Friday, August 31, 2007

Slow Tami Week

Sorry for the lack of writing, folks, I've been all self-indulgent and panicky about my medical life. I'm having an IVC filter put in me. Jeebus, but that picture scares the living crap out of me. And what the hell is that they're using for scale, a 20 pence coin? How the hell big is one of those?

OK, Tami, stop, breathe slow, think about something else.

Tony Snow is stepping down.

NBC is possibly shooting themselves in the foot.

Science can be pretty, but I don't think it's (in and of itself) art. This is not to say that you can't make art from scientific building blocks, but only when you're using them to actually represent something else, or form a new pattern, or... Never mind. I might not know art, but I know what I like, and it's not a printout of a DNA pattern on my wall.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Equal and Opposite Reation

As physics states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so the world proves as today Michael Vick enters his guilty plea.
The NFL suspended him indefinitely and without pay Friday after his plea agreement was filed. Merely associating with gamblers can trigger a lifetime ban under the league's personal conduct policy.
Association with gamblers can trigger a lifetime ban, so I guess that thoughtlessly (or worse, with forethought) exploiting, hurting and killing creatures unable to even tell someone they're being abused should get that going, too.

It's so much easier to get up in the morning when you expect someone to be punished for what they've done, and then they actually are punished.

Friday, August 24, 2007

My Work Day

I liked this conversation so much I decided to put it on my blog (names changed, of course, but typos maintained)

MyBoss [2:23 PM]:

Tami, have you contacted ... about the changeman file?
Me [2:24 PM]:
Yes. He got back to me with the "a couple of weeks" answer, and I let him know that we needed to be ready to migrate our DB by 10/5. Hopefully that will help.
MyBoss [2:25 PM]:
So when will we be ready to report on the additional fields?
Me [2:26 PM]:
I put our migrate date out there, but he didn't come back to me with anything. I thought I'd wait another business day before bringing heavy pressure, should I ditch that plan and give him a call?
MyBoss [2:27 PM]:
No, it can wait until Monday, I just need to give a date when we will start reporting
Me [2:28 PM]:
It really does depend on ... We need a project plan.
MyBoss [2:28 PM]:
or a big stick
Me [2:28 PM]:
Yes, well, that would probably be equally as effective.
Me [2:29 PM]:
Except that he looks kinda strong.
MyBoss [2:29 PM]:
not compared to a big stick
Me [2:29 PM]:
How big is that stick?1
MyBoss [2:30 PM]:
Me [2:30 PM]:
All right then, now I know why you walk so softly.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Hijack My Own Post

After reading Brilliant at Breakfast this morning, I was going to just hand over a hat tip and mention the amusing lightning strike during the GOP debate. The thing is, however, I read the whole article.

I hate that I so often find myself in the position of being a single issue voter. I really, really hate it. The thing is, when you feel as strongly about something as I feel about the pro-choice/pro-life issue, you can't seem to put it aside to look at the other issues. I respect plenty of people who would never consider some of the choices I've made for myself, but I respect them because they also respect me and my right to choose the way I live my life. When you take away choice, you're actively oppressing. I don't want to get into the whole thing here, you've heard it plenty, but it's still how I feel. Because of this, when I read this paragraph in the article, my brain seized a little:
Some of the second-tier candidates tried to go after Rudy, mostly in roundabout ways. When Sam Brownback told the audience he didn't think the GOP would nominate a presidential candidate who is not pro-life, moderator Wolf Blitzer quickly asked whether he could support Giuliani if he wins majority support in the primaries. "I have great respect for the mayor," Brownback said, visibly uncomfortable. "I just don't think we're going to nominate somebody that is not pro-life." Brownback added that he would support whoever eventually emerged as the GOP nominee.
A pro-choice Republican candidate is an option? Really? I mean, Brownback is denying it, so it must be out there on the table somewhere.

If the Republican candidate were pro-choice, then maybe I could seriously look at what else that candidate stood for. Maybe it really would come down to a choice about private services vs. public ones and the idea of big government vs. small government. I might look at the election as a choice between two styles of governing instead of a choice between people who respect my rights to my own body vs. people who don't.

A daunting prospect for my little ole brain.

Now, that train of thought only goes so far with me. I am, in fact, in favor of public services, not trusting enough in the charitable nature of the human race to expect people to support others when it's their own choice. I've come around to the idea of universal health care as a Good Thing (as opposed to universal health insurance, which is NOT the same thing). I believe that a centralized effort to help people live more comfortable, dignified lives is what we, as a country, should be working for. So no, I probably wouldn't vote for a Republican candidate. The idea, though, of getting to choose based on political theory instead of fear of oppression, that was pretty heady.

Note: The sky remained clear the entire time I was writing this - no evidence of lightning at all.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My World, Rocked

You know how some things in this world just honestly never occur to you?

I just read that there's fan fiction for The Office.

Never occurred to me. I haven't checked to see if it's true or not, I think I'm afraid to.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

How do You Hold a Moonbeam in Your Hand?

Walmart, DRM-free, downloads, yada, yada, yada.
Wal-Mart said it would sell the "DRM-free" MP3 downloads of music by artists like the Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse and Maroon 5 for 94 cents per track or $9.22 per album. It said the new format let customers play music on almost any device, including iPods, iPhones and Microsoft Corp's Zune portable media player.
As soon as something is playing audibly, it can be recorded, people.

Music is ephemeral, that's its nature. Even digitally perfect recordings can sound different to you at different times. Worrying about who is paying for it and who is not is such a waste of time. When I like a band or an artist, I make sure that they get some money from me. When I buy a song, I take whatever measures I need to take in order to make sure that I can play it on any device I choose. When I sing a song, it goes out into the ether and is remembered by some, but can never be recaptured.

Copy protection vexes me, and I find it pointless.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

On the unbearable lightness of weaponry

Every once in a while somebody comes along with a good idea. You know... like the Fig Newton. Zip Lock bags. Air conditioning. That slit in the front of boxer shorts.

Orlando Florida police officials put on their thinking caps and came up with a pretty good plan themselves. They decided that there were too many unregistered, unregulated firearms out on the streets, and rather than going and chasing them all down and confiscating them, it would be easier if the owners simply brought them in and surrendered the weapons themselves. But a plan like that calls for incentives. You can't expect every Tom, Dick and Harriett to simply bring in their unregistered firearms and turn them over. So the police offered designer sneakers and gift certificates to the local mall to anyone turning in a gun. Brilliant! And they had lots of takers. What they probably didn't expect was for someone to bring in a shoulder fired SAM rocket launcher.

Orlando emptied its bureau drawers and closets on Friday of more than 250 unwanted guns -- and one surface-to-air missile launcher.

The shoulder-fired weapon showed about 6 p.m. when an Ocoee man drove to the Citrus Bowl to trade the 4-foot-long launcher for size-3 Reebok sneakers for his daughter.

"I didn't know what to do with it, so I brought it here," explained the man, who said he found the missile in a shed he tore down last week. "I took it to three dumps to try to get rid of it and they told me to get lost."

Nobody stopped to ask this guy why he had one of these? He found it in a shed he was tearing down? Who owned the shed? It really sounds like the police are having a grand old time chuckling about this one, but if I was one of this guy's neighbors, I'd have a few more questions than that.

I had a heck of a time getting a permit for my 3" bore cannon, I can tell you. And getting a permit for a SAM is surely just as hard.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Non-Cheese Quiz Blogging Friday

I maintain that I smell quite girly, thank you, but otherwise, it's pretty much true:

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Gamer/Computer Nerd

You enjoy the visual stimulants of a video game, chatting on AIM, or reading online comics. Most of these types of nerds are considered dirty who lack hygeine, of course they always end up being the ones who make a crapload of money. And don't worry, that's just a stereotype; I'm not calling you dirty. ^_~

Literature Nerd
Artistic Nerd
Science/Math Nerd
Drama Nerd
Social Nerd
Anime Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quizzes for MySpace

After all, I *am* a web developer. I don't make an actual crapload - yet. I'm working on it. I'm already at truckload level.

(hat tip Shakespeare's Sister)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Strike That, Reverse It

U.S.-Europe "Renaissance" Seen Under Sarkozy: Lantos
BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Relations between the United States and Europe are likely to improve dramatically under new French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a U.S. congressional leader said on Thursday.
Dagnabbit, I wanted relations between the U.S. and Europe to improve, yes, but I wanted it because we'd had a regime change, not because they did.

No, the concept that Lantos' prediction might be wrong doesn't make that any better for me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Final Chapter: In which we embrace a long overdue holiday

Fortunately for us, not to mention the long term health and prosperity of the universe as we know it, The One True Tami (blessed is Her name) has returned safe and sound from her weeks long excursion to discover why the Emperor Penguins of the Glasdovney Shelf in Antarctica have been catching less fish on their own and resorting to raiding the supply tents of scientists in the area. (Who could have guessed that they were simply tired of fish and had seen Anthony Bourdain deep frying Snickers Bars on the food channel?) In any event, this will conclude my tenure as full time guest poster on this blog, but if She foolishly leaves the keys in my pockets, I may still pop in to attempt to amuse you or enrage you from time to time.

While we are all busy giving thanks for Tami's return, I felt it appropriate that we should also take a moment to be thankful for the great places we live and give some thought to how we, as individuals, can improve things. As my dear old Gram used to say, between belts of straight Rye, "the best way to forget about your own problems is to solve somebody else's." And there's one big problem facing us here in America which I think many of you could pitch in and fix. This problem (and it's as obvious as the nose on your face) is that we simply don't have enough people. All of this vast expanse of land here in North America, and yet the average population density is such that I'm sure most of you can drive for hours on end and not see another living human being.

Obviously, a large percentage of you simply aren't doing your part by procreating fast enough. And as usual, the only way we're going to resolve the issue is with help from the government. For once, I think that it is high time the U.S.A. took a page from the book of the Russians.
A Russian region of Ulyanovsk has found a novel way to fight the nation's birth-rate crisis: It has declared Sept. 12 the Day of Conception and for the third year running is giving couples time off from work to procreate.

The hope is for a brood of babies exactly nine months later on Russia's national day. Couples who "give birth to a patriot" during the June 12 festivities win money, cars, refrigerators and other prizes.

There you have it. A paid day off from work to stay home and fornicate. And, should you happen to give birth on, let's say, the 4th of July, you win a new car, a cruise to the Bahamas, and a big screen television. And if you miss the target date by a little bit? No worries! You still get an extra tax deduction for the year.

So, write your congressional representatives today! Let them know that you're not going to start pumping out the rug rats until they pony up some cash and prizes. Until then, the baby factory is on strike and they can continue to stare at those vast expanses of empty land in New Jersey, wondering how they will ever put them to use.

It's been a fun visit, Tami devotees. See you in the funny papers.

I'm Still a Peacenik!

So last night I was watching The Daily Show, and William Kristol was the guest. Jon Stewart made a joking comment about Kristol wanting the US to invade Iran, and Kristol said that it's not a bad idea.

Mr. Kristol: Killing people is always a bad idea, you bastard. I am mightily offended at your offhanded attitude about life and death.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chapter Ten: In which I take the plunge (vicariously)

I must preface this entry by saying, in no uncertain terms, that I blame Guinness. (No, not the beer. I'm talking about the people who put out the record books.) The entire concept of setting records is a bit of a conundrum. Everyone likes the idea of actually setting a record. It's one of the ultimate "Hey! Look at me!" moments. And of course the setting of a record isn't any fun unless people notice it, hence the niche market that the Guinness people inhabit so well.

But it's a double edged sword. The downside of holding a world record is that people will immediately set out to best it. It's only natural, I suppose. Then, if it's a fairly high profile record garnering international attention, observers will split off into opposing camps of those who want the "old record" to remain in perpetuity and those rooting for the up and coming challenger.

Over in France there's a somewhat crazed looking ex-paratrooper who has his sights set on a very old record which is near and dear to my heart.
Skydiver plans head-first freefall from the edge of space in dizzying bid to break Mach 1

He will leap head-first from a weather balloon 25 miles above Earth and plummet at more than 1,000mph with only a parachute for company.

He will face external temperatures of minus 100c while inside his carbon-fibre suit it will be a stifling 65c - almost 150 fahrenheit.

And most amazing of all, Michel Fournier is actually looking forward to it.

It's not clear from the article, however, if Mssr. Fournier (age 63) has ever heard of Capt. Joe Kittinger. In my younger and far more foolish days, I was a skydiver myself. Capt. Joe is a legend in the skydiving community and likely will be for as long as people throw themselves out of planes at great altitude. You see, Joe Kittinger came from a group of supermen... living, breathing gods who walked the Earth among mere mortals. He was from the same exclusive club as Neil Armstrong, Chuck Yeager and the rest of those maniacs. They were hard drinking, filterless ciggie smoking lunatics who seemed to honestly believe they were immortal. These were the men who were called upon when someone was needed to test a new, experimental jet going past the speed of sound or to strap themselves on top of several tons of high explosives and be hurtled into space. Inevitably, some high government official would stroll by saying, "Ok... some daft guy in the lab came up with an idea after a few martinis last night we're thinking of trying. I should say ahead of time that if any of you are actually stupid enough to attempt this, you'll probably die, but..."

And that's as far as he would get before a fight would break out among these guys to see who would get to go. And this is why, on a clear summer day in the American Southwest desert, August 16, 1960, Joe Kittinger strapped on a barely tested, pressurized suit and climbed into the open basket of a gigantic helium balloon. He soared up more than 20 miles in the air, to the edge of space, (over 100,000 feet) and with cameras rolling, he stepped out of the balloon. Kittinger fell through the thin atmosphere for nearly five minutes. In the process, he actually blacked out at one point, then woke up a short time later and he was still falling. The pressurization failed in one of his gloves and his hands had very nearly frozen into claws. Plummeting toward the desert at terminal velocity he had to claw at the release cord and finally deployed a parachute, sailing down to the sand and into the pages of history. The sheer number of records he set that day, during the infancy of parachuting, was simply staggering.

In the nearly fifty years which have passed since then, even with all of the vast improvements in technology which have followed, a fair number of people have attempted to best Joe's achievement. Invariably, each and every one has wound up looking very silly or very dead (or both) in the effort. Michel Fournier is now 63 years old. Given his background he is doubtless very brave. He has the training and the temperament, it seems, but one has to wonder if this is the kind of task he should be attempting at this point in his life.

Some records may simply not be intended to be broken. And Joe Kittinger? He's 79 years old and he's still flying humanitarian aide delivery missions in South America. You'll have to kill him 'afore he dies.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Honey, I'm Home!

OK, so I've been away for a little more than a week, enjoying the company mightily and missing indoor bathrooms more than you can imagine.


Still, if any of you think I've been actually roughing it, here's an example photo of a friend and I talking in someone's kitchen tent. It's my friends' Dirk and Killian's kitchen tent (not their real names, but their real fake names), and Dirk took the picture. I hope he doesn't mind me posting it here.

Camp Talk

I'd like to thank Jazz for writing so much stuff, and for being more popular than I am. OK, I'm not so happy about more people reading him than me, but I'll live.

Chaptern Nine: In which I excoriate the villain

I spent Sunday in search of a villain. It's not that I'm a collector of the villainous, mind you. Nor am I a professional bounty hunter. I wouldn't mind doing it, as I've heard the pay is outstanding, but the thought of someone taking exception with my trying to apprehend them - keeping in mind that a punch to the face may offend - rather puts me off my feed.

No, I was simply in an ill temper. I had spent my Sunday in a variety of pursuits which involved baking fresh bread from scratch, vacuuming carpets, cleaning floors and dishes, changing cat litter and a few other related items. I realize that these are all necessary things, and may even strike some readers as charming, but the fact is that I'm no Barney Homemaker. I was feeling ornery and looking for someone to take it out on. Before too long, I found the perfect candidate.

Imagine, if you will, a shopping mall parking lot. A man approaches a car. He breaks a window. He winds up handcuffing the car's owner to the door of the vehicle and leaving him there where more people show up and beat him. Yes, we have found ourselves a villain. But it's not the guy who broke the window.

A pet detective who is temporarily suspended after rescuing a dog from a locked and overheated car says he was just doing what his mandate asks him to do – save animals' lives.

Tre Smith, an animal cruelty investigator for the Toronto Humane Society and former mall security guard, is not allowed to investigate animal cruelty complaints pending an investigation in which he handcuffed the owner of the dog to a car.

On July 31, Smith responded to a call that Cyrus, a 50-kg Rottweiler, was locked in an overheated car. The Toronto Humane Society investigator smashed through the car window, rescued the dying dog, who was slumped and foaming at the mouth, and handcuffed the irate owner to the car. He then rushed the dog to a hospital, leaving the man there handcuffed until police arrived on the scene.

But reports soon followed that the handcuffed dog owner was beaten by the crowd and was bleeding when police arrived, so the Ontario SPCA has hired a retired Ontario Provincial Police officer to probe the incident and determine whether Smith had followed proper protocol or overstepped his limits.

The "victim" in this case is now apparently raising a stink about being handcuffed and beaten. Oh, boo-hoo. Probably better than being handcuffed inside the locked up car in the sun and dying from the heat. He should take a lesson from Michael Vick in what to expect from the public in terms of sympathy for his "plight" in this matter.

But the highly publicized pet saving incident has ignited emotion and feedback from hundreds of pet owners and swamped the Toronto Humane Society with letters and emails calling for his reinstatement.

It seems public sentiment for Smith in cyberspace is growing. There are more than 10 Facebook groups calling for his reinstatement.

Mr. Smith shouldn't get his job back. He should get a new job in charge of running the office and setting policy, with a nice fat raise, a corner office and a solid pension plan. If chuckle-heads like this dog owner and Michael Vick do anything positive in this world, it may be to draw long overdue attention to the pitiful lack of stiff animal cruelty laws in place today and the even more dismal record that we have enforcing them.

If you're in Ontario and happen to see this guy at the mall, wave a pair of handcuffs at him for me.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Chapter Eight: In which I reconsider the phrase "Rocket Scientist"

This weekend, The One True Tami (blessed be Her name) continues on the third leg of her Eastern European tour of Romania and several other countries - the names of which I can't pronounce or spell - to raise awareness of excessive foot odor and its tragic consequences. (And again, we can not thank Dr. Scholls enough for the sponsorship money.) While She spends so much time travelling, I'm sure She remains in all of our thoughts and prayers, but this has also prompted me to spend some time thinking about other people who spend a significant amount of their time hurtling through the air.

Astronauts, in fact, come to mind.

When I was a child I dreamed of becoming an astronaut. (That is, when I wasn't dreaming of becoming a stunt motorcycle jumper, a CIA assassin or, in at least one case, a firetruck.) Astronauts are fearless heroes, physically superior human beings... and they are also smart! One of the prerequisites for gaining admission into NASA's elite club of fliers is often to be a rocket scientist! I mean, how cool is that?

"What do you think you are, some kind of rocket scientist?"

"Why yes, in fact. I am! SUCK IT, LIBERAL ARTS MAJORS! MUA HA HA!"

Well, that perception is beginning to change. In large part I'm afraid it's because of the curious behavior of Lisa Nowak. Lest we forget, Lisa was the sky jockey who wore a diaper while driving cross country to douse the face of another female astronaut with pepper spray because of some sort of dispute over a paramour shared by the two. The recently released video (linked above) of Ms. Nowak during her time in confinement can only lead one to wonder.

Eventually she begins to unravel. She lies on the floor in a fetal position, her back against the door. She gets up, and officers bring her something to drink. She seems to say she feels dizzy, and they offer to bring her food. She asks for an apple.

"Do you know where you are, what city you're in?" one officer asks. Her response is inaudible.

"You seem like you're kind of out of it," he replies.

"I've been awake for a long time," she replies tearfully.

Another officer brings her an apple, and she begins to eat.

"What's going on in your mind right now?" an officer asks.

"That I'm going to be locked up forever," she replies in part, tearfully.

It's really becoming somewhat less attractive to refer to someone as a rocket scientist these days. But what other terms of admiration and endearment will fill the bill? Brain Surgeon was always a popular one, but let's face it... people latched on to that one in droves in the 80's and 90's. These days you can't swing a dead flight technician without hitting a brain surgeon. The market is flooded and I believe the guy who sold me my double cream, half-caf latte yesterday morning was drilling into somebody's cerebral embolism less than a year ago.

So what profession can we use when attempting to highlight a person's dizzying intellect?

I'm thinking Internet pundit.

"What do you think you are? Some kind of blogger?"

"Why yes, in fact. I am!"

Friday, August 10, 2007

Chapter Seven; In which I confront the hypocritical genius of womynkind

Ah, marriage. That most blessed and blissful of states. The eternal union which brings two souls together in perpetuity, creating something new and vastly more powerful and meaningful than the sum of its parts. We could spend the rest of The One True Tami's (blessed be Her name) vacation singing the praises of marriage and yet barely scratch the surface of its multitudinous advantages. I'm positive that men and women both have their own favorite aspects of matrimony, but I fear I am limited by nature and biology to reflecting on the particularly male perspective.

And speaking solely as a man, I believe I can identify the one perquisite of marriage which stands head and shoulders above the rest - that being that you don't have to date any more. Whenever any of my married male colleagues - possibly suffering from the seven year itch doldrums or some form of undiagnosed dementia -begin to wax nostalgic about their younger, single, dating day, I find myself fighting down an overwhelming urge to roll up a newspaper, smack them sharply upon the nose, shake a finger in their face and say, "No!"

Dating, at least from the man's vantage point, reminds me of nothing quite so much as a gold prospector living alone up in the mountains for months on end. After a season of back breaking stoop work in all manner of inclement weather, swirling mud around in your small pan, you finally come up with the large, shining nugget of treasure that will fulfill your dreams of avarice. When this happens, you tend to quickly forget the days and weeks on end of discovering gravel, broken glass, ticks attached to your limbs and attacks by wild animals. This observation was brought home once again this morning when an article by renowned feminist Kris Frieswick crossed my desk.

Ms. Frieswick, the author of books, columns and essays, is a renowned authority on matters of gender equality, women's issues and the general evil represented by the y-chromosome wielding portion of the population. This is why I was somewhat taken aback to note the title of this article... "Note to men: Want a Second Date? Pay for the First." Rubbing my eyes and assuming that surely I was suffering from an insufficient dose of morning caffeine, I decided to investigate the article further.
It was our first date. He was handsome, tall, educated, thoughtful and funny. He had a British accent and a great body. We sipped martinis and nibbled on perfectly seasoned tenderloin in a gourmet restaurant in downtown Boston. To say he was a catch would be an understatement. Yet the deal was not fully sealed until the dinner check came. He reached to pay it without hesitating.

Reader, I married him.

There was, of course, more to it than that. But one of the things that most attracted me to my husband was his boundless generosity when it came to me.

Me -- the feminist, the aggressive professional, the battler of gender inequality wherever it lurks.

Me -- the woman who thinks the man should pay for the first date.

But how, I wondered, could such an acclaimed authority on all things feminist justify such a position? Never one to shrink from the challenge, the author provided a candid response to my question.
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."

I must be a genius. A hypocritical genius.


No wonder men are perplexed by the modern woman. We're actually prehistoric hypocritical geniuses.

Now, just to set the record straight, I have always believed that I should pay for my date's expenses when I take her out for the evening. I also see nothing wrong with holding a door open nor any other niceties which are now considered, at best, quaint, or at worst, misogynistic.

The author goes on to explain that this behavior is actually based deep in our genetic code, because (quoting another author) "The female of any species gravitates toward a mate who can provide for her and any potential offspring." These traits apparently date back to our caveman ... errr... caveperson ancestors.

Lots of other habits were attributed to our cave dwelling ancestors as well. These, I believe, include bludgeoning women over the head with clubs, dragging them into caves by their hair, and leaving them there all day to tend to the domestic chores while they went out to shove a spear into a woolly mammoth. Hrmm... with a few behavioral modifications, perhaps I could become a prehistoric hypocritical genius too!

Look... I happen to accept that men and women are different in wild and wonderful ways. And I fully endorse those differences in the way we work our way through the complicated, dizzying minefield of dating and mating. But if you are also going to accept those differences, please just accept them. Don't try to justify them and fit them into some gender equality equation where, the fact is, they just don't fit. Not everything is equal. And hang me for saying it, but in some cases, that's not always bad.

Viva la difference!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Chapter Six: In which I casually note the imminent downfall of society as we know it

As I sat in the drawing room this morning, sipping my coffee with three sugars and seven creams, enjoying my two slices of Wonderbread toast tartare with Miracle Whip, I was perusing the news online as usual. That was when a devastating alert brought my activities to a halt. I knew in an instant that caucasoids across the land were already planning a national day of mourning and packing their things to flee to Canada. Yes, it's finally happened - white people are no longer in the majority in our country. Well... at least in one out of ten counties.
WASHINGTON - Whites are now in the minority in nearly one in 10 U.S. counties.

As of 2006, non-Hispanic whites made up less than half the population in 303 of the nation's 3,141 counties, according to figures the Census Bureau is releasing Thursday. Non-Hispanic whites were a minority in 262 counties in 2000, up from 183 in 1990.

Surely you don't need me to tell you what this means. Our long endangered white heritage has finally hit the tipping point and is crumbling fast. (And by "our" I'm simply recognizing that none of "those people" would likely be reading an enlightened blog like this.) Yes, the facts are there in black and white, if you'll pardon the phrase. Whites - once clearly defined as the majority on America, are now barely hanging on to their majority status in a scant 90% of the counties across our great nation.

Why, in another ten years we could see that number increase to 12 or even 13 percent of the counties in America. By that point you'll probably have to drive for days on end just to find a single white person. What has become of the home of the puritans? The land of the god fearing, witch dunking, child beating, Indian converting fathers of a soon to be superpower?

It is to weep.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Chapter Five: In which my daredevil nature scoffs at authority

Remember when you were a child and your parents bought you that huge trampoline that took up most of the back yard, and you and your friends would while away the dog days of summer practicing for that eventual gymnastics scholarship? Me neither. In those days, I was lucky if my parents would pony up for a set of jacks. Besides... such a frivolous waste of time would have cut into my evening job making economically priced (but high quality) sneakers alongside all of those Jamaican kids. Ahhh.... good times.

More and more these days, however, I'm noticing parents installing these death machines delightful and fun exercise apparatus in back yards across suburbia for their annoying little bastards cherished tots to play upon. Bravo! Children need more exercise and outdoor activity, not to mention any excuse to not be sitting inside glued to the computer or video game console or television - or worse, showing up at the mall, theatre, restaurant or any other place I might choose to frequent.

And if you happen to be one of these lucky hell spawn, I'm sure the last thing you want is Uncle Sam and his jackbooted Brownshirts coming in and crapping all over your good time.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends that trampoline users take care to protect themselves. In 2006, more than 272,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms, doctors' offices, clinics and other medical settings for trampoline-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission.

What is it that these parents and government officials are so afraid of? Do they think that their darling youngsters are going to go out and do something stupid like this?

Or maybe this? Or this? Or this? Or one of the real award winners in trampoline history?

If you're a parent and this is a concern on your mind, let me assure you that you have absolutely nothing to worry about. Sure those accidents look fairly horrendous, but let's face it. Everything looks pretty horrendous on Youtube. Sure, you'll see video after video of children experiencing high velocity impacts on everything from concrete to industrial farm equipment, but that's the nature of the liberal media. What you don't see, of course, are the dozens of times that children across the country have safely and happily jumped up and down on trampolines, experiencing no life threatening injuries and barely more than a scratch, sprain or dislocated joint.

Surely you know by now that these are things that happen to other people's children. Your little Jimmy or Jane is far smarter than that and would never take such precipitous chances in an unsupervised, underequipped environment. And for the kids that do? Let's face the facts, parents... Darwin is a harsh master, but his laws do keep the proper level of chlorine in the gene pool, if you catch my meaning.

So get out there and start installing that trampoline today. Summer is waning quickly and there's not much time left. And don't let any big government, nanny state naysayers dissuade you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Chapter Four: In which I mourn a loss and curse the gods of media

One of the cool features of our digital cable system is the fact that there's an online program directory available at any given moment. With one flick of a button on the remote, the current crap program minimizes into a corner of the screen and the full listing of up to 250 other crap programs are displayed for you to scroll through by channel, by time or by date. The depressing part of this, of course, is that inevitably reminds me that there's very nearly nothing on worth watching. Don't get me wrong... there are occasionally a number of good things on some of the cable channels like TLC, Discovery, Science Channel, Travel Network... but network television has simply turned into a bone yard.

I grew up in the first television generation, and all through my life I can remember certain shows that stick out in my mind as defining television entertainment in the various chapters of my ongoing autobiography. The pages under this category for the last few years would, sadly, be blank.

It was this line of thinking which led me to break out my DVD collection of what was possibly one of the best television shows to ever see air time - My So Called Life. This show burst onto the national radar in 1994 and it was something truly new, unique and compelling. This series took a look at the horrible, degrading, daily tragedy of high school life. The show was compelling and quickly picked up a grassroots following - unfortunately that didn't translate into the monster ratings required to knock out Seinfeld and the other sitcom pablum. ABC, in one of the bigger acts of cowardice in network history, yanked the show partway into the second season. I think I still haven't entirely recovered.

Claire Danes broke the mold of females, even young ones, who had to be either impossibly pretty or blatantly "ethnic" to take the lead in a television series. She showed so much promise that it was almost painful to watch her career collapse before it even began. (How did she get talked into doing The Mod Squad??) Wilson Cruz was brilliant, and A.J Langer did a great job with a beautifully written character. And the show was just filled with moments. From the opening bell there was music ... but beyond. Plucked guitar strings two octaves up from the base and the whispered voice of a teenage girl saying, "Go... now... go!"

Damn you, ABC. That may have been the beginning of the end.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Chapter 3: In Which I Obtain New, Cheap, Environmentally Friendly Firearms

If you are like me, and being readers of the One True Tami (blessed by Her name) I'm sure you are, you doubtless have concerns over one specific aspect of current policy and social topic, that being guns. Of course, as you likely know, it's simply getting far too difficult to get them. I myself am down to my last dozen or so, what with loans to family members who fail to return them and losses though the course of normal wear and tear. And with the long term fixation by Congress on meddling in private affairs, oh how the regulations continue to pile on. Register this, fill out that, put trigger locks on there, licenses, permits and carry-on documents. Don't bring your guns on the plane, don't take them near the school. Next thing you know you won't even be able to bring a loaded .38 snub nose into church. And that's a revolver, not even a semi-automatic. Hell, you can't get more than seven rounds into the thing and that's if you pre-load one into the chamber!

Well, good news is at hand, though perhaps through an unexpected source. Lots of guns are apparently becoming available. Apparently 190,000 assault rifles and handguns which our government issued to the Iraq armed forces have gone missing and are turning up in unlikely places... such as in the hands of people shooting at us.

Now at first blush, of course, this looks like bad news. But in this trauma filled world I generally find that it's best to look on the bright side. If these guns are on the loose and showing up locally, how long can it be before they make their way into Newark, Queens, North Chicago and South LA? Given the lack of propriety of the transactions and the impossibility of enforcing warranty, such weapons tend to be cheaper, I'd imagine. Plus, these are top grade military weapons, obviously of better quality than some of the under priced Asian imports you are likely to find on certain street corners after dusk.

Off to shopping!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Chapter Two: In Which I Strike Down the Unrighteous Infidels

The background information required to understand this piece revolves primarily around the fact that we have two dogs living in our household. One of them is Kenya - a mixed breed Belgian Waffle Dog. She's been with us most of her 14 years and is as well behaved as you only wish most of the insufferable rug rats a lot of people are raising today were. The other dog is Mr. Basset. He is a purebred basset hound who came to us from a basset rescue society, as he was no longer welcome in his original home.

In most ways, Mr. Basset is a likable chap with more personality than you should be able to fit into such a short beast. Of late, though, he has developed some alarming habits which all center around his food. Now, our pets get top notch pet food. (The cats, too.) The dogs get wet food every day in the afternoon when medicine is distributed (discretely tucked into lumps of cream cheese) and for the rest of the time there is nutritious dry dog food available in a big dish next to their water. For roughly eight months, Mr. Basset ate this dry food when he had the urge for a little nosh without complaint or comment. That was until roughly two weeks ago.

Now, each evening around the time that Mr. Basset rolls off the couch and waddles over the bowl for a snack, instead of eating the food quietly, he stands in front of the dish and barks. Loudly. After this vocal demonstration concludes, he paws at the dish until he finally overturns it, emptying the dry food out onto the carpet and leaving the dish upside down. At this point he eats the food off the carpet.

At first I thought he no longer liked the brand of dog food being served. Georg ran out and purchased a bag of even more expensive dog food to try as a substitute. No change. The nightly ritual of bark - bark - overturn - eat continued. (Kenya cheerfully eats whatever is put down.)

It was only yesterday that I realized the problem. Each morning, when I begin work, I turn on CNN Headline News with Robin Meade (could the woman look any hotter for a cable network news anchor? I think not. And she has a dog also.) and keep it on in the background while I work. Mr. Basset often naps on the couch while I do this. But is he really napping?

There have been a series of stories over the past month about pet food from China having been found to contain antifreeze, arsenic, old school bus tires, cardboard and all manner of other substances not normally found in the dairy aisle at your grocery store. Georg immediately checked every type of pet food in the house, discarded any that were questionable, and made sure we purchased no pet foods from China. Sadly, I think this fact is lost on Mr. Basset. Clearly, while pretending to nap, he has been watching Robin Meade (and let's face it... who wouldn't?) and hearing all of these stories. He's worried that we're poisoning him with ground glass and hafnium laced pet food.

I have no other choice left. I must blame the Chinese. (See Chapter one for the initial revelation that (The CHINESE!!!) are to blame for most of my woes.) So that's it. I'm going to become a ...

... a....

SINOPHOBE! (There's your new word for today, and thank The Google that I was able to dredge it up.) So come on, all you Sinophobes.. let's band together and get those rat bastards who are making our basset hounds bark at and overturn their dishes! YEEEEE HAW! (Insert random gun noises here.)

Tomorrow: I make a rare excursion outside my home and meet a young child who prompts me to call for the forced sterilization of all American couples.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Chapter One: In Which I Become a Homophobe

(NOTE: The One True Tami [blessed be Her name] if off on temporary assignment fomenting a fashion revolution in Uganda, employing Manolo Blahniks shoes for the masses and new styles of high tech hair coloring never before seen in third world nations. In her absence I shall be keeping you abreast of important information you need to know about me.)

Just this week, Netflix sent me a DVD with the first two episodes of the HBO series, Big Love. I'll confess that I was a tad disappointed, as I've been waiting with worms on my tongue [1] for the rest of the DVDs of the third season of Deadwood. I'd only put Big Love on there because I was running out of things to watch and a couple people had mentioned that it was good.

The usual evening online chat was well underway with a few of my friends when I mentioned this tidbit of information. My friends Marianne and Gary were of two different minds upon hearing of my latest viewing excursion.
M: How are you liking it so far? That show rocks!

G: Oh, Dude. No. Don't start watching that shit, man.

J: No? Why? I mean, I realize that polygamy is a pretty controversial subject, but it's got some good characters. Seems pretty well written so far, anyway.

G: Man. No. Listen, the women never get naked but you end up staring at Bill Paxton's big naked butt all the time.

M: You've got a problem with Bill Paxton's butt? He's pretty hot, actually.

J: Well, I don't think that's really the point of the show. But yeah, I can see where women might find him to be pretty easy on the eyes.

G: !

G: WTF??!?

J: What? No, I mean...

G: Man. What the fuck is up with that? Something you ain't telling us? Yer pink thong cutting off circulation to the brain there, dude? ROFL

J: No, I'm not saying *I'm* attracted to him. I'm just saying..

The rest of the conversation was pointless, but Gary had certainly gotten me to thinking. I mean, what IS up with that? I'm enjoying the show, the women never take their clothes off but I'm watching Bill Paxton's ass? What would the guys down at the gym be saying in the locker room when word of this gets out?

(OK... that's purely hypothetical as I'm rather sedentary in my habits, have never belonged to a gym and have a germ phobia about public showers... but you get my drift.)

Well that, as they say, was the liquid conveyance tube that fractured the dromedary's spinal column. I decided right then and there that it was high time I stopped putting up with this country's pervasive, subversive gay agenda. Who do these gays think they are, anyway? Look at what's happening to us! Now they've got me staring at Bill Paxton's ass! I was going to become a homophobe.

"But wait," I thought to myself. "Why stop there?"

Indeed. This entire culture of progressive acceptance is simply getting to be too much to bear. I mean, we're spending our time running around, trying to treat everyone with equality, not be pointlessly mean to people based solely on a dizzying range of reductive factors... it's exhausting! All of this tolerance is enough to make any decent progressive tip off for a quick lie down. Perhaps I'd given the Old White Boy's Club (TM) agenda short shrift in the past. Why, I might be overlooking a whole host of opportunities to make my life easier!

First I considered becoming a racist bigot. But while it certainly offers a lot of attractive incentives, (the opportunity to dress up in designer sheets on warm summer evenings hardly the least of them) I quickly realized that most of the black guys I work with are considerably younger than me and in really good physical shape. They'd probably drive me into the ground like a tent stake. That plan, sadly, had to be abandoned.

But how about scorning and abusing the disabled? Say.... this might have some merit. Let's face it, not many of them are going to be coming to beat me up. The only problem there is, a lot of them tend to have black friends. Hrmm... back to the tent stake scenario. This may take a bit more thought.

Then it hit me. Of course! I'll become an anti-Semite! I'll just start hating the Jews! How hard could it be? And you know how those Jews are, right? They secretly own everything worth having and they control Hollywood. Bastards.

And, conveniently enough, I have a Jew handy to put my new philosophies to work on... Tami! I've never been able to get any of my movies from Send Sardines Please Productions into the theatres, and Tami has never been one lick of help.

Jazz: Umm, Tami. I can't get any traction for my short films. Do you think you could put in a good word someplace so I can get a foot in the door with those elitist Hollywood dickheads?

Tami: What? I work in Information Technology. I don't know the first thing about movies or anyone in that business.

Aha! Stop and think about it for a moment. If you were part of a super secret, powerful cabal who controlled Hollywood and somebody came up and asked you about it, what's the first thing you would do? You'd deny it, of course! Proof positive and case closed. I'll be a homophobic anti-Semite. And if I happen to find any gay Jews, well... Katey bar the door. I'll have a stiff tongue lashing for you. (But... you know... not in a gay, fellatio or cunnilingus kind of way, of course.)

Stupid gay Jews. There... I feel better already. Now I have to go. The mailman is coming in about twenty minutes and with any luck I'll be watching Deadwood and eating some very manly left over Chinese food in no time.

No! Wait!.... THE CHINESE!!!!!!

[1] "Worms on my tongue" means "..with baited breath." I really hope you didn't need to read this to get that reference.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Adios, Amigos

It's that time of year again when I beat it for parts unknown. OK< I know the parts pretty well, but I'm still vamoosing until the 13th. I've left Jazz the keys to keep the 12 of you amused.

Enjoy! I'll be all relaxed and happy when I get back.

I Claim this Chest in the Name of Spain

Russian sub plants flag under North Pole
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian explorers dived deep below the North Pole in a submersible on Thursday and planted a national flag on the seabed to stake a symbolic claim to the energy riches of the Arctic.
But Canada mocked Russia's ambitions and said the expedition was nothing more than a show.

"This isn't the 15th century. You can't go around the world and just plant flags and say 'We're claiming this territory'," Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay told CTV television.
Under international law, the five states with territory inside the Arctic Circle -- Canada, Norway, Russia, the United States and Denmark via its control of Greenland -- have a 320 km (200 mile) economic zone around the north of their coastline.

Russia is claiming a larger slice extending as far as the pole because, Moscow says, the Arctic seabed and Siberia are linked by one continental shelf.
Soviet and U.S. nuclear submarines have often traveled under the polar icecap, but no one had reached the seabed under the Pole, where depths exceed 4,000 meters (13,100 feet).
OK, silly flag-planting-posturing aside, it's pretty cool that they could get down there to even try this stunt. I figure that international lawyers will work out who gets the rights to what undersea coastline, but I'm impressed with the technological feat itself.