As I Walk Among the Dead

Rough day.  Rough week.  I'm afraid to write much more.  I've done this post three times, and every single time it comes out sounding insane or condescending. 

Those who know the character at the left, know how I'm feeling right about now.  You?  Me.

So, a few thoughts that aren't so insane.

I wish more animals ate their trainers.  Yeah, I eat meet and go out of my way to hit dogs with my car (I'm kidding about that one), but making wild animals perform and then acting shocked when they attack is a mark of stupidity.  If you're that dumb around a beast that can kill you, you deserve to be kibble.  The world needs less dumb people, and animals love to eat.  Seems like the circle of life in action.

The televised health care reform talks were a really cool gimmick.  Your government in (in)action.  The unfortunately named Teabaggers really don't want health care reform, and these fucks are the loudest, so like babies they get the most attention.  You want to know why that is wrong?  I saw this sign held up by a Teabagger: Keep government out of my Medicare.  Don't pay attention to people this dumb.  They will get you to act against your own self-interests.

I overheard someone in the video store state that their favorite movie was the new Alice in Wonderland film that isn't out yet.  She stated she hadn't seen it but knows she'll love it.  If you ask someone what their favorite film of all time is and they list something that came out in the past two years you can almost be sure the person either suffers from long term memory loss, ADD or is just a moron.  Not all, but if someone told me their favorite movie of all time was Valentine's Day, which just came out, I'd probably stay away from them lest I catch something.

I'm meeting a friend for coffee tomorrow.  Someone I haven't seen in weeks, but miss.  That should be nice.  I'm looking forward to it.  Got paid for some writing.  Film Threat is back.  Hit a few lottery numbers.  And yet this week still sucked.  Saw Broken Flowers and liked it.  Good character study that seemed to say nothing at first, but said said a lot more than you would think.  Started reading a book I need to review.  Had Big Pete's for lunch.  Saw Blue and refused to look at her scars.  And this week still sucked.

Next week has to better.  For the sake of everybody, it's got to be better.


I Am Curious (Meg)

Republicans, ever the stately bunch, has a candidate in place to replace California's Arnold Schwarzenegger, star of Kindergarten Cop.  It is Meg Whitman, known as the head of eBay.

In keeping with California's tradition of unpleasant looking governor's, Meg looks to be part man, party cyborg and part walking dead.  She carries herself well, and you can say what you want about eBay, but who doesn't love a site where you can get a DVD for a penny?

Meg started an ad campaign earlier this month that was meant to get her name out there.  The campaign is being paid for by herself because she has millions at her disposal, which of course keeps her in touch with average Californians.  Her ad campaign, which has the mandatory talking points, focuses on creating jobs, cutting government spending and fixing education.  Who can argue with that?

Meg, whom I'm sure will be looking for a presidential run if she wins, is, luckily, no Sarah Palin.  She is, however, your typical politician.

One of Meg's well-thought out plans for creating jobs kind of goes against cutting government spending.  Meg wants to get rid of 40,000 state government jobs.


Eliminate 40,000 jobs that have healthcare benefits, retirement and pay a living wage.  We all know the private sector offers those things in abundance, so those businesses that aren't hiring now will be hiring under Meg's plan and offering all those same opportunities and benefits.

Again.  Brilliant.

It's more race to the bottom where the ultimate result is economic slavery in the form of debt and check-to-check survival.  Unions will be gutted (a good thing for anti-labor forces).  The average joe will think that less government jobs means less taxes (which I can find no evidence of ever having happened as that money saved just goes to other projects).  And now, people struggling to find decent paying jobs in an economy that cannot be fixed by government alone will now have even more competition.  Some of those displaced workers will most likely go on government aid, thus increasing the burden on that system.

A race to the bottom is always messy.

Meg will be unable to create enough viable jobs to absorb that load.  It is nearly impossible for reasons such as lack of public faith, lack of funds, generations of short-term thinking, and a political system at odds with itself.

I agree that changes must be made.  I don't think that cutting jobs is the answer.  Not now.  Not with the economy this bad.  Cutting government spending, however, is essential.  Just as essential as raising taxes by a slight percentage, actually enforcing taxes on corporations, and creating new taxes from things like decriminalization of pot and prostitution.

So where will government spending be cut?  First, it's important to see what Californians think.

A series of polls down earlier this year showed that California's citizens want control over the budget.  They don't trust the politicians to do it.  I don't trust them, either, but if you continue to examine the polls you quickly see you also can't trust the people because they actually have little to idea what the state spends its money on or how it gets it.

Not good for people who want to make the economic decisions.

Most Californians said the money to run the state comes from the sales tax, with personal income tax, corporate taxes, and car fees coming into place in that order.  In 2009 55% of California's revenues actually came from personal income taxes (remember those 40,000 jobs, Meggie).  Next up, at 31%, was sales tax, 10% corporate tax and 2% from car fees.

Yes, the public was off, but not by that much.

So what does the public think California spends money on?  49% think prisons get the most money.  24% said health and human services (which is more than welfare).  That is followed by K-12 education and then higher education.  The spending does not follow the public's line of thinking, though.  (And for the record, I thought prisons would be high [not first] on the list, too.)

Forty-one percent goes to K-12 education (which, when based on the how bad our school system is, Meg is right in thinking education needs to be fixed).  30% of the money goes to health and human services.  Thirteen percent to higher education and 10% to prisons.

As far as health and human services go (and in full disclosure, I am part of that system ), when the economy goes down the toilet, the need for those services goes up.  Cutting them takes a dire situation and makes it critical.  It's like having a terrorist attack and thinking that is a good moment to close hospitals, shut down fire stations and fire the police.  You can't yank away the life vest in the time of most need.

Our schools are constantly doing fund raisers, yet they get the most money.  What is wrong there?  Mismanagement of funds?  An overburdened system?  That's something for another time.  This is about Meg.

Meg wants to cut government spending, a move I think a lot of Californians would agree with (including myself to a degree).  The interesting thing, though, is that government spending in California has been cut ... drastically.

California is spending billions less now than it did four to five years ago.  Billions.  And we are still in a crisis (perhaps aided in part by budget cuts made by those who don't pay attention to the long term problems).  Where must those cuts come from?

If the state gets most of its money from personal income taxes, cutting jobs is not the way to fix the problem.  Not only must we concentrate on keeping the jobs we have, we have to create new ones.  If we create new jobs, personal income taxes go up, all the programs get more money.  To create new jobs we have to make California attractive to businesses.  Government infrastructure jobs need to be created, and they must be created with long term thinking in mind.

If we can modernize the way the state government runs, we can save money in the long term.  Going paperless saves on paper costs, copier repair, toner replacement and so on.  Creating that system creates jobs.  Changing all government buildings to use green technologies with solar and rain water collection, along with eco-friendly roofs saves energy and water bills and helps to clean the air.  It also creates jobs to create these things.  The money for these things is already in the budget, it's how it is spent that creates problems.  Government would do best to ask its employees how to save money.  They have wonderful ideas.  Since they are in the trenches they can easily see where time (money) is being wasted.

Meg's three tier plan for a better tomorrow is only spot-on on two points.  Fixing education and creating jobs.  Her plan for cutting government spending sounds good until you realize that taking 40,000 well-paid jobs out of a system that relies upon that personal income tax money is like cutting one's throat.  If she seriously thinks she can turn this state around, she needs to realize that drastic actions combined with short-term thinking is what got us into this position to begin with.  If we set up a system that looks ahead ten years, getting to that point will start to solve the problems.

Making pot (and really all drugs) and prostitution legal instantly creates new jobs and more personal and corporate income tax.  Remember, over half of California's revenue comes from those personal income tax dollars.  Over half.  Cutting 40,000 jobs or creating thousands of new ones?  It seems simple to me, but then again, I'm no Meg Whitman, and I'm not buying my way into the government, which poses another question.

Democrats are the ones always accused of throwing money at problems.  Aren't Republicans a little worried that the approach Meg is taking to her campaign (throwing money at it, and willingly stating that she is willing to throw a lot of money at it in order to drown out the other candidates) perhaps indicative of how she'll approach running the government?  I know what she says, but actions speak louder than words, and those Republicans who think cutting funds is the answer may want to give a second look to someone who thinks throwing money around is a viable way to run things.


Permission to Print

Hell has frozen over.  One of the people who wrote me an angry e-mail about the Day of the Woman post has given me permission to reprint it as long as I don't mention his name.   Here is his letter.


Why are you such a pompous asshole about things like movies and books?  Did you ever think that maybe some people like to veg out to mindless fun?

I spend all day at work and if I want to pay $2.99 for a crappy movie, I will.  I've seen I Spit on Your Grave -- it's not art.

Why do you have a problem with people liking mindless fun?  What is wrong with movies and music that aren't arty or deep?  I know why you like art films.  Do you know why people like entertainment?

I've written to you before about movies.  I know you aren't really a jerk, but you sound like one.  I don't like reading movies. I don't like black bars on my television.  I do not feel dumb about it. -J.


My response will not be as angry as you probably expect.  I will hit your letter point by point and explain as best I can.  This will probably get me in more trouble with the angered souls out there, but, again, this is opinion.  It's not sacrosanct.

I do believe some people just "veg out" to "mindless fun."  Interesting choice of words, as "veg out" typically means to be brain dead, and "mindless fun" speaks for itself.  Is there anything wrong with that?  No.  I enjoy some fairly vapid films, books, and music.  I think it's bad when that's all people want to consume.  I actually talked to someone at work about this today.  If all I watched was violent pornography, wouldn't someone be well within the realm of justified to say that a steady diet of violent pornography may not be the best thing to take in?  I think so.  The same goes for "mindless" movies and the like. 

You pay $2.99 for a crappy movie?  Why would you pay for a crappy movie?  Better yet, why would you watch one?  You'll get that $2.99 back.  You won't get that time back.  Wouldn't you rather spend it with something enjoyable?  Maybe if movie rentals were $50 a pop you'd rethink your choices.  Part of the problem is that people treat what should be art (and entertainment can be art) as disposable.  When movies/books/music/art work and whatnot are given the same societal value as soda, there is a problem. 

I also never said I Spit on Your Grave is art.  I enjoy the film, but I don't put it on the same plane as Irreversible, which I do consider to be artistic.  Nor is Zarchi's movie entertaining.  It does, however, make me think.  Did I pay $2.99 for it?  No.  I bought it for probably $19.  I don't mind spending money for work I support.  I will not be buying, renting or watching Valentine's Day, however. 

I don't have a problem with people enjoying things simply for entertainment value.  I cannot stress that enough.  I also know why people enjoy those things.  I've thought about it a lot, actually.  Have written extensively about it here, on Film Threat, and other places.  I think the more important question is: What do you consider to be entertainment and why?  When you wrote that if you want to pay $2.99 for a crappy movie you will, I have to wonder if you've really given thought to what motivates your choices.  We have written back and forth about movies before, and I know some of what you enjoy (and I agree with you that Clerks II had more heart than the first one), but have you really thought about why you make the viewing choices you do?  I'm not asking that to be a pompous asshole, but to see how much thought you've really given to it.  A while ago you told me you rented the latest Die Hard movie and weren't sure why.  You said you didn't even like the first one, and you regretted seeing the latest one.  Why did you pick it?  Because it was on the New Release rack?  Because you had seen everything else?  Because you like Bruce Willis or that kid who represents the Mac?  Because you only will watch PG-13 movies?  Because you thought it may be better than the first one?  To this day I still can't figure it out, but it's not really my problem.  Since you called me on the carpet, though, I'll return the favor:  Why did you rent a movie you seemingly had no desire to see?

You do a good job of pointing out things you don't like (and nobody can make you feel "dumb" unless you let them), but you haven't pointed out what you like. 

I think, J., a huge part of the problem is that people have lost the fine art of debate.  I don't write what I write on the entertainment versus art issue to be personal attacks.  I do write them as attacks on society, however.  They are my opinions on what I feel is wrong with how culture treats art and entertainment.  I don't think my opinion is necessarily the right one, but it is what I believe.  I find it strange and somewhat sad that I can write just about anything on politics or other sociological issues and not hear much of anything from anyone, but when I write about my feelings on art versus entertainment, people really get upset and actually call me names (like you did).  Why is that?

Could it be because people feel there is very little they can do about politics and corporate rule, but when it comes to what they bring into their living room to enjoy, they have control over that. That is exactly why I feel it is so important -- the fact that you can control it says to me that you should be thinking about it quite a bit.  Really examining what you enjoy.

Remember, these are just my opinions.  If it causes someone to examine the choices they make -- great.  I don't think that is a bad thing.  Why shouldn't people question these things?  The fact that people get so upset over what I write says to me that they have some stake in the topic

J., I also want to thank you for letting me reprint the letter (touched up per your request).  Since other people have expressed concern, I think it is good to present another side to this debate.  I think you may have raised more issues than you planned on, though, and my challenge is still valid.  Tell me why you rented a movie you had no real desire to see?  Post your comment here (I know that's a long shot), and I know you don't like to do e-mail because that's all you do at work, but I think the answer is an important one.

And here's the deal for the future when I piss someone off and you either right or text me.  I put myself out there and end up regretting it every so often, but I still do it.  If you are going to criticize me (which I don't mind as it comes with the territory), I think it's only fair that you are just as open about it, too.  I will use your real name (not your e-mail info, though) and print it here for others to see. I have been told by some of you that you don't openly comment because you don't want everyone to see what you think.  That's fine.  Make sure you say it in the text, e-mail or phone call.  If you request I don't use your name, I won't, but I may still reprint your comments here.  If I'm writing a public piece that you are commenting on, then your comments can be public, too.


Flower of Flesh and Blood

Okay.  The previous post got a good comment from Mirror, but a total of two e-mails and a series of texts that were from people less than pleased with my opinions on things.  I was called pretentious, pompous, an asshole and a name dropper ... and then some got nasty.

Again, these are just opinions worth as much as I got paid to write them.  I have strong opinions about things.  I write about them here.  Some people may or may not agree with said opinions.  Some may misinterpret them.  I do think some things are different (and sometimes better) than other things.  A Chevelle is not a Veyron.  I don't point that out to be an ass, but to make a point. 

Onward ... and I seriously should print the e-mails here names and all ...

Today I took a nasty, nasty spill.  I was running into the house wearing flip flops because I had just stepped outside for a second and didn't want to put on shoes.  I slipped on some moss and fell down hard.  Hard enough that if I had hit my head on the concrete I would've split it open like a watermelon.  Instead, I was lucky not to have broken my arm and leg.  I did slam my back fairly hard, though, and right now I can feel it.

I limped into the house and went to the tub to clean all the mud off me.  I couldn't understand why more mud kept appearing.  Then I remembered: I'm color blind.  Reds and browns look similar.  I was bleeding.

A lot.

My hand had a minor cut.  My left knee had a large chunk of skin missing and was all kinds of interesting colors.  My left foot had eight separate cuts and strips of flesh missing.  My right arm is just south of killing me.

I used quite a few alcohol swabs (courtesy of when my sister stayed over) that turned lovely shades of red and stung like a bastard.  I totally ruined some of my daughter's wash rags which were white when I started and then turned into a blood tie dye pattern thing that would be safe to wash with once through the laundry, but would be kind of disgusting.

Perhaps God read my previous post, too, and didn't like me bringing up Zarchi's film, either.

My tub looked like I had started to butcher a sow and thIfen decided it would be less messy in the backyard.  Lots of blood, but no chunks.  My knee still bleeds off and on, and when I bumped it against the table earlier I realized that the wound is in such a place that it is going to take quite some time to heal.

By the way, I figure there's a select few who will recognize the title to this post, so I'm posting a link to the Amazon film here.  Can't really say I recommend the film, but if you seriously like extreme cinema and you haven't checked it out, you really should.


Day of the Woman (Thanks, Erin)

My head and back are in full pain mode.  Just finished a movie a co-worker lent me, and it made me want to write something.  Little Children is not the type of film I would normally watch, but since she watched I Stand Alone on my recommendation I figured it was the least I can do.  I was not disappointed, and my co-worker's taste in movies is now without suspect, though I still would not have seen this on my own.

I tend to like movies, books, music and comic books that make me think.  I'm not a huge fan of mindless entertainment, but I've been known to engage in it from time to time.  I figure I have only so much time on Earth, a lot of things I want to learn about (including myself), so I don't really want to spend that time reading Danielle Steele or watching a Tyler Perry movie.  Not that there is anything wrong with those things on their own, but a steady diet of them will turn you into a moron.

Of course, a steady diet of Dogme 95 films will make you a pretentious jerk.

Hey, I like Stephen King, Uncanny X-Men and I Spit on Your Grave, so I am not immune to entertainment for entertainment's sake.  (Though how entertaining Meir Zarchi's film is definitely depends upon your mindset.)  What I really like, though, is something that moves me.  It makes me sit back and say, "Wow!"  It makes me think.  It inspires me.  It taps into something deep inside me that causes my brain cells to start firing.  Most things that are pure entertainment don't really do that for me.  Hell, I'll take GG Allin over Kayne West any day.  West is obviously the more talented of the two, but Allin was real.  He represented the ego running at  full speed.  He set out to make rock dangerous again and did so.  I admire that.  West interrupts award shows.

Now the reason I'm writing about all of this here and not on The Last Picture Blog is because it is only inspired by Little Children and not about that.  It's not even about film, really.  It's about the little inspirations we can find every day through art and entertainment.  Star Wars is far from art, but you can't argue it isn't inspirational.  The Shining made me want to be a writer.  Is it art?  No.

A friend once asked why I liked depressing things.  I asked for clarification.  She pointed out that I like things such as Lone Wolf and Cub, I Stand Alone  and The Devil's Rejects.  She said these all had highly depressing elements to them.  I argued that they were really quite inspirational as all of them made me want to be a better writer.  They handled subject matter that was sometimes unpleasant, but did so in a way that was nothing short of brilliant.  It's not something I could get from, say, Sleepy Hollow, which I enjoyed for the Hammer cameos, but did not find to be inspirational in the least.

People get their inspiration from different sources.  Religion.  Nature.  Poetry.  Economics. (That one is sad, but true.)  What I find truly appalling is when people aren't inspired by anything at all.  I can't imagine going through a day like that, where I take no real deep joy from anything I read, watch or listen to.  Where all my pleasures are surface pleasures and nothing ever makes me think too deeply lest I disturb myself.  To me (and I may be in a minority here), that sounds like Hell.

The co-worker who lent me the movie thought I would like it.  I did (though at one part I was able to correctly guess the dialogue well before I heard it for several lines).  I imagine she doesn't recommend it to everyone (which is exactly how I approach I Stand Alone), which makes the recommendation very personal and very appreciated.  It got me thinking about how the actions of adults (which are as self-centered as the desires of children, but far more destructive) end up affecting not only the people they love the most, but the lives of those around them.  It made me mad at myself and things that have transpired in my past, and it made me think about things I'm going through now.  It made me look at the idea of relationships and what they really are about, and it made me contemplate the morality of vigilante justice.

I'm fairly sure nobody ever took those things from The Firm

Far too many people want their choices in entertainment/art to be instantly forgettable, unremarkable and interchangeable.  They want comfort in repetition and a limited amount of interpersonal interaction.  That's the only thing I can take from the choices they make.  Not everybody, of course, and not every time ... but enough people doing it often enough to make it apparent.

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead ... his eyes are closed."  -- Albert Einstein

Earnhardt Jr., I Bow to You

88.  Led four laps today in the unbelievably long Daytona 500.  Then, with the final lap, Dale Earnhardt Jr. came from nowhere to take second.  One more lap and he would've won.  Incredible.  Simply incredible.  My throat is sore from screaming so much.

That was breathtaking in its beauty.

What a way to start the NASCAR season.  He is a contender now. 



Bills Like a Mofo

Of all the bills I pay every week, the only one that feels good is the one to AK Press. 
The North Coast Co-Op always smells good.  That's what I thought as I walked through its doors, carefully avoiding a hippie woman in a flowing skirt, her dreads threatening to give me lice, and I have no hair.

I found my coffee.  Grabbed my stone.  Checked out and split.  Put some Meatmen on the car stereo and made my way through Old Town.  Not missing the junkies, thieves and lizards.  Not missing much but my daughter.  Thinking I had a lot to do at home.  Worrying about friends (and one in particular whom I shall not mention by name).

Four days off.  Heaven.  Get some writing done.  Finish up my King Automatic interview.  Make some bucks.  Clean.  Maybe watch a film or two.  Maybe finish reading my book.  Maybe hit the lottery.

I have nothing else to say right now.  I'm drained.  I feel like I've gone a few rounds with a coked-up Mike Tyson.  The fight is gone from me, and I have a headache.  (I had it before the H1N1 virus was shot up my nose, which was a surreal experience, too.)

I want to hole up and hang tight until I kick Mirror's ass at some video games.

I also want to help out that friend, but  I have no idea how to do it.

Time heals all wounds, right?  Or wounds all heels? 

Yeah.  I need to disconnect a bit.

A lot.

And so it goes ...


ORIGINAL MSG: ArsenalDotCom: Full time: Arsenal 1-0 Liverpool. A great result made even better by results elsewher


The Screaming Angel of Death Opens Its Arms

About nine minutes before I got to get serious about the day.  Did a lot of research on necrophilia last night for a story idea.  (Fascinating case out of Ohio recently that I considered writing about on here, but I think you will all be thankful I didn't.)  I figure at this point, if my computer is ever seized, a history check is going to be most disturbing.

That is one aspect of the writing process I really enjoy: the research.  For the cannibal manuscript I delved into old gas pumps, the types of guns issued to California police, Native American tanning (animals, not people) processes, cannibal cultures and folklore, and recipes.  That research led to new story ideas, new knowledge and other fascinating things.  It also made me realize how lucky I am that I enjoy learning about ... well, whatever.  I was never one of those people who stayed away from intellectual challenges be it in school, art, or my personal life.  Lucky, indeed.

KTVU, out of San Francisco, is going to highlight the ads from the Super Bowl.  It's bad enough when your average joe gets excited about this (ever feel manipulated?), but when the news covers it?  That's excessive.  New ads, no matter how creative, are not news.  There are new ads premiering every day.  Again, not news.  A few years ago, when people started watching the ads on the Internet, the news covered that new development, too, and I could kind of understand that.  After all, I was puzzled by people willing looking at ads on the Internet (I rarely even watch trailers online).  I mean, I thought most people hated pop-ups, spam and whatnot.  Now they were actively seeking it out, most likely because they didn't want to sit through the game.  That could have been an interesting study in sociology, but just turned into the typical, "It looks like advertisers have a different venue for getting word of their product out."

I turned off the news before the highlights came on.  I don't need that stuff renting space in my head.  I don't have enough time to take in the stuff I like, let alone a chip ad.

But hey, if you like that sort of thing, more power to you.  This was probably a good year for ads, as the media indicates most years are.  I hope you were entertained and enlightened.

Today is covering the ads, too.  And Matt and Meredith, those smiling talking vacant heads, announced this before they announced the possible White House run by that other vacant idiot Sarah Palin.



Graveyard of Empires

In the next few days a large group of U.S. marines will be leading NATO and Afghan fighters into Marjah to clear the Taliban out of its last stronghold.  Civilians in the Southern Afghanistan region are fleeing their homes, afraid of what is coming.

Smart people.

As with all things war related these days, this is called Operation Mushtarak, which means "together" in Dari.  All things considered, it may actually go well, but it won't be without problems.  Afghanistan is a hell hole known as the Graveyard of Empires.  Don't believe me.  Ask the Russians.

Omar bin Laden, son of Osama, correctly stated that his father's goal in the 9/11 terrorism attack was to draw America into Afghanistan, a place Osama was intimately familiar with as this is where he, after being trained by the CIA, helped fight the Soviets.  (It was actually a battle near Jaji that turned bin Laden into the hero of Islam that he is today.)  Osama new that America would send troops into Afghanistan after him if America were hit.  After all, Clinton before him had targeted Afghanistan with Operation Infinite Reach.  A larger attack would probably cause then-president Bush to send in troops.

That, Osama assumed (and most would say correctly) would be the beginning of the downfall of the American Empire. 

Granted, it wasn't the military that went in at first after Osama.  It was the CIA.  A small group of CIA operatives went into Afghanistan with the mission of bringing back Osama's head for the president.  They almost got it, too, but when an airstrike near the Pakistanian border was needed, the Bush Administration (the same administration that had called for the beheading), denied the strike, instead stating that it would leave the terrorist's capture up to the Pakistanians.  We all know how well that worked out ... and the military went in.

The American efforts in Afghanistan, regardless of how you feel about the military's mission, have been, I would say, a bit more successful than our Soviet counterparts.  (I just wonder when we'll get tired of fighting people we trained.)  Obama, not to rest on his Nobel Peace Prize laurels, has made Operation Mushtarak part of his "surge."

Osama bin Laden continues to look right.

Conspiracy theories abound about 9/11.  Civil liberties were already being whittled away before that September day (and nobody cared then, either), however.  And if you read Chomsky you know that he and many others believe that the US operates under the assumption that it owns the world, so there was really no excuse needed to invade Iraq.  It was just convenient that one was there.

If anyone has any doubts about this, one only has to look at how little happened with Bush was first put into place by the Supreme Court.  There were token protests, but there was no real negative outcome to it from an economic or security standpoint.  To think that the government would have to fly planes into a building (and thus killing some of the engineers that help the government function) to accomplish what was already being done not in secret but fully out in the open, is misleading at best. 

Dragging the US into Afghanistan, however, makes perfect sense.  Having it invade Iraq later was just icing on the cake.

Our economy is strained, our troops are strained, and what do we have to show for it?  How will this upcoming operation improve anything?  Yes, it may drive the Taliban out (I think there is a good chance this will actually work, as the initial influx of CIA thoroughly disrupted the Taliban's operations).  But what if it fails?  Will we be like the Soviets and fight on and on?  Or will we pull another Vietnam and eventually decide that the cost (financially, not morally) is too high?

I don't know the answer.  I'm tired.  I just know that the next few days will be very interesting.
freedom of speech is sacrosanct.
I believe back stabbers should be dealt with swiftly.
Working on a good interview. Trying to find a market for a short story. No word on cannibal manuscript.
Writing is sometimes a chore of a job. An exercise in self hatred that has no reward.
I will be missing the race next week.


The Snake Dance Continues ...

I made it through the day without going home.  Fucking amazing.  I did a bunch of self-hypnosis to get through the pain, and it worked fairly well.  Picked up four boxes at the post office, which included The Scarecrow Movie Guide.  This book is essential for cinema addicts.  Had lunch with Blue, which was enjoyable despite the pain (had not done damage control by that point).  Thoroughly screwed with the lady at the post office.  Took my girl to get some movies for the night. And, if you read any of the earlier posts, you know I came across the 1987 classic TV Sirens.  I grabbed this book off one of the tables in the break room.  Apparently the author's definition of a "siren" is far removed from mine, but any book that has a picture of a sweat covered Joan Woodward is gold.  Oh, and it was hardcover.

  Who reads these sorts of things?

Daytona 500 is next week.  Couldn't care less about the Super Bowl, though. Two boring teams.  I think Arsenal plays this weekend, though.  Will have to check up on that.

Trepanation has been on my mind lately.  No pun intended. The idea of drilling a hole into one's head to reach a better state of mental health (or a permanent high, if you will) seems just as far fetched as taking a candy dish full of pills.  I've read accounts of it (most notably in the Amok Journal Sensurround Edition, and have seen videos.  I'm not sure the people involved in the act, or those who condone it, are crazy per se.  In fact, most of them seem quite sane.  It's just one more thing people do to alter their reality.  I personally wouldn't do it, but I'm not one to get drunk or high, either.  I consider those things weak and a waste of time.  I don't mind that others do (and if it weeds out some people, I'm fine with that, too), but it's not for me, and neither is trepanation.  That said, the people who advocate it and engage in it are far more fascinating than your average person who takes drugs to feel better. 
There's a website (of course) where you can find a lot of information on the subject.   Ironically, for me at least, the site is based out of my old home state of PA.

Yeah, not for the weak hearted.

I have a healthy bit of respect for people who are willing to take things this far.  I, of course, don't recommend it, but I think it beats working.  Are these people crazy?  No more than you and I.  Perhaps less so.  If you watched the trailer from above you saw a line about letting the devils out.  I think there is something to that.  Some people have a bad week at work and they go out to the bar or smoke a joint.  Others drill a hole into their head.  Which is worse?  I know which is more socially acceptable, but which is worse?  Poisoning yourself?  Killing brain cells?  Or taking out a small piece of your skull?

When I think of self-trepanation I always think of those times I was clipping a fingernail and went a little too far.  Yeah, you've done it, too.  You can't treat your skull like you would your index finger, and that makes me think that if I were interested in doing it (which I am not), I wouldn't be doing it myself.  With my luck I'd just get the drill through and sneeze.  Pop.  Right through the membrane.  Instant skull soup.  When I'm found twelve hours later I've got blood dried and caked on my face, a line of drool pooling in my lap, and a drill stuck in my head and going around in circles on the axis of its bit.

Gotta love the Snake Dance.

An answe to my prayers: just found a copy of tv sirens!
Miss good movies and music. Need Argento more and less American crap.
As an aside, the spray is safe to use around animals.

Born of Blood and Insurrection: The Dark Days of February (A Snake Dance)

I actually found myself turning off the news last night.  No, I have not gone the way of the willfully ignorant and have decided to live my days out under the umbrella of sunshine, daisies and consumerism.  I just thought that reading was the better alternative.  Actually, seeing Meg Whitman's oddly emotionless face kind of turned my stomach a bit, so I thought it best to turn to the written word.

Didn't want to hear more about the earthquake, the Humboldt Creamery cancer or the crime in the Bay Area.  Wanted to read about secret weapons programs and dark rituals carried out in remote areas of Germany.  There are, of course, connections.  Not always direct, and rarely noticeable, but they are there.

Let's remember that the Nazis aren't the only group who made jingoism and hegemony a country-wide trait and barometer for patriotism.  Cue the stars and stripes of deception ...

It is going to be a weird day.  I can feel it in the air.  I woke up with an odd pain in my stomach, one I hadn't felt before.  I could not trace it to the usual suspects of stress, spicy food or back ache (I am well aware of what that stomach pain feels like).  Nor could I envision the cause being voodoo or black magic related.  (Wasn't a Wiccan just killed over something silly?)  It still lingers, but I will go to work and ride it out as long as I can.  

I don't believe in karma, but I often wish such a thing existed.  I think it would be the only way some people would learn.  A lady complained about me putting weed killer on my lawn this weekend.  She was walking her dog and told me that the dog liked to defecate in my hard and would sniff the grass.  She didn't want it getting sick.  I assumed this was the dog that was always leaving its waste that the dog owner wouldn't clean up, but never really cared to much because it was on the side of my yard that I rarely use.  I told the woman I really didn't care how she felt because she shouldn't be letting her dog shit on other people's yards without cleaning it up.  I said that now that she saw what I was doing for the weeds, she should take precautions to make sure her dog didn't sniff there.  She told me she'd rather I take them out by hand.

I thought, "The nerve of some people."   I said, "I'm sure you would, but unless you volunteer to do it, I'm using the spray."

She walked away in a huff, taking her dog with her.

Good riddance to bad garbage.  No responsibility, yet very happy to tell others how to live their life and what to do.  I find that is often the case.  It made me wish I could put some kind of spray down to keep her the hell away.  I'm sure she went to the mall afterward to make some teenage clerk's life hell as she bought perfume to "calm her nerves."

It's a good month so far. 


Why This Day is Not Shaping Up Well

Right now I've got a hankering to play Mortal Kombat: Deception or go back to sleep. My back is screaming, and I did not sleep well last night. I don't have my daughter tonight, so I may head the hay early, but that seems doubtful.

Woke up at 2:03. Next time I looked at the clock it was four something. My back just kept twitching. Thought about taking a pill, but didn't want to over sleep. (I wake up without an alarm clock because I have my internal clock so finely tuned, but I can't trust it to wake me if I'm medicated.) Now it is twisting my stomach. If it doesn't stop soon, I can't go to work, and that will just stress me out more.

My daughter and I had some great talks last night about friendships and happiness. It was a great discussion that once again showed me how smart she is. She is simply amazing, and I miss her to death when she's not with me. When it hits day two, I get depressed. It's weird, and I don't think I'll ever be used to it.

Time to wake her and greet the day with tickles. I wish this was every day.


On With the Show

Made it through both a migraine and back pain last night with no meds. Had a fitful night of sleep, and woke up about thirty miles south of Refreshed, but at least my head doesn't feel like it's about to go all Scanners on me. There's got to be something said for that.

I've been up for just over an hour and am already exhausted mentally and physically. I was expecting some interview in my inbox this morning, but woke up to nothing. Of course, it's going to France so there is a time difference and all that, but I was really hoping it would be there so I could get working on it.

Woke up to a text from a friend that a man broke into her house. He was "tweaking and bleeding." Had that been my house ...

Let the day begin ...