Friday, January 13, 2006

In Denial? Laugh It Off!

Torture got you down? Lack of body armor? No viable exit strategy? Had your enlistment extended by 2 or 3 years? Seen your buddy blown away by an Improvised Explosive Device? Got a letter from your spouse about this? Haven't seen your husband, wife or children in too long? About to go back to Iraq or Afghanistan and put yourself in the line of fire? Lost a limb? Lost a lover? Suffering from Post or PreTraumatic Stress Syndrome? Depressed by a burning urinary tract or organ failure due to exposure to Depleted Uranium? Husband's semen has a burning effect in your uterus due to his exposure to Depleted Uranium? Children are acting like a really bad episode of Spouse Swap without the swap? Feeling suicidal because of any or all of these things? Well, if you're in the military or are married to one of its members or are the offspring thereof, then you're in luck.
It used to be that you went to the VA and waited in line and received subpar medical treatment (if at all). Sometimes you would be told it was all in your head and you'd be referred to a shrink who told you it was all in your head and to take these little pills and try to live the brave life. But now...
Now, you can beat the blues with laughter, officially recognized and sanctioned by the Pentagon. Gone will be the blues from the wind of your guffaws. Gone the nasty, empty feeling that would normally accompany reintegration into civilian life. Gone the pre- and postpartum symptoms of losing a loved one to de- or redeployment for all concerned. Huzzah!
Necessary no more will be the psychiatrists, support groups and medical staffs who would belittle you, baffle you and bullshit you.
It's new, it's brilliant, it's shiny! And it can only be found at Pentagonco!
From the same people who brought you Abu Ghraib Jenga (stack 'em up and pull 'em out one by one). And the Original Iraqi Christmas Tree (complete with wires, tree topper in the shape of a hood and 12 volt battery). And Bunker Busters (for the complete 4th of July fireworks party). And Operation: Secret Rendition (don't land too close to the air control tower or it will buzz!). And The Laugher (for those lonely nights when only laughter can turn those lights back on).

But seriously...forced laughter IS good medicine for the sick soul. Much better than honest tears or rightious anger. So, turn that frown upside down and be a happy camper. And know that your president is doing everything he can to bring our troops home safely and in one piece. Oh, oh gosh, I'm making myself laugh now. Ha ha. Wow, I feel way better. Thanks, Pentagonco!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Another Way For My Mom To Track Me

Americablog just bought three days worth of Wesley Clark's cell phone records. Not to out him, but to out the law that allows anyone to buy anyone else's records. Stunning.
And quite the bargain I must say.
However, the question leaps forth: why Clark? Why not Bush or Cheney or Rove or Rumsfeld or Rice? My uneducated guess is that those phone records are "protected for national security reasons".
No matter. This is unacceptable.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Problem With Internet Porn

from today's sitemeter here at Dyerama, reader #22:

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Blame My Sister

I've been reading Kurt Vonnegut's "A Man Without A Country". My sister gave it to me as a Christmas present. There's irony there, folks.
And while reading I came across the section wherein V talks about a book he's been trying (unsuccessfully, so far) to write. It stars Gil Berman. Gil is a stand-up comic at the end of time aka as the world is at the end of being slowly (or not so slowly) destroyed by its evergrowing demand for the very things that make the world self-sustaining.
And V muses:
"What about God? If He were alive today? Gil Berman says, "God would have to be an atheist, because the excrement has hit the air-conditioning big time, big time."
And it made me wonder:
Does God have a God? Is there anything in the Bible that speaks to God's Father? Yes, we all know that God is All Powerful, All Knowing, Omniscient. But does He have a Boss? Does He answer to anyone other than Himself? If He doesn't, then oversight stops there.
And if God doesn't have Management, then (in a sense) He IS an atheist. He has only Himself to worship.
And He is the Ultimate Authority on all things Godly and no one is there to take Him to task for anything and He is worshiping Himself as the Final Arbiter...
Then why get so pissed off about Jonestown, which would seem like a tea party gone bad?
Or the gassing of Jews, which would look like a frat prank gotten out of hand?
Or even Iraq, which could be just infantile hazing?
Or our delicate democracy as it slides downhill? Most petri dishes fail.
If God has no Father (or Mother or Wood Nymph with a lazy eye), then God MUST be an atheist. And that would be the ultimate irony. Worshipping a deity who doesn't believe in deities.
And damn funny, to boot.
Then again, I think God's a chemist and He's about 500 tests away from getting it right. Or close enough to publish.

Smart Car

Yesterday I went to my office's Holiday Party. I guess it was our Christmas party, just two weeks late. I wasn't too sure that I wanted to go. I'm not big on parties or other social gatherings. I can usually find a "reason" to not go or to slip away early. Perhaps I'm a bit people-phobic. Perhaps I'm a bit of a social claustrophobe. And I know I always drink too much in these settings. Probably because of what I just wrote about myself. Alcohol does seem to make other people (and me) more interesting and easier to put up with for more than 15 minutes.
But that's not what I was writing about. Yesterday was the Office Party. And I was iffy on the whole thing. Do I go, because I'm new to the office and it would look good to the established rank-and-file? Do I not go and make it known right out of the gate that I'm neither goer nor joiner? Do I show late (so the gig is in full swing and my arrival goes mostly unnoticed, thereby sidestepping the possibility of forced small talk) and leave early (before most of the others thereby sidestepping forced small talk with the hardcores)? What to do?
After a not inconsiderably amount of mental discussion with the voices in my head, I chose to attend as if I was myself. I was late, but not because I intended to be. Mapquest took that decision out of my hands.
The party took place at a bowling alley. We had about 10 lanes reserved for us. The pizza was free as was the beer. The one person in the office who matches my mental oddities was there and watching the the strikes and gutters. When I showed, he looked at me and asked, "grab a lane?". Of course. He entered the names and became "Dude". I was "Donnie". We quickly found that we could order pitchers of real beer from the waitress and it was on the company tab. We quickly found that bowling politically had its downs (we're both liberal and I was hooking to the left, but he was opening to the right) which could not be rectified by listening to either Lewis Black or Rush Limbaugh. We, also, found that we bowled better with the gutter railings up. When the environmental engineer and her husband showed up, they wanted to play with the Rail Bro's. We monickered them "Walter" and "Quintana". By the middle of the party it seemed everyone else had given up on looking competent and had raised their railings, too. Tip to the uninitiated: don't actually aim at the railings thinking that they might be useful ala billiards (you may end up knocking down your neighbor's pins).
So, four pitchers of beer, four games and lots of jokes (and a $25 Target giftcard via raffle) later, it was time to go. I had stayed longer than planned and had more fun than expected. Who knew the whole shebang would be just bowling? I had become so used to being stuck at a dinner table with folks I had no interest in and being forced to listen to how great the company was and was doing and being given a "present" that had nothing to do with who I am (one ticket to a Roger Rodka's Dinner Theater musical without the dinner...oh well, at least I wouldn't have to pony up for my date...right, Rosie?) and being told that I would have to provide for my own alcohol and wearing a nametag (in case the lab manager from another office I'd pissed off three months earlier was looking for me) that I assumed no office could know how to have a good time and let the office stay at the office.
But I was talking about how it was time to go. Walking to the car and by no means not in control of myself I found that my remote unlocker wasn't working. Dead battery? I unlocked the car with key and sat down to wait for the "kill switch" to disable. 15 minutes later, I headed over to the drugstore to buy a new battery. That didn't work. In fact, the remote still didn't work. I was parked right next to a Midas center, so I went over to see if they could do an emergency diagnostic. They agreed to loo at it to make sure it wasn't a blown fuse or dead battery, but if it was the wiring the car would have to stay until Monday. As soon as the manager called out to a guy to look at it, the guy yelled back "you mean the one that had its lights left on?". Now, my car dings at me when I'm leaving the car and the lights have not been turned off. Smart car, don't you think? Looking out for itself. The best technology our generation has to serve up. Won't let you mess up. Looks after you. Allows you to think about other, more important things. But I got out, locked the car up and walked off regardless. Why didn't the car yell something at me like Bill Cosby's doorbell? Can a car fall into a snit so quickly?
Anyway, I was talking about leaving. So, Midas jumped the battery and that's all it was. Still, I couldn't help but wonder if the car's snitting had not turned into wanting to teach me a lesson and provide an involuntary sobriety check. I feel I was in control from the get-go, but who knows? The car may have known better. It could truly be a Smart Car. Of course, if that's the case, why did it let me drive to the trading card shop and buy $160 worth of baseball cards?

P.S. Did I mention how out of shape I am? My hips are damn sore from bowling. Long ago I learned proper form, but not how to be talented. And today I'm hurting from swiveling them hips. Who'd athunk that bowlers might be athletes?

View From The Front Porch

Okay, so I used the zoom lens and it's a bit unfocused. What's your point? Whatever. That's what I see on a clear day. The Cascades (Mt. Rainier out of picture to the right). Life's rough, I know. And I didn't get a shot of the bald eagle cruising over the city. This area is so ugly I don't see how anyone could live here. Oh well, I'll survive somehow. Posted by Picasa