Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Visage


Slowly but surely, as their comfort level with "being out here" has increased, more and more of us have revealed ourselves with a photograph, allowing the world to know us by our faces. Surprisingly, many of these photos have not been the carefully crafted, airbrushed, or photoshopped-to-death portraits so many people put out here to show their best side. I find that rather refreshing.

Bloggers, at least in my mind, are a lot like radio Disc Jockeys, who you try to picture in your mind, creating a face out of that voice, only to discover when you finally meet them or see them on TV that they look nothing like you imagined. However, there have been some remarkable exceptions in that many of my blogging breathren have looked exactly like I imagined them, and perhaps that is because it is their words that crafted their personas rather than their voices. The moment Buffalo leaked a picture of himself on his blog, it was "Yep, that's what a Buffalo looks like!".

Many of our bloggers of the fairer sex have included pics of their husbands, and I am not the least bit surprised to notice that no matter how hot the sister, the hubby is rarely a Mel Gibson, but is more often of the "everyman" variety. I have yet to encounter a buck-ugly guy in our group, except for maybe Tim when he gets a little bit crazy with the photoshop. I exclude myself from these assessments as the only jury I have been so far subject to, I'm married to, so she's biased. But, no, she wouldn't rate me a Mel Gibson material either.

I, personally, have this love-hate relationship with the camera. When I look in the mirror, I really have no quarrel with my visage. The camera, however, seems to have this evil purpose in mind whenever it records my face, for whenever I look at the results, it's like "Who in the hell is THAT?" It doesn't mesh with my mental view of myself. Perhaps the mind does it's own form of photoshopping whenever you study yourself in the mirror, making you see only what you WANT to see, except when you focus in on that zit or that nose hair escaping from a nostril. Perhaps I have this inability to freeze on my face that carefully crafted expression I paint on my mug in the mirror whenever a camera is involved. Who knows, all I know is that I have one hell of a hard time coming up with a picture that I'm willing to share with the world, being so critical of my own visage. Thank Bob my wife doesn't share this affliction.

Then there's podcasting........and that's a whole new can of worms altogether........

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hell is served in Handbaskets

I'm watching World News Tonight with Charlie Gibson, and they are reporting on the awful weather now bedeviling Seattle, a city more famous for it's rain, although the truth of the matter is plenty of places actually see more rain than Seattle ever did., at least historically. I now understand why Tim was devoting a post to the subject. It's BAD! I think someone pissed off Mother Gaia......




Also was a report concerning big business getting in on the organic foods craze, and how that might be impacting the true definition of "organic". We all know what happens when mega-producers of just about anything get ahold of a product, service, or idea. It goes to hell. When profit trumps all concerns, industrial producers will cut whatever corner they can to maximize profits, the quality of the product be damned. So, if you are one of those individuals who really cares about what goes into your body, and can afford the premium such a concern commands, then I would look real close at that product claiming to be "organic". Remember, Starkist and Bumblebee Tuna will laude the benefits of the Omega-3 fatty acids in their products, while conveniently failing to mention the mercury levels in same said fish. Talk about fishy!

Predictably, the situation in Anbar Province (in Iraq) has gotten so bad that the Pentagon is giving serious consideration to abandoning the area altogether, turning the province over to the Iraqi army (Iraq has an ARMY? No kidding......) and focusing their efforts on Baghdad, where the insurgency is on it's last legs and the capital is not descending into civil war. Meanwhile, it seems that the guy who's playing our president suddenly wants to TALK to two of the countries who are supporting those nasty insurgents, namely Syria and Iran. It's simultaneously funny and sad to hear the nutcase president of Iran telling Bush that if we would just "behave", maybe he can put in a good word with his Shiite friends. When and IF this nightmare ever ends, I SOOOO want to sit on the jury that convicts Dubya of embarrassing this great nation of ours.

Even after the Kennedy's were gunned down, I still had this naive notion that the world was going to advance into the future, bringing peace, prosperity, an end to hunger and warfare, because, after all, this was the "modern" age, full of promise, and tired of the barbarity of the past. Being a young man, I suppose I did not have my ears and eyes open to the reality of how the world really was and how simply intractable the nature of man was. I am older, and arguably wiser now, and I think I understand the true meaning of the phrase "ignorance is bliss".

Perspective

I invite anybody reading this who has ever thought of themselves as significant in any real sense of the word to take a look at these.........







...........and adjust your attitude accordingly.



Photos courtesy of the Hubble telescope.

The Dildo Diaries

Don't mess with Texas.....these people are messed up enough already!



Special thanks to Ms C for digging this up........

Monday, November 27, 2006

"We have changed our agreement..."


If you have any credit cards, you probably have recieved those "ammendments" to your "agreements" in the mail, written in the smallest print possible, which you probably glance at and throw in the trash without bothering to find out how many screws they just inserted into your back. As it is, whatever rate and terms you entered into these agreements with, they have lying in wait all kinds of land mines designed to inflate you rate or impose strange fees on you should you fail to meet these new and tricky conditions, such as being 34 seconds late with your payment or going $.03 over your credit limit. They are really hoping you maxed that card out, and don't have that kind of cash lying around the house in order to pay off and close down that account if their new rules piss you off, which they should. Paying off that account is the only way to "disagree" with the new terms, so in essence, you are nothing but a screw just waiting to be turned.

Apparently contracts and understandings which you sign are not worth the paper they are printed upon, if one party can at it's whim, change that agreement, holding you hostage by the credit you have been "granted". I imagine that if this is legal for credit cards, what will stop the mortgage companies from doing the same thing, inviting you to pay off your entire mortgage if you don't "agree" with a sudden increase in your interest rate and/or length of contract?

So imagine if your favorite blog, the one you are visiting right now, of course, suddenly decided to get in on this lucrative yet legal way to realize the American dream. Hey, I'm a proud American, no reason I shouldn't be a proud sleaze-bag capitalist as well..........


Dear Fan of "These Thoughts Escape Me",

We here at TTEM have enjoyed providing you with interesting, provocative, and entertaining content, and hope to continue our relationship for many years to come. However, due to the changing market and the impositions upon our time and creativity, we have been forced to make some minor changes to our operations which hopefully will have very little impact upon your enjoyment of this blog. We really didn't think it was necessary to burden you with the particulars of this change, but our lawyers have informed us that we are required by law to include the appropriate notifications and insure that you are fully aware of how these changes impact you as loyal fans of this great blog. So, we have included a comprehensive addendum to todays' post for you to skim over and ignore as you wish, for we know that you don't really have the time to waste on matters that we assure you are nothing but a bunch of schmalzy legaleze not fit to contaminate the fine pages of "Escape". In the spirit of trying not to impact your reading pleasure, we have made this garbage we were forced to include as tiny and unobstrusive as possible. Please forgive us, just ignore this inconveniance, and enjoy our blog. Thank you and have a nice day.

The Editorial Staff







Friday, November 24, 2006

So MUCH to be Thankful for, Doncha think?

Americans are recovering from their gastronomical avian orgies and shopping till they drop, and the carnage in the real world continues.

The Iraqi's are in a competition to see which sect can off the most at one time of the other sect, while American troops are holed up in the Green zone eating turkey and hoping a bomb doesn't get smuggled in the stuffing. Those that venture outside into the madness to perform whatever it is they are tasked to perform, which is getting more and more puzzling to us back home, are more and more often returning with less men than went out.

The Soviet.....oh, I'm sorry, make that Russian, government is returning to it's old tried and often true methods of censorship, i.e. simply getting rid of the opposition. An ex-KGB/FSB agent who dared blow the whistle on Putin's orders to illuminate some troublesome citizens is now dead in a London hospital after being poisoned. This is on the heels of a prominent and effective journalist who was irritating the Kremlin being assassinated. Read the story HERE.

Now, you really have to wonder about the Russians' methods. There are two ways to approach this......they are either incredibly stupid and bumbling when it comes to killing critics, or incredibly diabolical. If you go with the first, they really need to come up with a method of poisoning that doesn't give the victim so much time to tell all, make you look so obviously guilty of the crime, and points towards those who may have done the dirty work. If you go with the second, then you have to admire how blatantly they are warning anyone else who dares to try and expose the truth. This regime operates so similar to a mafia you have to wonder when Dubya's gonna wake up one morning with a horse head in bed with him......

Then there's Lebanon, where another prominent politician was assassinated, one step closer to fomenting another civil war. Hezbollah has thrown down the gauntlet, making it clear to all the other factions that make up the Lebanese government that they wish to take down the secular coalition and create one more Islamic state where you either worship Allah, hate Israel and America, and donate your sons and daughters to the suicide squads, or you die. I truly feel for the Lebanese, who had somehow managed to crawl out of the civil war-induced stone age and almost return Beirut to the jewel amongst the cesspool it once was. Take a glance at THIS.

It's almost the year (of our Lord, as we like to say) 2007, and this is the state of the world. We are getting ready to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. Ironic, isn't it?



Addendum: This was just released and I'm adding it. I wonder what exactly Dubya saw when he looked into the eyes of a man with no soul.......

Text of the statement dictated by former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko before he died and released by his friends on Friday:

I would like to thank many people. My doctors, nurses and hospital staff who are doing all they can for me; the British police who are pursuing my case with vigor and professionalism and are watching over me and my family. I would like to thank the British government for taking me under their care. I am honored to be a British citizen.

I would like to thank the British public for their messages of support and for the interest they have shown in my plight.

I thank my wife, Marina, who has stood by me. My love for her and our son knows no bounds.

But as I lie here, I can distinctly hear the beating of wings of the angel of death. I may be able to give him the slip but I have to say my legs do not run as fast as I would like. I think, therefore, that this may be the time to say one or two things to the person responsible for my present condition.

You may succeed in silencing me but that silence comes at a price. You have shown yourself to be as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have claimed.
You have shown yourself to have no respect for life, liberty or any civilized value.

You have shown yourself to be unworthy of your office, to be unworthy of the trust of civilized men and women.

You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr. Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life. May God forgive you for what you have done, not only to me but to beloved Russia and its people.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Triptophane Conspiracy



The madness has begun. An outlet store is advertising that they will open at MIDNIGHT on THANKSGIVING DAY, for their "after Thanksgiving" sale. This shopping orgy crap is really getting ridiculous!

And of course, the herds of shopping sheep will be lined up, jostling each other for position, ready to kill and maim if need be to get their shot at "savings". Is this what we've become? Is this what life in America amounts to?

You. My reader. Yea, YOU! Tell the truth. Are you rushing out to join in this perverted capitalistic cattle call, the turkey and dressing still trying to make it's way through you're intestines? Does the "free market" have YOU by the balls (well, let's be honest, it's the ovaries that lead THIS charge), having trained you over the last several decades to spend more than you will make in the next six months on stuff that you've been snowed into thinking you MUST have, or MUST give to your loved ones for Chris.....no.......not Christmas.....make that COMSUMMERMAS? If you are, then stop and think about it. No, I mean REALLY think about it.

If you are like most Americans, then you've spent a healthy portion of this past year working you ass off at a job that you really don't enjoy much, and you are about to blow a huge hunk of that change rushing out "saving" money on STUFF that you damn well know you really don't need and in the end is going to do absolutely NOTHING to enhance your quality of life. No, you know it, I know it, everybody knows it but can't ever seem to admit it, you will NOT be buying any happiness. Sure, the kids will be distracted for maybe a month, and then the song begins again, the refrain of "I gotta have that or this because everybody else has one". Sigh........and the bills mount up, the credit card companies get fatter and happier, our national debt keeps going up and up and.........you really think this won't come crashing down all around us one day real soon? Yea, ignore it, my friends, and it will go away...........right.

Well, due to having met and fell in love with a women, I am under contract to go over tomorrow and partake of the in-laws Thanksgiving repast. If I didn't mention this before, I personally do not have a very good relationship with some of my wife's family. But, what's a husband to do? I swallow my distaste and I go. But I WILL get my revenge, yessiree! I'm gonna go over there and I'm gonna overdose myself on triptophane! Yep, I'm gonna grin and bear it and act all civil and I'm gonna ENJOY that meal! It's only for one day. Till Christmas, that is. But that's another post altogether.........

Although I think that the origins of Thanksgiving is a bankrupt concept, I really don't have the kind of hatred for this holiday that I do for Christmas. If my wife hadn't gone Wiccan on me we might have come to blows by now over my hyper-scrooge attitude concerning that spending orgy that makes that last two months of the year such a pain in the ass. We'll celebrate Yule, and there's no pressure to go out and spend money we don't have on stuff we don't need.

Well, I apologize to my Christmas loving friends for having to read this rant, if you got this far, and I hope that if you insist on continuing the saga of Santa and that kid that was supposed to have been born on Christmas day but wasn't, then I hope you enjoy it and have the comfort of friends and family. Origins and meaning aside, there's truly nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It Has Begun.........















We are being assimilated.

Resistance is futile.

I began to notice this maybe three months ago. Jason, our brilliant bio-med guy, suddenly began to sport this THING attached to his ear. It reminded me of one of the appendages the borg would sport having been assimilated by the collective. Then the dude from the Data Processing department showed up with the same apparatus stuck to the side of his head. Then a department director, then, well, they seem to be multiplying.

We're not supposed to notice, I suppose, but being a die-hard Star Trek fan, I am immune to whatever camouflage appears to be working on my coworkers. I know what's going on. I see how they press the side of their heads and run off, obviously responding to some directive being fed to them via this insidious implant. It hasn't happened to the nurses yet, but I know it's only a matter of time.

I am choosing to remain aloof to the mounting evidence of this silent invasion for now, gathering my intelligence, observing them for some weak spot that might be exploited should this infestation threaten to move out of the high-tech areas and into the general population. I feel confident that not being able to afford a cell phone of my own has lessened my exposure to the nanites or whatever method of infection this enemy is employing against us. However, if one day I am confronted with a laser scanner built into one eye socket of a previously human coworker , I WILL fucking freak, grab a syringe full of the most powerful knock-me-down-and-call-me-Sally drug we stock in the med room, and singlehandedly save all mankind from this insidious silicon-driven collective.

Either that, or the second floor will be receiving a new and interesting admit, formerly known as THE Michael, who will remain calm and manageable as long as he can access his blogs every day.

If my posts start getting really, really good, well, you'll know what happened.

Oh, and I know the code word for the alien invasion...........

Remember this well.............

BLUETOOTH!

Monday, November 20, 2006

This I Did


I hiked a week of Denali
I skied down the slopes of Vesuvius
metal squeezed about me in the deep
and wings flapped in the turbulence outside my window
I camped to the tune of glacier grey water running
I flew rockets amazingly well
I was shocked at the number of women I loved
when I added up my perceived lack of conquest
I was master to too many dogs
and cats came and went
I knew fear so hard my heart raced
I knew love so deep my heart broke
I said things I shouldn't have said
I thought things I wish I had
I've told her I love her thousands of times
and actually did so that many
I took pictures of people and places and things
and wished I could paint them the way my Mother did
I built things, eventually
but they turned out well regardless
I loved a second time after failure
and it turned out well, regardless
I ran away and stopped and cried and went back
and I survived
now I stay put
and I survive
I did all this and more
what will I do with myself now?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

THE Poet Lends His Own.........


Hepper, Pepper, Pald and Patter
it makes no sense, but does it matter?
The things I see I say in glee
because it makes no sense to me.
We dance beneath a moon in buff
behavior's simply not enough
in order to be free and clear
whatever strikes us strikes us dear
cats and dogs and goats and lizards
her a witch and me a wizard
whipping up a spell to go
it's what you feel, not what you know
life is chaos now and then
sometimes I feel it closing in
yet still I bob and weave and duck
not daring to abandon luck
so laugh with me, I'll laugh with you
what else is one as such to do
the alternative is death of soul
and no place for a ghost to go

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Adopted

Believe it or not, I have been so occupied by real world concerns that I haven't even been able to keep up with my favorite blogs, much less my own posts. I am stealing a few minutes to examine something that Tim touched upon.

My life has become somewhat insulated since I married my soul mate. I never did have a grand circle of friends, mostly just acquaintances with which whom I did not share much in common except frequenting the same bar or working at the same place. Since my Mom died I have pretty much been estranged from my rather large, far flung, and never there family, and I don't gel very well with my in-laws, although my step-daughters are truly a joy to me. As my Wife and I and our marriage has aged and mellowed, and our energy, time, and money to party has ebbed with the passing years, it's become pretty much me and her, two souls very happy to share our special place alone together, except for those times that the kids visit, or we go to visit them. Even going out to a restaurant has become a very rare treat as the assault on the middle class continues unabated and our finances become less and less adequate for anything other than mere living. I'm not really complaining about it; we love each other's company and manage to keep ourselves occupied as cheaply as possible. We both know it can always get worse, so we treasure the relative good times.

I do have people at work that I consider friends (as much as you can use that word for people you spend 12 hours three days of each week with), but my lifestyle such as it is still very much resembles that of a hermit, stuck behind the battlements, bereft of contact with people whose mentality and life experience would so grandly enhance my own. I'm sorry, but as much as I love my wife and enjoy the discussions we have about life, the universe, and everything, I still thirst for comradeship with people who can absorb what I pontificate without their eyes glazing over or falling over with convulsions. I DO live in Redneckville, and my outlook is pretty much on par with latin to most folks I come in contact with. Whenever I am forced to "speak the language", it duns down my very soul and can be quite painful.

Then, thank Bob, I found Blogger. At first it seemed like there wasn't anything I read that was going to interest me, since most blogs I surfed thru really were nothing more than journals written by kids and people who shouldn't be allowed near something with a keyboard. Then I came across a crotchety old veteran with a flair for telling stories and making just about anything sound soooo sweet. Within a few posts I was hooked, and before long I felt a connection with this gentleman (no offense intended, good buddy) that I do not think would have been possible had I met him under any other circumstance. Then I came across a few others by virtue of the links provided, one guy very much like me in so many ways yet different enough to be downright scary, thanks to his diabolical flair with photoshop; a rather good looking (as in you'd damn well better laugh WITH her and not AT her) artist with a hard-nosed and downright hilarious take on what life has handed her; and a scholarly gentlemen who never stops examining life and all the things he has learned, not the slightest bit afraid to re-examine his beliefs, and the energy to take on life with gusto and respect for the earth.

Now, these would just be characters in an endless novel were it not for the one thing that sets Blogger and other such incarnations apart from just another thing to soak up off a monitor or television screen: the comments. What a wonderful way to have your say and discuss it too! What a wonderful way to have your ideas and beliefs critiqued, shared, chewed over, and dumped on if need be! This is the World village we have all been told would happen one day and folks, I DO believe it HAS! They say it takes a village to raise a child. I say it takes a village like Blogger to raise awareness, to share dreams and aspirations, to find some sense of community, and yes, some form of belonging when you think you belong to nothing or no one. Yes, I have one with whom I share my life, my love, who saves my sanity, etc, but I think you all know what I mean when I suggest this is not always enough when one thirsts for something bigger than their immediate local or circumstance. These new "friends" of mine help to quench that thirst, and in some way I hope I repay them in kind.

Yes, bloggers come and go as they partake of what they want and need from these forums and then move onto a new phase or adventure or just flat out grow weary of it. I cannot envision or recommend that people actually find their lives within the pages of these electronic villages, and become unable to live their lives in the real would with equal satisfaction. But as a place to pull up a chair at a virtual bar and refresh your soul after a hard and not so satisfying day, I have found no equal, and I do not see giving it up altogether any time in the near future. Whether or not they reciprocate, I consider many of my fellow villagers as friends, a different kind of friend, perhaps, but no less valuable, and no less missed when they stray for whatever reason, removing them from my knowing. I saddens me to no end that I will probably never get to meet any of the fine folks I have met in this world, but I do take solace in the fact that I DID get to meet them at all, for I do believe I have been enriched beyond measure in knowing them as well as they have allowed me to.

So, yes, Tim, I get you. Mom lied when she said I was an only child. I have brothers and sisters all over the place. I am not an orphan anymore.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rarity, Schmarity

Humans have this strange habit of assigning value to objects (or even ideas) based on their scarcity, or even the perception thereof. When we notice there aren't too many of any one thing, we HAVE to have it, simply so we can smugly enjoy that WE have something that most people don't, as if that makes us special. Now, if that scarcity happens to involve an ability of some sort, say, the ability to speak Tierra Del Fuagan, Spanglish Hip-Hop, or orangatangian, then I have to admit you probably have something to brag about, that is, if anyone can understand you. Then there are those super-rich art collectors who purchase stolen art and hang them on walls in hidden bunkers where only they can enjoy them, unless they feel like impressing some blond bimbo with their "etchings", although most blond bimbos don't know an etching from and itching, and are more impressed with the guy's bank account anyway.

OK, yes, I admit, scarcity can lend real value to an object, especially if the scarcity involves food, water, air, an apartment you can afford, a safe passage from home to work, or gasoline at just about any price. Of course, some scarcities are artificial; they have plenty of it, they just keep it out of reach until the price is right. The only reason that works with many items is people's tendency to give in and pay the ransom rather than simply saying "fuck you, I'll buy it when it's reasonably priced."
This is the one incredible super-power that consumers never seem smart or brave enough to employ. The new Play Station 3 would not cost $600 if there weren't so many idiots camping out in front of Circuit City in order to be first in line to fork over their hard earned money for a stupid video game console. The smart idiots wait about a year and pay half that much.

But I digress (copyright 2004, TimId)

What irritates me to no end is artificial scarcity. The two most egregious offenders are Gold and Diamonds. OK, yes, if you compare the total mass of the upper crust of the entire planet, I would admit that Gold and Diamonds make up a very tiny percentage of that total. However, in the market, scarcity is relative, especially when there is no shortage whatsoever in these gems and metals. All you have to do is walk thru a Mall, anywhere in the world (except Tierra Del Fuego, I suppose), and you will find half a dozen kiosks and an equal number of jewelry stores, not to mention the anchor stores, simply overflowing with gold chains and charms, and hundreds of gemstones, diamonds, and other so-called "rare" metallic jewelry. The mints, be they Franklin or junior, stamp out gold coins by the ton, half of which would have to be melted back down to render any real value. Or, if you happen to be white and very, very brave, stroll thru the "hood" and witness the bling hanging off the necks of the players in communities that claim to be underprivileged and oppressed. Just don't dare scuff that tricked up SUV with the spinner hubs. The GOLD plated spinner hubs.

So, let's admit what true value really entails. It really IS rare, or it actually serves a purpose beyond mere admiration. Food is a good example. In some places, food can be rather scarce, and is either free via charity or overpriced on a black market. If my plane is going down on a deserted island, am I going to grab as many bags of peanuts as I can get my hands on, or clutch my briefcase with the 5 South African Gold Kroners each mounted in their own plastic cases? Water is not thought of to be all that scarce in this country, but look at the sales of bottled water. Look at your water bill if you own a pool and a hot tub and a golf course lawn and 5 very large aquariums. Then there are those closets in New York City they like to call apartments. I could expand Pendragon Hold to ten acres for the sale price of just one of those cramped little rooms, but people pay the rent, and have about as much money left over after payday from their high paying job as I do, and you all know by now how little that usually is. One other thing that I personally consider rare, at least where I live, and I'm sure this is true most everywhere in the country these days, is a clear, unobstructed view of the night sky. Light pollution has gotten so bad now that being able to see the milky way in all it's glory is a rare sight.

So, when it comes to the value of something based on scarcity, it's most often relative, and usually manufactured. The real value of a diamond is in it's industrial applications, since it's about the hardest material we know of. Gold makes an excellent conductor in electronics and is almost immune to corrosion. If gold was so damn scarce, why would they be putting it on the tips of disposable batteries? Platinum isn't exactly abundant, but there's no shortage of catalytic convertors being manufactured for automotive exhaust systems, is there? So, my friends, I hope by now you have stopped buying this line of crap about diamonds and gold being so expensive due their scarcity. And when your fiancee asks what size rock you're planning on putting on her finger to gauge the value of your love for her, I would hope you stop and consider how much you would love her in a nice car or house instead, or even a great vacation to some place you've never been. You know, cubic zirconia sparkles just as nicely. And all that gold bling-bling? What, are you a player?

There's one thing that is extremely rare, and equally priceless, and that's a post written by none other than THE Michael, and you can read it absolutely free of charge! * ENJOY!


*taxes, shipping and handling, and gratuities not included.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Blog-a-oki


I was roaming thru my list of blogs and as usual, Buffalo had written a post concerning the wonders of having nothing to write about, only nobody I know can take such a dearth of material and make such sweet hay out of it.

So here I sit in much the same situation. I have nothing to write about. Oh, sure, I could regurgitate plenty of my own take on the surreal happenings in politics this week, but I'm still trying to adjust to the new reality, still expecting the worst, still hoping for the better. I'm the worlds most pessimistic optimist, or optimistic pessimist, take your pick. I WAS considering lording it over anyone who was actually stupid enough to think gas prices wouldn't shoot straight back up as soon as election day was over, but hell, I think anyone who did would have shot himself anyway. Then again, anyone that stupid doesn't have the sense to relieve his own misery, because he's so mentally numb that a mercy killing would be beyond his comprehension. Yes, I can be cruel when I want to.

But tell me, you husbands, or significant others of the male persuasion, does YOUR mate suffer from "cleaning seizures"? You know, those periods when your female loved one starts cleaning anything within reach with the slightest trace of dust or dirt on it and can't seem to stop? I really wouldn't mind this condition my wife suffers from so often if it wasn't for the side effects that go along with it. It only happens when I myself am engrossed in an activity, like trying to post to my blog, but NOT when I am already performing some chore around the house. Women engaged in these seizures will perform their "missions from God Almighty which MUST be performed NOW and must be completed at ALL costs no matter HOW long it takes" rather loudly, in order to insure that you are VERY aware that they are having these seizures, and that you, their loving husband, really should be feeling quite guilty about doing something you might actually enjoy rather than leaping up and helping them experience their all consuming and vital to national security activities. Other side effects include constant "Honey, can you grab this or that for me and bring it over here", or "Could you hold this up for me while I sterilize underneath it where not one photon has ever landed", or "My God, this was SOOOOO FILTHY!". If, for some reason, you have been so engrossed (and in defiant denial) in your activity that you have managed somehow to block out her oscar winning performance, you WILL hear the inevitable "sigh", the kind of sigh that an SR-71 Blackbird passing over your property at mach 3.8 would produce. If you look this version of "sigh" up in the dictionary, it would be defined as "I hope you are enjoying yourself doing nothing of any importance whatsoever while I am slaving away over here!" I think Webster was married, or had a significant other, also. Oh, and one more important requirement for this condition is that it usually occurs AFTER a full day of activities, after the evening meal has been eaten, when any other rational human would have decided it was a fine time to wind down and smell a few roses. (addendum: you wouldn't BELIEVE what I got when I googled "cleaning fetish")

Oh, and yes, we did have a full day. Got up, took out the trash, burned the paper, fed the goats, did some assorted other odd things, took the wife to the doctor, and dismantled the king sized waterbed frame to study possible methods I might employ to convert it to a queen sized frame that might fit the two hospital mattresses we'll be putting some memory foam pads on to give me something I can sleep on that won't make my mornings the agony they have been trying to get up in the morning having slept this aging back on a waterbed. It's not as simple a proposition as you might think. There's going to be a lot of sawing, bracing, and creative adaption in order to make this work. Why am I going thru all this instead of just going out and buying a new bed? Have you priced a GOOD mattress lately? Nuff said.

I still can't think of anything to write about, but while I'm at it, would you believe that one of my neighbors actually called animal control and suggested that I was starving my goats? You can imagine my shock when that dog-catcher truck pulled up in my front yard and the guy with the clipboard walks up and asks if I'm so and so and do I have some goats. I gave him the tour. I showed him my fat (obese is more like it) happy goats, where I feed them, what I feed them with, the places I tie them out to eat weeds and grass, the watering bucket, the barn I built for them, and asked him if he understood that you can feed a goat the state of Nebraska and they STILL want more...........I think he got the picture. Now, if I could just find out who to bitch slap and tell to mind their own frigging business.......

My muse is still missing, but you know, what really pisses me off about representative government is how your "representatives" make decisions taking money out of your pocket without asking you first how you feel about it. Oh, sure, they call a public meeting to hear objections, but since they already have the contract out and have sent out the billing notices, it's not like they really give a rats ass whether you like their decision or not. We out here on the periphery of civilization (another word for "rural") have been hauling our own trash to the county landfill (and being charged quite handsomely for the privilege), but now, our county commissioners in their great wisdom have decided that we need to have garbage trucks come and do it for us for another $150 a year (on TOP of the trash fee we already pay) whether we can afford the extra expense or not, and have noted in the notice of intent that they WILL come after our property if we don't pay the bill. This is our elected representatives looking after us. That is, the "US" being the brother-in-law or second cousin who happens to own the waste disposal company that got the contract. Well, fine. I hope these contractors like the smell of goat poop! I think maybe I have enough and can share.

Well, folks, I'm sorry, but I haven't been able to come up with anything profound to write about tonight and the dog is behind me growling to get let out or fed a treat or something. Any guy who thinks he's KING of his castle is deluded. That is, unless he lives alone and has no pets, or produces any garbage whatsoever.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Death be not Proud.....

Anyone who has watched CBS 60 Minutes knows what a treasure we have lost when award-winning television journalist Ed Bradley died this Thursday of leukemia. Ed was just one more of those individuals who made you almost unaware of his race, so powerful and unique was his own unique personality. Like Peter Jennings, Ed was the kind of reporter and interviewer whose integrity I never thought to question, and was the kind of person that those who revile the "liberal" press would happily avoid getting the attention of. Go rest, Ed, you did your job, you did it well, and now any and all questions you ever had are now answered, you lucky dog. You'd share those answers with us if you could.


As far as those complaints go concerning having only the lessor of two evils to choose from in political races, I refer you to this news item which demonstrates quite aptly just how powerful the voice of the electorate can be.


And on a lighter note, Representative Bobert Blob (R) was just elected House MINORITY leader, a position he did not seek, and has threatened not to serve in.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

THE BIG BLUE TSUNAMI



My fellow Americans, you have restored my faith in your ability to accept the truth when that truth has smacked you upside the head hard enough. Unfortunately, if you look at how close the numbers were in a number of these races, there are still a good many Americans who find more comfort in being afraid, in believing anything fed them as long as it's being labeled "conservative", and in refusing to face up to the growing number of our sons and daughters dying for false ideals. Yes, a more sane mindset has now taken control of Congress, but the Monarchy still remains, yet to be held accountable for the crimes against this nation it has committed.

Now is not the time for rejoicing, because we have only replaced one species of politician with another. Unless this new crop of elected representatives have the guts to go back and undo the damage that Dubya and his neo-cons have done to our constitution, then we will continue to live in as much fear of our own government as we have for our enemies. The bills that this last Congress passed with reckless disregard for cherished American principles MUST be reexamined and consigned to the trashcan, and measures must be taken to insure that such attacks upon our freedoms and moral character can never happen again. If the Democrats cannot do this, then they are no better than the vermin they replaced.

I honestly believe that Dubya was never smart enough to create such chaos all on his own. I think we all know that the puppet master himself, Dick Cheney, and Bush's Rasputin, Karl Rove, were the true architects of this fascist regime, and they are the ones that should be held accountable. Bush is now lame-duck, and cannot do much more damage than he has already done, but I truly believe that now is the time to investigate the closed-door energy task-force, the politically motivated perversion of intelligence, and the corrupt no-bid contracts funneled to Haliburton and subsidiaries. The tax cuts that had no real benefit to middle class Americans but enriched the fat-cats must be taken back, and REAL tax relief given to working class citizens. Subsidies to oil and coal interests must be cut off, especially in light of the record profits these money-sucking monsters have enjoyed. The Insurance companies must be forced to return to their purpose, to provide coverage at reasonable prices, instead of cutting people off, overcharging the rest, fighting off claims, and commanding record profits even after the hurricanes. And we FINALLY MUST make the move to universal health care so that people no longer have to choose between food or doctors, so that doctors and hospitals can actually be paid for their services, and the burden of providing insurance as a benefit that they and their workers can no longer afford can be taken off their shoulders. We must END this assault on the American middle class, and stop enriching CEO's and legacy rich people who must begin to pay their fair share of the tax burden.

And, My fellow Americans, I think we now can point out with confidence what happens when you mix religion and politics. Most of the scandals of this last year have come from the very people who have claimed to be intent on bringing morality and the "word of God" back to government. For too long now, right-wing fundamentalists have become our own Taliban, intent on removing our democratic and secular institutions in favor of their own twisted brands of Christianity, all the while proving that they are no less immune to sins of the flesh and of character than any of us.

We have two more years of reigning in this administration and blunting any more damage. Then we have to choose a new executive, not another emperor or king, but someone who can represent our true values to the world and repair the damage that Dubya inflicted on us on the world stage. If we retain control of Congress, we can elect someone of any party, as long as that person can govern from the middle instead of playing to either side of the aisle. However, I believe we need a strong contender from a third party, untainted by the left or right leanings of Dems or Reps.

No, as my good friend The Buffalo has stated, we haven't won anything yet. But, we still can. We as a people need to keep the pressure on, demanding real work from our representatives, work in favor of AMERICANS instead of in favor of the highest bidder. We need to encourage and support brave Americans wishing to serve as third party candidates rather than sticking with something that has become unworkable, the two party system that shuts out other voices and ideas. If we don't, we will become nothing more than our own version of Sunni versus Shiite, one of which will be painted as "insurgent", and we know so well what that will bring us.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Packing Heat and Voting Blue

It's Sunday afternoon and a cold rain is pelting my abode, ruining my wife's idea of having a nice fire out in the shade garden tonight, or of conducting a full moon rite, which, incidentally, one could perform inside, but not having the bright light of a full silver moon grace the ceremony kinda defeats the purpose of the activity. Ah, nature can be fickle......

Last night I had to dose myself repeatedly with tylenol in an effort to put down this persistent headache I've been having, and this morning I awoke with the beast begging to come back out and my back killing me from sleeping in this damn waterbed that has turned against me in my later years, so the wife offered me one of her high-octane pain pills which helped to calm the beast. I sleep on my stomach, which is probably contributing to the problem, but it's an ingrained habit I'm not likely to be able to break after 50 odd years of doing it. Getting rid of the bag of warm water and sleeping on a regular mattress is NOT an attractive alternative, since every regular mattress I ever tried to sleep on only brought me misery, which is one of the reasons I dread sleeping overnight in motels. One of those adjustable airbeds might solve the problem, but since I can't afford one, the point is rather moot anyway. I think I'm screwed.

My son-in-law, which you may or not know gets around on wheels rather than those annoying legs that you and I have to walk around on, has been tooling around on this special bike which used hand cranks for propulsion. I don't think I'd win any arm-wrestling contests with this guy. Anyway, one day while out biking, a couple of punks starting getting a bit too up close and personal with him, suggesting they might want to take his bike from him. These kids have no idea how wise they were in deciding to not follow through on their sick-ass threats. I found out this week that he may be handicapped, but is adequately equipped to "cap" anybody's ass who wants to assault him. Both him and my daughter have concealed weapons permits and carry their protection with them wherever they go, wherever is permitted by law, of course. Now, this coupled with the recent law passed down here in Florida that makes it perfectly legal to stand your ground rather than getting shot several times or beaten half to death before you can justify defending yourself, I think maybe these kids had it in the back of their minds that not everybody is totally helpless in this state, not even handicapped people. No, I'm not pro "shoot first and worry about it later", but I do appreciate that if trouble comes looking for ME, it might damn well find it, rather than having to accept that good people have to be victims BEFORE justice can be applied. Since we can't all have cops following us everywhere we go, it only makes sense that we be able to provide for our own protection from those who seek to do us harm for no good reason other than a criminal one. I have never fired my gun in anger (at least at a human), and I do not ever wish to, but until they shut down these gun factories and put these sell-to-anyone gun dealers out of business, I WILL keep the balance in my favor, bleeding heart sentiments be damned.

The elections are tomorrow and I am not at all assuming that the Democrats are going to wrestle control of the congress from the bozos who have been making the place a laughingstock all these years. Not with Diebold voting machines in place preprogramed to Karl Roves specifications. Even if they do, I doubt that they will have the balls to take out the Big Kahuna, Dubya himself. If ever an administration needed to be hauled off to the Bastille and repaid for their fine service to this nation, this group of yahoos have. Retaking the congress is one thing, but having the votes to override the veto's that this "president" will suddenly start writing with reckless abandon is quite another. Oh, if only we have a comfortable majority of moderate, third party legislators with brains.......but I'm dreaming, I know.

Well, that's all I have to say, at least for now.

P.S. Don't overlook that one down there (crap, where's the down pointy key?)

National Memorial for the Mountains

A National travesty gone largely unoticed......



After a two year voyage of discussion, home-front reporting, and uncensored opinion, Dances with Leaves has received a new coat of paint, brand-spanking new engines, and an array of weaponry bound to strike fear into the hearts of conservatives, fundamentalists, criminally minded politicians, and idiots of all stripes. With her sleek new superstructure, she gets a new name, one that is more in line with her stated mission. "Dances" served me and my readership well, but with the new bells and whistles provided by the Blogger Beta, "These Thoughts Escape Me" will be better able to carry on the proud tradition begun several years ago by the original creaky rowboat without a paddle known as "Madness, Musings, and Melancholy". I want to thank all of you who stumbled across this blog, read it, and bookmarked it rather than consign it to the virtual trash-can. Thank you all for the help, the encouragement, and the inspiration you all provided me via your own great works. I hope to continue to be worthy of your company.

For her maiden voyage (that last post was simply her shake-down cruise) I want to revisit a travesty that I touched on briefly a few posts back, that being the wholesale destruction being visited upon the Allegheny mountain range as the coal companies bypass the slower, more expensive, and yes, more dangerous mine-shaft method of coal extraction in favor of the cheap and dirty process of simply removing the entire mountain covering the coal. Using explosives, mega-sized buckets and bulldozers, these companies are making flat whole mountains, filling in the nearby valleys with rubble and toxic dirt, destroying the fish populations, poisoning the water, and altering forever the topography and culture of the residents living in the shadows of these once great and beautiful creations that took eons to create. While providing immense wealth to a relatively few individuals and investors and a dirty and polluting energy source for our powerplants, an entire region of our country is being altered and destroyed on a scale not seen since the building of the Three Gorges Dam in China, with even far worse consequences environmentally. The residents living in these regions, not all who are employed or benefit in any real way from these mines, have seen their homes covered in coal dust, their water wells rendered worthless as the water table is polluted, and landslides and flooding increase dramatically as these mountains are leveled. What they end up with, when the coal companies finally get around to it, are large flat areas that are sold to those lucky few for new homes, farms, and even new townships where once the topography prevented it. Some of these areas are described as flat, featureless zones that look like sterile golf courses paved over with astroturf. This is man's tendency to want to pave over nature to the ultimate extreme, as though what nature has provided is simply something that needs to be terraformed to better suit our flat and soulless nature. Imagine all the new territory that has been provided perfect for hundreds of new Walmarts!

Meanwhile, the product of this rape and pillage has provided tons of the dirtiest fuel we know of to burn in powerplants and pump back into the atmosphere, further degrading our air quality and ramping up global warming. It amazes me that all these people involved honestly give little thought to what effect this is going to have on their own children and grandchildren. It amazes me that they can sleep at all on their beds of money. On second thought....no.....nothing amazes me anymore as to what mankind is capable of. Suicide by greed, graft, ignorance, corruption, and self-centered ego is one of our most celebrated traits.

All this has pretty much slide under the radar, not garnering much attention in the mainstream media, which is amazing considering that this is no less equal in importance to Three Mile Island, the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, or the Love Canal fiasco. It remains to be seen if the new government about to be formed, less influenced by conservative fundamentalists out to bring on Armageddon, will take notice of this disaster and put a stop to it. I doubt it will unless this new crop of electees are immune to the sweet talk and cash contributions of the Energy special interests, and I honestly don't think they will be. Only the elimination of the Bush/Cheney Monarchy and their Tom Delay co-horts will allow such concerns to be addressed, but by the time they are, most of these mountains will have been laid low, and an entire region of our country scarred forever, a permanent and very visual reminder of just what evil we are capable of.

You, my readers, can help shed at least a little more light on this travesty by sharing this video with everybody you know, in hopes that at least the knowledge of it might help raise much needed outrage against it. I realize that the American people are not famous these days for caring about their fellow man, but who knows, maybe this once they will, at least enough to bring it up in discussions with the right people, people who vote for those who should have done something about this years ago.

Thank you for your patronage, and please, get out and VOTE, or never grace the pages of my blog again..........