Sunday, February 27, 2011

Parenting quid pro quo

I never thought I would grow up to have to limit my son’s viewing of superhero cartoons. I’ve always loved superhero cartoons, even the crappy ones of my youth. God, even Clutch Cargo was willfully endured, as creepy as it was.

And I loved the Thunderbirds.

Supermarionation® was a big improvement to my way of thinking. The opposite of Clutch Cargo, everything moved but the lips. If you’ve seen Team America, you’ve seen Supermarionation® at work.

But the cartoons of today are such a huge improvement over those of my childhood. Every cool superhero has its own cartoon—Batman, Iron Man, the Avengers (the Superhero Squad)—and they’re all first-rate operations. Iron Man is especially brilliant:

This is the Iron Man cartoon I had as a kid:

So you can imagine, I hate to deny my boy the same content I was denied as a child. Even second-rate efforts from a “creative” group that goes by the name of “Man of Action” like Ben 10 and Generator Rex. It must be wired into the DNA. But he’s become way too dependent on them. His art production has slowed to a crawl and when he’s not bugging his mom to play video games on her phone, he’s pestering me to watch superhero cartoons.

So today I decided on a quid pro quo that we could both live with. Anytime he wants to watch a superhero cartoon now, we will first watch together something that I think he ought to see. On the new plan’s inaugural run tonight, we watched Where Did You Sleep Last Night from Nirvana Unplugged; Alan Parker’s The Wall, from Comfortably Numb to Run Like Hell, then Radio Gaga by Queen from Wembley Stadium.

We talked about all the bands as they came along. We talked about Nazism and fascism during The Wall, and rock godhood during the Queen number.

Then we switched to the barely watchable Ben 10 and I excused myself to the kitchen to make his dinner.

I have lots of great music on DVD. Next up? Maybe Stairway… from Led Zeppelin’s BBC sessions. Or almost anything from U2’s ZOOTV tour. Definitely some Steve Goodman from Austin City Limits. The nice thing about excellent music is, like cartoon superheroes, there is a practically inexhaustible supply.

I gotta find Nine Inch Nails from Woodstock 94. Bet it’s on the YouTube. The Boy is going to love it! It almost makes Ben 10 worth it.

Tea Party Nation: Doin' it our way

Of course the G.O.P. is going to shut the government down. It’s been taken over by the Tea Partiers, who hate the government. Shutting the federal government down is exactly what they came to Washington to do. Most of them said as much and were elected on those promises.

One newly-elected Tea Partier from Illinois, Joe Walsh, revealed his hand this weekend on ABC’s Sunday morning show when he said, “I don’t want a government shut-down, but if we have to have one, it might be good for us.”

Whoever said, “In order to save the village, we had to destroy the village” should be collecting royalty checks from Rep. Walsh.

The last time a budget impasse resulted in a government shut-down was during Bill Clinton’s watch, when the obdurate Newt Gingrich and his allies thought it would be a shrewd political tactic to use against the much-reviled opposition party president.

It backfired that time. When checks started not going out to all the thousands of government employees the shut-down effected, and trash started not getting picked up and schools started closing… the American People (if I maybe granted use of such a sweeping generalization) decided the shut-down was actually a very bad idea, and looked around for someone to blame. It obviously wasn’t the Big Government, tax-and-spend Liberal in the White House the G.O.P. had made Clinton out to be, so it must have been Team G.O.P. who was to blame.

And Team G.O.P. was ultimately forced to back down and eat poo, while Clinton soared out of office with record-high job-approval numbers.

You say, well, that’s a very interesting, if mostly hazily-recollected history lesson, Fang. So what?

And you would be right.

Because the new batch of freshmen Tea Party legislators not only have the general goal of reducing the size of government to zero, they have no interest in the history of what happened the last time it was tried. “History” is something the Elites study at their Ivy League institutions of Socialism, whereas the Tea Partiers I’ve spoken to and seen on TV—including the ebullient meet-your-Representative event attendees from the Joe Walsh piece—tend to be more here-and-now in their thinking. And right here and now, they know they hold the reins of power in their hands.

And based on the evidence I’ve seen and heard, it is exhilarating.

Credit where credit is due, some of the Tea Party’s talking points—out of context—make a lot of sense. For example, yes, average American citizens would indeed be hauled off to debtors’ prison if they ran their households’ finances the way the government manages theirs.

But holding the government to the same standard as the average American citizen, or vice versa, is a false equivalency. The fact is, the government has some powers the individual citizen does not. The government may legally possess atomic weapons; you or I may not. The government may legally execute its own citizens in most states; you or I may not. Oh, the list goes on.

The new Tea Party Elite—sorry, folks, when you’re pulling the strings in Washington, you are by definition the new Elite—are going to have a chance shortly to make an additional historical blunder when the issue of raising the debt ceiling comes up.

The debt ceiling is another bullshit Washington construct, a specious, though necessary, end-run around the law; since America can’t limit our spending to our “debt ceiling,” we just raise the ceiling every year. It’s like if your house was sinking in the mud and your solution was to keep adding floors above the mud, where you could continue to live.

The Tea Partiers are probably correct when they say it is a fiscal disaster waiting to happen, until the alternative is even briefly considered, which at the moment, would mean letting our metaphorical house sink all the way into the mud. Bloop!

There needs to be a third option, a crafty triangulation of some sort, that serves all masters; something like what Bill Clinton, Trent Lott and Dick Morris used to cook up cook up under the cover of night, at the height of the impeachment scandal. Finding that third way is the job of statesmen, but we are devilishly short of statesmen these days. All we have are feckless, self-marginalized Democrats, and a Republican party that can’t decide whether they want to cut off their own head, or their whole body, not understanding that to do one is to accomplish the other.

Rep. Walsh underlines this short-sighted philosophy on the ABC piece by summarizing the message his base has just delivered to him and that he plans to take back to Washington: Keep cutting, baby.

Tea Party Nation is almost upon us. No wonder they’re stocking up on guns and ammo. Like Laverne and Shirley, they’re gonna make all their dreams come true.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Johnny Cash Wants YOU!

To wish him a happy birthday.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Poor Charlie Sheen is going to die

He’s on the classic trajectory. In and out of rehab, unrepentant, un self-reflective, wilder and wilder excesses… and now that CBS has finally put a stop to production of his execrable sitcom, his professional legs have been cut out from under him. He’s unhirable. He’s a caricature of self-destructiveness. He not only doesn’t apologize for his extra-legal antics, he goes on record shrugging them off, saying they don’t matter. Then dumping even more vitriol on the fire.

He’s become worse than Robert Downey Jr. or Sam Kinison ever were, to name a couple of pretty heavy partiers, back in the day. But Downey and Kinison both had something Sheen seems to lack: a sense of shame.

Now, I’m no big advocate of shame. As a rule, I tend to find it a bit of an impediment as well as a bore, but when it is used in a life-saving capacity, I’ll give it a waiver. Downey and Kinison both had shame over their circumstances, which—along with judicial intervention—led them to seek help. (Remember, Kinison died sober, in a car wreck caused by the other driver, who was drunk.)

But poor Charlie Sheen doesn’t seem to have a lick of self-respect. He’s acting like he’s a stupid-shit-saying machine stuck in the ON position. I haven’t heard the actual phone-ins, I don’t know if he’s jacked-up or slurring or speaking perfectly clearly. I kind of hope he’s been acting under the influence. At least that would be a slightly mitigating factor.

Because he’s been on a bizarre radio call-in campaign the last couple days, trashing his show’s producers using arguably anti-Semitic jibes (always a crafty career move in Hollywood), as well as the show’s writers, 12-step programs and even the prostitutes he is renowned for partaking of, referring to them ungallantly as “turds.”

Remember how adorable he was in his cameo in that Ferris Bueller film? Playing the Bad Boy at the end, scaring Jennifer Grey’s good-girl character straight? Sociopathy is not as adorable at 45 as it is at 20.
I feel bad for his father, Martin Sheen, by most accounts a pretty decent guy and caring father. This has got to be murder on him. He’s bent over backward trying to save this kid.

I’m not gonna argue with Charlie Sheen about anything, let alone AA; just like I don’t get into heavy arguments with my five-year-old and for the same reason.

But I’ve known more people AA worked for than people it didn’t. I have my own gripes with it, but I’ve sent a number of likely candidates its way over the years. But AA isn’t designed for people like Charlie Sheen. AA is designed for people who are committed to working on staying sober, and that does not sound like a description of Charlie Sheen.

It’s so sad, so predictable… and don’t even talk to me about Lindsay Lohan. She also seems to be circling the drain. Christ, she couldn’t even hang onto a gig playing Linda Lovelace, and now she looks like she’s heading back to the Big House for theft?

These aren’t just Celebrities Gone Wild, these are actual flesh-and-blood human beings who are simply hard-wired and hell-bent for self-destruction. Believe me, a guy like Charlie Sheen would be as much a danger to himself and society if he was working behind the counter of the corner liquor store as he is on a soundstage in Hollywood. Probably more, if you threw poverty and desperation into the mix.

I guess the sad fact is every generation has to have its cautionary tales. For Martin Sheen’s sake—as a fellow father—I just wish his son didn’t have to be one of this generation’s.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Our young Pollock does his thing

This one, according to a note on the back, is called “Puppy Love.”

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What’s so scary about Michelle Obama?

I can’t remember a time when the First Lady was such an open target for her husband’s political enemies, or the criticisms being so personal.

Leaving Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton out of the equation for convenience’s sake—they were atypical by almost any definition of the job description—the First Lady’s gig is to show up, look happy and resolute and stand by her man. She’s really more the First Arm-Candy than anything else, even though recent administrations have tried to obfuscate that fact by allowing POTUS’s wife to pick a charitable cause and quietly champion it when she wasn’t required to be next to her better half, smiling and waving.

I believe Nancy Reagan had “Just Say No” to drugs, which as naïve as that effort was (“Just Say No To Bad Weather” had just as much chance at succeeding), it had a lot more meat on its bones than most First Ladies’ sanctioned mandates that followed.

Since then, First Ladies have been assigned considerably less controversial, more achievable goals to pursue.

According to The White House’s official site, the side-work seems to have unofficially begun under Jackie Kennedy, who charged herself with “making the White House a museum of American history and decorative arts,” while keeping her main focus on standing by that ol’ rascal of hers.

Did anyone complain? No! The nation loved her for it. She may have been an Elite, but her husband sure didn’t treat her like one, if you believed the tabloids. Red-Meat America ate that shit up.

Next came Lady Bird Johnson. She “created a First Lady’s Committee for a More Beautiful Capital, then expanded her program to include the entire nation.”

Did anybody say “boo?” No.

Next up, Pat Nixon, who was elevated by her husband to the “unique diplomatic standing of Personal Representative of the President” to Africa and South America.

Nobody said shit. Although to be fair, Mrs. Nixon’s husband had a way of grabbing all the headlines for himself.

Betty Ford was a bad-ass. First she found herself the public face of breast cancer as a survivor herself, then she became a tireless supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment. Then she went on to make her name synonymous with rehab for the rich and famous. Maybe we should throw her out for messing up the curve, too.

Rosalynn Carter was a return to form. She “took a strong interest in programs to aid mental health, the community, and the elderly. From 1977 to 1978, she served as the Honorary Chairperson of the President’s Commission on Mental Health.”

Hew and cry over that honorarium? None that the Google and I could find.

Barbara Bush promoted literacy. Nobody really knew who W was yet, so she was never hit with charges of hypocrisy, or over-compensation.

Also, because she was promoting literacy! No reasonable person can argue with “kids oughtta read better, it’ll leave them better prepared for life as adults.”

Any more than any reasonable person can argue that childhood obesity is a bad thing. It’s about as uncontroversial an avocation as can be imagined. Really fat kids grow up to be really fat adults who get sick a lot, stay sick for a long time then die early and in debt.

That is still a bad thing, right?

Look at the issue from a tight-fisted, fiscally conservative, traditionally Republican point of view. All those subsistence-level, morbidly obese non-taxpayers are getting some form of government-funded assistance with the chronic health and unemployment problems they are dealing with due to a lifetime of poor diet and exercise habits. If we improved those habits as kids, they would grow up healthier, and much less of a financial burden on their fellow Americans.

So with The Left all busy being the damned child-huggers they are, and the Right pleased with the revenue projections a healthier America would produce, this issue has got to be bullet-proof, right?

Wrong! Because said bullet-proof issue has the misfortune of being championed by Michelle Obama, the wife of the least popular Black man ever elected President.

The latest iteration of this ongoing, made-up controversy is opposition to the First Lady’s recent promotion of breast-feeding. Far-out Far-Righter Rep. Michelle Bachmann recently took the First Lady to task for her support on a popular right-wing radio show.

Here is the key paragraph from the link above: “The Minnesota Republican [Bachmann] said Obama’s efforts to promote breast-feeding and the IRS’s announcement that nursing supplies that aide in the practice can be deducted from tax returns amounts to a ‘new definition [of] the nanny state.’”

That doesn’t even pass The Right’s convoluted logic test, again assuming The Right to be the party of fiscal responsibility. Mrs. Obama is promoting a program with targeted tax cuts, and Republicans are railing against it?

Plus, what the hell exactly is a “nanny state?” Apparently according to Ms Bachmann’s definition, it’s a state that gives a damn about its citizens. Which Ms Bachmann, being the canny legislator that she is, would never say in so many words, “Vote for me, I don’t give a shit about you as a human being.”

This Nanny-State feint fails to pass the smell test on so many levels, one has to wonder, what is actually going on here?

Do you suppose it springs from the same malodorous well as the obsession with the First Lady’s posterior? Google reveals there are even websites devoted solely to this subject. One writes on its home page that their “ode to the First Lady’s booty reflects a preoccupation with her posterior. Thank god the election’s over so we can start objectifying the first black First Lady. It’s ok now, right guys?”

Shit, man. Objectifying people for their race or gender is always fucking timeless. Without it, the state of racism and sexism in this country would be in mighty sad shape.

Come to think of it, about the only thing that separates Mrs. Obama’s low-profile role in her husband’s administration from that of her immediate predecessors is the color of her, and the President’s, skin.

The only other President in my lifetime who has garnered such animosity simply by existing—as opposed to reaction to their policies while in office—is Bill Clinton, who was at the time proclaimed by many to be the country’s first Whigger president.

The Right was apoplectic about everything he did. Shit he didn’t do, that pissed them off, too. I mean, when Bush Jr., was promoted to the presidency by the Supreme Court, the Left wasn’t exactly dancing in the streets, but the real vitriol didn’t start in earnest until after the Iraq War’s inevitability became apparent.

And even then, we didn’t go after his wife. After all, she was out promoting something supremely benign (“the Helping America’s Youth initiative”). It was her husband we had the beef with, and most of us had the decency to leave the wife and kids out of it.

But Clinton was, and Obama has been granted no such honeymoon. It seems the Beltway Boys can’t figure out how Those People have invaded their hallowed halls, and can’t spend enough hours a day scheming to discredit, and ideally disgorge, them. Even for purported offenses as insignificant as an ill-advised, unprofitable land deal in Arkansas, a series of extra-marital hummers, or endorsing the idea that America’s kids should be healthy.

It’s my theory that it’s Clinton’s and Obama’s “Otherness” that is the source of much of the otherwise puzzling personal animus directed toward them and their wives. Barack Obama is so Other that a whole new political party formed to oppose him, the Tea Party, which is now struggling with the fiscal conservatives for the shriveled, blackened soul of the Republican party.

What, besides Race, makes Barack Obama so Other from previous presidents that would cause such a push-back? Ivy League education? Check. Looks good in a suit? Check. Delivers a great stump speech, rallies the base? Check. Can participate in Civil War re-enactments as a member of the Army of the Confederacy?

There it is!

The common denominator between the First Lady’s ass, the people who don’t believe Obama was born in America and the speculation that he’s trying to lead America into some kind of third-world Socialist hellscape is they’re all thinly-veiled allusions to Race.

It’s always been about Race. The right-wing will spend the next two-to-six years dressing up their prejudice as this thing or that thing, but pay attention. Their logic won’t add up. Which is fine for them, because with the choir they are preaching to, it doesn’t have to add up. It just has to buttress the unspoken fears they already harbor about the President.

It’s sad to think that 150 years after the bloodiest war in our country’s history, a bungled effort at Reconstruction, the civil rights battles of the 1960’s and the election of the nation’s first Black president, Race is still the itchy scab that we as a country just can’t stop picking at.

I can practically guarantee that long after gay marriage is commonplace and spliffs the size of Popeye’s forearm are smoked openly on city streets, Race will continue to eat away at the moral righteousness we as Americans aspire to lay claim to.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Meet The New Boss...

CBS News has just reported that on-air correspondent Lara Logan “suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating” while covering the crowd celebration in the wake of Hosni Mubarak stepping down last week. Her attackers were among the “heroes” of the Democratic movement in Egypt in Tahrir Square.

No further details regarding her condition are available at the time of this writing, but one assumes if her injuries were life-threatening, the CBS piece would have lead with that.

I hate to say it, because it’s sexist and chauvinistic and definitely not PC, but I’ve long asserted that women reporters don’t belong in some war zones. Specifically in countries where the indigenous population have been treating women like chattel for thousands of years.

And throwing someone with beauty-queen looks like Ms Logan into a mob situation in the middle east, unless she’s traveling with a pack of Blackwater gunslingers, is just begging for tragedy. I’ve spoken about it to The Missus. Logan came on the Jon Stewart show recently and I turned to The Missus and said, “She is way too hot to be going into all the middle-eastern hotbeds she reports from.”

Not because hot babes don’t deserve the same breaks as everyone else. Since when has being a hot babe (or dude) impeded someone’s career advancement opportunities? They should be disqualified because the same star quality that causes heads to turn when they walk into a crowded room also makes them natural targets out on the streets, especially streets filled with voluble males from a culture that sees women as things to be used.

People will read this and think, “Oh my God, he’s blaming the victim!”

I am not blaming the victim. I’m blaming the geniuses at Network who looked at their roster of talking-heads to put in the obviously potentially dangerous crowd—just ask Anderson Cooper—and selected the prettiest, blondest Western Infidel on their staff.

We can’t just accept that the people in the middle east live by a different set of values, we have to factor those values in when we make decisions about what the hell we’re doing over there. It was not taking local customs and recent history into account that got us hopelessly mired in Afghanistan. Which is another place I would not send Lara Logan. Or NBC’s Michelle Kozinski. Or Fox News’s seemingly inexhaustible supply of perky blonde anchor-spokespeople.

Who America needs on the front lines in the middle east right now is a grizzled veteran newsman like Dan Rather; he’s past his prime, his name is smeared with scandal and needs redeeming, he’s still sharp as a tack and tenacious as a bedbug. And at this point in his career, I guarantee you, there is nothing he would like more than to go down swinging in the field, preferably with his boots on.

I hope Ms Logan’s injuries are not grievous. I actually hope when she recovers, that she cannot remember the details of the attack. And I hope like hell that video of the attack does not surface; according to the CBS account above, it started during a live broadcast.

Everyone’s worried about the military hanging onto power indefinitely, or the Muslim Brotherhood taking over, but if these random Everymen-on-the-street—revelers, no less, no longer revolutionaries—who attacked Ms Logan are Egypt’s equivalent of Washington, Jefferson and Adams, we might very well be trading the devil we know for the devil we already know over there, no matter who ends up running the place.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Omniblog: Weed, Whites and Whine* edition

Let’s play a little catch-up. There’s a reason I haven’t been blogging lately.

It’s because almost everything sucks right now, and I’ve been throwing a lot of time and effort at keeping depression at bay. And I haven’t wanted to write about it because, well, it’s all too depressing. Oh yeah, and boring to read about.

But the way I see it, some day I’ll be glad I took the time today to enumerate the various and sundry ways things are sucking at this point in my life. Because memory-loss has been knocking at my door for years.

I had a good week of mental-health time between Christmas and the new year, which is fortunate because the shit started raining down hot and heavy less than a week into 2011 when I was cut back to half-time by my main source of income. And I can’t even blame them. Page count has been shrinking all last year.

It’s not like I didn’t see it coming, anyway. I’m in the newspaper business, for Christ’s sake. There’s an anvil swinging by a thread over my entire industry. I’m lucky I only got my hours cut back.

It never occurred to me, 25 years ago, that I was getting into a centuries’-old industry that was going to die in my lifetime.

Nobody I knew saw the Internet coming. Maybe one of the Jeffs, but I didn’t know them at the time.

So now I’m having to get up to speed—and quick—on the skills of my alternative industry, website building. Fortunately, The Missus is a certifiable genius at this Wordpress shit.

I’m just afraid that the stuff I’m learning now won’t be worth a damn in five years. Five years is forever in Internet time.

Just the same, I’ve been working my ass off on it. Also creating and formatting and uploading the content for my self-promotional site, which is a full-time job in itself.

Then my poor sister lost her job, that she’d been training for it seems like forever, after only a couple weeks. Another loved-one’s marriage went down the crapper at about the same time—he was cuckolded  then literally robbed of their entire joint assets by his missus, a couple days before all that lovely money was going to be gone, invested in a down payment on a house.

Because I am trying to subscribe to the New Civility, I will not discuss the character of the wanton involved in this matter any further.

There’s more shit going down that I am enjoined from going into here, but suffice it to be said, nobody gets out of here with their ass intact. Everywhere I turn is heartache and despair. It’s like we’re living a country/western song. “I was drunk the day my Mom got out of prison…”**

Then just this week, this assknuckle legislator in our adopted state proposes eliminating Kindergarten (except for three weeks—WTF?) for all kids not deemed “at-risk” by the state. That would definitely describe our kid. So because we’ve been good parents, this bill, if it becomes law, will penalize our son for that.  At a time when his educational and social engines are supposed to be firing on all cylinders.

You know, we fled Christmas Island because that state, too, was hemorrhaging money and The Missus found a great gig here. But I honestly don’t think California would put childhood education on the chopping block like this. This guy is quoted in the article as saying that canceling Kindergarten would be actually be good for kids because it would give parents “more time to work with them.”

Which parents are those, the ones who are wealthy enough to afford one-income households and job-out the child-rearing to foreign domestics, or the working-poor parents who need both full-time incomes to make ends meet? In what fantasy world does the nonsense this lawmaker is saying make a bit of sense?

Every once in a while, the fact that we’ve moved to a blood-red state comes back to kick us in the ass and this could be one of those times. I’m gonna write a letter to my Congressman.

That’s another thing. I’ve been missing California, especially its progressive marijuana laws.

I used to do a lot of shit when I was younger. Unless it involved a needle, I was willing to give it a try. From Bubble Yum bubble gum, to Pepsi to speed to booze and pills, I’ve tried it and probably liked it. And a lot of the stuff I “gave a try” became unwelcome, long-term fixtures in my life.

As I got older, I shrugged off the worst of them. First the speed, then ten years later the booze, then later that same year, the pills. And every time I shook one of the big monkeys off my back, my life improved. Hugely.

Except those times I’ve tried to quit smoking weed. It turns out I’m a A+ type personality. If I was wildly successful in my field—like a rocket scientist or a movie director—I could get away with being my full, unmedicated self. Shit, I’d be celebrated for how big an asshole I am.

But back here in the real world, the unfiltered me is no fun to live with.

Plus, my last year in California, I had a legitimate prescription for chronic back pain. I was so elated that in my dotage, I had become a completely law-abiding citizen. A far cry from my misspent youth. And being crime-free felt better than you can imagine, unless you’ve been a petty thug with aspirations to a better life yourself at some point.

I was always tell people I believe in redemption because, baby, I have been to the mountaintop and I know it exists.

Except now here I am, back in the trenches again, a would-be criminal who can’t find a crime to commit. I’ve exhausted virtually every avenue of approach in my new home town, and I’m on a countdown clock to zero, against my will, for the first time in more than 30 years. I’m grateful to everyone who has helped along the way, but I’ve never had this much trouble in my life finding an ongoing, reliable connection. I guarantee I could have found meth in this town by now—I’ve met guys clerking at corner stores who could definitely hook me up—but pot? Nada. I might as well be in search of the Holy Grail.

What makes it even more frustrating is that the little bit of weed I’ve managed to score since moving here has been of outstanding quality. So I know it’s out there, there’s just an invisible, insurmountable barrier between me and it. I tell ya, not since I was in high school… in Arizona, where of all places, they now have civilized pot laws.

Life never runs short of crazy.

As I alluded to earlier, the last time I tried to quit smoking was at the beginning of my cohabitation with The Missus-to-be. It turns out, I am an intolerable prick in my pure state. She eventually begged me to get back on the stuff, and she came from a strict Just Say No background.

And back then, everything else was coming up roses.

Anyway, I’m sure it will be fine in the long run. I’ve joined NORML, which I cannot conceive will not eventually lead me to the like-minded individual I seek, but I’m close enough to the edge right now that I’ve already started pre-withdrawals—where a junkie thinks obsessively about the crutch that’s about to be yanked out from under him. (Thus this post...)

And I admit to being a junkie. I’m strung out on it and I need it to get by on a day-to-day basis. Of course, I could be talking about love. Or water. I’m addicted to both of them too, and my life would be worse off if my access to either was cut off.

My point isn’t that weed is as important as either water or love, but that my need for the three, shorn of all context, each could be a description of either addiction or healthy avocation. Another common denominator is that in the past, in the absence of any of the three examples, my life has taken a steep plunge for the OHMYGOD, NO!

What’s different this time is, I can’t afford to have that happen now. This time, I have to keep it together whether I have my crutches or not. It promises to be interesting, at least to me and my immediate family members. (I also find it ironic that I can best handle the thought of going cold turkey when I’m ‘medicated,’ and the more I medicate myself to reduce my impending stress, the closer I bring myself to its full realization.)

I promise not to write about it any more until after its resolution, if then. As I stated at the onset, this post is strictly for posterity. I didn’t expect to learn a lesson by the end of it, or put my arms around my family and laugh heartily till we cut to commercial.

What I do expect is two things: One, it will continue to be a tough slog personally for a while and two, as a working American, this jobless recovery will continue to be a bitch and the unemployment numbers will keep coughing up blood because the jobs that are going away are going away for good.

Because it’s not about outsourcing, it’s about obsolescence. Whole industries are being rendered obsolete by the Internet and it’s only just begun; the Internet has nowhere to go but more ominiverous. When was the last time you used a travel agent, for instance? Paid for porn? Opened a dictionary? A fold-up map?

A newspaper?

*Apologies to Lowell George
**Tip o the hat to Steve Goodman

Books I thought were impossible to adapt to film:

But I will by God be there opening day! Details HERE. Trailer HERE.

Looks like they threw some money at this one, and I like the fact that they cast unfamiliar faces for the leads. There is a chance it might not suck like so many other books formerly considered unfilmable; for every Watchmen that kicks ass, there's ten Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’s that prove the rule.

Somewhere in the atheist afterlife, Ayn Rand has to be smiling that they’re releasing this film on tax day.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

More than zero

Up ’til now, I’ve been telling The Boy that the dog is zero, just to keep the kid on his toes. Not any more, though. Jake is one year old today.

Happy birthday, big fella.

Sorry we couldn’t get you through your whole first year without some bully trying to bugger you, below, but that’s just the way life is. In your defense, it did require a full-grown Great Dane to make you his bitch...