Friday, October 06, 2006

Random Friday Ten

Along with the usual suspects (Cat, Corey at American Idle, Dale, Chel, Giz, Slave) here's this week's edition of the Random Friday Ten.

1) Joe Walsh - Rocky Mountain Way
2) Clutch - Basket of Eggs
3) Beastie Boys - Shazam!
4) Madonna - Express Yourself
5) Led Zeppelin - How Many More Times
6) Ministry - Reload
7) Ray Charles - I Got a Woman
8) Unida - Red
9) Korn - Wicked (with Chino from deftones doing the rap)
10) Stillwater - Fever Dog (From Almost Famous)

My fav this week is How Many More Times by Zeppelin. I heard this on the radio the other day and was struck, not for the first time, by Zeppelin's simple brilliance.

Also, I once saw Limp Bizkit in concert (actually, I went for Clutch, who were opening for Limp Bizkit...never heard of LB before that) and Fred Durst asked the crowd, "You wanna hear some Korn?" This was back in the 90s when Korn was still somewhat fresh and Jonathon Davis hadn't yet convinced himself that he could sing, so of course the crowd went nuts.

Then Fred and the boys proceeded to play Ice Cube song.

George Bush's America

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said:—Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias
Just a reminder that in the history books, George W. Bush's reign will be little more than a comma...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Devil Weed

I kid you not:
New research shows that the active ingredient in marijuana may prevent the progression of (Alzheimer's) by preserving levels of an important neurotransmitter that allows the brain to function.
Contrast that news with this.

Also, keep in mind that there has not been a single death traced back to marijuana use. Breathing the air can kill you, but smoking pot, not so much.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Random Thoughts

Driving home from work the other night, I pondered the fate of the Real World cast and how the show has changed over the years. In the first season, MTV had aspirations, it seems, and so did the cast members. Kevin wanted to be a writer and black power activist. Heather wanted to be a rapper. Andre had his band. Norman was an artist or a poet or something. Eric was a model. What's her face did acoustic sets in coffee shops.

Where are they now? They certainly didn't take over the world, and I wonder if perhaps their MTV experience might have had something to do with it.

And then lo and behold, I see Kevin tonight on the panel of Stephen A. Smith's show. At least he's been writing books and has gotten some credibility from the Real World afterlife.
When I left my old job, I didn't get a card. It didn't really register until I was in the shower the other day, rinsing off the last vestiges of sleep, and it occurred to me. They didn't get me a card. Other people got cards, on their birthdays, or when someone died, or when they were sick. But here I am, leaving the company forever, and they didn't even get me a card.
After watching the coverage of Yankee stadium filling, then emptying after a rain delay, it struck me again. What the hell is up with baseball? They can't play in the rain? Also, will someone explain to me why the AL has a designated hitter rule and the NL doesn't? (Or is it the other way around?) Football is much much better.
Uncle Jim called me today and said he had two tickets to the Avalanche game tonight, right behind the glass. Of course, I was working, and unless I faked my own death or walked off the job, I couldn't make. Then he said, just kidding. The last softball game of the year was tonight.

Hope you won, Jimmy. Next time don't tease me. This schedule's already tough enough. But I do have to say, I've been getting some good alarm-clock free sleep lately.

Another Political Tear

Walking dictionary George Will writes:
(T)he problem with claiming to have cornered the market on virtue is that people will get snippy when they spot vice in your ranks.
The man has a point. The GOP, as we are constantly reminded each election year is the Party of Moral Values.

Remember all that shit from 04 about Moral Values(tm)? What are we supposed to think when that proves to be an election year smokescreen?
For months on the campaign trail, the president drew the most enthusiastic applause from supporters when he talked about moral values: The "culture of life," a phrase borrowed from Pope John Paul II; the sanctity of marriage; the importance of family; and especially his signing of the partial-birth-abortion ban.
I bet ya didn't think you were getting pederast Congressmen and the cronies that cover for them when you voted for the guys with R beside their names, huh? DOH!

Speaking of, more heads roll...but what of the ones that matter?

Here's a few links to conservatives (former conservatives?) with a few unkind words about the current Republican party. I stole these from Will's Clicked blog. First a guy taking down Santorum's hyperbole.

Then another guy, like me, devoted to voting Democrat, not because he is a Democrat or he supports their ideas, but because the Republican Party really is just that bad.

Notice how he says "I have gotten to the 'my dog could do better' position." I got there a while ago, buddy.

And then, finally, Markos from DailyKos has a few words about the Libertarian Democrat, which -holy shit- I think I'm one of. (Yep, another preposition ending sentence.) Here's two great chunks.
(T)here’s a whole swath of Americans who are uncomfortable with Republican/conservative efforts to erode our civil liberties while intruding into our bedrooms and churches; they don’t like unaccountable corporations invading their privacy, holding undue control over their economic fortunes, and despoiling our natural surroundings; yet they also don’t appreciate the nanny state, the over-regulation of small businesses, the knee-jerk distrust of the free market, or the meddlesome intrusions into mundane personal matters.

Like me, these were people who didn’t instinctively reject the ability of government to protect our personal liberties, who saw government as a good, not an evil, but didn’t necessarily see the government as the source of first resort when seeking solutions to problems facing our country. They also saw the markets as a good, not an evil, but didn’t necessarily see an unregulated market run amok as a positive thing.
I think Markos is onto something here.

What we've seen over the last forty, fifty years isn't so much one system being proven right, liberal over conservative or vice versa, we've seen them both fail. And in place, a new system must arise.

Hell, many new systems if need be. If we're going to call it Libertarian Democrats, okay, whatever. Whatever it is, it needs to completely replace both models we currently have.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Colorado Voting

Howard Fineman lays it all out with his customary flair. The basic idea:
If Democrats can't win now, they're doomed to become modern-day Whigs.
That is...obsolete. I agree.

I was just telling my buddy the other day, I hope the Democrats win the next round or two so I can start bitching about them. Right now, it's kind of pointless to complain too handily because they are the weaker party, and in many ways, the better behaved.

I got my Analysis of the 2006 Ballot Proposals in the mail the other day, and as I peruse it, I notice that it's thicker this year than most years. There's a lot up for vote this year, not just tax increases too. What that tells me is there is a lot of political activity out there, people not just satisfied to let the people in government dictate the debate. Lots of valid signatures were needed to get some of these issues on the ballot.

As I skip down to Amendment 44...Marijuana Possession.
"An amendment to section 18-18-406 (1) of the Colorado revised statutes making legal the possession of one ounce or less of marihuana for any person twenty-one years of age or older."
That's a yes.

Alright, let's see, what else...petitions, yawn. School District Spending Requirements, I'll read that one later. Term Limits for Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Judges, yeah, I might vote for that one. Standards of Conduct in Government...hmmm, wonder what that's about. Colorado minimum wage, I have a buddy whose interested in that one. Marriage, alright, here we go...Property Tax Reduction for Disabled Veterans, yes. Recall Deadlines, yawn. Obsolete Constitutional Provisions, yes. Limiting a State Business Income Tax Deduction, maybe. Domestic Partnerships, yes. More School District Spending Requirements, Jesus Christ. Immigration Lawsuit Against Federal Government, sounds like a dumb idea, but I'm curious if it's as dumb as I think it is.

Damn, the marriage amendment is as dumb as I thought it would be. It defines marriage in Colorado as only a union between one man and one woman. Now regardless of your stance on this issue, consider this fact:

Marriage is already defined as a union between one man and one woman in Colorado. On a State level and a Federal level, that's how it is. So why do we need the include as an amendment to our State Constitution? In case we forget?

That's a big no.

Referendum H...the business tax deduction one. This one requires a business to disclose how much it paid illegal workers on its tax forms. Seems like it's trying to flush out the employers of illegal more than resolve any kind of tax problem. So I'm voting no. In the "arguments against" section, it points out this referendum wouldn't be needed if current laws were enforced.

I'm more radical in my approach. I want to change the laws completely. We need to make it easier to become a legal worker, goddamn it.

As for Referendum I, the domestic partnership one, I'm voting yes. Gay people deserve all the rights that straight people have, and if your mythical diety won't allow them to enjoy those rights under the umbrella of marriage, let them enjoy them under the umbrella of law.

The last one, Referendum K, the one about the lawsuit against the federal government, requires the State to sue for enforcement of current immigration laws. This is a largely symbolic gesture, considering that the feds are gonna do what the feds are gonna do, regardless.

Besides, I'm telling you, the solution to the problem is open up the borders. Give them a piece of the American dream, and give us some prime vacation beaches.

More Pics

These are from my last trip to Texas about two years ago. (From left to right, Uncle Jim, Aunt Nat, me. Bottom row: Grandpa Espinoza, Cori, Grandma Espinoza)

First the normal one:Then the bunny ears:
Then we just get weird:But it's all in good fun:

Lightning Crashes

With my brother expecting a baby girl and my Grandma suffering terminal illness, this song has an eerie relevance for me right now.
Lightning crashes, a new mother cries
Her placenta falls to the floor
The angel opens her eyes
The confusion sets in
Before the doctor can even close the door

Lightning crashes, an old mother dies
Her intentions fall to the floor
The angel closes her eyes
The confusion that was hers
Belongs now, to the baby down the hall

Oh now feel it comin' back again
Like a rollin' thunder chasing the wind
Forces pullin' from the center of the earth again
I can feel it.

Lightning crashes, a new mother cries
This moment she's been waiting for
The angel opens her eyes
Pale blue colored iris,
Presents the circle
And puts the glory out to hide

On Helplessness

Taking a suggestion from Uncle Jim, here's a pic of my Grandma. As of yet, I've been unable to coherently organize my thoughts about her illness, which is about as serious as it can get. Here we are, facing a great loss in our family and there's nothing we can do about it.

I wish I was a faith healer or sorceror, pulling that cancer out with my magical fingers, endowing her with another three decades of life. But I can't. The only thing I can do is go down to Texas to spend some time with her, give her comfort and love, before I lose that chance forever, and let's be honest, that's not much.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Houston, We Have a Problem

Back to grammar.

Apparently there was a big hubbub over Neil Armstrong's famous quote:
That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
Now I always thought that had a certain poetic ring to it, even if it was grammatically incorrect.

Obviously, Armstrong was talking about himself, a man, but in a sense he was saying I'm just a man, one of many, the man even, the first man on the moon, and though this achievement belongs to me, I give it to all of you, my fellow humans.

But now it's "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Because otherwise, we wouldn't know what he's talking about, right?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Old Pics

Here's my pic for Beth's fun picture game.

And while I'm at it, here's a pic of Uncle Jim defending your freedom, one Dragon at a time.

Denver Linky Love

Check it out, man. The Washington Post has a puff piece about Denver and it's bike trails. I was just thinking today that I need to take the bike out on another excursion. I haven't really had a good ride since I got the job. And though we had a brush with some cold weather about a week ago, the last few days have been absolutely beautiful.

You might remember me blogging about Confluence Park here.

The Bad Guy

I've purposely avoided blogging about the school shooting in Bailey. For one, it's a horrible story, and though I've never been known to shrink from a horrible story, this one is particularly horrid considering this guy seems to have been a gutless suicide who couldn't pull the trigger on his own, so he decided to make other people feel his pain.

Last I heard, the devil was constructing a new circle of hell just for this fucker.

The other reason, though, is that school shootings bore me. After Columbine, after Kip Kinkel, after all the other plots and shootings and pain, there's just nothing to say about it anymore. Psychos walk amongst, that much we know. Some of them are younger than you think (Harris and Klebold). Nothing new there.

What no one seems to ask, though, is where did these kids get the idea?

I know how they felt. I hated my high school, hated my classmates. I felt like an outcast, scorned, made fun of. I wanted to get revenge, show them just how wrong they were. But I never thought about shooting them.

Instead, I wanted to do something else, wow them with my spectacular wit and bravery. No props or firearms were needed. I just wanted to deliver a monologue I saw in a movie. This monologue. I'd get up in class, stumble to the front of the room, then speak to my rapt audience, pacing back and forth, each word more powerful than the last. They would listen as I spoke my mind, mouths agape, and when I was finished, I'd just walk away, ride into the sunset like the hero I thought I was.

As dumb as that sounds, it sounds a whole lot better than getting some Tek-9s and holding up the local learning establishment, only to realize that -Holy Shit- reality isn't like some videogame.

Extra credit for whoever can guess the movie. And yes, I realize my accent is horrible. Thanks.

Breaking the Rules

I don’t know what I ate yesterday, but it sure don’t like me.

But rather than talk about my gastro-intestinal issues, instead I’ll talk about proper English.  Is it proper English to say “it don’t like me?”  Of course not.  It does, not it do, and that’s grammatically correct whether you’re adding the not or…not.  

This weekend, a buddy of mine gave me some guff for ending a sentence with a preposition.  I couldn’t help myself.  Sometimes it’s way too easy.  Some phrases would be too unwieldy if they weren’t abbreviated with that preposition.

Take this one:  Far out, man.

Far out where?  Out there in the ether?  Out there in Commerce City?

What about that wonderful phrase that we’ve all used at least once?  Where do you get off?

Ends in a preposition, but what’s missing there exactly?  

Grammar schmammar.  Grammatical rules are great…for teachers.  Once you get out in the real world, the important thing isn’t how grammatically correct your language is, but how communicative it is, whether you get your point across or not.

Take that stupid little program installed with Microsoft Word, the grammar checker.  If you want your writing to be alive, you can’t listen to that thing.  It’s not going to help you.  It’s just going to suck the life out of your writing.