Friday, March 24, 2006

Not Your Normal SSM Post

my pal generik passed along a link to me today that i don't think even he could understand how much i would appreciate. there's a blogger out there writing about baseball cards in a most amusing manner. i had many minutes of enjoyment checking out this guy's posts. the one i've linked to in this post is very good. you don't even have to be a baseball card collector to appreciate it. oh, but if you are i have a collection of about 5000 mostly from 2000 up to the present that i would let go for a nominal fee. and when i say nominal, you know it's gonna be cheap.
on that note, i have to say that i'm feeling a spring cleaning mood coming on. what to do with the telescope i haven't used in over a year? 8" Celestron with a full array of lenses. hmmm. and the 24" flat screen tv still wrapped in its shipping shroud. and all of the baubles like the candle holders and dishware and kitchen appliances. or the gateleg table from the 1920's. well, i might keep that one.
then there are the futon couches that fold out into beds. and the corner pieces that will hold a tv or a computer.
the big box of music.
the bigger box of movies.
the books. oh my god, the books. by the way, Hunter Thompson's last compilation titled "Hey Rube" is a hoot. it's from his days as an ESPN sports journalist. damn funny and as wacky as ever. the dvd my sister sent me of a bunch of interviews he'd done over the years (dave letterman, conan o'brian, charlie rose and others) is fun, but it is obviously something someone duped from old vhs copies and HST is hard to understand. watching him interview keith richards is like watching a masonic handshake. you know it's important and you really want in on the joke, but they won't let you. the interview is to spoken english what shorthand is to the written. still and all, watching conan have to go to colorado, drink whiskey and shoot bigass guns to get his interview is funnier than an amoeba at a hermaphrodite's convention.
where was i?
oh yeah.
it's tough being an amateur heterosexual interior designer with ADD and commitment issues. and before you can ask the obvious joke question about whether i'm an amateur hetero or amateur designer: the answer is yes. i maintain my amateur status in all things. as it should be. forever and ever. amen.
so, back to moving things. do i take it all down to st. paul's thrift shop? some of it would just be going home again. seems a shame, but there's symmetry to it. kind of look at it as a rental. time served and on to the next lucky person. or i could do what i and a couple of friends used to do when i lived in seattle (before i moved back to the 'No). and that was to take what we could out to a garbage dump in the boonies and shoot the ever lovin' shit out of it. one of those buddies has been trying to get in touch with me. perhaps, the kitchen kabobbles need some good old-fashioned, all-american iraqification. and it would be good practice for me, because in about a year or so i expect the draft age to move up to 45 and i'll finally be eligible again for that free education i blew when i didn't study for my SAT's. so long as the PT at bootcamp is changed to the 16 ounce swig; nanosecond nachos munch; and body fat to muscle ratio is measured not in percentages, but in comfort zones. then i think i'm in and i can shoot things and spy on people and be like that really cool french guy who schmoozed all the english gits, ate all the caviar and champagne, and found the murderer in the last chapter.
god-damn it. i lost my train of thought. oh, the hyphen between god and damn it? it's so cool. have you ever watched mickey rourke? next time listen to how he says that. he always puts this pause where the hyphen goes. he makes sure it's two words and you know that he's pissed. just watched domino and he did it like three times. and then keira showed her boobies and...let's just leave it at that, shall we?
so, i got stuff to move. what to do? yard sale? free ads?
my neighbors keep lugging in lots of copies of newspapers. this has been going on for a week now. i don't know if they're paying 25 cents to clean out the street corner paper machines or they're taking the daily leftovers and i have no idea what they might be using them for. i do remember from when i was little and our family was very poor. my dad would wrap large bundles of newspaper in wireties and burn them in the fireplace like wood logs. the heat wasn't all that great, but it was better than shivering. and it looked neat. one thing my parents would do was buy some of that sparkly dust to throw on the fire so that it burned in different colors. so cool to a child. and it was a smart way of distracting from the harsh realities of a teacher's salary who was raising six kids. that reminds me that i never tasted real milk until i was about ten or so. all i knew until then was the powdered stuff. let me tell you, tasting 2% for the first time was like neil armstrong stepping onto the moon. life changing. history making. finally a true mustache. and i was no longer behind the curve compared to all of my friends.
i remember going over to michael's house, because he said his parents had a new tv. AND IT WAS IN COLOR!!! i had to know. it was glorious. and it filled me with shame, because he would no longer come over to my house and play. of course, his dad was a principal at one of the other schools. and michael had a ping pong table and a foosball table. none of us really liked him. we just used him for his toys. but going home to a small black and white tv was like being kicked out of saks fifth avenue and finding i could only shop at the salvation army.
but you know what? i watched martin luther king, jr give his biggest speech on that crappy tv and i remember it. we had the tv and this godawful black vinyl couch that sat about 40 and i remember him on the tv speaking and me being allowed to stay up past my bedtime even though i was all of about 4 or 5. my parents don't remember this, but i do (they remember the speech, just not me being in the room, but i do). so, that crappy tv will always have a splendored place in my heart. plus, i watched scooby doo, gilligan's island, the andy griffith show, sesame street, the flintstones, bewitched, i dream of jeannie,. oh man, just mentioning them brings back all of the pre-adolescent crushes i had. mary ann (she was a GOOD GIRL, ginger was too racy), daphne, aunt bee (okay, that one's weird, but i swear it was non-sexual maternal thing), betty...oh betty...oh mama, tabitha (yup) and, of course, jeannie with the "you can't see my belly button because that's not allowed on tv, but i bet you wish you could" and oh boy did i want to.
and, somehow, this all brings me to my grandma. like all children, i was born to two sets of grandparents. some of us knew all of them, some didn't. i knew three. my grandma on my dad's side and both on my mom's. my dad's mom died someime during my teens. she wasn't a very nice person and so it wasn't a truamatic loss to me. my mom's dad died in the 1980's and it did hit me. i was home with my sister the night the call came in. we were joking around with our parents when the call came. to watch my mother crumble while holding the phone was immediate in its cruelty and whim. without knowing what was being said we knew. my mother had lost her father. he died in his sleep, which is, i think, what we all wish for ourselves. no drawn-out, painful death. just a did not wake up moment. but it hurt me and my sister so much seeing that look on her face. and to see my dad knowing there was nothing he could do but hold my mother. inconsolable grief is the most wretched thing ever put upon humans.
after granddad died, it was down to one. my grandma. the woman who would visit with granddad every summer and i would run out to their guest room every morning and eat toast with raspberry jam and look at the stick figure pictures while they read from the good news bible. they and i had a routine and it was not to be fucked with. ever. we had fun and i learned and i loved them.
and now my grandma has collapsed. at the amazing age of 102. she just fell and they took her to the hospital and they told my aunt that she can no longer live by herself. she has to have assisted living. my grandma has always been adamant about living in rest homes. she hates them. she hates not being independent. she's legally blind (gave her license up when she was 96, voluntarily) and going deaf. she'd been fine up until now. but suddenly she falls to the floor and her cognitive powers are no longer what they were. she wants to go home. and she can't. and she doesn't understand. and my aunt can't make her understand. and my grandma is not all there anymore. she's confused and scared. and now we're waiting for her to die. because we know she's dying. because her worst fear was not being able to take care of herself. and the waiting is worse than the event itself. she is going to go out like uncle gene did. confused, unhappy, and lost. and no one will be able to console her in any manner which we would like to.
and i keep her quilt on my bed. the quilt was made of old clothes her mother cut from worn out stuff when grandama was a child. they were poor, too. they lived on a farm and they recycled clothing for as long as they could and then great grandma made it into quilts. and i have one. and it keeps me warm at night 80 years later.
they did what they had to. just as my grandma will do if she realizes she can't go home ever again. and i think she does deep within.
and i feel so bad for my aunt. she saw her husband succomb to alzheimer's disease in the last two years. she had to have him put away for his and her own safety and he died soon after. now, she has had to do the same thing to her mom. it's not fair for one person to have that much sorrow dumped on them in so short a time. there should be a limit. there should be a moment of rest in between. there should be a pause for reflection and a time of joy to celebrate each person.
and i wish i hadn't been the last child in my family. i wish i had been born sooner just so i'd have more memories of her. she taught me so much about caring and virtue and patience and loyalty and tolerance (when she met my son she took him straight to her heart) and so much of everything that it would fill 1000 lifetimes.
i didn't know this post was going to go this way. i apologize. i wanted it to be light hearted. instead, i've cried the whole time i wrote about my grandma. she's really special.
she came with my parents twice to visit me in seattle. i remember one of the the times we went to beatty's books on third avenue (a block from my apartment). mom was in a hurry to get there and grandma was lagging. i walked with her and she looked up at me at one point and said "your mother and her schedules. if she'd just slow down for once we might enjoy the day". when we got to the bookstore, grandma promptly found the right chair in front of the big street window and went to sleep. the beattys made sure that no one woke her up. and thanked me for bringing a woman of her literary taste to their shop. all i could do was laugh and thank them.

i miss my grandma.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Helen, We Hardly Knew Ye

so, everyone know who helen thomas is? no? okay. helen is the stanchion of of white house press corps ethics. she has had a front row seat at every press conference and daily briefing for a few decades. she has always been the first reporter allowed a question and all other reporters defered to her. until about 4 years ago when the bush cartel decided it din't like her queations anymore (i.e. the questions were tough, insightful and well prepared). since then she has literally been relegated to a back row seat and has not been called on once by either bush or mcclellan. she has since then called bush the worst president she has ever covered and the most dangerous to our country well-being. not because she's bitter, but because she can see through all of the smoke, lies and disingenuousness thrown out by this administration. and bush was right to shunt her aside if only to maintain any measure of credibility.
today, however, bush called on her. her question? "why did we go to war with iraq?". this question has not been asked once since the actual incident. and she has made no secret of what she would ask if allowed to. bush's response really a response (surprise, surprise) so much as it was an attempt at more smoke and lies. she didn't let him escape, but continued to force him to address the actual question. the result was predictably depressing in light of what bush said or, rather, wouldn't say. in short, his answer was no answer at all. it was evasion and ducking, because he knows he has no viable reason for attacking iraq. only armchair quarterbacking and revision. remember the weapons of mass destruction that anyone with half a brain could tell was pure crap? niger yellowcake? the reasons why valerie plame was outed? or saddam hussein wouldn't let UN inspectors back into the country when it was us who booted them out right before we began bombing? then on to saddam being a brutal dictator who gassed his own people with our weapons of mass destruction some ten years earlier? engaged in brutal executions of enemies? was a bad, bad man and we were liberating the iraqi populace? if you don't, helen does. she is the grand dame of political reporters and brooks no bullshit.
if you were bush you wouldn't call on her either.
also, bush is saying once again that he never tried to link saddam to 9/11.
oy vey.
on a lighter note, i tried out the new cafe a couple of blocks away. very cool. their condiment bar is the backside of a VW bus with its back door flipped up. there is a Woodstock poster on the wall. while i was there today, they were trying to decide where to hang an old fender stratocaster. someone in the family has been collecting thermoses for a loooong time and these decorate the upper book shelf running the length of about half the place.very hippy dippy and happy. the license plate frame on the bus actually proclaims washington as the liquid sunshine state. ahem. my latte was good and the food smelled terrific. evidently, the family is a local legend. they had some kind of cafe or store something downtown, but decided to get out of there. i only had 30 minutes to soak in the ambience, because i was getting my first haircut since last summer next door from the liberal activist woman. good haircut, great conversation. one of her stickers said "beef: it's what's destroying your colon". a poem next to her mirror spoke of mothers distracting military recruiters until their sons and daughters could head for the hills and until there was no more need for recruiting. she found me a good radio station while i was there. she named her son after john lydon. she partied with sha na na and the who on a boat and got really puking sick. she's into new music, but loves todd rundgren, the ramones, the sex pistols (duh!). i just love getting professional haircuts from independents. you never know where the conversation is going to go.
so, i found a sliver of culture two blocks from my house. man, that's depressing. this town has almost nothing. but it IS two blocks from me.
it's raining today and feeling like it's still winter. we had some great sunshine yesterday and teases of it today, but the water is settling in for the evening.
have a great night, ya hear?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Nasty Nymphos Need My Nachos

On CBS News' "Face the Nation," Mr. Cheney sought to place the war in a broader context. "It's not just about Iraq, it's not about just today's situation in Iraq," he said. "It's about where we're going to be 10 years from now in the Middle East and whether or not there's going to be hope and the development of the governments that are responsive to the will of the people, that are not a threat to anyone, that are not safe havens for terror or manufacturers of weapons of mass destruction."

who's "we" exactly? we the people or we americans or we republicans or we adminstration historical figures or we the world or we not the threat or we the safe haven?
vietnam, at least, had something of a civil war going on...sort of. the ruling faction was being attacked by the rival faction who found foreign military support. and we had signed a really ill-advised treaty with them. so had france and another country. the french went in first...sort of. they got the shit knocked out of the forefathers. we took over for whatever reason besides the treaty. we've never admitted getting our ass kicked by the vietnemese, but something or ours was hit up. hard.
in iraq, we had nothing. saddam hussein ruled with an iron fist. the shi'ites could attend their mosques and practice their religion very quietly. but they could not disagree with any of hussein's decisions. otherwise, he would have to hurt them. and what they did bad, he did back twice. not pretty at all.
but we put him in place. we kept him in place. we watched his children grow up. we watched them frolic and gambol and then try to flee the country with something like a billion dollars in lots of different denominations (cash, gold, statues, bullion, jewelry, bonds, ancient figurines, literary works, land titles, biblical artifacts, blackmail of enemies, medals, pictures, antique furniture, rare animals...these boys had it all and, when push came to shove, they grabbed as much as they could in the time they had...and they loved their father for all he was worth...saddam is still doing what he likes to do, which is act the revolutionary and upset the proceedings with vehement rhetoric. this is his poison. he gets off on being pissed). then we saw them ripped to shreds by bullets. benny and clyde. it makes me think of o brother where art thou? when they're in the barn loft and clooney keeps saying "damn, we're in a tight spot". but, of course, the boys fuck it up. and die.
a fitting epitaph, maybe, to an entire family as it now must accept entry to the lowest echelon of the ruling class. these are the remnants of war. not just ours, but decades of internecine fighting. we just happened to be the latest foreigner to make a try.

forgot where i was going. nice night, y'all.

Jack...Off. Why Wouldn't You Ask For A Do-Over?

i have bad news and good news. the bad news is that the nasty burning sensation in your crotch is hereditary and not related to your habit of dry humping store mannequins. the good news is i just saved a shitload of cash by switching to allstate!
out of boredom the other night, i filled out an online auto insurance quote form. five different outfits emailed me quotes that would be laughable if i was a person into laughing. which i'm not, because i am a curmudgeon (not a title i chose; it was given me by some very...dear...friends). ergo, no laugh at joke.
but the local allstate office called me today. yes, called. at work. and offered me the same coverage i have with geico fo a buttload less plus renter's insurance (which i was supposed to get 4 months ago according to my lease). this group actually believed me when i said that i drive my car less than a thousand miles a year (unless, of course, i drive down to the 'No).
and renter's insurance? $21,000 worth. anyone got a match? no, really. i'd never do something like that on purpose. really. but it does remind me...where DID i put that lit cigarette? what's cool about the renter's is that i don't have to take pictures of every damn thing. so long as i know the make and model of stuff like the tv, telescope, computer, and whatnot it's cool. the only bad is that my baseball card collection falls under the "limited" category. no individual card is covered for more than $250. fortunately, i have only 5 or 6 that exceed that value. but the entire collection is worth only $1500 should catastrophe strike. of course, most people i know would say that catastrophe DID strike when i bought my first pack of cards and pulled out an autograph. what they don't understand is that this is my retirement fund. these things appreciate more than some bonds. buy a pack, pull the right card (which i have a habit of doing) and profit is guaranteed. oh sure, the purist collector would say "no, no. you can't put a price on these". to him/her i say," plplplplplpl!!!". yes i can. and now i have. so, shove off.

but enough about that. let's move on to politics, that animal i so love to dangler shiny objects in front of.
Finding inspiration from God, The Last of the Mohicans and The Lord of Rings, Katherine Harris told hundreds of conservative Christians Saturday that she is "a work in progress."
remember that this is the person who shut down recounting of the ballots in 2000 in florida. she, also, accepted money from jack abramoff ( i swear, how can anyone have a name that starts with jack and ends with off) and won't donate it or give it back. her own staff has asked her to drop out of this race. but when God calls...and i can understand that one. but lord of the rings? what, does she think she's running against trollocs or that dark lord himself? and then there's this little gem:
"...redirected my life to the Lord when I was only in the third grade..."
wow. to be that precocious. to be that enlightened. to be that full of shit.
third grade. no gum balls, paperwad spitting, pulling braids for her. nooooo. walking in the Light Of Jeeee-sus. bowing before the Almighty when every other child in the universe is playing sick on a Monday and counting marbles against the next playground matchup. she is truly unique. and full of shit. how desperate do you have to be to get up in front of an audience and claim rightiousness at the age of 8? does she truly believe the fundies can carry her to victory? then, there's this addendum:
"...blessed to be raised in a godly family..."
i keep hearing this country song at work, because i'm such a nice guy i let my lab bitch play his favorite station. the song starts off by telling us how this poor little girl was being raised without religion. both her parents were godless. and they drank. and they fought. and they were basically junkies with no moral compass. and every time i hear it i want to shoot the radio, because it's so morally self-rightious. if this poor little girl had only had God in her life, then everything else would have worked out. bullshit. and then i read about politicians raising the religion flag. even though they accept money from immoral assholes and won't give it back. even thought they shut down vote recounts when they knew it would screw their chosen one. even though their own backers tell them they suck at what they do. even though they suck up to fringe associates who fill their ears with what they want to hear and they don't stop to wonder if they aren't just giving a free ride to trollocs. but they're "blessed" to be raised in a godly family. by the way, republicans (of which harris is one) have a higher rate of divorce than democrats. coincidence?

and that is my rant for this evening. please stay tuned for your regularly scheduled program of insults should i decide to post another.

by the way, got to watch the new harry potter movie last night. oh yeah. it just keeps getting darker and darker. such a fun series. and hermione got her boobies. that's so cute. and harry is now, like, the shortest guy at the school. neville towers over him. great stuff from brendan gleeson. and michael gambon is doing a heckuva job standing for the late Richard Harris. the other stalwarts (maggie and alan and gary and robbie) just keep on having fun. and a nice touch having hagrid try to grab his girlfriend's ass at the dance.
anyway, we were talking politics or what passes for it nowadays. i think that most people are, by now, scandaled out. what with the spying and torturing and vote rigging and lobbyist payola and record deficit and lying about why we're in Iraq and shooting our friends in the face and stabbing them in the back and outing CIA agents and obstructing justice and flying prisoners to other countries to be tortured and opting India out of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (but not pakistan) and forging documents to bolster the Iraq invasion and completely fucking up hurricane katrina (i'm walking on sunshine, we-ell...) and medicare and social security and gutting the treasury and ignoring global warming and trying to open alaska to oil drilling and defending the NRA and intimating that abortion should be outlawed in toto (why is it that being pro-choice means i want all women to have an abortion each and every, let alone any, time?) and granting faith-based nonprofit groups lots of money while giving almost none to outreach programs that won't adhere to very strict moralist rules and cozying up to the likes of pat robertson, ralph reed, bill o'reilly, rush limbaugh, ann coulter, jesse helms, rick "man on dog" santorum, randy cunningham, jack abramoff (again,, the Saudis, Dubai. it gets to be too much after a while. we can't keep track of the numbers. clinton had a blowjob. that was easy. carter lusted in his heart and let a bunch of spies, i mean embassy workers, get hijacked in iran. also easy. but isolated. this group has a new scandal just about every day and eventually we throw up our hands and say "fuck it".

you know what else sucks? i used to be able to change the time of my post. now, i can't. it's 7:16 on the left coast. adjust your wrist clocks as needed.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Tom Cruise Is Not Gay And Neither Is Chef

man, do i love yahoo news. it has a way of skewering the topic while providing information. the latest is the so-called controversy over South park having an episode yanked at the behest of Tom Cruise. Cruise denies it (well, one of his flaks does) and, according to yahoo, is an "avowed heterosexual". what the hell does that mean? professing one's love for women in public? while jumping on a couch? and telling talking heads that they know nothing about the history chemical imbalances? while he does (i'll bet he does)?
i don't think i've seen anyone in the public eye work harder to convince the world at large that he is NOT GAY than mr Cruise. you'd think after failed marriages to mimi rogers and nicole kidman, a supposed romance with penelope cruz and what ever this thing is with katie holmes (all sans biological children) that we would just admit and accept that he MUST BE NOT GAY. how many times must he change babes before we will give up on our demonic crusade to OUT HIM? i personally feel sorry for the man and all the energy he has been forced to expend defending his sexuality when it could have going toward making more award winning movies. like the mission impossible series. or collateral where he put white stuff in his hair. or that one where he plays the shallow guy who is forced to look within himself and realize he is better than that. oh wait, that's pretty much all of them. god, i love him. if only he weren't so STRAIGHT.