Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Today's Feed

It's been more than a week since I've yiped. A lot has happened around here, as well as in other places. I'm having trouble containing myself, plus it's almost bedtime and I have stacks of magazines to sort through, as my Goal for the Day (something I think is important to have, since I am underemployed and happy to be that way right now... maybe too happy...) so I'll just shoot out a few items that have caught my attention:

If we all found ourselves under this sort of scrutiny on such a regular basis, -and I will even tip my ("Chill") hat to Hillary here- most of us would be fuming. This man shows grace.

Obama admits reference to Auschwitz was wrong

I don't understand this one. Didn't you get that fat check yet that the President told you about in multiple mailed notices as well as in other forms of media?

Measure of Consumer Mood Hits 16-Year Low

While teaching at ELS, inevitably every few weeks I would receive a comment from a foreign student that racism is alive and well in this country, and why don't we just admit it? On racial and (growing) socioeconomic divides:

Do ethnographic studies have to shock us to get our attention?
Some Thoughts on Ethnography

I'm really fired up over an article I read in Audubon yesterday about drilling leases in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska (near ANWR) and the possible effects of drilling there on polar bears, and with further reading, other animals. I don't care if you hate polar bears or hate environmentalists, or don't believe in global climate change or that we ought to cut back on our consumption of fossile fuels. If you are anyone who cares anything about people not messing with your own life, you should have a problem with a bunch of People in Power in this country manipulating the system for their own benefit above all else, including possibly(?) breaking laws to do so. I will get back to you on this. I want to get my facts straight, in the interest of Sound Science.

Dateline NBC To Catch a Predator: Predator edition

For your viewing pleasure, except you dachsunds out there.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Be a Good Boy Scout?

OK, here is my rant for today: Please do not come to the Anarchy Conversation unprepared. Remember that we are all schooled in this Fine Country to conform, maybe not to the same level as in, say, Japan, but face it: you are not prepared if you let things rip like: "...you contradict yourself greatly by proclaiming the virtues of anarchy and "the goodness" of people......the second an anarchist starts thinking about the well-being of another 'folk' ...anarchy goes right out of that proverbial window.... ...so you really are not proclaiming anarchy at all but something else..." (Smile, Pe, you're on Candid Blogger.) I will respond with something like, "I do not contradict myself. Here is a fine definition of anarchy for your perusal: 'a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society.'" (Which I did. JK Rowling, that is a definition ripped off directly from Dictionary.com.)

I don't want to make this a primer of some sort so will just finish up with a little tip from Paul Eltzbacher, author of "The Great Anarchists: Ideas and Teachings of Seven Major Thinkers." Yeah, I'm not in there. "...be equally at home in jurisprudence, in economics, and in philosophy."

And read your Proudhon.

I'm done ranting! Some things have been going on that warrant complimentary attention, or at least attention of some sort not derogatory, so I'm finished.

For those of you who think Michelle Obama's hairdo makes her look scarily like Condy Rice, I have a new stylist who could work wonders with his German technique, for far less than a John Edwards 400, about whom we perhaps ought to tell her. He used to be a semi-driver. By this I mean he used to drive big trucks, not that he used to half-drive. Ain't life grand? (See conversations with Tim and Susan, below.)

The past couple days I've been making friends on Facebook. I mean, making friends with people I knew from my Summit days. Or from after mine and during theirs. Weird. But good. It's interesting to watch people move around. I started to say "on," but what does that mean, people move "on?" "On" where?

I also have had a Very Important Discussion with one of my oldest friends, Tim. I sent him a little Happy Birthday message and received a discouraged reply, so I struck up a conversation. One of Tim's greatest assets is his ability and willingness to speak from both head and heart simultaneously, which makes our occasional verbal encounters very rich and, it seems, cathartic for both of us. In this case, the discussion was, roughly, about missed opportunity. As is often the case when we get in touch, Tim has been mulling thoughts similar to my own on certain personal subjects I won't list on a blog post because these are things only he and I discuss, and are meant to remain that way.

I had a conversation with my friend Susan while hiking Saturday late afternoon, too, that was similar in message, a reminder that I'm a hopeless optimist, but I believe it's right to be thankful for the opportunities and challenges we have in front of us and not to spend too much time dwelling on what's been lost or what we've never had, or what bad thing might happen to us. If I were to collapse on the floor like my cousin-sister Cheri did at fifteen and learned I had cancer and was going to die, maybe I would think and feel differently, but I hope not. I have been with people close, friends and family, who have dealt with that very condition; some have lived longer than others. And if it were me, I'd want to be grouped with Susan and Monica and Cheri and those who've found a quality of life as long as they've had it, rather than cowering in fear, waiting for the next shoe to drop. What if it never does? How miserable... And talk about missed opportunity...

Hey! Who shapeshifted me into Oprah... or whatever other Inspirational Woman comes to mind? (Obviously I'm not well-versed in this realm. I'll just hang it up now. Where did that come from? Yuck. Just vote for me.)

Speaking of cancer, too bad about Ted Kennedy.

Friday, May 16, 2008

If I Were A Terrorist A James Pence Video!

IS he related to Richard?

Mmm... Road Food

Last night the Future First Man told me he is going through hotdog and donut withdrawal. While on the road, we enjoyed hotdogs and donuts for breakfast with our coffee many days. I marvel at the availability of many things that even eight years ago, at the turn of the century, were not available at gas station convenience stores, and place a free ad for Maverik here on my post.

Maverik: The best condiment bar in the country. I say so. You can put an assortment of relishes and mustards, including horseradish, on your dog; tomato salsa, sauerkraut, the usual ketchup, even hot nacho squeeze cheese from the chili cheese machine. You can choose from an assortment of dogs, from the well-known regular old hotdog, also known as a deli dog, to varieties of Polish dog, including those with cheese or jalapenos (go figure- jalapenos in Poland? Ah, globalism!), to the huge Bahama Mama that inspires thoughts of more than a food feast.

And donuts. I relented and became an eater of the Krispy Kremes. I would not want to eat them every day, but I do like the donuts with the custard inside and a little bit of chocolate frosting on top, as well as the old standby raised glazed and the chocolate cake, which apparently in most places only comes glazed, but that's OK. I will not ever deviate to the evil little things (sometimes called Gems, for some bizarre reason) that come in a cellophane pack of 500- or 6 or so, that the FFM became addicted to, no matter how little they cost and how hungry I am.

And coffee. No longer does a person have only two options: bad caffeinated and bad decaf, at a gas station convenience store. Now you can get (bad) light roast, (bad) medium roast, with tricky names like "mountain blend" to fool you into thinking it's got flavor, or (thanks to the Big Guy Upstairs, or at least someone in a Convenience Store Position of Power who appreciates coffee you can taste) delicious dark roast. And if you want to all-fancify, you can choose from plain creamer, hazelnunt, vanilla, Irish Cream... In some places, you can even rip the paper lid off a little plastic cup and pour some sweet espresso shot into your travel mug. Whoa.

Take a road trip soon. Spend a lot of money on gas to go somewhere far away. Come on, peoples it's time to quit complaining about gas prices and suck it up; lose the SUVs and other Giant Vehicles, switch to a little car that gets decent mileage, ride your bike or walk while around home base, and strike out once in a while for a junk food laced good time on the road. You can find a Maverik location here: http://www.maverik.com/. You could do a whole trip revolving around Maverik locations. Maybe I will.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Things to Make You Mad, If You're Not Already

I can't help but keep getting on here to gripe. And it seems to be, inevitably, about people's greed, myopia and self-centeredness.

A few weeks ago Queen Jan and I watched "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," a fine historical film about Ireland's War for Independence from Britain and subsequent Civil War in the early 20th century. Afterward, I wondered what would cause me to pick up a gun and shoot someone else.

Yesterday I finally found a reason to pick up a gun and at least wave it threateningly: the Burmese junta. Make no mistake; these people are greedy, not clueless, and keeping aid from their countrypeople in time of need is an act of genocide, in my book. Future cabinet member Adam seems a little more trigger-happy, saying, "The Burmese junta needs to be nuked and buried under 100 feet of concrete." (Don't let this scare you from voting for me. It simply means you can be assured of having a President in office who is passionate about the people and who is surrounded by others who are... compassionate?)


Here are some other reasons to get mad, if not to want to wield a gun, exactly:

--- People not paying attention when they are walking along the sidewalk and choose to walk 18 abreast, regardless of oncoming foot and bicycle traffic. What happened to sticking to the right and allowing others access, too? I will tell you what happened to that concept: People now grow up attached to computers and i-pods and live in virtual worlds and don't know how - or care- to pay attention to the immediate surrounding environment. (That's my theory.)

--- Chinese spammers (or any other spammers and hackers) who hack into e-mail accounts to try to get your money and your personal information and whatever else they can acquire in their greed. I am picking on Chinese spammers today because it appears that I (and all the people in my address book who got a poorly worded message from "me") was victimized by someone from China or who speaks Chinese in the wee hours of the morning while I was trying to sleep. On my old Yahoo account, which I kept for the purposes of accessing the local Freecycle group, and for no other reason. So, now I have deleted that account and have lost that access and will have to be very aware of all correspondence regarding my life, for who knows how long because thievery abounds in the world. And there is a limit to karma. I think I paid my dues a long time ago when I let someone get away with my first mountain bike and my first snowboard. I am ready to take up arms. (And if people are going to be so rude, they could at least take the time to use proper English grammar and spelling in their insults.)

That's enough, I suspect, at least for now.

Monday, May 12, 2008

"If Everybody in the World Sent a E-Mail, the Internet Would Probably Break"

In between wondering how you've managed to survive and how those poor other fools haven't, through the obviously biblically-promised apocalyptic events taking place in the world right now (cyclones and earthquakes in Asia, tornadoes and volcanoes in the Americas, war in the Middle East, college educations that weren't what they were sold to be...) have a laugh on Strong Bad:

When you eat your cerial in the morning, or tomorrow for dinner, leave the chain saw car at the bottom of the box for me, please.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Burma Cyclone

The following is from a thread posted on Facebook by my dear friend Nickie of the US Campaign for Burma, who is losing sleep and working pay volunteering for a cause close to her heart:

"We are taking in donations to purchase water purification tablets. For all of you that know Curt and Cathy this is their program and they are headed back asap. Thirst Aid staff have multiple entry visas to get back into Burma whereas this is a hold up for alot of the aid distribution. This is their website and they will be back in by the weekend. http://www.thirst-aid.org/Tax deductible donations can be made to World Aid. Please write checks with "cyclonerelief" at the bottom and send to 2422 S. Ferdinand Street, Seattle, WA98108. You can email local Burmese activist, Pwint Htun at pwint.htun@gmail.com and let her know how much you sent for sake of time. There is no overhead (ie ALL of your money will be used for water purification). Currently we are organizing to have people be able to donate online through US Campaign for Burma website too (earmark your donation for First Aid). Clean water is essential fast. It is reported that a bottle of water is 1 1/2 days normal salary. In solidarity, Amy, Seattle Burma Action Group"

If you want to do something to help the people who have been affected by the cyclone recently, you can donate to thirst-aid, or, as Nickie suggests, "You can write your congress folk in Wyoming (or wherever you live) asking to be generous with aid effort, and to support organizations that do not channel funds through the Burmese military government."

That's all for tonight. Still trying to catch up. (Bizzy baksun)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Dirty World

Finally sitting at the breakfast nook in my minute kitchen enjoying a Red Truck IPA from Palisade (CO) Brewery, thanks to Boss T's tip, and some sweet chocolates from The Chocolate Cellar, thanks to the staff at ELS Laramie who said good-bye in style, I don't have a lot to say yet about the trip, except that it did not cure my penchant for run-on sentence construction.

OK, despite my enthrallment with drill rigs, cranes and other Amazing Machines, I don't like the way we are destroying this planet, our home. I don't mean to sound like some hippie-dippie (or as my ex-sister-in-law so appropriately termed the like, Plastic Baby Deadheads) tree hugging Julia Butterfly (sorry, hermano, but I really just never could get into her and her shtick) or whatever else is inspired in the mind of the reader of those words, but I have always felt a reverance for That Which Is Not Concrete, even though my second Matchbox car as a kid was a cement truck.

In Joshua Tree, we were treated to a blossoming desert, with more different kinds of flowers than I can count, including on the Joshua trees themselves. And then the first night we were there, the Future First Man (It's a good thing there is a car on Aubergine House lawn because we may need to use it, but that story comes later), went out to make pictures and came back with a little slideshow he could play in the tent, which was a first for me, and frowned about the green- looked yellow or brown to me, but I think we can shoot right over this frequently occurring hurdle of color disagreement with little effort- light that showed on the horizon. That was pollution, smog from LA and surrounding area flowing through the San Bernadino pass, and creating havoc with the photo- and with the lives of living creatures, including ourselves. I hope the FFM will share a photo with me so I can post it. I figure the photos can serve a purpose, even if he doesn't like them.

Anyway, that's my first thought about the trip: pollution. The sky was hazy in many places we went, but last Monday evening as we made our way to Page, AZ, by Lake Powell, there was an easily observable belt of blackish brown air suspended in with the rest, in an arc around the entire area, likely, I would figure, from the power plant right there.

Other thoughts are coming on, now, as the bottle empties, but it's after midnight and I think I may finally be able to get to sleep. Preface: A lot happened in the world while we were on the road, not the least of which was a storm surge related to a cyclone that has resulted in, thus far, 15,000 dead and twice as many missing in Myanmar- as if the people there haven't had enough challenge as it has been.