Friday, June 27, 2008

Just Trying to Understand...

Photo of the Yesterday: THE VINDOW VIPER - HE HAS FOUND ME!!!

On the subway in the mornings, I've noticed a Manhattan Storage ad with a picture of a battered woman that says "Support the gay and lesbian anti-violence project." I know this is an important issue, but wouldn't it be better if the sign said "Support anti-violence against humans,"? Then there's the ad I've seen on the side of phone kiosks: There's a orange-hooded punk, and a check-list that says he should learn to “Eat your vegetables. Finish your homework. Respect women.” Not to cry "save the males," but it would be pretty funny if the sign was a picture of a teenage girl and suggested she learned to "respect men." But seriously, how about simply, "Respect other human beings,"?

I've always had a problem with hate crime laws, because they seem to me to enforce the division that they're purporting to stop: If someone beats the living crap out of another person, it shouldn't matter that they're different races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, religions, or whatever. All that should matter is that one human being was pummeling another with his or her fists until that person was dead or in the hospital. Equality means we should simply see each other as people, and that should be more than enough.

I'm curious how an ad campaign would work that would promote unity instead of division. How about a subway poster of a kid shot on the street corner with the words, "HE WAS ANOTHER HUMAN BEING- WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?" in bold print? You could do the same with pictures of battered women, one kid tripping another, a burning cross, whatever you want. I call it the "What the fuck is wrong with you?" campaign. Feel free to make whatever posters you want and paste them across the globe. Maybe people will get the hint.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mine, All Mine!

Illustration Friday: Hoard

Can someone please answer me a question? As people are being forced out of their foreclosing homes, as the economy is tanking, as people can barely afford to drive to work, as, on top of it all, fuel costs are causing the price of EVERYTHING to skyrocket - why are we Americans simply accepting that we will have to wait until January 20th before things will change? Why aren't we expecting President Bush and congress do do something about these things NOW? Just curious.


Monday, June 23, 2008

RIP, George

Photo of the Yesterday: A Flushing squirrel looking for his stash.

As I'm sure most of you know already, George Carlin - one of the greatest comedians of all time - died on Sunday. Jen and I had the pleasure of seeing him perform this past December. There are many different types of comedy: there is the "we can all relate to it" comedy of Bill Cosby, the subtle word play of Emo Philips, the intellectual comedy of Monty Python, the muti-layers/meanings comedy of the Firesign Theatre... the list goes on and on. George Carlin's forte was brutal, intelligent, logical honesty that cut through lies and ideologies - as referenced by the title of his final show, (It's All Bullshit, and) It's Bad for Ya.

Here's one of my favorite clips of George's "Religion is Bullshit." Enjoy.

Rest in peace, George. Wherever it is you wanted to go, I hope you got there. Thanks for everything.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Picture of the Yesterday: Mandy examines the booze menu at Applebees.

For all the fellow nerds out there, there's an entire new "Classic" Star Trek movie online, Of Gods and Men. It's wonderfully cheesy, and includes many of Star Trek's unsung heros, like Chekov, Uhura, Yeoman Rand, and Tuvok. It also digs up TOS villians Charlie X and Gary Mitchell (although there are different actors playing them. What else does Gary Lockwood have to do these days?) Sit back, turn down the lights, and feed your inner geek!

I have some homework to on Willa Cather's My Antonia for a literature class. It's easy to read, but it's just one of those books that doesn't speak to me. Maybe because it doens't have a plot, just a bunch of unrelated sequences. I've come ot the conclusion that the novel is one of those things that's considered a classic because people say that it's a classic. I keep singing the title in my mind to the tune of "My Sharona." Maybe it would have been better if something tragic happened at the end, like if a herd of wild elk became rabid and trampled all the characters, or if Antonia turned out to be a she-male prostitute.

And while I'm being critical, I just watched the Dr. Who episode "Midnight." All I can say is please, Russell Davies, please just stop writing episodes. Please. (Maybe if the ailen had turned out to be a she-male prostitute...)


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Homeless in the Subway & Other Uplifing Things

Photo of the Yesterday: Homeless man sleeping in the Manhattan subway station, as seen through acid-graffiti etched into the window of the R train.

Another week comes to a close. I feel drained, as if some sort of etheric parasites have burrowed their way into my heart and are sucking my soul piece by piece into another dimension. Or, it just might be that I need more sleep. The simplest explanation is always so boring.

In another case of life being funnier than television - did you hear the one about the Canadian mother who had child services sic'ed on her because her child's teacher was told by a psychic that one of her students "whose name starts with a V' was being sexually abused?


Thursday, June 19, 2008

State of the Onion

Photo of the Yesterday: A Patriotic Fireplug on 161st Street & Jewel Avenue in Queens.

As I'm sure many of you have seen by now, has put forth a video attacking John McCain titled Not Alex. The video shows an actress and "her" baby, Alex. The woman spends most of the video telling John McCain how much she loves her baby, but jeez, the scum-sucking warmonger wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years, and well, he just can't have cute little Alex to sacrifice to the evil Republican War Machine.

What unbelievable horse-hockey. First of all, What McCain actually said was:

Questioner: President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for fifty years…

McCain: Maybe a hundred. Make it one hundred. We’ve been in South Korea, we’ve been in Japan for sixty years. We’ve been in South Korea for fifty years or so. That’d be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. Then it’s fine with me. I would hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where Al Qaeda is training, recruiting, equipping and motivating people every single day.

Hardly a promise of a hundred years of war. How many times have we heard since 9/11 that the Republicans are going to reinstate the draft? Hasn't happened, sorry. (Neither have the CIA planted WMDs, for that matter.) And it's very doubtful that John McCain is "counting" on little Alex, because Alex won't be able to serve in the military until (if McCain was elected for two terms) ten years after McCain left office. And what if he did? God forbid that when little Alex grows up, he decides to serve and try to make a difference in the world, rather than making fear-mongering propaganda videos like his "mother." (Not that the military is the only way to make a difference - I have the highest regard for teachers, doctors, the police, soup-kitchen workers, firefighters, first-responders, outreach volunteers, counselors - you get my drift.)

But wait, I'm not done ranting yet.

While I understood the decision to invade Iraq, I had the silly idea that our government knew what to do with it once they kicked out Saddam. Ever since 2003, it seems like they never had a clue. But what the hell is this 50 (or 100) years, crap? There wasn't any word of this when we shocked and awed, nor when the mission was "accomplished." But if the plan is to stay for decades, then obviously, they always did have a clue. The exit strategy seems to have always been to get a foot in the door in the middle east, creating a U.S. presence such as the one we had in Germany since World War II. Then there's the report that Bush is trying to secretly push through a treaty to ensure that we will remain in Iraq indefinitely. (I'm personally taking this story with a grain of salt as I haven't been able to find any verification or other source than this report, but it wouldn't surprise me.)

Senator Obama's entire campaign is based on the promise that he will get us out of Iraq. That would be great, if done in a way that stabilizes the country. My question to him is, exactly how and when are you planning to do this, or are you just as full of shit as Bill Clinton was when he campaigned on allowing gays in the military? (Sort of different from "don't ask, don't tell," isn't it?) Are you prepared for the probable retaliation against the Iraqis who helped us and stood up for their own freedom? How about a possible increase in terrorism as our military will be perceived upon retreat as a paper tiger? Yes, Iraq is a misadventure that has pissed our economy down the drain, cost thousands of lives, and ruined America's standing in the world community. But as much as we've screwed up, the question remains, what do we do now, and what will the consequences be? I don't want us to stay there another day, but don't we have an obligation to fix up what we messed up?


PS. Happy Birthday, Amanda Jean. I love you so much.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

These are the Yokes

Illustration Friday: Punchline.

Once upon a time, there was an old widow. She lived alone, with her two cats, so she wasn't really alone, but anyway - One night, just as she was laying down for bed, the phone rang. "I am the Viper!" a voice hissed. The old lady hung up right away, thinking it was some young whippersnapper playing a prank.

Just as she was dozing off, the phone rang again. "I am the Viper!" the voice hissed again, "and I am coming soon!" The widow slammed the phone down, her heart racing. Was this a prank, or something more sinister?

The phone rang again, and the old lady picked it up with a trembling hand. "I am the Viper, and I am almost at your house!" The old lady quickly hung up, wondering what to do. Should she call 911? Yell for help? She didn't want the neighbors to think she was some old frightened fool.

Then there was a banging on her door. The widow slid into the kitchen and grabbed a strong, heavy, butcher's knife. She crept up to the door and opened it. A man stood on her front porch and he said...


Monday, June 16, 2008

"I Wonder Where that Fish has Gone..."

Photo of the Yesterday: Amanda playing "Let's Go Fishin'."

For her birthday, Amanda received her newest favorite toy, "Let's Go Fishin'." The fish spin around and around, opening and closing their mouths. You get to stick in a plastic fishing pole and pull them out. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! The annoying, grinding, battery-powered motor doesn't matter when my little Mandy-Pandy's laughter melts my heart. Then I realize that she's laughing because she's fed her "Puppy in My Pocket" to one of the little plastic piranhas.

That's my little girl.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fan-boy, Much?

Picture of the Yesterday: Guess who one of my favorite authors is.

I'm plum out of ideas to write about tonight. Come to think of it, how did that phrase come about? Did people used to pay for ideas with plums? Or is the phrase "plumb" out of ideas, referring to the clogged pipes of the mind?

We had a party for Amanda's almost-fifth birthday today. Good food, good beer (Blue Moon,) good people. More toys to clutter up the apartment. But if they make her happy, then it's ok.


Friday, June 13, 2008

What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?

Picture of the Yesterday: Broken tombstones, taken from the corner of Church & Fulton Streets in Manhattan. (Once again, enhanced with Photoshop to make my camera-phone seem less crappy.)

Sorry to do another graveyard picture, but it struck me as incredibly sad that these tombstones have crumbled, their names and dates worn away. Somebody's 6x great grandfather or grandmother has been reposing there for hundreds of years, possibly remembered, possibly not. In high school, I had a girlfriend who lived near such a weathered graveyard in Bernardsville, NJ. When we passed it on walks, it amazed me that the dates couldn't be read, that there were people under the crumbling, centuries-old slabs that were long forgotten. Maybe there was a book somewhere with their names in them. Jen knows that whenever I go, I want to be cremated and dumped in the middle of the Atlantic. This way, people can visit me at the beach, and when it rains, I can visit them. Of course, by then, I think they'll have this whole "death" shtick taken care of. They'll probably have computers with our brains downloaded on them, where our respective programs can interract and yap away with each other day and night. (And who's to say that that we're not living in that world already?)

In the news of the living, the poor, poverty-stricken Yankees need another $350 million of public money for their stadium. Why is it that the city has no money for schools, but plenty of petty cash to loan Stienbrenner? The mind boggles.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Build a Better Life Through Dream Analysis

Photo of the Yesterday: The inside of my doorbell.

Lately, I've been having dreams of frustration; dreams where I want to do something badly, but always get thwarted at the last second. For example, I had a dream that I was at a friends' house who had a swimming pool. All I wanted to do was go for a swim. However, things kept popping up to stop me: I had to watch the kids, I couldn't find my bathing suit, I had to go to the bathroom, etc. etc. etc. I complained to Jen about those dreams last night: yes, subconscious, I KNOW I keep banging my head against self-erected walls - you don't have to remind me. (If simulism (the idea that the universe is just a giant computer game) is real, then my character's frustration stat is way too high. I want to re-roll.)

Instead, last night, I had three separate dreams that I was a daemon who was possessing various people: a tall thin white business executive, an athletic woman, and a black teacher. I used their bodies like puppets, and then discarded them. I can't say what that means, exactly, but it's more fulfilling than the frustration dreams at any rate. (However, I can't seem to wake from this dream where I'm possessing a plump, hairy, self-sabotaging electrician.)

Analysis, anyone?


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"...and I Feel Fine"

Photo of the Yesterday: An unfinished hallway at 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza, 23rd floor.

Apparently, the world is supposed to end tomorrow, and by "end" I mean a nuclear holocaust, in which only the members of Yisrayl Hawkins's yahoo cult will survive. So it really wouldn't be the "end" of the world, just that the world would be a crispy place for roaches and other insects to roam free. Then again, I'm sure there are places that are not on anybody's nuke map, such as Antarctica, most of Africa, Australia, South America... Ok, so it would be the end of the world for the northern hemisphere. Not really the "end" you understand, I mean, the cities would get hit, so I'd be "up a certain creek without a certain instrument" as Edmund Blackadder once said, but there's lots of land in between. Can't see anyone bothering to toast the cornfields of Iowa, (unless they wanted popcorn, that is.) How about Europe & Asia? You wouldn't be able to have a nuclear war without Russia - that would be rude - but there's a lot of land there. The U.S. has tons of nukes, but we can't be expected to cover everything! Still, I'm sure the radioactive levels would go down in a few decades or so. The question is, what will Hawkins and his followers do in the meantime? How far does the sphere of protection around their compound go?

And who will finish the 23rd floor?


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"I Have Seen the Fnords!"

Picture of the Yesterday: On the Q64 bus, driving down Jewel Avenue in Queens.

I've blogged about the fnords before, but this bus card, (part of New York City's "If you see something - say something!" anti-terrorism subway campaign,) begs me to revisit the subject. In Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea's sci-fi classic The Illuminatus Trilogy, the word "fnord" is hidden throughout news articles. Children are hypnotized not to realize the words are there, but upon seeing them, they are conditioned to feel anxiety and a need for the control of authority. Of course, there are no fnords in advertising, so citizens will feel comfort and peace within consumerism.

Can you see the fnords in the above picture?


P.S. - For more fnord information, please read the Principia Discordia.

P.P.S. - Did you notice the number 1944? Did you know that the last "Our Gang" film Dancing Romeo, premiered in 1944? Coincidence? Hmmm...

Monday, June 09, 2008

Killing 2 Birds with 1 Blog

Illustration Friday: Forgotten

A face from a dream, erased from memory before the second buzz of the alarm.

And while we're at it, here's The Photo of the Yesterday:

Taken at the Electchester Street Fair, 161st St. and Jewel Ave in Queens
- because nothing says, "Community spirit," like a clown looking for love.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

"Back from the Shadows, Again!"

"Back from the shadows, again,
Out where an injun's your friend.
Where the vegetables are green,
And you can pee into the stream!
We're back from the shadows, again."
(-from The Firesign Theatre's I Think We're All Bozos on this Bus

I've decided to take a photograph and post it daily. Since there are so many Photo of the Day blogs out there, I'm calling my exercise "The Photo of the Yesterday," with a picture I took... yesterday. Get it?

The Photo of the Yesterday: Trinity Church

Trinity Church in downtown Manhattan, taken from the corner of Rector Street & Broadway.
(Enhanced with Photoshop to make my camera-phone seem a little less crappy.)

I bought a copy of Stephen Colbert's I am America (and So Can You!) from a street vendor for ten bucks the other day. While Mr. Colbert's satire of right-wing pundits is always good for a laugh, I was very disappointed that the book didn't contain any of his own ideas or insights. Maybe his next book will. It's a good book to take in small sittings - like when you're in the bathroom.

I'm back at work (hence the name of this post) after being out for six months. I'm running up and down the ladder all day, which is the nature of the business, but hell on my ankles. Of course, the fault lies in the ladder, not that I have to lose some weight.

Today is the street fair, which means I was woken this morning by the Grease Soundtrack blasting through my window. It's 95 degrees out there. I think I'll pass. Who knows, maybe I can find some more cheap books.


Friday, June 06, 2008

An Open Letter to Senator Obama

Dear Senator Obama

Let me start by saying congratulations for your win on Tuesday, even if I do think you spent too much of your victory speech licking Senator Clinton's ass. I'm undecided at the moment about who I'm going to vote for in November, but as Senator McCain is on my shit-list right now for voting against increasing the G.I. Bill (and him a smegging veteran!) I thought I'd give you the benefit of my wisdom:

First of all: for the love of God, please do not make Hillary Clinton your running mate.

I know, I know, she has eighteen million women in her pocket, or so she claims, (and why anyone would want to elect someone who insists that they will only vote for who she tells them to I don't know, but that's besides the point.) It's good that you're being respectful of her, that's one of the reasons so many people support you. But the truth is, you won. You won despite Senator Clinton's nastiness, despite her manufactured celebrity, despite her insults, and despite her spinning all of her flaws into victimization. You've shown you are a respectful person, but there's a difference between being respectful and kowtowing to someone. If Hillary won, do you honestly think she would be having secret midnight meetings with you on how to "heal the party?" I sure as hell don't. It's making you look like you need her, and that obvious weakness is something that your opponent will exploit come November. By all means, be courteous, but stop acting like you owe Senator Clinton anything. You don't, and you have treated her far better than she deserves.

My intense dislike of Hillary aside, the real problem with the idea of her as your running mate is that your high electabliltiy is based on one thing: change. Not just the change of governing party, though I'm sure many Democrats want to believe that. I'm talking about change of the way things have been done in Washington for the past few decades. Among other things, the Clinton era was mainly about revenge for the Regan/Bush Sr. years. Whereas the political compass of the country was slightly right of center in 1992, the Clintons instantly rammed it as far as they could to the left. So much animosity was created that it was impossible for anyone to get anything done for years. When G.W. Bush won the Republicans back the white house in 2000, once again, it was time for revenge. Once in power, the Republicans pushed the pendulum as far as they could to the right, putting bipartisan war back in vogue. Giving Hillary Clinton the #2 spot (or even a high cabinet position, for that matter) will signal that the same old games and fighting and overall bullshit will continue, and America will still be a nation divided. Hillary would do everything in her power to usurp you and center the attention and power of your office on herself. Face it, Barack, - Hillary Clinton would be your Dick Chaney. Do you really want that? Stick with change, Senator, and politely say "thanks, but no thanks" to Hillary Trust me.

OK, let's say that you're smart enough not to fall for the lie that you won't be elected without Hillary at your side. Let's go on to point number two: One of the main reasons you won the primary is because you did not sink to Senator Clinton's level. No matter what low blow she threw at you - the insult that you could be her veep, constantly playing the sexism card, (Hillary has no flaws, ergo, anyone who disagrees with her hates all women,) and even going so far as to imply you should be assassinated (which she only said to make you angry, so she could spin your ire against you as she did with Lazio back in 2000 - kudos for not falling for it,) - you kept your head above it all. You didn't resort to returning her cheap shots, you didn't waste your campaign and energy defending yourself against her spin. You played it like a gentleman. I know you did these things because she's a fellow Democrat and you did not want to alienate her supporters. However, what if you took the high road, and kept the same levels of respect and restraint in your upcoming battle with Senator McCain? Imagine if you will, that after running a successful positive campaign for the nomination, if you were the first presidential candidate since 1984 to rise above mud slinging and run a positive campaign for the White House! What if you stopped trying to link McCain to President Bush, (McCain is much more moderate, - be honest,) stopped attacking him, and actually concentrated on what you've done, what plan to do and how you plan to do it? Yes, there will always be partisans on both sides of the aisle. But if you take the White House in November, then a low level of animosity would help you enact the change you've promised, wouldn't it?

That's my advice, anyway. You can follow it, or like my wife and kids, you can cheerfully ignore it. It's up to you. Good luck. If you need any more, let me know.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

I Got You, Babe

Illustration Friday: Baby

(Please click on the image above to see it in full hi-res glorious detail.)

Ah, new life is born. I wonder what he will look like when he pulls himself together. Maybe he'll be a doctor, or a fireman, or a gynecologist, or a even missionary. He could fly off to alien worlds and teach them how to celebrate the Harvest Under the Moons of Mipzor. Now, that's a party! (A kiss on the nose to whoever gets the reference. No cheating with Google.) The point is, his parents (all six of them) have hopes and dreams for the little critter, that someday he'll coagulate into someone who can be happy and live a good life.

I can't decide which I like better, the 3d version or the original doodle:

Either way, it's come a long way, baby!