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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bad Boys Bad Boys Whatcha Gonna Do?

Never a dull night in the ghetto. Again, I rode my bike past a cop up on Peoria. I almost jay-walked (jay-biked?) in front of him, but thought better of it because he was speeding. It wasn't until he passed me that I realized he was a cop.

Then after approaching my block, in a residential street no less, I saw the flashing lights of another cop who had someone pulled over in front of some apartments.

And it's always a white cop, too. Half the people in this neighborhood are Hispanic (fact) but it's always a white cop.

And I can tell you from personal experience, they are as power hungry as they are corrupt.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away

I was working last night when the monsoons came so I didn't actually experience them. But I just took a look at the garden and I can tell you without a doubt that we were indeed hit with a monsoon last night.

My peas, usually standing tall and proud, are shrunken and weatherbeaten, as are some of the taller flowers. Some of the shorter plants, like some of my beanlings, are dirty from raindrops kicking up volcanoes of top soil. The rain barrel, down to half capacity yesterday, is once again full.

And then there's my youngling trays...

In order to keep my young potted seedlings from drying out in our notoriously thin Mile High climate, I put them into trays -- not genuine seedling trays, because the ghetto garden uses cheap two-dollar dish trays -- and let the pots soak up water root-first. It's a whole lot easier than watering each plant individually and typically, it works out for the plant too.

Not this year.

Normally you'd put an inch of water in each tray and the plants drink up what they want and the rest evaporates. You get the dual benefits of keeping the soil moist, but well-drained.

With the monsoons we have been experiencing daily for...oh, weeks...I'm not getting that "well-drained" part. In fact, I don't have to water the trays at all. I have to continually dump them out.

Today, I went out to my plant stand to discover that every single one of these trays were full of a good five inches of water, in some cases completely submerging the plants in them.

A good half-dozen of the younger seedlings were completely swamped and had already shriveled up and died. Sigh. When it comes to watering, these babies need the goldilocks: not too much, not too little.

And the weather reports are saying we're in for another round of monsoons today.

Me thinks I'll be taking these out of the trays for now.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In Media Res

It was a weird day on CNN. Nothing but dead celebrities.

When I first got to work, they were talking about Farrah Fawcett. A little bit about Mark Sanford and his Argentine mistress. And then Michael Jackson was rushed to the hospital and everything else --Farrah Fawcett, Mark Sanford, Obama, Iran-- it all went away.

Then CNN started reporting that the LA Times said Michael Jackson was dead. A little gunshy, I guess, because they were real keen on the attribution and repeatedly pointed out that they couldn't confirm it. After all, if MJ was still alive and this was just one of his "episodes," then egg on the LA Times.

But soon it was confirmed and press conferences were arranged, tribute sequences assembled, experts consulted.

You know they got Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the horn to ask him what he thought.

Then later, we turned it to MSNBC and Keith Olbermann had his jacket off, just rocking the vest, Edward R. Murrow Junior reporting the BIGGEST STORY IN THE WORLD. He probably rolled his sleeves up at some point. Yeah, it was hot in the studio and he was working hard.

Strangely, when we turned it to the baseball game, there was no mention of Michael Jackson, although I wished there was because baseball is not very interesting. They fidget and make faces and occasionally something happens. The only time it gets interesting is when someone fucks up.

You know, kind of like cable news.

Scenes From The Garden

Then:

Now:
(From a slightly different angle)

Grilling Fool

You know what I'm doing right now?

Grilling some burgers.

You know why?

Cuz I can.

(Working 2-10 this week to cover for vacations. I can do it later, too, but somehow grilling at 11:00 in the morning makes more sense than grilling at midnight, which is about when I get home.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Separating the Wheat From the Chaff

I'm glad that Andrew Sullivan is putting all his Iran tweeting posts in green.

It makes its real easy to skip over them....

I Heart Maria

On the CNN crawl: Maria Sharapova defeated at Wimbeldon.

My response?

Nooooooooooooooooo!

If you need a shoulder to cry on Maria, I have two that are in good working order.

Whither the Family Values Crowd?

I don't have anything special to say about Mark Sanford, the Republican governor who caused a stir in the press while he went down to Argentina to, as we learned today, visit his lover.

The only thing I can say is this:

They don't make culture warriors like they used to, that's for sure. Nixon...Nixon was a true culture warrior. Racist, anti-semitic, mean, and all sorts of unsavory things.

But that fucker would have never cheated on his wife.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Radio Clowns

Conor Friedersdorf, a conservative, diagnoses the problem with right wing talk radio. It's not the listeners; it's the hosts.
[M]any who tune in to hosts like Mark Levin are engaged in a good faith effort to stay informed, to participate in their democracy, and to better their country. Insofar as these folks offer constructive, clear-eyed critiques of President Obama, they enrich public discourse. And if their host instead traffics in simplistic bombast, utterly ungrounded in fact, those listeners who are influenced by him inevitably degrade public discourse.
It sounds good. But I'm not so sure...

I wonder why people who "are engaged in a good faith effort to stay informed, to participate in their democracy, and to better their country" would listen to the Limbaughs and Levins of the world.

Surely five minutes of Limbaugh dreaming of riots in Denver (to pick an egregious example) or Levin bitching out a liberal caller would tell people of "good faith" that these guys offer them nothing.

They don't "inform" people, at least not about anything real. Oh yeah, they'll inform you that Obama's birth certificate might be a fake, that he might be a Muslim, a black nationalist, a terrorist-sympathizer. They'll inform you that liberals hate America, that we all long for the glory days of Soviet Russia and Maoist China. Hell, they'll probably tell you that fascism is a left wing movement, even though that wasn't "true" until Jonah Goldberg wrote his ludicrous book Liberal Fascism.

As for democracy? You can hear their respect for democracy when they talk about the totalitarian takeover of our government...by a democratically elected president.

As for bettering the country? Which one? The "real America" or the "fake America?" Does "bettering the country" include San Francisco, New York, and Hollywood, or just the Heartland?

Sorry, Conor, while I agree with you that talk radio hosts are cheapening the discourse, so to speak, I'm not willing to assign virtues to the dittoheads that the dittoheads do not possess.

They listen to Rush and Hannity and Mark Levin and all the cheap imitators because the radio hosts' biases mirror their own, not because they are engaging in some high-minded political soul-searching.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Seeing Politics in Everything

The shameful and hollow core of modern Republicanism strikes again.

The dome on the state capitol building is apparently in bad shape. The cast iron is rusting and it needs major repairs -- major multi-million dollar repairs.

Only there's no room in the budget and there probably won't be for some time. So other options have been explored, including (gasp) corporate sponsorship and private fund drives.

The article, though, hints at the root of the problem:
"Will people vote for a tax to redo the Capitol building? I don't think so," [Don Marostica, R-Loveland] said.

House Majority Leader Paul Weissmann, D-Louisville, though, said it has been difficult to get private donors interested in the Capitol so far.

"People, quite frankly, think that's a function of government," he said, "and government should take care of it rather than seeking private help."
This is the kind of catch 22 that simplistic "no new taxes" thinking leads us to. The government can't pay for the things the government needs to pay for.

And you know, I'm as critical of government waste as anyone. I documented my terrible experiences at the DMV, experiences that you simply wouldn't get from the private sector, if only because the company with such lousy service wouldn't be in business very long. I think we waste too much money giving cops tasers and license plate readers and traffic light cameras and tanks. I don't like corporate kickbacks and giveaways. We spend way too much money building million dollar bombs we drop on Al Qaeda's recently promoted Second in Command or, on a bad day, a village of civilians. Tax dollars are wasted. There is no question about that.

But I am not so nutty to think that the majority of my tax dollars, perhaps not every cent but most of it, is going toward something vital and necessary.

Perhaps repairing the Capitol's dome doesn't qualify as vital or necessary, but it doesn't strike me as particularly wasteful either. And it seems we have more interest in maintaining the Capitol building, which includes its dome, than we do in having it crumble down around our ears.

But as it's been pointed out many times, so many people are willing to forgo their own interests to hew to the not-my-tax-dollar line passed down to us since Reagan.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lookee What I Made

I'm not much of a carpenter, but I managed to build this tiered plant stand out of the scrap left over from the fence project. It's not exactly level...but it is pretty sturdy. And once I find a good southern exposure for it, I think it will do its job well.