Wednesday, June 05, 2013

I Didn't Mean to Leave You All Hanging...

Jeez, I guess it's been more than a little time off. I really expected to be back before now.

But I'm still not back. I have some kind of weird-ass eye problem that makes things blurry, to the point that I can't read (figures -- the one single enjoyment that has been with me consistently for the past 65 years...), so I've been off the computer for the most part. Except of course for certain websites that don't require a whole lot of "reading"... (Sarge, I'm looking at you.)

I've been hassling with my eye doctor for the last six weeks or so, and she keeps telling me that it's no big deal, natural part of the aging process, dry eyes, blah blah blah.

I keep telling her that she's wrong, of course. Even though I got my medical degree from watching St. Elsewhere and General Hospital, I know that this isn't normal.

So anyway, I'm still taking some more time off. Thanks to all of you who posted or emailed me to see if I was okay. Yes, I think I am, but I'd rather be better than just "okay". Or at least better than this level of just "okay"...

--The F Man

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Taking Some Time Off

You know that old expression, "the hurrieder I go the behinder I get". Well, that's me. Now that it's spring-ish in Western Washington, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed has come up with a number of "essential" duties for me to perform, mainly of the outdoors-in-the-yard kind, so I'm taking some time off from my regular life to keep peace in the family. Those of you with a "significant other" will know what I'm talking about.

Catch you all later.

--The F Man

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Death of the Big Box Stores? About Time But Too Late

As many of you know, I grew up outside a small town in rural Oklahoma. In the early 1950s it had a thriving main street with a number of local businesses providing goods and services. We left there in 1955, though, and I hadn't really kept up with things.

Until I happened, by sheer coincidental chance several years ago, to run into someone from my old home town. She had been a couple of years ahead of me in grade school, so I didn't remember her specifically, although I do remember the family.

Naturally we had to get caught up on the town, and she said that I wouldn't recognize it now. All of the downtown businesses are closed, the windows boarded over, and you could kick a rock down the length of main street without hitting a car.

"But," she added, "thank god there's a new Walmart just outside of town."

I thought she was being ironic. She wasn't. She truly did not get the connection.

Over at Alternet take a look at After Ruining America, the Era of Giant Chain Stores Is Over for an analysis of the impending implosion of the box store chains.

Sadly, like my homegirl, there are many people who just don't get it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Breaking News: NRA Educational Funding Announced

The National Rifle Association announced today that it will be setting up a number of educational organizations to counter public perceptions of the organization.

"We want folks to know we're not just a bunch of trigger-happy gunslingers," NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre said. To that end, LaPierre announced, the NRA is fully funding the following educational endeavors:

· The James E. Holmes School of Film Criticism
· The Adam Lanza Center for the Study of Educational Reform
· The Chris Dorner Institute for Community Policing Studies
· The Jared Loughner Center for Congressional Evaluation
· The John Hinckley School of Presidential Studies
· The Mark David Chapman School of Music Criticism
· The David Berkowitz School of Human Relations
· The Arthur Bremer Center for the Study of Presidential Elections
· The Charles Whitman School of Aerial Marksmanship
· The Giuseppe Zangara Institute for Political Reform
· The Gavrilo Princip School of International Relations
· The Leon Czolgocz Institute of Governmental Criticism
· The Charles Guiteau Center for the Study of Presidential Succession

LaPierre also emphasized that there was no truth the the rumors that the NRA was also funding the Albert DeSalvo School of Respiratory Therapy, the Theodore Bundy Institute of Interpersonal Relations or the Jeffrey Dahmner Center for Culinary Arts & Sciences.

"No guns, no glory," he said. A spokesman for LaPierre later denied that he was smirking as he said it.

More details to follow as they become available.

Monday Music Break: All Along the Watchtower

Here's the Master of the Stratocaster, the great Jimi Hendrix with his cover of the Bob Dylan classic, All Along the Watchtower. The Czech video artist, who goes under the YouTube handle lahvac15,  did a good job of mixing footage from the Vietnam War with the song.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Some Straight Talk?

Old Man McCain shows his Republican "compassionate conservatism" by telling a grieving mother whose child was shot in the Aurora theater massacre, "I can tell you right now that you need some straight talk."

Yeah, that's exactly what a grieving parent wants to hear.

Fuck you, John McCain. I can't believe that once upon a time I actually liked and respected you. At one time I actually would have considered voting for you. And I don't vote for Republicans.

Now you're just a doddering old man who's stayed too long at the party and has turned into an awkward embarrassment. Strap on your drool cup and sit on your porch, grampa, where you can yell shit like "You kids get off my lawn!" at random passersby.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Speaking of Drones

The Internets are all ablaze with the latest news that the new medal for remote drone pilots outranks other awards, such as the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Since it came out in The Onion about three days ago, it makes me wonder if there's any truth to it at all.

I could go ahead and research it myself, but as we know, I'm too lazy.

But as much as I like The Onion, one of the big problems with it is that people are all too willing to cut and paste shit into alarmist emails, with the source obliterated, and these can turn viral and suddenly everybody believes it.

This actually happens on a regular basis.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I See You Haji

ICUHAJI -- "I See You Haji". That's the vanity plate that Virginia resident and retired Iraq War vet Sean Bunjo wants but can't have, and he's upset about it.

Every state has rules and restrictions on the vanity plates that they are willing to issue. My own state has several staff members at the Dept of Licensing who have become experts in the history of slang and in obscure languages, just so someone can't get a vanity plate that says "FUCK YOU" in Ket.

So this guy in Virginia says it's a free speech issue, and that "I see you Haji" is not meant to be disrespectful. Oh, no, not at all. It's a sign of respect! Yeah, uh-huh. That would be a whole lot more believable if he hadn't also applied for a plate that would have read "HAJIKLR"...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Music Break: Roads to Moscow

Here is Al Stewart performing a capsule summary in music of the Eastern Front in WWII as seen through the eyes of a young Soviet soldier:

There are  many contemporary photographs that I've never seen. Some of them are overwhelming, but they are all expertly mixed with the music.

Note that at the end of the song, in a cruel irony, he is transshipped to Siberia, his "reward" for four years at the front, only because he had been captured and let go by the Nazis. That was Stalin's doing, who in his paranoia saw enemies everywhere, and especially among released POWs.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Speaking of Darth Cheney...

In news that you just can't keep a good man a vampire-chested robot werewolf/ghoul/walking-dead denizen down: Dick Cheney crawled out from whatever rotting Transylvanian coffin he was inhabiting to criticize Barack Obama for lowering American prestige (!!!).

Yeah, let that one sink in for a minute...

As Jon Stewart said on The Daily Show,  "Every time Dick Cheney laughs, an angel gets stabbed in the [dick]."

Jesus, even after four years of No Dick Cheney, I still hate that fucker...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Even More Ted Nugent

No, I'm not being obsessive over this fucker, but some things are just over the top:

Now I am not anti-draft dodger per se. A good friend of mine chose to do his two years of government service as an inmate of a federal correctional institution rather than submit to the draft. And other friends went to great lengths to avoid being drafted, including moving to Canada and renouncing their US citizenship. They all had one thing in common: They were opposed to the Vietnam War and were objectors, conscientious or otherwise, to it. I admire them for sticking up for what they believed regardless of the consequences to themselves.

But someone like this asshole, who prides himself on his prowess with a machine gun, who is a hard core Republican, who is an NRA spokesman/officer, who actually supported the war in Vietnam (I don't know that for a fact, but what are the odds that he didn't?) and yet chose to let someone else serve in his place (are you listening, Dick Cheney?) is beneath contempt.

In other words, he is a Chickenhawk.

More on Ted Nugent

I had "other priorities", so I didn't get to watch the SOTU or the two(!) Rethug responses last night. Nor did I get to watch Ted Nugent's confused and verbally spastic interview, but it is covered here.

What an odd choice for a prom date. That's all that I can say. Doesn't the Republican Party even care that they are putting an evident psychopath front and center to be their spokesman, unofficial though they may think he is?

When asked what it was like sitting in the chamber alongside victims of gun violence, Nugent launched into a confusing rant about “engineered recidivism” and the mental health system.
“Our mental health system has failed so thoroughly that people who have threatened lives and conduct themselves in dangerous abhorrent behavior,” he said. “And have been alerted, the officials have been alerted by co-workers, fellow students, mothers and fathers of these mass murderers.”
He took on the president too, criticizing his “predicable, flowery, feel good, save the children, end world hunger insanity.”
“And then I see him either do nothing, or do the opposite,” he said. “I feel horrible that we’re going after my guns, instead of stopping crime and dangerous behavior.”
When challenged by NBC news reporter Luke Russert over comments he made last year, comparing Democrats like Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton to coyotes who deserve to be shot, Nugent became agitated, cursing at Russert and calling him a liar in vulgar terms.
When Russert pressed him to explain what he said, Nugent repeatedly claimed he “never said that,” even though he can be seen on camera comparing those Democrats to coyotes who deserve to be shot and have their heads chopped off.
So, Teddy, when exactly did the president say he was going after your guns? It ought to be pretty easy to come up with a citation for that.

Nugent also said that he didn't stand in support of the troops, whining that his knees hurt and he was forgoing a double knee replacement apparently scheduled for that day -- what a coincidence -- to be at the speech.

Yeah, uh huh... Fuck you, Ted Nugent, you fucking draft-dodging fascist moron.