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October 2004

Blather and such

So I got this new 14 lb bowling ball, and I've been practicing all week but by the end of a second game my shoulder starts to hurt. Last night was league night, and I fortified my pain-managing capabilities with two double gin and tonics, but I still blew the last game because I just don't have the control I need when the shoulder starts to give way. I'm just such a weakling.

Anyway, the other thing is that since it's getting cold out, I've decided to try combatting the winter blues by making myself into a pretty pretty princess on Wednesday nights. I bought boots to wear with short skirts, which are fun to bowl in, and conditioned my hair. This is pretty big stuff for me. And a bunch of people have noticed my efforts and appreciated them over the past couple of weeks, so that's been nice. Maybe I'll have verve at least one day a week until it's warm out again.

However, the other woman on my team has this odd hatred for my long unruly hair and asked if she could treat me to a haircut! I can't say no to people so I told her as long as no one tried to talk me out of the length, it might be fun. But I just don't know...

Dude, the Red Sox ruled last night. It was "wicked cool" being surrounded by Yankee fans watching that happen. I even hung out in the bar for a while after my games to see people be annoyed. Except the other people in the bar had the same idea, so I was surrounded by the only non-Yankees fans in the place. Everyone else was in misery somewhere. The people I hung with all agreed they have two favorite teams; the Mets, and whoever's playing the Yankees. I was down with that, since the Cards are still in it and I'm optimistic for Game 7 between them and the Astros. When they ask why I like St. Louis, even knowing I'm displaced from Kansas City, I invoke the name of Whitey Herzog. That always creates a little hushed respect.

Okay. I'm still saying that if I were a movement-starting type of person, I'd suggest that everyone do what I did in two previous presidential elections. Carefully fill out the ballot for every candidate but leave the presidential one blank. Can't you just see what fun we'd have if a significant number of people used their right to vote this way?


This?

seriously pisses me off. And then some. Help the dumb Americans. Win a prize. Or whatever.

It seems the Guardian obtained names and addresses of "undecided" voters in Ohio, and allowed their readers to access the names so they could help out with the decision. They'd spend their time more fruitfully by teaching British subjects how to properly assign subject-verb case agreement, and how to correctly write possessives when presented with a name ending in 's'.

I don't pretend to understand all the underpinnings of how things are run in Little Waddling Marsh or wherever, and I pretty much doubt they have a clue about the framework of concerns in Akron or Canton. We all like to assume that because we share a common language, we have everything else in common as well. 'Tis not so. Life is different here, and one thing people in other parts of the world fail to take into account is that the place is fricking huge. There are 280 million Americans, with many, many, many different backgrounds and lifestyles. They can never know us any more than we can really know each other without spending a great amount of time travelling the roads and meeting people in all regions.

And that is why, even though "we" are at war with somebody, our concerns must remain with our communities foremost, and with the figurehead of the nation second. We are mostly people who work to get along from day to day, and have widely varied ideas on how best to achieve success.

We are not McAmericans, despite the world's view of us. We are not interchangeable. Some wish to treat us in the same manner they believe we Americans treat the rest of the world. See how that's a vicious, pointless circle of nothingness? I'd like to see that stop.


See, that's what I've been saying all along

Okay, I should warn anyone who reads this that the link below leads to an essay I thoroughly agree which is posted on a website I--don't thoroughly agree with. But Ilya Somin might be my new holodeck-boyfriend-for-a-day. He said this, "Perhaps the most fundamental cause of ignorance resides in the collective action problem created by the insignificance of any individual vote in determining an electoral outcome..." The essay quoting him is by Jacob Sullum and can be found here.

I have friends who really do pay attention to what's going on, what legislation means, who's running the courts these days, etc. They'd freak if they truly understood my views on "democracy." But at least they're attempting to be relevant. I won't argue with them on that.


Ah, youth!

Here's a verse of a current popular song by some people named Snoop Dogg, Chingy and Ludacris. Ludacris recites this section:


Bits and Kibbles, got 'em all after the pickle

I swing it like a bat, but these balls are not whiffle

Hit 'em in triples, wit no strikes, stripes, or whistles

I ain't felt this good, since my wood lived off a thistle

Sippin' some ripple, I got quarters, dimes, and nickels

For shizzle dizzle, I'm on a track with the Big Snoop Dizzle

Let the Henny trickle, down the beat, wit a ghetto tempo

I done blazed the instrumental, laid it plain and simple

Getting brain in the rental, I done did it again

My eyes chinky, I'm wit Chingy, at the Holiday Inn


So I was thinking? What kind of banality was I listening to when I was 19? Not the hard-to-find stuff I managed to search out and enjoy that I still enjoy, thank you Smiths. There was that. But there was also whatever happened to be getting radio play. As you can see, I've discovered the source of most of the nightmarish pop songs that plague my subconscious. 1984 radio was just hell. But here are a couple of examples of songs I really liked that year.


This is from Automatic, by the Pointer Sisters:


Look what you're doin' to me

I'm utterly at your whim.

All of my defenses down.

Your camera looks through me with its x-ray visions

And all systems run aground.

All I can manage to push from my lips

is a stream of absurdities.

Every word I intended to speak winds up locked in the circuity.


No way to control it

it's totally automatic

Whenever you're around.

I'm walking blindfolded

completely automatic

All of my systems are down

And this one still melts me, though I figure everyone else is sick of it:


Hold Me Now, by the Thomson Twins:


I have a picture

Pinned to my wall

An image of you and of me and we´re laughing

We´re loving it all


But look at our life now

We're tattered and torn

We're fussing and fighting, delighting with tears

That we cry until dawn


I'm a sucker for rhythmically clever lyrics.


Ah, there's the bitterness

Are you entitled?

But anyway, yeah. Also I was sad that the Red Sox lost last night; nearly killin' that poor pitcher in the attempt. They gave a good effort, though.

I'm actually undecided as to whether it would be more satisfying to see the Yankees humiliated in the playoffs or in the Series. If in the Series, I'd prefer the job done by the Cardinals, who certainly deserve to be there, but Houston would suffice, if it should come to that.

The people at my weekend job think I'm blasphemous, but they have no idea how much the Steinbrenners are hated where I'm from.


Should I be suspicious?

I woke up with Nancy Wilson in my head singing "(I've got) a lot of living to do." It's all happy and optimistic. Hm. She is on my short list of jazz singers to explore, Mel Torme and Joe Williams being the other two for now. I have 2 or 3 songs by each on jazz and lounge compilations, but I think it's time to go deeper.

Anyway, why the bright and cheery countenance? Beats me.

This? Is funny. FCC Proposes $1.2M Indecency Fine for Fox

"The episode in question, which aired April 7, 2003, featured explicitly sexual scenes from their bachelor and bachelorette parties.

'`Even with Fox's editing, the episode includes scenes in which partygoers lick whipped cream from strippers' bodies in a sexually suggestive manner,'' the FCC said. ``Another scene features a man on all fours in his underwear as two female strippers spank him. Although the episode electronically obscures any nudity, the sexual nature of the scenes is inescapable.''

Following the broadcast, the commission received 159 complaints.

'Although the nudity was pixilated, even a child would have known that the strippers were topless and that sexual activity was being shown,'' the FCC said. '"

Why would parents let their children watch that crap anyway? Don't answer that. But I prefer to let my kids learn about sex the way I did, by watching badly-dressed celebrities make drunken innuendo on old episodes of Match Game on GSN. Gene Rayburn, I still miss you. Eva Gabor, McLean Stevenson, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Betty White, Fannie Flagg, oh, good times, people.


I am a Pavlovian freak

Apparently, what happens is, I wake up with some innocuous or pleasant song in my head now, but when I go to sign on here, Billy Ocean comes back to haunt me. I swear, it really is a sickness.

Okay, on to what's really, really important. I wanted to celebrate the loss of 15 pounds over the past 6 months. That was about 5 pounds I'd gained over the winter, and 10 more I'd gained over the previous 10 years. Now I am back to my weight at age 29, and I look awesome. My breasts are not back to their age 29 perkiness, but they do still at least aim in the proper direction, so just, enough of that, mister! But anyway, I was treating myself to the Special candy bar that I only buy at certain key Moments of Life, only to discover that it, too, has been bought by the behemoth Hershey's corporation. Not only that, but it was all wrong and changed and wrong, and I was upset and by the time I arrived back home I had burst into tears.

Confused? I was, too, after first being angry that Heath was now smaller and in one piece, looking mighty like its truly inferior cousin, the Skor bar. Geez, is nothing sacred at all? Anyway, I realized that I was upset because it's my mother's candy bar. She died 15 years ago, and year by year by year, things that remind me of her just--go away, or change into something unrecognizable. Heath was bought by the Leaf company the year she died, but hadn't substantially changed until now. ::sigh:: I guess that whole company was bought by Hershey--I can't find out about them and their candy bars now appear on the Hershey's product page.

I ate the Heath bar, but the ritual was missing. The procedure was always to savor the top chocolate layer of one section, licking the top of the little toffee rectangle clean and then sucking on it until it melted away in my mouth, saving the other section for another time, giving up and wolfing it down a few minutes later. This thing was just like a regular old candy bar, though the chocolate was still more European-style than Hershey-style, and the toffee still has more of a subtle richness than Skor.

So I decided to boycott Hershey's Foods. I may be a capitalist, but this candy monopoly is truly a bummer. Every year, they all become more and more alike. And no one can afford to compete. Even the company that made Zagnut sold out to the Chocolate Man! Hershey's, I support your right to take over the world of chocolate, but I do not subscribe to it. I will miss Almond Joy and York peppermint patties, but I don't need a strip mall of chocolate bars in my life, anyway.

The Swiss company Nestle owns the rest of earth that Kraft and Unilever didn't get first. Eventually, one of them will own Hershey's, though a recent attempt by Nestle failed. Then they'll divide up into Eastasia, Eurasia and Oceania, even though they're really probably all the same person, and I'll be arrested for trying to roast my own cocoa beans to sell to underground purists, learn Big Brother's secret, end up having my mind retrained, and live out my years subsisting on Victory Gin, but in the meantime, no one has taken over Cherry Mash, and I'll take pleasure in knowing some of the little guys are still around.


Is this thing on?


Interestingly, this topic has come up for discussion at our house quite often over the past couple of weeks. Mainly, we've been discussing the issue of capitalism being mislabelled as a form of government. But it's easy to see why these concerns become muddled sometimes. I guess.

Just got in from mowing the "back 40," I think for the last time this year. Men don't mow right, always setting the blade too low. Where my dear kind neighbor had mowed around a bush that spreads across the property line, and where LP had mowed last time the deed was done was all brown and icky-looking. The tending of a lush, natural but neat-looking lawn is a subtle art, best left to those don't believe that everything needs to be Conquered By Man.


Sometimes I miss the midwest

Mostly Missouri. Just sometimes, though. The picture doesn't link to anything; it just made me happy. There's a link down below here somewhere.

Okay, I was never a huge Christopher Reeve fan, but I really loved this silly movie. I was going through a teensy Michael Caine phase, as I recall. But I also liked Reeve in that terrible movie with Jane Seymour? He was kind of hot in that...um, Somewhere in Time. It's kind of a crap movie, but was based on a fun idea. How weird and--sad?--there is an entire website based on that movie! They have conventions, people. He'll be remembered for a long time to come, I guess.


whatever

Today I woke up with Bullet With Butterfly Wings in my head. You know, despite all my rage I'm still just a rat in a cage. Much, much better than the usual fare of late. But my brain is such a mystery. Last night I was listening to a 3 cd jazz/lounge thing called Velvet Lounge, and then some Mahler before bed. As the Mahler finished, Gimme Three Steps by, yes, Lynyrd Skynyrd, wandered into my consciousness. Maybe I'm just ill, you think?

Hey, did you read this article about the Genghis Khan site? I'm excited about that, though not sure why. Archaeology is neato!

There's also this bit, details of which I received by email this morning. "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. military in Iraq has discovered two computer disks containing photographs, layouts and other material pertaining to American schools in six states, U.S. government officials said.

The FBI is examining the materials, but a Department of Homeland Security official said the intelligence community determined there was no threat.

The military retrieved the disks in Iraq within the last couple of months, and they were turned over to the FBI, one official said Thursday.

"There is no threat associated with this," another government official said.

The schools are in Fort Myers, Florida; Salem, Oregon; Jones County, Georgia; New Jersey; Michigan; and California."

One of the schools is in the town I just moved from a few months ago. I'm not sure what sort of threat those people would represent to someone, other than the tiresome pretentiousness of newly-acquired wealth. Another of the schools is in a town with one of the largest outlet malls in existence. It's so large that Canadian tourists take buses across the border to spend the day there. Food for thought? Probably not.


That's life, funny as it seems

What do you think about all those yellow and r,w,b ribbon magnets that say "I support the troops?" Remember when there was the Gulf war, and the people saying I support the troops were all, "well, I support the troops but not the war?" They were idiots. However, the people with magnet ribbons now are mostly people who support both the troops and their supposed cause. They're half-idiots. And where are the pro-troop, anti-cause people this time? It confuses me. But I don't put any kind of crap on my car, so it's at least not a choice I need to worry over.

I believe Michael Moore gives an impressionistic view of truth in his films. I believe that John Kerry wants to be president, and therefore will say whatever he needs to for votes. I believe George Bush said whatever he needed to say to initiate the formation of a new government in Iraq that the US can manipulate at will. But art, life, and politics are like that, aren't they? Those people sleep in really nice beds at night, eat whatever they want all day, plan future large-scale projects, and in a similar way I plan what to make for dinner and which vegetables to plant next spring.

Sometimes, however, life is actually like this.

RE: OTHER PETTY CONCERNS...WHY IS THIS FRICKING BILLY OCEAN SONG IN MY HEAD AGAIN????????


Turn it up

I have determined that MenWeek takes approximately three forms. There are slight variations within each, of course. But basically I got the Lynyrd Skynyrd week, the Bobby Darin week, and the Depeche Mode week. This week I'm in the Lynyrd Skynyrd state of mind. I mean, in so far as someone like me could be in a Southern rock and roll state of mind. I'm all wearing jeans and tight sweaters and flirting with whoever walks by and last night at the bowling alley I was drinking my Bass out of the bottle at first, before good sense took over and I demanded a real glass from the bartender, who is amused at my prissy drinking habits.

I think a variation of LS week could include a Pink Floyd sensibility, but that would require a little more social interaction, maybe. Or at least colder weather.

Depeche Mode week often descends into a Red Hot Chili Peppers sort of groove, and actually, I am most often in a Bobby Darin state of mind, especially in winter, though that somehow also encompasses a Cure Consciousness, for some reason.

Okay, getting to the point, I'm trying to decide whether I am also attracted to a different type of man, or more of them or less of them during each of these moods. And is this a factor or product of human evolution? These are questions worth considering for the day.

Remember when "we" were sort of on Iraq's side against Iran? Yeah, sure, but how many other people do? Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia.


Where the mind will wander

I woke up realizing I'd had a dream about having lots of sex with a young man of my acquaintance, one, I assure you, I have never seen in that light at all. There were some odd condoms, variant positions and an ice cream truck involved. As well as voyeurism. Why this is, who can say? I don't remember that it was an overly pleasurable experience, what I remember is there was a great deal of effort expended, yielding some happy measure of satisfaction at the conclusion of it all. But how fun could that be? And why couldn't it have been someone I've ever actually thought about having sex with?

Anyway, unrelated, I am sure, now I have this 10 year-old song rolling through my head: Pyro Sets A Wildfire. Using the fingers of one hand, I can count a series of Christian musicians whose work I both respect and enjoy. This band (actually an alter ego,) is one of them. Clever lyrics, solid musicianship, no evangelizing. They appear to be people you could sit down and drink coffee with even if you disagree on the ultimate forces behind Life and Death.

Oh dear. I just remembered that early in the night, I dreamed I was a young person driving a car which skidded down an icy hill, killing one of the people in the car. I remember feeling unconnected to the dead person, but later having to prove she was already dead when I roused myself from consciousness, and I wasn't accountable for the fact that no attempts at life-saving were made. Then I woke up scared, but now I realize I was still dreaming. So I dreamed that I dreamed that.

Gee.


In other news

LP (that's what I'm calling him from now on; you figure out what it stands for) brought me a photo album he found in a tree at a strip mall. It's full of pictures from someone's European vacation. They're about 25 years old, as near as I can figure, and mostly of tourist attractions in Spain and Italy, though there are a few from Austria and there may have been more, originally. Most of the pictures have no people in them, but the few that do show a couple in their late 50s or so. I hate to say it, but it's likely that this album was thrown out when someone was cleaning after a death, and somehow it ended up where it did. LP knew I'd appreciate this unique piece of nostalgia, so he brought it home to me. I made some comment about how I wish I'd been the one to find it, and he said, "This sort of thing just comes to me." I rolled my eyes, but the truth is, it actually came to me, didn't it? Just via him. The more specific truth is that we have a somewhat symbiotic existence--in the mutualistic sense, and it's best just to relax in that knowledge.

My clothes washer died, and since I won't be getting a new one until next week, I was at the laundromat last night. Usually I avoid newspapers, but someone left one on a drying table, and a couple of headlines caught my eye; they were side-by-side, and maybe shouldn't have been. They were both below the fold on the front page. On the left was a story about some boys who found a box of World Series tickets and turned them in. For their honesty, Wachovia Bank awarded them with their own tickets, should the Series come to New York. Next to that on the right was the story about the 31 Iraqi children killed by bombs while American soldiers were handing out candy to celebrate the opening of a new sewage treatment plant.

It's a different world there, than where we come from. We want to believe people everywhere are all the same, except maybe when we eat holiday dinners at their house. But it's just not so, except--babies and small people just want hugs and candy, you know?

Here's a quote from a guy I have a tiny little nearly-anonymous cyber-crush on, but don't tell him!

"In the end, it all came down to looking at the two guys on stage and asking yourself "which one of these idiots do I want in charge?" The correct answer is "neither one of them." The realistic answer is that we're going to get one of them -- and I'd rather have Kerry and a Republican Congress than Bush and a Congress of either party."

Well, I can't quite agree, in one sense because I'm just not ready to resign myself to the "realistic" idea. But it doesn't matter much. I have a lot of autumn and winter projects to get started on. We want to pick up trash in the woods before it gets cold out, there's yard work to complete, a little still painting to do. And there's a lot of firewood to split, move and dry.

You can read the rest of Thomas L Knapp's blog entry here.