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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Cannery Row

Since finished Michael Connelly's Echo Park a few weeks ago, I've divided my time between several books of varying qualities. There's James Ellroy's American Tabloid, which is fucking good...if you can handle the stylistic conceits.

There's Walter Moseley's Fearless Jones, which is alright even if it isn't an Easy Rawlins book.

There's Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, which is a delightful English dark fantasy.

But the best one so far has been John Steinbeck's Cannery Row. Now this man can write.

Witness this description of some of the underwater goings on along the coast of Monterrey, California:
Then the creeping murderer, the octopus, steals out, slowly, softly, moving like a gray mist, pretending now to be a bit of weed, now a rock, now a lump of decaying meat while its evil goat eyes watch coldly. It oozes and flows toward a feeding crab, and as it comes close its yellow eyes burn and its body turns rosy with the pulsing color of anticipation and rage. Then suddenly it tuns lightly on the tips of its arms, as ferociously as a charging cat. It leaps savagely on the crab, there is a puff of black fluid, and the struggling mass is obscured in the sepia cloud while the octopus murders the crab.
Damn.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Jon Stewart Kicks Glenn Beck When He's Down

Jason, you should watch this.
www.thedailyshow.com
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7-11

Not sure why this is making the news now, but the 7-11 by my house was bombed last month. Well, okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. Just read this story:
On Oct. 13, two men in their early 20s came into the 7-11 on North Peoria Street Near East 19th Avenue asking to buy cigarettes. When the clerk refused, Aurora Fire Department investigators say the young men left the store.

When the young men returned, investigators say, one of them threw an improvised explosive device at the clerk.
Two things.

1) While I don't endorse bombing 7-11s, I totally understand why this particular 7-11 was bombed. The employees suck!

Check out this screed from 06. In the intervening years since I wrote that, things have not changed. The place still sucks.

2) Why would this 7-11 refuse to sell cigarettes to someone in their 20s?

Murder....or Suicide?

Did you hear about the census worker in Kentucky that was found dead hanging from a tree with the word "Fed" written on his chest?

Early speculation was that he was killed by anti-government and/or meth-crazed rednecks.

In this thread over at Outside the Beltway, I expressed my doubts:
Maybe I read too many police procedurals, but seems to me an easy way to determine this (or at least get a sniff on the right trail) is to determine whether he was dead before or after he was hanged.

If it was the hanging itself that killed him, I'm putting my money on suicide.
Yep, suicide.

The idea got some push-back from some other folks, like this from Mithras:
Interesting theory. Why did a suicide write the word "fed" on his own chest? Just curious. Fed up? He'd just eaten?
That made me laugh, but I went on to explain some of the things that led me to think it was suicide.
Ha! That's a good one.

I think the "fed" angle should probably be downplayed since it is, after all, coming from an anonymous "law enforcement official." This happened earlier this month. They're still trying to figure out if foul play was involved. The body was decomposed when they found it. Add to that, he was hanged.

Hanging is not a very good way to murder someone. But it is a common method of suicide. The carvings on his chest, if they are carvings (remember, the body was decomposed), maybe they're early tries. In his despair, he sets the knife down, picks up the rope. It's conceivable.

Seems more likely than some backwoods rednecks went Deliverance on him. You'd think they'd feed him to their hogs, not leave him swinging from a tree.
To which Mithras replied:
It is, you're right. [as in, hanging being more suicidal than homicidal] It also has a certain history in this country as a way of sending a message.
To which I replied:
This is no doubt true, but there's a racial component missing in this case. (The guy was white, after all.)

Developments in the case seem to keep open the possibility it was suicide. He was found with his feet on the ground, which would make sense if he tied the rope to his neck and leaned into it. Less sense if someone else tied the rope to his neck and strangled him with it. The cause of death has been (autopsy pending) ruled asphyxia. Not blunt force trauma, not blood loss, not internal hemorrhaging from a beating. His own mother says she has her own ideas but won't say them out loud until the investigation is wrapped up. (Which sounds to me like a mother holding out hope that her son didn't take his own life rather than a mother with a suspect in mind.)

I'm also curious whether the autopsy will show whether the cancer he survived had returned. In the absence of mad-mobs of Michelle Bachmann supporters or redneck meth labs, recurring cancer could conceivably be a motive for suicide.

All things being equal, the simplest explanation is usually best.
But then I started to lose faith. It seemed as if I was the only one who thought this guy might have killed himself.

Everyone seemed intent on explaining the "Fed written on his chest" thing. (It was written in Sharpie, not "carved into his chest" as I had originally thought.) But no one seemed to be willing to explain the modus operandi of the crime itself.

If you want to kill someone, you shoot them. You stab them with a knife. You beat them with a rock. If you want to, you can strangle them too.

But if you're going to strangle someone, you just strangle them. You don't hang them from a tree. And you certainly don't hang them from a tree when their feet are touching the ground.

Add to that, there were no defensive wounds on the body. None. This bit wasn't in the earlier reports, but if it was, I think it alone would have stopped all speculation that this guy was murdered. Not every murder comes with defensive wounds, of course, but consider:

1) Sparkman's theoretical killers had to accost him somehow, either at the crime scene or somewhere else.

2) They had to remove his clothes. (Sparkman was found naked.)

3) They had to write "Fed" in Sharpie on his chest.

4) They had to put a rope around his neck.

5) They had to strangle him with that rope, either by lifting him off the ground and dropping him back down (because, remember, he was found with his feet on the ground) or by pushing on him so that the pressure of the rope strangled him.

And I'm to believe that he never struggled at all while any of this was happening? He didn't even have involuntary death throes as he slowly strangled to death against his will?

I'm really to believe that his killers left no mark on him even as they staged this elaborate scene?

Yeah, right.

So while a lot of people were speculating on the motive for a murder that might not even be a murder, I was speculating on the suicide angle.

Why would he commit suicide? These are often personal reasons inscrutable to anyone else, but...

He did survive cancer a few years ago. I'm sure he found that to be an unpleasant experience, draining emotionally, spiritually, and financially. What about the possibility that the cancer returned?

Terminal cancer seems like plenty of motive to end his own life.

So why the elaborate scene? The "fed" on the chest, the nakedness, the duct tape on the hands and feet? Is it possible that he wanted to make it look like murder, either out of consideration for his family or because of some mundane financial reason (as in, life insurance won't pay on a suicide).

Maybe I'm jumping the gun with the whole cancer/insurance stuff, but I don't think I'm too far off on the suicide/faking a murder stuff, even though it is admittedly just speculation. It seems to be the way the story is going anyway.
The officials said investigators continue to look closely at suicide as a possible cause of Sparkman's death for a number of reasons. There were no defensive wounds on Sparkman's body, and while his hands were bound with duct-tape, they were still somewhat mobile, suggesting he could have manipulated the rope, the officials said.

Polemia Homosexualia

Here's Jamelle pondering gay rights issues over at the League.
...[I]n a country where a near-majority is morally opposed to homosexuality, it is ridiculous (and almost cruel) to expect gay people to rely exclusively on legislatures as they fight to secure their rights as American citizens. And that’s especially the case when you realize that when legislative efforts are successful, there is almost always an immediate effort to rescind or overturn the legislation. The simple fact is that if current demographic trends hold true, a majority of Americans will eventually support marriage equality. In the meantime though, I think LGBT activist groups should take a page from the Civil Rights Movement and again begin focusing their challenges on the courts. It simply doesn’t make any sense to rely on the generosity of the majority (indeed, if black people did, segregation would have lasted for a whole lot longer).
So we're back to the judicial activism thing?

You get a favorable court ruling, like say...the one from California's Supreme Court, and the critics say, "But that's legislating from the bench! Put it in front of the people, let's have a vote."

So you put it in front of the people, and the people --most of whom don't like the gays -- say, "No soup for you!"

So you go back to the courts, and then what? Rinse and repeat?

No, screw that. We just need to decide what kind of country we're going to be...one where we truly believe that "all men are created equal."

Or one where we believe that "all men are created equal...with exceptions."

If it's the latter, then I'm gonna pull a Lincoln and emigrate "to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy."

Rely on the generosity of ungenerous people? Never.

Rely on good-government legal technicalities from the courts? Never.

Take it from this straight man, my gay friends: We can only rely on ourselves.

Updated: Semi-related, but not really...

Carrie Prejean, the beauty queen who became a conservative cause celebre after she came out in favor of "opposite sex marriage," has settled her lawsuit against the Miss World Pageant. (Or whatever it was.)

The settlement came after it was revealed that she has a sex tape floating around. A sex tape! (TMZ confirms it exists and that it's HOT!)

Awfully presumptive of you, Carrie, with your breast implants, your topless pics, and your sex tape, to be telling other people they're being sexual deviants, no?

What's Up Wit Dat?

C'mon, Blogosphere. I know you're not reading my blog, but you seem to be stealing my shit.

Here's Matthew Yglesias making a point I made the other day.
There are all kinds of nutty people in the world, but these kinds of things are the wages of a conservative leadership and media that’s consistently tried to drum-up opposition to health care reform not by opposing things that are actually in the bill, but with demagogic opposition to completely fabricated provisions.
Emphasis mine.

When you have John Boehner and others whining theatrically about how hard it is to read the bill, what do you expect? It's like an informercial with these guys on this one, acting like they're so put out by reading the bill. Tired of the back-breaking work of gardening? (Cut to old man, frustrated and in pain as he chops at the hard earth with a standard old garden.) BILLY MAYS HERE WITH THE GARDEN GENIE!

Shut the fuck up, John, and read the bill. It's your job! Your constituents don't have to read the bill. We elected you to do that shit for us. (At any rate, if your constituents do read the bill, they'll see the two-inch margins, the number of "intentionally left blank" pages, and see that your big stack of unreadable papers is all performance, no substance.)

In a rant against Joe the Activist and other "not with my tax dollars" cherry-pickers, I said this:
How do you feel about the defense budget, which costs taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars a year? How much would you personally pay out of your own pocket to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?
Here's a dude who suggests we put the amount of defense spending on our paychecks, just like we do with Medicare and Social Security.
Here you get a special line that identifies the amount of the Federal Withholding was actually going to the defense budget all along, and it tells you what it is. You get a number that lets you identify exactly how much of your time you are working to keep the defense budget as large as it is.
Good idea!

Since we're in the Information Age, I recommend including more than just a dollar amount. Maybe an amortization calculation would be helpful.
"Only 17 more years until your debt for the Iraq War has been paid!"
That would be comforting.

Or maybe not...

(I do think, though, that it might help people see that spending $12 million on the library system is a relative bargain, considering the expenditures we put into bombing civilian villages in Afghanistan. True, the bombing might have been a mistake...but that's doesn't make it any less expensive! Hell, put me down for making the "mistake" of keeping the libraries open. )

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Lincoln Said It, Not Me

A-HA! A real quote from Abraham Lincoln. I bet you won't see this on any right-wing e-mail chain.
"I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor or degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.' When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy."

Snow Pics (And I'm in Them All)

This is me at the bus stop last week when it snowed. I'm wearing my full insulated jumpsuit, my thermal hoodie (with a scarf) and I'm wearing those feet-hurting boots.
This is me at the train station about a half hour later. Notice how I'm just standing there, hands in my pockets, looking at the wall. It's almost like someone else set my camera on the rail and set the self-timer. So casual.
This is me in the snow, walking towards whoever has my camera. Those tracks behind me? I don't know who made those. They certainly weren't made by a guy who set the self-timer and then circled back for his camera.
This is me, at my destination. Luckily someone was there to take my picture.And check this one out. This is another one from the train station. I like my acting in this one. Just look at my expectant posture. "Oh, is that the train?" (Composition-wise, it's not too bad either.)
Side note: I had to leave my bike at work all last week because of the snow. Yesterday I was looking forward to riding it home.

I promptly rode over several burrs that had been washed out of the nearby fields. The back tire went flat by the time I got on the train. The front one was flat by the time I got off. (This was, incidentally, the only time RTD got me to "walk my bike.")

Looks like I'll be needing some new tubes! With the burr-resistant goo this time.

The Full Wingnut

CNN has Minnesota Representative Michele Bachman, the nuttiest Republican in the House, on to talk about healthcare reform.

Why?

John Roberts is trying to challenge her on her claims that the healthcare reform bill is socialized medicine, and yet...

Can't he just call her out on that?

Yeah, I know we have to be fair and balanced and debate issues with some decorum. But what happened to the truth?

Look, the healthcare reform bill is either socialized medicine...or it's not!

Like the bill, fine. Don't like the bill, fine.Preference is always debatable.

But the nature of the bill is not debatable.

Me and Michele Bachman can argue all day over whether chocolate is the best flavor of ice cream, but we can't argue that the chocolate ice cream is actually chocolate cake.

More 4A

(This is me, lashing out.)

Comments on this article regarding the closure of Aurora's libraries.
MrMischief wrote:
I did not support this measure. While I don't use the libraries, I didn't see this as a vote for or against the library. I saw this as a vote for or against higher taxes when my wallet is already being squeezed.
Now that's what I call perspective!

Focus on the insignificant tax increase while ignoring the very significant library closures. Brilliant!
Seanchai wrote:

Also, it seems as if people head to libraries these days more for the free Internet access than anything else, so I'm not sure what role they play in actually educating people these days.

But, really, this vote isn't surprising. While I support libraries - I was literally just at my local one yesterday, looking for a book - they are dinosaurs. They've becoming less and less relevant daily.
1) Does the internet not play a role in educating people these days? Yes. 2) Is the "free internet" at the library really "free?" No, it's paid for by tax dollars. 3) Libraries are not becoming less and less relevant daily...unless 4 out of 7 in your city are fucking closing!
Foxygirls wrote:
The city has seven libraries so it isn't like they won't have access to a library if 3 or 4 close. Get a grip people.
Now I like this argument. In fact, I think we should apply it to all kinds of things.

You have two eyes, so it's not like you'd be blind if I plucked one out. Get a grip, people! (And an eye patch.)
JackKetch wrote:
Just shows the value Aurora puts on literary education. Glad I don't live out there. But really, if the city can't figure out how to keep one of the cheapest components in their government open...they have much bigger problems.
I agree! Only one problem...the city of Aurora is managed by a professional city manager, not by the city council.
FISHBONE wrote:
No libraries. I bet they would be quick to vote for a property tax for a new jail.
Or an immigrant detention center.
sirgrim wrote:
Yes Aurora you will have to do what the rest of America is doing during the down economy. Adjusting.
Alright, that's kind of funny, but...

Adjusting during a down economy would be ponying up some extra tax revenue to keep the libraries open until things get better. Closing the libraries and laying off dozens of people forever isn't so much an "adjustment" as it is a brand new status quo.
TiredofInsanity wrote:
Another Colorado vote down the drain for education...no wonder we are almost last in this area. All we have to do is blame ourselves. Sad day.
Again, I agree.

Only I'm "blaming ourselves" in the most general of ways. I'm actually blaming this on the "not with my tax dollar" crowd who have shown time and time again that they don't give a flying fuck about community, not as a concept, and certainly not as a practice.

License to be Stupid

A few days before I-300 was defeated, a study was released that showed a quarter of the fatal accidents in Colorado involved an unlicensed driver. Of course, supporters of I-300 grabbed it and ran with it.

This Denver Post editorial doesn't support I-300 (saying it was "correct to soundly reject Initiative 300") but it does fully embrace this statistic.
Still, more than 200,000 people might be driving illegally in Colorado, and they were involved in almost a quarter of the state's traffic deaths — or 130 deaths — last year, according to state auditors.

State lawmakers should act soon to deal with the high number of accidents and deaths caused each year by those who drive without valid licenses.
To that, I say...

Well, what about the fatal accidents (75% of them) caused by fully licensed drivers? What should state lawmakers do about them?

More on 4A

This library thing has been having deleterious effects on my mood. This morning, commuting back home after a long night, I saw a sign still sitting in someone's front yard.

Vote No on 4A. Save a Home.
Fairly innocuous, right?

An innocuous fucking lie.

Now, remember...4A was going to raise property taxes to keep all of the city's libraries open. It's a percentage, but it works out to about an extra $5 a month on a property worth 200K. A whole $60-70 a year.

If you are like me, your property taxes have gone down more than $60-$70 a year thanks to the housing bubble bursting and the global economic meltdown.

So money-wise, it's a wash. Of course, now that your taxes have gone down, perhaps you don't want them to go up...but if that's the case, become a renter and avoid the whole concept of property taxes. Because property owners know that value fluctuates, and the value of your property goes UP, then so will your tax exposure.

It's just math. It's not part of the liberal conspiracy to separate you from your dollar. Entropy does not work on tax brackets.

Beyond that, I'm going to go out on a limb with no evidence and say that NO ONE is in danger of losing their home due to a property tax increase of $60-70 a year.

Oh, I can see the rare situation where someone who owns their house outright is suffering a cash crunch around tax time, and they can't scramble to raise the $60-70 extra in time. But in that case, before you start the foreclosure proceedings, stop down at the check-cashing place and get a fucking pay-day loan.

We're talking 70 bucks here. It's not exactly chump change, but if you're in desperate straits, it's not a difficult sum to come up with on short notice.

Of course if you're paying a mortgage on your house, coming up with this extra money isn't difficult either. You've probably got an escrow account that takes a little money from your payment and sets it aside for the yearly tax bill. And they'll be setting aside $5 a month. Five whole bucks!

Now if you're going to lose your home because you can't come up with five bucks, well...you're an idiot. I'm sorry, sounds harsh, but it's true.

So the whole "Vote No on 4A, Save a Home" bullshit is just that: bullshit.

A more honest sign might have read "Vote YES on 4A, Save a Young Mind."

Because that extra $5 in your pocket isn't going to save your house, but it sure isn't going to make it easier for a starving young mind to satisfy their hunger for knowledge either. (It might get you a cup of coffee, though...)

Oh, by the way, about a 100 people are going to be losing their jobs because of this vote. 100 people. *

I know, I know...good! Those parasitic leeches should go find honest work in the private sector. But are they even hiring at Barnes and Noble these days???





* The ultimate irony...since they'll be losing their jobs "through no fault of their own," they'll be eligible for unemployment benefits. So they'll go from getting paid shelving books and helping children learn how to read, to getting paid...to look for another job.

Exhibit A for why it's best to use thinking that is more sophisticated than "Not with my tax dollar!"

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Osteen Power Hour

CNN just had Joel Osteen on to help sell his book, Living With Jesus During the Recession or some bullshit. Kiran Chetry was asking him serious questions about "God's favor" and asking God for a good day.

And I'm thinking...I thought I was watching the Communist News Network.

If they're talking about a Republican Renaissance, showing commercials for Sarah Palin's book, and talking about God's favor with Joel Osteen, what the hell is Fox News doing?

Talking about green technology and income inequality?

Give me some of that liberal media, man, or give me death.

Updated: I thought about this a little more and perhaps I was too harsh on CNN's fawning over Osteen. Imagine if it were the Dalai Lama, if he came on to sell one of his books. They'd probably treat him the same.

Of course, I don't like him either. (Yeah, I said it. I don't like the Dalai Lama. A religious charlatan is a religious charlatan. They both come with smiles. But then so does the mafia when they come to whack you.)

Marketing

I just watched a commercial for Sarah Palin's book, Going Rogue, that highlighted the fact that it was already on the best-seller list even though the book doesn't come out until November 17th.

It kind of tells you what you need to know about the merit of best-seller lists, huh?

Nike

I like Nike but wait a minute
The neighborhood supports, so put some money in it
- Public Enemy


As much as I hate to disagree with Chuck D, I must. Nike is a company of bitches.

I suppose I should fall to my knees in awe over how fucking it awesome it is that they can run a profitable global enterprise using cheap Asian labor to manufacture their product and rich American sports-stars to market it.

But I'm not gonna do it. You know why?

The rich American sports-stars are paid better!

Ah, the market...truly a model of efficiency and moral clarity!

Buying the Hype...or Not

CNN is calling the Republican wins in the governor races in New Jersey and Virginia "a Republican Renaissance."

I'll remember that when a couple Democrats win the next time the GOP has a lock on Congress and the White House...

This article
includes this bit of historical observation.
Since 1989, the party winning the White House has always gone on to lose the gubernatorial races in both states the following year.
It's also a bit less sanguine about the Renaissance aspects of these wins...
However, the victories were tempered by the loss of a congressional seat in upstate New York held by the GOP since the Civil War, according to CNN projections.
I guess two predictable wins and one historic loss is pretty Renaissance-like if you really think about it...

Joe the Activist

There was another Tea Party protest yesterday at Civic Center and Joe the Plumber showed up.

But isn't it time we stop kidding ourselves about Joe the Plumber? I strongly suspect he hasn't plumbed anything but the depths of political hackery for the better part of a year.

Shouldn't we start calling him "Joe the Activist?" I'll tell you one thing, I'm not calling him a plumber anymore...

Side note:

The linked article includes this line:
Protestors are upset at the size and scope of the federal government.

I've got some questions about the size and scope of the federal government myself, but I wonder what kind of lives these people lead where they skip over the municipal and state governments which have a more immediate and local effect on their day to day lives and go straight for the feds.

Are their income taxes really that much? Are the federal regulations on people's personal lives really that stringent? (Shit, man, it's not the feds saying you can't paint your house pink. Blame that on your covenant-controlled community!)

Not only that, but I wonder about their opinions on other aspects of the federal government.

Like say...

How do you feel about the defense budget, which costs taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars a year? How much would you personally pay out of your own pocket to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?

And that's just one example.

I mean, these Tea Partiers are the "conservatives," right? They're the ones who think we need a new border fence and expanded border enforcement, right? They're the ones who want the FCC to keep naughty body parts and words from showing up on prime-time TV, right?

They're the ones who spent the better part of the Bush years trying to put a Federal amendment in the U.S. Constitution prohibiting gay marriage, right?

Forgive me if I question your commitment to "small government" when you cherry pick the "big government" stuff you like, and cry foul about the "big government" stuff you don't. At least as a liberal, I can say things like, "I'm not worried about big government so much as I about bad government" and still remain ideologically consistent!

Once you start crying about "big government" and then start hoping for a "big government" solution to your problem with abortion or illegal immigrants, then I know that you're...well...just full of shit.

Election Day

Smell that? Smells like...democracy in an off-year.

Here in Colorado, we didn't get to vote for anything really interesting.

The folks in Denver got to say "thanks, but no thanks" to using city resources to fight the Illegal Immigrant Wars. Long story short, to crack down on illegals in the city, some do-good busy-body wanted to require the Denver police to tow and impound every vehicle driven by an unlicensed driver.

Forget about the extra paperwork and time it takes the cops to do this. Forget that the extra fines ($2500 per vehicle) would only ensure more vehicles are abandoned at the lot. Forget that the Denver impound lot is land-locked and doesn't even have enough room. Forget that driving without a license already guarantees you five days in jail and a stiff fine. Forget that the Denver police is NOT the border patrol.

Forget all that, and just think of all the criminals on our roads who are driving while Mexican...

The ski-town of Breckinridge legalized possession of marijuana. Not just for medical patients. Not just for the potheads pretending to be medical patients. But for any adult. Of course, it's mostly symbolic since marijuana is still banned under state and federal law, but so what? The way these marijuana initiatives around the country are going, the federal laws themselves are becoming symbolic.

Hitting closer to home, it looks like 4 of Aurora's 7 city libraries will be closing after voters shot down a property tax increase intended to keep them open. I voted yes on every tax increase this year, mostly out of frustration with those who say tax cuts are the answer to everything. I know, I know...but I'm not the dumb one here.

I agree that if you want to stimulate economic growth or attract industry or help out the little guy, the tax-cut uber alles crowd have a major point.

But they just don't have much to say about the "if we don't get more money, we're closing the libraries" problem except...well, close the libraries then!

Talking to a guy at work who voted "No" for the tax increase and "Yes" for the library closure, I asked him his motive. I don't want to pay more property taxes, he said.

For him, that makes sense. He bought his house post-bubble, so he hasn't watched his property values tank, netting him that oh-so-beautiful de facto property tax decrease.

So go ahead. Raise my taxes. I'll still be paying less than I did last year. So for me, it's not about the extra money coming out of my pocket, because even in the most technical of ways, there is no extra money coming out of my pocket.

For me, it's about the libraries. It's about the people who work in them, the people who frequent them. It's about the community.

And frankly, I don't want to live in a community that doesn't value libraries enough to fund them. After all, the city of Aurora owns and operates several city run golf courses, but no one's talking about closing them down.

I mean, we can't expect people to go to a private golf course...

If people need a library, they can always go to Barnes and Noble, or the Apple store, or hell, just use the internet. All those books just sitting on the shelf with no one reading them? What a waste! We're Americans, dammit. We can get by without libraries. But we can't get by without a few bucks a month in our pockets.

We need that money...to pay for our ATM fees.

Pbbbbbltttt.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Adventures in Music

When Living Colour's Cult of Personality came out, I was still in elementary school. A kid, more tween than teen, old enough to be in the market for some music, but too young to be able to actually participate in it. Buying tapes (because this was the post-LP, pre-CD, cassette tape era) at the local record store was still a few years off, waiting for my first summer job.

Back in those days, the only way to get music was to tape it off the radio. That's how I got my first copy of Cult of Personality. It still had the Casey Kasem intro on it and some radio hiss, but I could rewind it and listen to it over and over.

With a song this good, that tape never had a chance.

I mention this because in the Holiday issue of Guitar World, they have provided a transcription of the song in tab form, so industrious guitar players everywhere can figure out how to play it on their own.
But I just can't do it. My fingers aren't nimble enough, my musical talent too non-existant. It doesn't sound that difficult, and Vernon Reid makes it look so damn easy. And look at the tab, doesn't even look that complicated.

But it's just not happening for me.