Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ayatollah Mel

Mel Gibson is clearly in the grips of personal turmoil and bigotry. Are his drunken rants relevant to the offense of drunken driving with which he is charged? No. Did the LA Sheriff's Depratment show leniency toward him by suppressing them? Not really.

The sheriff's department is charged with keeping the peace. Would broadcasting irrelevant hate speech by a public figure make their neighborhood more peaceful or less peaceful? I'm guessing the remarks would stimulate unnecessary controversy. So why get into it?

At some point Mel has to face up to his prejudices and acknowledge them publicly if he can't bring himself to get over them. But it's not the job of the sheriff's department to borrow trouble by relaying his unfortunate sentiments in the context of an investigation in which they really play no part. If Mel had gotten juiced and run his car into a crowd outside a synagogue while shrieking his slurs they would reasonably have a place in the public record. And if some Bozo no one ever heard of mouthed off with racist bullshit at a traffic stop no one would care at all.

Human Life is Sacred

Meanwhile, Israeli forces recently performed about 20 very late-term abortions by dropping a large bomb on a house in Qana, Lebanon, apparently with the support and approval of the "pro-life" Bush administration.

Women and children had sought shelter in what they hoped was a strong building during Israeli air strikes. It was not strong enough.

People whose children have been blown to a bloody pulp won't appreciate nuances of diplomacy. They might even develop hostile feelings toward the country that bombed them and that country's big ally already facing image problems in the region.

Good thing those weren't fetuses hiding in that basement.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Cat Litter

I really didn't mean to leave the last post as my front page for so long. I've just been too busy to shovel dirt over it.

I have to get to work now, but here's an interesting video of some people defying gravity.

It looks like fun.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Back and Forth

So I link to this guy Ze Frank, because he seems like a thinking man with an engaging style of delivery. He might scare or offend some viewers, but he has a whole hell of a lot more editorial position than South Park and somewhat cleaner language. The next morning I sober up and decide to pull the link. Later that day I watch his video blog again and decide he's pretty damn smart and worth watching. So I put the link back with a revised post. That day's show was way below his usual standard, so I pull the link again. But today he seemed back in acerbic form. So the hell with it. The link is up again.

Monday, July 17, 2006

What Ever Happened to the Real World?

Seems like only a handful of years ago there was still a real world. Now it's all electronic. Inside this computer are all the thoughts and fantasies of millions of people who no longer go outside except to get into their cars. Even the ones who claim to be doing things outside soon get back to their computers to share their account of it with the world.

The weather is to blame. It's too hot and humid or it's too rainy or it's too cold and damp, or, increasingly rarely, really cold and icy. Screw it. Indoors we have air conditoning or heat, humidity control, a bathroom, a kitchen and electronic windows on a vast world more interesting than anything we could flop into through our own actual front doors.

And we have work to do. The future belongs to those who can manipulate ideas. Before long no one will actually have to make anything. You'll score all your points by demonstrating how your idea could be done. If you don't win the prize for elegant simplicity or utmost economy or artistic embellishment you could still come out on top just because you made people laugh.

Real things happen in other parts of the world. Real people walk real dusty roads. Real angry people shoot at each other over real old arguments that seem real important to them. Real backward nations make real strides forward to attain the level of unreality currently enjoyed in the developed world.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

All That Money Wasted on a College Education...

I could have started a dog poop scooping business for people with too much disposable income to take care of their own disposal problems.

I like the scare tactic used in the article:

The Humane Society says that 40 percent of all households have at least one pooping pooch, each of which answers nature’s call outside 14 times a week. Do that math, and you realize that backyards, parks and grassy medians would be simply awash in excrement if it weren’t for someone picking up the presents.

We need a Global War on Dog Crap! We need an Agency! A cabinet post! Global warming isn't half the problem global worming is.

When I shared quarters with three or four dogs, two or three of which were very large (we had occasional large boarders, but only one small resident dog), I discovered that the little spade that made up half of our poop-scooping apparatus could be used to hit chip shots over the backyard fence. What had been a chore became a sport. With three property lines to choose from, I could spread the barrage.

One neighboring home was owned by a couple of men who never seemed to use their back yard. They seldom mowed. But that could present a difficult lie if most of the dogs' output was up at the other end of the yard. At best it was a par 2. But dog bombs don't hold together as well as real golf balls. It was best to make it in a single shot.

The neighbors on the other side had kids, so I didn't send anything their way. They had enough problems.

The neighbor over the back line had a Yorkshire terrier. I wondered how he might have reacted to the Russian Wolfhound products landing out of the blue. I couldn't ask, of course.

I was always meant to live at the edge of civilization, if not farther out than that. No one scoops after the bear, moose, deer, raccoons, foxes, groundhogs, squirrels, coyotes, bobcats, feral cats, rabbits and all the other little poopers out there in the woods. In a way, this symbolizes the frontier spirit. Keep moving on to where you don't have to worry about where your dog dumps.

If only I'd thought entremanurially about it, I might never have left the cocoon of city life.

One for the List

According to an item on, is now the most visited site on the internet. Good to know that in advance, so I won't ever go there.

I've never been in a Wal-Mart. I've never been on alpine skis. I've never been to Myspace.

Of course there are plenty of places I've been and things I've done that I should have skipped, but that's a different list entirely, longer and more smudged with various dark substances.

The list of really cool places and activities I haven't gotten to yet is the longest of all. The world being the banquet of enticements that it is, I would expect that list to remain long. There's all that important sloth and daydreaming -- I mean creative brainstorming -- to get done.

Heavily Armed Forces Approaching

I had just finished writing a rubber check to send to the health insurance company and was about to send it by bicycle courier to the post office when heavy detonations vibrated the house.

The TV meteorologist had told us earlier this morning to expect a line of severe thunderstorms with almost continuous lightning. The first line would come through during the morning, followed by another one on the actual cold front this afternoon.

This lot was just moving out of Vermont about an hour and a half ago. You couldn't drive the distance as fast as it has flown. But it isn't here yet. I've been listening to it for almost half an hour now. It's big. According to the radar it should slam my house within minutes.

Time to disconnect everything and hang out under a doorframe in the center of the house. Blam! Blam! Louder, closer.

I can send the courier out on the fixed gear after the line rolls through.

Monday, July 10, 2006

It's a Trait. It's a Commodity. It's Both!

Some time in the late 1980s (near as I can figure) self esteem ceased to be something you derived from actual accomplishments and became instead one of the avenues to those accomplishments. That's right, folks, make your child feel good about himself or herself, and great things will naturally follow.

I know highly accomplished people who are miserable and some complete wankers who can't seem to deflate their chests. But just do a quick web search for self esteem training and you will find page after page of links to organizations that will perk up your child's self image and open the pathway to a lifetime of happy exellence.

First question that pops into my mind is what if you don't achieve the advertised result in the time allotted? How does the hapless child feel, having flunked self esteem class?

The United States apparently leads the world in happiness training. Professor Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania has been hired to lead a program for British schoolcildren. Apparently no one in the UK or nearby Europe is qualified. So much for the benefits of socialized medicine and weeks of paid vacation every year. Or maybe Seligman simply offered the lowest bid.

Any students who don't do well can chalk it up to the language barrier.

I suppose the fundamental concept is that if you respect yourself you find it easier to identify with and respect others. You're less likely to go along with groups advocating destructive behavior or to lash out individually in your own frustration. It sounds good. Give it a shot.

Art Happens