Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Surprise! A Tall Ship AND A FREE TABLA LESSON!

Yes, yes, I know... The 'Mate hasn't been quite up to sorting out the signal flags and free-gamming on the port visits of interesting barkies and gigs. So, Chennai Online reports that "Chennai will witness 10 days of Sweden-related events as the world's largest replica of a sailing tall ship comes into Chennai Port." It's all part of the 10-day 'Sweden Comes to Chennai' marketing extravaganza and India-Sweden love-fest, starting today. (I don't know where I.N.S. Tarangini is, but India's tall ship is visiting Newport this Summer. Keep 'em peeled.)
Now, I know what you're thinking. "That Indian online gang called the Götheburg a 'replica of a tall ship.' The Götheburg is an actual sailing tall ship." In essence, most tall ships are replicas of tall ships. Except for the ones that were invented by the builders. Which are originals. Some are scale models of tall ships, and are actually tall ships all on their own. Some are just like tall tall ships, only smaller. I wish I had a picture of "The World's Smallest Tall Ship," built and sailed by great sailor, musician, and dad Jody Gibson. Cheers to his family. You all taught me much.
There really is a tall ship event starting today in India. Which affords me an opportunity to share with you a band that'll be appearing during there, "Mynta," a fusion of Nordic ice and Indian spice" (well, that's what the website says. As does, I would imagine, the t-shirt.):

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Still hating The Beach...

When I was editing the features page at my college newspaper, my job was to make sure my fellow writers didn’t look retarded, which was easy because my fellow writers all had higher GPAs than I and wrote well. Some have actually won awards like Oscars and Tonys. All right, those aren’t writing awards per se, but congratulations to them, anyway.
At that time, I had a friend who has since gone on to edit a show-biz-industry journal (that doesn’t feature pictures of Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton) and then direct a documentary about bad movies. Since we attended a “liberal arts” college, we were unconditionally obligated to spend a lot of time in the Pub. Discussing theory. After watching a particularly pretentious and insincere attempt at “original” theater, he blubbered into his beverage that, “No one should break the rules without first knowing them.”
I agreed, and to this day I am offended by self-sure twits and untested jerks who are somehow given wholesale sanction to publish sheer crap.

I refer to “vanity publications.” Any gadfly who can fool a couple of real estate brokers into carrying printing costs can live the dream until he's all tuckered out by all them words and junk. He'll write the "articles," and get a buddy to write haphazard "thought pieces" or reviews of the restaurants that they've fooled into advertising in their pages, or essays about politicians -- the publishing equivalent of "Hot enough for ya?" Like other businesses in the SouthCoast, blissfully unaware of and unconcerned with the outside world, he'll make up his own rules for his publication. “Because it’s my business. I seen enough magazines to know what I like. These are pretty pictures. It's a quality magazine. You don’t like it, get your own...” I’m always offended by this common, intellectually lazy childishness. Yes, yes, it's your business, but c'mon. Don't deny your responsibility to basic tenets of publishing just because you don't have the attention span. Editoring is hard, but don't wave off Chicago stylebook and all that.
In a recent edition of a local self-proclaimed "most widely read and sought-after magazine,"a full-page diatribe ostensibly about censorship devolves into logic-deficient partisan jibberish. The author is actually whining that nobody agrees with him, a poor put-upon who claims to be victimized by something he thinks is "commonly called "The Drive By Media'" with a "clear and concise left slant." Of course the poor victim crybabies that the media “censors” “honest” writers like him because of “political correctness.” First, a few definitions for those not from the SouthCoast:


Censor: to correct spelling or factual errors. Believed by some to be a violation of the writer’s First Amendment rights and an unfair manifestation of college-educated liberal, socialist-fascist smartypantness.
Honest: Describing unrestrained crudeness or impoliteness, generally offensive and groundless in fact , but loudly broadcast.
Political Correctness: Also believed to be further proof that democrat-communists control everything, another violation of First Amendment rights that keeps people from being honest (see above).

I realize I am grousing like this online in the very medium that happily tolerates acronyms for things you aren’t actually doing (“LOL”) and pegs those who correct them as “punctuofascists.“ Or something.
Here’s an in-edition advertisement for sales staff, same magazine. The one with the cover with the grimacing blonde in the red padded bra and teddy bear, infantilizing her sexuality in front of a tray of strawberries. In the real world, using one’s own airwaves or pages to advertise for salespeople is not only seen as tacky, it’s also wasting actual advertising space or time, and thus appears both desperate and tacky.

The first "paragraph" reads (reprinted here slavishly): Jump Start Your Career If you are an over-achiever, have media sales experience, and insist in quality, whether at your job or in all aspects of your life, then we have an outstanding position for you as an Account Executive. I can't even diagram this sentence. Run-ons with poor clichés and misplaced prepositions, please... I'd credit the publication in question for the pic (I know they're very seriously about copyright stuff), but I would hate to mention the name, because it's got one of those ™ things that strikes fear into people who make fun of people who put those little ™ things on stuff. So, kudos™ to you, Mr. Magazine-That-Used-To-Be-Free-On-Top-Of-Cigarette-Machines-When-There-Were-Cigarette-Machines, for having your own vanity mag and getting to take pictures of chicks. Yeah.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I need a cool intro...

Something with boats. And traditional flair. And a big star. Like... Bruce Campbell...



In other news: For what seems like a couple of centuries, I (and any number of historians, museum educators and historic seaport interpreters) have been trying to teach people the difference between cobblestones and Belgian blocks, or setts.
Most Americans refer to roads paved with Belgian blocks as "cobblestone" roads. In seaside communities, or at least in communities that like to pretend they have some economic "sea" component, Belgian blocks and cobblestones came from the same place: a ship's hold, where they are employed as easy-to-move-and-remove ballast. "Cobblestones" are irregularly-sized, rounded due to a river's or ship's motion, and of many different materials. "Setts" are regular-shaped, shaped by man, and are usually granite. "Belgian blocks" are setts, regular-shaped, man-made, and convenient pavers. Those are what you see on streets in historic parts of town. They were stored onboard the same way they are laid on the street.
As always, the writer of
this piece in the Fall River Sunday rag is wrong. Although I am not familiar with the thoroughfare mentioned in the article, I am certain it is not paved with cobblestones. Cobblestones are rarely pavers. Belgian blocks are. (Those round cobblestones are decorations lining sidewalks, but were probably pavers in the 14th Century). The writer above is used to using "common terms" to describe everything, whether he’s referring to television, weather, sports, or politics. He is imprecise, unstudied, and often just plain wrong. The problem with "clever" newspaper writers around the SouthCoast is that their ego-wracked musings are in no way edited. Incapable of accurately describing their physical world (due to their delusional narcissism, mostly), they fall back on useless common fallacies, which are hard to contest, since a lie repeated blah blah blah... Over thirty incorrect descriptions of setts, including some by some dufus from the DPW, and one very figmental and inaccurate definition of cobble. Most SouthCoasters cherish an authority confirming a misconception. I'm all hopped up on this because today I got a look at one of the freebie vanity rags that further deface my environs. I don't work in publishing around here because these turds are embarrassing. More later this week.

So, to review: These are Cobblestones

and these are what you use to make streets. Now you can work for any historic repaving project anywhere. Unfortunately, not for any newspaper.

Friday, January 26, 2007

No place like Nome...

Current weather conditions for
Nome, AK


light snow
10 °F
[-12 °C]
Feels Like
-7 °F / -22 °C
Wind: 16 mph from N
Dew Point: 5 °F / -15 °C
Humidity: 78%
Pressure: 29.37 inches
Visibility: 4 miles
Updated at 01/26/2007 02:33 pm AKST

current weather conditions

Current weather conditions for
Dartmouth, Massachusetts


clear sky
9 °F
[-13 °C]
Feels Like
-6 °F / -21 °C
Wind: 13-24 mph from NW
Dew Point: -13 °F / -25 °C
Humidity: 36%
Pressure: 29.87 inches
Visibility: 10 miles
Updated at 01/26/2007 05:53 pm EST

Soles'n'Bowls

  • I was raised near this port. I spent at least 3 years in and out of the 18th Century on Tall Ships, and a year or so at sea on other people's boats. I've worked in radio, retail, television, finance, fundraising, agriculture, and the arts. So, no, I've never had to deal with the real world.
  • So the judge in the Scooter Libby Trial told the jurors they shouldn’t listen to the radio or watch the news. Because, he said,"While I believe the press tries to report things accurately sometimes they get it wrong." He did, however, allow them to watch "Judge Judy." These judges, always sticking together.
  • Another SouthCoast call center! For those of you playing along in the real world, that means you have another whole opportunity to call customer service and get a "Customer Service" operative with a bad accent who’s mean-spirited, poorly-educated, leaves her kid in the car while at work, and thinks "service" means getting you off the phone so she can get her smoke break. (Although ya gotta love any company that locates its headquarters, according to the “Directions” link on its webpage, to the left of Dairy Queen.)
  • Quote o'the Week: Chuck Hagel (R- Nebraska, to the rest of the Senate): “Why were you elected? If you wanted a safe job, go sell shoes."
  • The Defense Department has given the Navy permission to continue using sonar to confuse and kill whales and dolphins for TWO MORE YEARS. Yeah. That Defense Department.

He's loud, animated, and probably NSFW. Reminds me of all the kids who were funnier than I in high school. Because he grew up on Cape Cod. If you've got 9 minutes to kill, kill it with these clips of Dana Gould, the Forgotten Comic.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Henry Butler

Since I was all "Fall River and The SouthCoast Anti-Culture Conspiracy" in my last rant, just thought I'd give the FR Narrows Center for the Ahts a plug because they feature Henry Butler this Satdy. (He's the NOLA pianner guy who isn't Professor Longhair or Doctor John.)
Dig this sample:

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Fall River: 1 Million Dollars for the Arts

Everyone knows that the Fall River idea of art (usually called “ahts and crafts”) is Popsicle stick napkin holders. Instead of having an actual art museum, Fall River opted for the “art society” option, which sets up bus trips to Boston to buy tchochkes at the museum store up there. Art is scary and belongs isolated. The best art gallery in Fall River is located on the campus of the 7-year high school known as Bristol Community College, or Beer Can College (BCC). Some performing occurs but annoys the local Yankees and Calvinists. And after they get the crowd settled in for a night of the musical version of the "Female Odd Couple," they cede the stage to the Overwrought Pretentious School Theater there, further frightening and alienating the audience.
Fall River lives by the tagline “There Can Be Only One.” Yeah, like the Highlander. So there can be only one “arts” center, the Narrows. With uncomfortable seating, has-been acts and also-rans who are celebrated in local folk radio circles merely because they show up. Oh, yeah, and a self-styled "art” gallery. All down by the imaginary waterfront.

I tease because I love. The Narrows does bring in some interesting acts, and BCC and the Little Theater (for whom I have worked) do the best they can with what they've got. Fall River is a town entertained by politics and (until recently) high school sports. Folks don't care for art and don't possess the vocabulary to discuss it. The mayor has nothing to lose since he's quitting this year, so Fall River’s outgoing chief executive has chosen to mention arts in his state of the city address yesterday. As well as to quote Winston Churchill and Teddy Roosevelt just like the Preznit does. Oh yeah, and Carole King. Just like nobody does.

We have supported the Arts, by distributing almost $1 million
dollars in arts grants to various organizations over the last 12 years; by
maintaining a free, annual First Night celebration, initiating the annual
Fall River Children's Film Festival and hosting art shows and displays of
local talent in our downtown Cherry & Webb facility... I will be
bringing together the private owners of the former Capitol Theater in the
downtown with state and local officials to determine the viability and to
devise a plan for restoring one of Fall River's old treasures for the
purpose of bringing performing arts back to our downtown.

And when nothing happens, we can blame, for the very few who mention it, those “state and local officials.” But that MILLION bucks. I can just hear the regressives in town with their usual "wish that money didn't have to come out of my pocket (it didn't) to go to them artsy-fartsy types (it doesn't)." Of course, over 12 years that's $83,000 a year. In a real city (like Columbus OH, or Eau Claire WI, or Augusta GA) that would be one museum executive director salary and maybe some supplies for a school program. The Met has an annual budget of $200,000,000. But FR is a special city, and culture really does mean jugglers and face painting. It's all about the kids, you understand.
Ed was wisely indistinct, avoiding real detail. We've heard all this before. A dilapidated police station was to be put aside for “an arts center.” A historic church turned into a steak house when the community didn’t support an arts center there. A former state office building was never converted into affordable work-live spaces for artists. (I know artists who live in housing available inexpensively in Fall River. They work in Rhode Island. They show in galleries there and in New York or Boston. You see, people buy art and the artists get paid to make art, and are part of the economy. Unfortunately the locals think, in one artist’s words, “Art to buy is seagulls on shingles.”
ThirdMate's Reckoning: Money and real and eager annual donations need to come from the SouthCoast leadership who should learn to not fear what they don't get, and lead the way, not rely on grant-making organizations and state funding. Helping to distribute Mass Cultural Council or local Arts Foundation grants is not supporting the arts; it's just supporting the bureaucrats who shuffle those papers around. Creating a culture of respect for the arts, fostering a spoken need for the arts, and understanding that arts are not alternative forms of elite's diversion but viable sources of income and entertainment. Artists rarely shoot or stab each other. Curiosity and teamwork and cooperation and imagination and discipline are present in every edition, print, and concerto. And it's not skylarking.

UPDATE: The State Of The Union

Switchgrass

No mention of switchgrass.

Monday, January 22, 2007

No nooses aboard this vessel

Everybody knows that I (simplistically) metaphor our world as a ship. It's not hard to stretch the symbolism. Humanity is the crew, natural resources are to be respected and conserved as a matter of survival, and common sense for the common good is the order of the day. So, I disdain those who readily pass cheap judgments. An easy target for such judgments are folk who attempt to broker an idea and reap some benefit, often from un- or misinformed others. Our Friend Aaron™, (who was on teevee recently with his darling offspring enjoying their neighbor's man-made snow) has been following the story of one such attemptor for the New Bedford Standard-Times:

The Standard-Times has spoken to about a dozen angry customers and three who were happy with Mr. Howland's work. Mr. Howland took orders for 80 windmills, and about half of those have been delivered and installed. Three customers have poles that bent under strong winds, and a number of others have complained that Mr. Howland inflated their expectations or made promises he did not deliver. Nearly every customer complained that Mr. Howland was not available to them. Although the collaborative has referred the matter to the Attorney General's Office, it is unclear whether the attorney general is pursuing an investigation. District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter's office referred a reporter to Westport police. Westport Deputy Police Chief John Gifford said the town is not pursuing a criminal investigation. "It appears to be a civil matter, and as long as it stays that way, we'll stay out of it," Deputy Chief Gifford said. "When it turns the corner, we'll jump in with both feet." Mr. Howland said, "In my opinion, the (Massachusetts Technology Collaborative) is on a witch hunt against us because we refuse to become a general contractor or overall project coordinator." Mr. Howland also said he is the victim of a "smear campaign" by the collaborative, which he said is denigrating him to his customers and asking them leading questions. Mr. Howland said he never presented himself to his customers as the one person who would order the turbines, install poles, erect the turbines and deal with local permitting issues. "I said I would provide the product. I said I would apply to the MTC for subsidies for people," he said. "I always presented people with options. I let them know what they could get, what was allowed by local permits. It was always me saying to the customer, 'What do you want to do?'" Mr. Howland also complained that the two stories in The Standard-Times were "increasingly negative" and "one-sided." When The Standard-Times began trying to contact Mr. Howland last week, a reporter left numerous messages on his cell phone, home phone and work phone. The reporter then contacted his sister in Fairhaven and received a cell phone number for Bonnie Howland, Mr. Howland's wife, and she issued a statement. The family was on vacation in Florida at the time and had not seen the cease-and-desist letter from the collaborative. For a story yesterday on angry customers demanding refunds, Mr. and Mrs. Howland were contacted on their cell phones. Mr. Howland did not respond until 3 a.m., long after the newspaper's deadline, with two e-mails to the reporter. He also appeared on radio station WBSM yesterday and fielded questions from radio talk show host Ken Pittman, who is a friend of Mr. Howland and a customer of Mr. Howland's wind turbine business.

Contact Aaron Nicodemus at mailto:anicodemus@s-t.com?subject=Windmill

ThirdMate's Reckoning: Had Howland succeeded in installing legal, permitted and paid-for windmills to each of his clients, he would be touted as a successful entrepreneur, instead of derided as "a con-man." People don't have patience for pols who lose, and celebrate accordingly. Of course those who habitually berate "the treehuggers" and "crazy ideas about alternative energy" are urged to retreat to the gun deck to bitch and moan. Some mates will do better conscientiously at watch while others learn the ropes before setting off into the rig.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Soles'n'Bowls

  • Since the sad "political" wannabes of the SouthCoast have have taken over the airwaves with their announcements of intentions to run for sucker positions, I can't help but shut off the radio and ignore the printed self-importancies. Which is a shame, because Keri Rodrigues of WSAR has put this "journal" on her "blogroll." Or whatever you kids are calling it. I thank her, but I don't see how the random musings of a mad sure multi-adept auto-didact former pirate-avoider can in any way be of interest in the battle against the SouthCoast's Cult of Authority.
  • Yes, Cult of Authority: "The boss is always right. It's a law." Keeping the creative and progressive down for 140 years. Why stop now, Town-With-No-Museum?
  • Besides, whenever I hear radio talk show callers discussing "hip-hop and the gangster [sic] lifestyle,” it reminds me of Islamic fundamentalists who talk about America’s depraved culture.
  • I know it’s impolite to “out” someone. “Hand, reef, and steer” has nothing to do with what (or whom) you do in your own bunk. It’s nobody’s business. And, frankly, can get counterproductive. So equality and honesty is just a way to make your community better, like picking up stray wrappers on the sidewalk. But in a town like Fall River, such admissions are deemed by Catholic locals as "scandalous." Isn’t it wiser and honester, if one is running for office and everyone’s been whispering about one’s sexuality, that a certain level of personal integrity might urge one to admit and move on, rather than not admit and continue pretending one lives in a sophisticated town that doesn't have to think honestly about sexuality. Just a thought.
  • Starbucks has decided to open another shop in London every two weeks. They might look at the SouthCoast. There are 2 Starbucks in a 10-mile radius of my mooring. I know of one other place in New Bedford where Starbucks coffee is sold, but I’m talking about actual Starbucks shops. Lucky I don’t drink coffee.
  • Putting aside the difference between pop culture awareness and cultural literacy, (not that Starbucks is any indicator of an area’s cultural literacy), if Starbucks shops are an indicator of cultural literacy, it might explain why nobody within a 10-mile radius knows who Amy Sedaris is. Or her brother David.
  • Or the real geniuses of down-the-holler American entertainment and front porch philosophy-song-crafting : Jeff and Benares, who have hoisted the Blue Peter and are heading south. Congratulations to them. Live and play well in Cackalacky. Make us proud. You’re my latest favoritest influences, better than Arnold Schultz and Judy Craig. Okay, he played mandolin and she sang with the Chiffons, but I couldn’t use “Nina Simone and Frankie Valli.” Because that was a Christopher Guest/Bill Murray routine.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Well, I laughed out loud

Listen carefully. The dialogue is sometimes hard to make out. Unless you've memorized the lines. Thanks to somebody calls hisself Zorba.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I gotta get up earlier...

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." I love quoting that correctly. Ben Franklin, whose birthday we celebrate today, wrote that in his Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759). It goes to show how a bon mot can span the centuries. Too bad the current administration and the popular press these days seem to be hell-bent on making that particular sentiment meaningless.
I think Franklin knew that there would be generations after his own who would appreciate freedom. And he made sure that freedom existed and guranteed that it would continue. Unlike those currently destroying the Constitution and other parts of our environment. Like science and reason. Franklin wrote an Autobiography which fell into my hands as an impressionable youth, and the Franklin's subversive prose certainly girded me for the obstacle course and luge run of my fantastic life. Thus, I conclude with this quote from Franklin, commenting on his own ahem prose:

In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had compleatly overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.

Monday, January 15, 2007

We Are ALL Born Into Slavery...

What defines us is how we cast off the shackles.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

We go forward with trust that the Author of Liberty will guide us through these trying hours.

I've had a helluva cold this week, so the remote and I spent some time reacquainting with the big stupid box of funny moving pictures. So, the other night, I hear this whiny voice going on about "the author of Liberty."
And I was thinking, of course, of the French surrealist poet Paul Éluard.
He wrote a poem that I was forced "to emote" as an audition piece, back in theater class, Liberty:

On my notebooks from school
On my desk and the trees
On the sand on the snow
I write your name
On every page read
On all the white sheets
Stone blood paper or ash
I write your name
On the golden images
On the soldier’s weapons
On the crowns of kings
I write your name
On the jungle the desert
The nests and the bushes
On the echo of childhood
I write your name

On the wonder of nights
On the white bread of days
On the seasons engaged
I write your name
On all my blue rags
On the pond mildewed sun
On the lake living moon
I write your name
On the fields the horizon
The wings of the birds
On the windmill of shadows
I write your name

On the foam of the clouds
On the sweat of the storm
On dark insipid rain
I write your name
On the glittering forms
On the bells of colour
On physical truth
I write your name
On the wakened paths
On the opened ways
On the scattered places
I write your name

On the lamp that gives light
On the lamp that is drowned
On my house reunited
I write your name
On the bisected fruit
Of my mirror and room
On my bed’s empty shell
I write your name
On my dog greedy tender
On his listening ears
On his awkward paws
I write your name

On the sill of my door
On familiar things
On the fire’s sacred stream
I write your name
On all flesh that’s in tune
On the brows of my friends
On each hand that extends
I write your name
On the glass of surprises
On lips that attend
High over the silence
I write your name

On my ravaged refuges
On my fallen lighthouses
On the walls of my boredom
I write your name
On passionless absence
On naked solitude
On the marches of death
I write your name
On health that’s regained
On danger that’s past
On hope without memories
I write your name

By the power of the word
I regain my life
I was born to know you
And to name you
LIBERTY


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My birthday was a couple of days ago so I call hands to the capstan for a look back at the past watch.

The health stuff here and here is incomplete. I’m no longer on dialysis, but I still need to replace my existing renality. (Type O, if you’ve got an extra. Kidney, that is.)
The most dramatic physical event in my life had been, up to that point, cutting off my horse tail and at least I got to donate that to a kid. But over the past year, I beat Crichton for other worldly physical abuse (Farscape reference. Thought you could go a whole year without one, eh?). I have had tubes inserted into veins. I have had blood removed, cleaned and put back in. I have had lasers shot into my eyes. I have been an unwilling host to a foreign thing. I have been poked, prodded, and questioned like Guantanamo.
And a friend (who happens to be a nurse) said that he was surprised because he “always thought [I was] a good diabetic.”
Just how “good” a diabetic have I been? Besides the booze and smokes, I mean. And the "no shoes" thing. In the clinical labtest world of diabetes management, there is a blood test which monitors a diabetic’s control over three months:” the Hemoglobin A1C. 5.6 last check. 5.3 before that. (I’m shooting for between 4 and 6.) You get the picture. Some diabetics I have met recently have never seen a number lower than 8. But I’ve never been about competition. If you’re a diabetic who’s happened upon this site, don’t forget that you’re not alone in this. Feel free to use the comments. You’d better have a doc you can argue with, who’ll learn about your diabetes right along with you. Ask questions, demand answers. Research. And remember it’s not about “winning” or getting over it” or cheating. It’s about your life. You wanna get mad about it? Use your rage. Get on the phone and demand healthcare. Write letters to your representatives, insurers, and pharmaceutical companies.
What was the worst moment of '06? The Lyme? The dialysis? The asking my sister for a kidney? No.
The worst was when I had to watch a fellow who is on a Jurassic treatment plan with a dinosaur insulin refuse to get an insulin pump because he didn’t want anyone at work to know he “had the sugah.” And he’ll have a low blood sugar that scares his wife in the middle of the night and end up with a 550 in the office.

An insulin pump, about the size of a pager, with a tube that delivers insulin the same way his wife’s pancreas does. As easy to program as a cell phone. Probably easier. There are kids in middle school (not an easy place to be different). Playing hockey... For more information, stop by Chuck Eichten’s site, Better is Better
And that concludes our overwrought public service programming.
Now, back to Farscape:

...er, Firefly. (the link above the teevee gives you Tom Lehrer)

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Terry Jones (Yes that Terry Jones)

Chaucer scholar, writer/director, commentator, and Sir Bedevere depictor Terry Jones gives the world an early my birthday present. Read it all at The Guardian Unlimited. Early this year the Bush administration is to ask Congress to approve an additional $100bn for the onerous task of making life intolerable for the Iraqis. This will bring the total spent on the White House's current obsession with war to almost $500bn - enough to have given every US citizen $1,600 each. I wonder which the voters would have gone for if given the choice: shall we (a) give every American $1,600 or (b) spend the money on bombing a country in the Middle East that doesn't use lavatory paper?
Of course, there's another thing that George Bush could have done with the money: he could have given every Iraqi $18,700. I imagine that would have reduced the threat of international terrorism somewhat. Call me old-fashioned, but I can't help thinking that giving someone $18,700 brings them round to your side more quickly than bombing the hell out of them. They could certainly buy a lot of lavatory paper with it. (con't.)...

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Let Me Return to My Original Conceit (and try to steer clear of the "foundering on the..." imagery and mutiny metaphors)

If the "Ship of State" is to sail true, it needs to run according to rules that make it the most seaworthy. I can’t state this any more clearly. Both crew and captain and mates and idlers must remain conscientious, committed, and healthy.
Let’s just say I’m skipper and I have access to and control over a tonic (let’s call it “grog”) that makes my crew happier, healthier, and better workers. It’s right there in the surgeon’s cabin. But I don’t want to offend the Royal Society or businessmen who pay for my cruise. So, we’re at sea with a sore over-worked crew, an underpaid and overworked sawbones, and me and the clerk skylarking in the gunroom making up forebitters about whether the whole crew should get that grog.
That’s what’s happening in the port where I find myself. The Commonwealth’s legislature voted (along with the vile act of oh, well, you know) also to leave the Health Care Amendment in committee, and boldly not do anything at all about LETTING THE PEOPLE VOTE (where have we heard that before?) about something the people should ACTUALLY vote on :
Their access to State-wide Health Care. For everyone.
Politics in this Commonwealth is broken. Most members of the Constitutional Convention use the ConCon as a means by which to alchemize their own (very parochial) interests into some kind of bargaining chip they can play for their own personal benefit. They will, of course, tell their constituents that they know what they’re doing, that the constituents don’t understand how things work on Beacon Hill, and that those poor dumb constituents had best re-elect them because, well, they'll just have to wait for next session.
In the meantime, here's a short list of people that people don't get. And their votes fo' or agin' Massachusetts residents:
HOUSE
Antonio F. D. Cabral -N New Bedford
Stephen R. Canessa -N New Bedford
Patricia A. Haddad -N Somerset
Robert M. Koczera -N New Bedford
John F. Quinn -Y Dartmouth
Michael J. Rodrigues -N Westport
David B. Sullivan -Y Fall River
SENATE
Joan M. Menard -N Somerset
Mark C. Montigny -Y New Bedford
Oh, and yesterday's RomanCatholic HeroBoy Bob Correia voted FOR the Health Care Amendment, since he's running for Mayah of Farrivah, where everyone is Type-2 diabetic, elderly, on MassHealth, and homophobic. He won't even have to send cars to the polls. (And I know you're out there, K-Rod. Keep up the good work. Or whatever.)
If I had my druthers (I know I left them here somewhere), you'd all get the grog. Seems pretty simple to me. But I ain't skipper.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Curious About the Only State That Constantly Argues About Obvious Points of its Constitution? These are my Local Pols...

... Some think that superstitious undereducated morons who can't operate a 4-way stop should get to decide who gets to marry. Look here for the full list.
My feeling is that Bob "I Used Of Been a Teacheh" Correia voted "Yes" because he thought it meant that "Yes, gay people can get married." He's running for mayor of Fall River, where NOBODY gets married anyway. They're old, and it would be disrespectful to the memory of the late husband, anyway. I wasn't sure which towns accept the SouthCoast monicker, so I used the actual coast as my guide and threw in people I knew because they're funny. Many of the surrounding (the Attleboros, Taunton, Brocktree, etc) bedroom'n'mall communities' reps voted Y probably for the same reason Future Mayor Bob did.
HOUSE:
Antonio F. D. Cabral, D-New Bedford - N
Stephen R. Canessa, D-New Bedford - N
Robert Correia, D-Fall River - Y
Patricia A. Haddad, D-Somerset - N
Robert M. Koczera, D-New Bedford - N
John F. Quinn, D-Dartmouth - N
Michael J. Rodrigues, D-Westport - N
William M. Straus, D-Mattapoisett - N
David B. Sullivan, D-Fall River - N
Philip Travis, D-Rehoboth - Y
SENATE
Joan M. Menard, D-Somerset - N
Mark C. Montigny, D-New Bedford - N

------
N no
Y yes
X not voting
...and don't forget these guys, and their much wisdom and experience with marriage:(the signs say "Marriage = Man and Woman" and something about attacks on the family. You do know that priests wear wedding rings to symbolize their "marriage to the Church" and nuns wear wedding rings to symbolize their marriage to Jesus... or the Holy Spirit... or some other kind of marriage that isn't in the Constitution. I wonder if we're going to have to get a ballot question about that?)

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Congratulations,Talk Radio/Viagra Generation!

You’ve succeeded in continuing your reign of stupid selfishness as the Massachusetts legislature votes (61 to 132) to move along an ill-conceived constitutional defacement that will ensure the removal of other peoples’ rights. Way to go! You’re one step closer to making damned sure your grand-daughter won’t be able to marry the woman she loves. Please do more to destroy those pesky rain forests and start more meaninglessly destructive wars. God's on your side. Oh, yeah, and I'm still waiting for that pony.