Thursday, February 26, 2009

And This Is Your Life

They were the best of times. I just wish somebody had taken a moment out of their busy day to tell me before they were gone. I looked into her eyes and this time I saw it, hiding there like a cat ready to finally hit the canary’s cage on one last leap. I’m ready to tell her about the best of times – how good it was and how nobody today could possibly understand. The long nights of youth when you were so close to having it all right, but the tiny, key bits you had wrong turned it all into a tragedy. And now, decades later, you’ve figured out the missing pieces but the original body was dead, never to be reclaimed. I was ready to tell her all that. Again.

But staring into her eyes I saw the moment when the canvas was ready to paint you instead of you taking the brush to it. She’d heard it all before. I’d tried to tell her, so many times, each one a failure on some small level. I never managed to get it across. Always coming close, but missing by those small key bits, just like the ones we missed in the Good Old Days. They were the important ones, almost within reach. But there was something stopping us from seeing them.

So close. Blood on the Tracks was playing in the background and we were certain… so gods damned certain, that Dylan had figured the whole thing out. He’d managed the puzzle and if we listened and applied the words it would all come clear. But it didn’t. It never did. Maybe Dylan was full of shit after all.

But I clung to it. Not “it” as such… not a real thing, but the memory of what I thought I had and somehow lost. The trouble with time is that it flows through your mind in the same way that a stream cuts away a river bank and adds to the other side in sedimentary deposits. It takes the bits you can’t stomach and replaces them with things not yours. Things you borrow from Dylan and Springsteen and Jane’s Addiction and When Harry Met Sally and Trainspotting. You let the bad pieces float away down the river until they were Somebody Else’s Problem and you replaced them with the debris of people who seem wiser but are probably just as fucked up as you are.

And then you find yourself in that room. You’re looking at her. The words well up in your throat. You’re going to find a way to make it all right.. to turn back the clock. You’re going to explain exactly what that little, key item was that you missed and, in doing so, you’ll make the world of the future a better place, even if you – like a latter day Moses – will never live to see the Promised Land.

Then I look in her eyes. She doesn’t see Moses looking back at her. She sees a sad old man who missed his chance and now wants to pin his sorrows on the breast of the next world like a funeral corsage for the Prom of the Dead. She sees through the mask. She’s heard all of your music, but she has new music of her own. She has her own answers. And the one reason she’s sure that she’s right is that she knows.. KNOWS in the most certain terms possible.. that you were wrong. You messed it up totally, but she’s seen through the feeble warts of the aged and found the right answer at last.

She doesn’t need you. She’s learned what she needs from you and discarded the refuse while keeping the golden bits. She’s ready to take on the world. She’s the new mirror looking into the old mirror.

And I went to see the doctor of philosophy
With a poster of rasputin and a beard down to his knee
He never did marry or see a b-grade movie
He graded my performance, he said he could see through me
I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind
Got my paper and I was free

Keep telling yourself that, sister. Enjoy the freedom. It comes at an awful price, but thankfully you won’t have to pay it for a while yet. The final price you pony up is to the ferryman, and the fare is two pennies. I wish I could take them from your eyes before you board, but that’s a task beyond any mortal.

Ride captain, ride, on your mystery ship. What the cartographers didn’t tell you was that there really is an edge out there, and someday you’re going to sail over it. Beyond that? Dragons. And they’re really not as romantic as the poets make them out to be.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Tower

Anybody know tarot cards?

My favorite band is no longer the same. I was at their final concert, even though I didn't know it at the time. I'm sad about it.

I wonder what I'll find to fill in the hole.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Personal Space

Not sure why I feel the need to do this, but I'm posting about my mom.

It would have been my mom's 66th birthday, today, had she not passed away in 1987.

My mom was a great lady. She was friends with every kind of person; she broke all type barriers. She was a good teacher, kids actually liked having her most of the time. Yes, of course there are exceptions, she was a teacher. She could cook and bake reasonably well, some dishes, like her spinach lasagna, were really excellent. She wasn't a fastidious housekeeper, but we grew up in a decent environment that we weren't afraid to live in. She loved soap operas, yet was nervous around the VCR. That's a really sad combination. She was tall. I've always wished I was as tall as my mom.

When my mom knew her days were numbered, she never told my sister and I. She did that so that we could live every day with her without worrying that it would be our last. It worked pretty well for 4 years out of the 5 that she was sick.

So that was my mom.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ernie and Bert

Anyone ever notice that down the right hand column I've got a Sesame Street "Current Terror Level Alert" button? It's been at Ernie/Bert for so long that today I wondered if my widget was no longer working.

Well, I checked with Homeland Security, and yup, it's working. We're still at orange (Ernie) for all air travel and yellow (Bert) for everything else. Good to know.

I traveled by air a couple of weeks ago. I get the xrays, and the metal detectors, but the shoe thing kills me. I never remember to wear slip-ons.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Speaking of Animals

The New York Post is running a shameful cartoon. Shameful. I don't even want to show it, here, but I've linked it in a new window so you'll know why I'm sad.

I wrote Sean Delonas an email.
OK, the cartoon with the dead chimp and the policeman saying that someone else would have to write the stimulus bill is shameful.
If you're saying the President is a chimp, because people compared Bush to a chimp, you're not figuring in the race card, which always counts. I don't want it to count, but it does.
If you're being that racist, you should hang your head in sadness over your own ignorance.
If you're saying that other people are racist, then you're missing your mark, because my first thought was that *you* should be ashamed for putting this out there.

Please think long and hard about how this insults so many people, at so many levels.

T. Yaches
Anybody think I'm over reacting? I don't.

The Day the Miracle Whip Died

Today we take a sad look back at the dark day in 2006 when Kraft Foods made the horrible decision to change the recipe for Miracle Whip. In one fell swoop they destroyed a classic American tradition and pushed civilization one step closer to the abyss. We've never fully recovered.

They took the soy oil out of the product and replaced it with a larger volume of water. This not only killed some of the flavor and thinned the consistency but also shortened its shelf life. At the time of the change, the Elementary Chef bemoaned the loss.

This is problematic, because like a lot of other people, I like to make the potato salad or coleslaw the day before, to let the flavors mingle. Only now I can’t, because it turns into a watery mess and tastes like I forgot the dressing!

I first noticed this change over a year ago, and have been scrambling to find a replacement ever since. I’ve tried lots of store brands, and found they vary widely by store. Some have an unpleasant aftertaste because of the kind of oil they use. I’ve also tried half a dozen different recipes, because my usual response when a product becomes unavailable or changes is to make my own. Yet none of the substitutes quite come up to snuff. The closest I’ve come is to add sugar and vinegar to Kraft mayonnaise, but haven’t quite achieved the magic formula.

They claim to have tinkered with the recipe in response to public demand, but it's still not the same as the product I grew up with. And you won't get any sort of admission of guilt from those bastards at Kraft. Their history page lists all sorts of wonderful things but no mention is made of this nefarious plot.

At the time, even the vaunted Instapundit weighed in on the subject and provided a letter from a Kraft employee who explained the atrocity. Some of us thought that it was another of those nanny state plots to force people to eat healthier, but it turns out that the culprit was the same old suspect. It was all about the money.

I work at one of only a few places that make the stuff. Every year, the cost of the raw material goes up, and every year the price that Wal*Mart and others want to buy it from us for goes down.

So there's compromise; and even those of us who make the stuff miss the old Gold Standard. But the decision is out of our hands, out of R&D's hands probably out of Corporate or even Wal*Mart corporate's hands. The consumers don't want seem to want to pay a premium for the good stuff.

I normally don't approve of the use of soy for anything except sauce, but in this case I will make an exception. Clearly the oil was a large part of what gave Miracle Whip its flavor and texture. There just isn't a good substitute. I was making a sandwich today and realized that I just can't enjoy them as much as I used to.


Monday, February 16, 2009

If I Could Talk to the Animals

Last night I was flipping through the channels and came upon some old, black and white film where a woman very World War 2 era clothes was doing a swirl turn in front of her friend, saying, "Oh Gawd, no! I don't want to wind up being one of those old women who sits at home and talks to her cats." It's a funny line. In fact, with some level of embarrassment, I suspect I've used the phrase myself. But why is that bad?

Some more deep confessions and introspection. I talk to my pets. All of them. Just this week we lost one of our cats.

I had to start another paragraph because that last sentence was a lie. We didn't lose Fat Cat (as most of us called her) so much as I gave up. She was old, diabetic and no longer had much in the way of any quality of life, but I gave up on the fight. She could have pushed on a bit further, but I bailed out on her. I'm finding it hard to deal with that. But my talking to animals started long ago.

It used to be that I only talked (at least out loud) to my dogs and cats when my wife was out of town. Then I began doing it when I was downstairs and she was still asleep upstairs. Now she frequently comes out to ask me what I just said and I have to admit that I was talking to one of the animals. Have I gone around some bend?

Aside from my spouse I have very little desire to speak face to face with anyone else anymore. I enjoy talking to to my two dogs and (now) three cats. We have fascinating conversations... or at least I do. I suspect they play along with the script because I'm the one that puts the food down every day. If they had opposable thumbs and a credit card, some of them likely wouldn't give me the time of day.

I've also lost interest in politics since our Fat Cat passed away. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but in my other incarnation I am actually paid to watch politics, to read about politics, to talk about and write about politics. Losing interest in it is inherently damaging to my long term prospects. But there you are. What I think about now - when I'm not talking to my pets - is fishing.

I combine the two and imagine situations where I can have both dogs and all three cats on the edge of some river or pond and I fish and explain to them what I'm doing. Then we argue. We always argue. We argue about food and the weather and what the neighbors are doing. We debate whether it's a good time to go for a walk, how the various snacks are going over or why I'm screaming at some horrible program on the television.

I'm going to have dinner, read something, and talk to my pets. If you could talk to the animals, what would you say? Probably something different than you say to the myriad people in your lives. At least I hope so... most of them are idiots.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Apoligies All Around

I'm back. Sorry about Jazz, with his tendencies to write about actual topics and stuff. I should have told him that I stopped doing that years ago and now just blog inane platitudes and cat pictures.

Glad to be home, I'm sure.

Me, with Dave Foley, somewhere in the Caribbean

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sarah Palin: Where the Right Went Wrong

This weekend I was reading a quote of the day excerpt by Allah Pundit at Hot air, snipped from David Frum's analyis of Sam Tenenhaus' examination of modern conservatism. In it, he takes the useful and interesting tact of abandoning questions of whether or not Palin represented a productive new path for American conservatism, instead choosing to ask if the Alaska Governor embodied a fundamental flaw in current conservative doctrine. In short, has conservative theory become the chapel of fighting against perceived evils in opposition dogma rather than fighting for a preferred approach to governance and social order? Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude.
[T]he modern American right defines itself not by what it yearns to conserve but by what it longs to destroy--"statist" social programs; "socialized medicine"; "big labor"; "activist" Supreme Court justices, the "media elite"; "tenured radicals" on university faculties; "experts" in and out of government. Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude.

The Palin story was always less about Palin, and more about the response to Palin. And the continuing inability of even our conservative best and brightest to elevate their concern for the responsibilities of government over their cultural animosities suggests that this story’s most painful chapters remain to be written. Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude.
Interesting questions all, and Palin is certainly an apt spokesperson for a new model in leadership. Glowing essays of approbation have been penned regarding her "aw shucks" demeanor, her disarming inability to verbally fence with reporters, her rejection of the modern media and disparagement of "nuance" in the analysis of current events.Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude. Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude. Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude.
Tenenhaus dances around some of the questions which modern conservative advocates should be asking while taking a long, hard look in the mirror. When, exactly, did a high level of intelligence become a subject of derision? How did nuance and thoughtful analysis of actions and their possible consequences evolve into displays of weakness. In short, when did the clenched fist become preferable to the open hand by the simple virtue of providing a base, temporary sense of primitive gratification? Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude. Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude.
If you begin to despise the person who can consistently sink the three pointer with their fade away jump shot, you might ask yourself if that feeling is rooted in your own ability to make one out of five from the foul line. When you find yourself devoting your life to preventing gays from getting married, it may be time to look for ways to improve your own marriage or examine exactly what it is about homosexuality that makes you so uncomfortable. Does the thought of a black man who might welcome pro-choice candidates into the party alarm you? Perhaps it's more than his personal philosophies putting you off your feed. Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude. Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude. Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude.
A successful philosophy in any endeavor must always stand for things, not just against perceived evils, failures and shortcomings. You will be unable to sell your agenda to the masses if you can't offer an improved replacement of the current, flawed edition. What Frum may be feeling, but unwilling to say, is that leaders look forward and mark out a trail. Those glowering at the path already taken are unlikely to be followed. Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude.

For our next intellectual exercise, we shall attempt to determine exactly why this article gets so many darned Google hits. Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude. Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude. Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude. Sarah Palin naked. Sarah Palin nude.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Impeach Obama Now!

We continue to plod on under the lash of a harsh master, but I must ask you... for how much longer? For seventeen long days we have labored under the oppressive Obama administration. Over the entire course of his administration job losses have been at record levels every single week. The economy is crumbling. Partisan hacks fill our television screens, screaming at each other over every perceived slight. The country is divided in a way we've not seen since the second Bush administration.

Can you remember the good old days? Thinking back, I recall a sweeter, kinder and, dare I say, more fun America. It was back in... oh... around the end of December of 2008 and the first few days of 2009. People just seemed to be in a kinder, more charitable mood. Parties were being thrown all over the country. Folks were cutting down pine trees and putting them up in their homes, festooned with all manner of decorations. Drinks were bought for perfect strangers. Handsome young men dared to kiss pretty girls under conspicuously hung clumps of shrubbery. Music played, even if nobody really knew the words to the songs. Ah, good times.

But no more! Those days passed in a hurry, didn't they? Back then, Barack Obama was sworn in as president and then everything went to crap. It's been seventeen long days, people. How much more of this do you plan to take? Contact your representatives! Take to the streets! It's time to give the Republicans a chance!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sometimes I feel like, Google is watching meeeee

For those of us in the old fogy set who can actually remember black and white televisions hooked to an antenna on the roof that only got three channels for roughly five hours a day, it is a never ending blessing to have lived long enough to enjoy all the amazing benefits of 21st century technology. Yet another of these many blessings has been bestowed upon by by The Google.

A mobile phone tracking service that lets parents keep an eye on their children - and wives keep tabs on their husbands - 24 hours a day has been launched by Google.

The software allows owners of cellphones or BlackBerry hand-held computers to automatically share their whereabouts with family and friends anywhere around the world.

Oh, COME ON! How cool is that? You mean you have a free service where my GPS location will be fed into a massive online database, parsed nine ways from Sunday and converted into a map where people will be able to track my every movement 24/7? Holy, cow! That's absolutely.. ummm.. uh....

Now that I come to think of it, that's actually pretty freaking creepy. Of course, in my particular case, viewers would quickly lose sight of the entertainment value, since I'm in the exact same location for 99.999% of the year. But for those of you on the move, particularly the younger, more attractive women, this could really be a life changing technological innovation.

Speaking of women and technology, there's more good news on the horizon. Tell me, ladies. Do you like orgasms? But are you tired of both the annoyance of having other people involved in the process and the hassle of switching the settings on your shower massager if you want to masturbate? Fear not, for science is coming to the rescue. Soon you will be able to have a computer chip implanted in your spine which will resolve all of these pesky issues and deliver orgasms on demand.
Scientists are developing a new electronic 'sex chip,' according to the Daily Mail.The technology, used to treat Parkinson's disease, works by creating tiny shocks to the brain.

The 'sex chip' could work by stimulating the orbitofrontal cortex, a part of your brain associated with pleasures like sex and eating. The chip would increase one's desire for sex or food. Researchers at Oxford University are exploring this possibility.
I know, I know... you're worried about the side effects. It's a big sexual turn-on, but it also makes you want to eat. So? You live in the computer age so you can order food online whenever you want. And if you think the eating thing will impact your dating life... again. So what? You no longer need a partner anyway.

It's truly a brave new world.