Friday, November 23, 2007

Black, Black Friday

I used to be one of them, more or less. Perhaps I was a lower form of life, due to evolve should I live long enough and actually think to look around and question my existence and how I fit into it. Yes, as ashamed as I am to admit it, I was young once, and I was a CONSUMER.

Yes, I know, you could argue that technically, I am still very much a consumer, no more innocent than those hordes of mutant capitalists descending upon the malls and Walmarts in search of commercial prey. Yet, I can smugly insist that one, I do not have the disposable income these creatures seem to have at their disposal, money they apparently have above and beyond what is necessary to live a comfortable life here in America. No, most of my moohlah goes towards food, shelter, and clo.......well, maybe SOME clothing, but I am still wearing apparel I bought 20 years ago and believe it or not, folks, some of this stuff really does last. Second, I would like to think that should I happen by some miracle be inundated by bushels of cash, that I could find something much more useful to do with it than running to malls and throwing it at retailers in return for tons of stuff that will not make me any happier than I was without it. There ARE still people starving that need not be. Or maybe we could use a pharmaceutical company that actually develops CURES for things instead of stuff that only manages symptoms, when fed with lots of greenbacks. And third, for Bob's sake, I would like to think I have a higher purpose in this universe than shopping and consuming STUFF for lack of anything else to do.

Yes, there are things I lust after, such as a better computer or a larger television or even maybe a nicer car. But sometimes you get to that point where good enough really is good enough and the bells and whistles aren't worth the extra money. Also, I truly believe that despite the fact that we can't actually rid ourselves entirely of commerce, we CAN spend our money much more intelligently than we do now, especially those of us who DO spend lots of it and can influence what gets manufactured and how. There is a really idiotic demand for plastic garbage that certainly could be directed in other directions. We could be driving low and no emission cars right now, relatively cheaply, if consumers had only shunned the gas-guzzling monsters Detroit has been giving the public, an entitled public that has insisted on the biggest, fastest, least ecologically friendly conveyances you could give them. We would have solar panels on pretty much every roof in America had Americans demanded we invest in the infrastructure that could deliver most of our electrical demand from the sun, the wind, or whatever other method not requiring the burning of fossil fuels, which will run out on us if it doesn't kill us first.

So, black Friday to me means just that, BLACK Friday, a day of mourning, a day of horrid realization of just how cheap and empty our values have become. So get out there, America, and shop till you drop. Isn't that what Jesus would do?*

*Or rather, what would Jesus HAVE done. He is, after all, dead, and has been, for a very, very long time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

You don't HAVE to read this, you know.........

While searching for something witty, clever, and/or interesting to write today, I decided to simply call up textedit and start writing until such time that something witty, clever, and/or interesting happened to come out of my ass. Not that all things that I write that happen to fit this criteria makes it's way onto these pages via my ass, mind you, but today seems like as good an ass day as any. I know alot of you feel that you have to stop and wonder what the fuck I am talking about right now, but I assure you that that is not necessary, for the meaning of these words will gang up on you and beat their meaning into you very shortly.


In no time at all.

Just have a little patience.

While I'm waiting for whatever it is I promised up there in the proceeding (or is that preceding) paragraph to occur, I want to mention that this post was semi-inspired by a new blog I discovered via comments. I'm listening to a semi-awesome (sorry, but flat out awesome to me is Pink Floyd) video by a band (I assume it's a band, since it's three guys with musical instruments dressed in space suits playing said instruments) called SpaceShip One, either that, or the album they are recording, I don't know, I'm not paying attention, I'm trying to write here, OK?!

So go check out this guy at and see what you think. I think he's worth a bookmark. Do you have any idea what it takes to make it onto my, THE Michael's, bookmark folder? You don't want to know.

So, back to the point of this post, which is that there IS no point to this post. I have just merrily wasted a good minute at least of your valuable time and I do not in the least feel guilty about it. Now, THE Michael, why would you do such a horrible thing to all those people who love you so? WHY? Because this is EXACTLY the kind of insanity my good friends expect from me, THE Michael, and I'll be DAMNED if I'm going to let them down! Nosirree, I am if nothing one dependable chap when it comes to less-than-steller expectations and sorta-surprises.

You may now return to your favorite sit-com.

Unless you want to stick around and maybe join us by a nice fire tonight.

Bring your own beer.

And an extra six of Corona for me.

Monday, November 19, 2007

What HE said........

A recent visitation upon sweet Ms Cellania's realm hath indeed inspired me, to articulate this post in familiar fashion, to that of one dead bard, a cad indeed who did upon his employment do great damage to a language and the lives of students who would by any other name, be something other than a slave to an understanding of an oafs laments, such that most of us would have laid upon the definition of this foul persons' influence upon literature and our very lives.

Yet, you doth find me here, laboring upon key after key in such fashion that joined together, their labors dare add up and amount to such an array of ideas, and fashions, and travesties that assault one's eyes and understandings that a minority of thee should stare at this and think me insane if not an idiot, whilst those of you more cultured for some ungodly reason might think this a snippet of refinement, an attempt to lull the Gods of Muse to sleep and refresh them in their slumbers, but alas, tis only an exercise in finding a precise moment to insert a necessary period, thus ending this seemingly everlasting paragraph that would serve so many of us in much better stead as an abbreviation, rather than this abomination it has become.

I dare would attempt to impart SOME fashion of understanding during this exercise, which indeed it is, for even now my readers beg of me some resolution to this practice of a language never meant to be tortured so, yet, I would soldier on in some vain if not foolhardy attempt to instruct thee, brave observer, in some knowledge that would serve thee, if not me, in some fashion most charitable and of some snippet of value. Alas, what could one possible say here upon this page amongst this jumble of mumble that would impart to thee that I even now am aware of a waft of aroma that ventures from that room made famous by repast, and sustenance, that speaks of Italy, of tomatoes and sausages and pasta and a blending of gastronomic alchemistry.........ah, it would indeed drive thee mad and induce thee to reach forth thru your conveyance to this place and capture for thyself some example of this nirvana I do prepare whilst I toil upon this keyboard.

Escape, you foul interloper, and do not think to acquire this meal that shall greet my spouse as she returns from labors that bring to this stead the bacon we subside upon. Remove thyself, for thou shalt NOT dip into the treasure of the pleasure that I create with the fruit of our Earth. No, this night no invitation has been forwarded, not to this table, for you art far removed and would dare seek to find this a cold, cold plate upon which to gorge yourself, and thus your appetite would not be so well served.

However, I WOULD prepare such a feast, my dear visitor, such that you might never encounter in all your travels, not tainted with the fame of some able chef of consequence, but of my humble efforts, of my humble supplies, and my humble desire that it be pleasing to both your palette and your stomach. Thus, invite thyself to this table, ask of what travels ye might avail thyself of to find this place, and put upon yourself the task to come here and know fellowship, kindness, and what little I might offer one who would call themselves friend, even upon the most harrowing of moments and circumstance. It is warm, and tasty, and real.

Merry meet.

Merry part,

And Merry meet again.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Trickle Down Blogging

With change comes challenge, such as the adaption pains I am experiencing breaking in this new Operating System on my computer. I have had a few hiccups trying to get all my old system preferences, passwords, etc re-integrated into the new one, which was complicated due to my upgrading the iMac's internal hard drive from an 80 to a comparative monster 500 gigs of storage capacity. Now the external firewire hard drive I had been running on trying to get things copacetic on the main drive has decided to go south on me, forcing me to go with the internal drive "as is". The problems I am experiencing are by no means the fault of the computer, since I did not use a straight-forward upgrade strategy as I have usually been able to do in the past when I did not have to juggle hard drives in the middle of an Operating System upgrade.

I find myself yearning for the glory days when this blog had a fan base that almost exceeded a baker's dozen. I know, I never have had a comment box that could run almost a hundred comments on a regular basis like the Buffalo or HE or Ms Celenia, but it WAS a heady feeling when I could count on at least 6 at a time on average. Sigh.......already I feel like Ricky Nelson on an oldies tour. Well, that's what happens when the content of your blog tends to be somewhat a post and still feel hungry. My life wouldn't measure up against one episode of Gun smoke or the Andy Griffin Show, and my rants and raves have yet to solve any of the world's problems, thus you have a blog deserving of it's following, or lack of one, rather.

But some of you actually stick with me.

Masochism or simple pity, I don't care, I am so very appreciative of you that have stuck with me.

Glancing at my own list of blogs that I try and follow, I am surprised how narrow it is and how very few of them are new. Seems I know what I like and have found very few new reads that give me consistent pleasure as you guys have.

I'm listening to Austin City limits to yet another band/singer never heard of before but seems to already have at least a cult following. Some of these groups seem to by sliding by on being different, rather than on any real talent. Well, more power to them, the world needs such distractions, doncha think?

The wife is still having troubling avoiding things that cause an allergic reaction, and the Ford is having battery issues. I ripped up MOST of the carpet in the master bedroom, but don't have enough spare laminate planks to finish the floor off. I'll have to keep my eye out for wood on sale to finish it off with, and we aren't to picky about the color, as long as snap together properly. No one's gonna see it but us, and we won't be having Martha Stewart over any time soon.

I AM beginning to worry about how the economy is effecting us here at Pendragon Hold lately. Gas is now over $3 a gallon, and I've seen the prices at the supermarket creeping up steadily. Our income isn't going up anywhere near the rate our expenses are, and I'm sure this is effecting almost all of us whose incomes are almost fixed. Perhaps some of the billions of cash that the Bush gang has fed Haliburton will somehow trickle down to us. Oh......wait.......wrong Republican.

That was Reagan. I'm STILL waiting for HIS trickle down.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thank Them

Today we are going to pay lip service to honoring a class of American that is one of the most abused, glorified, misunderstood, ignored, and "celebrated" groups ever to earn a classification. These are the guys and gals who raised their hands, swore to defend the constitution of the United States of America, against ALL enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC, and survived that promise, not always in one piece or of sound mental condition.

No, not all of them necessarily took that oath out of patriotism or by choice. Many, if not most, embarked upon that great adventure with visions of heroism, of wearing the white hat and taking on the bad guys, of coming home to the adoring swoons of the girls they went to high school with who might now give them a second glance, now that they had proven their manhood. Most if not all of them went with the barest shades of possibility on their minds that they might return with missing limbs or not at all. The young are invincible, and only cold, stark reality can ever prove them wrong.

These men and women saved our collective bacon more than once, over the span of decades that promised to teach us lessons we refuse to learn. The wars to end all wars didn't, and short of a major alteration in the nature of man, never will. We are an aggressive species, and we thrive on banging the drum and proving dominance one way or another, up to and including the utter extinction of our enemies. These men and women did not participate in sterile wars where everybody obeyed the rules and no one bled when shot. These men and women witnessed and participating in things we do not talk about. We cannot talk about. We are, after all, civilized.

During the worst of this situation many of us still refer to as a war, the Pentagon bragged about how easily they were filling their ranks with fresh, eager, patriotic bodies. Today I am hearing how the recruiters are having to lower their standards drastically in order to fill these uniforms, even allowing the enlistment of those with felony criminal records. I'd be surprised if the lack of a high school education is considered much of a barrier to enlistment these days. It doesn't take an associates in science degree to get ripped apart by an IED.

Go tell the Spartans that the mighty have fallen. Go tell those who love us that now more than ever we need their love. Go tell those who once feared and respected us that for eight years, we lost our collective mind. And go tell a veteran you're sorry for the sacrifice you required him/her to make so that you could stuff your SUV with junk from China, where we will be sending them next to die for another really good cause.

Friday, November 09, 2007

It's Evening in American..........

The news as of late has been rather overwhelming. Pakistan is in a higher state of turmoil than usual, with Bush's military lap-dog/dictator suspending the Pakistani constitution and jailing every lawyer in case one of them might want to practice law. While Musharraf is packing the jails with protestors (mostly lawyers), the Taliban is brazenly taking over one end of the country, apparently not the least bit concerned that the Pakistani army will use any of the new hardware we are buying them to take back that territory. Meanwhile, there are nuclear weapons sitting in a supposedly safe place within easy reach of Bin Laden if he really, really wanted them.

The economy is getting real stupid. Having given free reign to the capitalists, we are now reaping the benefits of a free market, which has freely been losing money down a deep, dark hole called the sub-prime mortgage market. What is this, you ask? Well, what you do is you go after people who are barely getting by as it is, loan them a ton of money they could never hope to repay, especially since you conned them into signing for a mortgage that starts out with a nice little interest rate which balloons into an outrageous rate guaranteed to put the borrower into default. Of course, a whole phalanx of middle men get nice commissions to generate these deals which in any other world would be recognized as the blatantly predatory deals that they really are and never allowed by law in the first place. Then, when the shit hits the fan and the chickens come home to roost, you report huge loses and shrug your shoulders and lay people off, grab yourself a nice golden parachute and retire to the Bahamas. Isn't that what the American dream is all about?

Add to that this strange mechanism we have which allows people to buy huge chucks of oil supplies, jack up the price on said supplies, and sell them BACK to the oil companies far in excesses of their true value, using such excuses as "the President of Iran cut a fart at the negotiating table; that's worth at least $1.50 a barrel....." The Republicans like to remind us how good they are at national security issues, while they conveniently overlook how their friends are threatening our security by artificially inflating energy and commodity prices simply to line their own pockets while we common folk wonder how we are going to afford to get to work or pay for that tomato that trucker is paying a hefty ransom to get to the supermarket.

Don't even get me started on the insurance companies, the ones who will soon begin denying claims filed by all those white, semi-rich Californians who got burnt out of house and home this summer. Or, maybe not, since DUBYA assured them that we Americans really, really care about them, as opposed to poor, black Americans in Southern Louisiana.

I honestly am beginning to believe that this administration has caused more harm to this nation than Richard Nixon could have ever hoped to. I truly believe that the entire Bush Administration and all his neo-con taskmasters should be brought up on charges, convicted by a jury of their peers, and sent to prison WITHOUT the benefit of any kind of pardon. No golden parachutes for Dick Cheney. No bronze statues of Donald Rumsfield outside the Pentagon. No pension for Karl Rove and his merry band of election riggers. If we cannot hold THIS band of crooks accountable for the mess they made of our government, then we might as well give up on this idea of America and what it always stood for, at least to those of us who truly loved her.

And let's give our wounded veterans first dibs on the firing squads.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Attack of the Peanut Butter Sandwich

Well, just as things ratchet down to a quiet roar here at the Hold, something rears it's ugly head to casually mention that the Universe is one chaotic SOB. The wife has been having problems with rashes and stopped-up ears, so we take her to an allergist to get tested, and sure enough, "test it and it will BE!"

Now we know why she broke out in a bright red rash on her chest when she had that peanut butter sandwich. She's allergic, to some extent, to both peanuts and wheat. She is also sensitive to dust mites, as well as just about every weed that grows like, well, weeds, here at Pendragon Hold.

Poor thing. Her arms look like a masochists' idea of a pin cushion and they are still sore. Part of her daily repertoire now is taking allergy medicines like claritan and benedril to tamp down the symptoms. We are waiting to find out if the insurance is going to cover allergy shots or not. And I get to tear up the carpet in the bedroom now. I get to do that today. My knees are arranging a coup even as I type this.

We had a nice little Samhain (that's All-Hallows' Eve, or Halloween for you monotheistic types) celebration, despite the ever present threat of rain, made possible by the brainstorm I had concerning stringing up a tarp between the trees over the alter area in the shade garden. For some reason, the forecast will predict great weather unless we are planning something like a ceremony outdoors, in which case monsoon rains will suddenly appear. The tarp solves that problem.

The twins (not the human offspring, but the pigmy fainting goats, Sorcha and Sanya) have been escaping the yard by lifting up the bottom of the wire fence that they have bowed severely outward by rubbing up against it. My neighbors are sooooo understanding, coming to get me to let me know the goats are on the loose. Well, I solved THAT little problem, at least for now. The fence is in such bad shape I really need to replace it with the woven type rather than the cheaper welded kind I have strung now. The two major problems with that right now is that a 330 foot roll of the good stuff goes for about $130 and is really quite heavy. Even if I can manage to get a roll of it into the car, I will still need THE Wife's help moving it around the property and stretching it out.

So instead I purchased an electric fence set up for half the price which was very easy to string up and seems to solve the problem. One wire stretched across the bottom of the fence on the inside and the twins are discouraged with extreme prejudice NOT to stick their heads under the wire.

One of my favorite bands has come out with a new album, and it proves that old rockers don't fade away, they can still pull off that magic, even if they MIGHT have to take some ibuprofen before a recording session. The Eagles are selling a double disk album out of Walmart for only around $11, and I dare say it's worth a lot more than that. They are all new songs and would be getting heavy airplay right now if only there remained a radio station that played that kind of music anymore. The oldies stations won't be playing it because, well, it's not OLD, and the new "rock" stations don't play what we old farts would call rock and roll anymore. No, nowadays its noise from whiny nerds complaining about their girlfriends doing their best friends, or some dark irrelevant crap that isn't meant to improve one's mood. I'm sure a lot of people would consider most of this music to be Country, but I would have to disagree with them, if only because I wouldn't listen to anything considered country unless it was the kind of music The Eagles perform. You gotta love a band that doesn't once question people's patriotism in order to come across as genuinely American.

Also, I performed some rather scary surgery on the iMac, upgrading the hard drive to a 500 gig monster and the OS to the latest, OSX 10.5 Leopard. I am happy to report that the computer did NOT explode, meltdown, or try to break into NORAD all on its own. It HAS been acting a little odd, however, insisting on being connected to what it claims is its counterpart somewhere in Russia, and insists that I call it COLOSSUS. Silly machine............