Or abacuses. I'm indifferent to the plural, but I'm not indifferent to the fact there are specious products on the market. Where the hell do we stand as a culture when a 2300 year old mathematics calculator gets morphed into a feel-good product intended to teach, not the abacus, but some base ten whore math?
Here is a real abacus:
Nice. A real abacus must have an upper deck, and lower deck, to separate the powers. Upper deck has the power of 5, lower deck has the power of 1. Simple. Even a Syrian couldn't fuck that up. (But he would, just to say he did it. Then he would blow himself up).
Now here is a fag ersatz abacus:
Totally dependent on base ten. This is a cruel tool devised to keep children dumbed down. No upper deck, no lower deck. What does that mean? Well, it means you are going to have a bitch of a time doing multiplication, and a bitch of a time doing division. As for square roots, and cubic roots, which a real abacus can solve, you're screwed. Hammered. Porked.
Yet we allow this tripe to be foisted upon us. Raise your hand if you have a damned bead game abacus in your possession: I see you, brothers. I hear you, sisters. Let us take our toys to the River, and immerse them. Absolve, if not the creators of these gimcracks, at least ourselves.
And let us buy new abaci, real abaci, and divine their secrets.
Here's the next thing I'm buying:
Bugspray's Model T503 large bird trap. Very nice. I saw a blue jay in my back yard today, and that must be dealt with.
Blue jays are the Mike Tysons of the avian world: brutal, belligerent, and ignorant. Prone to savagery, they will have every other bird in the area departed for more amenable climes poste haste. Even mockingbirds, the Leon Spinkses of birddom, won't mess with a jay. My pair of cardinals have been joined this year by a pair of brown thrashers, and I'll be damned if a blue jay is going to chase them off.
After you catch a jay, you put him in a grocery bag. Then you drive about four miles away, shake that bag like a paint mixer, and let him go. You don't really have to shake the bag, but I like to do it. Blue jays suck. They deserve a good rattle up.
I'm also hoping to trap some of these accursed grackles and be rid of them, too. They're not really aggressive, and they do love the beetles, but they are nasty bastards. They are the Buster Douglasses of the bird world.
I swear I was going to go StarbucksBarnes&NobleCoffeeOfTheMonthClub choke-collared consumer dupe and try Gevalia. Until they intruded upon me in a pop-up ad. Now they have garnered one Highly Pissed Off Consumer, who will spit on their product, given the chance.
What are these assholes thinking? The little marketing pussy who came up with that probably outearns me
threefold sixfold. He'll bury Gevalia and show up as Assistant Vice President of Product Branding at Polaroid, where he'll ride down their death spiral for 18 months, then retire to his seaside villa in Bridgetown, Barbados, retired at 39. A fucking no-nothing with great dentition and a line of bullshit a mile long.
Jaded? Me? No way.
It's strange what triggers old memories. Memories like the taste of Sealtest Vanilla Ice Cream on a summer Sunday night with Wild Kingdom on the tube, or the smell of stale urine in one's diaper from way long ago. Pinstrokes do, I'm told, and so does Dax, on occasion. He was reminescing on the Inman Park Festival, and it triggered a
I lived in Atlanta from 1979 to 1982 as a struggling grad student with a bride, and I was quite jealous of the yuppies a few years older than me with some fresh coin in their pocket. They were buying up old homes in Virginia-Highlands, and Inman Park, and Little Five Points, and creating vibrant new neighborhoods.
I checked my wallet, dispersed the errant moths, and determined to gentrify on the cheap. I took my VA benefits and bought a $19,000 house about four blocks beyond where any civilized peoples would ever live. Call me a racist if you want, but have you ever lived in a neighborhood where you were the only white person within a half-mile radius? I have, and my idealistic self felt very noble. I was a trailblazer, I say.
I was game. My immediate neighbors were very cool, and we had each others' back. But I moved to an upscale condo near Piedmont Park after six months or so, after a burglary deprived me of my father's .45 Colt from WWII and my stereo (all I owned at the time), and I caught some reprobates free-basing in my crawl space.
Where am I going with this? Oh, yes. The Stop and Cop. Two blocks north of me was a seedy intersection where the locals would sell small manila envelopes of so-so reefer. The funny thing was there were 3 young punks on 3 of the corners, and an old man in an orange vest on the fourth. The old man was fearless. He'd scream "You can get it here!" at the top of his lungs, waving his envelopes, and totally nutting up the youngsters, who would assume you were The Man and melt into the woodwork. That old man owned that corner. He was an entrepeneur par excellence.
Now, I'm not saying we were on a first name basis, or were sharing the new Beaujolais vintage over runny cheese, but we had a relationship. A relationship based on mutual trust, and distrust, and hand signals, and furtive nods. Okay, I was a regular.
My father-in-law came to visit. Being naturally embarrassed that I had his Princess ensconced in what would generously be described as a fucking ghetto, I decided to show him how close we actually lived to the gentry, to Emory, to the clean folk. I forgot about my Main Man as we drove north. When I stopped at the intersection stop sign Mr. You Can Get It Here strolled up and slid three nickel bags in my slitted window, then stood defiantly, waiting for his $15.
That was my undoing. That black bastard knew I was never good for more than a nickel at a time, but figured since I had a guest I would take the three out of pride. My father-in-law was saying, "What's he doing? What's that? Why is he holding his hand out? Is that Drugs?"
In a quandary I shoved the three nicks out the window and sped off, muttering something about "stupid niggaz". For two weeks after that, as I went through the intersection, Mr. YCGIH and I would give each other the finger. Then, of course, good old-fashioned commerce, supply-and-demand, resumed.
I think about that fellow from time to time. I drove by my old house in 1989, and it had become a crack house. Steel door with a slit in it for transactions. Too sad. Hard drugs take the tradition out of a neighborhood.
Skeeter, who is only 11, and is now a bona fide Sea Monkey rancher, never asks for anything. Ever. But she shyly, obliquely showed me this tonight.
Yes, she wants Sea Diamonds for her Monkeys to play with:
This heap of sparkling "sea-gems" keep Sea-Monkeys happy and entertained by giving them toys that they will really play with! So pretty they might as well be REAL. Watch the Sea-Monkeys have fun by tossing Sea-Diamonds around like beachballs! They even "learn" to climb up and ride them as if they were surfboards. This gives them the exercise they need to stay fit. But MOST AMAZING, as the water levels drops in your aquarium, Sea-Diamonds RISE UP from the bottom and FLOAT MID-WATER, seemingly in DEFIANCE OF THE LAWS OF GRAVITY! The Sea-Monkeys now wind their way among the mysteriously suspended gems swimming in and out of the enchanted "maze". So fantastic, it MUST be seen.
Memo to anyone who thinks I'm going to separate wheat from chaff and pick 10 bloggers to accompany me on what would deteriorate into a Lord of the Flies scenario on a remote island: May I show you my turnip truck? Low miles, springs are good because the idiots already fell off the back.
First of all, the ratio would have to be 2:1 women, and the women I would invite would be all over each others' shit fang and nail like a bad Roller Derby game. Second, if I can't invite enough guys to flesh out a decent acoustic band, who's going to entertain me? I am the Godhead on this island, right? RIGHT? Worship me, or take the trip to the fucking volcano.
I will admit no virgins would be sacrificed. No, that crater would be reserved for screwheads who couldn't keep their guitars tuned, or better yet, indigenous peoples. Yes. Cull the brown-skinned fellows with the massive willies. They make the Godhead look bad.
I'm developing a vision here. It may take a day or so. Bear with me.
a true believer, I give you the compromise at left. I don't know why I didn't think of this in the first place.
I haven't hit Sitemeter in while, but I do like to hit it to see who's referring folks to me. I just realized I'm only 120 hits from 40,000 visits. I understand these are perfectly meaningless milestones, but it's the blogging equivalent of watching your odometer turn 80,000, or 90,000, or 100,000 miles. And why do your kids launch into a freaking fistfight when you're about to turn one of those milestones? By the time you've whipped them into submission, the odometer reads 100,002.
Well, those days are gone. So hit me. Like a rented mule, or a recalcitrant bride. Early and often.
UPDATE: 80 to go. You aren't my Intrepids. You're my Insipids. At this rate that odometer will rollover whilst I nuzzle my Mighty Mouse pillowcase in the early AM, murmuring sweet nothings to my Ren Hoek plush doll, with spittle on the corner of my mouth (hey- it's my fantasy. Let me enjoy it).
of Velociman enjoying his version of the apres-ski in Whistler. To be so whippet-thin, as I am, I look absurdly obese here... The photographer was obviously a junkie of some sort...
And is it just me, or am I snorting that umbrella up my nose? As I recall, it was pretty tasty.
I used to be quite the archer as a youngster, a preteen. I had a 25 pound bow and a fifty-five pounder, and could put an eye out inadvertently at fifty yards. I unfortunately became interested in girls about the time compound bows emerged, and never experienced them, except occasionally.
I think when my bullwhip arrives I'm going to buy a bow. Not a hunting bow, a compound bow, as I prefer my slayed dinnah to come shrink-wrapped from the butcher, and I think venison is nasty stringy shit, and shooting a damned steer is no sport at all, regardless of the weapon.
No, I want a target bow, a recurve. One of those Olympic-gauge pupsters. I can still fling hunting heads with it.
Of course, hunting pitbulls with a recurve could prove problematic, but I think I'm up to the task.
My grandfather moved to Savannah in, I'm guessing, 1940 or so. From Atlanta. Opened a business called Laundry and Dairy Supply on Indian Street, just above River Street. My father worked for the company after WWII while he was studying law, and opened a short-lived Albany location. To this day I have no idea what they sold, or how the hell one conflates laundry supplies with dairy supplies.
I DO remember my father sending me into the store when I was 10 or so, and asking the hot young girl behind the counter (hey: this was my father, and his father. Who the hell do you think they were going to hire? Roseanne?) for an elastrator. I didn't know. I was a little fellow. Seems an elastrator (I soon learned plenty about them on that farm) is a device that stretches a rubber band over a baby bull's testicles, until they become necrotic and drop off, creating you a steer, ready for plumping up and slaughtering.
She was game, and fetched the device, and patiently explained its use to me. I believe that was my first chubby (I not being of woody age yet).
My old man. Fuckin' Ada. I wish I had a boy I could pull that kind of shit on.
A bleg. Does anyone know how to rid myself of a couple of particularly nasty pieces of spyware that are sophisticated enough to stump/foul Ad-Aware? I can't even directly delete them from my hard drive, as they deny access. Grrrr. Forget the pitbulls. The bounty is $1,000 on the fuckfiends who created this shit.
Here's the opening broadside in my brother's drive to shut down the screwheads that allowed his and Michelle's canine companion to be mauled to death by a pitbull:
They put up this poster at a local pet fair. My brother is a feral litigator (Tenacious L, they call him), and I swear I almost pity the assholes who tolerate these genetic freak dogs. But not quite.
I used to advocate outlawing the breeding of these pernicious killers, but that would put too many loved ones and cherished pets at risk. No, I think it better to drop these vile mutant creatures wherever they be.
I hereby declare a $50 bounty for anyone who can prove they busted a cap in one of these Frankenhunds. Sorry I can't make it a hundred, but if I make it too lucrative Eric is liable to go off on a cross-country killing spree that would leave his familial duties unattended, and me broke.
That's not a cucumber in my pants, nor, alas, is it my particular friend Johnson, but is IS a big wad of blood money.
Fire at will.
Who wants fresh Tuco? Fresh, autographed Tuco? I may have to purchase that...
Here are a few choices to replace the Mutant, should you be tired of him:
Or I can keep my Mutant.
I swear to Allah I love Rankin' Rob like a brother. He is my doppleganger, my reverse image, my soul brotha. But if he puts up another post like this one, predicting the defeat of the American God Armstrong in the Tour de
Pissoirs France, I shall have to beat him with a Ford tire iron until he is whimpering "No mas, Velociman. No mas."
I'll put up with a lot of NASCAR shit from him before I put up with that.
Which, I suppose, reflects my true fear that Lance will implode this year.
I just think it's great that an American with one nut can beat a Frenchman with two five times in a row, not to mention the whimpering Germans, and the Italians, like Pantani (Allah rest his soul), who couldn't even make the hills.
I've been pretty good about rotating my sidebar picture. I have a decent collection of pictures, from Tuco, to Angel Eyes, to flaming monks, to Tuco. And I intend to add more. Change is good, too.
I must confess, though: I've become attached to my mutant. Somehow he encapsulates all that is Velociworld. Peering through a metaphorical doorway, utterly shocked at the world. Or ready to slaughter it. Who knows, from that visage? The fact that he is Warren Oates, one of my favorite character actors, and the pic is from one of my favorite Outer Limits episodes rather seals the deal.
I'm an open-minded fellow, however, except for gay bath house hijinks, and would like some input from the Viewership.
The Mutant: yea or nay?
It seems I have been beckoned on a hypothetical excursion to an isolated place, surrounded by water and fragrant aromas. The possibility exists of no return, however, and nothing to eat. This is tempered, however, by rumblings of torrid sex with a third party. It sounds wonderful, and exotic, and quite risky.
On the other hand, it's beginning to sound suspiciously like this morning's shower, right down to the part where I neglected to consult the object of my sexual conquest.
I'm Velociman, and I approve this post.
Well, life is all about evolution. And devolution, at times. Now that the inter-biddy brawling is over, it seems my screed on the Red Hat Society has turned into a damned chapter development chatroom. That's right. Your Misanthropic Writer is now a clearinghouse for new RHS chapters. I'm spawning them, for chrissakes.
And I have no one to blame but myself. That's why I'm starting the seminal chapter of the Red Ass Society, devoted to all things iconoclastic, misanthropic, and ass-chapping in general. Membership requirements? Something, anything, must piss you off. And you must pay homage to Blue Velvet.
Having sex with a woman over fifty merits flag rank in the Society, I might add (Red at the Mizzen). Doesn't matter what sex you are.
For no real reason, other than ennui, I bring you a little more information on Jupiter's moons than you could have possibly desired. 16 of the buggers. I see 4 through my pindick telescope, but hope springs eternal, and I shall win that lottery, and build my observatory. I'm thinking a sweet 16-inch baby like this one at University of Texas. 16 moons, 16 inches. Works for me.
Probably overkill, but you know guys. It's all about the inches.
I was trying to figure out at what point this blog became a sensory deprivation chamber, then I remembered it's Friday night, and all the cool hipsters that read me have real lives. Laughing, dancing, partying, living large.
Well, I'm here, in my fuzzy slippers and crotchless flannel robe, awaiting your return.
I realize I'm in the minority of conservatives who don't believe in school vouchers, but I don't care. I still think they're a bad idea. I'm going to be brutally frank here (if I were a professional wrestler, I'd go by the handle Brutally Frank. I think it has a nice literate savagery to it): most conservatives are not in favor of vouchers because they care about the poor little undereducated inner city kids. If they did, they would sponsor some, and put them in private school with their kids. I'm not saying conservatives are racist, either. I don't think they are. I just think they're being disingenuous here.
The real reason they want to institute vouchers is because they want to deliver a swift hard kick in the gonads to the NEA (and yes, for the record, women have gonads, too, but you'd have to kick them really hard to get to them).
I'm not saying this isn't a worthy goal, or pasttime, but it's not worth getting in bed with Beelzebub to accomplish it. Vouchers take the war to the outside, so to speak, when it should be fought on the NEA's home turf (my, don't we reactionaries love all this talk about War? If I keep it up my hand will be going to War with my particular friend Johnson shortly).
Change must come from within, or advocates of public school reform will forever fight a retrograde action. You cannot give ground, you must take it, incrementally, obviously, but moving forward. I learned this from Sun Tzu's brilliant polemic The Seven Habits of Hightly Effective Warlords.
For alternate viewpoints, Jonathan Adler at NRO links to a paper by Caroline Minter Hoxley, which Adler found at Harry Brihouse's blog. The gist of the Hoxley paper, which I have not read in its entirety, is that public school test scores went up during the fight over vouchers in the Milwaukee school districts in the late '90's. Adler even headlined his post VOUCHERS IMPROVE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. I don't know if I'd go that far, having no firm understanding of the causalities involved, but I'll render an opinion shortly. My initial reaction is the improvements could be the result of external programs already in place. If indeed there was a concerted and concerned effort on the part of public school administrators to improve scores in a hurry to stave off impending vouchers, which I don't think has been proven, that would speak volumes about the administrators, none of it complimentary.
Since I'll have the girls in Daytona this weekend for dance competition, I thought I'd use the opportunity to expose them to some culture.
There are several infamous biker bars to see, of course, and they can experience their first boilermaker. Then I can take them by the Daytona International Speedway so they can hock a ceremonial loogie on the asphalt. At the beach I can show them the terrible rip currents that drag so many Freakniks out to sea. If time allows, perhaps they can get a Harley tattoo. Or should I do that first?
My friend Michele (not that Michele, although I consider her a friend as well, and they are kindred souls), brought up a significant point to me tonight, to wit:
How does the blistering fiery death of 3,000 people in North Korea in a train crash not merit a bit more coverage on the broadcasters? Were they Kim Jong-Il's gulag-slaves, and therefore unworthy of mention, because they reminded the media of the specter of Stalinist slave camps, which they universally ignored, and were therefore inconvenient?
That's the same butcher's bill as 9/11, you know, and I consider that a huge number of dead innocents. And I know the difference between murder and accident, of course, but I don't see a lot of coverage of this accursed catastrophe. I'm well versed in parsing the reasons trains collide, and there are people eminently better at it than me, but I just have to ask why nobody cares.
And I'm sorry, but I just went back to CNN, and they do not have the story anywhere on the front page. They DO have: Pentagon Angered By Mortuary Photos, and Save the Boss Money - Just Call In Sick.
I hate to be a putz, but Fuck CNN.
Why, of all creatures, does the fowl have an inverse relationship between size and ferocity? I mention this because the hummingbirds have returned, and the dogfights have begun. They are territiorial, feisty things, and I honor them, especially compared to their larger, more hallowed cousins.
Case in point: a bald eagle was sitting on a fence post across the street the other day. A fence post, mind you, not exactly an Olympian aerie (he must have been on the long waiting list for laser surgery). An osprey was hectoring him. An osprey is a magnificent bird, and predator, and I revel in their fishing skills. Next to a baldie he is something of a runt, though. And yet he was hectoring this eagle, who sat meekly on his perch. Dive and nip, dive and nip. The osprey, in turn, was being badgered by four ravens. Swirling and feinting, they kept him off his game. The only thing that saved that eagle from a whipping, or an ignoble retreat.
The ravens, ha ha, were being savaged by a pair of mockingbirds. A little nesting pair of mockers were hitting them like samurai with a grievance to right. The spectacle was ludicrous, and yet gratifying. A magnificent bald eagle, surrounded by an ever-lessening whirlwind of peccant agitators.
The mockers were lucky those hummingbirds were engaging in genocide over in my back yard. Otherwise they would have gone to roost with a brutal beating.
One final point: why do we glorify the great raptors, while vilifying the lowly buzzard? The buzzard, after all, takes his meals like we do: already dead, and hopefully warmed up a bit. I'll have to check my Faulkner on that issue. He knew from buzzards.
Who was the first man, or woman, who volunteered for laser eye surgery? And did they do it in a laboratory full of cages of blind, grey-orbed macaques, fumbling for their banana remnants?
Whoever they were, that took some courage. "I shall take ze laser beam, and slice ze eyeballs right down ze middles..."
I would have only been able to picture James Bond strapped to that table, with that laser beam cutting inexorably towards his raison d'etre (aside: in an amusing bit of irony, raison d'etre is not only French for penis, it is also Velocinese for penis).
Anyway, I understand they originally experimented on elderly coolies years ago, but it was only until the 1980's that they perfected the procedure.
I'd apologize for light blogging, but my father taught me when I was a sprite that if you ever apologize for anything, the next thing you know you'll be wearing womens' step-ins, taking out the garbage, and doing Ecstasy in a Crypto-Nazi-Gay-Klan-Bircher-Hatfield-Shia-Library Sciences-Biker bar (there are three, I think).
Okay. I take that last one back. But the fact remains, remains, that Master and Commander was released on DVD yesterday, and my brother sprung (sprang?) springed for the sweet Best Buy edition with the bonus "Makin' Of" DVD for my birthday, and I've been busy watching real men live in very close quarters with each other for years at a time, with no women at hand not carrying the pox.
There's glory for you, I believe the man said.
I don't know why so many conservatives get so gaga over school vouchers. I suppose some forms of wealth redistribution are empirically better than others.
I used to believe in vouchers because I thought the value and purpose in them was sound. I did not believe the purpose was to strip away money and students piecemeal until we were out of the public school business altogether, although we can certainly debate that concept on the merits at a later date. No, I thought the true purpose behind vouchers was to wield a mighty cudgel by withholding money to public schools, and force them to reform. Because reform is what is needed. Public schools need to slash bureaucracies, allow administrators and educators to mete out real discipline, institute valid objective testing, revoke the concept of social promotion, and cull all the politically correct tripe from their texts and programs. If using the big stick of diverted funds did the job, I'd be all for it.
Let me tell you something: that dog won't hump. If money is diverted from public schools to private institutions, it is a certainty that county commissions, state legislatures, and congressmen will do their damnedest to find more tax money to refill those coffers. No government mandate ever, ever gets permanently downsized. Never happened, never will. In fact, many voucher programs are actually being sold on the fact they will not divert existing public school funding. That's not a stick, it's a carrot with ranch dressing on the side.
So what you will have is public schools with the same amount of money, and less students. That'll teach them. You will also have a new growing entitlement of tuition welfare, because that's what vouchers are. Just another cancerous government giveaway that gives those who can't afford to pay private school tuition a free ride, and a spit in the face of the hardworking parents who pay the full nut.
Here's another thing. Once those private schools take those public funds they will be at the mercy of the government lawyers and the grievance pimps. Public monies are chained and manacled with imperial diktats like Marley's ghost. Wait until some private school principal disciplines little Rasheed with a belt or a paddle. It will be Uncle Tom's Cabin and Mandingo rolled into one nasty dust-up. The government bureaucrats will have these schools by the shorts, and will pummel the discipline and the testing and the popery right out of them.
So there is your voucher future: unreformed public schools with even higher bureaucrat to pupil ratios, higher taxes for the working stiff, and scores of private schools sued out of existence.
Nota bene: My children attend that rarest of rarities: an excellent public school system, so I don't have a dog in this fight. Even a dog that won't hump. But I do pay taxes, so I am a stakeholder at the pecuniary level. And I hate to see people believe in fairy tales.
My friend Dax has a post up about railroad hobos, and it rang true with me. God knows I've chased a few away in my time. I'm a Home Office fellow now, but I've run a railhead, and know exactly what he's talking about.
After World War I, and again during the Depression, men took to the rails as hobos, looking for work, or escape from debt, or a reason to live. Precursors to Kerouac. Now they ride the rails as varmints and thieves. What was a boxcar of cotton in 1932 is now a container full of DVD players, or plasma TV's.
Rail terminals, by their very nature, are located in bad neighborhoods. If it was a good neighborhood before the railroad showed up (unlikely) it would fast become a bad one. It's just the nature of industrial blight. You can't stop that.
Those areas where a train slows down to enter a terminal, or exits slowly from the other side, are known as Indian Territory. That's where the cinder dicks come in. They are railroad police. Well trained, conscientious, and armed with a license to bust head upon company property if necessary. They are called dicks because they were historically considered detectives in the olden days, when Pinkertons guarded the Union Pacific from Butch and Sundance. The cinder part comes from the fact the grade was covered in cinders from coal powered locomotives, and sooted their brogans.
This will sound racist, but I don't care. The white men I chased off my ramp were all bums. Drunks, misfits, basically harmless. They wanted a free ride from Nowhere to Nowhere, and were in no hurry to get there. The blacks were swarming over the containers like the skinnies whooping it up on the helicopters in Black Hawk Down. They were unabashed thieves. Some were quite industrious, and would hijack UPS loads at gunpoint as they arrived for loading.
Cinder dicks are hard-working cops. Good people. They are constrained by jurisdiction, and tradition, and often have to give up the chase when a perp crosses into civilian authority. But they always did me right, and did their best to keep my ramp punk-free.
So now my younger daughter is bitten by the Sea Monkey bug. I've been through this before. The good folk at Sea Monkeys Inc. have upped the ante, however, and offer various theme packages now. There's Space Shuttle Expedition, for instance, and Sea Monkeys on Mars. I believe Skeeter is torn between the Magic Castle and the Ghostly Galleon. There are ten more, by the way.
When I was a senior in high school, my AP Biology teacher made us enter a Science Fair exhibit. As a senior! I was enraged, and bought some Sea Monkeys and put up a cheap triptych called "The Life Cycle of the Brine Shrimp" (actually, I think I recycled my brother's triptych from his 5th grade science project called "The Life Cycle of the Brine Shrimp"). The brine shrimp were new, however. Absolutely the worst academic work of my life. He gave me a C, and it lowered my grade to a 79. I was kept out of the National Honor Society by 1 point in one class on 4 years of high school achievement.
You could say I have issues with Sea Monkeys.
I just bought this bullwhip on Ebay for twenty seven dollars, American. Why? I don't need it. But someone does. It is my mission to find that someone.
This beast is 16 feet long. More than adequate for corralling any inappropriate behavior. By God, I think I'm going to like it. I've always wanted a good bullwhip. From Lash La Rue to Indiana Jones, what better way to say I love you than 16 feet of triple-braided heat?
By the way: It has a string popper on the end. I'm not sure what that is, but I think it's for the ladies.
My blog round ups (back when I actually did them) usually consisted of me linking a dozen folks or so, then wrenching my shoulder out of the socket patting myself on the back. Hard Work! I'd claim, then nurse a Scotch and gaze mistily at the screen.
Just to remind me, I'm sure, of How It's Done, Kelley has created a masterpiece of Blogdignagian splendor that outshines even her previous great work on the Cul-de-Sac, and has left me feeling, well, lazy. Yes, lazy works. That impotent word was roiling around, but I snuffed that out fast, lest I incur the dread BIGBONER.BZ spam again.
170 bloglinks (someone did the math for me, which is very good, as I believe my abacus is missing a bead, possibly a tenth power).
Curl up for the next two or three hours, and enjoy. And ponder how many hours she must have spent on this love letter. All Hail
Anyone else getting that BIGBONER.BZ spoot mail? Let me say right now, before going further, that they've got the wrong guy, okay? I don't need no stinking bigbonerz pills. But I've cleansed my cookies and temp files, I've run ad-aware repeatedly, it keeps coming back. Just like me.
...I tought I taw a puddy cat."
I can't get this out of my head. I severely resent the Manichean dichotomy I was forced into as a child: Hanna-Barbera (cheap, evil) versus Warner Brothers (genius, masterful). H-B was cartoon on the cheap, although I retain some semblance of affection for Huckleberry Hound, the rotter.
WB was cosmic. Where else could you find alternative versions of Jack and the Beanstalk?
Which brings me to my query: Are you a Tweety/Sylvester version fan, or a Daffy/Bugs version fan? I lean towards the latter, simply because it was always enjoyable to watch Daffy lapse into evildoing. Also, Tweety was gay. Except for Mr. Hyde Tweety. He had game.
Yet another Palestinian cocksucker dead. I hate to be so bloodthirsty, but I didn't start this fight. Gee, do you reckon Sharon felt he had a green light after Bush and Blair spoke out on the integrity of the settlements? Boo-yah.
Kofi is upset, naturally, the stupid corrupt bastard.
Can't we enter a resolution in the UN that declares Israel won the Gaza Strip from Egypt, and the West Bank from Jordan, in the 1967 attacks by the Arab fiends? Land won fair and square. Then Israel should pull back to the green line, dismantle their settlements, build their wall, and flash videos of hot strumpets over the wall to the pindick Islamists for a few years.
See, Arabs have a culture of shame. They are pindicks, only we don't have the resolve to remind them. Time to ramp it up.
I've bitched a lot about the media's tendency to sqawk about American casualties without supplying relevant data on enemies killed. That is a bullshit construct, and I resent it. So witness my joy when today's fishwrap carried a story on Marine snipers in Iraq, and the chaos they are wreaking. The L. A. Times even has it on-line, by Jove, although you'll have to register. I'm lazy, and you should read the whole article, but I'll give some tidbits:
Taking a short breather Friday, the 21-year old Marine corporal explained what it was like to practice his lethal skill in the battle for this city [Fallujah].
"It's a sniper's dream," he said in polite, matter-of-fact tones. "You can go anywhere and there are so many ways to fire at the enemy without him knowing where you are."
Sniping - killing an enemy from long distance with a single shot - has become a significant tactic for Marines in this Sunni Triangle city as three battalions skirmish daily with armed insurgents who can find cover among the buildings, walls, and trees.
Sniping experts - there are several here with the Marines - say there might not have been such a "target-rich" battlefield for such shooters since the World War II battle for Stalingrad, during which German and Russian snipers dueled for months.
As a miltary tactic, sniping is centuries old; the first snipers used bows and arrows. Leonardo da Vinci is said to have been a sniper against the Holy Roman Empire.
The Marines believe their snipers have killed hundreds of insurgents, although that figure alone does not accurately portray the significance of sniping. A sign on the wall of sniper school at Camp Pendleton, California, displays a Chinese proverb: "Kill One Man, Terrorize a Thousand."
"Sometimes a guy will go down, and I'll let him scream a bit to destroy the morale of his buddies," said the Marine corporal. "Then I'll use a second shot."
"As a sniper your goal is to completely demoralize the enemy," said the corporal, who played football and ran track in high school and dreams of becoming a high school coach. "I couldn't have asked to be in a better place: I just got lucky. To be here at the right time and with the right training."
The corporal hopes to get back home by late fall in time to go deer hunting with his father.
"When I go hunting for whitetail, it's for food and sport," he said. "Here, when I go hunting, it's personal, very personal."
For the inquiring, that picture to the left is Lileks peering into Michael Jackson's boudoir for the first time...
It's Nostalgia night, indulge my whims. When I was 5, or 6, or 7, thereabouts, my sister Belinda turned me on to scavenger hunts. She would have been 12 or so. How I loved them. She and her friends were aficianados of the sport, and constructed them inside the house, at first, then outside. They were MC's, of course, we were the bait. Payoff may have been a Mary Jane, or a Squirrel Nut Zipper, or just a note telling you you were a rat fink.
I don't know what excited me about the games, maybe it was just the thrill of the hunt. Layer in detective work, abstract thinking, deductive reasoning. Not unlike crossword puzzles, or acrostics. The thrill is indeed in the solving of the riddle.
Time wore on. In this case, weeks, I think. The hunts were over. But I swear I've never had such a thrill of excitement, and expectation, and potential treasure, as those stupid scavenger hunts.
In keeping with my time-honored tradition on Fridays I give you a little pulp in the form of a most evocative Bettie Page picture:
Seems a bit testy, don't she?
Funny thing is, she reminds of someone I know, which rather impels the vision, so to speak.
I don't want to leave you with so little, so how about a Quizilla:
Which Bettie Page Are You?
I shan't be taking it myself, but I'd love to get some feedback from my Intrepids.
Oh, by the way. This is the Bettie Page picture I really wanted to discuss:
You know me and gagballs. But I think, ultimately, Bettie made a better Master than Slave. Empowerment, and all. And perhaps that is the key to a successful relationship: finding someone who is comfortable in both roles. As for me, I'm glad I can type, because this gagball is killing me.
UPDATE: Well, I took the plunge, being the sexually ambiguous freak I am:
You're Color Bettie, you're bright and modern and
you seem to always know what's going on. You're
into art and expessing deep feelings...that
makes you a little deep yourself.
Which Bettie Page Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Love me, pity me, worship me. I'm a sad fuck, but I have a sense of humour. Your call.
That lighthouse and ATON post got me to thinking about other aids to navigation. In the bad old days lightships would anchor offshore, with a powerful beacon on top, as semi-permanent positioning markers for sea-going vessels. These were expensive to operate, however, requiring crews, fuel, and foodstuffs, and they were eventually replaced by permanent towers that could operate with smaller crews, or even be remotely operated from shore. Loneliness and wanton buggery no doubt contributed to their demise.
The greatest of the offshore platforms were the so-called Texas Towers, which were designed after the oil platforms off the coast of Texas. They only built 6 Texas Towers: Buzzards Bay, MA (1961), Savannah, GA (1964), Frying Pan Shoals, NC (1964), Chesapeake, VA (1965), Diamond Shoal, NC (1966), and Ambrose, NY (1967).
The Savannah Tower was destroyed in 1996 when a containership, the Neptune Jade, collided with it. A damned bummer.
When I was a kid hitting the Savannah Texas Tower was the ultimate in an offshore fishing trip. I only recall making it all the way out to the Tower once, because it was many miles offshore, a dangerous trip for a pleasurecraft with no radio. It was a behemoth, though.
A Texas Tower would probably be a good place to burn one. I'll have to check into that. In the meantime, keep watching the History Channel, and one day you'll catch the story of the oil platform Alexander Keilland, which collapsed and capsized in the North Sea in 1980 after getting slammed by a hundred foot wave during a storm. Unbelievable footage as the storm whipped up and they tried to helivac workers off, with no luck. 120 men dead. Significantly worse than a damned bummer.
I mention my father quite a bit on this site, and I cherish his memory, but he was an enigmatic creature. Brilliant, brilliant, and also capable of more base behaviours. He was a man of great appetites: intellectual, metaphysical, corporeal. Between me and my two brothers I was lucky, I suppose. I inherited the corporeal side. I tell you, though: I'll always protect his paradoxical nature, he not being here to defend himself, and listen: he could really shake you up.
When I was a wee bairn my parents used to entertain a lot, or, shall I say, be entertained a lot. They went out nearly every night, to tuxedo and dinner jacket affairs; my mother was heavily invested in Dior gowns. We didn't miss our parents at night. Perish the thought. We did, however struggle mightily to stay awake for the homecoming, because sometimes we could entice the Senator to play Gorilla upon their return.
I never understood at the time why my mother hated this game, but we were enthralled when Dad would assent to play the role. Stripping his jacket, he would assume a knuckle-dragging form with his massive frame, assume a scowl incredibly horrifying, swing his arms from side to side like a simian metronome, and attack us.
I mistook his inhuman countenance for Method Acting, being five or so. I didn't realize at the time it was liquor overload. That was my mother's fear. He'd successfully managed to drive home, only to possibly kill one of his children in an ape game gone awry.
We were oblivious, of course, and would squeal in delight as he assumed his ape posture, arms swaying, and would bolt after us with alarming alacrity. He would scoop you up in one arm, then scoop up a brother in the other. Terrifying, and great fun.
By the time I was eight or so he either lost steam, or the will to buck my mother. Gorilla was a very rare game, if indeed it occurred at all.
I resurrected Gorilla with my daughters when they were little ones, but they didn't revel in the fear, and the chase, like boys do, and the Wrath of the Indignant Mother prevailed, so I quit years ago. Just as well. I didn't have the game, the chops, to be the Gorilla my old man was.
My particular friend Rankin' Rob is going through a most opprobrious episode of repressed abuse awakening, or whatever the thorough-pists call it.
Share his pain, I beseech you. And hide your elf costume.
Almost done, but I just know there are more deductions out there (read: I still owe a bit). What am I forgetting? Or, rather, what is The Bride forgetting? Her cigarbox of receipts is empty. Trying to explain the joys of Excel is beyond the pale. This is not good for a self-employed person. I find I must take matters in hand, so to speak. Several things I am attempting to deduct, if I can find a precedent:
One (1) inflatable doll (female, brunette) for sales training purposes: $89.99
One (1) subscription to Big Black Butt magazine (continuing education: comparative anatomy): $72.00
One (1) E-cylinder of nitrous oxide (carseat dentalwork): $129.95
One (1) copy of Blue Velvet (Special Edition) on DVD (homeschooling credit; subject: what young girls should not watch): $20.48
One (1) tattoo of a schwa on left cheek of ass (diction lessons): $136.00
That should get me over the hump.
The Company is yanking the coffee service at the end of the month, when the contract expires, along with the water cooler. Oh, poor we is. X million over plan in the first quarter, the corporate jet making umpteen round trips to Augusta last week for the Masters, paying our ex-boss $68 million to... well... I don't talk shop here. Suffice it say he longer signs my paychecks, he signs my Washingtons.
This isn't cost savings. This is wickedness. Control freak stuff designed to wear people down, and purge a few more heads without benefit of a sweet severance. Enough to make one a Bolshie czarina-killer.
It's not like it was good coffee. It was Vietnamese robusta mixed with twigs and squirrel droppings. It tasted like cat urine strained through a possum meat burrito defecation. But I had acquired a taste for the potion, and will be forced to bring in a personal brewer.
And whose fault is this? Mine, of course, for being there. Like the Scots lads realized in Trainspotting, being colonized by wankers makes you something even less than a wanker.
Looking back at my recent posts it's obvious I'm grasping around the Velocihovel for ideas. Between the blue Fresnel and the hubble bubble I've been working the plant ledge pretty well.
Hear yea: I have much cooler stuff on the ledge, which I shall parse out like loose tobacco in a Greyhound station, meaning meagrely, and selfishly. Yet: a Chinese figurine, a Rodriguez bust, a bamboo putter, an onyx obelisk, ancient books. I also note a faux-Etruscan sculpture, a significant picnic basket, a small grinning gargoyle. Oh, yes. And plants.
Och, I have some material here. Perhaps I will exploit it, and share the memories. Meagrely, though.
I'm shocked, I tell you, that the majority of my correspondents felt I should ride the lightning to reverse my fortunes. Perhaps I reap what I sow, acquaintance-wise, eh? I'd already had my passport visaed for Brazil, and brushed up on my portuguese.
Read between the lines, people. I always tell you what I really want.
I read a newspaper story about 12 or 15 years ago about an old couple shopping in the M&M on Habersham Street. Having lived in the Chatham Apartments with The Bride in our earliest days I know the old M&M well, an urban greengrocer bordered by some tough neighborhoods, but also near some fine city dwelling across from Forsyth Park. But the Melavers, who owned the M&M's, perservered in bad neighborhoods as well as prosperous, and I like to think they brought some value to some folk who weren't exactly awash in cash. I believe Melaver sold out long ago, but they brought decent food to the peeps in their time, and there are no flies on that fact.
Back to my story: this elderly couple was checking out when the wife collapsed in the checkout line, and died. It seems she plucked her canteloupe from a pile that harboured an infant rattlesnake, which bit her on the finger. She probably never felt the bite, circulation and nerves being what they are at that age, and so the heartstop was all the more calamitous to her husband. Dead in the checkout line.
Death, and mayhem, and war don't bother me, at least in the metaphysical sense. Life, and death, happen. But something about that story haunts me. I fancy I will be elderly one day, forgotten by the moving masses and even grandchildren. The occasional call from an adult offspring. But let's face it: at that age, the olden only have each other. The odd actions triggered by years of habituation, the peculiar eccentricities, drive everyone else crazy. The olden only have each other. And to lose your significant like that, with no warning, must be tough stuff indeed. Bad enough to happen at home, but at a checkout line, by a baby reptile, innocent enough, acting in self defence? No reason for it at all? I doubt I should have much reason to carry on.
Again, these things happen all the time. I know that. But this story has hung over me for years, perhaps because I can't gin up an adjective to describe the feeling it engenders. I just felt so sorry for that old guy.
I've always been a fan of aids to navigation, be they bouys, both silent and sounded (by bell, gong, whistle, or horn), marker lights, or daybeacons. I like the way they provide information in so many ways. They guide you in from sea, and out, show you where the channel lie, and where the accursed manatee frolic.
I have a steel channel marker I took off the Savannah River in 1974 (legally), when they were replacing all the steel ones with those cheap plastic pieces of junk. It weighs a ton, and it's blue-lensed. Now, everyone knows what red, green, and white mean, but I'll be damned if I can remember what blue is. I believe I took it off a post at the north tower of the old Talmadge Bridge, so blue denotes a bridge hazard, I suppose. It has a fine glass Fresnel lens. The newer lenses are plastic, of course, at least in navigational aids. Lighthouses have the real deal, though.
I spent a month of my senior year of high school at the Coast Guard station at the Tybee lighthouse on an independent study program, so confiscating this light was my patriotic duty. Climbing the lighthouse and staring into a nine-foot tall, 680,000 candlepower First Order Fresnel lens whilst impaired was not, however. I was blinded for eight hours totally, with short-circuited vision for three days.
That little blue Fresnel sits still on my plant ledge, to remind me when I climb a lighthouse with my children to look to sea. To sea.
My brother brought me a hubble-bubble from Turkey in 1976. I keep it on my plant ledge in the kitchen, as hipster inoculation against suburban angst.
Funny thing, though. After finally investigating, I find these hookahs are for smoking tobacco.
All those years of misuse, gone to waste. I suppose I can cancel my subscription to Opium Fiend Quarterly now.
How was my Easter cum Birthday? Joyous, for want of a better word. I took the girls to church, then feted them with wantonly whipped chicken embryos at Perkins. Delicious.
See, I fear I don't Anglicize the insolent little heathens enough. And when my magisterial authority is found lacking due to Faith in Father Failure, I find the threat of a Capricious Almighty serves very well. Discipline backed up by fear of being smote by lightning bolt serves very well, indeed.
Of course they were beautiful angels, and lavished me with great affection and gifts, so my theories were rightfully dashed. Children do this well. By tomorrow they will be savage infidels again, alas. A day like today, however, covers all sins great and minor.
A wonderful day, in case you didn't read between the lines. A renewal of faith, a renewal of the old belief in redemption, a renewal of possibilities previously squandered.
A beautiful day.
I just finished The Hundred Days, Patrick O'Brian's 19th Aubrey-Maturin novel, and started his final novel, Blue at the Mizzen, an early birfday gift from the long-suffering and beautiful Bride.
As for Hundred, I don't know what to say. I'm no spoiler, but I will attest that it included the funniest, most brilliant passage of the series, and yet was capped by an absolutely outrageous poke in the eye of a fan. Only a mumping great villain, or a curmudgeonly 82-year-old novelist, would have done such a thing.
I approach number 20 with trepidation. I hope this old bastard didn't take his entire fictional world out with him as his life was leaking away. It would force me to find some 22-year-old snot-nosed whelp to wheedle a commission for a 21st novel out of the estate, only to make 19 and 20 merely bad dreams, like that frigging Dallas episode.
The Curse continues, although it manifests itself in ever more esoteric forms. I offer, as Exhibit A, my golf outing today.
While enjoying an exquisite game at Marsh Landing, amidst wondrous salt marshes and petrified palm splendour, with osprey diving and eagles wheeling, a most strange abnegation of Newtonian mechanics occurred.
(Aside: my golf skills are much like my lovemaking skills, to wit, I don't give a particular damn about your impressions, because I'm having a great time.)
Anyway, I missed a one foot birdie putt, and as the false bitch god Allah is my witness, it was not my fault. After crushing my drive (well, 280 yards is crushing it for me), I laid a perfect sand wedge a foot from the honey hole.
Witness: my putt headed straight for the cup, dead on, then curled around the cup, an inch away, and ended up precisely opposite me on the other side.
Fellow fiends, this is not possible, absent malevolent godworks.
Radical measures must be taken to shake this bad joss. I have a few ideas:
1) Bloodletting. Primitive, but it consoles and realigns the humours.
2) Electrical shock. I stuck a bobbie pin in an electrical outlet when I was two, and saw angels. It also jump started my memory card. I remember everything after that. Painful, but Franklinesque.
3) Flagellation. Oftentimes, I'm told, if you are beset by a lesser demon, self-abuse satisfies them, and they will depart for fresher climes.
4) A certain Santeria eucharist I am privy to, that involves chicken sacrifice and a fresh young whore from Sao Paulo. For no good reason I have placed this last on my list.
I'm in a quandary. Perhaps YOU, my faithful, should decide. Like a poll, my intrepids.
In all of my selfish bitchings I neglected to mention the new input clerk working in my department wears T-backs with white pants. Yes, you can count them.
Hey, I'm trying to find the glory in my misery. And I'm typing on a laptop, for God's sake. In the dark. Pity me.
Or hunt the bastards down and slay them as they beggar mercy.
Fortuna has been busy, friends, which is why I'm blogging from a temporary AOL account from my laptop. After taking an ass-fucking from AOL for the privilege.
The Wheel dictated that I have, not just a modem issue, but that damnable winsock issue. So I broke down and dropped the $200 for the 2000 Pro upgrade, only to find, after 1.5 hours of installation, that she would na work. After 2.5 hours on the phone with Microsoft, I can actually open Windows, but all my programs, including Turbo Tax (say 4/15. Thank you) must be reloaded. Fucked, I am. Even Microsoft told me they fucked me.
Then I tried to reload my modem through Comcast. No go. I STILL need the personal touch, the local call. Although the techie told me she could have fixed the winsock error for free if I'd gotten her the day before. I told her to screw herself.
After 29 minutes of sharing my personal info AOL allowed me to speak to you.
My new Dell will be here in a week, and yet, I feel the urge to hurt, to damage. Well, there's always my pud. HE won't notice the difference.
A limp modem, indeed. A Comcast technician is at the Velocihovel as I write, attempting to replace it. I cannot be there, of course, so the supervision has been outsourced. I am not sanguine of the prospects.
In fact, I am not sanguine of any of my prospects of late. There is much to be said for karma, and fate, and when Fortuna spins my wheel, the outcome is inevitably sum sine regno.
From misfortune at work to busted modems to an unaccommodated webhost-parasite relationship, I keep throwing snake eyes. Some maladies are significant (broken rollers on my sliding doors, a recalcitrant dishwasher), others minor (change sliding from my pocket unawares, a snag and tear in a favorite shirt), but the directional nature is much the same. Black clouds, and bad juju.
Nothing for it but to perservere. Fortuna is fickle, after all, and even she grows tired of prolix miscreancy.
Time for the wheel to spin again.