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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Flash Fiction Friday #35

Courtesy of JJ, Flash Fiction Friday #35.

This week’s edition of Masterpiece Theater, an autobiographical story about a memorable night in Las Vegas:

If he doesn’t stop that incessant snoring, I’m going to kill him.  I will.  I’ll just stuff a pillow over his face until its quiet.  And then I will sleep.  Because I need sleep.  It’s Vegas.  Three o’clock in the morning.  I just lost sixty bucks in fifteen minutes at the craps table over at the Flamingo.  The comp beers that I drank, too many to count, were swirling like fire in my stomach and I could already feel the first throbbing explosions of a headache at my temples.

And Kurt snores on, a big nasal SNOG followed by a low whistle as he exhaled.  Every now and then, he snorts and changes positions.  Things are quiet for a moment, but then the snoring begins again.  Snog, pshew…snog, pshew….snog, pshew.

You can’t even hear yourself think.

I grab a pillow and the comforter and slink off to the bathroom.  The floor is cold tile, but the door is thick and when it’s closed you can almost tune out the chainsaw in the other room.  Too drunk and too tired to care about comfort, I sprawl out and close my eyes.

Next time, I think as I drift off to sleep, I’m getting my own room.

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats

I picked up a copy of Mario Acevedo’s The Nymphos of Rocky Flats tonight and made it through the first chapter already.  The title caught my eye, not the Nymphos part but Rocky Flats.  Hey, I thought, I know where that is.  And then when I picked it up and thumbed through it, I saw it was set in Denver.  It was only after I read the back that I realized it was about a vampire private detective.  I had to get it.

Also seeing that he’s a local guy, I looked him up on the web and saw that he’s involved in the Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop, a local dealio that I’ve looked into but never actually seriously considered.  They offer classes and a writer’s retreat and other such things that I suppose have their value, but not really to me.

Or maybe not…

Acevedo teaches a class on the genre novel that starts on May 24th.  I might have to join up…

Hugh Hewitt's Election Plan

When Hugh Hewitt sees bad poll numbers and unrelenting scandal, he sees…a Republican surge in November. Maybe I’ve just been spending too much time at the “lefty blogs,” but that’s not what I’m sensing at all. Bush’s approval ratings are in the toilet. Some of his friends and political allies are in serious legal jeopardy, with at least one Republican congressman in the hoosegow already and promises of more to come. It’s hard to imagine things getting any worse, and Hewitt isn’t going to play those games.

In his view, the Republican agenda may be in the gutter, but it’s looking at the stars.

He boils the Message meant to galvanize voters down to a few simple phrases:
Win the war.
Confirm the judges.
Cut the taxes.
Control the spending.
Secure the border.
But then, Hewitt has to put on his partisan hack suit and go dancing when he claims that Democrats are against all of those, which if you think about it, is more a statement of opinion than of fact. (For instance, I’m not aware of a single Democrat that supports an Al Qaeda victory in Iraq. They, too, want to win the war, and only wish for a Commander in Chief who knew how to conduct it.)

However, these surefire winners, at least according to Hewitt, seem to be, at least in part, duds. Secure the border is a winner. The Republicans have been working very hard to make the border issue, which has been festering for decades, into the must-see TV show of the November sweeps. There’s no more urgency now than there should have been last year, or five years ago, the only difference now is that the GOP is in trouble and they need something, anything, to get them votes. For them, immigration reform is a voter-magnet, at least, their kind of voters.

As for Control the Spending or Cut the Taxes, the conservative charlatans posing as Republicans these days should be the last ones trusted with that endeavor. Under Republican control, governmental spending has exploded and the tax cuts they propose seem to be going to all the wrong places. They’ll point to the strong economy to bolster their argument, but they also never mention that 2% of the population controls 90% of the wealth (or something like that). Of course, those lopsided tax cuts helped the economy…they went to the rich fuckers who control it. But what about the people, man? I digress…

Lastly, I wanted to point out the complete absurdity of Hewitt’s last agenda item: Confirm the Judges. This is what they call inside baseball. The average man on the street doesn’t give one sniggle about the judges facing confirmation. Are they qualified? Good. Are they fair? Good. Do they believe in the Constitution? Great. Let’s roll.

The Confirm the Judges action item only has merit if you want to remake the court in your own image, be it conservative, liberal, or other. That’s the problem with this activist judge thing. The problem isn’t that judges are activist, just that they’re the wrong type. In truth, they wouldn’t mind activist judges, as long as they’re pro-life, pro-Christian, pro-gun, etc, and that’s why Confirm the Judges is on the list.

After all, the corruption infecting the government doesn’t seem to be coming from the judiciary these days.

And how about those hapless Democrats? What can they run on? Here’s my shortlist:
Lobbyist reform
Rebuilding the Gulf Region
Restoring civic integrity to Washington and stamping out corruption
An energy plan that actually addresses our “addiction” to foreign oil
Environmental reforms to minimize mankind’s damage to the environment
A more mature foreign policy set in the real world
And I’m not even a Democrat.

Viva La America

I don’t think anyone can eviscerate right-wing pundits or Bush Republicans better than Glenn Greenwald. This guy comes up with some doozies. I don’t even know why I try.

This post, on the effort to discredit the CIA heckler who called Rumsfeld a liar, has some golden nuggets. Here’s my favorite:
So that's the sum of the evidence that the career CIA analyst McGovern is a "nutjob," a "moonbat," and a "certified nutcase" with a "trail of lunatic behavior a mile long" - he opposes the war in Iraq, associates with former U.S. Marine Scott Ritter, and believes that oil and Israel were factors in why we invaded Iraq. All of that leads Instapundit to lament that "Big Media" doesn't do more of this -- namely, smear people with playground epithets and accuse them of being mentally ill if they engage in anti-war activism or if they question the President.

Neither Instapudnit, Gateway Pundit, nor Allah address the substantive point -- that Donald Rumsfeld told the country that he "knows" where WMDs are, and when confronted by McGovern with that false statement, denied that he made it. That fact is, of course, nowhere near as important as engaging in a vicious and frenzied character smear of yet another American who spent his entire career in service to his country and yet has his patriotism and mental health called into question by virtue of standing up to the administration. McGovern is in good company -- along with Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neill, Joe Wilson, Howard Dean, Al Gore, the war critic Generals, and all of the other corrupt, mentally ill and/or unpatriotic Americans whose motives and/or mental health have been similarly maligned after standing up to the administration.
Yep, that about sums it up.

I have to say, I’ve endured having my motives and mental health questioned because of my unease with the Bush cult of personality, so I can sympathize with McGovern in that respect. I, too, have been called a moonbat and a traitor. This is what I say to that:

Viva la America!
Land of the Free, home of the Brave.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Political Porn

I had an internet black out last night.  Not sure what happened, but one minute I’m watching porn and the next thing I know, I get an error message instead of the pop shot.  I’m back in business now…but the outage did create a quandary.  

How do I get my ISP’s phone number if I can’t look it up on the web?  Good thing I still have a phonebook….

Speaking of porn, this is the video I was watching:  the latest Rumsfeld speech.  Political porn. In case you haven’t heard the story, Rumsfeld got heckled and was asked some tough questions by an audience member who was a career analyst with the CIA.  On an information basis, there’s not much there…a speech no one cares about gets heckled, not an unusual event nor even worth a mention….unless your side can use it.

And the interesting thing about this speech is that it’s just waiting for the pundits to shit out a heaping plop of warm spin.  From the left, they’ll talk about how a brave insider spoke truth to power.  From the right, they’ll talk about how the speech was interrupted by moonbat war protesters.  

Both sides wouldn’t be wrong in their assessment.  The CIA guy does lean into Rumsfeld pretty hard, accusing him of lying about Iraq’s WMD.  But when he asks his question, a chorus of boos erupts in the audience, and then when Rumsfeld says, “I did not lie,” there’s a round of fervent applause.  He practically gets a standing ovation.  

So if you want to skip the spin, watch the video.  It’ll make you feel good no matter which side of the political aisle you’re on.

On another note, I just want to say something about Rumsfeld and his “lies.”  I’m starting to think they’re not “lies” really, but “exaggerations.”  To be even kinder, educated guesses.  He is right when he says everyone thought Saddam had WMDs and there was plenty of evidence that they had been used before.

Forget the WMD.  Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, et al, were wrong about Saddam’s WMD.  They may have seriously thought he had them, or that they would fall into the wrong hands, but the threat that they had in mind did not exist.  I don’t believe they knew that going in, but they should have suspected the possibility, and if they read all of the intelligence, rather than just the parts they could leak to Judy Miller, they would have seen that was the more likely scenario.

What changed in 2003 that required the US to invade and occupy Iraq?   That’s the question that should be asked.

And now to local politics, where Colorado’s esteemed governor, once considered future-president material by some, has been devoting his time to vital state matters:  reminding everyone to wear sunscreen.  Things just haven’t been the same since the separation

On another note, check out this clip from a track called Right In Two off Tool’s new album.  This is what I love about heavy music.

And speaking of music, my friend Stace brought me a few Paul Oakenfold CDs she made for me,  and let me just say I love getting music.  (Forget the RIAA.  Making CDs for your friends is a worthwhile pursuit.)  I’m not too familiar with Paul Oakenfold, except to say that he’s the biggest DJ in the world, but I expect that to change now that I have two of his discs in my little paw.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Wanted Dead or Alive

Today I went down to the courthouse, paid them a few hundred dollars, and set myself up a court date for the one I missed back in 2002. That’s right, kiddies. I had a warrant out for my arrest. What did I do that was so bad? I got pulled over with an expired plate. No big deal, but I didn’t have my license, didn’t have my proof of insurance, so it was quite a ticket, three charges, big fines, and a real pain in the ass.

The obvious question, of course, is why did it take me so long to take care of this? That’s easy. I’m an idiot. No ifs ands or buts about it. I chose to ignore the court date, knowing I’d have to deal with it some other time, probably at a time when I was more mature to handle it (such as now). And really, it’s not like I’ve had much incentive to take care of it. I’ve had a bench warrant out on me since 2002 (2002?!) and no one’s knocked on my door, taken me downtown, or even sent me a letter.

But I took care of it. My new court date for my old charges is on May 22nd and I’m just going to plead them out and pay the fines. I was guilty and being an idiot isn’t an admissible defense.

Overheard at the security station of the courthouse:
Guard #1: Yeah, but Shaq has like five movies. Kobe don’t even got one.
Guard #2: That’s true.
Guard #1: Plus, Shaq’s got his own shoe.
Anyway, here’s a pic of the courthouse.
I really had to go here, to the Pre-Detention facility (on the right) which is across the plaza from the Police Administration Building. This would probably be the building where Karen Beatty works. I’m not even sure if the Denver Police Department has a legal advisor for the Internal Affairs department, which is Karen’s official position, or if she would actually work out of the Administration Building, but it’s fiction. It would make an interesting setting, nonetheless.

And finally, the blocks surrounding the court house are almost all old Victorian houses converted to bail bonds outfits. You may not know this, but Dog, the famous bounty hunter, used to run his operation out of one of these houses.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

10,000 Days

It’s been a dangerous day on the roads these past few days.  A teenaged girl clipped by an ambulance.  Dead street racers.  Head on collisions in the burbs, killing two.  People are dying, man!  But remember, cars don’t kill people.  People kill people.

The Nuggets got knocked out of the play-offs in the first round.  By the Clippers no less!  George Karl is now weighing his coaching future but they really should be working on finishing games.  Too often they let a game slip or barely made away with one.  And I think they proved they really can’t handle the pressure.  Yet.

On the plus side, the Avs eliminated the Stars and move onto the second round. And the best part, the Red Wings aren’t in contention anymore.  California, here we come.

But I have to be honest.  I’m not really that into hockey.  I’m still waiting for football season to start.  The Broncos drafted a QB in the first round, then went and picked up Javon Walker from Green Bay.  A few decent off season moves, I’d say.

I read thru Chapter 4 again this morning, first time I read the whole thing in one sitting, and woah, man.  I have a lot of work to do.  It’s lacking one thing.  Flow.  It’ll take a few drafts to work out the kinks, but I can’t stop now.  Must…push….on.  I’ve got a long way to go.

UPS delivered the Tool CD I had ordered…finally!...and I’ve been listening to it ever since.  Tool records always take a few listens and several hours to fully sink in, so I’m putting in the due diligence.  It’s just as thick and complex as their past few discs, but also introduces some new sounds.  At one point a talk box is used, and there is at least one song (I’m thinking specifically of The Pot) where Maynard’s voice sounds like it never has before.  Good stuff.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Finally!

Finally!  Chapter Four of Poets Row is in the can.  

A few things contributed to the delay.  I had a pretty busy weekend.  (Excuses, excuses.)  The main thing, of course, would be that I fucked up.  Yes, I made a huge mistake.  I tried to cram too much into it.

So I ended up cutting a big chunk out, which will be part of Chapter Five in a revised form, but then had to go back and flesh out some of the other stuff.  As it turns out, the four scenes in Chapter Four benefited from that.

Lemme know what you think.

(In case you missed it, here’s the rest of the book….so far.)

Immigration Schmigration

Poor Tom Tancredo. Can’t put forth a coherent argument for his ideas, so he has to rely on scare tactics and blatant distortion here. This one caught my eye about halfway through with the big up to D-town, and it was only then that I noticed the byline. I have to say, I love Tom Tancredo’s vision of a country free of illegal immigrants.

The way he puts it, almost all of our nation’s problems would disappear were it not for these illegals suckling like babies at the American teat. Gang membership would drop by 50%! The meth supply would dry up! High school drop out rates would go down, as would DUIs and the prison population!

And while some of that may be true on a statistical level, the same could be said if we were talking about deporting white rednecks or poor blacks, too. Tancredo, in his reliance on misleading numbers like this, is betraying his true feelings about illegal immigrants: They are criminals and miscreants. Their children are dumb and uneducated. They breed like sewer rats. They are a drain on public resources. They are, in short, scum.

Tom Tancredo paints with such a broad brush that he often forgets that they are human, they have dreams and fears and loves, they have lives. They come to America to improve those lives, you know, all that life, liberty and pursuit of happiness stuff. They come here even though we hate them, and they do it because it’s good here.

I’m willing to concede that they are lawbreakers, having arrived illegally and no doubt resorted to illegal means to stay, but is Tom Tancredo willing to concede that sometimes the law is not always right?

Thoreau once said:
Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?
Immigrants, who have chosen the promise and prosperity of the US rather than the poverty and despair of their homelands, have chosen the latter.

It’s a matter of opinion as the whether the immigration laws are unjust. This blogger thinks they are, especially when it comes to our continental neighbor to the south. Together Mexico and the United States can do great things. I think that’s already implicitly obvious in our current arrangement. We just need to bring that out into the open. Share the wealth, stop the scapegoating. We need to be a little nicer.

If you want to stop the influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico, you don’t have to build a wall. You just have to make Mexico more like the United States. Create a middle class. A strong balanced government. Industry, commerce, and disposable income. A social system that supports them when they’re weak and backs them up when they’re strong. And they need a little respect from their American buddies. Give them that and they’ll stay home.

And that, my friends, is the sermon for the day.

Yodeling in the Valley

Maybe I just need a girlfriend, but I was listening to Wishbone by Drop Box and it made me think of this. Before you write me off as your garden variety perv, let me just say that I think that was the intention. There are clues sprinkled throughout the song, and while they do take some interpretation, when they’re all put together, it fits.

Here are the lyrics with the suggestive passages highlighted:
Ride out her open road
Fell to the wayside
Dined on her dirty soul
Ain’t willing to pass it by
Went down by the loads
Told time by the moon and sun
Hide out in my abode
Said I’m the only one

I’m doin it cause I like it
Wishbone
Out of my way to find it
Wishbone
Don’t bother me while I’m on it
Wishbone
Do it again cause I like it
Wishbone

Smoke rings above the flames
Bitter sweet aftermath
Dry mouth I call her name
She leads an easy path
Dark eyes and dark intentions
She’ll answer every question
Tied up to have your way
This one is just for play

I’m doin it cause I like it
Wishbone
Out of my way to find it
Wishbone
Don’t bother me while I’m on it
Wishbone
Do it again cause I like it
Wishbone

I wanna break you apart
I wanna overflow you
I’ll grant you, the wishbone metaphor is a little weird. I can only assume that it refers obliquely to some sort of porn visual or maybe some private joke. And if the song isn’t about what I think it is, then I have no clue what they’re talking about.

But that reminds me of another song that I’ve long suspected of being about eating pussy, Lookaway by Sepultura (with Jonathan Davis of Korn). It’s a darker, more dysfunctional take on the subject, the yin to Drop Box’s yang, but just as vague.

Here’s the lyrics:
Each time I pull it apart
I get disgusted, can't do it today
What makes it so good
That a man would kill for it
Lie just to lick a bit


Fake it, you like it, just take me away.
Hold it, just save it and I'll be repaid
Et cetera.

I don’t know if I’m right about this, or I’m just reading too much into it with my sick little mind, but I do feel safe saying that Drop Box does “it” because they like it and Sepultura, well, they get so disgusted they can’t do “it” today.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Kilroy Was Here

My neighborhood was a ghost town today.  The lavaderia, panaderia, and carniceria  down the street were all closed.  I didn’t even notice if the Azteca grocery store on the next block over observed The Day Without a Mexican.  I was going to go downtown earlier, but there was another rally and I already tried to drive through that mess once.  Other than that, I didn’t notice much of an impact.  It was all over the radio, the music stations even, and I talked about it with my buddies at the range.

The driving range, that is.  Yes, I went to the driving range.  And no, I don’t even like golf.  But I hit a few good balls (and more than a few dinkers) and had a few laughs and a beer with my friends so all in all, it was fun.  I don’t think I’ll go golftastic like my friends.  For one thing, I suck.  For another, it’s just not my thing.  I have zero interest in the sport.  I didn’t even know what a birdie was.  But on a beautiful day like today, chipping a few balls out on the green was pretty cool.

This weekend, I had the boys over and since it was reasonably nice, we set up the tent for a little camping in the backyard action.  I told them a very elaborate, very scary ghost story that I hoped would keep them up all night.  I sucked them in with the ghosts of a tragic love story and then BAM, got them with a punchline.  (The story had to do with the wealthy 19th Century cattle rancher who owned the land my neighborhood sits on, and his cherished wife, a devout Hindu who forced him to give up cattle ranching to become a wheat farmer. The rancher later went into a homicidal rage when his crop, and fortune, is destroyed by locusts. He can still be seen chasing his bride through the wheatfields with an ax, only now the wheatfields are our backyards. Like I said...it was elaborate, and 100% improvised.) My cousin Josh, who was visiting before heading back home to Florida, was there too and I even scared him with the punchline.  It was classic.

Here’s a pic of the boys.  The one on the right is my nephew Scott.  The one on the left is Kilroy.Aka Justin.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Mary Carey for President

The Dukestir, shameless Republican crook, seems to be in more trouble, as if such a thing were possible for a man who’s already doing time in the pokey.  When you spend all day whoring out your public office, it’s only natural that some of that’s going to bleed into your private life.  You know what they say:  It’s hard out here for a pimp.  

In yet more Republican scandal, gas bag Rush Limbaugh was booked on prescription fraud charges.  They’ll be dropped if he finishes treatment, but it looks like his doctor shopping case is coming to a close.  Now he can go back to blowing right wing cock.  (Talk radio is like fellatio isn’t it?  Or maybe it’s more like masturbation…)

Anyway, don’t forget to smile for your mugshot.  Now say Vicodin.I read this disturbing story on the topic of oil.  Energy Secretary Sam Bodman seems to this humble observer to be part of the problem, definitely not the solution.  Bodman blames high gas prices on the usual high demand/low production demon, which seems like a good answer because it’s true, but it’s not the only factor.  (The article even touches on an acknowledgement that the security situation in Iraq is having an effect, too.)  

But this is the part that disturbed me.
“Bodman and Cavaney said they saw no problem with the record profits being reported by U.S. oil companies even as motorists struggle to deal with the rising prices.”
I don’t begrudge the oil companies their billions.  It’s business.  But come on, no problem??  The oil industry made record profits (more than anyone else, ever) during this “demand” surplus/“supply” shortfall.  One thing that says to me is that the sorry excuse “but we don’t have the refining capacity” is going to lose a lot of meaning over the next few years.  

Simply put, if the industry can’t figure out a way to meet demand and stabilize the market after making these record profits, then they’re not even trying.  Their “windfall” should translate directly into more production, better alternate fuels, and investment in infrastructure, but it won’t.
“ExxonMobil recently awarded its chairman, Lee Raymond, a retirement package of nearly $400 million.”
How much production capacity does $400 million buy?  How many refineries can that build?  How many alternate fuel R&D projects can that fund?  I have no clue, but I suspect that the answer would be at least one (a really big one).  Even in the rarified air of the CEO class, $400 million is a lot.

In the real world, you can buy about 2,176 houses (at the national median price of $183, 800).  That’s every house in your neighborhood, and then some, and this buys these houses outright, no 30 year mortgage with years of house payments.  Yes, this man can buy in one shot what your neighbors will spend a generation paying off.  That’s an iniquity that can’t be justified by free market capitalism.  Am I supposed to believe that Lee Raymond, a single man, created more economic value in one career than a whole community will create in their lifetimes?

Well, I don't.