Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tanked

The gas tank has been drinking, not me.

If a pair of university professors are successful, you may actually be able to say that if pulled over for driving erratically. Not that it will help your case any.

The two enterprising academics are looking to turn ethanol, the automobile fuel, into alcohol for use in medicines and even tasty alcoholic beverages. They may give a new meaning to drunk/drink driving.

Does the open alcohol container law no longer apply to vehicles? Or would that be open gas tank?

The next time someone tries to siphon fuel from your car they may not be trying to save money on gas, but instead simply tying one on. Bottoms up!

I'll stick with Guinness.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dressing Down The Educational System

School's back in session for most young people in the US, but many of the kids have already been sent back out because of their clothes. At least 128 kids at one Indiana school broke the code du dress on the first day of school and were suspended straight away.

I'm glad to find out so many years after high school that the focus of the administration and faculty is still squarely on education. That district's school board president, Rebecca Ward, stated as much when she said of the suspensions, "I'd be supportive if half the school was sent home... our schools are for education."


It seems some school officials are so concerned about the potentially detrimental effects of youthful fashion choices on education that they are actually willing to make students miss lessons, assignments and tests over it. Again, that's missing part of their education over something that may impact their education in some obscure way.

I quote Chris Squire: "Fucking brilliant."

And by the way, shouldn't that be "if half the school were sent home," Miss Ward? Maybe you need to spend more time in class and less time worrying about who's showin' they ass, eh?

We had the same situation in my high school, with the exact same rationale. It made no sense to me then and makes no sense to me now. The most common "send homes" were girls whose skirts went above their knees when they were seated; skirts had to stay below the knee at all times.

Toward the end of one year, some guys decided to pull a stunt and wear skirts to school - skirts that were "within code," as they went past the knee. Yeah, they were sent home.
Sorry, wrong gender. No fashion "statements" allowed.
But I did admire their spirit. If I were (see what I did there, Miss Ward?) in high school today I'd be tempted to wear a kilt and insist it was my birthright. Ha!

Today I see public grade school kids waiting for the bus in uniforms and it ticks me off. We've got lousy test scores and underachievement all over the place and all the schools can think to do is squash any trace of individuality in the students.

I should explain for those who haven't read my previous posts on the subject that I think school uniforms are fascist and, further, have no place at all in public schools. And though the original topic here wasn't uniforms but dress code violations, it's really the same thing as far as I'm concerned.

Well, at least some of those grade school kids get to wear shorts as part of their uniforms. I never did. Lucky little buggers!

Monday, August 28, 2006

There's Got To Be A Morning After (Pill)

After years of indefensible political wrangling, the FDA has finally agreed to make Plan B (aka the "morning after" pill) available sans prescription, albeit to those aged 18 and up.

Let the glut of unprotected sex with multiple partners begin! Re-open Studio 54! The good times are here again! Woohoo! What's there to worry about now that we've got Plan B?

Seriously, while Plan B won't prevent any sexually transmitted diseases, it will safely prevent a woman from getting pregnant if used within a certain time frame after the deed is done. It was determined safe for over the counter (OTC) use by experts some time ago, but the former head of the FDA put it on the backburber nonetheless. Could it be he had a personal issue with Plan B?

Probably. He reportedly was one of those "moralistic" types who think preventing pregnancy is tantamount to abortion, which is of course tantamount to murder.

Though Plan B will be available OTC, it will actually be BTC. That is, behind the counter. Pharmacists will keep it away from customers' hands, instead requiring them to ask for the drug. Kind of like cigarettes, I guess.

If it makes the FDA feel better about putting Plan B behind the counter, fine. If they think that they've in some way won a compromise, let them think it.

The fact is, whether a product's behind the counter or not, a customer still has to take it to the register to pay for it; in this instance that would enable the pharmacist to enforce the age restriction. Or are they expecting a rash of Plan B shoplifting incidents?

Perhaps what the FDA was thinking is that the potential embarrassment of having to ask for the product versus just putting your money down on the counter may discourage a few inhibited people from buying it. You know, the old teen-buying-condoms scenario.

Which begs the question: What's to keep kids from getting an adult to buy Plan B for them?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Primaries And Political Potpourri

I hate the primaries.

My state's gubernatorial candidates squared off with contenders from their own parties earlier this week. As is typical, they attacked one another mercilessly.

The primaries are a necessary but particularly distasteful hurdle to get us to the November elections. In some ways, they present the toughest of all choices from a voter's standpoint; it's typically harder to pick from among your brethren (or sistren, as the case may be) than it is to pick from among the candidates of each party that compete in the general election.

But it's not the tough choice that I hate about the primaries. I welcome that decision-making process. I like getting to know what the candidates are about.

What I hate is the way the primaries sharply illustrate the patent phoniness of politics in general. The candidates go at each other's throats for months or however long the campaigning goes on, then, after the election, they act like old friends again, and talk of "unity."

You can't take back all that stuff you said about your opponent after the election. So, were you full of shit when you said it (i.e. saying anything for your own political advantage, making you an unfit candidate in my book), or are you lying now that you've lost, to avoid becoming persona non grata within your own party?

Yup. Phony and distasteful.

Speaking of which, the Republican National Convention is considering holding its 2008 hootenanny in my town. They were here earlier this week giving the place a test drive.

Had I known when they were arriving, I might have gone to the airport to mess with them. You know, create a disturbance to make them think that maybe this isn't such a great place after all.

It might not be so bad if it were just delegates coming to town in 2008. Hell, it might be fun to screw with their heads at the airport and around town in general. Ruin their dinners out with family, etc.

But a convention also means guys like Bush and Cheney will be coming here with their Secret Service posse. And when that happens, everything stops. They close off all the roads so our dear leaders can get around quickly and safely.

I resent being delayed in any way for crooks and liars. Why should my lunch have to wait so those morons can cruise around town and lower our collective IQ?

My message to the RNC is this: Take this convention and shove it, you're not welcome here no more.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hands-On Military Recruitment Tactics

Uncle Sam wants YOU… to drop your pants and bend over. Or maybe kneel in front of him while he unzips his striped pants.

According to information that came to light earlier this week, over 100 teenage girls reported being sexually assaulted by US military recruiters after they inquired about enlistment.

Apparently many recruiters are no longer satisfied with preying on young people simply for national service, and have moved on to the use of their typically underage bodies in the service of their own physical desires.

The call to duty has become a booty call.

It occurs to me: Whether these unfortunate girls are seduced by recruiters and end up not enlisting, or they do sign up and get sent into the disaster that is Iraq, either way, they’re fucked. Both situations are shameful.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Foie Gruesome

Yesterday in Chicago a ban on the sale of foie gras went into effect. For the uninitiated, foie gras is made by force-feeding geese or ducks until their livers become swollen with fat.

Photo courtesy of Farm Sanctuary.

After the animal is slaughtered, its liver is turned into a buttery pâté that looks not unlike a lump of canned cat food. Mmm, now that's good eatin'!


Despite the ban, many Chicago restaurants continue to serve the dish. Some, in fact, have added foie gras to their menus in a sort of act of culinary civil disobedience.


Most of those objecting to the ban seem to be in the camp of not wanting the city to dictate what they can eat; the motivation behind the law, to limit cruelty in the name of "haute cuisine," is apparently lost on them.


Well, I've always been told the law is the law. So the Chicago Police need to do what they did outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention. You know, get in there with some teargas, truncheons, mace, dogs, etc. Really beat some heads in. Give those civilly disobedient diners the what-for.

Nah, on second thought, that'd be cruel. You know, kind of inhumane.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mormon Sex Maniacs

A group of upstanding young people from Utah recently held a rally in support of polygamy. The kids were themselves the fruits of polygamous loins, and were defending the practice as an important aspect of their families' religious beliefs.

It must be good to know, as a young person, that God will reward your steadfast abstinence later in life with multiple mates (maybe this Mormonism thing is worth looking into after all
) and oodles of children. Orrin Hatch, you dirty old dog!

Seriously, can you imagine this: "Not tonight, you have a headache? Next!" "Having your 'monthly visitor?' Next!!!"

What convinces me that polygamy is bullshit is that, like so many other aspects of religion, it's gender-biased. A man is permitted to have multiple wives, whereas women are only allowed to be a face in the conjugal crowd.

There will be no divinely sanctioned sausage-fest for you ladies, I'm afraid. But the hubby gets to have him a harem. (Say that 10 times fast.)

Clearly, polygamy is not heaven-sent, but man-made.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A(CUP)-OK

Most women who get breast implants ostensibly do so to improve their self-esteem, thereby increasing their happiness. They feel robbed for never having really grown much in that department. They want attention. Other women get them out of pure greed; they have big already, but they want huge. (Good luck with that exotic dancing gig, by the way, "Chyna.")

The results of a recent study are interesting, however, as they indicate a possible link between breast implants and suicide. Apparently, instant happiness cannot a pair of jelly-filled sacks shoved up over your ribcage always provide.

Implants are a woman’s personal choice, of course (this is sounding like one of my pro-choice posts). But, even as a red-blooded male who can appreciate a buxom beauty, but who does not consider that a “prerequisite,” I have to say, if you haven’t already had the procedure, don’t.

Instead, treat yourself to a holiday somewhere. Go on a killer shopping spree. Jesus, how many pairs of shoes could you buy for upwards of $3000.00? Or quarts of ice cream, for that matter?

Breast implants can cause myriad physical and (apparently) mental health problems. What’s more, if you’re a woman who’s concerned about the progress of women in modern society, you may be interfering with it by getting a "boob job." I will explain.

Apart from reconstructive surgery after cancer or an accident (and I would like to clearly assert that none of my comments here apply to those situations), there is no “practical” reason to get breast implants. It’s vanity. It’s the desire for attention. And you will get attention, but not always the kind you want, or from the right people.

In taking this kind of control over your own appearance you are also perpetuating what feminists call the “objectification of women.” If you’re ok with that, then be my guest, but I believe you lose the right to complain about it once you get fake tits. (What the hell did he just say?) Read it again, if need be.

Some women have enhancements done to please a significant other, either to surprise him/her, or at that other person’s request. It sounds like a stupid aphorism, but you don’t want a partner who doesn’t want you for who you are. You are package of physical and personality traits, (not that some personalities couldn’t use a makeover) and should be accepted as such by those who genuinely care about you.

Many women may well say, "I didn’t get breast implants for anyone else, I got them for me." Is that an honest statement? The fact is, though we may enjoy looking good, smelling good, shaving regularly and having neat, clean, freshly ironed clothes, these things are done in large part for other people. Would you want implants if you lived alone on an island?

Who cares what I say? But I’ll say it anyway. If you got ‘em – natural or enhanced – enjoy ‘em. If you don’t have ‘em, learn to love yourself, because those men, at least, who love them are fascinated by them regardless of size; they’re something we don’t have. Well, typically.

The whole “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” of childhood, at least as I experienced it, was knowing what you had and wanting to see what the opposite sex had – and which you were not supposed to see. I don’t see that fascination abating in my own life decades later. I can’t speak for homosexuals, for whom it’s obviously not quite the same thing, though I welcome their feedback.

Listen, if I in all my insecurities and self-loathing can learn to love my bald head (which I initially dreaded, and for which, I must note, I too could get a type of implants), you can learn to love your own shape. So, if you’re thinking about having an augmentation, don’t be a boob. Other people, at least decent other people, will respect you for “keepin’ it real.”

Friday, August 18, 2006

I'm With The Band

Just about a month ago I did a post on the disturbingly common idiocy of concertgoers. I also mentioned the fact that I'd been to many, many concerts, but not always as a ticketholder. I spent much of the 90s working, at least part-time, as a stagehand.

I had never seen the Rolling Stones when they came to town on their "No Security Tour," (a total lie by the way - they had security like everywhere) so I arranged to work for the crew, meaning a free show, but hard work until the wee hours. After arriving just prior to the show, I got my "working crew" pass - essentially a backstage pass without the privilege of hanging with the band - and staked out a spot near the back of the arena so as to watch the show without interfering with paying customers.

The show began, and it was very elaborate and loud, as expected. Within a few minutes a, I'll just call her an "overdone concert floozy," wandered over, cigarette in one hand and expensive-yet-cheap beer in the other, and started talking to me about the Stones, her kid, her junior high days, etc. Basically, all crap I had no interest in knowing about. After all these years I wanted to watch
the band.

Before long the topic of my backstage pass came up, and she stated that I could "get
so much 'slice' with that thing." (It's noteworthy to me that one of the most disgusting expressions for the female organ I've ever heard came from a woman.) I really wasn't interested in "slice" or getting sacked for giving my pass to someone or explaining that it wasn't a general backstage pass but one for working crew only. At the moment I only wanted to watch the show.

After
way too long it became apparent that there would be no backstage pass forthcoming, and the woman shook my hand and said it was nice talking to me. But not before putting her hand on my chest, right where the pass happened to be affixed, and saying, "Wow, you're in really good shape! You must work out."

Give me a flippin' break, lady. Your disingenuous and self-serving flattery will get you nowhere. I'm a man of average, respectable build, and have never had anything resembling a "six-pack" on my chest. Though I have had many a pint in my hands.

So, I still have never really enjoyed a Stones show in person. Mick seemed cool. He waved at us working crew stiffs as he hopped into a limo after the show. In my experience, most artists did not acknowledge the plebeians.


I had a similar "floozy fan" experience at a Meatloaf show during his 90s revival. She got my attention and said that she wanted to pose as my wife or girlfriend and go backstage with me. I explained that it didn't work that way. She grabbed my hand, ostensibly looking for a wedding ring, and said I could call her sometime if I wanted. I told her it still didn't work that way. I guess you can't blame her for trying.

Me with my idols, Yes, on their 35th Anniversary Tour.

I find it interesting that the first concert where I ever saw women taking their tops off and throwing them at the band was (purportedly) Christian rock band Creed. Hmm.

A show where the tops stayed on but the girls screamed at the tops of their lungs was *NSYNC. I actually stood out at the front of the stage in the dark, with 20,000 screaming girls at my feet, holding a line to a curtain which I was to yank down on cue at the start of the show. During the performance itself I was also in the envious position (from the audience's perspective) of occupying one of two small booths at the back of the stage where *NSYNCers would retreat when one of their cohorts was doing a solo spot. I was pretty much invisible in there.

Prior to the show, when the group arrived, "Young Mr. T." made it known he was not pleased with our old, ricketty stage. "Yo, this stage is fucked up," he said, complete with ghetto gesticulations.
Yo, you're a pathetic poseur, Mr. Whitekidfromthesuburbs. Mr. T's future (or then-current?) girlfriend, a newcomer named Britney Spears, was the show's opening act. I later gave my pass and t-shirt from the show to a friend's preteen daughter, who, stunned, coveted if for days before taking it to school for "show and tell."

I wish I could remember the name of the rap or hip-hip artist who came to the venue with his own security posse, which then proceeded to tell our in-house security staff they were not permitted anywhere near the backstage area. Yeah, right. It made for some tense confrontations, let me tell you.

Country singer Travis Tritt, who I'm no fan of music-wise, was a pretty decent guy. He stopped on his way out after the show, while us stagehands were loading the trucks, and said something to the effect of, "I want to thank you guys for all your hard work. I really appreciate it." Respect. I actually valued my $7.00/hr. that evening.

I had an interesting run-in with (now) late Blind Melon singer Shannon Hoon. Or, rather, he had a rather interesting run-in with a large metal door. His band opened for Lenny Kravitz (possibly?), and as Hoon ran unsteadily off the stage after their set I held a door open so he could go back to the dressing rooms. He failed to notice me and instead ran right into an adjacent door that was barred shut. Hence, my holding the good "door" open for him. He then stumbled through my door relatively unharmed.

I once stumbled across Sheryl Crow backstage. Not literally, but I happened to pass by once as she was playing ping-pong. A good musician, but let me tell you, her appearance on album covers and MTV was a miracle of modern makeup. She looked rather, umm, road-weary, in addition to having some "complexion" issues. Oh well, nobody's perfect.

One from my goatee days:
Olivia Newton-John was totally hot.


Steve Winwood is a talented little guy. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. I worked for him on a show during the 90s revival of Traffic. I walked just feet behind him pushing a roadcase after the show, and noticed he was quite the diminutive fellow. But, again, very big on talent. Way to overcompensate, Stevie Boy!

Also on the small side was Ronnie James Dio, who was back with Black Sabbath for a stint, and who formerly sang with Rainbow and, aptly, Elf. But RJD had a big heart. He was very gracious with his fans, stopping for pictures and autographs after the show. He even gave them his trademark "devil horns" salute. Nice chap.

This is getting long, so I'd better wrap it up.

Back in about '93 or so Foreigner did a coheadlining tour with the Doobie Brothers. I'd never seen either, so, as a child of the 70s and a grownup wanting to make a few bucks and see a show for free, I worked the gig. Say what you want about a generic "corporate rock" sound, but Foreigner really kicked ass on stage.

After their set founder/guitarist Mick Jones stepped off to the wings near me, Les Paul still on his chest, and lit up a cigarette.
I was applauding the band as much as anyone in the audience, because the show really was good. After a few puffs, Mick stamped out his cigarette, and gave me a wink and a nod (it was a "Thanks, mate!" kind of thing, not a gay kind of thing, as some infantile acquaintances have suggested) before heading back out for an encore. That was cool.

I don't exactly miss my stagehand days, but I do enjoy recalling some of the memories. I worked a lot of shows I didn't detail here - INXS (with the late Michael Hutchence), Santana, Bob Dylan, Garth Brooks, EWF (Earth, Wind & Fire), Moody Blues, Snoop Dog, Jethro Tull, ZZ Top, Boston, Jimmy Buffett, Duran Duran, Stevie Nicks, Reba McEntire, Kenny G (dear God!), Steve Miller Band, Pat Benatar, and the list goes on and on.

Now you know why no one is ever allowed to play Jackson Browne's song "The Load-Out" in my presence.

Note: Pictures of me with artists were not taken during my stagehand days, but later. This just seemed to be a good post in which to include them.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Like, A Virgin? (UPDATED)

Note: There is some debate as to whether Joseph and Mary were actually man and wife. See the link in the comments section for more info.

I think Madonna’s
confused. She’s been wearing a crown of thorns and crucifying herself at concerts on her current tour. Next she’ll be throwing stone tablets down on the crowd and parting the Red "C."

Ahem.

To be consistent with her namesake, shouldn’t Madonna’s big, controversial tour stunt be popping out kids without doing the nasty? Those kids could later be crucified to complete the scenario, of course.

Yeah, I agree, it’d be hard to convince anyone Madonna hadn’t done the nasty.

What’s the story on the original Madonna, anyway? Allegedly Mary was a virgin when she had J.C. How did she get past the wedding night without giving up the goods to Joseph? Was he impotent or something, living as he did 2000 years before Viagra?

Maybe theirs was simply a marriage of convenience to convince others that Joseph wasn’t really, you know, "that way."

I can't just assume Mary's lack of congress was the fault of poor Joe, though. Perhaps she was frigid?

Or maybe the "Immaculate Conception" was just a fabrication of the church, enabling them to have their salvation cake and eat it too. A savior without the dirty business or guilt. Well, guilt about his earthly parents having sex, anyway.

(Is it just me, or does "Immaculate Conception" sound like an indication there was no post-coital "leakage" from the woman?)

Apparently, Mary not only did not have to do "the act" to conceive J.C., but until that point hadn't even done her "wifely duty" by Joseph. As a man, barring one of the two explanations about him above, I can't buy that.

And, come on, even the most conservative faiths permit sex
within marriage.

So Mary was, like, a virgin mother? Yeah, like, I'm so sure.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Blacks Have Scared Everyone Off

My favorite avian guests, Finchy and Filly, have not been around a lot lately. I was a bit worried they might be gone, but I also had a theory about the cause of their disappearance.

When word got out in the animal kingdom that I was putting out free food, all sorts of new guests starting arriving. What started as one finch and his mate soon included cardinals, blue jays, mourning doves, red-winged blackbirds and squirrels. Which was fine, because all were welcome.

Lately, though, I had been seeing mainly blackbirds, and in large numbers. They tend to make themselves known when they arrive because they are noisy, messy (and possibly picky) eaters that like to knock the seed around with their wings and beaks. So, they’re not ideal guests, but ok, they’re birds.

One day I arrived home and saw a number of birds eating seed on the ground below the window, where the excess (or refuse) falls. The blackbirds were ok with each other, but when other types of birds would land they’d peck at them and run them off. That got me thinking about my missing friends. Could it be they’d been strong-armed, er, strong-winged out of town?

A few days later I again arrived home and noticed a blackbird in the feeder – with Filly in there next to him. Finchy was on the ground eating whatever he could find down there (I intentionally dump extra for those that have a hard time getting to the feeder). No sooner had I noticed the situation than the blackbird turned on Filly, open-beaked, and scared her away.

While Filly fled to the roof gutter, Finchy actually flew up to the feeder and tried to confront the blackbird. It was a valiant effort to defend Filly’s honor, but since Finchy was several times smaller than his opponent, he had to retreat to the roof as well.

I knew it! The blackbirds are goddamned speciest bullies, and they’re scaring off my friends! (What did you think this post was about, huh?)

This time, I went upstairs and rapped on the window, scaring the blackbird off. (In true bully form, they are one of the easiest birds to frighten. The mourning doves just kind of look at you and coo softly.)

As I had hoped, within minutes Finchy and Filly were sharing the feeder and making the "excited" little chirping sounds they often do when enjoying a free meal together. They stayed for quite a while and got their fill without harassment.

I enjoy feeding creatures from the area, but not when they’re going to intimidate my friends. I swear, some of them can be such animals!

Neither foul weather nor dangerous heights
can stop Mr. Squirrel from getting his fill.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

It's A Fine Thing

What empowers a business or institution, outside of the legal system, to fine, charge a fee or otherwise penalize people for mistakes or tardiness? What are the criteria?

Does the government issue fee licenses? And if so, what’s the fee to get one? Whatever the case, I want one.

For weeks I listened to a coworker make phone calls trying to get her son’s school records transferred from New York to Florida. Apparently there was some slipup at the previous school and now the new school wants the kid to repeat some classes.

This clearly wasn’t the woman’s fault; the school did not fulfill their obligations. Why can’t she fine them for each day that the problem remains unresolved? (Yeah, yeah, I know, we’d just end up paying more in taxes for schools. But the bastards aren’t motivated to get things right!)

I want to fine my apartment complex every time they’re late on a maintenance call, or fail to even acknowledge my request until I call them a second time – which is more frequent than I care to mention. Not that it’s ever happened, but they’d charge me for being late on rent, correct?

Penalties aren’t always financial, however.

I once showed up a few minutes late to a doctor’s appointment because I was stuck in a meeting at work. When I arrived the receptionist told me my appointment had been cancelled and I would have to reschedule. So, in the future, when I am sitting in the waiting room well past my scheduled appointment time, what kind of penalty can I impose? Nada.

True, some places have a “satisfaction guaranteed” policy. Like some video stores penalize themselves if they run out of stock of a new movie. But they penalize themselves on their own terms. When you get to determine your own punishment, you usually give yourself the minimum. A true deterrent should be placed in other hands.

Nor is goodwill toward the customer like one sometimes encounters in a store (as above) a prevalent practice in the business world. It’s time to spread the power around to where both sides have responsibilities and both sides pay penalties. I'm talking in a very real and binding way.

I guess at the core I am just ticked that we're expected to forgive the mistakes of others because they are "human," yet we cannot expect them to show us the same consideration. Didn't know you weren't supposed to park there because there was no sign? Tough titties!

So, I’m calling “foul” on the one-way street of one-sided penalties. Transgressors of the world, get your asses in the box, lest I be tempted to put your “pretty little head(s)” in there!

Monday, August 14, 2006

It’s A Small, Immobile World After All

I can no longer sit by while the madmen of the world sap and impurify (sic) all of our precious bodily fluids. Hence, I am back on the blog. Props to presidentbobo for flinging feces at y’all while I was recuperatin’. He’s a hell of a hominid, and I hope he'll contribute more in the future.

It’s no secret mass transit is the preferred target for terrorists to unleash their twisted deeds. They’ve used planes in the US, Cuba and Russia, buses in Israel and the UK, trains in the UK, Spain and India, etc.

What these people are really doing is making it hard for the rest of us to get from one place to another. If people can’t travel they become isolated. Ignorant. Provincial. Is this an actual goal of terrorists? I’m beginning to think so. They’re not the most broadminded of folks, after all.

So, what modes of transportation will they hit up next? Will we see exploding skateboards? Wheelchairs of death? I get the distinct impression terrorists have a problem with motion of any kind. How about a bumblebee bomb, then? Will there be walking weapons?

I can imagine a terrorist thinking, “Hmm, a ride-on lawnmower. I think I’ll martyr myself by crashing it into a bus.” Hey pal, please do drive it under a bus – preferably while it’s moving.

And the rest of you soldiers of misguided causes, please do continue martyring yourselves, as well. Just do so out in the middle of a field somewhere when no one else is around, ok?


"The only good human is a dead human." - General Ursus

"The only good terrorist is a dead terrorist." - Pete Bogs

Above: The real cause of my carpal tunnel syndrome?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Hey! A new post...

Umm…Hi. You may know me by my infrequent posts here as presidentbobo. Today I am going to be your substitute blogger because Mr. Bogs isn’t feeling well.

I’ve been warned about you folks so no tricks.

To start let me tell you a little about Bogs’ condition. Bogs is undergoing treatment (see rendition, Guantanamo, secret prisons, et al) His medical team (see Rumsfeld, Penatgon, CIA) headed by Dr. Cheney (see Shotgun Dick) has conducted extensive consultations and analysis (see W’s gut feelings). They have decided upon a surgical strike against the evil Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (see 9-11, Hezbollah, Taliban, Iraq, non-Christians). Rather than a measured response (see research, reason and pragmatism) his team has decided that the best option is to remove the offending forearms associated with the ailment. Bogs’ hands will be reattached at the elbows. Fortunately Bogs doesn’t own very many long-sleeved shirts so this procedure will have little impact on his daily life. Once he learns to type again I am sure Bogs will be back posting away about the evils of narrow-mindedness, etc. Attorney General Gonzalez assures me that this radical procedure is both necessary and legal. And after all he is the Attorney General. Who am I to questions authority? I can’t remember our government ever leading us wrong before…

So, where do I get the wherewithal to start blogging for Bogs? As it happens, I have naturally short arms. I can relate to Bogs's situation and may even be able to provide some insight while he is on his road to recovery. Plus, my naturally short arms have instilled in me a healthy sense of disdain for authority and an equally strong sense of misanthropy. I should fit right in…

By the way, between water-boarding and binding sessions Bogs asked me to thank you for all your kind sentiments and well-wishing. He hopes to post some responses as soon as the stitches around his elbows and wrists are strong enough.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Is There Workmans Comp For Bloggers?

My writing seems to have hit a nerve – one of my own.

As a result of spending an increasing amount of time on a computer keyboard each day (work + blogging + surfing + music projects) I have developed either carpal tunnel syndrome or a pinched nerve; I think it’s the latter, while my doctor the former.

S
o, what’s the upshot of this profession-related ailment? BogsBlog will now be transformed into a forum for carpal tunnel awareness.

Yeah, that’d keep my interest for about two minutes.


Actually, what it means is that I should probably take a break from here
while I begin treatment. As I said, I seem to spend more and more time on a computer every day, and while I have no problem with it (I love it!), my body apparently does. And it hurts.


Add to that the fact that my livelihood depends on writing, and my course of action becomes clear.

This will be a short break. I am making some changes to my habits and taking medication, but my life is so computer-dependent that I can’t stay away very long. I just need to let the healing begin.

So, hope to see you maybe next week. Check back here for a possible guest post or two.

And now, the blog I had originally planned for today, "Chinese Democracy."

This post is about Chinese democracy. Not that long-hyped G-N-R comeback album, either. Chinese Wal-Mart workers have taken some time away from beating dogs to death to unionize.

Amazing. Especially considering that American Wal-Mart workers can hardly get a union off the ground.

Chinese Wal-Mart workers have succeeded where others have failed because – get this – their government is on their side. Indeed, the autocratic regime which I have criticized extensively in this space is looking out for its workers in a way that ostensibly democratic countries like the USA refuse to duplicate.

It’s pretty sad when China beats you on workers’ rights.

On the flipside, when Chinese or any Wal-Mart workers shop at their own stores, the merchandise is made in sweatshops. But for the Chinese, it is also manufactured locally, so that means they're supporting the local economy.

Hmm, maybe they're onto something there. "Buy Chinese Because Your Grandmother Worked 20 Hours A Day On It." That's kinda catchy!

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Get-Well Letter To Fidel

(Translated from the Spanish)

Dear Fidel,

So sorry to hear about your surgery of the intestines. I imagine bleeding from the ass wasn’t much fun for you. Still, it must have been a nice change to have something pouring out of a part of you that wasn’t your mouth. I hope your posturing, shouting and podium-pounding abilities have not been permanently affected by your condition.

You know I am wondering now if you maybe hurt your intestines when you tripped and fell on live TV that time? I tried not to laugh, but I could not help myself. Sorry, comrade. You reminded me of the American Chevy Chaser (sic) on the decadent Saturday Nights (sic) Live television program, who liked to trip like clumsy Gerald Ford. Yes, I once accidentally picked up an illegal and forbidden satellite feed of American TV, but I do not think it corrupted me.

In case you are wondering about the postmark, I am now living in Miami for 10 years. I came here in a boat that used to be my living room sofa where my entire family slept. It is not much different from Havana in Miami, as I can remember, but there are fewer burros on the streets here. I can still get a decent order of platanos on the corner, so that is nice. I enjoy listening to your daughter on the radio. She is very smart, so I think she must take after her mother.


But the thing I like best about Miami, Fidel, is that I no longer have to live under your sorry, bleeding ass!

Looking forward to enjoying a nice cigar in Cuba once again after you’re dead,

Javier (surname redacted)

Friday, August 04, 2006

I'd Like To Thank The Academy...

Happy anniversary to BogsBlog! One year ago today was my very first post. Four of them, actually, still available in the archives.

I really got going later in 2005, as scandals, nominations and all sorts of other stuff came round. 2006 would be very good to me indeed, as I gained some regular readers - some who dig me, and others who want to dig a hole in which to bury me.

So, here I am providing clarity amid the world's copious muck five or six times a week. And I would not have been able to accomplish it without you guys out there.


Had I not had people reading and commenting here, after a while I would have stopped altogether. (Meaning, you may have already lost your chance at shuttin' me up!) No use in speaking to an empty house.

So, thank you! And in the misquoted
words of the still-mortal Sally Field, "You like me! You
really like me!!!"

And now, please to enjoy some Fragmentia 13...


THINGS TO PONDER
Why do some American military officials stateside conduct press briefings
wearing desert camo? Do they think a desert war is suddenly going to break out in a major metropolitan area?

TIPPED OFF
The failed minimum wage bill would have
exempted employers from paying minimum wage to workers who also earn tips. Customers’ generosity shouldn’t excuse any employer from paying their workers fairly. Greedy bastidz!

SOME (JUICY) PIG
Lucky for
Wilbur they didn’t yet have ultrasound technology when he won the state fair, otherwise he might have been turned into bacon back at the farmhouse regardless of his prizewinning status.

NO “69?” CALL 911!
A middle-aged German woman whose husband refused to satisfy her carnal appetites
called the police on him. Can you say “peaking?”

MAD MEL
Enjoy some
cartoons related to the drink-driving (non-US English variant of the expression) arrest of Mad Mel Gibson.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Burns Burned Over Incendiary Comments

Senator Conrad Burns, a Republicant from Montana and confidant of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, is taking heat for criticizing out-of-state firefighters who came to help out in Montana.

Regarding their difficulties controlling a rural wildfire, Burns said that some of the firefighters had done “a piss-poor job,” while still others hadn’t done “a goddamned thing.”

What’s with criticizing the first responders, Connie Boy? (9/11, man. Jesus H!)

Seriously, these guys jump out of bed at all hours and put themselves in harm’s way to save lives and property. Hell, depending on the cat, even rescuing one of those out of a tree can be hazardous work. They can be mean little buggers.

The firefighters in question had traveled 2000 miles and worked for a week. The no-good bums!

Burns has of course apologized since making those uncalled-for comments. But
when people are talking off the cuff, the way he was, they are speaking honestly.

Unfortunately, I believe Mel Gibson meant that nasty stuff he said during his arrest, even though he was drunk. I believe Burns meant what he said, too, even though he wasn’t. And for that he deserves to get burned (politically).

Shout-out to all tha fya-fytaz!

PS: Please consider making a last-minute donation to "E," an Aussie blogger living in the US who's running an 18-mile AIDS marathon this Saturday!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Minimum Wage Bill Is Maximum Bull

Later this week the Republicant-controlled US Congress will decide whether or not to raise the federal minimum wage from its 1997-and-holding rate of $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour over the next three years.

What the???

What about all those small businesses we hear will be forced to lay people off or even close their doors because of the extra financial "burden" such an increase would place on them? Has the Congress, in their efforts to kiss constituent ass in an election year, forgotten those poor entrepreneurs?

I've never bought the self-serving alarmism that always comes up when the topic of raising the minimum wage is, well, raised. And even if there’s some truth to the notion that some businesses will suffer, there is a greater good that comes from an increase; essentially, more people benefit from it than are harmed by it.

I can hear the "commie" accusations about my “greater good” philosophy already.

Those who think that of me should consider this: I’m not sure I agree that inheritances should be so heavily taxed. Just from a logical standpoint, you dying shouldn’t mean Uncle Sam gets to dip his hand into your piggy bank. (Holy crap, I sounded like a Republicant just then! Must... resist... becoming... one of them…) That’s the undertakers’ and morticians’ job, anyway.

However, attaching an estate tax reduction to a minimum wage increase bill was really inexcusable. Congress' benefactors are saying, keep us rich at all costs, so Congress agrees. But this has nothing to do with the Average Joe Blow (AJB), who makes a couple bucks an hour for anything from shoveling French fries to shoveling shit. Ok, I agree, that was a bit redundant.

My point is, with $3.00+ gasoline and the overall increase in the cost of living that's occurred since 1997, AJB deserves a wage increase regardless of whatever other aims Congress might have.

Tying an estate tax reduction, which benefits a handful of people who will be rich with or without it, to a minimum wage increase desperately needed by many, is unacceptable. Take the bill back to the drawing boards, you greedy bastards.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Just Plane Cool

After avoiding it at length, I finally agreed to go for a ride in my friend Tony's four-seater airplane.

I've known Tony for 20+ years, but he's only been flying for the last few. I figured he had enough flight hours under his belt by now to be trustworthy in the air. Maybe it was riding around in his Camaro during high school that made me wary; he was a bit of a daredevil on four wheels.

After two recent abortive attempts - one where the weather was bad, and another where I was under the weather (which was also bad) - we were finally able to meet up early this morning for the flight. It was a warm, hazy morning in the Tampa Bay area, but, mercifully, also very calm.

The haze made long distance photography difficult, but the ride was also much smoother than I had expected. One or two bumps at the most. Despite the heat inside the airplane, a '67 Cherokee (that's older than me), it was a really, really cool experience!

Bogs on a wing.

Captain Tony reviews the flight plan one last time.

A look back at the runway from whence we came.

Flying is serious business...

...but that doesn't stop me from goofing off.

Yet another batch of condos for the rich under construction.

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Spanish-American War-era Fort De Soto in the distance.
(Trust me, it's there.)


Fort De Soto Park.

The Don CeSar Beach Resort at St. Pete Beach,
where I will not be attending my high school reunion.


Clearwater Beach.

Anclote Key.

Chillin' at 1100 feet.

Waterways.

Another plane got too close to us, so we had to shoot it down.
(Don't worry, we think the pilot ejected.)


University of South Florida.

Busch Gardens.

A hazy day in Tampa, where some poor suckers
are actually working today.


Headin' home.

On the approach.

Back on terra firma.

Whew! Defying gravity was fun. Almost as much fun as defying authority!

Oh, and, in case you're wondering, I did take some photos of my home from the air, but didn't want to publish them here. It would show consternatives precisely where to aim their missiles.