Archive for August, 2005

All Hail Haloscan!

31 August 2005

It was brought to my attention by the lovely JenFred that my comments section sucked. Specifically, you had to be a blogger member to leave a comment if you wanted a name. Furious at the elitism, I promptly switched over to haloscan like every other schmo in the universe. So go ahead, you can leave a comment now without it being all exclusive on your ass.

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Unbelievable

30 August 2005

Once again, Mother Nature has shown us why you shouldn’t knowingly or willingly build a city below sea level. My God, the destruction. I’m so so sorry for anyone in, from, or with people on the Gulf Coast. The news had a video from a helicopter flyover of Orleans Parish (in Louisiana they have parishes instead of counties) and it just makes your jaw hang open. How can there be that much water, that much destruction, that much mayhem?

It pisses me off that the media are treating the people still left in New Orleans as getting something of what they deserve for not evacuating. Granted, there’ll always be a few cranks who won’t leave grandpappy’s house behind, but by and large the people who stayed behind had no other choice. If you don’t have a car, don’t have money, don’t have a credit card, it’s kinda hard to evacuate and go live somewhere else for a while. These are the poorest people who, by and large, were left behind. Renting a minivan and packing up Joe, Jane, the 2.5 kids and Rover and staying at a Holiday Inn in Northern Louisiana for a month simply wasn’t an option. So Eyewitness News, use a few of those brain cells before you get all smug about these folks.

In other news, I had my first class of the semester today: seminar in syntax. The professor has decided to go the morphosyntax, functionalist route with the class, which pleases me to no end. Elucidating formal rules of grammar makes me want to gouge out my eyes. I suppose I should eventually buy my books, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. And by ‘come to it’ I mean ‘get paid.’

My friend Paul lives in an area of Mississippi that was hit by the hurricane, and I’ve not heard if he’s okay or not, since I don’t have his phone number or anything. I sent him an email, perhaps he’ll read it in a month when power and internet are restored to the rural areas. Ay yah.

I also like how gas prices jumped 10 cents a gallon today because of Katrina. The oil companies have said their operations in the gulf were mostly unharmed, but hey, any opportunity to gouge. I wish someone would put Cheney and the oil bosses in jail already and stop screwing us all over.

All right, that’s my disjointed rant of the day. Be well, y’all.

Too hawt

26 August 2005

Sweet mother of mercy, it’s hot. I went swimming in the pool for the first time in many a year. It was hot enough that even my white-bottomed, 10 foot deep pool was up to 86 degrees; usually it’s a push to get it above 68 in the summer.

In other news, the State of California hasn’t deigned to pay me yet for July or August. So I told them until they do, I don’t have enough money to buy gas to get to work, so they better get on that shit right quick.

I think my Dad may be dead. He lives near Madison, Wisconsin, which had a few tornadoes roll on through last week, and he hasn’t answered his cell phone or his emails since then, which is surprising since his birthday was on Tuesday. So if you’re near Madison, lemme know if there’s been death and destruction in the area.

Off to get ready and go out on the town. This Blizl needs a cool long island iced tea.

Catch y’all later.

Today was a Good Day

25 August 2005

The stars must have been cosmically aligned today. Either that or God was asleep at the “hit Chris over the head with another trial and/or tribulation” switch.

In the blogosphere, Jo of Leery Polyp had her gorgeous little baby, Sophia Hazel. Of course, this means that all the “trying to have a baby” infertility blogs I read are now “Jesus Gay, I have a baby” infertility blogs. How dare they go and defy conventional wisdom like that!

As usual, Heather over at Dooce posted prose of such mind-bending quality that you secretly fantasize about having written it yourself. She’s good about that. Two of my favorites:

today:

Instead of calling him back I send him an email that says, “Must be trolls, because I assure you that if I had found the lighter I would have made a point of telling you that I, HEATHER, THE ONE WHO HAS TO HELP YOU FIND YOUR KEYS WHEN THEY ARE IN YOUR HAND, found the lighter. P.S. I love you.

30 Oct 2003:

Anyone who is married or has ever been married knows that it takes both people to make a marriage work. For instance, one person has to drive the car while the other person hangs out the window with a bat to demolish the neighbors’ mailboxes. Jon is better at driving, and I have much more anger to work through than he does, so we’re comfortable with our respective roles.

As you can tell, I have a secret Internet crush on Heather B. Armstrong.

In the boring world of reality, today was markedly more pleasant. The sleeping drugs worked on their own, and I fell asleep at a reasonable hour and awoke feeling refreshed at 8:00. I was reassured that yes, I will have a job next semester, and yes, they will be paying me more. Woo hoo!

After work, Jennifer drove up from Downey and we went to the Whittier Uptown Street Fair, which happens every Wednesday and features lovely lovely produce from local farmers as well as booths with breads, soaps, clothes, jewelery, anything you can think of. It’s basically what you think of as a county fair, except smaller and on a weekly basis. Had dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. It was basically just a pleasant day. ‘Twas nice.

Note to the President

23 August 2005

Dear Sir,

It doesn’t matter if Cindy Sheehan is in the majority. It only matters that she’s right.
And FYI, the Constitution wasn’t set up to empower the majority. It was set up to protect the minority.

Begging for Money (For Others)

23 August 2005

Before I start tonight’s self-medication, a plug for money. My friend Rachel works for First Book, a non-profit charity that aims to combat what I think is the root of so many social problems in the US, a lack of literacy. From my own education in linguistics and literacy, I found out that more than socioeconomic status, more than race or ethnicity or location (although each is an important symptom), the amount of literature a child is exposed to is the single most powerful indicator of that child’s future educational accomplishment and economic independence later in life. And library funding is all but nonexistent in the US. Some ungodly percentage of all primary school students have less than 10 books in the home and few to none in the school library.

First Book’s deal is to give books to libraries, schools, etc, to promote literacy and promote successful learning. And Amazon has made them a Nonprofit Innovation Award Finalist. If they get the most donations on Amazon before 30th September, they will get a matching grant of up to US$1 million in addition to the money they get donated. And it’s tax deductible. So make First Book happy and help the kiddies out, will ya?

(And no, neither Amazon nor me nor anyone but First Book makes money from it. So go nuts.)

In Which I Self-Medicate

23 August 2005

First, housekeeping duties:

Sorry to the multitiudes who IMed me last/night this morning when my computer signed itself on. The new version of AIM also automatically turned off the “allow people to know I’m idle” checkbox. Hell, most people know I don’t voluntary get out of bed before 10, so they probably figured something was up if I was on at 6 AM, but just in case.

Second, my former roommate and one of my favorite people on the planet (Hi Doug! Nice to hear from you.) pointed out an error in my post about the Christofascists. I characterized them as mostly “upper class,” which of course, they’re not. I was thinking of their ringleaders, people like Jerry Falwell and James Dobson and the purple-haired lady on the God channel, who live like royalty off the donations sent in by their adherents. As Doug says, “Most of the south doesn’t have two nickels to rub together but they manage to rally behind killing arabs in the name of jesus.” Which, when you think about it, makes you realize the brilliance of the conservative movement: bamboozle the people who don’t have two nickels to rub together into thinking you give a shit about them. Then they’ll vote for you and you can proceed to rob them even blinder. It seems to be working quite well. In a few years, I could see a sort of feudalism returning to our society The few owning all the land, all the factories and controlling the government while the masses are forced to lease land, work in the owned factories and submit to the totatlitarian government while digging themselves ever deeper as they fall behind on rent owned to the noblesRepublicans for the privilege of subsistence. But I digress. But thanks, Doug.

I’ve been an insomniac lately. Not just ‘lie awake for a few hours because I took a nap in the middle of the day’ kind of insomnia, but the ‘oh my God I’m exhausted but I still can’t fall asleep until 6 AM’ kind of insomnia. Getting kind of fed up with the whole thing, I bought some of the OTC sleep aids at the store. The active ingredient in them is diphenhydramine, the same decongestant found in things like Sudafed, which is why Sudafed makes you drowsy. Knowing that Sudafed doesn’t make me drowsy, I looked in my PDR to see what kind of doses are appropriate. While the recommended dosage on the box is 50mg (2 pills), the PDR said prescription strength is 100-200mg. So I took four pills (100mg) around 11 last night. Around midnight I decided the little shits weren’t working and decided to bring in the heavy artillery. I went downstairs to the medicine cabinet and got a vicodin from when I had my wisdom teeth removed. Popped that little sucker in, and waited about 15 minutes.

Sweet.

Merciful.

Crap.

The colors! The sounds! The spins! It was like being the drunkest I’d ever been, without any of the attendant stomach upset. I saw shimmering colors, I could feel my limbs and head floating away, I got the spins, the whole bit. I thought my pillow was talking to me, but then I realized it was just narrating the blog I was reading on the computer (go check Lisa out…she rocks, even if you’re not hopping on vicodin). Trouble was, I couldn’t fall asleep because I was so dizzy and twitchy. Now I know why people abuse narcotics. It could be fun, if it weren’t so freaking uncomfortable. I remembered then why after my wisdom teeth surgery I took one vicodin and never took another. That shit is off the hook.

So tonight I’ll be going back to my diphenhydramine. Maybe kick it in a little earlier, maybe take a little more, maybe have a glass of wine before bed to speed things along. I’ll let you know how it goes. And I’ll save the Vicodin for when I have to sit through church with Dad for 4 hours. I can claim to speak in tongues and be moved by the Spirit of the Christofascists.

Lying Sack of Shit

22 August 2005

Because I’m lazy and this is like shooting fish in a barrel, here’s a partial deconstruction of Ann Coulter’s latest column:

To expiate the pain of losing her firstborn son in the Iraq war, Cindy Sheehan decided to cheer herself up by engaging in Stalinist agitprop outside President Bush’s Crawford ranch.

Yes, she’s out there rolling out five-year plans, assassinating those that assisted her rise to power, and putting millions of people to death. Wait a minute, that sounds a lot more like something Bush would do than Cindy Sheehan.

It’s the strangest method of grieving I’ve seen since Paul Wellstone’s funeral. Someone needs to teach these liberals how to mourn.

Yes, strange how liberals like to grieve when their loved ones are killed. Strange too that The Religious Wrong also took advantage of Wellstone’s tragic death to advance their cause. Read Al Franken’s books.

Call me old-fashioned, but a grief-stricken war mother shouldn’t have her own full-time PR flack. After your third profile on “Entertainment Tonight,” you’re no longer a grieving mom; you’re a C-list celebrity trolling for a book deal or a reality show.

Hmm. A book deal, a reality show. Nothing eases the pain of having your son die for corporate interests like getting corporate interests of your own. I’ve yet to see a professional politican out there in Sheehan’s camp. Seems an awful lot to me like some grieving, pissed-off people who are staying on message with remarkable tenacity. By the way, Ann, you’ll burn in hell for libeling Madam Sheehan when she’s home caring for her ailing mother.

We’re sorry about Sheehan’s son, but the entire nation was attacked on 9/11. This isn’t about her personal loss. America has been under relentless attack from Islamic terrorists for 20 years, culminating in a devastating attack on U.S. soil on 9/11.

No, you’re not sorry, that’s the whole point. The entire nation was attacked on 9/11, and we’ve gone and done approximately zero to alleviate the terrorist threat, instead we’ve on Bush’s need for revenge and need to reward his corporate donors. You’re right. It’s not about personal loss. It’s about systematic, treasonous deception perpetrated by our government. And by the way, last time I checked, 9/11 was four years ago, not twenty. Even if we stretch back to the original WTC bombing, we’re only talking 11 years. Whether she’s being deliberate or just careless, Coulter certainly holds the torch for the conservative modus operandi.

It’s not going to stop unless we fight back, annihilate Muslim fanatics, destroy their bases, eliminate their sponsors and end all their hope. A lot more mothers will be grieving if our military policy is: No one gets hurt!

Agreed. So why aren’t we doing any of those things? We were making progress in Afghanistan. Now we’re engaged in Vietnam writ large. Our current military policy seems instead to be: The poor and voiceless get killed to fill our pockets.

Fortunately, the Constitution vests authority to make foreign policy with the president of the United States, not with this week’s sad story. But liberals think that since they have been able to produce a grieving mother, the commander in chief should step aside and let Cindy Sheehan make foreign policy for the nation.

Oh Ann, you should have known that going to Hollywood Upstairs Legal College was going to skew your view of the Constitution. The only foreign policy apparatus the Constitution mentions is the ability to make war and enter into treaties, the former invested in the Congress, the latter in the Senate, neither power is the purview of the president. But foreign policy isn’t what Sheehan’s out there for. She’s out there to talk with President Bush and ask her why she sent her son to die. Oh well. Maybe you’ll make a coherent statement that aligns with reality in the next paragraph. Going 0 for 6 is pretty embarrassing, even for a conservative.

As Maureen Down said, it’s “inhumane” for Bush not “to understand that the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute.” I’m not sure what “moral authority” is supposed to mean in that sentence, but if it has anything to do with Sheehan dictating foreign policy, then no, it’s not “absolute.” It’s not even conditional, provisional, fleeting, theoretical or ephemeral.

Oh well. 0 for 7. What Dowd meant, Ann, as anyone with a basic command of English infers, is that “moral authority” concerns these parents’ right to criticize the war. They’re not so-called “Ivory Tower” liberals invested in theory. They actually had someone they love die for Bush’s treason. Their authority on these matters is absolute. I wonder why you have such a hard-on for this foreign policy schtick.
Although it’s clear you haven’t the faintest understanding of what foreign policy actually is or how it works, you seem to invoke it a lot. Are you perhaps trying to make up facts that support your case when none exist in reality? Hmm. I recommend you see a shrink. One that’ll prescribe haldol or thorazine.
I’ll stop now. You can see where this is going. For the love of God, someone put this woman in an institution.
And no, before you send me hate mail, intolerance of intolerance is not intolerance. And quoting libel to deconstruct it constitutes academic fair use in copyright law.

Fundamentalism What?

20 August 2005

So there’s an article in today’s L.A. Times about the rise of fundamentalist Islam in California’s prisons. The article quite rightly points out the threat that fundamentalist Islam poses to well, civilized society. But it made me wonder, where’s the news coverage on the rise of fundamentalist Christianity?

Because it seems to me that fundamentalist Christians (hereafter known as the Christofascists) pose just as much, if not more, of a threat to life as we know it than fundamentalist Islam. After all, people vote for Christofascists, and one could make the argument that they have a stranglehold on US politics. And the nuttiness and America-hating that Christofascits enshrine would make any Muslim terrorist green with envy. Lord knows, given half a chance, the Christofascists would round up and shoot ‘da gays and ‘da heretics (anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their perverted worldview), and chain ‘da women back into the kitchen. One has only to read one of Ann Coulter’s columns to know that she’d as soon shoot an American as look at one. The Handmaid’s Tale, anyone?

But you know, Christofascists tend to be white and upper-class, so their perverted outlook on America is okay. It’s the bloodthirsty brown folks we have to worry about. And don’t you forget it.

Jag-yoo-ah

17 August 2005

There is nothing quite so sexy as a 4-litre British V8 at 5800 RPM.

My aunt is fortunate enough to drive a Jaguar. I am fortunate enough to have an aunt that allows her not-quite responsible twenty-three year old nephew to borrow the Jag at regular intervals. I got to take it to Vegas for New Year’s, I got to show Rachel around L.A. in it; my aunt’s basically been generous to the point of absurdity.

Lately she’s been wanting to clean and condition the leather interior. But, leather cannot be cleaned in direct sunlight or in hot weather. Which means that all Jaguars located in southern California should be driven to Seattle to have their interiors cleaned. But the miles, the miles…

This week we’ve been having a bit of June Gloom here in L.A. For people outside of coastal California, June Gloom is that weather phenomenon (guess when it’s most common) where the marine layer (fog from the ocean) sticks around until 11 AM or noon. Being generous and not self-serving in the least, I offered to take the Jag under my wing and fondle its leather in the cool and cloudy morning, since I don’t work mornings and she goes to work at 5:30 AM.

Having procured the Jaguar (I call her Mrs. Thurston Howell III), I set out this morning to McDonald’s to get breakfast before starting on my fondling and licking conditioning and polishing. I was cruising back to the house, and turned onto my street. Which was God’s cue to throw up His middle finger at me. As I rounded the corner, the orange juice mystically lifted its lid, levitated out of the cupholder, and spilled its entirety all over me, the Connolly-leather (no longer made! and exclusive to Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Ferrari and the seats in the UK Parliament!) encrusted driver’s throne seat, the dash console, the e-brake, and the wool carpeting.

For once, my rage issues worked to my advantage, because when I mashed the gas pedal to the floor to get home as quickly as possible, all 290 horsepower and 290 foot-pounds of torque ensured that the OJ spill rocketed into the backseat passenger footwell, thus mercifully saving the seat’s power motors and the A/C vent located beneath it. After cursing a hateful, vengeful God and firebombing local Churches, I ran inside the house and grabbed an entire roll of paper towels to soak up the spill. You never appreciate how inaccessible the underside of a car’s seat is until you’re trying to extricate the $0.89 worth of orange juice that is soaking into and trying to ruin a $70,000 car. I got it up, although I had to shampoo the mats twice and wash the filter in the A/C vent beneath the seat. At least I was going to be detailing the car anyway.

Since I felt horribly guilty, I bought a tube of chrome polish and polished the bejeezus out of all the “chromium” trim (the British have such cute, if obtuse, ways of referring to everyday objects/substances) inside and out. So now the carpets smell fresh, the hides are supple and lickable again, and the bonnet leaper (again with the obtuseness…it’s the leaping Jaguar on the bonnet hood) is shiny enough to make its appearance to the public once again.

And what an appearance she makes. I know, I’m spoiled, but to me, driving ’round in a Connolly leather seat, listening to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, eyes caressing walnut burl, the V8 doing an effortless 85 MPH and letting the bonnet leaper lead the way is better than a day off, better than having sexy clothes or a vapid sexy boyfriend or a cookie-cutter sexy BMW, the de rigeur status symbols in Los Angeles (RNFs Jordan, RNFs as far as the eye can see!). It’s an experience not quite replicated any other way. Granted I’m affirming global destruction by driving a beast longer than mom’s minivan that sucks down Premium at an alarming rate, and Lord knows how many cows had to be skinned and sheep sheared and walnut tree cancers cut off (didja know that? Burlwood is the result of cancerous growth on a tree) to provide me with the hedonism, but hey. Gotta get your pleasures somehow. And it’s not like I’m doing it for the ‘status’ of it. Lord knows driving an “old man’s car” isn’t going to win me friends or influence people in my age group. But then I’m an old man anyway. I like bourbon and wine more than fagtinis or beer, so I guess I’m just easing into my old age now. Mmmmm old age.