Wednesday, May 31, 2006
CKW made an interesting point about it being the Freedom to act and dress any way we choose that makes this a great country. True enough. But just because we are all free to waddle our vastly overweight selves down the streets dressed like Bosnian rufugees, yakking on cell phones at the top of our voices while chugging Triple-Bacon GreaseBurgers, does not mean that America is a better place because increasing numbers of people do these things.
One problem is that all lines between private and public behavior have come down. Americans have always sat on their couches in their living rooms in cut-off shorts, sleeveless, ragged t-shirts, and rotting sandals, while slurping sodas, yelling into the phone, picking their noses and scratching themselves in intimate places. That's fine. What I worry about is that we also now do all those things at the supermarket. There used to be a line between private behavior and public behavior, and there does not seem to be one anymore, and that does not make America a better place.
Most Americans claim to take pride in "their country", whatever that phrase is supposed to mean, but their public behavior increasingly fails to show any evidence of it. There have always been a few rude slobs among us. That's not a problem. The problem is that the numbers have vastly expanded. And we do not needs laws to change this state of affairs, we just need people to GROW THE FUCK UP.
And if you are going to be innapropriate in public, at least take a cue from the French and do it with style-
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
We are a very large, loud, rude people, and we drive badly. And our pets and children are also large, loud and rude. Add to that our constantly-heard refrain of "we saved your sorry asses in Worlds War 2", and I can't imagine why the rest of the world is getting a little tired of us...
I am reminded again of David Sedaris's wonderful observation- "it's rude to go to other countries dressed as if you've come to mow their lawn."
And that goes for our public streets right here in the good old US of A. I am fed up with being crowded onto buses, public streets and boats full of my fellow citizens yakking on their cell phones in my fucking ear while spilling popcorn, cheetos, soda and candy all over me, dressed as if they were on their way out of the "Dollar a Bag Day" at a Louisiana Goodwill store -and everything in their dollar bag is three sizes too small (or they are all three sizes too large).
Question- Is it really that difficult for you to go more than 45 minutes without eating or drinking? Must you spend every moment of your time with your cellphone glued to your ear, making me listen to your personal conversations (which I have to say, having now heard them, are pretty stupid and boring). And no, I don't want to see your underwear, bra straps, butt crack or tattoos which are located in places only very personal friends should be allowed to see them. That goes for piercings as well. Do not get me started about why you pierced that part of your anatomy...
And who the fuck dressed you? Phyllis Diller's crackhead twin?
For Christ Sake People! If you're proud to be an American, dress and act like it, at least in public.
And yes, you drive badly. Which made me go in search of an old list of-
Bumper Stickers I'd Like To See
Jesus loves you...but everyone else thinks you are an ass.
Impotence...Nature's way of saying "No hard feelings,"
The proctologist called ...they found your head.
Save your breath...You'll need it to blow up your date.
I used to have a handle on life...but it broke off.
WANTED: Meaningful overnight relationship.
Guys...just because you have one, doesn't mean you have to be one.
If you can read this...I can slam on my brakes and sue you.
Some people are only alive because it is illegal to shoot them.
Try not to let your mind wander...It is too small and fragile to be out by itself.
OK, rant done. To make us all feel better, I went over to see if I had any unused Audrey Tautou photos left, and found I did-
Friday, May 26, 2006
Speaking of wildlife- I walked down to the local barbershop yesterday (about a quarter mile away), and on my way back, in the middle of a sunny afternoon, I saw a big black bear come across the church rectory's lawn (right next door to us), wait for a passing car, and then lope across the street and wander off into the woods on the other side. That caused a little excitement in town for a while. I'd never seen a bear in the wild before; Amy saw some years ago while camping at Yellowstone, but I think the operative words there are "camping" and "Yellowstone", which seem more appropriate venues for bear watching than "the neighbor's lawn".
And our cats wonder why we don't let them out...
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Oh, and Ken? George called, and now he says he never heard of you. Sorry.
Here's more bad news- you'll find plenty of tattoos in prison, but not Audrey...
The beauty of my solution is that it would solve a host of other problems at the same time. Some people have suggested, tongue in cheek, that a solution would be to make Mexico the 51st state. That idea does have some appeal, especially since Mexico has lots of oil, and it would save Dick Cheney the trouble of phonying up a WMD-related excuse for invading it in a few years.
But, as neat as that solution is, it has a few problems. For one thing, we do not need another state. We've got more than we can handle already. Speaking of which...
See where this is going? Brilliant idea, right?
You see, after we give Texas back to Mexico, all the illegal immigrants there will instantly be legal citizens again. Neat, eh? And there are other benefits- George Bush would suddenly be Mexico's problem, for instance. I hear Mexico City is lovely this time of year, I'm sure he'd enjoy it.
It's really a win-win situation. Well... not for Mexico, I suppose, but for America. And Mexico wouldn't dare say too much, or we'd give 'em Oklahoma too.
Even Audrey Tautou thinks this is a brilliant idea.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The following verse is from the Koran, (the Islamic Bible)
Koran (9:11) - For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; and there was peace.
(Note the verse number!) Hmmmmmmm?!
Well, to those who believe such things and have not already sent all your money to the former Solicitor-General of Nigeria, I have uncovered the following quotation in The Prophecies of Nostradamus and the Bible-
Nostradamus, BA-1967; The Bible, Chapter 12-Verse 13:
Day after day,
Alone on the hill,
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still,
But nobody wants to know him,
They can see that he's just a fool,
And he never gives an answer,
But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning 'round.
If that isn't a description of the present-day United States, I don't know what is.
To the rest of you doubters, Audrey Tautou says- pthoooey!!!
well, unless they live under a rock, they do now!
Apparently they aren't the brightest bulbs over there at the VA...
Even Audrey Tautou is shocked.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Last week we took some friends out to a new restaurant, and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket. It seemed a little strange.
When the busboy brought our water and utensils, I noticed he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket. Then I looked around and saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets.
When the waiter came back to serve our soup I asked, "Why the spoon?"
"Well,"he explained, "the restaurant's owners hired Andersen Consulting to revamp all our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour. If our personnel are better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours per shift."
As luck would have it, I dropped my spoon and he was able to replace it with his spare and said, "I'll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen instead of making an extra trip to get it right now."
I was impressed. Then I also noticed that there was a string hanging out of the waiter's fly. Looking around, I noticed that all the waiters had the same string hanging from their flies. So before he walked off, I asked the waiter, "Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?"
"Oh, certainly!" Then he lowered his voice. "Not everyone is so observant. That consulting firm I mentioned also found out that we can save time in the restroom. By tying this string to the tip of you-know-what, we can pull it out without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39 percent."
I asked, "After you get "it" out, how do you put "it" back?"
"Well," he whispered, "I don't know about the others, but I use the spoon."
Saturday, May 20, 2006
I'm not a great horse-racing fan... we watch the three Triple-Crown races and that's about it, but still, there's something very noble about a racing horse. My wife owns a horse, and has been around them much of her life, and has always said that thoroughbreds are different -"nuts" she says, mostly, but different. Bred to run. And they love to run. Anyone who read Laura Hillenbrand's book about Seabiscuit got an idea of it. They enjoy racing.
George Bush and your average race horse are the two simplest higher-life forms on the planet, the main difference being that race horses don't get their kicks from hurting others. You have to admire that. Race horses may be somewhat batty (they are over-bred) but they are also very noble. So it is supremely sad to see one injured during a race, and sadder still to know that the injury may not only be career-ending (as it most certainly is) but life-ending.
I dunno. Call me stupid. Thousands of people die all around the world every day, and I get sentimental over a race horse. But the human race, for better or worse, has made it's own bed. That's another story. A simple horse that simply wanted to race and now cannot understand what is happening, that's another.
I don't know why.
It just is.
Hopefully he will be all right. I'll keep checking the news tonight. I'm sure that's a completely absurd set of priorities, but with humans cooking the planet and blowing each other up without a thought, who the fuck cares? Maybe Life is the simple things.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Oh yeah, I bought the books. Total time required for book buy: 45 minutes.
I need another beer. Not as many as that tanker driver though... I cannot imagine the thoughts that would go through your head if you were driving a truck with highly explosive cargo and you realized you were going to crash... lots of lucky folks out there tonight. All I got was delayed, no big deal.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
"Birth control is evil and a sin. Birth control is anti-baby and anti-child…Why would you stop your own child from being conceived or born? What kind of human being are you?"
That is the latest word from one of the many anti-abortion groups whose influence is rapidly growing across the country. And make no mistake, they are talking about things like the Pill and condoms, and they want to take them away from everyone, including married couples.
Scary? Looney? You bet. But it's a looney, scary movement that cannot be ignored, because they are gathering strength. There was a chilling article about the subject yesterday on TomPaine.com, here.
Fun facts to make one pause- you would think that anti-abortion groups would champion contraception, right? Yet one of the leading anti-abortion groups has started a program to restrict the use of condoms in AIDS-ravaged areas of Africa. Gee, they're real humanitarians, aren't they?
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
"Responsible Readers Rejoice: America'sBookShelf.Com Poised to Make Accessing Quality Books Both Socially and Ecologically Sound. Users can submit books to share with other readers and can request books from the web site for $3.50 each. Each new best selling book title represents a chance to be informed or entertained, to see things in a slightly new way. Unfortunately, too many of those books are read once and then placed on a shelf to catch dust. And every book not passed on represents a use of paper that will never be reclaimed. 'We wanted America'sBookShelf.Com to be involved in the green movement by helping people recycle books between their homes and across the nation,' Denkler [the owner] said. "America'sBookShelf.Com members can help save one tree from the pulp and paper mills with every 65 books shared."
I don't mind folks promoting new ideas, but trumping up bogus "environmental issues" to flog business schemes does wrinkle my garden gloves a bit- let's try this scenario on for size:
-most of those "unwanted" books they are talking about will, without their "service", doubtless end up at the local library sale or used bookstore, delivered there all at once, where they will be recycled into the hands of other booklovers who will use a certain amount of gas to get to the bookstore and back home. However, assuming many of them were also doing other errands, the nautral resources used in these transactions is fairly small.
-on the other hand, using this new "ecologically friendly" system from America'sBookShelf, the books are all individually wrapped in paper and boxes (read: dead trees) and then moved back and forth across the country individually via tractor trailer, aircraft and postal or UPS truck, using far, far more gasoline (read: fossil fuel) than would be used by recycling the books through the local bookstore or library sale. result- more pollution, waste of natural resources, etc.
Which is to say that all such scenarios are more complicated than they seem, and lots of folks can wave the "ecology" flag over their heads and yet be full of bovine-excrement. There's nothing wrong with buying and selling books and shipping them across the country- we do it all the time. But to claim it's 'ecologically friendly'??? Please...
Myself, I will do my part by only buying books that have 50 pages or fewer...if an author can't make his point in 50 pages, fuck him.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
well my my my.
My friend Phoebe has just written a very good rant. The only thing I would add to her well-reasoned diatribe concerns the subject of 'Net Neutrality'. Let's think about this for a moment- Verizon, AT&T, et all, are the exact same folks who rolled over like pussycats on a catnip high when Big Brother George & Co. came calling for all your phone records. Do you really want to give those gutless wonders the power to control what you access on the internet?
Our new catalog is out today (and I gotta finish this and scurry over to finish getting the web copy up), and my copy came in the mail yesterday. At the end of it I write a short "Speaking of Books" column, the point of which is that I speak of every thing other than books -gives the catalog that nice personal touch that folks seem to like.
But I digress...
The column, of course, was written about 10 days ago (to be precise, it was written Friday, May 5th) and I was horrified to re-read it yesterday and find that I wrote-
"Spring has finally sprung at Foggygates, with the azaleas that ring the deck giving way to lilacs and finally the rhododendrons which are here, there and everywhere. I bought hardwood charcoal for the grill today, which is probably a good way of assuring a solid week of rain, but the writing is on the wall- the outdoor festivities can begin."
What was I thinking???
Of course it's been raining ever since I wrote that, and a look at this morning's five-day shows rain forecast right through Saturday.
So, my apologies to everyone. I have, yet again, pissed off the weather gods. You'd have thought I'd have learned sumthin' after the Blizzard of '78...
Memo to Rain Gods- we need some sunshine. The ferns are starting to mold.
Monday, May 15, 2006
My first thought was "a grumble of booksellers", although somebody had a very clever idea to call them "a foolscap of booksellers".
But what about other groups?
A disunity of Democrats.
A melee of Republicans.
A gusher of oilmen.
A quarrel of historians.
A nattering of bloggers.
A gasbag of Fox newscasters.
and, of course, a brouhaha of Beekslayers.
To all those folks, I have the same message I had for the Islamic Nutfreaks upset about those cartoons last year -go home and get a life. Failing that, please feel free to grind your teeth into powder in self-righteous indignation. But please, please, PLEASE- stop pestering the rest of us.
1. The book is a novel. That spelled N-O-V-E-L. It means "fiction". "Fiction" means "Not True". You might just as well take "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" seriously as an expose of the American candy industry as take Dan Brown's word for anything connected with religion.
2. Incredibly, Dan Brown doesn't want you to take his word for anything. That's why he called it a "N-O-V-E-L" to begin with. Unlike some other folks, Bill O'Reilly, for instance, Brown admits that he traffics in fiction.
3. Here in America the separation of church and state, exemplified by such practices as not taxing church property or making the Vatican pay taxes on its American income, looks less and less like a good idea as the church gets more and more involved in politics. How about a deal? You keep your tax-exempt status, and stop poking your noses into other folks' lives by supporting legislation which codifies your religious beliefs as laws the rest of us have to follow. If you don't want to have an abortion or marry someone of the same sex, fine -don't. But keep your religious beliefs where they belong -in your home and church, and out places they do not belong, like the law books.
4. Getting back to Dan Brown- remember how we all looked on last fall and were amazed at the complete and utter nutiness of all those Islamist fruitcakes who were protesting some stupid cartoons? Well, be careful who you emulate. "Fruitcake" status has a way of rubbing off on you if you stand too close to it.
Audrey Tatou, co-star of 'The Da Vinci Code'. I was going to use a pic of Tom Hanks, but hey, we've all seen plenty of pics of him, right?
Sunday, May 14, 2006
One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool, Jim suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there. Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled Jim out.
When the medical director became aware of Edna's heroic act he immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as he now considered her to be mentally stable.
When he went to tell Edna the news he said, "Edna, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you're being discharged; since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of another patient, I have concluded that your act displays sound mindedness."
"The bad news is, Jim, the patient you saved, hung himself right after you saved him with his bathrobe belt in the bathroom. I am so sorry, but he's dead."
Edna replied, "He didn't hang himself, I put him there to dry.
How soon can I go Home?"
Friday, May 12, 2006
So, let's finish up our Gin Madness week with some fun Martini images I found on the web. The first one is for that All-American wholesome activity -cookie baking. Gotta educate them kids on the why and wherefors before takin' 'em to the Gin Palace, eh?-
Next up we have another present I want next Xymas-
Happy Friday, everyone!
So I have fallen behind on my promised gin-related pics. Today we start with one this a.m., and add more this afternoon. First, as a public-service message, we offer an 18th century print called "The Gin Palace"-
WARNING: Attempt to stir up a pot of trouble follows:
What's really interesting about the deal is this- the Bass family apparently has a history of taking things over and then radically remaking them according to their own, far-right, political beliefs. When the sister-in-law of the guy who just bought Alibris "bought" (in all but name) the Forth Worth, Texas public zoo she turned it into a oil-company/cattle-dairy industry theme park, with the polticial messages that hunters and oil companies are the guardians of the enviorment and environmentalists are bad people. She also used one exhibit to take a pot shot at former-President Bill Clinton, making up a fake gravestone for "Slick Willy- he was here too long, but now he's gone".
Here's the rest of the story.
We don't list books on Alibris, and certainly won't be anytime soon. For those who do, I suggest you sell your Bill Clinton and Thomas Friedman books off fast- you never know how long they'll be allowed...
Paranoid? Mebbe. But up until yesterday most folks thought that the idea of a secret guv'mint agency monitoring all your phone calls without a court order was paranoid too...
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Can I get a new and interesting gin-related image every day this week? Isn't there anything more constructive I could be doing with my time?
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
"The Gin and Tonic Gardener -Confessions of a Reformed Compulsive Gardener" by Janice Wells.
"The Gin and Tonic Gardener is designed for those of us who would rather enjoy our gardens than find ourselves enslaved by them. Weeds? Janice Wells exhorts us to have another gin and tonic: a stiff drink can actually help obscure, or at the very least, help you forget, those usurpers of the garden."
The only problem is I canna find a copy to buy- ABE & Bookfinder don't list any, and the few websites I can find it on (such as the one where I got this photo) are not actually selling the silly thing. Apparently it's a Canadian book. I'm sure that gods will be wanting a copy, so she'll probably figure out where to get them.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Mike was writing about the formula for gin & tonic the other day, and for some reason that got me searching for images on the web, and this popped up. I think it's been altered a bit (well, duh), but still, it's in the right "spirit"-
Friday, May 05, 2006
So of course that got me thinking... (ok, so what it really did was get me riffing through my photo files, looking for some suggestive photos) But anyway... if the busybody morality police can pull that Modigliani for "indecency", what would they make of the Victorian beleek porcelain pictured on the right, where the women seem to be getting perhaps a wee bit too "friendly" with each other?
Apparently one of the objections about the Modigliani was the exact place the woman's hand rested. Now, I thought the hand was resting in a fairly strategically fortunate place -after all, without her hand where it was, the pic would be sure to be called obscene by somebody else. All it really proves is that you can't win. So, with that in mind, I offer another Victorian Beleek piece, this one of Ariadne-
Boy, those Victorians had dirty minds...
Thursday, May 04, 2006
All of which is true.
BUT... let's get down to the essentials of the story, which were that this supposedly intelligent individual (a tech author) went to Ebay to buy a Prada handbag cheap.
Am I telling anyone something they don't already know by observing that Prada handbags are probably the most counterfeited consumer article in the marketplace today? So this guy finds his handbag, and it's going for waaaay less than it's worth, and in the end he buys it... and (gasp) then finds out that his super-bargain was a fake.
Well roll me in oil and call me a donut. What's next on his list? Going down to 42nd Street in New York and buying a Rolex from a street vendor for a hundred bucks?
Nobody deserves to be scammed, but still... there's such a thing as having a little common sense, and then there's standing in the middle of the road waving a fistful of bills and screaming "Please, Somebody, Cheat Me!!"
It all comes down to greed. Sure, as he points out, Ebay is greedy. But so is the guy who goes there looking to buy Prada handbags for 10 cents on the dollar.
I mean, c'mon...
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
The man replies "140." So, the robot proceeds to make conversation about global warming, quantum physics, biomimicry, environmental interconnectedness, string theory, nano-technology, and sexual proclivities.
The customer is impressed and thinks, "This is really cool!" He decides to test the robot. So, he walks out of the bar, turns around, and comes back in for another drink. Again, the robot serves him a perfectly-prepared drink and asks once more, "What's your IQ?"
The man responds, "about 100."
Immediately the robot starts talking; but this time about football, NASCAR, supermodels, favorite fast food, guns, and women's breasts.
Really impressed, the man leaves the bar and decides to give the robot one more test. He heads out and returns, the robot serves him and asks, "What's your IQ?"
The man replies, "Er, 60, I think."
And the robot says.... very slowly, "So...... are ya gonna ..... vote for Bush again?"
Monday, May 01, 2006
"Rolling Stones star Keith Richards was hospitalized on Thursday, suffering from concussion after falling out of a palm tree in Fiji."
OK, time's up.
You know, I gave the Stones a hard time a few months ago when they played the SooperDooperBlow, and I don't take back word of it- they looked incredibly stupid jumping around on stage like that. And it's not as if they've done anything new in the last twenty years or so to justify their silly antics.
But even if you think they should still be performing concerts, c'mon- does this look like a man who should be climbing palm trees in Fiji???