Thursday, May 31, 2001

I'm starting to fear that I will be forced to go see Pearl Harbor. I really don't want to. Well, not for $9, anyway.

I have heard mixed reviews about the film, which isn't at the root of my hesitation. Good effects, bland story, questionable time lines, although there is a claim to be as true to history as the story allows.

I suppose that, for a Disney film at least, that makes it a documentary. The people, who brought us a 19-year-old Pocahontas, sporting 38-DD’S and surviving at the end of her story, tend not to bog themselves down in minor details like historical facts.

Clearly it didn't have to be a concern.

I have heard claims about softening up some of the language, which is why I fear I may go see for myself. Thus far being unable to confirm the claims, I am worried about the modern-day affliction called "political correctness", especially as it applies to history.

As an insightful co-worker of mine said: "History isn't politically correct, it either happened or it didn't."

This doesn't mean that I believe movies are the biggest culprit when it comes to reinventing the past. Even though Disney is about the most egregious revisionist entity since the Nazi's, they do pass it off as entertainment, which allows for some latitude by placing an invisible asterisk next to any story element posing as fact.

Barring the obvious point that people are really at the root of the problem, certain mediums do allow for more interpretive and impacting redefinitions of the past, both recent and distant, because of their nature. Movies get a lot of attention because they are visually impacting, and affect our emotions significantly. However once they are "in the can" it is pretty easy to go back and check with the actual events for accuracy.

The real problem is our beloved Internet.

How many times have you seen something "somewhere" in the great ether, but didn't bookmark it, or save it, or print it, and won't you be damned if it's nowhere to be found now? Worse, how many times have to gone to an article on the web, only to find it severely changed, added to, subtracted, or completely gone, without indication as to what has transpired.

MSNBC posted four different versions of the Kaycee article. What does that do for those who haven't read all four? What if you read only the first? Same article, same name, with some corrections and additions as facts became clearer or more available...a small example perhaps, but nonetheless a frightening thought.

The common perception of "digital" media...that is, digital audio, video, information of any form, really, is that it is "truer" to the original. While the real explanation is more complicated than that, "digital" is infinitely reproducible without loss, and that is mentally transformed into "more permanent."

The sad reality is that "digital" is the least permanent of all media, and the least reliable. Well, when digital meets wet-ware (people), at least.

How do you know what has transpired?

As the world moves into the future, there are two things that are likely to happen: further digitization of present events, and continued digitization of the archives of the past. While a scanned image of a page from a book written in 1640 will not disintegrate, there is no assurance that what you are looking at is valid, either.

And people need to change the past.

It's a basic need, really, since the only justification many people can use to explain the present is to draw a line from the past, connecting the dots of important events, which terminates at the spot they now stand. Some of the messier incidents that have gone by need to be redefined, edited slightly, or maybe dropped altogether, just to make a prettier story.

That's what happens in the movies, too.

How many times have you hit a weblog only to see that an entry has been changed? I'm not talking about a spelling or grammar correction, either; I am talking about whole swaths of thought and opinion, modified beyond recognition or deleted, and no mention of that fact?

Those who fail to remember the past are doomed to repeat it, and yet, changing the past to become more sensitive to the present is not just failing to remember, it is wrapping the body of the truth with a veil of pretty sentiment, and burying it in a field of dreams.

The more disturbing the fact or occurence, the more we need to be vigilant in preserving the truth. Particularly if it offends.

The process that allows the change starts small. It starts with a little edit, a harmless exaggeration, a quick stroke of the delete key. You have participated in it. In truth, so have I. We all will continue to.

But I won't go back and make it look any different than it does today. I won't bury the mistakes I've made in the past.

I certainly don't want to go through them all again.
:::::posted by erratic :: 09-something PM EST linky

Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Proverb of the week: The nice thing about hearing a "friend" talk shit about their other "friends" is that you can be absolutely certain they are talking the same amount of shit about you when you're not around. - ak
:::::posted by
erratic :: 09-something AM EST linky

Tuesday, May 29, 2001

"After nearly a week in federal jails in Puerto Rico and in Brooklyn, the Rev. Al Sharpton said yesterday that he would begin a hunger strike this morning to publicize the Navy bombing exercises on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques."

Ahhh yes, the good Reverend is looking to publicize the bombing range in Puerto Rico. Thank goodness, too...I don't believe that anyone has heard of it before now. Have you?

I can never tell how much of a local demagogue Rev. Al really is. He seems to make national news from time to time, but my best observations are that he is generally isolated to the northeastern portion of the country.

Well, at least that's a good thing if you don't live here.

The most famous incident he had involvement in was the Tawana Brawley trial back in the 80's. No, I am not going to get into the details or the blame. The only mention I will make of it here is that after daring one police officer to sue him for slander if the accusations were false, he was sued for slander. Of course, as so many of these cases go, the allegation made national headlines while the successful lawsuit got mere sidelong mention.

But I digress.

What sickens me about another round of grandstanding for the media is the notion that such a well publicized debate that has been proceeding nicely without the kind Rev. Sharpton would suddenly need "publicity." I want to believe that the reporters taking his statement were having a hard time keeping a straight face. Al Sharpton is such a publicity whore that he would lead a bagpipe band of lemmings over the ivory cliffs of Wales if it got him a front page story.

Watch him take my idea.

Now, my lot in life of being racially different from his core supporters puts me in a difficult position. I cannot openly criticize him without being labeled a racist by some extremes, and cannot agree with him without being labeled a panderer in others. So I am going to do the unthinkable and pretend, just for a moment, that we are all purple.

I am purple, he is purple. Now, he leads protests of purple people decrying their plight at the hands of the purple people. All the while, justice for the purple people is long overdue, as the purple people have profiteered on the backs of the purple people for far too long.

It does take some of the bite out of the rhetoric, no?

I am not so naive to think that a colorblind society is imminently possible, nor am I so bold as to claim personal understanding of what other races living in this country experience. However, I can spot a hypocrite a mile away, and I don't allow a shroud of hyperbole to cloud that.

In a world with fame for being famous, and self-promotion as a career, the only claim that is indisputable is that Rev. Al knows how to get attention. Perhaps that is all that is required to be a leader nowadays, however I find myself continuously amazed at the authority with which this man speaks simply because he claims to have it.

In short, if there is a hot-button issue that will grab some press, you will likely see him standing nearby, offering "support" or "guidance" or even "leadership", all the while making very sure that he is clearly seen doing so.

And that is what is so troubling. We don't need leaders, be they political, religious, social or otherwise, being repeatedly photographed raising hell. We need them working for a solution. The difference between a publicity-hound and a true leader is simple: the problems are clear, anyone can point out the are hard to come by, and the differing opinions that make this country great can only accomplish this where they meet. Divisiveness is easy to come by and easier to exploit, but the one who can find some answers to longstanding problems and quietly fade into the background is a far greater leader than anyone called a leader for being merely conspicuous.

What will we see more of in the future...noise? or solutions?

Even in the absence of the latter, an increase in the former drives everyone farther apart.

It does get great coverage though. They might even remember to mention the issue du jour.

Story at eleven.
:::::posted by erratic :: 09-something PM EST linky


A friend of mine once had a similar experience with Mexican food...
:::::posted by erratic :: 11-something AM EST linky

Monday, May 28, 2001

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Bill of Rights, Fourth Amendment


While I am sitting on my parent’s lawn watching the conspicuously small Memorial Day parade snake its way down the road, sipping my beer and nibbling on some veggie dip, I take notice of the progressively thinning ranks of the veterans' groups walking slowly by.

I try to imagine these septuagenarians back in their prime, carrying a rifle across Europe or Japan, asking themselves how they had arrived in such a scary place so far from the home they were defending.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to know you are fighting the good fight on the proper side. Whether of nostalgia or simply an easier contrast, it was not difficult to be on the "right" side of World War II.

It seems so different today.

Of course, the underlying reason for the BBQ's and parades and the de facto start of the summer season is not those who came home, but those who didn't. Men and women who gave their lives in the defense of our Constitution and the principles of freedom that it stands for.

How do we best honor those who paid the ultimate price for their beliefs, *our* beliefs? There is a fondness by proxy of Memorial Day, simply because it is a time when many people look forward to the coming summer with family and friends, in eager anticipation of all that the coming months will bring.

Those that died in the two World Wars, and the conflicts in southeast Asia and the Gulf, were (ideologically speaking in some cases) fighting against tyranny and oppression of people who, by all outward declarations from our own nation, should be free. Free to choose their leaders without retribution, free to live their lives without undue harassment from the government without cause or due process, free to live as fair of an existence as any mortal words can deliver.

I want to know who will protect us now.

Part of the responsibility of being the guardian of freedom abroad should be the vigorous defense of it at home, and while I am still one of the free people in the world who can openly criticize the government, as are (most likely) you, I am not pleased with the gradual erosion of those rights, rather than the steadfast defense of them.

Sometimes it feels like only a matter of time before I am asked for my papers whenever I leave the house.

Day in and day out there is another groundbreaking case allowing for new interpretations of "legal" infringements of the first, second, and fourth amendments. Pieces of law that are viewed as too dangerous in their literal forms for any safety conscious society to successfully exist under.

Perhaps it should be comforting that the world is becoming safer. That modern life has more people looking out for me than ever could have 100 years ago. That such a prosperous country has sufficient resources to look out for my own welfare even if I refuse to.

But if the world is a safer place at the cost of some freedom at home, what does that say to those who gave their lives in foreign lands defending it?

:::::posted by erratic :: 10-something PM EST linky

Sunday, May 27, 2001

I went out last night to watch my Devils defend the Stanley Cup. Beer, more beer, more beer, some food, beer again, then beer.

Rather than toast their success we drowned our sorrows at the miserable loss.

Funny how that works. Win? Beer. Lose? Beer.


So while nursing a rather sensitive head this morning, and doing all in my power to counteract the excessive dehydration that only 9 hours of hard drinking can accomplish, save a foot crossing of the Sahara at noon, I have to wonder....

Why is this legal?

Don't get me wrong, prohibition was a miserable failure, and a stupid idea. The notion that you can legislate away substances that people want badly enough has repeatedly been proven sheer folly.

However, I poured large quantities of diluted anesthetic into my body for fun. I inhaled repeated doses of stimulant-laden smoke to enhance the effects of the alcohol. I participated in these activities because they are socially acceptable, and because they induce feelings of euphoria, albeit only for a short time, and with a significant cost the following day.

The whole time, I didn't break the law.

I try to make some sense of the allowable methods of self-inflicted damage contrasted to the ones which aren't allowed, and I am coming up empty. Damaging my lungs and liver with tobacco and booze are fine, however toking up a joint and laughing myself to sleep isn't. I could go to jail if I did that.

I understand that's the way that it is, I just want to know why.

A recent attempt at legalizing marijuana was shot down by the Supreme Court as having no medical benefits, much to the chagrin of the Dorito corporation, not to mention calling into question that perhaps we should all be smoking whatever the Supreme Court justices are on, anyway. It gives them delusions of medical expertise.

I know I've talked about this before, and I still don't have any answers here, except to suggest that banning alcohol, tobbaco, skydiving, mountain climbing and recreational sex would all logically follow as substances or activities that are potentially dangerous and provide no benefit, save fun.

Perhaps fun itself is the problem. Fun is too dangerous.

Maybe I shouldn't say that too loudly, though. I'm sure someone out there has already reached the same conclusion and is slowly working toward that very idea. Better go book a jump date soon, just in case. But I digress.

The $400 billion spent per year on interdiction, prosecution and incarceration of drugs and the people who love them is a bit high (pun intended) in my opinion... especially since an estimated 90% of the stuff still gets through anyway. It would seem that spending at least 10 times that amount is necessary to finally rid ourselves of the scourge of illegal drugs. While that may be a noble goal, think about all the really cool missle defense systems we could build for that kind of money.

And unlike the "War on Drugs", they might even work.

Of course, opening the floodgates and making all things instantly legal isn't the answer, however creating a marketplace where a 17000% markup is viable certainly hasn't been the answer, either.

Neither has been throwing more money at the problem.

Maybe there really aren't any answers. I'm bummed out. I think I need a beer.

Ahhhh, that's better.
:::::posted by
erratic :: 10-something PM EST linky


Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
:::::posted by erratic :: 04-something PM EST linky

Friday, May 25, 2001

Smartass remarks... who, me?

Uhoh...careful though:

"Web results may contain objectionable material not endorsed by AOL. "

No, actually, it *will* contain material not endorsed by AOL. That's what happens when you allow ideas and opinions to win out over some self-appointed responsibility of protecting people from anything outside of a corporate version of decency.

But no problems on editing in a Pepsi for a few extra bucks...
(link via elise)

Revisionism for fun and profit.

You tell me what's objectionable.
:::::posted by erratic :: 11-something AM EST linky


As you can see, "I" have met Alwin.

No, no pictures as of yet. I haven't had a chance to run them through Photoshop. Later on, perhaps.
:::::posted by erratic :: 11-something AM EST linky

Thursday, May 24, 2001

Yeah, what she said.

Actually, I have an easy time agreeing with Amber. See, she's not real. I made her up.

Surprised? Think about it! Who else has met her in the blogging world? Sure, I have pictures and phone bills and chat logs, but what does that really prove? A little photoshop here, a little search and replace there, and it could just as easily have been Lady Di.

Why should it matter, anyway? In the end, whether or not there exists a woman in California as a matter of fact or a figment of my imagination doesn't have any bearing on what she is saying, does it?

Then again, I'm not stupid enough to kill her off. You may have gotten suspicious when I had her celebrate her 143rd birthday, but I figured I would have some sort of contingency plan by then.

It's tough, though...the constant running back and forth between the coasts, getting the appropriate pictures and postmarks in place to keep up appearances...not to mention that the woman who I constantly take pictures of for the character of Amber is likely to be getting suspicious.

Doesn't everyone follow around complete strangers with a digital camera?

After seeing the power of the metafilter investigative team, I knew I was close to being discovered. I had to yank the T1 line...there was no other way.

I didn't do anything wrong, did I?

It isn't very tough for me to write all of this...I have a few alter ego's that need to express themselves from time to time. I call them John, Amber, William, Richard III, Snuffalupagus, although those last two don't have their own blogs...yet. Stay tuned.

As you can see, *I* am really very sick. But pray for yourselves... I feel fine.

It's just that after I read the fifth Kaycee post with the subject title "your a moron", I snapped.

"your a moron" - Would that be your complete and unabridged opinion?

However, don't think it stops here...see..the Kaycee hoax was a hoax too... carefully planned to get sympathy for people who fall for supporting people who fall for online hoaxes. You can't possibly imagine the conspiracies that are out there.

But if you act now, I have these tinfoil hats to sell you... simply send $19.95 to...

...or maybe I am making this all up.

You never can tell these days, can you?
:::::posted by erratic :: 09-something PM EST linky

Wednesday, May 23, 2001

"Senate Republicans said Jeffords had been offered a seat at their leadership table, more money for favored education programs and a waiver of term limits to let him remain chairman of the Education Committee beyond the end of next year if he would remain a Republican."

Does anyone here remember the days when trying to sway someone in government with money and/or power was called bribery?

I suppose that this is being pulled by other members of government is some form of excuse?

Worst of all, the Republicans are using *our* tax dollars to try and buy one of *their* own back into their fold... the result of which has no tangible benefit to anyone but the Republicans trying to hang onto their committee seats, and perhaps George Dubya, who was hoping he could sail a few laws through the machine without having to seek agreement from the enemy.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a registered Republican. However, this sort of backroom-dealing bullshit is exactly why I am fed up with politics as usual, regardless of the "party" behind it.

So while the GOP breaks out singing "When you're a Jet" trying to convince Jeffords that mob mentality is better than looking out for your own voters, the whole scene reeks too much of "let them eat cake."

One problem, Honourable Senators. That's my fucking cake you're toying with. Of course, being a simple plebeian, I know I couldn't understand the intricate workings of your precious government, but a small sign, once in a while, that you remember who pays your salary would be nice, too.

Or at least, who pays for your bribes.
:::::posted by erratic :: 07-something PM EST linky

Tuesday, May 22, 2001

I had the strangest dream last night...

I was in this chat room, and Amber was there, and Randy, and Daddyray, and Jimfo was there too, and Matt and Chris...

We were talking about the strangest things.

I keep waiting for Toto to show up.

It was a dream, wasn't it?

Well, much to my own chagrin, I did take the red pill, and now I am going to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Waiter! Reality check, please...

Why, oh why, didn't i take the blue pill?
:::::posted by erratic :: 12-something AM EST linky

Sunday, May 20, 2001

Well, what else can be said?

I could be resentful, I could be angry. I suppose the one thing I really feel is disbelief.

No, screw that. I am resentful and angry too.

There is something that I learned about myself when it came to Kaycee. That my faith in people wasn't completely shot to hell, as previously suspected. That someone who was dealt a lousy hand could do her utmost to live with appreciation and beauty and grace in the face of a very bleak future. I learned that people like that could inspire me to be a little more concerned with others, and a little less self-centered. My problems seemed small in comparison.

Ironic, no?

The notion that something with the Kaycee Saga was horribly amiss crept into my mind a day or two after her death was announced. I did a cursory look-see on the web...I had some details that most people didn't...real towns, school information. The general base of knowledge that should suffice when defining a person by their details.

Of course, I came up with nothing.

The question I have now is, what really happened? Have I been a party to an exercise in mental illness? Who's handwriting is on this card I have. On this autographed hat? Who's pictures do I have? Who was I chatting with?

Who called me to tell me goodbye?

Did a sick teenage girl pass on after an extended illness, or was a fictional character written off the show when the plot became too thin to support her anymore?

Not to mention, the prospect that I could have been chatting with a 40-year-old woman playing a 19-year-old cancer patient leaves me a bit ill.

I know it shouldn't matter. There is a contingent of people who are saying, "we felt the love, what is the harm?" Perhaps there is an element of Santa Claus to be applied to Kaycee, that she exists in our hearts is enough.

A conspiracy to love is not a bad thing.

The problem is, this is not a harmless prank to get people to love. This was a deliberate, admitted attempt for attention, and the underlying rationalization for it is of no value to me. If you have stories to tell, inspiring stories, then tell them as such. The end result of the web-wide love-in is a nasty hangover of distrust and accusations. It will get worse before it gets better.

You do not honor the memory of a truly inspiring story by formulating a persona and making it your own.

In the end, there is a community I am a part of, in part because of "Kaycee." I would not trade my involvement with that for the world. I am one who believes, however, that love sent into the world goes from our hearts to those we care about. That our loved ones can feel us caring about them.

I do not resent sending a piece of my heart out to a courageous, dying girl. I would do it again and again. However, what I sent was stolen. Stolen without regard from where it came or for where it was intended.

So no, I don't want that love back. I want it to get to where it was meant to go. It's not for you, you cannot have it.

Perhaps that is what you should have been considering with your "good intentions."

Otherwise, follow them straight to hell. That's where they purportedly lead, anyway.
:::::posted by erratic :: 06-something PM EST linky

Saturday, May 19, 2001

There are so many bad things in the world, I don't even want to leave the house today. The universe seems to test and test and test my resolve to live up to what I know to be important.

The thoughts and tears and ache that I feel when I examine all the steps that got me from the great beyond to this very spot are mindboggling.

One attempt to gain control over the seeming randomness is to analyze the past for clues to the present, and future, and own the occurrances as if they were part of a grand scheme. The only problem with this philosophy, however, is that every now and then, a real whammy is thrown in and there really is no good reason for it.

Those are the hardest to understand.

Musings on a Saturday afternoon, with no real purpose or direction...I am sitting in my basement typing away and I can't breathe. The thoughts that so many mistakes have compounded into the most tragic of circumstances as I wonder why anything so bad could happen to good people.

I don't understand.

I try to live with love and understanding, albeit only somewhat successfully, and chase my inner fire toward the places it needs to burn. The universe, however, is questioning my resolve. Or perhaps my choices. Or perhaps I am doing the very thing that I mentioned above. I just want to know why.

There are big changes afoot. I can't help but second-guess all of the choices I will make in the coming months, and I already know others will do the same for me even if I don't. As I sit here bathed in glow of the screen, pressing my fingers to the glass, trying to make out the words through watery eyes, telling myself that everything is temporary, and nothing is really as bad as it seems.

I wish I could believe that.

So I continue to live, driven by the inner burn, moving to the place that I already know I need to go, even if the motivations for that are unclear. There are many things that I do because I know them to be true, regardless of what a casual examination of the details bear out. I don't care to live casually, and I cannot get through the remainder of my life trying to.

There is a gaping wound in my soul right now, and just when I though I could handle no more, I am run through with a sword. So many goals and truisms become another slab of meat on a cosmic butcher block, and fighting is just so hard.

I need strength, and not just for me. There is so much more at stake. I still can't breathe, and the colors are going gray. The differentiation between cause and effect, between the purpose of events and the cleanup of the aftermath, are impossible to predict going forward. All I know is what I believe, and what I feel.

I ask why it is so hard, knowing anything worth it, is. It just doesn't make the journey any more savory. So I sit in the dark, pouring myself out, hoping that putting it into words will somehow spell out the answer.

I stand with open arms, and firm resolve, waiting to embrace it when it finds me. It is not up to me anymore, even though I see it so clearly. And all I can do is say "please find me soon."

The only thing worse than not knowing, is knowing. Especially when you cannot get there without help. Especially when you are held back by the fear of retribution, which turns out to be the mistake. The fear, not the retribution. I could handle the retribution.

I can't handle the fear.

I could ramble on for hours about the pain or frustration that I feel every day. I suppose in some ways I do. I suppose I should shut up now.

It's still Saturday, and I still can't breathe. The colors are still gray, and my soul still bleeds. I continue to pour myself out, but no one is here to receive it.

I still don't understand.
:::::posted by
erratic :: 05-something PM EST linky

Tuesday, May 15, 2001

May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true,
May you always do for others
And let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung,
May you stay forever young
-Bob Dylan - Forever Young small(2mb) - large(6mb)

Wispy clouds hang in the sky like wrinkled paper. Patches of twinkling stars show themselves, briefly, before they are covered again.

Then, other stars emerge from behind the etherial mist.

The heavens are a gift, wrapped in white and blue, and the brief twinkle of the radiant points are all the more beautiful from their fleeting appearances.

Kaycee's fire and sparkle were gifts to the world, and I was one of the fortunate ones to know her. She taught me about life.

She ordered me to smile.

She smiled, too.

There weren't many rules. Share. Be yourself. Smile. Don't tiptoe around the scary stuff. Be honest. Love.

That I found myself in awe of this beautiful girl, of her strength and her radiance, was initially suprising to me. Yet there we were, giggling over late night kcapers, trading pictures and stories, and viewing the world through each others eyes. We transcended the words.

She lived. In some ways she lived more than I ever did. I can still see her light, and feel her /hugs.

She fought beyond comprehension. She is a warrior.

Farewell, Tigger, until we meet again.

I love you.

:::::posted by erratic :: 11-something PM EST linky

Monday, May 14, 2001

Amber postulates on the economics of war as Dubblya pokes at China with a pointy stick.

It is an interesting proposition. Facing the prospect of a slowing economy it would be a good time to stir up a little squabble in case we need goose the GDP just a bit. All of those bombs and planes and people being away from home create a lot of jobs, and a lot of vacancies.

In truth, I want to believe that our president is really smart enough to think that way.

The problem is, look at who he picked. I mean, granted, the Russians are no fun, and daddy already kicked the crap out of the Iraqis, so where can you turn for a decent enemy these days? China is the most credible, I will grant you that, however, even a casual glance at all of the armed encounters in that part of the world over the past 50 years bears out one glaring fact:

We only win when we use nukes.

The problem now is that there are some pointed back at us.

OK, so we *know* we can win when we are the ONLY SIDE that has the nukes. Then again, anyone can say that.

However, Korea and Vietnam, two dinky little countries with enough rabid dedication in their militaries to make Louis Farrakhan look like a Zen Buddhist, managed to annoy the US forces so bad, we went home, because we didn't like how unfair they were playing.

This isn't a section of the globe in which we have a terribly good track record.

China is a problem based solely on size. They could defeat the US in a war without firing a single shot. With a population ratio of roughly 5:1, China to US, all Jiang Zemin would have to do is draft 30 percent of his population and surrender... then coyly sit back and drag out the negotiations for the return of his army while the US rapidly goes bankrupt trying to feed and house 360 million POW's.

As for economic stimulation, there is another way.

Prepare for war.

This worked for Ronnie-boy back in the 80's. The painful admission that losing 90 percent of your own population compared to 93 percent of your enemy does not, in fact, constitute a victory, another tack was needed. Since we couldn't bomb the Russians into oblivian, he decided to run up our charge cards.

It's a risky move. Events on the world stage do demonstrate just how stupid international relations can be.

Imagine for a moment that your neighbor started playing his music too loud. You walk next door and knock on the door and ask them to keep it down. They tell you to kiss your ass. So you go home and turn on YOUR music even louder. Then your neighbor comes over and admits their mistake and asks you to be a sport and turn it down. You tell *them* to kiss your ass.

Now, at some point, you and your neighbor will have a scuffle and the tension is released and everyone is better.

However, on the world stage, the feuding neighbors keep buying bigger and bigger stereos until one of them goes bankrupt.

So *now* who is going to complain?

As it happens, we have been flying our "stereo" up and down the China border for a while, and sooner or later they were going to ask us to turn it down a bit. We, of course, said no, and the rest is still unfolding.

As we begin to dare the Chinese government to start buying bigger boom boxes, there is one sobering consideration. Our cards are still carrying a six trillion dollar balance, give or take a few hundred billion, and almost 20 cents of every dollar the US spends is paying the finance charges. The Soviet Union was a formidable enemy, but had inferior production capacity when it came to the nuts and bolts of war toys.

Still, we had to spend money like a drunken sailor to bankrupt them.

China is a little better off in the manufacturing department. Take a good look around your life, and try and determine how many things you use, daily, that were made in China. Cheap. This is not a country you want to have a trinket-making contest with.

When I worked as a computer technician, there were 2.5-inch hard drives we sold on a regular basis. Each little technical marvel was sealed in static sensitive plastic, with a label proudly proclaiming the ingredients:

This bag was made in the United States. The contents were made in China.

So our "foes" make electronics, and we make bags.

Oh, good.

I hope our bag making prowess isn't called upon anytime soon. I'd hate to think what we'd be putting in them.
:::::posted by erratic :: 11-something PM EST linky

Sunday, May 13, 2001

Happy Mothers Day

That's all.

Really, that's all I am going to say.

Sure, there is a lengthy diatribe I could dredge up about moms in general or my mom in particular, balanced, of course, against a heartwarming tribute to some random happy time where I can cast a balanced view on her, or them.

But not today.

Just: Happy Mothers Day.

Are you still here?
:::::posted by
erratic :: 10-something PM EST linky

Saturday, May 12, 2001

I am not someone who looks up to very many people. In my mental universe, admiration is pretty tough to come by.

By extension, the people (who I never personally met) that would qualify as my heroes or idols, would barely fill a sedan.

This morning I learned that there is a newly emptied seat.

Douglas Adams was one of my favourite authors. During a period in my life when most of my reading was technical manuals or video game magazines, his wit and writing style captured my imagination, and turned me into a hardcore fan within a week.

My imagination was on the brink of starvation, and it is more than just good luck that someone turned me on to his Hitchhikers Guide series. It was fate.

If you have been reading for any length of time, you will notice his influence on my own writing style. I didn't really enjoy writing, and reading his stories showed me that I simply was not reading enough...that a successful writer could be complicated and intelligent and use quirky styles that kept the act of reading as interesting as following the story.

Writing was something to enjoy. No, I am not a professional writer, and I don't know that I ever will be, but if I do, Douglas was someone I want to be like.

As I said before, that doesn't happen for me too often.

We apologise for the inconvenience - God's last message to creation.

There are of course many problems connected with life, of which some of the most popular are `Why are people born?' `Why do they die?' `Why do they spend so much of the intervening time wearing digital watches?' - From the Hitchhiker's Guide itself.

So long, and thanks... - Inscribed on the crystal bowls given as farewell gifts from the dolphins.

Thank you, Douglas.
:::::posted by erratic :: 04-something PM EST linky

Friday, May 11, 2001

I know it's been quite some time, but I can assure you that I have been searching high and low for another worthy candidate of the coveted H.U.Y.A. award.

For those of you just joining us, I am talking about the Head Up Your Ass award - given to those who have gone far beyond the mundane brain-dead motions of normal life and succeeded at being the most idiotic they could be.

I generally prefer to have a name to engrave on the trophy, but in this case it will simply read "Bismark Mother and Bismark Police."

Some of the jucier bits:

Police Cite Boy, 7, for Taking $6 From Mom

"...the Bismarck mother discovered $6 missing from a pile of cash she had left lying on the counter..."

"When she questioned her two sons about the missing bills, the 7-year-old admitted taking the money."

" 'She called the police, she wanted him cited for theft, so that is what we did,' said Bismarck police Lt. Nick Sevart."

So a big ole "what the fuck are you thinking?" goes out to a mom who decided that the best way to handle an impressionable youth, after his contrition, is to turn him in to the cops.

For furthering the parental role of the state, and avoiding any messy lessons that a child could learn from this episode, such as honesty, the benefits of owning up to your mistakes, or the love of family, the board of H.U.Y.A. trustees applaud any and all mitigating circumstances, such as BEING SEVEN YEARS OLD, and CONFESSING, and have your kid hauled off to the clink.

The accessory to this particular award MUST be the police. The "youthful offender" crackdown that is cited in this instance, while doubtless created with the best of intentions, proves that government, of any kind, cannot be trusted when it comes to applying the slightest iota of thought to a situation.

When a swat on the ass or a weekend without TV should have worked wonders in correcting the sin of beanie baby lust, instead, a mobilization of youth counsellors and the juvenile justice system will convene with experts to determine and mete out the best remedy for the child in this situation.

It might even turn out to be a swat on the ass or a weekend without TV.

We are hereby exempting the child from winning this award in the future, because of an unfair advantage called parental hysteria. Any kid who would take $6, and then fess up, and then find himself standing in front of a judge to answer for his crime, is clearly being groomed for the necessary lack of quid-pro-quo associations of an already teetering existance that lead to the understanding that nothing you do has anything to do with what ultimately happens. This is a common H.U.Y.A. alumni trait.

So to all of you aspiring H.U.Y.A. contestants out there, remember that one of the best ways to find yourself in the winners circle is to bring in a team of strangers to handle a five minute problem that was yours to remedy in the first place.

Barring that, be on the team of strangers that never stops once to ask the "customer" if they are really that stupid.

:::::posted by erratic :: 11-something PM EST linky

Thursday, May 10, 2001

There are some people who seem to have an awfully big interest in what I do. People who came to my little online existance pretty recently, and decided to poke their noses into what it says here out of some puritanical sense of outrage over the injustice of misperception.

People who should worry a whole lot more about their own little lives and leave mine the hell alone.

Misguided intentions and hypocracy are two things that I hate more than any other, and I thought I was at a point where I would be able to rise above them without getting terribly upset at the prospect.

Then again, I suppose that anyone so concerned with *my* life probably needs some form of entertainment, and I should be happy that I provide such a valuable service for them.

I'm not, though.

One of the more interesting results of writing on the web has been finding out who you really do and don't know, and vice-versa. Coming out from behind the curtain to announce to the anonymous world is not too scary, really, but a few IRL acquaintances seem pretty disconcerted by the whole process.

Especially those who live in glass houses.

I will talk more about this...and about parental rights and the unfortunate realities of people who really need to get over themselves, or get a hobby, at least, but right now I can't see straight.

Nor will I go quietly into that good night.

If you are so perturbed by what you see here, go away. If you can't be bothered to talk to me directly, don't talk about me. I have no time or energy to be deciding what you think is good, bad, or appropriate, and no desire to do anything about any of it, either.

Whatever the hell that is.

I resent you for trying to manipulate others to achieve your end. For using an innocent bystander without consideration. And for wrapping yourself in a transparent cloak of feigned concern to justify your sniping.

You should have plenty to worry about, already...and plenty to keep your mind focused on what is truly important.

Because that is something I am concerned about. And within the realm of importance, anyone who could act this way, isn't.

Why not do everyone a favor and make it mutual?
:::::posted by
erratic :: 07-something AM EST linky

Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Like so many other groups of American workers pressing our government for better working conditions, a little known lobby has been testifying before congress this week:

"Nations Porn Stars Demand to be Fucked Harder"

I'll give them credit for trying...I mean, it *is* a funy article and all, but there is one major oversight in the spoof:

"The sexual frustration of many porn stars," said noted porn expert Bob Guccione Sr., "is further complicated by the fact that their desires often go beyond traditional vaginally penetrative sex to include a heartfelt need to be repeatedly pounded in the ass, as well."

The mock-congressional hearing satire falls to pieces at this very point. Because:

"According to congressional sources, meeting the porn stars' demands will not be easy."

Excuse me? This is the federal government, people. The same group of men and women who bring you the IRS, FBI, CIA, and NSA. The same group of people that would readily throw you or me in jail for writing bad checks, taking bribes, driving drunk, or taking drugs, yet happily exempt themselves and their immediate families from those same offenses.

They may be inept and indecisive in many wonderous ways, but the one thing that they HAVE been doing is pounding us in the ass for years.


I'm still walking funny from April 15th, and no one even bought me dinner first.
:::::posted by erratic :: 08-something PM EST linky

Monday, May 7, 2001

The reason faerie tales can only be from 100 years ago:

Police Chase Wolf Through Downtown

"Police chased a wolf through central Stockholm on Monday morning..."

"...a wolf expert followed the beast...armed with a gun and tranquilizing darts..."

"Police gave up the chase around 5 a.m. after the wolf had disappeared in a forest and seemed headed for an uninhabited area south of Stockholm's Arlanda airport."

See, what will happen now is: a roadblock is set up on the shortcut to gramma's house. Little Red is picked up for questioning by a couple of detectives, and her basket of goodies is confiscated as evidence. Then gramma is placed in protective custody, and finally, an APB is issued for the woodsman while environmentalists protest the encroachment of humans on wolf habitats.

Then everyone retains an attorney, and the politicians allow the courts to figure it all out.


It's a good thing the Brothers Grimm lived when they did.
:::::posted by erratic :: 11-something PM EST linky

Sunday, May 6, 2001

OK, so I haven't really had much to say this weekend, and while I typically just leave well enough alone those days, there are two factors which came together and prompted this post:

1) I can be shameless when it comes to getting attention.
2) I have a new baby.

Brigid and I have had some time to figure each other out a little bit, and I'm happy to report she doesn't seem too worried on her end, while I am still in panicked awe.

I promised myself that this wasn't going to become a "baby blog", which I know could easily happen if I started posting pictures, and yet, those two above factors have been nagging at me today.

Plus there are only like a billion pictures of her anyway...but I digress.

So far, she likes a new Perry Farrell song, "Song yet to be sung", and the hum of the computers usually soothes her (she is SO my child). We found ourselves chatting online and streaming music off the web the other night; I flipped on the cam.

Here are some of the pictures.
:::::posted by erratic :: 10-something PM EST linky

Friday, May 4, 2001

A (self serving) public service message concerning business communications.

The generalized "I will be out of the office on X because of a doctor's appointment" is a far more preferrable statement to "I need a procedure for a urinary tract issue (and they are subsequently sticking a tube in my.......)"


Some things really are better left to the imagination, thank you very much.
:::::posted by
erratic :: 11-something AM EST linky

Thursday, May 3, 2001

Conversation with a coworker today:

Me: You know...I have been occasionally asked whether or not what people think about me, based on my web site, bothers me. I mean, it generally doesn't, but every now and then I wonder if I look like I am some smart-ass psycho who speeds a lot and smokes too much and has a kid.

Him: Well, aren't you?

Me: *silence*

Yep, walked right into that one.
:::::posted by
erratic :: 02-something PM EST linky


So...If you're going to keep posession of our deepest technological surveillance secrets and not give them back to us then we're not going to buy any more of your hats.

Nyaah nyaah nyaah.

Someone wake me when the US sends China an official delcaration of "ppppphhhhhhppppppppttttttt".
:::::posted by erratic :: 10-something AM EST linky


The temperature outside is 72 degrees. It is a perfect evening, with clear skies and no wind.

The sunroof is open, and I am hurtling down the highway at 75 mph with the radio on.

One of our local stations plays a fair smattering of 80's music. I love 80's music, although lately I need to be in just the right mood to hear any of it. Tonight is such a night.

I press the pedal to the floor and feign surprise that it makes me go faster.

Run, run, run, away
Like a train runnin off the track
The truth gets left behind
And falls between the cracks
Standing on broken dreams
But never losing sight
Spread your wings

Higher and higher who knows what we'll find
And in the end on dreams we will depend

Dreams - Van Halen

When I allow my mind to slip just a bit...not enough to lose track of the other cars...heh...I can still feel 18. Driving on this same road too fast listening to the lyrics calling my internal spirit to arms against the world, while the road runs a lot farther forward than behind.

I'm turning 30 in a couple of months. It's just some arbitrary number, but it has been staring me down for a while. I don't want to be someone who is 30, I want to be two 15 year olds.

So when the bills and schedules and demands and responsibilities and managers and lawyers and relatives start piling up, and I feel more outwardly defined than internally driven, it's nice to capture a moment where I can still sieze the spirit that anything is possible.

So to the powers that be, thank you for sending a song to reclaim the fighting spirit that keeps me moving forward... and thanks for not putting any speed traps along the way.

Insurance, after all. I don't need the points.
:::::posted by erratic :: 02-something AM EST linky

Wednesday, May 2, 2001

I stand along the side of the building, enjoying a cigarette in the shade. Leaning back slightly, the coolness from the brick wall behind me seeps through the thin polo shirt. It went from cold to hot in the space of three days here, and I am amazed at how easy it is to dislike both extremes.

I take another long drag, feeling the sweet burn of the smoke in the back of my throat. I know it isn't good for me. I know I should quit. I know I am addicted to both the nicotine and the oral ritual of it. But it still tastes good and feels good and I enjoy it.

I look across the street.

The field that was rows and rows of some unidentifiable, spent crop was surveyed on Friday. Monday brought the arrival of the machines...big, loud, yellow beasty things that prove Tonka wasn't dreaming with some of those stranger looking toy trucks that I played with as a child.

After three days, it's a simple dirt field. Level and compacted and boxed off with stakes and string, waiting for another rapidly built corporate/warehouse/industrial multi-purpose building to emerge from the ground. When the wind catches it just right, the dust that the trucks kick up, as they crawl back and forth over the fresh dirt, burns the back of my throat.

It doesn't feel sweet.

New Jersey is a place where the word "overdevelop" is more of a dare than a solvable problem. It has been crowded for as long as I have lived here, and it continues to get worse. Another patch of farmland reclaimed for business use, another housing development, another condo complex. Once in a while, a lane is added to a highway to provide increased capacity that was needed 30 years ago.

I need to get out of here.

I used to get angry at the gross exploitation of the scarce open space. I believed that the culprits honestly didn't notice, or didn't care, about how bad the continued push for more development made the quality of life in this state. But I have heard builders, themselves, complain about the same thing...the exploitation of open space beyond if they were not partly responsible for the problem themselves.

See, they know it isn't good for our state. They know they should quit. They are addicted to the quest for building bigger and better constructions, making new facilities for homes and businesses so people can live, and everyone makes money in the deal. Plus, the prices are still going up and the profit just feels good.

But as this process continues, there will be more and more places for people to live, and less and less reasons for them to want to occupy them. This part of the world, in my estimation, already over-compensates salaries...simply to keep people living in a place that they wouldn't otherwise want to live. Presumptive? Perhaps for everyone, but it sure as hell kept me here at one time. I could never make more anywhere else, so here I stayed. Based almost solely on that.

Like I said, I need to get out of here. I need to live somewhere where I am not apologetic to myself for tolerating it, and where I won't be apologetic to my little girl for imposing the same crappy environment on her. If I can get from here to there... then I could complain about the excessive invasion of nature, and how someone should really just put in a mall or something. Heh. But the air would be clearer, I could enjoy my cigarette just a little more, and I wouldn't need to explain why the money was so important.

In truth, I can't really remember why, myself.
:::::posted by
erratic :: 12-something AM EST linky

Tuesday, May 1, 2001

Like so many other good ideas that go horribly wrong when they become reality, the highly touted Missile Defense System will be the latest in a long series of pavestones leading straight up to the front door of Hell.

That sound you just heard was George W. Bush ringing the bell.

From the outset, the folly of "mutually assured destruction" was a shitty prospect for all concerned. The United States has, in the past, been forced to fund our nuclear-enemy's military, just to keep that balance intact. Yet building an "umbrella of protection" -- or whatever the hell they are calling it these days -- over the United States and her allies will likely accomplish nothing more than a false sense of security, and a whomping financial hangover for everyone except the contractors that built it.

Even more dangerous than building it, however, is threatening to. If this commitment to build a missile defense system stands, then our clueless leader just slapped an expiration date on the nuclear weapons of the world...the ones that are pointed at us.

Best if used before 2004.

It's strange to look at documentaries outlining all of the close calls there were during the Cold War; all of the mishaps and misunderstandings and mistrust that brought the East and West to the edge of one giant *poof* before the big snow. Strange because we wouldn't be shaking our head at the number of times the world nearly ended had it actually happened.

Part of the reason that human beings can debate the whole issue is that no matter how close it got, the threat of blowing each other to smithereens actually prevented it from happening. Yet, when the fingers hovering over "the button" started getting itchy, the inclination to press it was motivated solely by the fear that if they weren't launched in time, they wouldn't be launched at all.

In other words, use them or lose them.

So with the half-life of plutonium at some stupid-thousands of years keeping our little warheads warm and snug in their silos, the only reason to launch them is if we wouldn't be able to anymore. That would apply to an incoming strike, sabotage, or some other action rendering them useless.

Like a missile defense.

Imagine if the Russians were building one. Whoooooo boy.

But the whole "defense" concept is shaky at best. For starters, I doubt it will work as well as we are being told. I doubt it will work at all. It's either going to miss every incoming target, or shoot down the shuttle carrying the second NASA sponsored civilian into space.

Even better, if it does fail when needed, who's going to complain? Can you sue a smoldering radioactive crater?

This is the political equivalent of an undercoating for a car. I'll tell you that you need it, and how good it is, and that the high cost is justified. Trust me. I'm a car salesman. Would I lie?

But the threat of building it is enough to make certain countries, who have poured their next 30 GDP's into two little missiles (instead of rice and bandages), think long and hard about that one last hurrah. All that money going to waste? No way! FIRE! If you think people like that don't exist in the world, ask them why they felt it important enough to have nuclear weapons instead of food and medicine. Iraq. Libya. Pakistan. To name a few.

Then again, the countries most likely to bomb the US with nukes don't have rockets. They don't have nukes. If they did have nukes, they'd be delivered to Washington via FedEx, not ICBM.

The system will piss off China, though. Gee, that sounds like a smart thing to do right now, no?

I want someone to build a Bullshit Defense System. I don't care if it cost a trillion dollars. THAT would be useful. THAT would give me benefits I could justify. THAT would silence George, Jr. Most of Washington, too.

So, to whom do I make out the check?
:::::posted by erratic :: 05-something PM EST linky

Powered By Greymatter

© John McCabe, 2000
so be nice, 'k?