Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We celebrate this day as a generic day of thanks. However you celebrate it, enjoy yourselves; but I do wish our schools would teach the reality of the fucking Puritans and their equivalence to all the other fundamentalist monsters throughout history and in our present reality. We unschoolers certainly learn it. And don't get me started on Columbus!

Enjoy today but behave yourselves or the religious police will get you. Remember, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!


Monday, November 24, 2008

20 questions meme

The rules:
A) People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blogs & replace any question that they dislike with a new question. I replaced one, #14.
B) Tag 8 people to answer the questions. I don't tag people. If you find this interesting, take it and lemme know.

1. How many songs are on your iPod?
Eye-pod? I doan got no steenking eye-pod. Fucking Apple crap. I still like to listen to 33rpm wax/vinyl albums on my belt-driven turntable with a Stanton 681EEE cartridge on a weight-adjustable tone arm. Or 45s. 45s are good, too.

2. What music would you want played at your funeral?
Aside from a coupla older Black gospel tunes like Mornin' Train ("That evenin' train might be too late! I'm goin' home on the mornin' train!") I want a serious all-night party of hard-driving blues, r&b, and rock 'n' roll! Wouldn't mind a classic Noo Awlins second-line strut when it's all done. My full funeral plan is in this post.

3. What magazines do you have subscriptions to?
None. That was easy.

4. What is your favorite scent?
Best: Ronnie after sex. Runners-up: Uptown New Orleans in the early Fall. Offshore sea air. Cool, fresh N2O from a full-coverage mask. 100LL avgas. Crawfish boiling.

5. If you had a million dollars that you could only spend on yourself, what would you do with it?
Pah! A million doesn't really go very far these days. I'd buy a used Fountaine-Pajot sailing catamaran and keep it in the Caribbean. I'd also buy a Velocity airplane (kitplane - but built by a professional shop for me) and keep it hangared at AWO. I'd invest the remaining (approximately) half million to pay for maintenance of these two items and the costs associated with travelling with the family between the two locations in my Velocity. Frequently. Depending on their progress, I might sneak $100K out of that remainder to buy a ticket on a VirginGalactic suborbital flight but I'd really prefer to wait for an orbital opportunity.

6. What is your theme song?
Mmmnnn, I guess I'll go with Keep On Rockin' In the Free World by the inestimable Neil Young, except that my historic choice of theme song would hafta be Big Chief by Professor Longhair.

7. Do you trust easily?
No. And I never forget. Never. I am trying to work on the forgiveness thing, however. Especially for myself.

8. Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think?
I think before I think. I overthink the shit out of everything.

9. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
The philosophical and ethical destruction of our country, and physical destruction of other countries, by the neopuritans, starting with Reagan and finishing with the current Bush. I have tenuous hope for improvement in the future.

10. Do you have a good body-image?
No. I'm so fat that I detest looking in reflective surfaces.

11. Is being tagged fun?
Sure. It means someone is thinking of you when they're doing something interesting and fun. That's nice.

12. How do you spend your social networking (Facebook, etc.) time?
Reading newsgroups and blogs and occasionally writing posts for this blog.

13. What have you been seriously addicted to lately?
My core addiction is the same as it has been all my life: I want to know everything. I'm addicted to learning.

14. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is? Original question. Since I wasn't tagged, I'm changing it to: Why do people still believe in the supernatural?
I would have thought we were in the process of outgrowing that as a species starting with the Age of Reason but here we are in the 21st century and people still believe in stuff like Young Earth Creationism and The Secret. I just don't understand it. Hell, forget the Age of Reason, Lucretius wrote De Rerum Natura more than two thousand years ago and look what good that did. Instead of seeing ignorance and superstition wither on the vine, we've had a lotta new religions created since then. Sometimes I just wanna weep for humanity.

15. What’s the last song that got stuck in your head?
Kung Fu Fighting. Every time that damned commercial for that dumbass Kung Fu Panda movie comes on tv, and it comes on often!, that song sticks like superglue.

16. What’s your favorite item of clothing?
Shorts and T-shirt with Crocs. Individual item? My ItalFly jacket, given to me by Gianguido.

17. Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy?
Barely edible as Rice Krispies Treats. The cereal itself is horrid.

18. What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground?
Is this a trick question? Pick it up, of course. If its source were obvious, e.g. I saw it fall from someone's pocket, I'd return it. Otherwise, hooray for me.

19. What items could you not go without during the day?
Coke (Coca-Cola, that is. Cocaine is not a drug of choice for me.) Something to read. Some TV. Interacting with Ronnie and the girls. Hot malt-flavor Ovaltine with marshmallow creme is good.

20. What should you be doing right now?
Accomplishing stuff. Busy week coming up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy birthday, Dad!

My dad turned 90 on the 18th. To parallel Gail's post, he and I are 150 added together! Wow!


My dad is one of those guys from "the greatest generation." I might disagree with that overweening generational assessment but, individually speaking, my dad's definitely one of the greatest guys ever. Yes, he survived the Great Depression. (We're getting our turn for that now. Maybe.) Yes, his family was wiped out in the dustbowl which exacerbated that financial insanity. (He's talked about drinking hot water for breakfast cuz they couldn't afford coffee! I get pissed that I can't afford to buy Kobe beef when I want a steak for dinner.) Yes, he and four of his brothers served in WWII (Ferdinand, the youngest, was too young to serve at all. Moritz, the youngest who did serve, didn't reach his 20th birthday until after the war ended.) and they all came home. (Hooray! Now if we can just get all our young people back from VietNam-in-the-sand.)

But most significantly, he and people like him, generational status aside, are the ones who comprise the essential warp and weft of society. He and his ilk are the salt of the earth, the glue that holds society together, and the lubrication which keeps the machinery of society functioning. Pick your metaphor, mix as you will. He is one of the millions of ordinary people who go through life trying their damnedest to do their best every single day. A life not of quiet desperation a la Thoreau but of quiet dignity and individual effort to create a better world than the one they inherited.

He's the kind of guy who, when he gets socked in the mouth by life, swallows the blood and moves forward without complaint and without hesitation, despite the fact that he knows he'll probably get socked again. That, dear readers, is deep courage. Not the "paper empiricism" of bombastic blusterers who claim what they would do under circumstance X, that's cocktail party courage. Not even the adrenalin-fuelled one-time action of the kind undertaken by people in extremis, although that certainly is one type of courage. I'm talking about the quiet, continuous courage to do the right thing day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. That is an impressive feat and I stand in awe because I sure can't meet that standard.

No, he's not perfect, he's human. We're not cut out for perfection, it doesn't suit us. We're messier than that. Me, I like it that way. Perfection is boring; even if it were attainable, I'd eschew it. In the context of mere humanity and imperfect reality, he's a proletarian Herakles, primus inter pares.

Happy birthday, dad! I love you with all my heart!

P.S. Mister Martin Joseph Maier ("Marty" to the au courant cognoscenti, sometimes-PITA oldest brother to his siblings, or "sarge" to his 1940s Pacific theater brothers in sweat-stained khaki) celebrated his 90th birthday at Hooters. Word on the street is that he had a coupla drinks, ogled a coupla waitresses, and generally had a pretty good time; but I'm kinda glad they didn't take him to Bourbon Street for a strip-club crawl, an idea which was discussed but ultimately discarded. Harumph! I though *I* was the wild, heterodox one in the family! Ahhhh, life in The Big Easy, cher!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rated "R" for zombie content?

I did the blog rating thing like Zenma and Ronnie. It gave me a rating of R because it found sex (5x), abortion (2x), and zombie (1x).

They did not mention and therefore apparently have no problem with my constant use of words like fuck and asshole.

Fuckin' assholes!

It's like that other site that rates "readability" which rated my blog "elementary school" level.

Really? You gave me that rating right after my math rant and therefore presumably the rating is based mostly on parsing that. Elementary school? Really?

Fuckin' idiots. I am completely confident that there are flesh and blood humans out there who can NOT pass the Turing test.

Bah, humbug!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I'm a 1989 Supercharged MR-2

As you can tell from the header but...

I usually don't like this kind of online quiz cuz they're typically waaaayy stupid. However, I was amazed that this one nailed it on the head for me. By far the most accurate quiz of this type I've ever taken. If I had the spare nickles, about the only car I'd realistically want to purchase to replace Mister-Two [It's got a blower, Max! - Name that movie reference and win a prize.] would be a Lotus Elise. Toyota powerplant and Lotus handling. What could be better?

Actually the MR-2 was originally planned as the same sorta deal, a collaboration between Toyota and Lotus. When Lotus decided not to put the vehicle into production, Toyta slapped that not-exactly-beautiful body on it and sold it as the Toyota MR-2. It's a helluva pocket-rocket but with Toyota dependability. What could be better? Oh, did I ask that already? Sorry.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

I'm a Lotus Elise!



(So quick, it's already going out of frame!)

You believe in maximum performance and minimum baggage. You like to travel light and fast, hit the corners hard, and dance like there's no tomorrow.

And I even like the color! [Name that movie reference and win a prize.]

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Have you?

Bold the things you’ve done. (Stolen from Sandy Feet.)

1. Started your own blog Duh!
2. Slept under the stars Many times.
3. Played in a band Read all some about it here.
4. Visited Hawaii I prefer the Caribbean.
5. Watched a meteor shower High on a glacier on Mt. Rainier in my bivisack. Exquisite.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity - Can I half-bold? I'm not sure about "more than I can afford."
7. Been to Disneyland/world Been to both; hate 'em both.
8. Climbed a mountain Real mountains, not those East coast hills.(Mt. Mitchell, highest point East of the Mississippi is 6600 feet. Snicker!)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables - And I hope never to do so.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill Hell yeah!
24. Built a snow fort - Ha! I grew up in New Orleans.
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon - 10K was my limit and that's when I was younger.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice - they were too freaking expensive! We walked or used the vaporetto.
29. Seen a total eclipse Solar and lunar
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset Beautiful at sea, completely away from land.
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise - Only on private sailboats. I'll never do one of those commercial cruises.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors Ireland but not Germany.
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing - Dropped a line off a sailboat out of sight of land. Does that count?
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person - Not that interested. Saw other stuff in Rome instead.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling - certified PADI Divemaster
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business - sole-prop co-ownership of Orchestrations with Ronnie
58. Taken a martial arts class Kendo and iaido. And does European fencing count?
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching Not on a commercial vessel.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check Lemme tell ya about the time we bounced a check for teens of thousands of dollars to the freaking IRS cuz our bank dropped a decimal point on a money transfer!
68. Flown in a helicopter US-licensed PP-ASEL, maybe I'll get a rotorcraft add-on one day.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle If you ain't in three figures, you ain't having fun!
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person Hiked to the bottom and back up, too!
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible Hello? Educated by the Jesuits! Studied the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating - Ick! That's why they have packaged pieces of meat at the supermarket.
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life - As first responder, I failed to save a guy who had a heart attack and crashed his car. We kept him alive til the aid car took him but heard that he was DOA at the ER.
90. Sat on a jury - Rejected because it turned out that I knew one of the witnesses.
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one Several
94. Had a baby Well, Ronnie had two!
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone Reluctantly
99. Been stung by a bee

And...I VOTED FOR OBAMA!!! Duh! You bet your ass I can bold that one!

Lies, damned lies, and, ummmnnn, lies

Ok, I gotta get this off my chest. We picked on Craig, Gillian, Effie, and Fergus terribly about noncon and I wanna come clean. When I offered to fly y'all down, I posted those lovely photos of that beautifully painted Velocity and quietly said that I might not be able to get that particular plane but a similar one (sister ship).

The plane I tempted you with:


The actual plane I had in mind:


The guy in the blue lab coat looks worried, doesn't he? But it's ok. That photo is a bit dated. The plane has actually flown since then. A FAA check flight with a professional test pilot counts as "actually flown," doesn't it? The concomitant engine fire was really very small. Hardly worth mentioning.

However, I freely admit that there was some exaggeration involved in my attempted bribe. Egregious exaggeration is really just a LIE and I do confess it.

I wanna start this new world with a clear conscience and my Catholic upbringing led me to confess to y'all. Now I'm off to say a coupla rosaries and make a flying novena for my penance; I hope that will suffice. Maybe I'll add a coupla ejaculations for good measure. A heartfelt ejaculation is always nice.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Breaking news

I'm so happy I could plotz!

More later...

Sincerely,

Your favorite alter cocker (Me!)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Neopuritan Nosh – November 4, 2008

A recipe and a story! How cool is that? The recipe follows the story. Be patient.

Remember the first myth (lie!) we all learned about American history?

Q: Why did the Puritans come to America?
A: They were seeking religious freedom.

Oh gawd! Gimme a minute to stop laughing cuz that one always cracks me up. Ok, I'm in control again. Let's take a brief stroll through that time period, why don't we? Since their inception, the Puritans/Pilgrims/Separatists desperately wanted to establish a Puritan theocracy in England. (From now on I'm gonna call 'em all "Puritans" just cuz it's my recipe/story and I can do what I want.) They tried their damnedest to overthrow the established government. In the early 1600s, some Puritans decided they'd never succeed and they left England for Amsterdam on The Continent. They had no better luck there than they did in England. Then some brilliant thinker had the idea to move the whole shootin' match to the "new world." Very little active government on that continent made for a fabulous opportunity to create a theocracy there, nurtured by the blood of opponents rather than patriots. Pressing is just so messy. Ick!

So, like Paul Simon's song told in a later century, they left their home in the maritimes (Well, the Netherlands, anyway.) and headed to New England, sweet New England. Once there, they made good on their ideals, creating first one, then several colonies which were absolutist and merciless in their rigid theocracy. Before too long, they branched out and took over other colonies, first building up their own population of believers there, then voting out any ideals of freedom or equality and imposing their own rigid theocracy. Hey, classic Republicans, does this tactic sound familiar? Neopuritans worming their way into control of your party?

Meanwhile back in England, Oliver Cromwell demonstrated that the American Puritans had moved just a bit too soon by taking over England in the mid-1600s, with the execution of King Charles in 1649. He and his non-fun-loving roundheads (Puritans) ran roughshod for the next decade. (You know the snide definition: Puritanism – the fear that somebody, somewhere might be having fun.) They destroyed churches and statues. (No "graven images" ya know! Kinda reminds you of the Taliban and their destruction of those beautiful old Buddhist statues or John Ashcroft covering up the semi-nude statue of Justice. Wow! How metaphoric is that?) Cromwell turned Ireland into a charnel house, killing thousands, except of course, for those they sold into slavery. Ask any Irishman about Cromwell!

On the other hand, maybe the American Puritans made the right decision after all. The monarchy, in the person of Charles II, was returned to power around 1660 by a populace seriously irritated with roundhead rule. Because Cromwell himself had died in 1659, he was put on trial post mortem in 1661. His body was exhumed and hanged. After a while, it was thrown on a garbage heap but his head was left on display on a pole until 1685.

Hey, Ronald Reagan, are you paying attention? Don't get too comfy in that posh grave, you bastard.

And speaking of things American, the Puritans generally over time lost most of their political clout as many other people came to the new continent, people who were actually looking for a little freedom and elbow room. When radical, ultraright, neopuritan, fundamentalist anarchocapitalists speak of this country as being founded on "Christian" principles (meaning, of course, solely their brand of radical puritanical, anarchocapitalist Christianity), I just hafta shake my head. Our founding fathers were educated, intelligent men who were capable of learning from history. They had seen the effects of roundhead rule in England and Puritan efforts in American. They absolutely wanted their new country to NOT be that kind of entity. But as Santayana (No, not the musician!) said, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." For the last coupla decades, the Republican party has been the victim of the neopuritans (soi disant neoconservatives or neocons – inaccurately so labelled, IMO) who are trying to replicate the efforts of the original Puritans.

It does seem to me that their success has been similar in its progression. Their subversive takeover tactics worked for a while but eventually ordinary, sane people stood up and said, "Waitaminit. I ain't likin' this a whole lot." Seems to me that we're currently in that phase parallel to England of 1659-60. Ordinary people who just kinda-sorta went along, making the neopuritans feel like they were a majority, are pulling back, leaving these nutbags exposed for what they are – a small, vicious, cancerous part of the body politic. Nobody wants cancer.

I haven't talked much about the anarchocapitalist aspect of these cretins' belief system. Let's hit that briefly. They frequently cite Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill but have obviously never read either of those men in anything other than neocon excerpts. Both sternly warned against the excesses of a "pure" free market, an entity which is about as realistic as a "pure" Marxist state. They glibly ignore John Forbes Nash, Jr., who proved mathematically a half-century ago that the concept of anarchocapitalism is flawed to the point of unrealistic unworkability.

To my "classic Republican" friends, I wish you luck in reconstituting your party by excising the cancer in its gut.

For you neopuritans (neocons), here's something to chew on.

Neopuritan Nosh

Ingredients:
½ cup Abiotic oil (obtained from the limitless supply contained in an oilwell owned by a YEC) [Briefly, YECs believe that the Bible is completely literally true and the earth is only about 6000 years old. Petroleum (oil) was produced as a side-effect of Noah's flood and it is self-renewing; it does not come from prehistoric sources. They believe that all oil wells are constantly refilling as we speak. Also referred to as biotic or abiogenic oil.]
1 onion (chopped medium) (Don't forget to collect your tears as you chop. They can be used later in the accompanying drink.)
Coupla stalks of celery (chopped) (Because celery sounds like salary and we know every Republican strategist's salary is gonna get chopped so it's kinda like a metaphor, huh?)
1 whole garlic (chopped fine) (helps fend off the blood-sucking socialist vampires)
1 lb. free-range wolf meat (boneless rump) from a wolf shot by Sarah Palin riding in a state-owned helicopter
1 potatoe [sic] from Dan Quayle's retirement farm ('nuff said!)
3 eggs (beaten - obtained from any Fox pundit's face after the election)
Bowl of flour (made from amber waves of grain – no substitutes)
2 oz. bile from Sean Hannity (Ok to substitute Bill O'Reilly's)
2 oz. red blood from G. Gordon Liddy, the genuine, original, psychotic unrepentant anti-American terrorist
A dash of Essence of Marxism squeezed from the U.N. by Ron Paul with the help of his John Birch cohorts
OxyContin stolen from Rush Limbaugh's stash (powdered, to taste)

Preparation:
Chop the veggies medium. Cube the wolf meat. Dredge the wolf meat in the egg, then in the flour. Cube the potatoe [sic].

This dish is best cooked over an open fire made from books you really, really want to ban/burn: Das Kapital, works by John Forbes Nash, Jr., Candide, Grapes of Wrath, Where the Wild Things Are, Paradise Lost (Well, actually, as far as I'm concerned, you CAN go ahead and burn that one. Enjoy.), and on and on ad infinitum. There are lots to choose from. Once you have a good bed of coals going (or after you turn on your stove)…

In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, bring the abiotic oil to the point where it almost smokes. Add the wolf meat, potatoe [sic], and veggies. Saute til the veggies start to look clear then add the bile and blood. Reduce heat and simmer a few more minutes. Then add the Essence of Marxism and season to taste with OxyContin.

Consume! After all, that's one of the main tenets of your philosophy. However, before you do, please have an invocation by a suitable preacher. John Hagee could do a riff about God destroying New Orleans cuz it deserved it or one of his classics about the pope as the antichrist and the Roman Catholic Church as the whore of Babylon. Then again, Rod Parsley could do his shtick about the US being founded for the purpose of destroying Islam and how the next president must wage a new Christian crusade against Islam. That's always good for a laugh stuff.

And now the accompanying drink. Why not make a pitcher while you're at it? You know you're gonna need it!

Neopuritan Number (pronounced "num-er" or "num-ber," depending on your mood - as in, it makes you more numb to help dull your pain and/or your number is up!)

Ingredients:
2 jiggers of bitter tears (Preferably Pat Robertson's or Jerry Falwell's but due to scarcity, feel free to substitute your own tears collected while chopping the onion for the nosh.)
Dash of Angostura bitters (cuz neopuritans just never seem to have a limit on bitterness, and bitter tears alone are simply not sufficient total bitterness for this drink)
1 jigger of cheap vodka (from the bar where Nobel-prize-winning economist/mathematician John Forbes Nash, Jr., first conceived his theorem which utterly disproved the theory of anarchocapitalism a half-century ago. Despite that, ideologues still cling to this bankrupt philosophy. Well, here's your drink!)
10 drops of yellow food coloring (because when it mixes with your blues it'll turn them green which will aid in the coming efforts against Global Climate Change. Thanks for your help on this important issue! )
Soupcon of hemlock (enhances the self-pity factor. Go ahead, wallow. You know you want to.)
Broken parasol (symbolizing the rending of the evil powers which cast a shadow over this country during the last eight years, the rips in the parasol covering allowing in the light of sanity and constitutionality which were previously blocked by the penumbra of neopuritan rule)
Bent straw ( symbolizing a reduction in the ability of neopuritans to suck the freedom out of this country)
Lemon twist (try to find an exceedingly bitter one)

Preparation:
Fill a 12-oz. glass with ice cubes as cold and hard as Dick Cheney's heart. For extra-special accuracy, dye them black. Add the tears, bitters, vodka, and yellow food coloring, then stir. Float a soupcon of hemlock. Garnish with the broken parasol, bent straw, and twist of lemon. Drink. Copiously. It's ok, you have nothing to do but sit around on the trashpile of history and fantasize about what might have been. Sounds a lot like the original Puritans, huh?

Fun election-day activity


While enjoying your nosh and number, why not try this fun activity? Take the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, all of which have been torn apart during the last eight years, and piece them back together like you would a puzzle. It's much harder when you don't know the original form of the thing you're trying re-create, isn't it? A wonderful challenge and a true learning experience for neopuritans.

Have a GREAT election day!