Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

O.K., If this wasn't serious it would be a comedy. Suspend your grasp on reality. I'm a pirate with a bunch of buddy pirates tooling off the coast of Somalia in vessels slightly larger than your regular rowboat. Oh, yeah I have motors rather than rows. I and my non-swarthy companions approach and then hijack a very large and much taller vessel, the MV Faina (which may or may not be named after Faina Mogilevskaya), a Ukranian ship carrying 33 Russian made T-72 tank and an undisclosed quantity of rocket launchers. It hasn't been fully disclosed but I used pea-shooters, some boomerangs, and slingshots and some special Somalian rocks to hijack this vessel carrying armaments (although not Weapons of Mass Destruction). Please don't ask me why no one on board of the MV Faina seemed to think it would have been a good idea to pick up any of the rocket launchers or other arms readily available on board to shoot at us. You would think the least the crew would have done was to summon the chef and galley crew and have them pour hot water on us as we demanded that they throw down a rope ladder so we could climb up the 75 feet so as to board the ship. I mean, come on, even a little taunting would have made this adventure a little more exciting.

Perhaps they had been watching too many DVD's of Johnny Depp's escapades and had convinced themselves that "Pirates of the Caribbean IV-The Somali Adventures" was already filming and they would be extras in the production. I can't explain it. All I know is that I and my maties are sitting pretty on the decks of the MV Faina waiting for our $35 Million payoff. A T-72 tank, anyone?

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Short Road to Perdition

In this OP piece, the learned Dr. Stanley Fish opines that Dubya may soon rise in popularity, pretty darn close to when he leaves office. After I picked up my jaw, which had dropped down to the floor after reading his proposal and conclusion, I skimmed down to the plethora of comments. This one, submitted by a Mr. Brett Rogers is a succinct gem.

With all due respect, the only way that (Bush getting respect) could possibly happen is if perdition goes below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.


Santorum with Lipstick

Only in Philly. Protesters outside of the Irish Pub on 20th & Walnut in Philly held up signs, including one that read, "Palin is Santorum With Lipstick", referring to one of the previous Pennsylvania senators, Rick Santorum, known for his religious vigor as applied to national policy. While I didn't agree all too often with Mr. Santorum, I did respect the credentials he had in getting to the senatorial position. Had he been re-elected in 2006, there would have been a strong possibility that he, not the inexperienced Palin, would have been the VP candidate this year, based on his strong conservative streak. As a Catholic, he would have been a formidable opponent to Delaware's Joe Biden, a Catholic himself. I think the "Santorum with lipstick" comment really disses MR. Santorum, someone who probably wants nothing to do with the mess of the Palin-McCain campaign at this point.
The train wreck that is Sarah Palin will most probably be the undoing of McCain's chances to win this November.
If nothing else, this year's election has been quite interesting, capped off so far by the "Do I cancel? Do I not?" behaviour last week of the man of action, Mr. McCain. But who really decided to go through with that cheap move? His handlers had to have had a say in the matter; this doesn't seem to be all McCain's doing.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Beating my Drum

Just mentioning again that I'll be doing a dj-ing shift at WVUD this coming Sunday morning, from 9:00 to 12:00, on the Morning After show. The weekend weather is predicted to be on the waterlogged side, so I'm sure Tom Waits infected melodies will slip in along with moody EST, Nik Bartsch, and Tomasz Stanko.
All will not be on the down low. I'm sure I'll be kicking in some Ry Cooder and new albums by Dr. John, BB King, and Randy Newman. All of the latter had New Orleans on their mind, it seemed, when they put out new work in 2008.

Minimum talk, maximum music, no advertisements. What more can you ask for? Sorry, I don't deliver Sunday morning coffee.

9/28/08 Addendum: Play list for the day has been posted here.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

No Tears (Except of Joy) Shed

Our Girl in Chicago (OGIC), writes in this entry of the loss she felt when she stopped using a typewriter. I feel no empathy nor recognition with her finely written piece. I, instead, recall the continuous pain, remorse, and invention of new curse words when I think back on the college days when (Warning! Dating information coming) typewriters were the only alternative to arthritis-inducing handwriting.

Ms. Demanski (OGIC) must have been a wizard on the typewriter keys. Speed, no errors, no need for quick editing. My experience was not that romantic. Countless reports that had to be re-typed. Endless nights roaming the streets looking for open stores selling typewriter ribbons. Re-typing pages because a word had been typed incorrectly so many times that there were holes in the pages. Electricity going out in our student apartment thus shutting down my electric typewriter as I was half-way through finishing a paper due the next day. No, a typewriter was a soul-sucking machine that simply served the purposes of the reader, not the writer. The writer became a key-puncher (and letter eraser) shuffling the too-many drafts around on the floor, searching for the bon mot page that was chucked 2-3 drafts ago. My typing skills were so bad that if a professor offered the option of a hand-written paper, I immediately broke out paper and pen.

It wasn't that my typewriter was to blame. My folks, proud to have their first born trudge off to the Big Time of Schooling, scrimped and saved to send me off with an electric Olympia, a low-humming beast that built up my pecs as I lugged it around the dorm room. It was such a beauty that other dorm mates "borrowed" it. Let's just say that it was not the best decision on my part to lend it out. The Olympia was returned with some keys loosened and the typewriter ribbon bled of any black color. Somehow, it was an expected practice that freshman keep their machines fully maintained for the upper class folks who did you a favor by using your equipment. That lending practice ended halfway through the first semester, before the Olympia was totally inoperable.
I'll give Ms. Demanski (OGIC) one point. The low hum of the Olympia and the striking of the keys were soothing sounds. At first. When those striking keys ended up striking not so clear sentences, sounds of a non-soothing nature tended to erupt from my lips. Thanks God for great Croatian curses!

There is no nostalgia from this guy about typewriters. I was more than happy to donate mine to the local zoo so that the chimps could have their chance to write Shakespeare. I'd even throw in the barrel of White-Out and those nasty whiting strips, although I believe the monkeys' typing skills were far better than mine.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kids, they...

say the darnest things.

Which doesn't mean we should be following their investment advice. Or, maybe we shouldn't be following anyone's investment advice. Take to the mattresses!

Link, thanks to The Consumerist.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Charlie's Girl

Whenever I see her, I rub a finger down my neck to flatten the goose pimples that always spring up. I don't catch her every day as her shifts at one of the local pizzerias fluctuates along with the quality of the fare. She is just one of the floating crew of 7-8 young women who wait on tables at this strip mall restaurant just off a main highway. The place is small with a split for the "Are you dining in?" customers and the regulars who get a slice or two and fill their own paper cups from the soda dispenser. When the wait staff is not serving the dine-ins, they're sitting in the booths on the self-serve side, mulling over the tip-take so far and postulating on the ennui that will encapsulate their evenings. Most of the young women are in their late teens, early twenties. Any woman older tends to work the better-tipping evening shifts, after they had already put in time at their 8-to-5 job. The lunch time staff are still dreamers. They’re raising kids without a husband around to buttress the burden. They’re struggling with finishing their GED’s and community college courses. They're concocting budgets based primarily on the float. They're devising logistical models rivaling UPS' amongst themselves in attempts to minimize fuel expenditures. They’re thinking the Republicans, especially now with Palin on board, really mean what they say when they're promising support for people like them.
They're talking/complaining/cooing about their beau du jour.

I spread out my daily NYT, sorting the different sections in my particular reading order. Sports section first, followed by the Arts and then the Editorials a the end of the first section. On Tuesdays, the Science section jumps in front, while on Friday, the Weekend and Movie reviews are on top of the pile. I read with a deep pose, shoulders haunched, eyes poring over the news print, while chomping at a slice of pizza. I take on the pose both to ward off interruptions from other customers who want an ear for their troubles along with my self-serving need to immerse myself into subjects having nothing to do with work. Lunch is my hour of outside information intake. While most days that I'm at the pizza joint, I can concentrate fairly well on my table's offerings, other days finds me being drawn into the wait staff's conversation.

Heather, let me call her Heather as her birth decade was abloom with "Heathers", is one of the young women striving to get through her days overburdened with responsibilities at too young an age. She probably was quite pretty when she was just a few years younger. Lack of sleep, lack of stability, lack of a faithful mate, and no lack of two kids aged her in a punishing way. I again raised my hand to just below my ear and rubbed down the goose pimples that arose when I saw "Charlie" tattooed, like a rainbow, just below her right ear. "Charlie" had already spread out, as if the bluish ink were dissolving down her neck. A small heart dotted the i, posing the question of which "Charlie" was loved. Was "Charlie" a man’s name or a woman's? Not her own name, that was discounted when she was addressed by another of the young women. Was "Charlie" a son? A previous boyfriend/husband? A current boyfriend? My ears strayed while my eyes remained glued to the newsprint gradually fading into the background.
Over a few weeks’ time, Heather had shared her life, or at least the last 5 or so years with her fellow workers and anyone within earshot. "Charlie" was graduating the year she was a sophomore. A very smitten sophomore who soon was smote and then a junior high school mother. "Charlie" hung around for a while and then left the small town for work in Florida. Or so he said, which was the last he ending up saying to Heather. "Charlie" the tattoo arrived in that junior year when her small world became oh so large. "Charlie" the tattoo stayed when "Charlie" the graduate became Florida-bound. She had nervous hands and nicotine fingers, nothing a cigarette could help her with in the No Smoking restaurant. So she scraped and puled at her fingers' skin while she talked, always brushing the peelings off the tables before she left.
She dated after Charlie's southbound departure, even had some serious relationships. One resulted in another child, but no additional tattoos.

The tattooed dream was something she'd already let go off, wondering now how to erase what had been such a tangibility only 2-3 years ago. A family came through the entrance.
"Dining in?"
A puzzled look amongst themselves and then a nod by the mother, setting the feeding confusion aside. Heather was the next server in line. She pulled up the collar of her white shirt hiding all but the bluish heart on "Charlie", sighed, and drew herself out of the booth, a menu in hand and a smile slowly tugging on her face.
"Follow me, please", she said to the travelers as she turned into the family dining section.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Ouch! It's been a good long while since I've done a shift on The Morning After at WVUD. Through various last minute changes in weekend schedules and opportunities to be laying out down on The Beach (i.e., Delaware beach) or The Shore (Jersey shore, natch), I've been of the airwaves since early May.

Well, the summer's about over and things are getting back to normal. I'll be d.j-ing next Sunday's 9:00 to 12:00 EST show, "The Morning After". Whole new bunch of releases since the summer began. I've been beating the dead horse of I, Flathead; I'll be playing some earlier stuff of Mr. Cooder's as well. The newest (and last) release of the Esbjorn Svensson Trio will be on the CD platter as will some releases by those Old Masters, Randy Newman, B.B. King, and Dr. John, all three having something to say about the aftermath of New Orleans. Other items, like TK Webb & the Visions and a band from Philly, Dr. Dog, will be on ears-play if the mood fits.

So, here's hoping you drop in on the Internet, on the last Sunday in September, a last bite at the summer that was.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Infinite Jest

David Foster Wallace may have appreciated this "tribute". Wrooommmmm.

Timothy McSweeney is devestated and lost
. There was so much richness in his life; that's the part that is beyond me. "He was a beautiful, fantastic, brilliant"* and ultimately very fragile man.

* Deb Olin Unferth from here.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sweet Somethings

In a recent NYT article on wig preparation and Sarah Palin, an item jumped out at me in all its hirsuteness. In discussing a cast member on "Saturday Night Live", the topic came up that"there probably isn’t a male analogue of Tina Fey to play Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., not to mention the complications that could be involved in replicating his hair, which seems to be a particularly fraught piece of real estate.".

A pang of empathy surged up my body and out through the remaining follicles on my head straining for purchase on my pate. ...a particularly fraught piece of real estate. I felt for the guy. Our state's very own senator and here he is in newsprint not getting respect for the planting and re-planting he had done quite a few years ago in attempts to densify the crop on his top.

Ah, how things can change in one's life. I sifted the remaining wisps on my own head and paused for one of those Mr. Mulliner reflections.

I started out as a blonde and bony kid who sported the popular buzz back in the day. Then, as my world mood darkened, so did my hair, to some combination of brown, red, and dirty blonde. The shortness lengthened to scary proportions that had neighbours locking their door and taking in the cat.
My overall appearance commenced with chubby cheeks (both areas) and then, with growth spurts, into your classic Slavic cheeks, wherein passers-by plied me with food to fill in the hallows of my face. My body type stayed fairly constant, a bit on the squirrely side, this all thanks to lack of a cornucopia of tv channels, tons of friends in the neighborhood to spend all hours of the day and night with, and a diet of three home-prepared meals.
Throughout my life, my temptations were minimal, not due to any religious nay-saying, but rather due to the preciousness of occasions where my temptations were in play. Certain toys, usually made either in Italy or Germany were temptations that later on morphed into albums and cd's. Books became a passion from early on, but were usually contained within the palaces of local libraries. It wasn't until after college that an accumulating nature took firm hold, a temptation that's now, I admit, a vice. There are more books in my house than I could ever possibly read, even if my wits were to stay within the confines of my head.

One temptation, however, has kept its place as the carrot I follow in my life.

The loveliest of our mono-syllable words. Say it slowly and you are swallowing the last crumbs you've licked from your fork's tines. Say it quickly, and feel your ears prick up, as if to hear the gurgling of the icing in its slow melt down the coated sides of the cake.
It is the most soothing of drugs, even when ingested in the melee that is the last scene of a 4 yr old's party. Kids and cake, chocolate lipsticked drooping in chairs with fingers splayed and spiked with bits of cake innards. A mother's cleaning horror, this. But, the kids? The cake was working its way through their system, first introducing that thought that will follow them forever. I'm.....getting...older...
Depressing, no?
That's why there's cake. And that's why tv's should be turned off, kid's soccer/hockey/football/baseball games should be ignored, lawn care farmed out, and house repairs ignored. Cake should be re-introduced to your life's regimen.

By cake, and please excuse my elitism, I don't mean those bathtub sized monstrosities one is forced to partake of at the innumerable office birthday parties. Set up your standards!
Start with this simple question. Is there butter in the cake? 95% of the time, the answer is a quick "No" or a forever "uuuhhhhhhhhhhmmm", which is worse as the person has no clue what is in the cake.
No Butter. No buy cake. Simple. Cake is for the soul and the soul demands butter.
To save you some eating time, I strongly suggest that you seek out a true bakery. A bakery that bakes cakes. Not cakes, bread, rolls, pizza. No. A cake bakery, preferably (Notice: Political Incorrectness Alert), where the head baker is from Northern Italy, Austria, or certain Slavic countries. Sometimes, 2nd generation will suffice, but check to see that they have pasted pictures of their European ancestors on the door leading to the ovens. These are referred to as their "Baking Papers".

God has not been smiling down on my little state for a long time. It is to the USA what Newfoundland is to Canada, what Sicily is to Italy. Now, we have our senator only 50 or so days away form possibly being the elected VP of this country. Only 3-4 years ago, all the great cakes in our state were imported from Pennsylvania or New Jersey (o.k., save for the mighty fortress of culinary arts that is the DuPont Hotel...but their cake is still rather unreasonably priced).

But, now?

Wilmington has its own Sweet Somethings, a clean and delightful little paradise run by bakery chefs of Czech descent, whose birthday concoctions make aging a respectable pastime. A group of friends have been investing in their soul's pleasure with monthly visits to this emporium of butter, nuts, flour, and heat.

We are carefully working our way through The List, exercising caution to not overeating in pleasure and driven by fear that such a mecca in Wilmington could possibly go under before we made it to the final line, Assorted Mousses by the pound (No, Alcessa, not those kind of Mooses!)

n.b.: I previously blogged of the Infamous Frankopanska Torta of Crikvenica (Croatia) here. I am, yes, planning another pilgrimage, this time armed with a camera and a more open schedule.

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Election TIme: Cause for Worry #3, "Canada, not a Foreign Country"

In today's NYT, there was a little notice regarding the travel/politicking plans for the McCain/Palin campaign. I noted that one of the visits would be to the UN in NYC, so that Palin could shake hands with foreign diplomats to "bolster her foreign policy credentials". Following that, I'm assuming, she'll be guided to shake hands, after donning surgical gloves, with the homeless usually camped around the perimeter of the UN building to bolster her low income inhabitants credentials.

The whole foreign policy thing and Gov. Palin is beyond strange for me. Her continuous mentioning of Russia and its proximity "just on the other side of the Bering Strait" is her continual harangue as to her foreign credentials. I've yet to hear or to read anywhere where she mentioned that other rather large country that is not seperated by water or walls.
Come on, you know, that humungous tuque of a country resting on the top of our heads. There is not body of water nor a man-made wall seperating Alaska from the Great White North. Gov. Palin has even dealt with the Canadians, specifically a Canadian construction company, to build the oil pipeline that the US oil companies have not built. (Please read the link as it gives a detailed account of the confusing "Pipeline that may not be built" and the tax consequences on the Alaskan citizens. Hmmm, hasn't she boasting about her fiscal conservancy?) How is it that she hasn't discussed her "foreign" dealings with our next door neighbour which, yes I just checked it, is still a sovereign FOREIGN country. Is it possible? No, surely, she realizes that Canada is a country seperate from the US of A?!
Is something strange brewing? Will we soon be seeing the 51st state?

Whisky Prajer, help out a Canuck-lover, eh? What's the dissing that Palin's giving you folks?

**Addendum**: NYT's conservative David Brooks on the tough job that is governance from the Monday 9/15/08 edition.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Election TIme: Cause for Worry #2 Staying on Message

Concerning Gov. Palin's continued and repetitive claims on her consisitent opposition of "The Bridge to Nowhere" in recent stump speeches, (from the Washington Post), "John Feehery, a Republican strategist, said the campaign is entering a stage in which skirmishes over the facts are less important than the dominant themes that are forming voters' opinions of the candidates.

"The more the New York Times and The Washington Post go after Sarah Palin, the better off she is, because there’s a bigger truth out there and the bigger truths are she’s new, she’s popular in Alaska and she is an insurgent," Feehery said. "As long as those are out there, these little facts don’t really matter."

So, the fact that the message is in regard to "the little facts that don't really matter" doesn't effect the truthfulness of the message? We're living in a temporary alternative universe. Marshall McLuhan's spinning in his grave. The Medium is not the Message. The Medium is Getting Massaged.

Note Bene: The $233 million given to Alaska for "The Bridge to Nowhere"? $40 million has already been spent on a road leading to the un-built "Bridge to Nowhere"....meaning that a possible bridge to somewhere is to be built or $40 million of asphalt has been used to build something where Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Election Time: Cause for Worry #1

In an ongoing series, I'll be providing snippets of how the Dems may yet lose this year's election despite the current Republican White House Sitter's tenure in office running at a 29% approval rating.

Here, on Amazon, there is an Amazon Meter measuring the popularity of Obama and McCain based on the completely objective measurement of Halloween masks purchased. As of today, it's 35% for McCain and 65% for Obama. Seems like an insurmountable lead for the Dem's, right?

OH SO Wrong!

Considering that McCain has readily admitted he couldn't tell a PC from a toaster and you may (tongue-in-cheek) assume that his followers would have similar Luddite thinking, it's scary that 35% were actually able to post their Halloween night masks purchase choice on Amazon.

Maybe I have it all wrong.
180 degrees wrong.

Maybe the folks buying the Obama masks are the folks (the 65% folks) that think Barak O. is such a scary guy that a facsimile of his face will strike horror in any person of voting age. So, the 65% winning mark for Mr. Obama reflects the percentage of Amazon presidential mask buyers who do not admire him but, rather, are in deep fear of him and of his potential win on November 4th (two days after the Day of the Dead). The buyers are hiding their McCain votes behind an Obama mask.

This is getting seriously scary.

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Monday, September 08, 2008


This article caught my attention for two basic reasons.
One, it concerned the NJ Devil, an alleged creature that graces my favorite hockey team.
Two, it introduced me to the potentially widely used word cryptozoology. Per the definition, cryptozoology's chief object is "to consider (an animal's) unexpected nature" The Jersey Devil would certainly fit within this definitive range. In addition, I believe, using the practices within cryptozoology, it may be possible to find a Presidential candidate to satisfy over 50% of the potential American voting public.
Just like Sasquatch and the (NJ) Devil, this PrezCand is a shy and crafty creature, carefully hiding in the backwash of these US of A states, waiting for a change in the current non-accepting non-believing American public.


I Have a TOTAL Lack of...

...Understanding regarding high finance. Today, at the London Stock Exchange, trading was temporarily suspended due to "some customers experienc(ing) problems, after double the number of shares traded on London in minutes after the market opened". The Times of London goes on to quote"One City insider said that traders will lose "millions and millions and millions" of commission on deals, adding that today's closedown is "very serious and disastrous"". All serious stuff, no? This ruckus is based around the US government bailout of the "dee-dee-dow monetary twins" of Frannie Mae and Freddy Mac. A serious failure by these two quasi private/pseudo government organizations, wouldn't you say? A serious keelhauling would be an understandable punishment for the captains at the helm of these two sinking ships, right?


Again, the Times notes "It emerged today that Daniel Mudd, the departing head of Fannie Mae and Richard Syron, who is set to leave Freddie Mac, will share in a combined payoff of $23 million (£13 million) when they leave the mortgage groups.

Mr Mudd is expected to receive $9.3 million in pay and retirement benefits under the terms of his contract, while Mr Syron could walk away with $14.1 million.

I particularly love the understated use of emerge, suggesting a wart or huge pimple suddenly appearing. But, for these two fine gentlemen, it is a wondrous wart filled with incredible amounts of cash. If only I could be stricken with such a rich malady... Wonder what other perks these failures will receive?

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Other Opinions

This piece on Spiked, written by Aussie journalist Guy Rundle, was posted prior to Gov. Palin's Wed. night speech. An interesting take on things political from an outsider's viewpoint. The link was pointed out by the ever cheeky Stephenesque, who opined here on the Alaska addition to the Republican ticket, here.

Anchorage Daily News points out some peculiarities here and here, while the Wasilla Frontiersman laments what the press is doing to the small town Gov. Palin used to be a mayor of, here.

Meanwhile, the Alaska State Trooper's organization is a bit teed off at being the whipping boy of the still current Alaska governor. Wonder if this divorce/child custody case will go Federal.

All in all, it is interesting times we live in.


Alice Roosevelt Longworth

"I can be President of the United States, or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both"-
Teddy Roosevelt, replying to a question from a visiting dignitary who asked if he could better control his daughter, Alice.

She was certainly a character in Washington, D.C.

Googling for images of pit bulls with lipstick (or is that Rudy Giulani in heels)has not yet located the first Photoshop version of such. Unless, of course, some owner is willing to take on the wrath of the SPCA and actually use real lipstick on a real dog. Still searchin'....

Now I'm thinking what make-up Joe Biden will have to don to counter the "lipstick" thing and still remain dignified and masculine. Hmmmm... How about the Rottweiler in Rouge! The VP cosmetics war! Fascinating.

But, the big thing tonight is......NY Giants v. Redskins. Fall is almost upon us.

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