it's on display right now in Madison, Wisconsin and it has been all week. It's something our democracy can be proud of. For those that don't understand that taking to the streets is a last and usually, final, resort and in most places on the globe, ends very badly, I ask you, what do you stand for?

I saw a woman interviewed that called the 50 to 60 thousand people in the street "Babies that insisted on getting their own way." She said she had a small business and why should public employees get such extravagant  benefits when she had to pay though the nose? To her I ask, what would the average salary be if for the last 40 to 50 years it would have kept up with the cost of living since 1960 when 35% of the work force was unionized? Maybe if she understood the numbers and how the middle class has been sucking hind teat for the last 50 years, she'd be on the anti-Republican Governor Scott Walker and anti-Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald side.

In 1960, again when union membership was in the 35% range, according to the 1960 Bureau of Census, Department of Commerce the average wage was 5600 dollars. If, according to Tom's inflation calculator, the wages in 1960, under the cumulative inflation rate (CPI-U annual average), which is one way of averaging yearly rates, would be today 41,906.

Using the option feature on Tom's calculator, under the, US medical cost inflation heading, if wages went up at the same rate as medical expense since 1960, the average wage today would be 101,120.

If you want to take the next logical step and average those two out, the average wage, in order to keep up with inflation since 1960 would be, 71,513. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Mr. and Mrs. Average Tea Party, because my bet is you don't make anything near that. 
>
Many believe there's a greater motivation behind Governor Walker's plan and it's something that the republicans have relentlessly pursued; the complete annihilation of the unions. The Union has offered to acquiesce to parts of the Walker's plan: for nearly all state, local and school employees to pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care premiums but they aren't willing to budge on the collective bargaining issue. 
>
The financial part of Walker's plan could be sealed right now but that's the smokescreen issue behind which his true intentions lie. It's all or nothing because anything less than all the marbles won't assure the future collapse of the Wisconsin union and if they can beat Wisconsin, they believe, unions across the country will begin to fall like dominoes.

Since our right wing Supreme Court has ruled in the Citizens United decision that corporations can give unlimited campaign contributions anonymously to politicians, the influx of campaign money to republicans has  increased exponentially according to BlueNC,
a community-driven website, promoting progressive values and critical thinking that rely's on community members for contributions, content, criticism and collaboration.


* Spending by outside groups jumped to $294.2 million in the 2010 election cycle, a nearly four-fold increase from the $68.9 million spent in 2006, the last mid-terms. Nearly half of that ($138.5 million) came from just 10 groups, with the biggest share by far benefiting Republicans.

* In 60 out of 75 congressional races, the candidate benefiting most from outside spending won the race -- a remarkable 80 percent win rate.

* The source of the money flooding into elections after Citizens United largely hidden: Because many of the independent groups aren't required to disclose their donors, barely a third -- 34 percent -- of the groups reported which people and groups gave them money.
>
The only competition to the huge amounts being donated by corporate interests are the largest unions. They are the only ones big enough to compete. It naturally follows; kill the unions and you have won the class war completely, totally and inexorably.

For now, the Governor is retractable in his stance to eliminate collective bargaining for most civil service employees who, mostly, belong to Wisconsin's AFSCME:


Maybe the woman I quoted doesn't care that rationality bespeaks a different reality than hers, maybe she's like the tea party people that show up and echo the things that they've heard from Fox News or from Limbaugh or from Sharron Angles, or from Sarah Palin or from Michele Bachmann or Ann Coulter, they, tea party people, only want to cut government spending until they see  that they too have a dog in the fight, that it's not some ideological, mythical dog, it's one having its teeth and claws sharpened right now and it's being trained to attack them as well.   Gene

02/19/2011

Between the Folds

Thanks to Beth,

I haven't watched the video yet but intend to. This was done with one piece of paper.articles_1.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

"Between the Folds," a 60-minute documentary that profiles the world's greatest origami artists. And not for the origami. For the artists. For the inspiration. [To buy the DVD of "Between the Folds" from Amazon, click here. To buy or rent a download of the movie and watch it now, click here.]

02/17/2011

Dueling fuckups (insert banjo music here)

 

Lately, two aspects of my life have mirrored one another in their fuckedupedness, meaning, they are equally fucked up. One is going though the steps necessary to give a computer away and starting a new, different style computer. In other words, cleaning up and uninstalling crap from a Dell with a Microsoft operating system and doing all the things that you have to do so your daughter doesn't know you frequent porn sites, plus transferring your records: bills, correspondence, mostly consisting of irate letters, quotes and stories off the Internet that I thought someday may be useful to me, things I've scanned and my photos to a flash drive and reinstalling them in my new iMAC.

The second is getting a big, old, heavy and heavy duty band saw that I bought for a song and dance through Craigslist up and running. I've spent hours on each. It's really not a fair comparison because I've spent much more time doing the computer thing.

About a month ago, it may have also been 3 months ago, I bought a disk that overwrites the hard drive so nothing is recoverable. You can use it to erase everything or just eliminate and overwrite by a hundred times, if that's what you want, traces of anything left in the free space created when you uninstall the garbage and mysterious programs that you thought were free but weren't and so you downloaded them only to be left holding the bag filled with spyware, malware and viruses, etc.

I vacillated on spending the 63 dollars for what I guessed would be large enough capacity flash drives, they were suprisingly expensive. After searching Consumer Reports for ones that were supposedly of good quality I accidentally bought three 8 gigabit flash drives.

On the site that I bought them I somehow had "one click shopping"  turned on. You don't have to confirm the sale when it is and, seeing how much they cost, I thought that even though they were in my virtual shopping cart the sale wouldn't go through because I never confirmed it.

To my surprise, a few days later I received an email confirming that I had bought them. I bitterly complained but to no avail since they had already been shipped. I didn't contest the sale and because I had spent a reasonable sum buying them, I felt obligated to use them.

Figuring how to use them to download from Microsoft wasn't hard. It was pretty much cut and dry and I was satisfied that maybe I could someday claim to actually know what I was doing when I used a PC. Then my printer went out. No matter what I tried to print off the Internet it printed in some kind of code that only 3 people in the whole universe can understand. I farted around for days. I went to Best Buy and talked to their Geeks, they seemed as mystified as me but one of them ask a question that was later to become the key that unlocked the whole enchilada.

He ask what browser I used. I told him I had tried several browsers and nada. He then said the two magic words; Firefox, which is really one magic word. I went home, downloaded Firefox, did a google search for nothing in particular, hit print, and, WHALA! Hahahahahaahah Yeah ME!

Lost in the telling is how my free aol email program completely stopped working, how I uninstalled and reinstalled HP Photo Premier and Word perfect at least 3 times, downloaded useless drivers from the internet and even bought a stupid registry cleaner. The Geeks said unequivocally, every registry cleaner that you buy off the Internet is a scam, that the " search for errors"  thing that they do is also bogus and that it's more than likely to infect your computer with something and/or steal your personal information.

Satisfied that I had done the best I could in trying to return the computer to it's virgin state, I did one last thing to complete the cycle. I bought a antivirus download and installed it. I have been anti-anitvirus ever since I uninstalled the free Norton program that Comcast offers and found that my computer ran faster without it. I spent 30 bucks for something I'll never see or use again, what a sucker...

The band saw that had been competing for my attention had all but given up. I stroked it and said, "Didn't I take your motor out to disassemble and completely clean it ? Didn't I have plans to go over every nut and bolt and either tighten it or replace it if it were bad? Didn't I have plans to paint the whole thing? It was an old Craftsman, and like a true craftsman, it understood and knew I would do my best to restore it to its former glory but, like the computers, this road too was fraught with unforeseen difficulties and obstacles.

To make a long story short, for a change, one of the main shafts that holds the pulley that drives the blade is galled and for years(?) the pulley has been slipping, digging in, and destroying this shaft. To make it right will require substantial time and effort and, I hope, not money. For the lack of tightening a set screw I got screwed.

Two more paragraphs about the computer issues, starting up the Apple iMac, I could not get online. I called Comcast, I called Apple, I stood on my head and recited the Battle Hymn of the Republic, Finally, my last call to Apple, the tech suggested that the Ethernet cable might be bad. I've heard shit like this all my life, translated, it means: I don't have a clue as to what's wrong and I'm grasping at straws here, hoping to get you off the phone for now, and you'll become so aggravated, you'll have a heart attack and die and I won't have to deal with you again.

I looked in my forgotten box of computer junk, sure enough, there was an Ethernet cable brand new still in the package. I tired it and it worked. I was elated. I figured out how to upload my flash drives into my computer and I was set. I was, once again, the King of the World. Bill time rolled around, as it does this time of month and so, haven the day before packed all my troubles in and old kit bag and smiled, smiled, smiled, I attempted to open my personal finances where I record check numbers, amounts paid, dates and anything that, later, I might need to verify a bill was paid when the postman either lost my mail or had thrown it in the trash so that could go home early.

A message appeared, "this file is read only." WTF %&#^$^%R*#(@*&$^#^%%@%^$&%*(#)*^(#)#(*%))%$*#&%$*^&$*&$% Sickening bastard, Motherfucker, lousy two bit whore, I hope your balls rot you ignorant piece of shit computer!

Until then, happy trails to you.... Gene

 

06:38 Posted in Leisure | Permalink | Comments (1)

02/10/2011

Our Egyption policy, is it wishy or washy?

Once again the US has put itself between a rock and a hard place. We preach democracy like demagogues on fire and yet when it comes to supporting one in Egypt we do the "safe" thing. This goes to the root of who and what we are with our political leaders acting as our surrogates. Surely Mr. Average won't speak up, he's had the fight drummed out of him at every turn. To me, it's amazing the republicans couldn't muster the votes to make certain provisions of the Patriot Act permanent. Maybe that's reason for hope or maybe that's just the sane side of the Tea Party actualizing itself.
 
Whichever is the case, our whole policy of appeasement is based on keeping the wheels of special interests turing. In all things. as a nation,  we delay the inevitable until it turns into a vicious monster. Why do we do it (?) because we're cowards in denial. As long as you can buy a gun at your corner grocery store, and effectively that's how we treat gun sales, we create the illusion that we are somehow safe.
 
The republican arm of the NRA, which is pretty much the entire republican party, Are the same people who love to tout their faith and family values and yet when it comes to policy they refuse to believe anything that the can't see or touch, i.e., investment in high speed rail. They seem to think that public transportation is socialism, what crap!  Since they can't "see" the benefits almost immediately, they couldn't possibly exist. Ditto education, health care and the list goes on and on.
 
Since Reagan created the fictional Welfare Queen it gave the conservatives carte blanch to hate the poor who, in their view, have no morals or qualms about stealing and to further embrace the wealthy, of whom all good things must spring. The wealthy don't give a tinker's damn about the USA, America, or more precisely, working people. We are the flotsam and jetsam washing up on the shores of their "Shining City on a Hill."
 
They proudly proclaim, "Let them eat cake" while they tool around the globe in search of cheaper labor markets, no regulations and a people so desperate that they will work like slaves for coolie wages.
 
The Egyptians know this better than we do. They would rather start from scratch than adopt our form of capitalism. They have a tough road to hoe but then, so do we.   Gene

02/09/2011

Donald Rumsfeld, an excerpt from his new book

I was eating my cookies and milk when George burst into my office,  I dropped my milk all over my papers. George jumped up on my desk and began to shout, "Bomb Iraq, Bomb Iraq, drop what you're doing and bomb Iraq!" "Mr. President, I just dropped my milk," I said with a hint of ironic humor.

"This is serious Rummy," he said  He knew I hated to be called "Rummy." "Why?" I asked him. The spittle started to fly, Nine eleven, WMDs, Saddam killed my daddy."But your daddy isn't dead Mr. President," "YES HE IS!" He shouted. "Look Mr. President. why don't you take a nap and when you wake up everything will be ok again,. just like the time you saw Satan in the oval office going through your desk."

"No Rummy, this has to be done, can't you hear history calling?" "I hear Laura calling you for dinner, if that's what you mean." I called out to Laura, "He's in here!" She came in, long suffering Laura Bush, I wanted to grab her and slam HER down on the desk, Suddenly  I heard The New Seekers somewhere in the background and she started to sing, "Hey there Georgier Boy, swinging down the street so fancy free..." It worked, George had fallen asleep curled up in the fetal position with his thumb in his mouth. Thanks Laura, I said, but I don't think we've heard the last of this...  

               Gene with the help of his good friend, Donald Rumfeld

02/08/2011

Rachel Maddow breaks down the new republican agenda

Break it down ya'll, 

Fun and Games in 2011

Pittsburgh has taken the loss to the Packers rather well. I haven't heard an outcry to skewer Big Ben and roast him over an open pit in our tax dollar, bought and probably never completely paid for, Three Rivers Stadium. Collectively we know that The Packers played a better game and deserved it. The commercials on the other hand were mostly the work of crass amateurs.
There were two Pepsi commercials where people got smacked in the head with flying cans of Pepsi. One of the poor unfortunates also sustained a groin injury, also from a flying can of Pepsi. The Dorito commercials ranged from stupid to disgusting. No mammals were injured during their filming however.
 
Immediately after the Super Bowl there was a fast food commercial, When the person devouring the sandwich or whatever it might have been (deep fried chicken butts?) was asked, at one point in a elevator (?) How did it taste? The person asking was smacked hard across the face registering a knowing look, part envy, part submissive compliance at the consumption of said foodstuff.
 
These commercials are, no doubt, the work of 20 and 30 somethings, people who consider The Three Stooges high art. I have no qualms with their immaturity, I was the king of immaturity well into my 40s but I do have an issue with the assumption that there wil be universal acceptance of idiotic violence. They don't care what I think though, if it sells that's all that matters.
 
It's like the first comedian to use the work "fuck," it made us uncomfortable and so we laughed, Now, it's so common no one laughs, no one pauses for a second. I use it myself because I still consider it a powerful word.
 
Images pave the way for action, otherwise we wouldn't pull up porno when we're alone. We know how it's going to end, with us pleasing ourselves while our libidos dance through a fun house of erotic images.
 
The next guy to drunkenly throw a beer csn at his buddies head may find out that it's not all fun and games having fun and playing games.     Gene

02/07/2011

My reaction to the Bill OReilly interview with Obama last night

I hope when Bill OReilly dies, his hell consists of an unlimited number of Bill OReillys all disagreeing with one another and every time the word pinhead is uttered, more Bill OReillys descend on the fracas like insatiable locusts sent to glean any rationality, as rare as it might be, from the cacophony of Bill OReilly speak.
 
They would all eventually burst blood vessels, have heart and apoplexy attacks but, being dead already, they would have to go on and on until Bill OReillyland became a scene from a cheap zombie movie except the Zombies were in Zombie prison and no threat to anyone but themselves, to Bill OReilly that is.
 
Eventually they would have their skin shredded from thier bodies by one another and be walking skeltons.The bone would be torn asunder and pulverized and there would be nothing left except a Bill OReilly consciousness that couldn't cry out, register disgust, display arrogance or condescend, a hateful, spiteful cloud without an outlet trapped in a hateful, spiteful world of former Bill OReilly incarnates.
 
Now, wouldn't that be a wonderful thing?    Gene  

 

02/06/2011

Cats vs Humans

Two new cats have shown up at our doorstep. The word has spread. Our home for wayward cats is growing again. I was looking for a good throwing stick to bean the furry dark one when he turned and looked at me. His face had an intelligence to it, that and a certain nobleness. Why couldn't you be ugly, I thought, it would make it so much easier to hate you. So too the furry orange one. They both seem curious about me, a sure sign of intelligence if there ever was one.
 
They eat here, and hang out with their new buddies circled around the heated cat house I made for the original cat family years ago. The radiant heat seem to suit their delicate cat bodies.
 
Of course it's costing me money to feed them, that and the electricity used to heat their box. I don't think I'd be as accommodating to a human. Humans always want something more besides the basics. I can't imagine taking in a stray human. he'd have to shower and I know he wouldn't clean the shower to my standards when he was done. He wouldn't toilet brush the toilet regularly like I do. He may have gross eating habits and finding his hair in the sink would completely turn my stomach. If he or she were no more trouble than the cats I'd consider it but I've learned every cat is different. Those differences are amplified 1000 times in humans and each difference begets a different need. Eventually a human would steal from me, it would be easy for him to justify his larceny: I have so much and he has so little, I'd never miss it, whatever "it" is, and the worse rationalization possible, I knew he was a homeless bum when I took him in and therefore I had to know he would steal from me and to not steal from me would be a violation of an unspoken agreement.
 
To cleanse my soul of the guilt of not doing the Christ-like thing, I'm good to cats. In the final judgement my defense won't stand, but, do you end up in hell for not doing the things you should? If so, we're all in trouble.    Gene

02/04/2011

Where my mental energy has gone over the last few days

I did my state and federal taxes yesterday. I used one of those "free programs" that ended up costing me almost 18 dollars. It was supposed to be simple but a whole lot of simple ends up being hard.
 
I've been cleaning up my files because I'm giving this computer to my daughter and I accidentally disabled my printer. I must have deleted a critical file because it kept printing the same three pages over and over in text and not HTML, as if I know what I'm talking about. I went on the Internet thinking that I'd find the file and a free down load, Nothing seems to be free on the Internet anymore. I went to the search feature on my computer and found it. I copied it on what looked like it might be a printer program and it worked but not until I had already filed my taxes.
 
Towards the end of the Tax Act program it kept asking me for a 5 digit number, I didn't have a clue as to what that was and its explanation didn't make sense. Finally, I found that for identity purposes you could use your adjusted gross amount from your 2009 taxes instead but you'd still have to create a 5 digit number for future references. Every time I thought I was finished it asked one more head scratching question. I took over 2 hours and the refund was less than half of what I expected. Disappointment was palpable and hanging over the mess of papers, the computer and me but it was a whole lot better than owing them as I have so many times in the past.
 
Over the last several days I have learned, via trial and error, how to use  flash drives to store files with various file extensions. I also removed AOL so my daughter can re-install it with administrator rights. The Mac education is pending. If Mac is as good and easy to use as everyone says, it will be well worth it. I'll let you know.   Gene

02/02/2011

The Super Bowl

It's Super Bowl time in Pittsburgh. The Super Bowl is so big that we capitalize the first letter of each word.. With the exception of an adjective phrase being used to describe a football showdown, the humble "bowl" has never shown any compunction to be capitalized.
 
You can literally spend thousands on tickets and minutia, if you have a nagging kid or husband that must have an official Ben Roethlisberger Jersey, be prepared to transfer your wealth to an already wealthy family, aka, the Rooney family. The only ones who will notice or care are other like minded dolts with more money than sense.
 
Drinking is elevated to a lofty status during Super Bowl madness. What a psychotropic plant is to an Aztec High Priest, so to is beer, generally a bland, tasteless beer, to an adoring, boring, soon to be roaring drunk.
 
The drinking is anything but moderate, Tailgate parties, the modern day equivalent of  drunken Roman Bacchanalia, are as obsessive as the other ridiculous aspects of the game celebration: war painted faces, nudity in sub freezing weather, the occasional fight and innocent people with children feeling threatened and horrified. I once drove past Heinz Field after a game and saw a man passed out in the street, shortly thereafter, Art Rooney II. denied, in an interview, that people get drunk at Steeler games.
 
The cops look askance at the lawlessness, being the recipients of mucho overtime and the benefactors of the wealthy, they know what side their bread is buttered on. They cut their teeth on whacking good union men at the behest of employers in the mines and mills throughout history. In their heart of hearts the police are nothing more than misanthropes craving revelry, sex and violence.
  
In our heart of hearts maybe we are the same at least some of us. How many football fans have been beaten or intimidated for supporting their team? The Cleveland rivalry used to be replete with such tales. It's mob rule
for some and that's how they like it, lose your identity in the crowd and do the unthinkable.
 
But, I'll probably watch at least some of the game on TV. It's the Super Bowl after all.    Gene

01/25/2011

You know, this means war! --Bugs Bunny

For the record.

I don't owe a gun. I see no need to own one. My house may someday be broken into but it will most likely happen when no one is home, and either because of the accumulate of newspapers strewn across the bottom of the driveway, the mail build up in my mail box, or, someone, using my driveway as a shortcut from the housing plan to the mini mart, will deduce, in this case from the missing vehicle,  that we're not home.

As for other areas of concern, i.e., self defense, I don't go to bars, I try to keep the road rage levels down and simply smile at any violators of the rules of the road whether legal or accepted as courtesies, or, if I'm at fault, smiling has the advantage of further pissing off the offended party.

If someone is so offensive that I must react, I find words to be the perfect vehicles to express my anger, however, rhetoric can escalate and people do get shot in supermarket parking lots. If that's my fate, so be it.

So there will never be a gun in my hand going off. I don't go to shooting ranges either. I am an unlikely candidate to be a mass murderer.

Following that preface, comes my point, we are at war. It's a dirty little war being waged against the  American  people for at least the last 40 years and it's goes by the name of something that, those waging it find so highly insulting that they will deny it unto their deaths; class warfare.

Maybe you were too busy watching  Rashard Mendenhall hump Ben Roethlisberger and didn't notice. Maybe you think borrowing money against your house to buy a big screen plasmatic, orgasmic, 3-D (your report card grades?) is normal. Maybe, you believe the crap that is being shoveled in your face and as long as beer is legal you're one happy camper. Or, Maybe you don't. Maybe you're like me and see the decline surrounding you. It's too late for the writing on the wall, that ship has sailed.Now we are in the throes of economic catastrophe. I say "we" but it's not all of us, the wealthiest one or two percent will always skate.

In fact, they are the ones waging the war. Do you expect them to fight fair? In a real war we don't fight fair, i.e., the CIA now wages war contrary to the constitution, drone attacks and assassinations, are run out of Afghanistan into Pakistan and even some Generals admit, it's doing nothing to make up safer.

Fighting fair has become anathema to out nature, we have to walk away with all the marbles, not the majority. We have to trample our opponent flat. This is the new American way. We have to say and do shit simply because we can, not because it's benefits us in any way. The uber-elite wealthiest one percent, have no patriotism. They would give you or me, up in a second if it served their purposes. Hell, jail is to good for G-20 protesters, they need a good crack from the baton.  

Warren Buffet, who is so rich that the so-called Oracle of Omaha single-handedly buoyed Wall Street (at least for a day) by plunking down $5 billion on troubled investment bank Goldman Sachs, cut his granddaughter, Nicole Buffett, out of his life and, just as importantly, his will. Nicole refused to stop working on a documentary, The One Percent, in part, about her grandfather.

And Warren Buffet is the right's "good" guy. In 2009 The Conservative Investor Blog said, "Warren Buffett has done it again." Writing about his recent investment of 44 billion into out railway system:

Warren’s leadership continues today. He just made his biggest investment ever. Right here in America – at the heart of American commerce and transportation. And, while we would prefer that he used less gambling rhetoric, we love his message: “It’s an all-in wager on the economic future of the United States”. His money is where his mouth is. $44 billion more on our recovery, and the future of American business.
And who can forget T. Boone Picken's foray into alternative energy?
 
Funny how an "oilman" found religion isn't it?.

Collectively the American people have more wealth than the richest of the rich. With socially responsible sounding plans the rich want to capitalize on the next wave of wealth generated by new technologies. T. Boone Pickens and his brethren are our benevolent benefactors when they stand to benefit and not one moment sooner and benefit they do, with fortunes only rivaled in the fiction novels of The Count of Monte Cristo or the Arabian Nights.  
 
First, the filthy wealthy, through their control of the media, the daily diatribes of talk radio and the politics of divide and conquer, take away the unions and we lose access to institutions that champion a common cause. Then, the process of starving us out begins. The soulless worms at Golman Sachs bundle their bad debt, they know that soon, due to the housing fiasco, bad debt will rise exponentially. They sell the worthless paper short to unaware investors, in other words, profiting when they lose value, but in secret, with only a few inside investors in on the deal, in April 2010:
The SEC alleges that Goldman Sachs structured and marketed a synthetic collateralized debt obligation (CDO) that hinged on the performance of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS). Goldman Sachs failed to disclose to investors vital information about the CDO, in particular the role that a major hedge fund played in the portfolio selection process and the fact that the hedge fund had taken a short position against the CDO.
Later, in an effort to misdirect the blame, the Republican spokesmen for Wall Street blame Barney Frank among other Democrats because they pushed mortgages companies to finance homes loans for the less wealthy. Home ownership is, after all, a major pillar of the American Dream. But who really hatched this scheme?  John Paulson of Goldman Sachs (no relation to Henry Paulson who serve under Bush II as Secretary of Treasury and previously, coincidentally or not, as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs.)
 
This is one instance of the ongoing war to defrauding the Ameican People. The lending institutions, insurance companies and Wall Street just donated 2 million to Eric Cantor's political campaign. Eric was elected by his colleagues in the House to serve as the Majority Leader for the 112th Congress.
Their ultimate goal is to usurp our freedoms and make us nothing less than share croppers on our own land.
 
The battle now wages for Social Security and Medicare. Like dominoes our social protections are falling, our education system failing and now a "work till you die" mentality has pervaded congress. Obama will define himself tomorrow night in his State of the Union Speech but there's too much that he won't talk about: our increasing military presents throughout the world, our cowardly drone attacks, how things are rapidly spinning beyond his control and how he wishes everyone would just hold hands and sing, "We Are The World."  Alas, we have become a monster devouring it's own.   
 
I am a cynic and that's for sure. Did mention the Supreme court?     Gene

01/24/2011

Your lying eyes

The journeyman electrician said to his apprentice, "Do you believe the hand is faster then the eye?"

The apprentice electrician considered this for a few seconds and then said, "Yes, of course I do."

The journeyman said, "Good, jack me off and no one will see you."

01/22/2011

On Keith Olbermann's departure from MSNBC

Keith Olbermann is through at MSNBC. He started in 2003 as a temporary host and grabbed the left's attention with his wit, charm and genuine concern for people. He also delighted members of the rapidly decreasing middle class along with liberals fortunate enough to have amassed money and power. His supporters spanned every stratum of society.
 
Some speculate that the acquisition of NBC Universal by Comcast forced him out either voluntarily or directly.  Comcast denies any responsibility for Keith's departure but he is still bound by some terms of his old contract. Could it be that they resented his anti-corpoate ideology?
 
Keith is a rich man. He had no need to champion any causes other than his own but he did. He actively despised Fox News for its lies and its never ending quest to degrade anyone that didn't buy into their  perverse conservatism where might makes right and old, rich white guys hold all the aces.
 
 Keith was better than that and he made no bones as to his disdain for the talking heads at Fox. He was driven by something other than his own personal success but success he had, that and the love and respect of millions, not the Glen Beck model of success, constructed on fear and hatred of anything new or different.
 
Sure he was controversially, the truth always is. There may be more than one version of the truth, but then why count on the ignorance and susceptibility of people to present your truth? Why use lies if you have a truth to tell? Adherence to truth requires diligence. The layers of deceptions must be peeled away and what entities produce more layers than anyone? The ones who hide behind conglomerates and have no allegiance to any one particular place or country, the ones most able to uproot overnight and relocate unencumbered by labor and environmental laws, somewhere where child labor still flourishes, the ones most able to afford the high priced lawyers to seal their deals. Human predators have no respect for the truth.
 
Keith did and I for one love him for it.     Gene

01/21/2011

A poem (if I may be so bold)

The heart of the matter
 
We never really get to the meat of the subject
Autopsies are best performed on the dead
Still it breaks my heart to know
That you're out there somewhere
Like a glass of milk on the edge of the table
Waiting to spill
And break
Or maybe it's funny
I could never decide between comedy and tragedy
Which makes me laugh more

01/20/2011

Lord protect us and keep us from gobblins and greasties and three legged beasties and things that go boomp in the night

>
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What the FUCK is going on? Herein lies the second commercial use of the blasphemy, "Gooder". Although this one has the decency to use one its appallingly beautiful Stepford wives to denounce the term, she suddenly and with great alacrity embraces it when it's applied to her.
 
This is a Tropicana commercial while the other was for Gain detergent. Tropicana is owned by PepsiCo and Gain by Procter Gamble. In the early 80's, P&G dabbled in the OJ market with Citrus Hill, but, after showing some initial success, decided that they couldn't compete with Tropicana and Minute Maid. They headed back, tail between legs, to their mainstay; non-food grocery items. 
 
Why do these corporations seem to have an interest in bastardizing the English language? I can't figure it out. Have they exhausted the supply of useful words and concepts? Is it too much to say, "Buy this product  for reasons A, B and C"? Maybe their degradation of the language is their tacit admission that everything that they peddle today is overpriced, unnecessary crap.
 
OR, is it a plot to dumb down America? But for who and why? Who wants to take us over anyway? All they'll inherit is a mountain of debt and a bunch or religious, gun freaks afraid of their own shadow. In whose interest is it in to have us become dumber than we already are?
 
Look, PepsiCo and Procter and Gamble, if we're dumb enough to fall for your ads, which apparently we are, we're also dumb enough for you to forego the middle man and swindle us directly. Why should that be only the providence of the credit card companies, insurance companies and the banks?
 
Maybe you like the game too much, employing bimbos and screwing them in the dressing room, having that grand feeling of accomplishment that producing a 30 second mind numbing commercial brings. Whatever it is that drives you, Godspeed. The sooner we hit bottom the sooner we can start over and maybe this time we'll be gooder.

01/19/2011

The wretched truth

Cancer cells have been found in my daughter's uterus. A friend informs me that he's recently had a stroke. My wife's sister's husband has advanced diabetes and will eventually lose a limb or worse. 3 people I've met online in the last few weeks all have serious health problems and, like millions of other people, the cost of my health insurance has gone up since the 1st.

Life insurance for people like me with preexisting conditions is extremely expensive if it can be found at all. Our "for profit" medical system is itself on life support and, rationing of medicare care, regardless of what those with vested interests in the system as it exists would have us believe, is rampant and ubiquitous.

We are wearing out, the baby boomers, soon we will be gone and the anti social security factions, who are, in reality, anti-any-social program corporatists, will have to create new boogeyman to blame for our corrupt and bankrupt economy. In the interim, although it goes against everything they profess to believe, our politicians are still intent on returning pork to their districts for their career's sake.
 
The zeitgeist seems to be, get yourself elected and then enmesh yourself in enough doublespeak to last a lifetime and by the time they catch on, you'll be long gone and the past beneficiary of a high paying job with a thousand perks and even a legacy. Doubt this? Two words, Ronald Reagan. But he was an actor first you say? He was always an actor.
 
Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland put on a show and we loved them for it. Give me 3-D and surround sound headgear, a sumptuous, virtual meal on which to dine while my bones decay and internal organs digest themselves. Wouldn't it be faster, better, and eminently more humane to legalize the opium dens again?  Gene

01/14/2011

Some very serious stuff...

This is day two of the last two days of my life. It's not the "last" last two days of my life,  just day two of the last two. Tomorrow will be day three of the last three, not the "last" last three days of my life, just day three of the last three. I like keeping track, especially when you can start anywhere and stop anywhere. You're not really "keeping track" of anything but you can create the appearance that you are. It's a useless exercise in stupid shit. That's why I like it.
 
Word are good for saying nothing. Without words to say nothing you'd have to pantomime it and pantomiming saying nothing would be confusing because pantomiming is, by definition, saying nothing but doing things to communicate what it is that you want to communicate, like the name of a movie. You could pretend you were rowing a boat, for instance, if there were a movie named, Rowing a Boat.
 
Maybe it could be an instructive video on how to row a boat. We think we know how to row a boat but if we've never rowed a boat, a few tips couldn't hurt, but then, the name of the movie would have to be, How to Row a Boat and you'd have to count on someone knowing the name of movie and putting two and two together, interpret your rowing action, incorporate the knowledge that it has something to do with a movie and then conclude it was How to Row a Boat. You could never pantomime, "How to" unless you were real good and even then I think it would be very confusing.
 
Life would probably be better without talking, I'm not sure why, but I think I'm tired of hearing people talk. They all talk except the ones that can't and they're aren't very many of them. You know when you wake up or when someone that lives with you wakes up that eventually someone's going to want to eat breakfast. So why not just make breakfast without asking, "Do you want breakfast?" And then they can eat or not eat to their heart's content. Ditto lunch and dinner. Now if the car has to go in the shop that's different.
 
So we'll never really be free of talking, that is until a mutation causes our brains to develop telepathically, then what will we do? Thoughts bombarding our heads day and night,  ... Get me a glass of water...watch out for that car....nice shoes....keep your fucking pen....and on, and on.
 
Was I talking about talking or writing? The two aren't interchangeable are they? While talking is optional, as you can see from the above, writing is very, very, very important.    Gene

01/13/2011

Gain and "Gooder"

I had to watch this advertisement Videos Posted by Gain: New Gain with FreshLock! [HQ] | Facebook in advance of viewing the video I had chosen to watch. It wasn't on Youtube therefore there wasn't an embed code to post it directly. In it, over the inspiratinal music about heaven, and the video of some old guy that looks kind of like me putting on a shirt as if it's an orgasmic experience, the announcer says, "Bill's morning have never been "Gooder."

I thought to myself, "Did he just say "gooder?" I replayed it and sure enough, he said "gooder." I was appalled and wrote this to Gain:

I am witting to express my disgust with your use of the made up term, "gooder."
You should be ashamed of yourselves. Who do you think you're appealing to, 8 year olds? This perversion of the English language is unacceptable and you should immediately cease and desist and issue an apology. Why not communicate in grunts and groans next? I'm sure your patrons would think it was a blast. You may  turn your back on your social responsibility but I will do everything within my power to denounce you and your tactics to others by asking them if they really need to patronize a product advertised by people that have no respect for them or the English lanquage.
 
They wrote back:
 
Thanks for writing.

Thanks for your comments and concern.  We chose to use the word Good’er for a dramatic effect. This was an attempt to play off of the expression “Have a Good Morning”.  We believe that families and companies should be doing all they can to promote education.  The process of doing laundry can often be a boring, monotonous process. The Gain team is hoping to make this process just a little bit more fun, and this is often demonstrated in the advertising.
 
Mary
Gain Team 
 
 
Finally I wrote:
                   
Perverting the English language is fun? Please recognize your place in the world, you sell soap. Soap is in itself a marvelous thing, there is no need to embellish its properties or effects. Don't try to make it hip by obfuscating our already decreasing ability to communicate with one another, in short we don't need dumbed down by a soap company. You need to appeal to the better segments of your target audience not the worst.
I don't know if I'm crazy, if they're crazy or why I give a fuck. But somewhere deep down it offends me that they can foist this kind of garbage on the public in the name of making their product "funner."   Gene

It just seemed so relevant

01/12/2011

Turn the beat around

How the rhetoric would differ with the shoe on the other foot and the gun in the other party's hand,
 
The battle lines have been drawn. No one can argue, even for a moment, that the irresponsible, verbal sniper attacks from the left didn't culminate in the shooting of republican congressman X.
 
While a decent and dedicated public servant lies hospitalized fighting for his life, the left wingers are secretly high fifing one another on their most recent success. It's enough to turn your stomach. I'm sure that publicly they will express some degree of outrage for appearance sake but the bleeding heart contingent will pull the same old excuses from their bag of societal malfeasances: He was abused, he was bullied, or, their all time favorite, it was a cry for attention
 
Attention he got, lots of it and you can bet he's an avid follower of left wing blogs, an MSNBC devotee and an Obama supporter.
 
His head was filled with jargon and his heart with hate. Hate, the left wing's calling card, hate and denial. They will say and do anything to sabotage the conservative agenda, regardless that 75% of the public agrees with the republican party on 99.99% of the issues. That's only 1 out of 10 people who disagree. These 3/5 of a person oppose conservatism not on principle but because of the permissiveness wrought on this great nation by the "do your own thing" 60s. Make no mistake, if the politicians hadn't caved to liberal forces we would have won the Vietnam war.
 
Now that citizen XX and the left have chosen violence as their means of kneecaping America, Bill Ayers, Obama's spiritual advisor can finally see his dream of national destruction and armed revolt come into fruition
 
It's been a long time coming and the right have been too meek to stop it let alone see it fomenting. It's time for the right to take back America. The clock is ticking with only minutes to go. --A Republican advisor

Two gaping holes

The most desperate thing I've heard coming from the right wing concerning the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:
 
After repeatedly and incessantly making the point that conservative hate speech couldn't possibly influence anyone to take up their gun, buy an extended 30 round clip from Wal-Mart, and shoot a politician, they have been warning the left to tread lightly least they influence anyone to do the same.
 
Missing from the discussion:
 
How many abortion doctors have been murdered, wounded or have had attempts made on their life because of extreme, right wing antiabortion groups calling for their murder?   Gene

01/10/2011

An open letter to a morning KDKA talk show host

Since Marty Griffin rarely responds to anything I write to him with the recent exception referred to in this post: And the ooze goes on ... : PittsburghThoughts. I thought I'd bypass him and post it directly since the result will be the same.

The host after Marty is actually worse: illogical, mean spirited, sexist, racist and corporatist. I choose not to write to him at all.

*************************************************************************************

What is your interest in trying to shield the extreme right wing from their responsibility for the Arizona shooting? Are you a member of that group? Are you doing it in defense of what you believe is the truth? Either way your position is pure garbage, there is a reason for everything that's happening in America today but all you've done is muddy the waters. You've dragged statistics and anecdotes into the fray regardless of their relevance. If you are sincere, and I seriously doubt it, you need to clarify yourself. Some oblique references to family values or how great it use to be serves no purpose.

We agree that people in this country have become angrier but you have no explanation as to why. Could it be because wages have been suppressed and jobs farmed out overseas? Could it be because conservatives want to gut Social Security, medicare and every social program under the sun? Could it be irresponsible candidates for congress harping about 2nd amendment solutions, and putting people in their cross hairs?

In this country today the average person cannot afford to save for retirement, pay medical insurance premiums and put their children through college all the while providing the basics that we used to take for granted. That is until people became propagandized against unions and seduced by the saccharine lure of cheap goods.

You are in an exalted class. I don't know what your income is but when you mention the activities that you and your family enjoy, it shows you have gobs of expendable income. Most people don't, most people are struggling for their lives and yet you claim to understand their plight.

Rage is normal today. Right wingers direct it away from the rich, the corporations, the lobbyists and toward politicians who would try to bring balance back into the system.

The root cause for the violence today is greed. Take everything and leave the people with nothing and this is what you have, don't you read history?   Gene

You can prosecute an individual but not an ethos of hatred

If I throw a hateful comment out into the ether and no one kills anyone because of it, did I really say it?
 
That is precisely the republican / conservative / Fox News Network / right wing psycho babblers' argument being made to suppress the notion that these vitriolic, faux autonomous collective of corporate brownshirts had nothing to do with the attempted murder of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz and at least 12 others, 6 of who died including a 9 year old.
 
Their argument and now, victims, are both shot full of holes. Only the most heartless, and they are plentiful in the republican party, will continue to argue that there exists no connection between hate filled rhetoric and violence.
 
It's not the sane and sober thinking that take up the gun, at least not yet, it's the worst case scenario people, the unstable, the imbalanced, the mindless robotic responders whose brains have been appropriated by the forces of darkness. Radio waves are non-discriminatory.
 
There is a second tact the they use, one that reeks of desperation but never let it be said that this party, the party that defies description or even an appropriate name, won't rush in whenever under attack and apply the most exreme measures or rationales when defending the indefensible. Simply put, "The democrats do it too."
 
Aside from me, I don't know anyone on the left that would like to to see some Old Testament justice reaped down on their heads, hot coals and all. The left are boringly reasonable, Take Obama, he's still trying to find common ground with the "corporate bought and sold" even after they have repeatedly and with great alacrity, using their handy dandy pocket tool, the media,  questioned everything from Obama's religion and heritage to his patriotism. If it were me, I would have written them off long ago and probably, as Zell Miller did to Chris Matthews on nation TV during the 2000 Republican Convention, challenged any number of them to a duel to the death.
 
I'm a hot head but smart enough to not own a gun, besides, the only true rationale for that degree of violence, personally and nationally is in the name of defense. That way, if there is a God, we will be not be held accountable for the greatest sin committable by man, murder. If it turns out that God either doesn't exist, or doesn't care, at least we haven't added to the misery and suffering of the innocents, the ones who love the murderers, unconditional love is, after all, unconditional.
 
Still, a dedicated public servant lies in a hospital barely escaping death while her family and the families of the other victims try to comprehend the incomprehendable and one man with a misplaced sense of activism fueled by hate mongers sits in prison awaiting his fate while the root of the hatred spreads and sprouts anew.  Gene
 

01/07/2011

Words

My random written thoughts and musing have never had much appeal based on the lack of feedback I receive but somewhere along the line I made a decision to continue regardless. It's become important to me to clarify my thoughts when I write to the best of my ability and to say the things I'm feeling with precision and force. I won't publish a post until I'm satisfied that I've said exactly what I intended to say and sometimes, serendipitously, I make a discovery or two along the way. 
 
This requires work and, although the words don't simply pour forth, I sometimes find  a way to say something, that seems to me, at least, to be original. I despise awkwardness and laziness and the tedium that reading that kind of writing requires.
 
Subject matter may be a different story. I write chiefly about me, my experiences and my place in an ever decreasing world. I try to make it interesting and when I say something is true or really happened, I do not exaggerate. To be unbiased about one's self requires humor. A bare statement of facts and deeds can make the greatest saint appear vapid. The Bible could use a couple laughs ditto soap operas.   
 
But, I'm no saint and it's easy to crusade when you aren't being put to the test, i.e., subject to temptation, humiliation or degradation. The ones with nothing in the game are always the first to dole out their sage advise and opinions, but in the midst of unforgiving peer pressure or the threat of job or life termination you'll find that they aren't the paragons that they profess to be. I have to be doubly cautious of falling into that trap now, since no one can fire me and, when faced with extreme adversity, I wasn't always the most courageous anyway. Working a difficult job and with people who, for whatever reason, hate you, can turn you inside out.
 
Being a paper warrior brings you little. All men have words to sell or to knit their lives into whatever shape and color that the times require. Perhaps the rise of the "Think Tank" has perverted our previous system of scrupulous examination of men and their words. Now we roll over and wag our tails when the right combination or words are strung together to say the same things over and over, to tell us how great we are and how great we can continue to be if only it wasn't for such and such, and so and so.
 
Words still have power but it's not the power of truth. It's the power to shade ourselves from the truth.   Gene

01/05/2011

The time has come the Walrus said ...

"The time has come the Walrus said to talk of many things, of shoes and ships, of sealing wax, of cabbages an kings, of why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings." Thus spoke Lewis Carroll through one of his most unforgettable characters, the Walrus, who along with his enigmatic partner, the Carpenter, bid the oysters to walk with them along the beach. The walk, punctuated by the musings of the Walrus, eventually became a feast with the oysters being the featured entree.
 
Lewis Carroll had the prescience to remind us that in every life a time must come to examine some basic beliefs of who we are and our place in the pantheon of life. Who and what you were yesterday aren't necessarily who and what you are today, and so a periodic review of what we are capable of, in our present form and circumstance is required.
 
Some fail to do this and are taken aback when their, once certain, range of abilities and capabilities fails them. Frustration and confusion ensue and eventually a bitter longing of what they were blind them to new possibilities.
 
In order to preempt this eventual transition into what is usually considered, "less" than we once were, we must prepare for this inevitability by simply acknowledging that it will happen, has happened or is happening.
 
Therefore, today, I proclaim a new awareness of who I am and what I am capable of. I can no longer work long and hard, my kitchen remolding project has given me more than an almost completed, beautiful new kitchen, but an appreciation that, if I choose to apply myself to that extent on a physical project, I will suffer short and long term.
 
My suffering has many roots, there are joint issues that exercise or, in the worst case scenario, surgery, may remedy and there are issues that have been brewing for most of my life that are not so easily dealt with. The fact is they will never improve and will eventually kill me unless something unexpected does first.
 
So, why should I spend my time in frustration and pain? I shouldn't but the inertia of a life spent in motion, at work or being productive in a physical way have trained me to believe that that's the only way to live and without the above mentioned things, life becomes a cheap imitation, a lazy man's providence.
 
This thinking is wrong. I can enjoy life, I must enjoy life on these new terms, the old agreement has expired. If sitting around watching TV or listening to the radio brings me happiness without taxing my limited resources, why shouldn't I? I can read, think, write, dress and go out at my convenience. I no longer own anyone an explanation for my lost time.
 
I like these new terms and like so many things in my life, I came to them in the nick of time.    Gene

12/31/2010

One of the weirdest campaign speeches of 2010

All I can say is, thank God this guy lost ...

12/30/2010

And the ooze goes on ...

Pursuant to my email that took a certain Pittsburgh radio talk show host to task for his negligence and dereliction of affixing the blame for Mexican immigration hatred where it originates, the republican party, and my corresponding acceptance of his offer for me to call in, whereas, as soon as I was ask, in my opinion, what could his radio station do to rectify what I perceived as their wrong (?) and I responded ... "Hire some liberal talk show hosts," he abruptly cut me off ... and since, a simple google search shows these 6 media giants control everything pouring into our eyes and ears in the way of media:

Time Warner

Home Box Office (HBO)
Time Inc.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
CW Network (partial ownership)
TMZ
New Line Cinema
Time Warner Cable
Cinemax
Cartoon Network
TBS
TNT
America Online
MapQuest
Moviefone
Castle Rock
Sports Illustrated
Fortune
Marie Claire
People Magazine

Walt Disney

ABC Television Network
Disney Publishing
ESPN Inc.
Disney Channel
SOAPnet
A&E
Lifetime
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
Buena Vista Records
Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Miramax Films
Touchstone Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Buena Vista Games
Hyperion Books

Viacom

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Home Entertainment
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Comedy Central
Country Music Television (CMT)
Logo
MTV
MTV Canada
MTV2
Nick Magazine
Nick at Nite
Nick Jr.
Nickelodeon
Noggin
Spike TV
The Movie Channel
TV Land
VH1

News Corporation

Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox Television Stations
The New York Post
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Beliefnet
Fox Business Network
Fox Kids Europe
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Net
Fox Television Network
FX
My Network TV
MySpace
News Limited News
Phoenix InfoNews Channel
Phoenix Movies Channel
Sky PerfecTV
Speed Channel
STAR TV India
STAR TV Taiwan
STAR World
Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
Times Literary Supplement Magazine
Times of London
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox International
20th Century Fox Studios
20th Century Fox Television
BSkyB
DIRECTV
The Wall Street Journal
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Interactive Media
FOXTEL
HarperCollins Publishers
The National Geographic Channel
National Rugby League
News Interactive
News Outdoor
Radio Veronica
ReganBooks
Sky Italia
Sky Radio Denmark
Sky Radio Germany
Sky Radio Netherlands
STAR
Zondervan

CBS Corporation

CBS News
CBS Sports
CBS Television Network
CNET
Showtime
TV.com
CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
CBS Consumer Products
CBS Outdoor
CW Network (50% ownership)
Infinity Broadcasting
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
Westwood One Radio Network

NBC Universal

Bravo
CNBC
NBC News
MSNBC
NBC Sports
NBC Television Network
Oxygen
SciFi Magazine
Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
Telemundo
USA Network
Weather Channel
Focus Features
NBC Universal Television Distribution
NBC Universal Television Studio
Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
Trio
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Pictures
Universal Studio Home Video

and since, given *hope because, " an increasing number of Americans are starting to wake up and are realizing that the mainstream media should not be trusted.  According to a new poll just released by Gallup, the number of Americans that have little to no trust in the mainstream media (57%) is at an all-time high."

 I wax nostalgic and offer this 1976 video, never the more pertinent or relevant.  Gene

* augmented by the fact that a greater number of Americans still believe that the media is controlled by liberals 

P.S. If you haven't already seen it, at the end of this video, click on the appearance of Frank Zappa on Crossfire in 1986. it's a classic moment in taking the pundits to school courtesy of Frank Zappa's superior intellect. It's the small picture on the botom right of the screen with Frank in a suit and tie lookiing dapper as hell.  Gene

My end of the year sonata

Everyone whom I've insulted or have had issues with in the past can gloat. I'm in a hole and can't climb out. My health is shot and I ache. I'm like a venomous snake striking out at anything that moves. If I'm being tested, I fail. All I seem capable of is passing on the misery I feel, to the ones that I deem  deserving of my wrath.
 
I'm sick to death of being me. None of my eternal questions have been answered, I don't know why we are here or what purpose man is supposed to serve. It seems all man is good for is to speed the process of turning this planet into a black rock.
 
Belief in God is questionable and the real reason people cling to religion: belief that we are important enough to have the maker of the universe intervene in our lives makes me laugh. If anything God is a sadist or their is something so good in store that these daily trails and tribulations of life will someday become as childhood memories; unbearable at first though gradually receding into nothingness. I seriously doubt the latter.
 
I'm only 60 but I feel ancient and for all the times that I've reassembled the broken parts of my life and gone on, this time the parts are too scattered and broken, the glue won't hold and I don't have the know-how or tools that this fix requires.
 
Not long ago a doctor told me I'd never see 70 and I hope he's right. I leave a mountain of debt with barely enough life insurance to cover it. I've borrowed against the future and the future looks bleak. More and more institutions are carrying less and less people, if you can't make it on your own, you can't make it period.
 
Why do I take it personally? I once told a friend no one every got rich except at someone else's expense,  I stand by that but just like Jesses James was a hero to some, the ones who connive new ways to separate us from our birthright, a place in this world, are regarded as heroes too. There is no Earthly justice.
 
I've made my bed, what about the poor souls conceived and brought into his world addicted to crack, or the child who's never experienced a mother's love? Where is their peace?
 
Oh, life, show me something new. Make me believe again. Make me whole one more time.  Gene
 
Stopping by woods on a snowy evening
 
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep. -- Robert Frost

12/29/2010

Getting our just desserts

The future is bleak and foreboding. The future is hopeful. These two seemingly contradictory statements are the two sides of the same coin, the coin of the realm in which we find ourselves. At any minute, and today major shifts in what the government requires of us, can be measured in minutes, in order to secure our national security, a term rendered meaningless through misuse, draconian measures will be called upon.

 Doubt this? Then, pay attention, Chris Hedges writes in   2011: A Brave New Dystopia :      Information Clearing House: ICH :
 
Sheldon Wolin uses the term “inverted totalitarianism” in his book “Democracy Incorporated” to describe our political system ... In inverted totalitarianism, the sophisticated technologies of corporate control, intimidation and mass manipulation, which far surpass those employed by previous totalitarian states, are effectively masked by the glitter, noise and abundance of a consumer society. Political participation and civil liberties are gradually surrendered. The corporation state, hiding behind the smokescreen of the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and the tawdry materialism of a consumer society, devours us from the inside out. It owes no allegiance to us or the nation. It feasts upon our carcass. 
It gets worse but it's no worse that the thousands of illnesses and natural disasters that plague mankind. Do I hear any earthquake deniers out there? Cancer deniers? Why should we doubt that our government is increasingly tightening the noose on its own populace?

We have become accustomed to romanticized war. It's absolutely necessarily for the ones in whose interest it is to have a war,  to have a romantic version of war to sell and nothing replaces sane governments or insane ones better than the promise of relief conferred upon a people brought into control by our own roving band of natural resource usurping tyrants. Iraq, unfortunately, is still a work in progress.
 
The amorphous concept of "Freedom" is our rallying cry. George W. Bush drove this into the ground with his siimple minded utterance, "They hate us for our freedom." They do Mr. Bush? And what, prithee tell, do you hate us for?
 
We've fought so many wars for freedom that you'd think we'd have a enough in the bank to last for centuries but not so. If anything our eternal quest for freedom, per say, has brought us no closer to being free than if that quest had never been waged. Granted we need a defense system, but largely because we have made enemies of the world's nations with our interventional policies and interferences. If sanity prevailed our money, a whole lot less of our money, would be spent on a good defensive system rather than the infinitely more expensive war machine that we've build to fight who knows who who knows where.
 
Eventually, as totalitarianism inexplicably asserted itself into our system of government, our own rights have gotten in the way of redition, torture and who needs Habeas Corpus anyway?  But, still, we harken to the call. We don't know what's in the Constitution, how it applies or why it's relevant. We regard it as a  talisman, a panacea, a poultice to be placed upon the wound that we have repeatedly scratched open, the gaping wound between our higher nature and our reptilian brains. In this battle the reptilian brain wins, the deck has been so heavily stacked against reason and debate, sanity and sober thinking that we lose through default and all the kings horses and all the kings men will never make the oppressive bastards retreat. After all, don't they have history on their side?.
 
The question is whether to join the ranks of the oppressors or go under. I, for one, would be happier if the battle lines were more clearly drawn. Rather than infer that we are barbarians, I would rather have the government ad say, "join us in our quest for domination, it's the only way you'll ever get your piece of the pie."    Gene

12/27/2010

The doting father/grandfather

Brace yourself dear reader. It's picture time again,

The first four pictures are of my headquarters, office and pulpit and where most of the odd stuff I find at secondhand stores, cosignment shops, estate sales, garage sales, antique stores and flea markets reside. I am trying to create a cartoonish, dream-like world, somewhere I can go when the time comes and crawl into one of the long lost memory holes to be found there. Perhaps I'll be lucky or talented enough to inhabit several at once.

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Christmas scenes, grand kids and the current crop of young adults that carry my seed whom the world will shower with benevolence, malevolence or most likely, indifference.

Chriistmas spread 2.jpg

Christmas Spread 1.jpg

 

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12/25/2010

Sundry thoughts with a little Christmas to boot

Is everyone too damn nosey or does the media have a skewered sense of what people want to see, hear and read? If the media's sense is skewered, and it is, it's for the same reason that everything else they do is skewered, they must appease their advertisers. To them, the ends never justified the means so perfectly, i.e.:
 Writer Sniffs Sarah Palin's panties
 
... says they're redolent with a wholesome mustiness followed by a sweet and simultaneously acrid finish. It is not known wether or not she was in them at the time.
 
For the complete story subscribe to the "News Digest" or pick one up today at your local news stand.
 
News Digest brought to you by Pepsi, Coke, AT&T, Comcast or a Megacorporation that you've never heard of ...
 
*****************************************************************************************************************************
 
I once heard my Uncle Joe, my famed and fabled Uncle Joe, who, in my life, came the closest to being a "father figure" to me, exclaim to or about a customer of his "back alley garage enterprise" "He talks like a man with a paper asshole." Even today it strains my sense of credulity to believe he actually said that, so outlandish was the remark. The only thing I have going for me in the way of proof is that I actually heard him say it.
 
At the time I was working for him, part time after school cleaning up and doing odd jobs. He had several local accounts and even though he was, by today's standard's, small potatoes, he employed, with varying degrees of frequency, 4 to 6 men. I once changed the oil of a truck for an account he serviced. I did all the steps with the utmost skill and efficiency save one; I forgot to fill the crank case back up with new oil.
 
I had inferred that Uncle Joe had a rough life based on his recurrent references to reform school, something that has pasted into the annals of failed social remedies, although, in truth, reform schools disappeared due, at least in part, to the pressure  placed upon them by a combination of misguided do-gooders and the real need to reform the reform schools.
 
Their key emphasis was on punishment rather than deterrence and rehabilitation which really sucked if you were just a kid that made some bad choices before your sense of  morality kicked in. But, life was brutal before the advent of 1001 ways to pass the buck and the invention of hyped-up bullshit passing as information became the norm for our media nation wide.
 
They choose, rather than report what occurrs through strict adherence to  facts and testimony, to appease the minority of vocal Ivory Tower dwellers whose interests lie not in improving the system through hard work and dedication to an unpopular position, but in neutering every unpleasant or contentious aspect of life until it's as harmless and as meaningless as a Disney movie, thereby rendering their social conscience null and their bank accounts full.
 
Getting back to my Uncle, I have composed a list of true holiday favorites, things that I would like in my Christmas stocking Christmas morning rather than the paper asshole me that makes the same bland choices as the other paper assholes that inhabit our present permutation of what life could be.
 
From the wish list of things to be found in the real Gene's stocking Christmas morning:
 
Narcotics, lots of them, so that every movement, such as pulling a sweatshirt over my head or tying my shoe, isn't an exercise in stoicism.  
 
A better friend to me than I can be to them. I know it isn't fair to expect someone to be that way, to have a friend, be a friend and all that, but, that's what I want. Someone to stop over just to shoot the shit from time to time, someone not disfigured or ugly, fat or smelly, not drunk, just a nice person that likes me and enjoys my company.
 
The ability to not be obsessive about everything.
 
A better memory.
 
An undetectable ray to shoot out of my eyes to zap a person when he's being a jerk.
 
Better eyesight.
 
The hunger to read and learn again.
 
The charisma to make beautiful woman swoon and men to want me as the captain of their team.
 
Real talent to do something creative.
 
A normal liver.
 
That's enough, I just discovered I could go on forever and for as much disdain I sometimes feel toward my fellow man, I'm sure in this we are brothers.  Merry Christmas,  Gene

12/21/2010

Kitchen with ceilings, stools and pendant lights

It's been a long time in the making, sore shoulders and back not withstanding, but we see the end in sight. It's a work in progress so it may never be "finished" but to be able to sit at the peninsula and gaze out of the window while the sun shines or the snow falls, we are pleased.

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12/20/2010

Christmas in my soul

Christmas is upon us. Like a giant blood sucking mosquito it will suck out our resources, money, labor, time and sanity, then, clumsily, do its aeronautical equivalent of a stagger under the weight of our tangibles and intangibles as it becomes airborne only to return in one year for another free feast.
 
If we had a lick of sense we would starve the beast by simply wishing one another Merry Christmas and moderate our insatiable appetites to consumer and dump loads of unwanted, unneeded crap on our kids and relatives. But, since we don't, the cycle keeps spinning, gaining momentum, mass and speed so much so that we have become secondary to the dark forces that send the mosquitos. We are a service plaza on the mosquito interstate highway. 
 
Of course ... There are people that enjoy the rattle and hum, the same masochistic segment of our culture without whom advertisers would be forced to live according to their true nature and become stick-up men. They are the martyr prone service class, the mothers and grandmothers who dote uncontrollably whenever junior leaves a fart or earns a "C-" in English class.
 
They have stores of wrapping paper squirreled away in the basement, They approach Christmas with the fervor and gusto of a hungry hound dog. The department stores should give them a free shopping day at least once a year, particularly in the underwear department. Their saving grace is that they keep the rest of us from having to act as if we care, at least to a greater extent than we already do, if only, for appearance sake..
 
Some perceived caring is essential, otherwise our cover is blown. To be viewed in our actuality would be to devastate and maybe even isolate the ones we depend on the most for the innumerable things that do for us and give us; the sense that we  participate in life as civilized, decent, well adjusted males.  
 
As our Christmas induced deficit raises and the "meaning of Christmas" dissolves into unintelligible fragments, as people rush like stockyard animals to the slop-trough of consumerism, as the mass media gathers its powers and swells with its yearly adulterous erection ...
>
Somewhere in my faded memory I hear the celestial reverberations: Silent Night, Holy Night ... Good tidings to you and all of your kin,  I hear the jingle, the neigh of the horse as he pulls the sled over the river and through the woods, I squint hard and see Santa with his cherubic face and Ho, Ho, Ho, I remember believing, I remember the tree with its ancient bubble lights, the poor families doing their best to make Christmas special, the silver dollar I was given when they were still made of silver, my kids, eyes wide and full of happiness and excitement, the automatic rifle slung over my son's arm, the building blocks, the doll's flashing eyes, the endless supply of Christmas cookies, the smells, the sights and sounds, the laughter, the relatives, the friends ...
>
Christmas isn't ... out there,,,, it's here, in our heart.    Gene

12/17/2010

Beneath the Wheel with apologies to Hermann Hesse

Today I go under. I go under anesthesia that is. It's time to have my gullet checked, or in more properly my esopha ... Gus. So you're name's not Gus, I can't resist a good pun, or a bad one for that matter.
 
The doctors check to see if those cantankerous blood vessels that run through the esophagus are getting too uppity. See, there's what they call  the portal venous system and same the blood vessels that serve the liver also pass through the esophagus on there way to who knows where. AND ... since the blood pressure has gone up in my portal system because of all the roads there that are under construction, or, more properly, deconstruction in my liver, the portal blood pressure also increases in my throat.
 
Those blankity blank blood vessels have been known to erupt and explode, at times leaving the poor sucker housing all that misery, inoperative or worse.
 
The good doctors look at them through an endoscope and judge their viability. If they look like they're ready to leap out of the surrounding tissue, they tie a little knot around them cutting of the blood  and they die. New blood vessels eventually form and everyone goes home happy not puking blood and dying.
 
Afterward  I have an ultrasound scheduled. They'll use sound waves to recreate a picture of my liver that only they can understand. A nice looking young girl will smear a cold lubricate on my belly and run a phallic device over it to the beeps of a machine designed by aliens. What's next the anal probe?
 
A good half of the day will be shot and I won't notice any improvement in my condition. UPMC will, however, make money on me and isn't that what it's really all about?  Gene

12/15/2010

An addition to a previous blog

A video suggested by Bill has been added to: Fuck you, thank you: PittsburghThoughts

A message from Michael Moore

Why I'm Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange
By Michael Moore

December 14, 2010 "Information Clearing House"
-- Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that I have put up $20,000 of my own money to help bail Mr. Assange out of jail.

Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.

We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off. The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy. That guarantee has now been ripped from them, and I hope they are never able to operate in secret again.

So why is WikiLeaks, after performing such an important public service, under such vicious attack? Because they have outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth. The assault on them has been over the top:

**Sen. Joe Lieberman says WikiLeaks "has violated the Espionage Act."

**The New Yorker's George Packer calls Assange "super-secretive, thin-skinned, [and] megalomaniacal."

**Sarah Palin claims he's "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands" whom we should pursue "with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders."

**Democrat Bob Beckel (Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign manager) said about Assange on Fox: "A dead man can't leak stuff ... there's only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch."

**Republican Mary Matalin says "he's a psychopath, a sociopath ... He's a terrorist."

**Rep. Peter A. King calls WikiLeaks a "terrorist organization."

And indeed they are! They exist to terrorize the liars and warmongers who have brought ruin to our nation and to others. Perhaps the next war won't be so easy because the tables have been turned -- and now it's Big Brother who's being watched ... by us!

WikiLeaks deserves our thanks for shining a huge spotlight on all this. But some in the corporate-owned press have dismissed the importance of WikiLeaks ("they've released little that's new!") or have painted them as simple anarchists ("WikiLeaks just releases everything without any editorial control!"). WikiLeaks exists, in part, because the mainstream media has failed to live up to its responsibility. The corporate owners have decimated newsrooms, making it impossible for good journalists to do their job. There's no time or money anymore for investigative journalism. Simply put, investors don't want those stories exposed. They like their secrets kept ... as secrets.

I ask you to imagine how much different our world would be if WikiLeaks had existed 10 years ago. Take a look at this photo. That's Mr. Bush about to be handed a "secret" document on August 6th, 2001. Its heading read: "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US." And on those pages it said the FBI had discovered "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings." Mr. Bush decided to ignore it and went fishing for the next four weeks.

But if that document had been leaked, how would you or I have reacted? What would Congress or the FAA have done? Was there not a greater chance that someone, somewhere would have done something if all of us knew about bin Laden's impending attack using hijacked planes?

But back then only a few people had access to that document. Because the secret was kept, a flight school instructor in San Diego who noticed that two Saudi students took no interest in takeoffs or landings, did nothing. Had he read about the bin Laden threat in the paper, might he have called the FBI? (Please read this essay by former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, Time's 2002 co-Person of the Year, about her belief that had WikiLeaks been around in 2001, 9/11 might have been prevented.)

Or what if the public in 2003 had been able to read "secret" memos from Dick Cheney as he pressured the CIA to give him the "facts" he wanted in order to build his false case for war? If a WikiLeaks had revealed at that time that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction, do you think that the war would have been launched -- or rather, wouldn't there have been calls for Cheney's arrest?

Openness, transparency -- these are among the few weapons the citizenry has to protect itself from the powerful and the corrupt. What if within days of August 4th, 1964 -- after the Pentagon had made up the lie that our ship was attacked by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin -- there had been a WikiLeaks to tell the American people that the whole thing was made up? I guess 58,000 of our soldiers (and 2 million Vietnamese) might be alive today.

Instead, secrets killed them.

For those of you who think it's wrong to support Julian Assange because of the sexual assault allegations he's being held for, all I ask is that you not be naive about how the government works when it decides to go after its prey. Please -- never, ever believe the "official story." And regardless of Assange's guilt or innocence (see the strange nature of the allegations here), this man has the right to have bail posted and to defend himself. I have joined with filmmakers Ken Loach and John Pilger and writer Jemima Khan in putting up the bail money -- and we hope the judge will accept this and grant his release today.

Might WikiLeaks cause some unintended harm to diplomatic negotiations and U.S. interests around the world? Perhaps. But that's the price you pay when you and your government take us into a war based on a lie. Your punishment for misbehaving is that someone has to turn on all the lights in the room so that we can see what you're up to. You simply can't be trusted. So every cable, every email you write is now fair game. Sorry, but you brought this upon yourself. No one can hide from the truth now. No one can plot the next Big Lie if they know that they might be exposed.

And that is the best thing that WikiLeaks has done. WikiLeaks, God bless them, will save lives as a result of their actions. And any of you who join me in supporting them are committing a true act of patriotism. Period.

I stand today in absentia with Julian Assange in London and I ask the judge to grant him his release. I am willing to guarantee his return to court with the bail money I have wired to said court. I will not allow this injustice to continue unchallenged.

P.S. You can read the statement I filed today in the London court here.

12/14/2010

Drywall ceiling up in kitchen proper, Nancy at the sink

Kitchen ceiling up 12-13-10_003.JPG

Hand Jive

Thanks to That's Why

12/12/2010

Just because there are conspiracy nuts doesn't mean that they're not conspiring

Conspiracy:

  1. An agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act.
  2. A group of conspirators.
  3. Law An agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime or accomplish a legal purpose through illegal action.
  4. A joining or acting together, as if by sinister design: a conspiracy of wind and tide that devastated coastal areas.

Plutocracy:  

  1. Government by the wealthy.
  2. A wealthy class that controls a government.
  3. A government or state in which the wealthy rule.
From fuel to food and every tangible thing traded via Wall Street, a secretive group of bankers control the markets trough *derivatives.

Excerpts from today's New York TImes article, Post-Meltdown, Banks Still Rule Derivatives Trade - NYTimes.com

A Secretive Banking Elite Rules Trading in Derivatives:

Perhaps no business in finance is as profitable today as derivatives. Not making loans. Not offering credit cards. Not advising on mergers and acquisitions. Not managing money for the wealthy.

On the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan.

The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable — and controversial — fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential.

... they are also trying to thwart efforts to make full information on prices and fees freely available.

Through representatives, these bankers declined to discuss the committee or the derivatives market. 

“It appears that the membership criteria were set so that a certain group of market participants could meet that, and everyone else would have to jump through hoops."

None of the three clearinghouses would divulge the members of their risk committees when asked by a reporter ...

... the profits on most derivatives are masked ...

None of the three clearinghouses would divulge the members of their risk committees when asked by a reporter. But two people with direct knowledge of ICE’s committee said the bank members are: Thomas J. Benison of JPMorgan Chase & Company; James J. Hill of Morgan Stanley; Athanassios Diplas of Deutsche Bank; Paul Hamill of UBS; Paul Mitrokostas of Barclays; Andy Hubbard of Credit Suisse; Oliver Frankel of Goldman Sachs; Ali Balali of Bank of America; and Biswarup Chatterjee of Citigroup.

*********************************************************************************************************************************************

* Futures contracts, forward contracts, options and swaps are the most common types of derivatives. Derivatives are contracts and can be used as an underlying asset. There are even derivatives based on weather data, such as the amount of rain or the number of sunny days in a particular region.

Derivatives are generally used as an instrument to hedge risk, but can also be used for speculative purposes. For example, a European investor purchasing shares of an American company off of an American exchange (using U.S. dollars to do so) would be exposed to exchange-rate risk while holding that stock. To hedge this risk, the investor could purchase currency futures to lock in a specified exchange rate for the future stock sale and currency conversion back into Euros.

12/09/2010

Ceiling grid and lights installed

Kitchen Lights installed 12-8-10_002.JPGKitchen Lights installed 12-8-10_001.JPG

12/08/2010

Watermellon baby

Thanks to Nina.

Watermellon baby.jpg

The rich are different from you and me --- F. Scott Fitzgerald

MSNBC, to a man and one lady, Rachel Maddow, have rightfully and dutifully dragged Obama over the coals for his "compromise" on the deficit fueling "tax cuts for the wealthy" compromise with the republicans. Ed Shultz called it a smack down to his base, Keith Olbermann had a searing special comment and, as usual, Rhodes Scholar, Rachel Maddow deconstructed Obama's rationale for the tax cut compromise point by point.
 
That's not all; Bernie Sanders, independant Senator from Vermont, has vowed to filibuster the bill when it comes up and Democratic congressmen far and wide are also expressing their dissatisfaction with the president. Shortly before the compromise agreement Obama had gone so far as to apologize to the Republicans for past transgressions:
 Mr. Obama and Republican leaders opened negotiations on Tuesday in search of what the president called "sensible common ground" in their debate over extending the Bush-era tax cuts. It is the most immediate domestic issue facing them and a key test of whether the two sides can work together in the new political order.

During their first meeting since the midterm elections rearranged the power map in Washington, Mr. Obama told Representative John A. Boehner, the incoming House speaker, and Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, that he regretted not reaching out to them more in his first two years in office and vowed to do better.

It's enough to make you sick. We have a majority in the House and Senate sans the start of the new Congress in January but we've had it since the elections of 2008. This is the best we can do? Why do the republicans hang together but the democrats seem to reek of self hatred? Who's going to fight for the poor, the disadvantaged, the lost souls that dot our cities and towns like a pox if not the democrats? How did the media manage to convince Joe Lunch Bucket that what's good for the the rich is good for them? What's good for the rich is most often bad for everyone else. Where does their money come from? Laying people off, foreign labor, nouveau slave labor, mandatory overtime, benefit and wage cuts, that's where it comes from. Somewhere, buried in the mix, is a product or service but if they can sell you a service policy or unemployment insurance with every product you buy or credit card you own, eventually the product or service becomes secondary.

Banks no longer make the lion's share of their profits on investments, they make them from fees. Fees that you and I pay, sometimes, unknowingly. This is how business works, if it isn't a ponzi scam it's a bait and switch game. They're always one step ahead and we are expected to kowtow to them because of their exalted status as apex scam artists  Charlatans and snake oil salesman should be routed out and then run out of town, not honored and admired.

There's an old Italian adage meant as an insulting remark but it sums up the wealthy's attitude toward the middle class and poor nicely, roughly translated it means, "Kiss my ass for 50 years and you can be my friend."

The French revolution went far awry but Mitch McConnell's head on a pike would be a nice gesture.    Gene

12/07/2010

Pixelated Art

In Paris, A Display From David Hockney's Pixelated Period : NPR

From the exhibition "Fresh Flowers," a drawing created by artist David Hockney with the creative tool that's been fascinating him lately — the iPad. Untitled, 10 July 2010 is one of hundreds of digital works showing on 40 screens in the Paris exhibition, which runs through Jan. 30.Paris exhibition.jpg

12/02/2010

The madness of a lost society

11/29/2010

Fuck you, thank you, thanks to Bill for the video addition


Good old American Fuckyouism

To all the people contriving programs that email me shit thinking that I'm gullible enough to believe for one second what they're selling; FUCK YOU!

To all the people that design, manage and maintain those same systems; FUCK YOU!

To the geniuses that invented "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday;" FUCK YOU!

To all the cyber offers I get for sex with Amber, Angie, Angel, Trisha and Lacey; FUCK YOU!

To all the bastard drivers who think it necessary to flip out because someone makes a minor mistake while driving that could have resulted in an accident but didn't, the same mistakes that they make and just as often; FUCK YOU!

To the dog walkers that don't clean up their dog's shit; FUCK YOU!

To any number of imbeciles on talk radio that take anything and try it turn it into an issue, such as: Flags, Cristmas Trees, Airport pat downs, Muslim Mosques, anything Obama related, Hunting, eating, sleeping, breathing, Life, death, eternity and life on other planets; FUCK YOU!

To the doctors and staff at Allegheny General Hospital of Pittsburgh who put me through a battery of test costing tens of thousands of dollars so that they could ultimately tell me what could have been gleaned from a simple liver function test; FUCK YOU!

To the Doctors at Montefiore Hospital that have been dangling a carrot, ostensibly, a new drug treatment for my Hepatitis C awaiting approval, over my head for two years; FUCK YOU!

To all the people that make money off of poor suckers like me selling them inferior shit: used cars that are junk, overpriced Chinese produced hardware (and Home Depot, you know who you are!) products with an extremely short, built in life expectancy, things that don't do what they're advertised to do or break on opening the package and all manners of phoney baloney supplements: FUCK YOU!

Finally:
To all the good people struggling to do what's right even when it's not the easiest or most profitable thing to do; you have my gratitude and thanks. They'll never be a statue of you or a bridge in your name and certainly not a testimonial diner but you are the glue that holds society together and perform a vital service for the ones on the fence, the ones that don't know whether to join the ranks of the takers and liars or the ranks of the decent, unrecognized, regular people. You give the rest of us a reason to try to do what's right. Thank you. Gene

Cee-Lo - Fuck You (Official Video)

11/24/2010

Kitchen tile

THe kitchen with tile work started:Kitchen 11-23-10 008.jpgKitchen 11-23-10 004.jpg

11/23/2010

More than words

11/15/2010

Art imitates life, which imitates art, which imitates life and on and on and on ...

Another day, emotionally, neither hot nor cold but the kitchen work goes marching on,
 
We picked out tile for the wall behind the sink yesterday. It's perfect and it will be my first tile installing experience, I cheated though, we found a tile that will require an absolute minimum of saw cuts. All that's necessary is to cut the mesh on the back and it will be as if the tile were sized from the factory to fit.
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I have to make a few minor changes here and there for things to have the best possible finish. Professionals fare little better. On a big job they have what is called a "punch list" of, usually, small things that need done before the customer will pay the contractor the last payment. Most punch list items are reasonable and small. It's always good, when dealing with contractors, to hold a portion of the money back to insure satisfaction although, in this case I didn't, mainly because, I'm doing a goodly portion of the work but still, I should have. At the time, while my head was swirling with pretty promises, it seemed like an minor concern. It shouldn't be and although I make no claims of dissatisfaction, I'm just saying, let the buyer beware and protect yourself from sleepless nights where every sentence in your frustrated internal dialogue begins with, "I should have ..."

Over the weekend we found a rather odd furniture store across the river in McKeesport. It's run as a non-profit through some kind of ministry service. The various showrooms are huge and I don't know if the stuff is donated by furniture outlets, bought tax free during close-outs or how it's obtained, but it's primarily new furniture, high quality and all wood. There are some bangs and dents but most is showroom condition.

 Driving by last week, the place caught my eye. I stopped but it was closed. Through the street level showroom window I saw massive stuff. I knew at once this required future investigation. We went back last Saturday and saw 3 countertop stools that we really liked. One had some slight damage but nothing that a little glue and stain couldn't repair. I may go back today and get them. I need to purchase, online, some bamboo wall covering, enough for one wall. I also need a few pieces of finish lumber.
 
 The unforeseen costs of remodeling are formidable. I still haven't taken stock of what I'll need to complete the plumbing for the new dishwasher and run that tiny ice maker line to the refrigerator's new location. We did push the dishwasher into place, never having a dishwasher before, just to see how it looked. Also, I've chosen to install the baseboard heating next spring when I can shut the system down and drain it without fear of a cold snap.
 
So far my plumbing skills have been adequate. I've have to sweat valves for temporary operation of the sink along with other various connections. I say "temporary" because we're still waiting for the kitchen guy to show up with the new countertop. If you've been following this you know he screwed up cutting the hole for the sink and promised to replace the whole countertop. God bless em.
 
Soon I have to go out and getting out of the house is always problematic. I'm sluggish in that department. I hate the cold, I hate to go thought the various rituals that an aging, somewhat sickly man has to go through in order to walk out of the house looking somewhat respectable. I once heard an author with mental issues interviewed on NPR say that he contemplated suicide due to the daily mundane motions that must be repeated ad infinitum, such as shoelace tying. I can relate.
 
Plus this modern age supplies countless diversions that give the impression of doing something while in reality, doing nothing, such as blogging. If an online friend comes on and we chat, kiss another hour goodbye. I think I remember having free time, time for walking or just goofing off. But, I'm doing what I like, it's just that there's a temporary over-abundance of it right now.
 
In the movie, The Unforgiven, right before Clint Eastwood kills the sheriff, Gene Hackman, Gene Hackman who truly deserves to be killed, says, "This isn't fair, I was building a house." I know exactly what the character or more exactly, what the screen writer meant. I can't die now! I was engaged, I was doing something I wanted to see through to the end, I was creating a cornerstone for my life and family.
   
Gene

17:35 Posted in Blog | Permalink | Comments (0)

11/12/2010

Veteran's day a day late

Veteran's day came and went. I have such mixed feeling about patriotism and the military that I'm better off doing what I do; little or nothing. I'll go out on a short limb here and say that I believe that a large percentage of the glad handers and back slappers never served.
>
Some see the stars and stripes forever but I see Pat Tillman. I see short hairy men like me being blown to bits, some, probably deserving it, and some, with kids and jobs and not an evil thought in their heads. I hear the wails and screams, the elderly mothers asking God why? WHY? WHY? I see Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and hear that oldest of old excuses for official oppression and whatever grotesque, humiliating, mono a mono violence that can be inflicted, "I was just doing my job."
 
I hear the gears whirling before the boom of the killer drone ... the guidance system beaming coordinates from the satellites. How heavenly it is to kill. I think of the Dick Cheney's, Rumsfeld's and the Kissinger's, of the world, they feel no guilt or shame. God chose them to be the destroyers of dreams and lives, the cripple makers and dislocaters of millions, they answer to no one and yet they weren't veterans. They pursued other options usually placing themselves in seats of power and reaping great wealth. The clock ticks for them too.
 
I think of the bold young man that proudly declared that he was going back to Iraq that the money was good, Was he a mercenary? Tax free status? I think of a President so dishonest that he never leveled with the American people about the costs. How many gung ho patriots would have been so happy to kill someone if it meant that they had to pay for the bullets?
 
Veteran's Day is an open question mark. Our battles have been all or nothing and that's what we have to show, nothing. The best I can do is say, I'm sorry. I'm sorry Veterans, I'm sorry I couldn't have done more to stop the war. I'm sorry we live in a nation of lies. I'm sorry you had the misfortune to be killed or maimed or traumatized. I'm sorry we're so stupid that we build devices to kill rather than to heal. I'm sorry that you don't even know how you were used by people who have nothing but contempt for you ... won't let you get a decent education, or job. People that harvest young men and women like feed crops. Make it seem like an alternative when it's not. I'm sorry to your families and their great traditions of sending sons, fathers and husbands off to fight in some God forsaken place and then telling us freedom isn't free and all the other shit they pump into our heads day and night. Look around ... What freedom? You can't step out of line here anymore than in Red China. Try to unionize. Try to do anything without the rich man's blessing and see what you get. Maybe stomped on at a Rand Paul Rally? Maybe arrested like at the G-20 summit here in Pittsbugh:
 
 
Read this book:You have no rights.jpg
 
 
And tell me what our veteran's fight for.    Gene

11/11/2010

On being normal

Ok, I was sick. I'm better now. The pesky questions like: what? where? how? and why? can find their own answers. I was well treated at the hospital and they took my condition seriously, all that concerns me now is, I'm getting better.

My life has been interrupted in a strange way. I was in a weird mental state, accentuated by feelings of morose melancholy. My dreams were also victim to a strange new texture, I was transported back in time and into parallel existences. I'm glad to occupy this one with a wife and family that loves and needs me. Those others are too bizarre for even me.

Today is going to be warm and I've set up to once again drain my heating system and remove the last existing radiator in the area being remolded. Eventually, in the spring, I'll shut it down again and install hot water baseboard heat. In the meanwhile I'm sure we can get by with an electric heater if we need to.

I am getting back in the swing. it's been two whole days since I came home from the hospital. What a struggle it is to be normal, of course we don't appreciate what being normal is or that we're doing it, it's something we approach through default but it's by no way a default positions. Normality is sacred, it's a holy agreement that we make with the malevolent and peaceful elements of the world. Normalcy is the secret to living. It's what the disturbed and sick, the poor and the rich long to be. It's our doggie treat for being good, well adjusted members of a dubiously intentioned society.

If there's a better world, I haven't found it and don't expect too. I am happy here and I'll stay as long as I can.

Gene

11/04/2010

The impetus to be better

Doing the right thing,

Have you ever had a moment when you considered not being truthful because being truthful was the more dificult path, the risk of being caught was low and the deniability factor was high? Sometimes you can lie by not saying anything. Take today as an example; I needed my big walk-behind mower, a 16 HP Toro, to mulch the fallen leaves. I do this every year, I go over them again and again until they are shredded wheat.

The tire was flat and it needed gas. I took care of those two things and started to back it out of it's storage space. I was watching the front because the clearance was tight and I backed the handle right into the kitchen contractor's Silverado pick up truck. It left a 4 inch scratch and a slight dent. I looked at the truck to see how many other dents and dings were in the body, none. I thought, well it's in nice shape but he probably won't notice it right away. I walked over to where he was making a cut and told him what I did.

He wasn't upset, in fact he revealed nothing by his demeanor or though words. I went back to the project at hand, making confetti out of the recently fallen leaves. After an hour I was tired, I stopped and went inside. I told him once again I was sorry about his truck and he ask me about homeowner's insurance. I said I had a $500.00 deductable and the damage would surely be less than that, for him to  get an estimate and I'd pay. He ask me to call my homeowner's to make sure.

I did and in liability damage there is no deductable, in other words, they would pay for his truck to be fixed totally and it wouldn't cost me a dime. I made several calls and eventually an adjuster called me back. I put the contractor on the phone. He gave them the information they requested and, as far as I know, I'm no longer nvolved. It's between him and the adjuster exatly how they settle it. I'm glad he'll be made whole, and, as they say, that's what we have insurance for. 

Later, after he was finished, he did the entire job by himself in three days, I saw that he was manhandling the sink, that we had purchased special, out of the box. I ran over to help because I knew how heavy the enameled, cast iron sink was and we put it through the opening he had cut in the countertop.

It wasn't a standard size sink and he had just taken a cursory measurement to cut the hole. The hole he cut was too big for the sink. The sink would have sank right through. I felt terrible for him but again, he revealed no emotion. I moved the sink around a bit but no matter how it was situated, the sink would never have completely covered the opening.  I ask him what he proposed.

He said, "A new countertop." I said, "You mean, here to here?" "No," he said "it's all glued and it can't be taken apart." This countertop is huge but he's replacing the whole thing because he made a 1 inch mistake. I admired his veracity.  He said it was his mistake and he made no excuses.

He cleaned up and left. He'll be back in a week or so to replace the countertop, it has to be re-manufactured. He had spent most of the day, and it was a long day, fitting, adjusting and compensating for the countertop, not to mention the sheer strength and stamina that one man would require to move and lift it into place.

I wondered; was he being so upfront and honest with me because I was with him? I know the answer though, he would have been this upfront and honest had I not said a thing about the truck. Honesty isn't something dependant on whether or not you think the other person deseves it. It's a part of your character, and if it isn't, I hope someday that you meet a person that it is. You may feel a little shame but maybe, like me, it's the impetus you need to be a better person.   GeneHPIM0732.JPG

11/03/2010

I'm sick of it

The kitchen has been all consuming. I'm sick of it, but still, it's coming along.

HPIM0728.JPGHPIM0729.JPGHPIM0727.JPG

10/25/2010

An open letter to my blog

Hello Blog it's been a while hasn't it?
 
How have you been? Yeah I know... same old, same old. Oh, did you get my last payment? I guess you did or you would have dropped me like a used rubber by now, hahahhah. How are things in France from where you hail? If you don't mind me saying, Fucking Frogs,,,,hahahah. You guys must hate us huh? Remember freedom fries? We sure showed you with that one.
 
Most of us here in the United States of Amnesia (as Gore Vidal calls us) don't even remember the issue that prompted our culinary protest but you wouldn't support our dirty little war in Iraq, remember? Or, maybe you just didn't support it to the extent we thought you should. It turns out you were right and we were wrong. Funny, but I don't see any support from the mindless, visceral, good weather patriot set for renaming French fries, humble pie fries.
 
That's just the way we are though, we think we're right when we're wrong, we think we're the perennial good guys no matter how many times the truth smacks us in the face,. We claimed victory in WWII and for liberating you after over 10 million Russians died fighting the Nazi's. You don't hear much about that in the good ol' US. In fact those very Russians were the quintessential bad guys for decades. The military should kiss their feet, look what they did for them. We're still building those fighter jets that we might have needed had the saber rattling turned into saber battling.
 
When is the last time we needed a fighter jet to fight Al-Qaeda or the Taliban? We use Drones now. America has lost it's heart for messy wars and with drones you can kill indiscriminately and always say it was a mistake. How perfect is that?
 
So, if you've been worrying about me, Blog-o-mine, don't bother. I'm just as cynical and jaded as ever. I'm a living, breathing anachronism, a hippie in a mine field, a harmless bug squashed against the windshield of life, a cry in the wilderness. Thanks for being there for me even if I pay you.   Your Bud,   Gene
 
 

10/18/2010

The state of the kitchen

Here are two pictures showing the current status of the kitchen project. The beam is made from 2X6s, 12 foot long. I was going to lag it together but the clamps, liquid nail and 2 1/2 inch screws did a fine job. It's as solid as if it were one piece. The fancy cuts at the ends were made so the bulk of the beam sits inside the wall at the ends and brings the face of the beam out to finish and were made mostly by hand.

I have yet to install the second 4x4 upright support. That should be finished this morning. I'm a little disappointed that it's not level but that's only because the original floor plate that it presses against wasn't level to begin with. Today, I'll also shim it until it is level. the bottom 1 1/2 inch of the beam will protrude below the ceiling covered with a finish 1X6. The side are out to finish and will be trimmed with crown molding.

The New Beam replaces the bearing wall to support the floor and wall above on the second floorkitchen 10-17-10_003.JPGkitchen 10-17-10_004.JPG

10/14/2010

The power of one

Another so-so night's sleep last night, I feel like I was "born tired and ain't got rested up yet," to quote an old timer that I once worked with. Now I'm the old timer or, at least, feel like I am.
 
Routinely, l take a late morning nap since I get up at 5:00 with my wife, bid her farewell and send her off to work  She comes home exhausted we eat and then, usually, one or both of us falls asleep in the chair. It's a very mature relationship.
 
Around 8:00 PM I wake up, unless I'm just starting to fall asleep. I watch Keith Olbermann  and maybe Racheal Maddow. Both fighting the good fight against corporatism while working for a corporation. Later, since I'm awake from that nasty nap business I'll take in a movie. Last night it was The Pawnbroker:

 
 Rod Steiger turns in a brilliant performance as a Holocaust survivor whose heart was hardened by the loss of his family in the camps and who lives an isolated existence in a Harlem pawnshop. Sidney Lumet's groundbreaking drama also stars Geraldine Fitzgerald, Brock Peters. 111 min.
 
I was enthralled by the hectic, insane sound track, the old cars and store fronts, the small time thugs and everyday people rolled up in a black and white extravaganza about one man coping with the guilt of surviving the Nazi concentration camp, with exploration into the meanings of life, love and redemption
 
I never got the hype about Rod Steiger, I thought he was mediocre, but this is a triumph. Not so much of the human spirit but of acting, the shameless presentation of emotion and the largely lost art of American film.  
 
After, I planned the coming day of kitchen remodeling work, how would I make this cut, do I really have to cut into the plaster and lathe again, what ceiling height, crown molding? Things are dragging on and on, I'm tired. When I had leisure did I appreciate it? What's the point anyway?
 
The small pressures of my life are nothing compared to life in a concentration camp. Did that really happen? How could such a horror have existed? If I can excuse and understand black plight, why is it different from the Jews? We trivialize any suffering that isn't our own, we want to look away. We can't take the heat. The human story is one of cruelty and revenge, hatred and violence. Why isn't that emphasized? Why do we bleat like sheep to the slaughter house? How, then, should we confront life? There are no answers only life to be lived. One person living one life. The power of one is the only way out.  Gene

10/12/2010

Oh Lord, why hast thou forsaken me?

I feel forsaken, my email buddies haven't returned my emails and I was forced out of the one chat room I go in, that's, I've just recently started going back in after years of thinking they were the perfect representation of mass stupidity Somewhere I once read a of a man lamenting  his lack of a love life, he said if he were a pile of shit, female flys wouldn't light upon him. That sums it up nicely except it's a lack of any kind of friendship that I lament.
 
Have I burned my bridges without even knowing it? Are people just too busy as a consequence of the new order that states: their are no free lunches, free time or freedom in general as a result of propping up the uber-wealthy even further than in the past, so much so that top executives now make 500 times was their lowliest workers make? Have we, or are, we losing our culture? Societies like the Eskimo have little culture because almost every waking hour is spent on the procurement of food.  
 
Oh, you could argue, that we have a culture alright, one that slams and bangs and goes boom but it's not a culture, that it's a reflection, an equal and opposite reaction to what we have allowed to become the  Zeitgeist. Rap music declares: your society tries to make me anonymous, a nameless faceless nothing but I am a man with the gun and bitches to prove it. Isn't that the same thing that the rich desire: power and control? It runs like a steel thread through every aspect of their lives and thereby into ours as we take their minimum wage hand-outs, 30% credit cards and watch and listen to their subliminal messages piped into our heads. You are the Survivor, the NJ, NY, Atlanta and Washington house wives. Subconsciously we are waiting for Superman, aka, Donald Trump to carry us in his arms and up into the heavens.
 
 
The first two tickets for a trip into space in a British rocket have been snapped up for £250,000.
Inventor Steve Bennett, from Dukinfield, Greater Manchester, has sold the seats to a couple who live in Gibraltar.Read more: http://www.breakingnews.ie/world/two-tickets-for-british-rocket-space-trip-sold-5642.html#ixzz12AhUzlm5
 
Oh, what a fabulous time to live, what a fabulous time to die. Maybe in our search for the ultimate pleasure we find some friends somewhere. A race that will love us unconditionally, one that we can exploit and shit on with impunity. One that, when all is said and done, will curl up in our laps, puppy eyed and eager for our approval one that we can smack away just for the hell of it.    Gene

10/11/2010

Kitchy, kitchy, kitchen

The kitchen was abuzz with activity this past weekend. No, not the activity that's usually associated with kitchens, i.e., chopping, slicing, baking or cooking but something more severe and rudimental: the transformation of space. Just as Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, the dividing wall between the kitchen and breakfast room came tumbling down. Rather than lamb, ram, sheep horns, we used saws, hammers and pry bars.
 
My big, strong, handsome son and I beat and cut the wall into submission. The wall is having the last laugh, however, as billions of dust particles,  just ever so much  larger than Uranium atoms, fill every nook, crack and crevice, light upon any and all flat surfaces and generally make for an amazingly arduous clean-up process.
 
I knew that the effects of taking down this wall were going to be dramatic but it's passed expectations. Even in it's primordial state the kitchen looks 5 times larger, going from a quaint, little built, in the 20s or 30s basic no frill kitchen to a large galley more suitable to modern tastes.
 
Here, see for yourself:
 Kitchen Remodeling wall down 10-10-2010 023.jpgKitchen Remodeling wall down 10-10-2010 025.jpg
The 3 layers of flooring will be taken up to expose the hardwood floor underneath, already I've take a 2 foot by 4 foot section up and the hardwood below is pristine, never stained or varnished.
 
The drop ceiling in the kitchen proper wil be gone, the cabinets will be cherry with new hardware and pulls, the counter tops wil be replaced with the new laminate ones and the partial wall you see will support a peninsula and house a (finally) dishwasher. I'm not sure about the lighting, going back to the original ceiling height doesn't allow for recessed lights so we'll be in the market for an attractive surface mount something or other. Goodbye ugly green cabinets you have served us well but your time has come.    Gene

10/06/2010

Mailbag

And now for a new feature I call, Mailbag, where I answer readers questions:

Q. Gene, you haven't written for a while. What's up?

A. It's because of people like you that I haven't written, always prying and never satisfied. You make me sick!

Q. Gene, I really enjoy your blogs do you think you'll ever write professionally?

A. Go ahead rub it in. I'm only good enough to write for a stupid blog right? What's your claim to fame asshole?

Q. Your ideas are always well thought out and your writing is unique. Do you teach classes?

A, Yes on how to go fuck yourself.

Q. Gene, I see that you haven't been well are you ok?

A. I'm good thanks. Now go get your shoe shine box!

Q. Gene, I'm available for sex, how about it?

A. Look you lousy three holed punch, what do I look like, no change that, what do you look like?

Q. Gene, I'm on the liver transplant list can you give me any advise?

A. Always look both ways before crossing the street, use your seat belt and make peace with yourself and God if you believe there is one.

Q. I don't have a question but I found a 1955 double strike penny the other day. Hooray for me!

A. I'd like to double strike you.

Q. Aren't you just old and full of hate?

A. My name is Gene, not John McCain.

Q. Would you vote for Obama again?

A. Damn straight the white man has kept us down long enough!

IQ. Aren't you white?

A. Shuddup.

Q. Why are you so angry?

A. It's my gig.

Q. So it's just a show?

A. Yes, really I'm shaking in my boots and afraid of everything. Did you hear that noise? IS SOMEONE IN THE HOUSE? I wish I had a gun right now.

Q. If you had a twin brother and he traveled at the speed of light in a rocket ship for twenty years when he returned who would be older?

A. In theory I would be, he'd just age a few minutes, but tthe speed of light is impossible to attain because as you approach it, mass become infinite. Soon there wouldn't be enough energy in the entire universe to propel you any further, and, he'd probably be squashed like a bug from the pressure long before he came close.

Q. Do you believe in evolution?

A. Not in your case.

Thanks, keep sending those questions.    Gene

10/01/2010

Gene, Gene the remodeling machine

My back will soon be against the wall that I have to knock down,
 
I've committed myself. No, not to an asylum, although that may be appropriate soon, but still, I've made a serious commitment. How serious is serious? Not serious enough that if I don't go through with what I've committed to will there be dire consequences but that all depends on what you mean by "dire".
 
I've contracted a kitchen company to do work in my kitchen. Before they can do their work I have to do mine. I started a few days ago and I have all this month which should be enough time if I can stay off of this machine, my health isn't an issue and I can actually do what I plan on doing.
 
I'm tearing out a load bearing wall for one. I'm building a recess in another wall for two and finally, I'm taking up the 3 layers of old flooring to expose the original hard wood and praying that it's in decent enough shape to refinish. Along with that, there's always the unforeseen and unexpected. Just packing up all the pots, pans, canned goods, appliances, etc., etc, is a job in itself. And then there's the very real problem of maintaining normalcy, or something close to it, while all this is being done. I don't envy me.
 
On the other hand, people do this stuff everyday and nary a blog do they write. They just roll up their sleeves and "get her done".  But, being a one man crew I feel that since there's always one guy that isn't as motivated, isn't as particularly keen on wading through the filth that's inevitably generated by pulling down and tearing up and would rather be someplace else, I have to be that guy too. If I could fire the indolent parts of myself I would.
 
Today I'm taking the 5 inch diamond cutting wheel on my hand held grinder and going to work on the side of the wall that hasn't been cut yet. This, once the remaining wall is reinforced, will create the recess that I need to sink the refrigerator in.  It's a modern wonder of a refrigerator, it holds enough food to feed an invading horde. It's deep, too deep, it sticks out beyond the cabinets and countertops, it sticks out beyond all reason. And so, the rear 5 or 6 inches will now be buried in the recess leaving the front more or less even with the existing decor.
 
Regrettably I came across many old 2X4s crossing this section of wall. There's one that runs on a 45 degree angle. I can't figure that one out, but probably it was how they build them then. Diagonals always mean strength in home construction. You may notice in older home, the sub-flooring was run on a diagonal too. That was before plywood came into fashion. Now, wood, real honest to goodness wood, is too costly to use.
 
The dust, dirt and minerals in the plaster, real plaster, will fly today. It will be like holding a sand blaster the wrong way close to your face. Eye protection and a mask are a must. A hood is a nice touch if you want to keep your hair from feeling like you buried it in a sand box. The clean up will be massive, well, massive on a small sale if that makes any sense.
 
It's day two or three of this and I'm tired already. I'll keep you posted.   Gene
 
 Kitchen Remodeling 10-1-100 (2) 008.jpg

09/29/2010

The US of JP

Will They Raid My Home For Writing This?

By Mary Shaw
 

September 28, 2010 "Information Clearing House" -- - It's like McCarthyism all over again.

On September 24, FBI agents raided the homes of some anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis on suspicion that they were providing material support to terrorism.

This follows only a few weeks after it was discovered that Pennsylvania's Office of Homeland Security had been spying on activist groups in the Keystone State.

The Chicago Tribune quotes one of the harassed activists in Minnesota as calling the searches "an outrageous fishing expedition."

Indeed. But this is apparently how our tax dollars are being used. Apparently the authorities still subscribe to the George W. Bush-style assumption that if you're not in lockstep with the government's policies, then you must be with the terrorists.
 
 And the Bush administration's knee-jerk, fear-based policies in response to 9/11 have arguably made it legal for agencies to conduct these witch hunts.

The Patriot Act broadened the definition of domestic terrorism to an extent that it "may have a chilling effect on the U.S. and international rights to free expression and association," says Amnesty International USA.

Amnesty continues: "The law defines 'domestic terrorism' as acts committed in the United States 'dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws,' if the U.S. government determines that they 'appear to be intended' to 'influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion,' or 'to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.' Such ambiguous language allows for loose interpretation that might violate civil liberties and international human rights."

As we're seeing right now.
 
To further complicate things, as I wrote back in June regarding Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is not unconstitutional for the government to block speech and other forms of advocacy supporting a foreign organization that has been officially (and arbitrarily) labeled as terrorist, even if the aim is to support such a group's peaceful or humanitarian actions.

Coincidentally, the Justice Department's Inspector General released a timely report last week after a review of FBI crackdowns on peace and social justice activists during the George W. Bush administration. The report is rather critical of the FBI.

The ProPublica Blog summarizes:

The FBI activities reviewed by the Justice Department took place from 2001 to 2006, and involved groups including the Thomas Merton Center (a Pittsburgh social justice center), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Greenpeace, The Catholic Worker (communities of religious pacifists) and a Quaker peace activist.
 
"The report by the Justice Department watchdog didn't find that the FBI targeted these groups on the basis of their free speech activities - which would be a serious violation of FBI guidelines - but did fault the agency for other reasons, most notably a 'factually weak' basis for opening investigations.
 
"'FBI agents and supervisors sometimes provided the [Office of the Inspector General] with speculative, after-the-fact rationalizations for their prior decisions to open investigations that we did not find persuasive,' the report said.

"The report also found that that the FBI unnecessarily classified its probes as domestic terrorism investigations, even though some of the potential crimes were trespassing or vandalism - acts not normally considered to be terrorism. This classification resulted in several individuals improperly being placed on terrorism watchlists.

"The Inspector General also found that the FBI gave 'inaccurate and misleading' explanations to justify its attendance at a 2002 rally against the Iraq war organized by the Merton Center."
How much farther will they have to go before this becomes an actual police state?
Or is it already?

And will they raid my home for writing this?

Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views appear regularly in a variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites. Note that the ideas expressed here are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Amnesty International or any other organization with which she may be associated. E-mail: mary@maryshawonline.com
*************************************************************************
This inspired me to write:
<
The United States of Justified Paranoia,
 
They will get you, they will get me. The cops, the military, the agents of intolerance, whoever. You will be gotten. Your measly gun will just enrage them and give them carte blanche to shoot you sooner. You are fucked. Let us pray:
 
Lord,
 
I'm sorry that I've in anyway contributed to the oligarchy that runs this country,  If Jesus wouldn't have been crucified, if the Romans and Jews would have just been a little smarter they would have let Jesus take the next step and go into politics. His  teachings and disciples would have inevitably split into factions and become diluted and ineffectual. The whole Christianity thing would have been swept into the dust bin of history. His saving grace was to die a martyr.
 
Lord,
 
 I know I blaspheme but you don't exist and therefore blasphemy cannot exist. I negate myself by negating you. There is nothing but this hollow universe that we cannot understand. There appears to be a science behind it but even this is a lie. We live and we die and that is all that there is. The Monarchs and dictators know this and make no pretenses. Only in unforgivable violence does a system of men change. Either a soldier or be a plebeian be, in either, life is short and hard.
 
Thank you, Lord

09/28/2010

The move

We returned from New Jersey yesterday. We drove up to help our daughter move from her much detested apartment in Elizabeth to a new location, I haven't nailed the new place's name into my memory yet but it's a definite upgrade. We stayed an extra day and, at times, the hours passed, for me, like days.
 
I haven't been doing very well health wise and even though I had a reasonably good night's sleep the night before we left, I still slept almost the entire drive up. I started off driving but soon realized I wasn't up to the task. Luckily my wife is a good long distance driver and it isn't in her nature to complain about being put upon. The drive was uneventful and we managed to navigate the confusing honeycomb of New Jersey roads with minimal difficulty, something that, in the past, has caused some very tense moments.
 
Arriving, it's always a pleasure to see our daughter beaming at us. I feel a combination of pride and respect towards her. She made the decision to move there in order to improve her life and she's never looked back.
 
She is our flawless tour guide whenever we take the 20 minute train ride into New York city. She seems to know the trains, the subways and even, to a lessor, extent the buss routes. She has a clear geographic grasp of the city, one that I could never hope to achieve. She knows where the traditional, must see tourist things are, has an abundant selection of outstanding and interesting eateries at her fingertips and her pulse seems to synchronize with the city's from the moment we arrive.
 
Her living quarters have been draining her spirit, from the indifferent, absentee landlord, the downstairs squabblers comprised of a father and daughter unit with at least one attempted homicide under their belt, to the noisy, litter strewn, sidewalks and adjoining apartments that house the people responsible for the negative stereotyping of certain races. 
 
She had come to view her life in Elizabeth as an unjust punishment perhaps for having the audacity to make a bid for a better life or just a cruel act of random fate.
 
Whatever the case, New Jersey is an expensive place and aside from leaving the fore mentioned negatives she also hoped to find someplace cheaper in terms of rent or utilities. Finally, she has.The neighborhood is better, the apartment is nicer, if not just a touch smaller and it is less expensive. 
 
My wife and I took a load of boxes over in our van soon after arriving and we planned on making a second trip with more boxes, etc., but after loading, sitting in traffic and unloading for the first trip we decided to call it a day. Our daughter had made arrangements for Saturday, the next day, to have two strong, young guys from where she works to give us a hand with the furniture. We went to a really cool, local diner world famous for their cheesecake, according to the sign outside, and ate.
 
The next day I felt a little better and we eased ourselves into day two of the move. I prepared her refrigerator for the move. It's an old Shelvadord refrigerator and red just like the one in this picture.Shelvador Refrigetator.jpg
 I took the door off, unwired the butter heater and removed the shelves and drawers. Natalie, our daughter had defrosted it the night before. I also took the upper and lower entry doors off and exposed the narrow stairs to her apartment. If things were going to be tough, it wasn't going to be because of something that I could have done but didn't.
 
We had yet to pick up the truck, unrelated, but happening simultaneously my daughter had made arrangements to drop off her car for a brake job.
 
Once all of the logistics were worked out and implemented I drove the truck to her apartment, Lou and Orlando showed up and the real work began. In my anal retentive way I supervised the loading and securing of her stuff. I know how to tie knots, real knots and how to make a rope tight, I had brought plenty of rope, I always do. One by one they brought things to the truck and I made efficient use of the 14 foot truck with the stepped off space toward the front called the Mom's Attic. I also pitched in to carry things from time to time, I'm not a slacker you know. The truck door was pulled down shut and the ramp was taken up. We drove to her new apartment.
 
We carried load after load with Orlando and Lou doing the heaviest lifting. It didn't take long and the truck was bare. I secured my ropes and bungees and we invited Lou and Orlando to join us for lunch. Orlando had prior commitments and had to leave. I saw my daughter pass him a roll of bills and then we drove the truck back to a second, closer rental agency. We met Lou at the same diner we had eaten the day before and ate heartily. Lou is good natured and funny. I'm glad he's my daughter's friend. Afterwards we indulged in cheese and carrot cake, world class, I don't know but deliciously gooey and scrumptious I do.
 
When we went back to the apartment, were we crashed for an hour or so. Later my wife took Natalie to get her car. Somewhere along the line we were told that we were invited to dinner with our daughter's best friend and parents on Sunday, the day that we had planned on leaving. Since they were so good to our daughter, they've taken her, as their guest, to Bermuda twice, we felt obligated to stay the extra day in order to have dinner with them, and, since we have never met, this was as good an opportunity as any.
 
That night my daughter's friends made a surprise visit and it was a pleasure seeing her friends, vivacious, young women in full party mode.
 
Sunday was busy. I had brought my tools, my daughter wanted a divider under her sink to keep the trash can separated from the adjoining compartment and I wanted to put new fluorescent lights up in the kitchen. It was dim but my daughter wouldn't hear of it. She didn't want to call the landlord for permission either, we compromised on installing under cabinet lights. My wife and daughter went to Home depot while I worked on the divider. I had precut a wooden divider as per my daughters measurements before we left and I had brought some 1X1s in case I needed them to secure the divider. They returned and I worked on the lights. It worked out fine and her kitchen was much brighter with the new lights.
 
One Last job, I replaced the 3/4 inch bowed slats to her bed with 2x4s and what a remarkable difference it made. Previously, you couldn't avoid rolling to the center of the bed which made sleeping with a second person extremely difficult, now, with the new heavier, stronger slats the mattress was flat. It was a miracle how something so simple made such a huge difference.
 
We got ready and left to meet the parents. Our daughter had chosen an Italian restaurant that she had driven past a million times. It was excellent, the food, the ambiance and our daughter's friend's parents were all wonderful. The conversation had a natural flow and ebb and we all marveled at the quality of the food. We said good night and proceeded back to the apartment.  
 
Monday, we followed our daughter to the parkway, she went to work and he headed home. It had been a good weekend. We had left without expectations and returned pleased and happy. I reflected back on my daughter's best friend's parents; he was a successful business man quite a few years older than me. He was also a republican but he wasn't demeaning  towards me nor did he adopt an air of superiority. We talked about things and listened to each other, he was reasonable and intelligent. His wife didn't make blanket accusations or judgements, she asks us, what do we think this, of that? There was discussion and agreement. Having spent so much time wading through, and participating in, angry name calling and hate inspired judgements I had forgotten how real people act. It was refreshing and I felt like a better person for going open minded and non-judgmental.
 
Goodness takes root just as easily as insidious contempt. All that is needed is to nurture and cultivate it for it to succeed.     Gene

09/23/2010

Environmental upheaval

Stink bugs, cats and earthworms oh my! 
 
It sounds funny but it's not. All summer earthworms have been crawling out of the ground and in a desperate attempt to go somewhere (?) they end up fried on the patio. Around the same time this became epidemic, we noticed a strong, rotting smell. Naturally we blamed the cats. They must be pooping nearby we thought. Not so, going against type, the cats were blameless. The truth hit me like an invisible cloud of rotten earthworm stink, it was the worms.
 
Earth worms are a beefy lot and when they rot there's a lot of meat on the line, or more correctly, on the patio, and when multitudes of them die daily the stink is overwhelming.
 
Cue the stink bugs. They came latter in the summer and are at their apex right now. They fly but don't seem to know  how to navigate inside a house, they may be the most skilled flyers somewhere else but inside, they bang into walls, lamps or your head. If you're lucky, they end up like turtles on their backs unable to right themselves and not in some bodily nook or cranny.
 
Why nature bothered with such a clumsy, stupid bug I can't understand but like many other Chinese imports they are unnecessary at best and dangerous at worst. They eat leaves and do a lot of damage to cultivated crops such as: corn, tomatos and soybeans.  When squashed they yield a green goo that smells of highly concentrated chlorophyll, or, since chlorophyll is primarily a green pigment that absorbs red and blue light, it may be the chloroplasts that contain chlorophyll that emit the odor. Either way the smell is repulsive and strong.
>
Stink Bug, jive little motherfucker Stink bug.jpg                
While I've given up on the weird worm behavior problem, I've made killing stink bugs my latest hobby. Spiders won't bother with them, birds won't touch them, so, by default, it's left to me to irradicate them from the western hemisphere or, at least, my bedroom. They come in through the tiniest cracks but mostly through the not-so-tiny cracks surrounding the window unit air conditioner. OK, I know, take the damn thing out of the window! Consider it done, today, unless something pops up and I have to put that on hold until next week because we're going to our daughter's in NJ this weekend...Leaving Friday... I can't do everything, I get tired too you know...
>
If I jinx myself by saying this ... I swear I'll punch myself in the nose ...  but at least we don't have bedbugs. Once you have bedbugs you might as well post the sign from Dante's inferno on your bedroom door: Abandon hope all ye who enter here.   Gene 

09/20/2010

The reverberations of history

An interior veiw,
In spite of my diminishing health, the omnipresent turmoil, the malevolent forces loosed when we, as a nation, opened Pandora's box of false promises, the wicked, wacky, wonderful world continues to rotate and revolve, swirling gasses, contradictions and doublespeak travel too the circular orbit of its remarkable, atmospheric, biospheric fluid drive.
 
Historically speaking, the rational man is confounded at every turn. Fortunately for mankind, some have constitutions made of iron and continue regardless of what passes for wisdom but most knuckle under the wheel.
 
The ever increasing quest for creature comfort trumps man's better nature and provides an irresistible incentive to deny what is true and pursue what is false. The ones whose profits produce extreme, out of proportion, unjustifiable wealth bury their contradictions, lies and hypocrisy via mega trends, collateralized debt obligations and other hocus pocus vehicles of deceit and, in turn, reward themselves like never before in our short economic history.
 
Staying on the righteous path requires a warrior's will, in places it's impassable, overgrown with bad ideas and abandoned artifice. Do we cut through or go around? We see nomads along the way. They have decided to be independent of the truth and the lie. We envy them but know their life is hard and short. We want something that has been vaguely promised to us in a dream: a hearth, education, health, respect, in short, a noble existence. By default, the straightest line to our desires takes precedence and does not include nobility in our quiver or a path made wide enough for others to tread.
 
The nouveau unions of flim-flam men, Wall Street Barons and K-Street lobbyists have undercut the previous tried and true systems of labor intensive product based wealth and, instead, have opted for the instant gratification of exported jobs and imported poverty while raining cheap electronics on our heads to distract and entertain us. 
 
Although capitalists cry, "No system is perfect," or, "We didn't make the system," by our actions and inactions we ARE making the system. Without participation, there is no system.
 
We stumble like drunks in the night. We search for the keys to unlock our impotency but our fingers are no longer tactile having evolved to hold drinks and count money. We curse the darkness and our fate. We strike out against people and things that have nothing to do with our miserable failures.  When the inevitable, karmic tab come due, we cry, "Quick, find someone, anyone but me to blame!"
 
Our blindness has disconnected our natural understanding and worse; we pretend that what we do and have done has no bearing on what lies ahead or shapes our future. We have disassembled society, we are a collection of competing desires, we no more know how to live than how to die.
 
Once, to die on the battlefield was enough and gave completeness to our lives, in it were honor and strength, now hospices and nursing homes drain our bodies and minds. We languish and can't understand why fate has been so cruel.
 
We have sold our mysterious, eternal nature for the security of repetition and compromise. We hammered flat our existence in order to stretch it to it's limit. We sought equality through our basest emotions. Death harvests us like a crop. 
 
*This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
*T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

09/14/2010

I get what I desrve

No point in being dumb if you don't show it,
>
Today, going against what I know that I shouldn't do, I called a radio talk show host. I'm a sucker and he played me like a xylophone on wheels. That's Mike Pintek I'm talking about, the same Mike Pintek that I've publicly declared I hate. 
 
His guest on today's show was Hazelton, Pa.'s republican Mayorr, Lou Barletta. Good ol' Lou sees illegal immigrants plastered everywhere in Hazelton. Hazelton? Why the fuck would any self respecting illegal be in Hazelton?

They're not, not anymore than the average small, make that very small (30,000 residents) city in the USA. But the noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious, make that Mayor Barletta was ambitious. Lou the shoe was a candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania's 11th congressional district in 2002 and 2008. He announced on December 9, 2009 that he will once again run for Congress in the 2010 Congressional Election against incumbent Paul Kanjorski.
 
And so, what's better than a melt in the mouth chocolate truffle? A republican banging the drum against illegal's and citing manufactured data to make their case. It's so good that they can ride the tea party tide to congress and from there it's only a small leap to K-Street or Pennsylvania Avenue and / or all points in between.
 
It's a remarkably efficient system: get a conservative talk show host to trumpet your cause, it's their cause too because they, as Uncle Joe used to say, all piss in the same boot and then we, the lost puppy society, will follow them home and grow up into their Pavlovian protectorates salivating over their every vowel and Consonants.
 
One of Mayor Lou the Screw's old reliables was that the emergency rooms are so jammed with illegals that the real Americans can't be seen without waiting forever, no way, no how. When asked by Mike how he knew this, he said that hospitals aren't allowed to ask for any form of identification, that they have to treat whoever walks through the door no matter what.
 
So, by the good Mayor's reverse logic, since they could be in emergency rooms being treated without the hassle of going through immigration, they are in emergency rooms demanding treatment and muscling out the good law abiding citizens like you and me, well like you anyway.  
 
I called after he had left for parts unknown but possibly to consult with his crack team of lawyers since he's vowed to take his case to the Supreme Court. I told Mike that people who look for bogeymen under the bed always find some and his Emergency Room scenario was an assumption, that in reality he didn't have any facts or figures to back up anything that he said.
 
He started talking over me. I talked over him. I said that the crime rate has gone DOWN in Arizona, not up as the fear mongers whose interests are best served by creating division would have people believe. I told him that his party had perverted the presumption of innocence that we used to hold sacrosanct and now all that's necessary to discredit anyone was an accusation.
 
I once called him in response to the nomination of Elena Kagan whom he implied was gay, he offered as proof, that she hadn't come out and denied it. I told him I loved his show even if HE was gay.
 
We went on talking over one another for a couple of minutes. He then said, I enjoyed talking to you and hung up.
 
I hurriedly turned the radio on, thanks to the magic of time delay, I thought I'd be able to catch the last few seconds of our little chit-chat. There he was talking and talking but he had hit the kill button on me. I had no idea how much of what I said went over the air, I suspect not much.
 
I laughed at myself for thinking, for believing that this guy was actually interested in getting to the truth. He had no more interest in the truth as I do about which side he parts his hair. He accomplished his mission, he got me to call and by controlling the button, probably made my argument look weak and flawed.
 
Kudos Mike, you got me.   Gene

09/10/2010

Inconsistency upon inconsistency equals chaos

You're so predictable when all the points on your compass are labled hatred
>
It took a few days but some of the talking heads I regrettably listen to (it's a personal weakness / indulgence that I can't seem to shake) have done a 360 on the burning Koran issue. Initially they opposed it, robotically aligning themselves with General Petraus like the good little fair weather patriots that they can't help themselves from being, until it struck them: burning a Koran is an expression of hatred towards Muslims. 
 
And so, they suddenly characterized burning Korans as constitutionally protected free speech and, in some cases, as a line in the sand. They, in effect are now in opposition to General Petraus even though, three years ago to the day, the conservatives were up in arms when a MoveOn.org ad  labeled him "General Betray Us". That inconsistency in thought parallels their other recent anti Muslim screed.
 
Even though it too is constitutionally protected, they oppose building a Muslim Center two blocks from ground zero. Supporting that on constitution grounds would require equanimity and the guts to deliver a non-hate inspired gesture of American tolerance and not the free and easy Muslim hatred that permeates their minds, hearts and souls.

Like George W. Bush's insane policy of preemption, they too must preempt and destroy the reverse Muslim crusade against America and the world that they, and only they, see looming on the horizon.

They just can't bring themselves to not hate. They hate Obama and his administration for clumsily involving themselves in the Koran burning as if the president has less right to address a national security issue than they. Granted, it's a small issue but what's to keep the next preacher and his minimal flock from threatening the same thing? At what point will America stop placing a priority on squinting at gnats and swallowing camels? And when will our political leaders stop placating the small minority of crackpots that, through their concentrated attention, seem to be the majority?

America has surely become the most conflicted nation on Earth. We're still number one until you deal in specifics. Our standard of living is the best in the world, save specifics, Our health care is second to none until you consider the specifics. We are a remarkable good, tolerant and wealthy people but in a non-specific way.

Other nations are no longer willing to buy us for what we think we're worth, they'd much rather buy us, on the cheap, for what has become intrinsic to our soul; violence, bad music, drug lust and an endless fascination for the perverse application of technology.

Of course we still do some things right and there is a huge body of righteous and wise people in high positions here but never in my short memory have the brain-dead held such sway. There is a huge growing movement here in the land that we love that declares, things are such and such, so and so, because that's how I want them to be. The almighty, ME, declares it to be so. Muslims to the best of my knowledge are not egomaniacs such that everything begins and ends with them. Islam literally means, "to accept, surrender or submit,"  things that have become antithetical to being an American.

Our capacity for misdirection seems endless. We disastrously declared war on Iraq without grounds, and since it's be an evolution of hatred towards Islam, also without grounds. We are children fearful of he bogeyman. Our fear is destroying us from within. It is time to say enough and drive this cancer out.   Gene

09/06/2010

Our responsibility to the truth

Jesus said, "To this end was I born, and for this came I into the world, to bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice." Pilate then said unto him, What is truth?" (John 18:37-38)
 
We become immune to the truth by degree. Every time we accept a dubious proposition, every time we're too polite to call the truth to attention we reinforce the idea that a ubiquitous lie is a reasonable alternative to the truth. This public and private death by one thousand cuts is promulgated by those whose interests are served by happily supplying superficially, plausible alternatives to what's real, proven and immutable.
 
Why? Even the ones that sell soap and repackage the same old drivel must somehow in their private lives honor the truth. Who would purposely raise their children to exist within the facade of a lie?
 
Herein lies the crux of an enigma. Even though truth is absolute, people are not. Our idea of the truth is one of a raw commodity, something malleable, ductile, i.e., although we feign allegiance and alliance to truth, it's the truth that we construct to appease our prejudice and fears. The search for the truth is an endless endeavor and we are not up to the task. Our compromise is not laid in compliance to the best of what has gone before but more utilitarian concerns such as, what is in my own best interest must be the truth, surely the truth would never entail sacrifice. Sacrifice is contrary to existents and so we are led by our simple reptilian brain when, in reality, our greatest cognition is what's required for the disposition of truth.   
 
Unfortunately, man's best effort will never decide the issue, there are too many voices clamoring, too much cheap competition for our attention. The most irresponsible go blithesomely on their way, their minds and knowledge full of gaps and fallacies, walking parentheses declaring (insert popular opinion here). They live and die on the surface of a an infinite mystery floating like undissolved clumps, byproducts of unexamined beliefs and ideas. Gene

09/03/2010

My email to Dom Giordano, KDKA's stand-in host for Mike Pintek

Dear FOX news flunky, middle America hater, corporate boot licker, 

Concerning you and Michell Maulkin: fuck you, your mother and father, your sisters and brothers, anyone that looks like you and all your pets. After everyone is done fucking you, go fuck yourself.
Thanks, Gene

09/01/2010

My latest (it only took forever) project

This entrtainment center was purchased at the Salvation Army. It was 24 inches taller, the TV wouldn't fit and it was a wood grain finish. I rebuilt it and made the TV compartment bigger, whacked the top section off and painted it flat black. The project was on hold until the room was completed. I did the room in deep burgandy wall covering 30 years ago. When we pulled it off, the walls were covered with black and green mold. I made the door from scratch. I had some heavy pieces of brass register that I've been using for various projects but this is the last of it. The mirror is maple wood that I painted and can't remember where it came from.

HPIM0590.JPG

Behind the door you see a 1000 watt inveter that I housed along with a car battery, some relays and a trickle charger. It was originally made to come on automatically when the power went off but inside the box the eletric components generated too much heat. I put a small electronic's cooling fan in but it's heavy duty and it's loud. So now you have to manually switch it over with the toggle switch you see on the second shelf from the bottom center. One position is house power the other inverter power. I put the inverter on a time clock so it comes on 1 hour a day to keep the battery up. HPIM0592.JPG   Gene

08/29/2010

Change and the tranfomation of man

With our hemisphere askance the sun, the season begins it's change. The signal to begin springs spontaneously from the Earth and no one knows exactly where or how or whether it rely's on secret  transmission lines and routes.

Mother nature must usher her children back into the earth for their long sleep. Every animal will follow it's instinct and expend less and less energy as food becomes scarce. Man resists the wave and continues to venture forth, man and the highly specialized animals that have evolved in our world's cold weather zones but man is the anomaly throughout creation again and again.  

 We will enjoy the cold, we will ski, sled and ice skate, we have developed "Winter Games". Somewhere it is always wintry cold and people have adapted. Once, we wrapped ourselves in furry animals to steal their protection, some still do but miracle fibers, weaves and chemicals have largely taken their place.
 
Man needs food, shelter and a raging fire. He will make hot broth and seek companions. These ancient, primordial things ignite something deep within us. Once, around the fire, the tales were of beasts and warriors, courage and honor. Today, as then, the byproduct is the same: comradery, laughter and an allegiance or brotherhood. With our tribe we are strong, without it we perish. The highly sophisticated ways in which man's cerebral and physical worlds combine and compliment one another knit a social fabric and form the foundation on which we build our lives. In it the seasons are intrinsic and extrinsic.
 
I increasingly marvel at the lateness of the sunrise, the earlier and earlier sunset. The acorns are hitting the ground, soon the leaves shall follow. Life is a chess game with a few favored openings but always each and every season becomes unique and one of limitless possibilities, dead ends or traps. Why has the earth all of the perfect conditions for life? Why is the atmosphere perfect? Why is there a perfect 23 degree tilt to our axis? The 92 elements are like dice rolling and combining making the minerals and compounds that we need, even fossil fuel was once life, it's latent energy borrowed from the sun and stored within. We have only scratched the surface of this world. There are infinities upon infinities to discover and explore.
 
Peak oil? Over population? Maybe, but if man continues to walk this world he must eventually pay the piper. We can ease our future burden  but to do so we must be better than we are. We must care for something other than ourselves. We must believe in the future of man. To continue to live like we have is cynical and selfish We are in a season within a season and both must change.   Gene

08/26/2010

Oh mythical, sacred firebird, arise, arise

In my dream last night, I saw people celebrating America's decline, America's defeat. America had become a speak easy, with no pretense of morality or values. People could become the slobs of their lowest expectations, there was no guilt, no shame. Naked and drunken they had found their Garden of Eden here in the heartland. There were no old people in my dream they had ceased to be relevant and were relegated to their slums to suffer and die, just like before. Youth and beauty were the currency of the realm, just like before. Sex sells in the gutter as well as the penthouse.
 
Like children at play, the frivolous laughter and gayety in an instant turned into vitriol. Accusations and violence flared. No offense was too meager, no slight too insignificant. American was a day care center for unruly children, so much so that the ground work for a strongman dictator had been laid with great precision. Who couldn't see the value in having one, who wouldn't welcome one?
 
The government had failed, weighed down by corruption and indifference. Even the rich had washed their hands of it, deciding instead to just break laws rather than spend millions to weaken them. Theirs was a public dare, "Go ahead put in jail, I dare you!" Judges, lawyers and prosecutes were all on the take, it was hopeless.
 
Some people still clung to the constitution, others used the constitution as grounds for the new order. The constitution said too much, it didn't say enough. America had reached critical mass and was out of control, their was nothing to be done but watch as it spun like a top wobbling to a stop.
 
From the ashes what shall rise?  Gene
 

08/23/2010

One in a while ...

On having a beautiful day,
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Saturday was sensational. We went to see two Harold Pinter one acts with two of our good friends. The second play had particular significance for my friend, he once acted in the same 3 character one act and it was his first acting role other than in acting classes and showcases.
>
Both were highly entertaining and I doubt if there will ever be a better production of "Betrayal" than the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre's. There was a genuine, heartfelt standing ovation at the end.
 
Since this had been a matinee, we had had planned on dining afterwards. The last time my wife and I were in Oakland, the land of *UPMC and cultural haven, I noticed a lot of eateries on S. Craig Street. I lobbied to go there and look.
 
There were mid-eastern, Indian and conventional, American cuisine restaurants. We notice a place across the street from where we were with an outdoor terrace.  It was a beautiful day and so we decided to check it out. The menu looked good and then from over the raised terrace wall, an Italian gentleman bade us up and in.
 
He was Franco. I immediately felt comfortable with his light humor gently sprinkled with friendly barbs. He was straight out of the movies with his good looks and intelligent face. I expected to see Old Blu Eyes and Dino sitting at the table next to us with Franco regaling them with restaurateur anecdotes.
 
When in the presents of a clever wit every word takes on a double entendre and good humor seemed to erupt spontaneously. We had 3, 4 and 5 way banters going on and every time Franco made an appearance it was the next installment of the Franco and friends show. Not only did we greatly appreciate him, but he appreciated us. I know because he told us so, not everyone is as open to having their server's free form levity compliment their meal as we were. Plus the food was outstanding.
 
Franco had recommended the wine and assured us it was excellent and at the same time reasonably priced. When I said I didn't/couldn't drink, that became the fodder for more subtle jokes and good natured humor.
 
The salad and bread were perfect, the main entree was divine. Franco's world was one of good food and good company 3 cuts above the rest. After dinner Franco showed his appreciation to us with a shot of lemon liqueur. Once again, singling me out for my non-alcohol proclivities.
 
If I had been drinking, I probably would have kissed Franco goodbye. We had a special rapport going and when he asked me if I was Italian and I said,"Yes" it was like a membership in his special club. I shook his hand instead and said thanks.
 
Halfway to our cars it started to rain. The Lord, atmospheric conditions, or just plain luck gave us the opportunity to make it before the heavy rain started. We drove in silence knowing that this day had been a special gift.   Gene
 

08/19/2010

Let the cry babies cry

Should a Mosque be built near the Word Trade Center site? The U.S. Constitution addresses this issue in one sentence:

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Most people agree and Obama has said that Muslims have the right to build a Mosque there but many, including  democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, think to do so would be a mistake.

Chris Hayes of The Nation Magazine substitute hosting for Rachel Maddow say's there no "but" either you support the 1st amendment or not. He said he has a friend that said, and he agrees, that America was founded so that Muslims could built a Mosque at the 9-11 site. In other words, for religious freedom and to escape religious persecution. He says it's a sign of our national madness that the president can make the news by affirming the first amendment.

I agree. The counter argument that everyone who opposes the Mosque uses, that it just stokes the flames of hatred to build it there and why don't they just take their hammers and nails and build it somewhere else (?) is nothing less than religious discrimination. The true counter argument as I see it is, so it's protected by the constitution, so what?
>
The constitution has been used to protect a lot of things that I don't care for. I don't like being lied to, especially by the media, (FOX news are you listening?) but the constitution protects speech period, with the classic exception of yelling fire in a crowded theater.

There are laws on the books that are there to insure that consumer products and services aren't misrepresented to us but they are weak and getting weaker. A used car dealer doesn't have to tell you that he's selling you a hunk of junk, he may know it's a hunk of junk but he'll say its a "nice car" or use some other nonspecific, complimentary descriptive language engineered to tell you absolutely noting but at the same time create a favorable impression.

The constitution doesn't say, contrary to what the NRA would have you believe, that you have the absolute right to own guns, it says:
Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arms:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
 
How many gun owners belong to a State Militia and yet the Supreme Court has ruled  that the 2nd amendment gives everyone, with rare exceptions, the right to own guns.
 
So, I don't support lying or people carrying firearms to the grocery store, perforce, I am in opposition to the Constitution. Still, I support the Mosque being built. Our attitudes towards our freedoms shape them. If we don't exercise them we will lose them. If we could only stop letting the hateful, fearful minority trump up the non-issues we'd all be better off. It's people that don't have to work hard for a living, don't have to work with all types of people, don't have to intermingle, who are the ones that want to remake America in their image and we'd be fools to let them.   Gene 

They became what they beheld, title borrowed from Edmund Snow Carpenter

It's not oil or gas well drilling, it's not terrorists, it's not fat kids, it's not the stars or planets that are dragging the United States into the black hole of paralysis and amnesia. It's us. We're in the drivers seat but we're not paying attention to the road. Our hands aren't on the wheel, they're texting, putting on make-up, or just plain masturbating.
 
The radio is too loud and the engine is going broooom broooom because we're so insensitive that we need to hear loud noises to verify our existence. We have shouting battles going on in our heads 24/7. We have an entire encyclopedia stored somewhere with get-evens and should-have-saids. We hate our wives, bosses, kids, ourselves and anyone whose actions can somehow be interpreted as an affront to our man or womanhood. We don't mature. Our needs are NOW. Delaying gratification is foreign to our way of life. We hate foreigners.
 
We get cancer and die, we get heart disease and die. We've insulated and isolated ourselves from the world but the world gets in anyway. The world we fear. The world of fear. The world of dysfunction and affliction. It gets in because we welcome it by our actions, thoughts and the things that we should have done but didn't. If only we would have taken the time to be kinder, gentler, better than we are but our insistence that nothing matters except I, me and mine has made us weak and compromised our personal and national immune systems.
 
We are the cancer. Our arteries are hard and our hearts have turned to stone. The only hope we have is the hope to get even. The propaganda and noise machines have infected our brains. The kind of revolution we need doesn't require guns or routing the bastards out, it requires a revolution in thought. We agree through fear, fear of being the one that doesn't agree, the fear of being the one that singles themselves out by noncompliance. They killed Jesus and Martin Luther King what chance do we have?
 
Most people don't get that far, they buy the current wisdom lock stock and barrel. Were is their spirit? Where is their soul? You don't have to go along to get along, you don't have to. When the Buddhist Monks poured gas on themselves and set themselves aflame to protest the Vietnam war did they worry about how it looked? What their prospects were? A simple act of defiance can change the world. Gandhi knew that. The job isn't over because some martyrs made the big time. The battle comes to us every single day, forever.  
 
The real Muslims know that's the real Jihad.   Gene

08/17/2010

To all the lady donkeys out there

Mario Lanza - The Donkey Serenade(1).mp3

Since Sue sees fit to comment on my transparent ass, here, with the help of Mario Lanza are more ass(es).

Donkeys 8-16-10_005.JPG

Donkeys 8-16-10_003.JPGDonkeys 8-16-10_002.JPG 

08/16/2010

Our get-away weekend coveting other people's stuff

Serendipitous camping tripitous, 
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OK, OK, here's the deal. We went camping over the weekend. We would have gone to a State Park but our fellow campers are fond of beer and the Ranger is not, not in the park anyway. We've been kicked out of a State Park before for having beer but it was really official oppression and the Ranger just wanted the beer for himself and his buddies.
 
Not to be sidetracked but imagine; we had been coming to the same camping spot for years, we had a friend with a beard playing the guitar, there's no one else around for hundreds of acres, we had kids with us, the Ranger gets out of his car, which should have been a dead give-away because they never do that and asks to look in our coolers. I refused to let him look in mine, on principle, and out we went. Forking bastigous.
 
No one wanted to relive that trama and so we compromised on a place with more pull behind campers than Carter has and had republican detractors. For those too young to know better, the saying originally went, " ... than Carter has little liver pills," of which I could certainly use a few.
 
In all honesty, the place is quite nice. The bathrooms are clean, which, in the final analysis, is how we judge people's houses, restaurants and jail cells. With apologies to the Greek philosopher, Protagoras, clean bathrooms are the measure of all things. There's a beautiful swimming pool, miniature golf, which in itself is a parody of quasi-resort spots, paddle boats and fire wood for sale. There's even a game room with lots of teenage chicks and the awkward, pubescent and post pubescent, annoyingly loud and always vulgar, teenage boys.
 
But for my wife and I, that wasn't the big story. The big story was that a mere 6 or 7 miles away, nestled in the Pennsylvanian hillls, off the beaten path, Somerset was having its 20th Antique Show and Street Fare. Vendors from across our great state had come to make money and spread the word, "They don't make em like they used to." And, they don't.
 
As much as we lament the fact, they never will again, it's incumbent on you and me to grab those chrome table and chair sets with the repeating patterns pressed into the Formica. Old books and toys? Bring em on, along with the depression glass, the fiesta ware, the old tools, i.e., the 18 inch diameter grind stone on it's carriage with foot peddles and bicycle-like seat, the old trains and fire engines, the old silver plated dinner ware, the infinite varieties of bowls and vases, the colors, the gentle shapes, the endless selections of costume jewelry, the grotesque, the sublime, they're all yours for, of all things, money.
 
This part of America is going fast, all those little factories that made buttons and lace tablecloths are gone. Grab the military stars, medals, uniforms and bayonets. War, like everything else that can be put on a shelf, in a box or given as a unique and timeless present, has it's own followers and worshipers.
 
I wanted everything, I saw an old 1920 Pennsylvania High School diploma that I wish I would have bought. Therein were listed the fields of study that we successfully completed, a curriculum that dwarfs the typical present day High School grads achievements. I think the only thing that wasn't listed was Phrenology.
 
I saw a perfectly solid, un-ripped, un-abused, red leather, wingback chair for 5 bucks. I was dumbstruck,  check that, dumber-than-usual-struck.
 
Our next great joy, other than coveting old stuff, was the pure pleasure of talking to the vendors. My wife remarked that I didn't have to talk to every pretty girl I saw. Au contraire, my little turtle dove, but I do, but I do ...
 
We bought stuff, maybe it wasn't the best stuff we could have bought, however you define the "best stuff", but it spoke to us.
                               
                      The new IMAC Adding machine
Spare Room and Somerset Antiques 8-15-10 008.jpg
                            Yep, it's a Honer
Spare Room and Somerset Antiques 8-15-10 013.jpg                            
                          I just want to bang on the drum all day
Spare Room and Somerset Antiques 8-15-10 014.jpg
And, to add to our collection of ceramic donkeys pulling carts, some with hats and some wtihout, we bought a new donkey pulling a cart but this one is glass and it's transparent. So there!    Gene

08/11/2010

Plascidity is the precursor of boredom

 Sting - ...Nothing like the sun - 04 - History will teach us nothing.mp3

Why did God make boredom? Was he bored? You'd think accelerating atomic particles would be a blast wouldn't you? How could he be bored when he has live action video games to play all day?
 
Maybe God's a malcontent. In fact all the evidence points to that conclusion. Sometimes he's Shiva and sometimes he wears magic underwear or has Mormons wear them for him. Even stars radiate for him, because of him or under the auspices of his laws. Scratch the malcontent thing, he's a megalomaniac.
 
Mr. Big Shit. Big Man On (and off) Campus. I'm jealous of God. He gets all the women, sooner or later. He has all the planets and even one cell animals want to evolve so that they can kiss his big fat God ass. It's hard to imagine a down side to being God except for the bored thing.
 
If God's a being like a lot of people think, which is as stupid as it gets, does he sleep and if he sleeps what does he dream about? Imagine God dreaming of someone chasing him or falling off a ladder. No, he'd dream big. In fact his dreams would have to have as much validity as his waking state because he's everything there is. So maybe when we die we just go over to God's other state and no one knows or will ever know whether they're in the God Dream or the God Not-Dream world. Science can explain a lot of things but a lot of things just happen and then science rushes in and  tries to understand why, so science is always one or two steps behind. Theology is the same in its attempts to make sense of our ridiculous belief systems.
 
If I were God, I'd have some fun, make elephants appear in the sky with parachutes shooting marshmallows from their trunks, stuff like that. Why doesn't God do that? I mean he's hell on making viruses adapt and evolve but WTF good is that? You can't see a virus, you can die from one but not see it with it's remarkably strange body and alien replication techniques. Make a dog sized virus God, and then I'll start going to church again.
 
The truth is we project our teeny tiny existences like slide show projectors onto a blank screen and see God. The bible says we were made in his image but I think it's the other way around,  we make him in our image. He can be a strict uncle or a loving father, a gentle savior or an madman on the loose, just like us.
 
If God were dead like Neiczhe said he is, why do we go on? Are we like a wind-up toy running down? What would it matter if God were removed from the equation anyway? Would good people turn bad? I doubt it . Besides, there would always be enough people insisting that God wasn't dead to keep the whole morality thing going.
 
A few blogs back I lamented the loss of Marionette shows, what are we but Marionettes with society, Madison Avenue, leftist, rightists your mom and dad pulling the strings? As I venture into the blackness of reality, I know the truth. it's my truth. I'm little and afraid and I'm not hard wired to believe in God but I still hope he's there.  Gene

The humans are dead

08/10/2010

A eulogy

Boo hoo, Ted Stevens (net neutrality opponent, oil company flunkie) is dead.   Gene

08/08/2010

Lies, damn lies and statistics

If you google:
ihaterepublicans.com,  there are about 14,700,000  hits. If you google: ihatedemocrats.com, there are about 42,500 hits. That's more people that hate republicans on google, if the set-up is with no spaces and a .com at the end, at a ratio of 346 to 1.

If you google:
I hate republicans, there are about 3,090,000 hits. Googling, I hate democrats, there are about 6,100,000 hits. That's more people that hate democrats than republicans by a ratio of 1.97 to 1
 
If the first letter of each word is capitalized but everything else remains the same:
I Hate Republicans, gives you about 3,050,000 hits while I Hate Democrats, gives you about 5,240,000. Under the strange capitalization rule that's more people that hate democrats than republicans by a ratio of 1.72 to 1
Generally, from googling:
 
Democrats give less to charity.

Republicans lie more.

Surprisingly, democrats are richer.

It's up in the air who is better educated.

Since 1970, spending has grown 64% faster when a Republican sits in the White House than when a
Democrat does.

Democrats have started more wars.

And, although there is massive posturing on either side, It's clear that republicans are less likely to
support abortion. The cold, hard facts on who actually has abortions, according to party affiliation, are
unavailable. Consider, however:

Eighteen percent of U.S. women obtaining abortions are teenagers; those aged 15-17 obtain 6% of all abortions, teens aged 18-19 obtain 11%, and teens under age 15 obtain 0.4%. [6]

Women in their twenties account for more than half of all abortions; women aged 20–24 obtain 33% of all abortions, and women aged 25-29 obtain 24%. [6]

Thirty percent of abortions occur to non-Hispanic black women, 36% to non-Hispanic white women, 25% to Hispanic women and 9% to women of other races. [6]

Thirty-seven percent of women obtaining abortions identify as Protestant and 28% as Catholic.[6]

Women who have never married and are not cohabiting account for 45% of all abortions.[6]

About 61% of abortions are obtained by women who have one or more children.[6]

 6. Jones RK, Finer LB and Singh S, Characteristics of U.S. Abortion Patients, 2008, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2010.
The inference, I suppose, is, Google doesn't really tell us enough to know who is more popular, more correct
or less hypocritical. Aside from a few facts, which I'm sure not everyone would agree with, it's all opinion.
 
My question is: How can you form an opinion when there is no degree of consistency on either side? The distance
between what the party's say and what that party's actually do is vast and wrought with impossible convolutions.
We are left to go by our gut instead of our head and that leaves us where we are. Nothing is done intelligently or
logically and since there's no hope in actually following ideals, the politicians decide that they may as well make
some money on the deal. Ready leaders? Eyes closed and hands out.
 
The rest of us will just have to fend for ourselves and that's OK, it's what we've always done but now the stumbling
blocks are coming faster and more furiously. If you can't or won't help, stop hurting us please. Stop pretending, stop 
locking us up for non-violent offense and presume jail time solves all social problems, that cops are angels, there to
protect and serve, that the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon and the hundred other secret agencies are there to  protect
us. It's all bullshit and you know it, Have the stinking guts to admit it for once.   Gene
 

08/06/2010

Kudos BP on a job well done

All's well that ends well at the well,
 
The well leak but not the aftermath of the well's leak is looking up. The pre-leak explosion that killed 11 men is straining our short term memory but very soon that too will vanish, all will vanish except the corporate message that, when there's a leak, regardless of the fact that the circumstances leading up to the explosion that caused the leak could have been prevented except the safety measures put into place to keep the very thing that happened form happening, were undercut by BP, BP is on the job doing what a good responsible company should do and acted expeditiously to curtail the damage and plug the leak. Kudos BP. Your crack team of engineers are without a doubt the world's finest. Except, that is, in the beginning when you were using all your tentacles for duck and cover damage control, literally holding the the men that were involved in the explosion hostage until they signed off on some kind of bogus release form that BP concocted and using goon squads to keep reporters away from the heavily damaged shorelines and the pathetic dying, oil soaked  wildlife. But, like I said Kudos BP.
 
Once again we are the livestock in Orwell's Animal Farm and you are the wily pigs. We also awoke to find that the rule, "All animals are created equal." had been amended during the night to include, "But some animals are more equal than others."  Gene

08/05/2010

To market to market to buy a used van ...

In the morning, I drive to Ohio to buy a vehicle. I'm trading in the one I have, the same one I'll be driving, so it should be complication free. I've been credit approved and have secured a decent interest rate. I've already called AAA so I know what information I need to transfer the title to Pennsylvania, it's not exactly cut and dry. All that's left is for them to look at my van and compute the final price after determining the trade-in value of my van.
 
This is the third vehicle I've bought out of state so it's not a big deal. The closer you get to urban areas the sharper vehicle prices escalate. Supply and demand are at work in the most expeditious fashion in the used car market, still the dealer, through his sales staff, will do whatever he can to maximize profits. Let the buyer beware.
 
My Oldsmobile Silhouette has been a stalwart but the time has come to replace the old warrior. The wear and tear of years of use have taken their toll. The turn signal return spring is kaput so I have to manually move the little turn signal wand to off after signaling. It's remarkable how often I forget to do it. I've provoked the ire of many a driver who thought I was turning but continued to go straight. Worse, since I cannot abide a dirty look, I frequently flash the bird back. Here I am, clearly in the wrong, giving THEM the bird. Forgive me father for I have sinned.
 
The driver side window goes down but it takes forever and two days to get it back up. Unfortunate, ATMs, parking garages, and refreshing breezes all count on your control of the driver side window. The rear door mechanism has been replaced with a home made latching system and the power steering pump leaks.
 
Lately the engine has had me scratching my head. It's always been so reliable and now it seems sluggish and slow. Many of these things I've had checked out and have even paid to have them fixed but the foibles  persist in spite of the various mechanics assurances that everything is okey dokey.
 
I do maintenance, or, more correctly, pay someone to do it, I'm not a car washer however. Washing a car seems, to me, to be something that the devil would have you do in the afterlife if that's were you're so inclined to go. I hope they understand.
 
All told, I'm trading up but not way up. I don't drive much and so I don't need to sink a lot of money into a car.
Just let me haul a sheet of plywood from time to time and not have people pointing to my vehicle and laughing is all I ask. Oh, and a nice bank that isn't trying to fleece me more than is currently acceptable.
 
I need to sleep for the trip. Map Quest said it takes 1 hour and 59 minutes to get there. Couldn't they have just said 2 hours?    Gene

08/02/2010

Please take a few moments ...

Feedback is very important to us, it helps us understand our friends and what they want. Please take a few minutes to fill out the following feedback form on Gene and Nancy's party. Thank you.
 
Were you satisfied that Gene and Nancy had gone far enough to fulfill your party expectation? Circle the one that best applies.
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Yes
No
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Did the fact that Gene spit into the food factor into your decision?
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Yes
No
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Do you admire Gene and his determination to carry on with his party plans in spite of the fact that you're a bunch of schmucks?
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Yes
No
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Do you think Gene could have done more to control the weather?
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Yes
No
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Did the Magician steal your wallet as I instructed him to do? Answer honestly as the "take" was very meager.
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Yes
No
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Would you recommend Gene and Nancy's Parties to a friend?
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Yes
No
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If yes, do they carry a lot of cash on them?
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Yes
No
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If yes, why haven't you fleeced them yourself? Circle the one that the comes the closest to your answer.
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1. I'm chicken
2. They carry a gun.
3. They work undercover for the FBI.
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Under the circumstances, did Gene and Nancy seem a little too "Friendly"?
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Yes
No
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Do you think they have a hidden agenda?
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Yes
No
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Did your think their big showy display of having a happy family was a little forced?
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Yes
No
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Aren't they really shit heels?
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Yes
No
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Do you actually think Gene and Nancy can afford to live like that?
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Yes
No
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Are you sorry that you went?
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Yes
No
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Do you think they're sorry you came?
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Yes
No
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Is Hajduk ugly or what?
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Yes
No
 
Thanks you for you participation in our survey. Your responses will not be kept private but posted all over the Internet.
Your host and forever truly bestest friend in the whole wide world,  Gene

Back to our mundane existence

The big party is history. The house is 90% back to normal. There is enough food and beer left over to satisfy the confederate army. My wife and I are a series of aches and pains. There was inside and outside work to do and we attacked it with mucho gusto. We have garbage and recyclables lined up as far as the eye can see. I wonder what the garbage men think of us?
 
The magician was a hit. He was what I'd want to be if I were a magician; handsome and suave, confident and a professional in every sense of the word. Unfortunately he called on one of my "less amenable" friends as an assistant but the results were still highly entertaining, they just took on a different timing and cadence.
 
The kids enjoyed themselves, mostly by splashing, sliding and jumping into the pool. A good time was had by all.
 
I learned the latest news of the lives of friends, friends that I should make more of an effort to keep in touch with. I shared some of my life as well, although, it was very apparent  where and how I have been spending my last 30 plus years. Somewhere there is a representation of ever crook and turn in my life embodied in my house, the grounds and the things to be found there, with the exception of some of my darker moments and also the most sacred, holy and personal.
 
The contrast between young and old is always of particular fascination, whether it be the pre-schoolers and teenagers or the teenagers and the more advanced in years. I'm pleased to say those divisions were of no consequence and not a relationship stumbling block.
 
One couple, that we've know for years thanks to our "once upon a time" passion as theater volunteers, seemed to be able to hold the most interesting conversations with any and all stratum of guests. Now that's admirable, unfortunately, most people are out of sorts when dealing with anyone other than people very similar to themselves.
 
There were camping trip reminisces, in depth liver disease conversations, clarifications of old memories, "where are they now" explorations and, even if it remained unsaid, there was an implied rejoinder of, "No shit!" to many of the stories told.
 
I was particularly impressed by Tom, the retired bus driver. He makes furniture or at least he did until his house would contain no more, then he switched to ....well, one picture is worth a thousand words so five pictures are worth ...
Tom 1.jpg
Tom 2.jpg
Tom 3.jpg
Tom 4.jpg
Tom 6.jpg
There's a lot more at: tomd's Woodworking Projects @ LumberJocks.com ~ woodworking community Tom hasn't sold anything, he says, "I just make them." But, he's is supposed to have an exhibition at: Sweetwater in November.  
 
Remarkably the chicken, chops and sausage that I cooked on the grill we cooked through and through without being over cooked. The food went quick, a sure sign that It's good. Nancy made sides to numerous to mention and the were lip smacking. Lots of people brought food and deserts. Yum, on the rhubarb pie, Sue.
 
We gave Natalie a cooler of food and wine to take back to New Jersey, I told her to at least wait until the halfway mark before she hit the wine. Just kidding Nat ...
 
So, if all this reads like inside baseball, that's OK because it is. They're our friends and family. It took a lifetime to get where we're at and through it all, I'm proud as hell.   Gene
 
P.S. Thanks to everyone that came. You helped make the party.

07/30/2010

No wonder the conservative ... scratch that, the wacky right, love to distort and lie about MoveOn.org and everything it stands for. Here are the facts on Social Security

From: MoveOn.org Political Action: Democracy in Action

Top 5 Social Security Myths

Myth #1: Social Security is going broke.

Reality: There is no Social Security crisis.  By 2023, Social Security will have a $4.6 trillion surplus (yes, trillion with a 'T').  It can pay out all scheduled benefits for the next quarter-century with no changes whatsoever.1 After 2037, it'll still be able to pay out 75% of scheduled benefits—and again, that's without any changes. The program started preparing for the Baby Boomers' retirement decades ago.2  Anyone who insists Social Security is broke probably wants to break it themselves.

Myth #2: We have to raise the retirement age because people are living longer.

Reality: This is a red-herring to trick you into agreeing to benefit cuts. Retirees are living about the same amount of time as they were in the 1930s. The reason average life expectancy is higher is mostly because many fewer people die as children than they did 70 years ago.3 What's more, what gains there have been are distributed very unevenly—since 1972, life expectancy increased by 6.5 years for workers in the top half of the income brackets, but by less than 2 years for those in the bottom half.4 But those intent on cutting Social Security love this argument because raising the retirement age is the same as an across-the-board benefit cut. 

Myth #3: Benefit cuts are the only way to fix Social Security. 

Reality: Social Security doesn't need to be fixed. But if we want to strengthen it, here's a better way: Make the rich pay their fair share.  If the very rich paid taxes on all of their income, Social Security would be sustainable for decades to come.5 Right now, high earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,000 of their income.6  But conservatives insist benefit cuts are the only way because they want to protect the super-rich from paying their fair share.

Myth #4: The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided and is full of IOUs

Reality: Not even close to true. The Social Security Trust Fund isn't full of IOUs, it's full of U.S. Treasury Bonds. And those bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.7 The reason Social Security holds only treasury bonds is the same reason many Americans do: The federal government has never missed a single interest payment on its debts. President Bush wanted to put Social Security funds in the stock market—which would have been disastrous—but luckily, he failed. So the trillions of dollars in the Social Security Trust Fund, which are separate from the regular budget, are as safe as can be.

Myth #5: Social Security adds to the deficit

Reality: It's not just wrong—it's impossible!  By law, Social Security's funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way. That means that Social Security can't add one penny to the deficit.8

Defeating these myths is the first step to stopping Social Security cuts.  Can you share this list now?

Thanks for all you do.

–Nita, Duncan, Daniel, Kat, and the rest of the team

Sources:

1."To Deficit Hawks: We the People Know Best on Social Security," New Deal 2.0, June 14, 2010
 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89703&id=22141-5669583-rgIl...

2. "The Straight Facts on Social Security," Economic Opportunity Institute, September 2009
 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89704&id=22141-5669583-rgIl...

3. "Social Security and the Age of Retirement," Center for Economic and Policy Research, June 2010
 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89705&id=22141-5669583-rgIl...

4. "More on raising the retirement age," Washington Post, July 8, 2010
 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89706&id=22141-5669583-rgIl...

5. "Social Security is sustainable," Economic and Policy Institute, May 27, 2010
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89707&id=22141-5669583-rgIl...

6. "Maximum wage contribution and the amount for a credit in 2010," Social Security Administration, April 23, 2010
 http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/240

7. "Trust Fund FAQs," Social Security Administration, February 18, 2010
 http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/ProgData/fundFAQ.html

8."To Deficit Hawks: We the People Know Best on Social Security," New Deal 2.0, June 14, 2010
 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=89703&id=22141-5669583-rgIl...

Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 5 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.


07/28/2010

Glen Beck Conspiracy theory Generator

Sue sent me this link: Glenn Beck Conspiracy Theory Generator and on the surface it's funny but perhaps, just perhaps, Glen Beck has decided that [he] can no longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

By the way, Sue, Glen Beck doesn't hate women, he just denies them his essence. Damn good thing too.   Gene

07/25/2010

If you ain't hip to Theo Jansen you just ain't hip

07/22/2010

The upcoming swaray

Nothing up my sleeve,
>
This will be fun, I booked a Magician for our end of the month barbeque. Aedryan Methyus - Master Magician/Illusionist For Hire He looks pretty intense but he'll be doing his audience participation kid's show so I don't think he'll create the same pounding, rhythmic ka-boom-boom, boom-boom atmosphere that penetrates his website. There's  a definite distinction between an illusionists and a rabbit out of the hat Magician. I think we'll have more of the latter. Regardless, Magicians and kids are a natural. What kid isn't fascinated by the prospect of reaching into some in between nether world and pulling out whatever you please, or the mystery of the deceived senses.
 
I wanted a Marionette show but they're becoming a lost art. I'm sure they still flourish somewhere; an Italian village or deep in some Yugoslavian town somewhere but not here. The best we can do it watch that delightful Marionette scene from Pinocchio. This is slightly blurred due to the Disney corporation's legal department's reluctance to present art for art's sake and seek a payday wherever they tread:

Alas and alack the beauty of illusion, it's magic. Gene

07/18/2010

The thriving underground world of dead people's stuff

Another Saturday, another estate sale, or, Irish Rovers - The Unicorn Song.mp3

Yesterday we went to a an estate sale in Homestead, very close to where we live. It was great, there were tons of stuff and tons of people buying rugs, prints, artwork, furniture and anything you'd expect to be surprised by at an estate sale. This guy loved animals and had a neat collection of animal stuff. There were green alligators, long neck geese, some humptyback camels and some chimpanzees, some cats and rats and elephants but sure as you're born we didn't see any unicorn.

We did buy some stuff, such as:

                                     A FishEstates Sale 7-16-2010 004.jpg

                  The face that launched a thousand shipsEstates Sale 7-16-2010 001.jpg

A Large piece of an amethest geode and a Peruvian Rock Band

Estates Sale 7-16-2010 006.jpg

I bought some tools and a really classy pewter hip flask if I ever decide to take up sneak drinking again. I coveted a pair of monkey lamps that he had but my wife wasn't particularly keen on the idea, they'll alwyas be one or two that get away.

Expenses were racking up quickly and I threatened to walk around carrying my booty until everything went half off at 1:00 but it was only 10:30 and we were hungry. 

But, we weren't so hungry that we resisted the lure of one more estate sale on the way home. This was a very small estate, the Rhode Island of estate sales But we still managed to find a few things and they were really cheap. We spent a total of $5.50. I should have bought all the jars of hardware he had in his gargage, Home Depot really rakes you over the coals on that stuff. I probably could have gotten $30.00 worth of hardware for a few dollars. I suppose that's what they make 'next times' for.

The 'not so funny' part is, this same stuff will someday be sold at my estate sale. The point is to enjoy it while you can, if it makes you happy and it's not a financial hardship and you're not one of of those floor to ceiling junk collectors, go for it. I sure do.    Gene

07/16/2010

Buying and selling my way to finacial ruin and a basemant full of crap

Trader Gene,
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It's time to check my bank account again. I don't know when telephone banking crept into my life or how it became such a voracious obsession but I want to see if Paypal deposited 700.00 bucks into my account. If they did, "Happy Days Are Here Again," if not same old, same old.
 
I lost a good bit of money on my last ebay transaction, besides shipping being 2/3 more than I figured, the extra shipping weight attributable to the wooden crates that I made to ship the two piece floor sanding machine set, plus, the lumber cost me 40.00 bucks that I didn't add into the price,  the bidding on ebay was sluggish. I was counting on a last minute bidding war that never materialized. So, being contractually bound, I lost money on the deal.
 
At the UPS store the employees seems incredulous that I wanted to ship two wooden crates, they seemed incredulous that I'd be willing to spend the money to do it, they were incredulous on all levels. My piddly transaction seemed to involve everyone there. People came from back rooms to crane their necks and gawk.
>
Why? In some weird way it reminded of going to dinner with my family when my mother was still alive. They seated us next to the kitchen even though there wasn't another customer eating anywhere in the entire restaurant. If that wasn't weird enough they stood by the kitchen door; the dish washer, the cook the waitresses AND WATCHED US EAT. It was as if making you feel uncomfortable was an item on their menu and, more than likely, their specialty.
 
But, we humans can deal with almost anything if we know that the feelings of inappropriateness or psychic discomfort will be short lived.
 
Back to ebay, I'm not a good businessman. I mean, I make sure that my accounts, ebay or otherwise, are taken care of promptly but this business of selling something and making a profit seems beyond my capabilities. I buy and collect, that's my end of it. You have it, I want it, I buy it. I try to get as low a price as I can. I do research on the Internet and haggle where haggling is allowed but that's the extent of my business acumen. 
 
It's slightly after 8:00 AM, that's when I call. Have a good day, see you on ebay, Craig's list or at the next estate sale. Have I told you about Trader Jacks yet? Now that's some cool shit.    Gene

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