Saturday, June 30, 2007

a thought

I was sitting in a drive-thru lane today, and two cars ahead at the window, the customer there seemed to be taking a ridiculous amount of time getting their food. Usually, this indicates a person making unreasonable demands or sending something back or ordering something complex at the window or some other obnoxious behavior. The car had a big American Flag decal, and I thought to myself "fucking self-righteous Republican trouble-maker".

Here's the thing, though: I blamed the Republican, when the truth is, that person was merely an asshole. Assholes come in all stripes, all creeds, all colors, all socio-economic levels. Certainly, some are allowed to get away with more assholish behavior at certain times than others (right now, for instance, Republicans and African-Americans are ascendant; in the future we can expect extra-allowed asshole-ishness from Stay-at-home mothers and science types), but really, it's not fair to condemn a group (racial, religious or political) for ordinary asshole behavior.

Especially since there are so many other group-specific examples of bad behavior to hold against them.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

giving fealty to where it's due

What is THE deciding factor in any election?I had a thought the other day: We criticise politicians for forgetting who it was that put them in office (i.e., the voters). Well maybe the reason that the politicians dont feel the need to pay attention to the voters is because they know that We The People had little if anything to do with their being in power, and that even giving the appearance of that being true is just simply becoming too much trouble for them to go to.

Think about it, why pay attention to anybody who had nothing to do with why you're in the position of power that you occupy? I mean, civics are all well and good, if that's what got you where you are today. But what if it was merely the influence of vast sums of money and a network of oligarchs who gave you your "authority"?

If you want the person you voted for to represent you, then you need to make sure that your vote was what actually led to their holding of that "elected" office. The 2004 election should have been a shoo-in, but somehow John Kerry got the Democratic nomination, months before the actual convention. Does that sound like your vote meant anything?

My suggestion: $3000 campaign cantribution cap per candidate (even if the candidate is you). Eliminate money from PACs, corporations, Unions, and really really rich guys altogether. If you want to influence a campaign, then you're going to have to get off of your ass and knock on some doors or stuff some envelopes, not just throw money at it. If people can buy the work of others for a candidate, then doesnt that give the richest "voices" the most say? Is this a democracy, or what?

Speech which is paid for is not "free" speech, but advertising at best, and propaganda at worst. Until money is removed the equation of campaigns, the "people" will always get the short end of the stick (unless the money itself is distributed more evenly - then let it rip).

Sunday, June 24, 2007

no transparency, no accountability, no freedom

Last month, Brian Kelly of Carlisle, Pa., was riding with a friend when the car he was in was pulled over by a local police officer. Kelly, an amateur videographer, had his video camera with him and decided to record the traffic stop.

The officer who pulled over the vehicle saw the camera and demanded Kelly hand it over. Kelly obliged. Soon after, six more police officers pulled up. They arrested Kelly on charges of violating an outdated Pennsylvania wiretapping law that forbids audio recordings of any second party without their permission. In this case, that party was the police officer.

Kelly was charged with a felony, spent 26 hours in jail, and faces up to 10 years in prison. All for merely recording a police officer, a public servant, while he was on the job.

Fox News (believe it or not)
This is another one of those "What?!" moments for me. Can anyone think of a good reason that the police wouldnt want their behavior recorded? Okay, I can come up with some, too*. But here's the thing, they are public servants, and whether they like or not, they are accountable to us, and if that involves videotaping rather than cop said/accusee said testimony (and we know who will win that one), well, that seems like a perfectly fair way to do things.
But apparently not.
Now, this poor shmuck will have to spend thousands of dollars, both his own and (if he's lucky) others', to defend himself from a bogus application of the law, with little or no guarantee that he wont lose. In all probability, considering the current political climate that Authority = Correctness (i.e., that old and distinctly un-American idea that Might Makes Right), he probably will lose.
Keep an eye on this case, because it's a canary in our American Coal-Mine.

props to Contrary Brin

* Admittedly, I dont want people recording me. Then again, I dont have an abusable power over anybody (except my own children, who'll have plenty of room for revenge when I'm older).

Friday, June 22, 2007

art history in under three minutes

The little woman showed me this, and it is amazing. I ought to put it on the art blog (and I suppose I will), but I wanted people to actually see it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

comix time

This comic amused me. There is a lot more here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Well, this is interesting. Google "impeach Bush", with the quote marks so that the phrase itself is the only thing that it looks for. Number of finds: 1,140,000 sites or web pages.

"Impeach George Bush": 79,000 sites.
"Impeach George Bush" without the quote marks: 1.2 million.
"Impeach Bush" without the quote marks: 1.38 million.
"Impeach Bush Cheney", no quote marks: 1.4 million.
"Impeach Bush Cheney", with the quote marks, so that only pages containing that particular phrase is shown: 91,200 sites that talk, in some way, about that particular subject. That's a lot of talk about something that's "not on the table".

I find myself wondering how many letters to Congress it took, back in 1974, to convince the Legislature to begin impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon, and how that number compares to these numbers.

Then add one more to the list.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

will we get the point? (in our gut)

"At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001 ], and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country."

--Dennis Milligan, the head of the Arkansas GOP
Hmmm. One must wonder if this is a Republican Talking Point? And if it is a Republican Talking Point, that is, a soundbite conceived by Republican strategists for the purposes of holding on to or gaining power, then one might also wonder if it is just a phrase, or if there might be a further plan to go along with such a statement, such as discovering such a plan, but allowing it to procede, just to make a point without any talking.

Personally, should such an attack occcur, I would feel that perhaps the Bush Administration should not have wasted so much time and so many resources in Iraq, while letting the mastermind of 9/11, Osama bin Laden, escape scott-free. I would wonder if having troops and defensive equipment in the U.S. rather than half-way around the world might have made a difference. I would look at the chaos which must inevitably result from such an attack and wonder if it may have been less so had our National Guard been more available. And I would look at the timing of the attack, and the "warnings" that the Administration released beforehand, and wonder at how it created a perfect political climate to give the Republican Party its return to power. But most of all, I'll wonder, from my prison cell, detained as a terrorist sympathizer, whether my nation will ever be free again.

props to the Existential Cowboy

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Plymouth follow-up

Well, it was a mess. A rusty mess. It looked like something from the undersea world of Jacques Cousteau. See the video. Or read the article. It's kind of sad, though.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

quote for the day

"Mommy, why is the lying man still in charge of the law?"

The original senate Statement of No Confidence towards Attorney General Alberto Gonzoles, according to Jon Stewart at the Daily Show.

time in a (rusty) bottle

I lived in Oklahoma for several years, but I never heard about this:  In 1957, Tulsa buried a time capsule, to be opened in 50 years. But because Oklahoma City had buried a time capsule earlier, Tulsa just had to outdo them. How? By including a brand-new 1957 Plymouth Belvedere.
Unfortunately, the concrete vault that the car was placed in, designed to withstand a nuclear blast, turned out not to be so good at resisting ordinary groundwater. The car was resting in water "halfway up on the car's fenders", along with evidence that water (described by witnesses as "looking like chocolate milk", which is never a good sign) had been up to the top of the vault at some point(s).
This is not good news when the buried car in question is one that had a reputation for being rust-prone when not submerged.
Still, there's some hope. The car had been coated with a rust inhibitor (described by some as "grease"), and wrapped in a plastic bag that was "supposed to protect materials 'for 1,200 years' from rust". This statement looses a bit of cachet when one considers that bomb-proof bunker the bag was put in, however. But if you look at the photo, you can see that the bag is still car shaped, which it probably wouldnt be had the car gotten too rusty. I hope.

Oh, and the reason that the article caught my fancy in the first place: Inside the vault was placed a tank containing 10 gallons of gasoline and 5 quarts of oil, just in case internal combustion engines had become "obsolete" by 2007. Considering the current quagmire that is the middle east (not just Iraq), and how the whole reason anyone cares about that region for any purpose other than archeology and eschatology is due to that damned internal combustion engine. It should've been obsolete. To our sorrow, it is not.

And finally: 10 gallons? That'll get a Belvedere, what, 120 or 140 miles down the road? Maybe?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I-pod post

I love my I-podHave I mentioned how much I love my I-pod? It was a Christmas present from my wife (I liked it so much I got her a Nano for Mother's Day). I've always had a bit of an issue with repetitious listening to music, which has only gotten worse as I've got older. The I-pod is a near-perfect solution to that (I say near because the "shuffle" mode is far from perfect, apparently by design). Here's what I listened to last night:

Highwire Days, The Psychedelic Furs - (All Of This And Nothing)
C'est Pas La Peine Brailler, Geno Delafose - (Bayou Dance Party)
Hangin' Your Life On The Wall, Guy Clark - (Dublin Blues)
Blame Me, Chris Knight - (A Pretty Good Guy)
Secret Life, Soft Cell - (Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret)
Misty, Erroll Garner - (Polygram Sampler)
Calling You, Blue October - (History for Sale)
My Love, Paul McCartney & Wings - (Wingspan: Hits)
It's Still Rock And Roll To Me, Billy Joel - (The Essential Billy Joel)
Right Here Now, James McMurtry - (Where'd You Hide The Body)
La Bamba, Los Lobos - (Just Another Band From East L.A.: A Collection)
May I Baby, Sam & Dave - (The Best Of Sam & Dave)
Lost In The Back Yard, James McMurtry - (Where'd You Hide The Body)
Rouya, Seatbelts - (Cowboy Bebop CD BOX)
Mi Vida Loca, Quinto Sol - (Sample This!)
My Funny Valentine [instrumental], Chet Baker - (Deep In A Dream: The Ultimate Chet Baker Collection)
Scarecrow People, XTC - (Oranges & Lemons)
Adagio, The Swingle Singers Swingle Singers - (Jazz Sebastian Bach, Volume 2)
Poor Butterfly, Sarah Vaughan - (Golden Hits - Sarah Vaughan)
This Year's Girl (Alternate Version), Elvis Costello - (This Year's Model)
What a Wonderful World, Dan Zanes - (Night Time!)
Blind, Talking Heads - (Naked)
Siguiendo la Luna, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs - (Vasos Vacios)
Memories Are Made Of This, Johnny Cash - (Unchained)
N'ssi N'ssi, Khaled - (N'ssi N'ssi)
Zaira (Video Mix), Glykeria - (Ethnic Beats)
Lush Life, Joe Henderson - (Polygram Sampler)
Beautiful Maria Of My Soul (english version), Los Lobos - (Mambo Kings Soundtrack)
Vanity Kills, ABC - (Living In Oblivion: The 80's Greatest Hits, Vol. 5)
Hate Me, Blue October - (Foiled Alternative)
'Round About Midnight, Thelonious Monk Quintet - (Bebop's Greatest Hits)
All That Money Wants, The Psychedelic Furs - (All Of This And Nothing)
The One That Got Away, Tom Waits - (Small Change)
Little John Of God, Los Lobos - (The Neighborhood)
Streets of Laredo, Johnny Cash - (American IV: The Man Comes Around)
Wander In The Summer Wind, Dan Zanes & Friends - (Catch That Train!)
Life In The Fast Lane, The Eagles - (Eagles Greatest Hits, Volume 2)
Cats On Mars, Gabriela Robin - (Cowboy Bebop CD-BOX)

I'm Not In Love, 10cc - (Have a Nice Decade)
Desperate Man Blues, Kathy McCarty - (Dead Dog's Eyeball)
Leap Of Faith (Live), Delbert McClinton - (Big Blues Extravaganza: The Best Of Austin City Limits)
Jet Airliner, Steve Miller Band - (Greatest Hits 1974-78)
I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good, Frank Sinatra - (A Swingin' Affair)
The Face Of The Nation, John Mellencamp - (Scarecrow)
Burrito, Pete Yorn - (Day I Forgot)
Larry's Shuffle, Larry Burton - (Slide Guitar Blues)
409, The Beach Boys - (The Greatest Hits, Vol 1)
The New Sound Of The Venezuelan Gozadera (short ver.), Los Amigos Invisibles - (The New Sound Of The Venezuelan Gozadera)
Sad Songs (Say So Much), Elton John - (Greatest Hits, Vol. 3 [1979-1987])
Wild Night, Van Morrison - (Tupelo Honey)
Istanbul (Not Constantinople), Joe "Fingers" Carr - (Space-Capades)
Round Midnight (Vocal Version), Chet Baker - (Round Midnight)
Motivation, Sum 41 - (All Killer No Filler)
Una Palabra, Bio Ritmo - (Rumba Baby Rumba!)
Pacing The Cage, Bruce Cockburn - (The Charity Of Night)
The Bunny Hop, Brave Combo - (Group Dance Epidemic)
Gloria's Eyes, Bruce Springsteen - (Human Touch)
Angel Of Sin, Hank Williams III - (Straight To Hell)
Le Bozo Two-Step, BeauSoleil - (Parlez-Nous Á Boire)
Deacon Blues, Steely Dan - (A Decade Of Steely Dan)
Great Big Fanny, Bill Wharton & The Ingredients - (Slide Guitar Blues)
Experience Unnecessary, Sarah Vaughan - (Golden Hits - Sarah Vaughan)
Naima (Alternate Version 1), John Coltrane - (Giant Steps)
Nobody Knows You When You're Down & Out, Eric Clapton - (Unplugged)
Let's Get It On, Marvin Gaye - (Starbucks Barbeque Beat)
Dear John (I Sent Your Saddle Home), John Prine - (In Spite Of Ourselves)
Open All Night, Bruce Springsteen - (Nebraska)
Hummingbird, B.B. King - (B. B. King Anthology 1962-1998)
Be-Bop-Battlin' Ball, Eddie Gaines and the Rockin' Five - (32 Original Historic Rockabilly Classics)
Pictures Of Jesus, Ben Harper & The Blind Boys Of Alabama - (There Will Be a Light)

See what I mean about the shuffle not being terribly random. There is several days worth of music in this particular playlist (a review list for culling out crap, like that ABC song), and still I got several songs from the same albums. Irksome.
Still, the variety's better than listening to CDs (I never know what to pick, and so seem to return to the same stuff), and the music is about a hundred times better than the radio (no idiot DJs!). Make that two hundred.
One day, I plan to have every piece of music I own on the I-pod (assuming that I have enough room). I cant wait, I really cannot.

(image stolen from Ziggy)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

quote for the day

Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them.
-Albert Einstein

props to random jokes

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Safety, not donuts

can you see the swat guys with automatic weapons in the background?  And this is the Carrolltons Police's LOGO!Hey y'all, if you're looking for a safe place to raise your kids, may I suggest Carrollton, Texas? I'll tell you, Carrollton Texas has got to be a really safe place to live. How do I know that? Well, recently, I got a ticket there, for parking in a handicapped zone. In an industrial park. Outside a business closed for the night. In an empty parking lot. At 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning (or rather, Friday night).

Yep, a town where cops are handing out tickets like that must have no other, more important, crimes going on anywhere, so it's got to be safe. Right?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Rupert Murdoch is the Virus Devouring the Soul of Western Democracy
A. Alexander, February 13th, 2007

Historically speaking the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia have a lot in common. Yet, their shared history pales in comparison with their contemporary commonalities. And none of their more recent shared characteristics are more revealing than these:

1. Their leadership is the most committed to the continued war and occupation in Iraq.

2. All three country's leaders are highly unpopular with their respective electorate.

3. Despite the devastating political consequences, all three leaders in all three nations continue to ignore the will of the people they supposedly represent and fiercely defend and, at least in one instance, insist upon escalating the war in Iraq.

Still, perhaps, there is one thing the three nations have in common that is the single most important and defining contemporary characteristic: In each country the Australian-born mega-media mogul, Rupert Murdoch (FOX and FOX News), controls a large portion of the so-called mainstream press

There's more, if you want to read it, but as a Fox hater, I think this about says it all. Thank God Rupert's an Australian born "citizen" of the U.S. Then again, God obviously isnt paying any attention.

Friday, June 01, 2007

2nd notice

Okay, so I talked to The Brother yesterday, and I asked him what he thought of my new Art Blog, and he said that he couldnt find it. Now, while I'm not fishing for compliments or anything, I kind of expected someone to say something in the last week since I announced the blog's existence, and his inability find it might explain why no one has. So I'll try it again.
Due to the political nature of this blog, and my potential use of the Art Blog for job/portfolio use, I dont want to make any obvious links between this blog and that one. America, after all, has given up the right of free speech, so I dont want what I say here to bite me on the ass in unconnected (wage-earning) endeavors. Some day, if I decide to become political in my art, I might make that link, but today is not that day.
So, to see the new blog, go to the sidebar, under "frequent reads", and look for the blog that contains my name, minus "awayfromhome", a reference to a type of eating establishment containing a variety of stuff, a letter of the alphabet that is a french article, and the word "art". It's right there on top, you cant miss it.

That ought to get you there. If not, well...

I dont know what to say.