Saturday, February 28, 2009

saturday status

She says so many things, but they all sound like 'goodbye'Dont know what to say here. The current status of my marriage doesnt seem good, though. I have been oblivious to her needs, apparently. Not malice on my part, just equal parts neglect and cluelessness, but the scar tissue is thick and heavily built up. There may be no going back, which really really saddens me.
I saw these images, and simply had to put them together right then and there. They'd never struck me before, now they resonate.
Not happy right now.

No, I'm not.

Friday, February 27, 2009

quote for the day

clowns to the left of me...
"When a newspaper headline proclaims half of the children at a school are below average on a test, no one stops to think that’s what average means.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, speaking about math illiteracy.

thinking ahead

This is a post for my daughters to read. Not right now, though Thing 1 is approaching the age where it might be appropriate. But someday, I'll tell them to search for messages on my blog, and this will be one of them. It's a post by Bitch, PhD about a kid of rape that isnt normally considered rape. And because I want my girls to have healthy and non-toxic relationships, I'll want them to read this article some day, so that if what's described there ever happens to them, they'll understand it better.

So girls, read the article, and know that I love you.

Has anyone seen my piano wire?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

bad judgement

Terry Pratchett's definition of evil: when you treat people like things, which presumably includes treating them like assets or opportunities for profitWell, well, well. Seems there are a couple of judges in Pennsylvania who've been taking bribes to send kids in their juvenile courts to jail.
Why would they do something like that, one might ask?
Because the owners of the jail paid them to. Why? So that the jailers could make more profit, of course, because, you see, it was a privately owned jail.
Yes, folks, in what has become a fine American Tradition, we've figured out yet another means of making a profit from the misery of our fellow human beings. God Bless America! (And, of course, when I say "God" I mean "money").

The whole rationalization of the privatization movement is that private businesses can save money versus a government run enterprise. What nobody ever bothers to mention is just who it is that the private companies save the money for: themselves.
If anyone has any evidence of privatization saving the government any money, I've yet to hear of it. I have heard plenty of reports of privatization costing the government more, while providing service that is, at best, no better than that previously provided by the government agency that was replaced. In fact, the only place that ever seems to show any "savings" is in the area of the wages paid to the poor schmucks who do the actual work.

Privatization is yet another facet of a hidden gem in the Trickle-down Theory diamond choker. Unlike the taxation thing (which may even have been designed as cover for the real agenda), the idea that what's-good-for-business-is-good-for-America still thrives, with most people accepting this idea as an absolute truth, never seeing it for being yet another way in which money is hoarded by those who dont actually do the work in creating it. In reality, what's good for business is good for Business, and it only becomes good for America if Business feels like sharing, which, like the Rich and their under taxed millions, it rarely does.


Props to Jurassic Pork for the link and the inspiration to rant.

Monday, February 23, 2009

yak yak yak

When he tells me personally, then I'll give you my soul.  Until then you're just an insurance salesman.
I've been watching Joan of Arcadia recently, and it's a lovely show, which I would happily recommend (assuming you like low-key teen dramas which explore moral questions). It came out at about the same time as my beloved Wonderfalls, which makes me think of this: was Wonderfalls commissioned by FOX, in anticipation of the upcoming Joan on CBS? We know that studios do that kind of copy-cat show-making all the time. Of course, instead of getting a serious examination of teenagers and morality, what they got was a snarky gen-y'er dealing with supernatural plush toys, which may explain the lack of support from FOX (cancelled after only four shows, moved after two).

Anyway, that led to me a thought on religion: Religion is like a really good idea that was then run through a bunch of committees, none of whom will actually have to live with the decisions. I'm really hoping that those in charge of religions are almost right, but find themselves severely scolded upon presenting themselves at the pearly gates*.


* It'd be especially nice if they were sent back to try it again, this time perhaps as a girl from a small village in Africa.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

of mad scientists and their experiments

There are those who say that the true goal of this generation of Republicans is to "starve the beast", to cut government funding (i.e., taxes) to such a point that it must slash funding to all those pesky "entitlement" programs that Republicans hate (i.e., things that poor people can get but which are paid for by taxes from the rich). this new tax-cut formula will surely guarantee our success... Bwa ha ha ha!
Well, one of the beauties of all the various state governments around the U.S. is that they can act as a kind of laboratory for various ideologies and practices that ebb and flow between the parties here.
Take California, for instance. Due to a two-thirds rule for fiscal laws, combined with the usual (minority) Republican inability to compromise, we may be about to see just what happens when conservatives get their wish for a much smaller government. They'll tell you it'll be a moral paradise where free folk will live good lives without government interference (translation: wealthy men will not be interfered with in their pursuit of more money). My guess is that it will lead to increased crime, which will lead to more crime bills, which will be paid for by... I dont know how - but no doubt it will be "creative" and involve no expense to the wealthiest citizens. Probably something involving confiscation of property - that seems to be popular right now.

Update:

Well, that's what I get when I decide to post something like this two days later - irrelevance. Okay, so Californians get to keep their government, they even got a tax increase, which is kind of amazing. Still, I think my point about Republicans is valid, even if we dont get to see the rats run the maze in CA.


props to Gerry Canavan.

Friday, February 20, 2009

from the Learn Something New Every Day dept:

Ever hear of the Baltic Dry Index? Me neither. Seems like it might be important, though.
If they were smart, they'd make the carriers watertight, then come up with a prow and flotation device to attatch to the sides. I'll admit, though, the boat's are cheaper.

props to the Hedonistic Pleasure Seeker

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

not really funny

It's funny that many of the same people who insist that abstinence is the best way to prevent accidental teen pregnancy are also the same people who will tell you that education and training are the best way to prevent accidental firearm deaths.

Another thing that's "amusing" is that teen pregnancy is that it has been, for most of the history of mankind, completely normal and natural. Seems to me that the crisis in our society is not the "epidemic" of teen pregnancy, but that we havent given our children the emotional and psychological tools to either make decisions about sex, or to handle the consequences of those uniformed decisions. And ask yourself, who is at the forefront of such failure?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

on the seventh day...

So, if you'll remember, I was having an "existential crisis" a couple of weeks ago. Well, actually, it wasnt so much existential, as marital. You know, those dreaded words, "we have to talk", followed by upheaval.
The crisis was that my wife of 15 years asked me to move out. She says she still loves me, but that she cannot live with me. Ironic, considering just a few days earlier I'd commented to Lydia that "love was easy, it's commitment that's hard" (or something to that effect). She says she wants me to figure out who I am, and get myself organized, and my head on straight. To be, in a nutshell, happier.
Does this sound counter-intuitive? Throw out your husband who loves you in order to make him happy? Well, yes, it does, but she had a weird kind of logic to it, and funny thing, she may be right.
I'm not happy.

But...

I'm figuring out some things, and I'm active again. I had a "joke" about my life, that it was work, sleep, work, sleep. It wasnt actually that funny, though, because it was pretty much true, if you count out all the time I spent watching TV, and waiting.
Waiting for work, waiting for my wife to get home, waiting for the kids to be ready, waiting for whatever plans my wife had made for me, waiting for the weekend, waiting for nice weather, waiting for the kids to grow up, waiting for the next holiday, waiting, really, for everything. I was in limbo, and doing nothing there.
I had a new digital camera, but rarely used it. I had a new scanner still in the box. I had ten years worth of unfiled paperwork (I was surprised too). I had a complete darkroom which I didnt have set up. I have a garage full of stuff. I have a car sitting in the driveway (for three years!) in need of relatively minor repairs. I had all sorts of things that needed doing, ranging from major to miniscule, and I did none of them.
My excuse was always, "I need more time", or "I need more space".
Well, guess what? I've got both.

Accomplished so far:

1. Scanner set up
2. about half of the paperwork work sorted.

Doesnt sound like much, I know, but it's just been six days. Today is the seventh. I'm tempted to say I'm resting, but I'm not. I've got too much to do.

So, I'll be thinking about what makes me happy, and how to become more fullfilled, and trying not to be such a grumpus when I am at home (I'm still picking up the kids after school). She hasnt left me yet, not really, so things arent over. They're just... I dont know. That's what I've got to figure out.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

explaination

In case you're wondering, this is Boss Tweed.  Look it up.
Here's a good parallel for a country without the rule of law that I think most people can identify with: A nation without the rule of law will be run just like most people's jobs, i.e., the boss will do what he likes, and "if you dont like it, I'm sure there are plenty of people who'd love to have your job".

Sound familiar?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

quote for the day

""I doubt that the journalists at the New York Times and NPR or at ABC or at CNN are going to ever admit just how wrong their negative pronouncements were over the past four weeks." (MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, 4/9/03)"
Well, this may have been at least partially true, they wont admit they were "wrong", especially since they were not. Even had the war gone well, many liberals still would not have admitted they were wrong, since much of the liberal arguement against the war was a moral one, and morality doesnt change just because the other guy "wins". But let's just imagine Joe Scarborough admitting that he was wrong...

Cant do it, can you?

There's a whole bunch more quotes like this one at Welcome Back to Pottersville, and they are damned satisfying (if shadenfreude is your thing, that is).

Saturday, February 07, 2009

mmmmm. ice cream

My friend Shaun sent me this.

Ben & Jerry's ice cream created "Yes Pecan!" ice cream flavor for Obama. They then asked people to come up with a George W. Bush memorial flavor. Some of the best responses follow:

what are those middle two, mustard and spinach?

Abu Grape
Cluster Fudge
Nut'n Accomplished
Iraqi Road
Chock 'n Aw
WireTapioca
Guantanmallow
imPeachmint
Heck of a Job, Brownie!
Neocon Politan
RockyRoad to Fascism
Cookie D'oh!
The Housing Crunch
Nougalar Proliferation
You're Shitting In My Mouth And Calling It A Sundae -
Credit Crunch
George Bush Doesn't Care About Dark Chocolate
WMDelicious
Bloody Sundae
Caramel Preemptive Stripe
Good Riddance You Lousy Motherfucker... Swirl




I think my personal favorite is WMDelicious. It's supposed to have stuff in it, but all you ever can find is vanilla.

Friday, February 06, 2009

idea

I think a way of promoting the idea of National Healthcare across to the average American is to present the idea that insurance premiums are already a kind of a privatized system of taxation (for instance, the subject of your video pays $7200 a year in the "taxes", which doesnt include things such as deductables, co-pays, and prescriptions). Admittedly, this tactic may not work well, since technically health insurance is "voluntary".
Perhaps a better way would be to work up a budget and a set of tax tables letting the average American know exactly what they might be paying. Right now while people are doing their taxes and so quite aware of how much money they are sending out could be a good time to do such a thing. I dont know what the rates would be, but I would suspect that they will be lower than many people's current insurance costs (I figured mine to be about $8000 plus for a family of four - surely my tax rate for "socialized medicine" wouldnt be over 10%). Make sure that when people figure their tax rate, they consider it compared to (or rather, instead of) to their current insurance premiums, otherwise it just looks like an additional expense, rather than a savings.
for the most part, it goes AWAY.If this post seems a little slip-shod, I apologize. Perhaps I'll rework it and repost it later. I'd also like to point out that the above graphic came from what appears to be an insurance industry website, so bear that in mind.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

quote for the day

"A lot of us are downsizing not only because we have to, but because we think it is the right thing to do."

Robert Jones, business owner
This quote comes from an article in the Dallas Morning News describing how wealthy people are spending in a less extravagently visible way. Presumably, that's because many of them are less wealthy than they once were, but it also suggests that they do so because they are, as the article says, trying to look like everyone else.

Hmmmm. In an era where we've seen most people's real, adjusted incomes fall or remain static (and where, despite claims of a lack of inflation, the basics of life and personal betterment, save for Chinese electronics, have gone up considerably in the last decade), maybe the super-rich, those one-percenters who've been the only beneficiaries of GOP rule, are thinking that it might be a good idea to lay low before the prolitariate get any bright ideas about taxing away all of "their" hard earned money.

No, no, I'm sorry, I'm sure that they're just feeling our pain.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

first koan


Is it better to slowly and carefully work your way out of a rut? Or to tear everything apart and just shove, hoping that you can get it all back together after you get out? The former is often slow, even unsuccessful, and takes great patience, but with the latter it is almost guaranteed that you will find something has been lost in the process.


Discuss in essay form.

Barney Frank gets it right



props to the Osterly Times

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Blogroll Amnesty Day


Well, it's Blogroll Amnesty Day, that clever meme created by... well, somebody. Last year I was given to understand that it was Jon Swift and Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, but apparently Blue Gal is also involved. Or maybe not. I dont know, hell, I dont even really care.

Here's the idea: Blogroll Amnesty Day is a celebration of the Little Guy. Apparently (last year this didnt seem to be the case) the idea is to stick it the Big Boys, those overread, overhyped blogs whose writers get to go on the Daily Show and shit. You can do this by linking to 5 other blogs who get lower traffic than your own. I thought this would be nearly impossible, but it turns out that I was wrong. Through the miracle of Blogshares, I find that several of the blogs that I read are actually less linked even than mine is, and since I do read them and they seem to produce on a fairly regular basis, I present them to you, dear reader...

1. The Sapient Sutler
2. Monkey Eggs
3. Welcome To The Now
4. Have Coffee, Will Write
5. Pinky Tailors Bag Everywhere

There, that's five. Like I said, I cant believe that I found them, certainly they deserve more readers than me. Finally, let me add Lydia Valentine. You cant read hers because she's shy, but she deserves a mention anyway.

existential crisis, pt 1

Well, even as Obama brings change to the nation, so to does change come to my life. Not as welcome as Obama's, unfortunately. I wont go into details, suffice to say that the tone of this blog will probably change as I wrestle with various questions, including the self-indulgance of blogging, trying to define "success", and the perennial "what the fuck am I doing here?".
Rest assured, my posts will still contain the usual witty wordplay and inscrutibly obscure references that you're all accustomed to, but now levened with maudlin pathos which I will no doubt bring me great embarrassment in the future (possibly as soon as next week, even).
So why do it? Because I must. I didnt choose the Arts as my field of endevor because I thought it'd make me rich, I chose it because I ask questions, which is the purpose of all great art, even if it's badly done.
Funny thing is, even now as I contemplate the various questions which arise, I find myself thinking about them in the form of a post. Is this because I am addicted to blogging, or did I take so readily to blogging because I was already thinking this way? I dont know, but that's one of the questions I'll have to consider, isnt it?

Anyway, I felt that my loyal readers deserved some warning. I'll try not to make everything I post so dramatic. Maybe everything will right itself in a matter of days, even.
No, probably not.
Anyway, it helps my internal debate to see the various thoughts laid out in black and white, which means that you, dear readers, will be the victims of that need.

So, sorry about that.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

art




This guy named Edouard Martinet makes cool scultures using found objects. Check them out.