December 29, 2012

Last Post

of 2012.

Ulysses S Grant died of a severe case of throat cancer no doubt brought on by his incessant cigar smoking. He lit a cigar the moment he woke up and kept going through the day until he put the last one out before going to bed at night. Then he woke up and lit up again. That's how you die of a severe case of throat cancer. Duh. But the thing is I understand the urge only too well.

If I didn't have to have people over to the house from time to time, and if it was okay to do in public (which, thank God, it isn't), and if there weren't any rules about it at all I'd probably have a good maduro stuck in my mug from morning to night too.

I recognize that maybe 99% of the folks reading this are now making fake retching noises and sticking their tongue out and hacking and shit (what is it about people who want to tell you they don't like something? Why do they have to go through all these enactments? Why can't they just say "I don't like that" instead of making all these goofy sounds?), and I'd be fighting an uphill battle trying to explain the glories of a good, rich, black cigar. So I won't attempt that. But I'm telling you, if society allowed it (and I could afford it) I'd go like Ulysses and have fun doing it. But oh well, not to be. Guess I'll stay alive longer after all. Damn it.


So what is it with all these ridiculous reminders being shot at us here and there across the internet? Trying to set up my iPad to coincide with this computer so that I can - I guess - be disconnected from the people in the room anywhere I go, I tried very valiantly to plug in all the sites I visit and everywhere I go I get these screens that are reminding me to do this and that and asking if I want to go here or there, and all I want to do is put in my web sites. Let me do what I want to do and leave me alone, for God's sake. Stop reminding me of shit I don't want to do with shit I don't need.

It all goes back to just how automated do we want things to be. I hate to keep harping on it but I have this feeling of impending doom. If ever somebody gets a hold of the whole maze of connections and exchanges going on we are - basically - fucked. For example I don't have one "app" for anything. I am the last man on Earth, I suppose, who does not have even one "app" for anything. That I know of. Even on my phone (which I've lost - am waiting for a replacement for - and don't miss at all) I didn't have one "app." I don't even know why I'm supposed to have them. They have "apps' where you can drive up to Dunkin Donuts and they hand you your coffee and you hand them your phone and that moves money from somewhere to somewhere. And this is supposed to be convenient. What's the difference - you're still handing them something? Only in this case people you never heard of are taking your money from a place you didn't know you had it. What is it about this that reminds me of the old credit card internet trap where you end up paying for months for something you didn't know you were paying for?

I'm not trying to be one of these boorish "anti-tech and I'm proud" jerks. I can't stand folks like that. I'm not talking about being anti-technology, I'm talking about proceeding with some caution about what we agree to, on the fly, without considering any consequences, and just going along like a fucking sheep in a herd. Can we at least talk about it? I'm all over the internet, and have been involved with it since it came up. Hell I had one of those useless $800 computers from Radio Shack or whatever the hell it was, that did nothing, took forever to program one function, and came with 47 books explaining how to write code... in the 80s! So I'm not, like, a pure troglodyte. I simply look at this blizzard of options and little do-dads and trick outs and go "why am I needing this again?"

I don't think that qualifies me as a true trog.


So, I go along. I like cigars. I like to read books. I like to go into stores and banks and talk to people. I like when they know my name. And I don't like the impersonal aspects of this structured, accepted  avoidance of people on a regular basis.

Because in a world like that it is much easier to pull out a semi-automatic weapon and kill 26 people than it would be if you had daily exchanges with folks, face to face, and got to view them as human beings instead of having it be okay to stay isolated and imagine that other people are nothing more than icons on a smooth, clean screen. Maybe.

December 17, 2012

Viva Joe Strummer!

Why is it that the music makers for each generation are actually members of the previous one?

I graduated high school in 1971 and it was just as the Counter Culture was giving up on the hippieness of it all and going "up the country." Altamont killed the Summer of Love and all my friends, it seemed, either hung on for dear life to the old bands, giving up totally on any kind of personal evolution; or turning themselves around to other pursuits altogether. Or getting themselves set up for Disco.

God help us.

 In 1977 I was 24 and though outwardly I was a regular working stiff, freshly escaped from the cult of Scientology, and punching a clock for not much money and hadn't yet met my wife, the branch of my crowd had every basis to move into the new stuff that was starting up. Such as that much reduced crowd that remained in my life could. My stint with the cult pretty much wiped out a lot of the old friendships. So much for that episode.

The truth is "punk" saved my life. And it turned out that, eventually, The Clash became The Only Band That Mattered.

Wake up, the boring stuff is over now. Sheeesh...

I only just now found this video. It's an hour long. Get some popcorn. Viva Joe Strummer!

December 15, 2012

Never Let The Facts Get In The Way Of Your Kneejerk Opinion

Person A: If they had the right to conceal and carry in Connecticut thus wouldn't have happened.
Person B: Right on.
Me: Connecticut is a conceal and carry state.
Person B: Those pokey liberals are going to use this to take our guns away now, just watch.
Person A: And they want to ban assault rifles. If they had assault rifles in that school they'd have killed that guy.
Person B: Why bother, if you had an assault rifle you'd get arrested.
Me: Assault rifles are legal in Connecticut.
Person A: An armed society is a polite society. That creep would have never dared do that if people could carry guns in Connecticut.
Me: Guys, you can carry guns in Connecticut.
Person B: They don't see that what these laws are doing are just letting criminals have guns and honest people are just targets.
Person A: This is what you'll get. You don't have conceal and carry rights, you get this shit.
Me: Um, it's legal in Conn...
Person A: This would have never happened if it was legal to carry guns in Connecticut.

December 10, 2012

Which Side Are You On, Boys?

Okay so, serious about my weight I started at 197 on November 1 and as of my last weigh-in - which was Monday the 3rd of December - I was down to 182.6. I have another weigh-in Monday the 10th (later today) but I don't think I'll see any movement downward from there because I went a little off my watch this weekend. So I don't know what that'll be, but whatever it is it won't be a discouragement. I've still lost well over 10 pounds and am committed to getting this done. I proved to myself over Thanksgiving that even with the holidays I can lose weight. So that was a big boost.

I'm luckier than most because I can make a whole meal out of what most people would just consider a pre-dinner veggie tray. You know, the kind next to the shrimp and the deviled eggs while everyone is still arriving, So it's kind of my secret weapon - I LIKE broccoli and scallions and cherry tomatoes and cauliflower and celery and they carry no points against your diet. And there are plenty of dips to dip them in that won't bust your waistline but still taste awesome. Honey mustard is the best, for me.

I'm still thinking 166 would get rid of my belly and manboobs but at this point 170 might be enough. We'll make that call when we get there. And we WILL get there.

So what else is new now that blogs are dead? Hmmm let's see...

We're late on the November issue of Thrice but it's partially Sandy's fault and partially an artist's fault. poor dave has to continually deal with unreliable, flighty, moody and I don't know what all else-y artist types in putting the final touches to the zine, and we seem to have uncovered a mother lode of touchy, petulant, and downright irresponsible artists. And Hurricane Sandy wiped out the other guy. So we're looking at this week to release the latest. I've already gotten over 25 submissions for the March issue and the submission period only opened up on December 1! Holy farco...

Hmmm what else...

Oh I joined the IWW. Seriously. Why did I do that? Because the older I get the more radical I'm becoming, that's why. And also because the unions as they are right now seem to be kind of dickless on the one hand and coercive even towards their own membership on the other. So I'm a wobbly. Officially with a card and the little dues-paying as well, recognizing from the start that to supplant any branch of the AFL-CIO is pretty improbable. The current IWW is still organizing - and they've done good work agitating the Wal-Mart situation and google the Jimmy Johns workers/IWW as well. Still, I view it as agitation and support. I don't expect anything else out of it. But as I walk into work with my pin, I'll be happy to explain to anybody who asks.

But that's not so much... what else is there... hmmmm...

Oh - the big news! Our littlest granddaughter Sophie had her 1 year birthday on November 30. And she was walking weeks before that and she's a little tornado who won't let her big sister boss her around even though her big sister is 9. That's pretty funny.

Got all your Christmas shopping done? I want to point out that people who bemoan the commercialism of Christmas are missing a broader point. Just remember - Christmas may be a boon to the owners and big shots and all that. But it also means overtime for some people, and seasonal jobs for folks having trouble finding steady work. Then there's the folks who make and print Christmas Cards and wrapping paper. And somebody has to pack all that stuff up so UPS and Fed Ex put on extra workers too. And even if the bulk of all this stuff we buy comes from overseas (a problem that needs fixing big time) there are still guys on freighters and dock workers and truck drivers and railroad people who have to move the stuff all over the country to get into your hot little hands. Christmas may be a big joke - and these "keep Christ in Christmas" people are some of the whiniest bitches I ever heard. I think they just love making believe they're martyrs or something because their personal version of Christianity doesn't jive with what Christ himself had in mind - but it's also jobs and work and fun for kids. So go for it. All out.

How my doin'?