Flu Bound and Down

The last twenty-four hours have been my own special hell.  By the time I rolled out of Panera yesterday I was feeling sorta okay, but after paying a bill and having lunch, I knew I was sinking fast.  I figured it was a cold, so yesterday afternoon I bundled up, took some medication, and relaxed.

By six PM I knew the truth:  I had the flu.

I was tired; I couldn’t concentrate that well; I hurt all over, particularly in my joints.  I wasn’t running a fever–or if I was, I didn’t realize it–but I was coughing a lot.  Sometimes it was a dry cough, sometimes a lot of stuff from my chest would come up.

It has been hard to do anything, but I’m doing it.  I was out already this morning to pick up some food, things I could eat that would make me feel better.  I had oatmeal with blueberries and honey, with a little yogurt on the side.  Later I’ll have tea and more yogurt.  Light, healthy things that will help get my flu out of my system by helping my immune system.

Oh, and I’m doing laundry, because I have nothing clean, and the sooner I get this done, then I can get back into my pajamas and relax.

I’m trying to write, but it’s slow going.  I can only work about fifty to hundred words at a time, then I have to go sit or lay down for about thirty, forty minutes, because it hurts to look at the screen, it hurts to sit on this little writing chair, and whenever I start coughing my head hurts.

This sucks very hard.

I wrote last night, but over the course of four hours I only managed five hundred and sixty words.  I know:  stupid.  I should have just relaxed.  At the same time my mind was working, and I couldn’t shut it down, so I had to get up and write.  I consider it a victory, because I did create something that was actually worthwhile.  Had to do it, just like I’m blogging today.  I should be resting, but I’m crazy.

And then I didn’t sleep that well, but when I did, I was dreaming of running from zombies and figuring out how to make maps showing infestation locations using Photoshop.  Yeah, it wasn’t fun, and I blame Zombie Lori, because I want to see her come back and eat Rick’s face, and it’s probably not going to happen . . .

"Carl isn't in the house--have you see him?  Shit, I mean--arrrhuggreehug!"

“Have you seen Carl?  He isn’t in the house!  Shit, I mean–arrrhuggreehug!”

Today I rest.  I’ll probably get well enough tomorrow to be able to head into work.  That’s always the suck, because your weekend is completely in the toilet and there is nothing you can do, but come Monday you have your energy back, just enough that you can make it through the day in a semi-coherent mode.  That’ll be me:  semi-coherent, making a show of the situation.  But I probably will feel better tomorrow.

Then I can get back into my life.

Roller Coaster Meditations

The 6th of November will be remembered, not with bonfires and a terrorist’s face becoming a well-known symbol for hackers, but with an enormous wave of people on Facebook declaring the world has gone to hell, the Apocalypse is upon us, and that they are moving to other countries as soon as they find one that doesn’t have any socialist tendencies.

As for me, while I’ll have something to say about last night’s election, I won’t say it today.  I need time for the brain to calm down, and for the head to stop hurting.

Oh, and there’s other writing I need to do as well.

The last couple of days have been difficult.  Stress, stress, stress, and I’ll admit there was a fair share of it coming from the lead up to the election.  It was giving me headaches, sometimes to the point where I found it difficult to think.

But today . . . I think the roller coaster is through with all the twisting and turning.  I think it’s coming into the station, and I can relax.  Oh, sure:  there are still things in my life that are pretty crap right now, but those will diminish in time.  And then I can do what I like.  What I want.

I did write last night, but the distractions–oh, my.  I got the chapters in; on finished, another started.  I got over twenty thousand words last night, but it was a squeaker.  Today, there needs to be more attention paid to the words on the page, and I have to get ready for a big chapter in my NaNo Novel.  Not big in that one will see a gazillion words written, but big in the sense that I have to lay bare a character’s life, and that is going to be painful.  My poor, maimed, little Indri:  you’ll be better for this when it’s over.  Trust me.

I’m checking the word counts on my chapters, and I’m on my track of about sixty thousand words for the story.  A check last night said I was going to end around fifty-three thousand words, but I have a couple of big chapters coming, and that’s going to tip the scales in the end.  There’s even the possibility that–gasp!–I could go more than sixty thousand.

As I always say, the story ends when it ends.  I’m still writing, so when I get closer to the end, I’ll know.

There is something else that I feel, and it’s that I might not end this story before 30 November rolls into town.  Getting my fifty thousand?  Sure.  Getting to the end of the story?  Maybe, maybe not.  We’ll see.  After all, just because the calendar flips and becomes 1 December doesn’t mean you go, “Oh, shit, NaNoWriMo is over!  What time does My Little Pony come on?”  It doesn’t work that way.

You have to keep writing.

I will.  I have this idea that I’m a writer.  I’ve had other people tell me the same.  And, hey, this is crazy, but I keep writing, and someone will buy me maybe.

2012 is all about change.  It’s here; we saw it last night.  Go with it, or get run over at your own peril.

I know what I’m doing . . .

Blackout Days

Just to let you shiny people know, I may say some bad words in the text below.  So if you don’t want to see them, I’ve left you this video of a Skyrim mod where all the dragons have been changed into My Little Ponies.  Enjoy.

A lot of people doing the dark today, all on honor of kicking SOPA and PIPA in the ass with hob-nailed boots.  Both links are up, by the way, and for obvious reasons–namely, information needs to be free.  And if you aren’t educated, then you can’t make up your own mind.

Oh, sure.  We know why these are up here.  Because the Internet is rife with piracy.  Go out on YouTube any day and, horror of horrors, someone has put up a video of a song–that they don’t have permission to play!  Oh, my gawd, I can hear Mista Kurtz now:  the horror, the horror.  Or someone has put up a picture, and they didn’t get permission from the people who own the copyright on movie it was taken from!  Or, worst of all . . . you put up a video clip without the express written permission of Major League Baseball.

Now you’ve stepped into the shit, my friend.

Let’s face it: this isn’t about protecting the Internet from piracy.  Oh, sure, we’re told we need to stop the rip-offs that happen every day, that a lot of people are hurt by Internet pirates who just take and take and don’t give a shit if you’re hurt in the process.

No, what this is about . . . is money.  Big money from big players, who only want to get bigger.  And these players got some important people helping them out.  I mean, come on: SOPA is sponsored by Larmar Smith, a genuinely batshit insane douche if there ever was one, and PIPA is sponsored by Patrich Leahy, who, while usually something of a moderate, is way the hell off-base on this.

But if you really want to see how these players just shuffle people around, one only needs to look at the current head of the Motion Picture Association of America, one of the biggest players behind SOPA.  The chairman of MPAA is none other than former senator Chris Dodd, and boy, is he pissed that people are blacking out the Internet today.  He’s pretty much calling it a “gimmick”, and a “dangerous one” designed to “punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals.”

Well, now!

Lets face it: there is a problem.  Stuff is being ripped off all the time through the Internet.  Or, I should say, it gets ripped off and then shared through the Internet.  I mean, did someone really rip off Transformers 3: We Still Ain’t Got a Freakin’ Script through an Internet download?  No.  They got it through other means and then . . . well, someone in their insanity decided people really wanted to see this, so they passed it around.  I know; it doesn’t make sense, but it happens.

It’s no surprise that a lot of piracy comes through Asia, in particular China, and that government doesn’t give much of a shit about piracy in any form.  I remember the days, back in the very late 1990’s and the early 2000’s, when, as the visiting IT guy, I’d catch someone in our China office loading software they’d picked up at “the night market”–the place where you bought all your pirated stuff–on to their computer.  Hell, I once caught one of the office managers installing the newest Microsoft op system, and sure enough–straight outta the black market that shit came.

China is, to put it bluntly, the World’s Knock Off Artists, and people there will pirate every damn thing they can while the government looks the other way.  How bad can it get?  How about 3 fake Apple stores in Kunming?  Oh, did I say 3?  Those are just the ones in Kunming that were shut down.  How about 22 total?  And the ones that were shut down were found to be “trading without a licence.”  Not that they were selling bootleg shit out of a bootleg store.  No.  They didn’t have their paperwork in order.

Of course I could say this is payback for Apple using Foxcomm to make their iPhone, and where the working conditions are so horrible that, recently, over 100 people said “give us our pay or we’re gonna kill ourselves.”  Amazon uses them to make the Kindle as well . . .

Of course, no one does much about China.  They bitch about it, yeah, but they don’t do anything.  Because, in the end, it’s all about money, and it’s easier to look the other way there and continue pandering to 1.3 billion consumers, while busting some 18 year old’s ass over an Adele video on YouTube.

And why would “liberal” Hollywood get behind these bills?  Please.  As I’ve pointed out before, while a fair number of actors and actresses are, by definition, liberal, the people running the studios are all about putting asses in the seats and coin in their pockets, and liberal isn’t something they get behind.  They want to fight the easy fight, and that means they’ve finally gotten tired of having their lawyers chase down some guy who’s set up a Deep Space 9 fan site and are currently threatening to lock their ass up for 20 years if they don’t pull down those pictures of Ben Sisko.  Naw.  Let the government do that for us.  And while they’re at it, just shut down the whole fucking Internet as well, ’cause we know the greatest threat to company profits are those illegal fansites dedicated to getting Kira Nerys and The Intendant together.

If you really want to see how SOPA and PIPA play to the big money players, just look at how lowly writers fair.  A day doesn’t go by when I don’t hear about how Amazon is guilty of allowing plagiarized, or just out-and-out ripped off, ebooks to be sold through their outlet.  And when this is brought to their attention, the attitude is sort of like, “Phuff!  Go away, kid, you’re bothering me.”  This happens a lot with other sites selling, or even giving away, pilfered ebooks, as well.

Sort of the same situation with pirated role playing games, like the ones sold through Drive ThruRPG.  I can find copies of just about every game somewhere on the Internet, and independent developers lose their asses because of this.

Is the government going to step in and shut down a couple of sites because Cubical 7 is getting ripped off?  Is the government going to shut down Amazon if I discover my ebook is being sold under another title by another writer who decided to rob my ass?

Yeah . . . you know the answer to those questions, too, don’t you?

In these times where the debate on corporate money in politics is coming to a head, it’s plainly obvious that SOPA and PIPA is just one more example of how that money is buying the people at the top what they want.  In the end this is about money, but it’s also about control.  It’s all about making more money for the people who already have it, and tightening the noose around everyone else’s neck if they decide to get out of line.

In the end, it’s all about seeing how much longer you’re going to swallow this fucking lie that you’re really free.

Sim Hell

Today was not a good day for writing–well, it was and it wasn’t.  For the most part I’ve doing a lot of editing on my last story, and I’ve cranked through a little over half the scenes and maybe 45% of the story.   (I have one scene coming up that’s 8300 words, and that’s 30% of the story, so I’ve got my work cut out for me.)  The edits are actually fun, because after burning through my story in 22 days I’m surprised to revisit and see where stuff needed to be cut, where stuff needed to be explained . . . for the most part, however, the first draft rocked.

So what did I do today?  Game and worry.

I wrote scenes for a game that I’ve been doing off and on and the scenes took up a lot of time.  Most than I thought they would.  It’s strange how trying to encapsulate some minute event in 100 words or so takes up so much of your time.  And I did a lot of those scenes; maybe 40.  So that’s 3000, 4000 words, and before you know it you’ve got a real story on your hands.  If only I did that for money–

Which brings up the worry: money.  Namely lack there of.  No joke that money is getting very, very tight, and after the end of next month operations cash is a true worry.  Need to make some calls in the next couple of days to see if I can fix that, but . . . I need to find something that’s going to bring in cash.

My mood was not helped by something I read on The Corner, which is pretty Mordor for the Conservative Batshit Insane.  Gee, I was surprised to discover that, according to the writer (who I refuse to name on the grounds dicks don’t deserve press), if I would only stay married, get a degree, work hard, and maybe go to church once in a while I’ll never be poor!

Hummm . . . let me see.  I’ve got a degree in computers and worked in the field for 25 years.  Sure, I’m on a second marriage, but my first one lasted 13 years and my current one is 13 and counting, and my daughter is a straight A student in middle school.  I don’t do church, but I do know the difference between right and wrong–and between the truth and mendacious bullshit.

In short, the “author” (and by that I mean someone who long ago discovered that “gai” is a legitimate adjective) can kiss my shiny white ass.  Try being 50+ in an age where companies view their employees as a necessary evil and are praying for the day when Chinese-style slave labor (only with less suicides because, lets face it, we do have fewer people) becomes the norm.   Anymore I’m all for lining CEOs up along Wall Street and putting them out of our misery.

Am I being mean?  No.  If I was really mean I’d swear a lot more.

And if anything, I’m all about keeping it SFW.

Running Out the Clock

Several months back I did a piece on this blog and sorta said some bad words.  Oops.  Sometimes that happens, you know?  One of the comments I received was, “A true wordsmith doesn’t need to swear to make their point.”  And you might think that’s true–right before I lock your ass in a room with Harlan Ellison and the ghost of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.

So right up front, here’s some wordsmithin’ for you:  fuck you if you don’t like my language.  Are we clear?

Good.  Onward.

I’m out of work.  That’s a fact.  I have been for a more than a couple of years.  And I’m still looking.  I look a lot.  I send out resumes every week.  I no longer keep track of how many I’ve sent out because I don’t collected unemployment and there’s no need, but it’s well over one thousand.

And still nothing.

It’s not because I don’t have “the right stuff”.  I had 25 years in IT before I was laid off.  No, I know a lot of it was my age, which at the time I was laid off was on the low side of 50.  And I know that’s one of the reasons few companies ever looked at me; they saw my date of birth, had someone do the math (’cause most managers are too stupid to do it themselves) and thought, “Holy shit, this guy’s gonna want real money for a salary!”  And they shined me on.

And now there is a new meme going around: companies don’t want to hire the unemployed because they believe they aren’t the “best of the best”, that people like me, the 99ers, were laid off because we were too incompetent to hang onto a job.  And because of that, the common wisdom in the business community (if by wisdom you mean “I got my head so far up my CFO’s ass I saw his wife’s fillings when he kissed her goodbye this morning”) these days is if you’re out of work for more than 6 months, you’re toxic.  You’re gonna bring your stink in the door with you.  You are going to upset the perfect working order of out little empire.

So here I am, 2 1/2 years out of work, not making money doing the writing thing, and very close to running out of cash.  The few times I’ve spoken to headhunters who like my qualifications one of the first statements out of their mouth is that “You’ll be a hard sell because you’ve been out of work so long”.

Here’s my question: since companies think I suck because I’ve been unemployed for so long, what are my options?  What can they tell me and the millions who are unable to secure employment?  What is their solution?

Since they’re not interested in me, what choices do I have?  McJobs?  Even those are difficult to find.  Around where I live the jobs at Walmart and Target and the fast food joints are filled.  I’ve filled out applications to drive a bus; nothing.  Delivery truck.  Nada.  You can’t even dig ditches without a college degree these days.

The more you look, the more business games the system to keep people out of their organizations.  I’ve applied for jobs where there is a list of 9 things a company needs for the person they want to hire, and I’ll hit 8 of them perfectly, and when you get to Numba 9 . . . ooooh, not so much, and that’s the fuck you the throw back in your direction:  “You aren’t perfect, so get lost, loser!”

Yes, I get it.  Companies are interested in generating profits and little else these days, so they can be picky.  Well, amend that: they can be picky because what they really want is a demoralized work force just this side of slave labor.  They’ve seen how well it works in China, where you get your iPhone built in a place where people are so worked into a mumbling depression that one plant had to take steps to keep people from killing themselves.  Can I get that app for my smart phone, by the way?  The one where if I press it enough it makes some poor bastard jump to their death because your buzzing makes some asshole floor go over and yell at them?  Hey, that could give Angry Birds a run for its money!

Here’s what I think, and excuse me for going dark here, but I’m a smart enough guy to figure this out for myself:

American business, as we know it today, wants me to die.

Really, truly, they do.  ‘Cause I’m a drain on society.  I’m beyond being hired for any goddamn jobs they have, so what solution are they offering?  Why, get the hell out of the pool completely.  You’re a bum because you were on unemployment; you can’t find a job because no one wants you; and pretty soon you won’t have any money to be a useful consumer–

So stick a gun in your mouth and remove yourself from out wonderful capitalist paradise.

It’s not really that simple, though, because if you’re going to take yourself out you gotta do it in a way that at least allows you to leave behind whatever meager insurance policies you might still have for you family–whom, by the way, American business don’t give two shits for.  Why should they?  They’re saddled with my incredible losership, so they must not be much beyond personal losership themselves.

Frankly I’ve had it.  I can’t take this “Winner Take Every Goddamn Thing” attitude that companies have these days.  I can’t take their smugness, the asshole management that views their employees as a necessary evil and not a force they should cultivate for the future.  Today it’s about money and little else; hell, the last company I worked for even tried to state in their first “vision statement” that the employees should do everything in the power to make the joint a company the stockholders would be happy to leave their money.  And this wasn’t an idea buried deep in their “values”; this was the second bullet point.  It was right there:  “Build an environment that is desirable for the shareholders”.

Sure thing, Massa.  You want that bale totted where?

Oh, and if you support the people–AKA Republicans, Teabaggers, and the DINOs of every stripe–who allow companies to get away with this shit, I can’t take you, either.

Don’t take this as a cry for help; I’m way beyond that.  I’ll find a way to continue, I can assure you.  But any more I can’t take the bullshit of the people who continue to say that I, and millions others, no longer count.  I have no kind words for these douchebags any longer.  ‘Cause when you’re a dead man walkin’, what have you got to lose?

Watch your asses; I’m liable to go all Travis Bickle on your asses . . . what’s that?

You talkin’ to me?

All Hail the Birthday Girl

Today is my daughter’s birthday, and it is also her last day of school for the 6th Grade.  In a way it’s a very big day for her.  She has entered the last of her twener years–and is looking ahead to her first teen year–and she will be leaving the self-contained coocon that is the 6th Grade, because in her middle school they try to keep the 6th Graders separated from the 7th and 8th Graders to allow them the time to adjust to a much different world.

All this year she’s been a member of the 6th Grade Honors program, which means throughout much of the year she’s been doing math and science at a 7th Grade level.  Not that she’s slacked off on the other classes: she’s had 6 classes every one of her 4 grading periods, and throughout the entire year she has scored A’s in all classes–the only exception being one B in a literature class during the second grading period.

Not too shabby.  Particularly when you consider she did all this while, at various times during the year, as a member of the School’s Spell Bowl, a cello player in the 6th Grade Orchestra, a sprinter in Girl’s Track, and taking taekwondo twice a week and reaching her last belt before moving on to 1st degree black belt.

And all of this is happening at a time when Indiana, like maybe states run by crazy scumbags–I’m sorry, I mean, GOP governors and legislators, are pissing and moaning about how the public school system is broken and is should be replaced with something better–like charter school that are run like businesses and have about as much accountability.

It is no secret that my daughter has an advantage a lot of other students don’t: she’s a member of a special program that sort of sets her apart from others.  But don’t imagine for a moment that she’s going into classes with only a hand full of other students.  I’ve met her teachers and see her classes.  The class load is no different than others, and her teachers aren’t super geniuses who have found a magical way to open up her head and pour in all sorts of magical learning.

And, yes, I have helped monitor her progress.  I have checked her progress online and saw when she was starting to falter and gave her encouragement to help her alone–and, yes, I even bribed her a little with the promise of payment in return for improving her grades.

(And before you get your knickers in a bind, here’s the payment: books.  Whenever she brought her grades up or managed to keep them at the same level, we would head off to the local Barns & Nobles and she would buy her choice of books.  And that was picked because she loves to read.  So there.)

She worked very hard to get to where she’s at this year, and even though there was some involvement on our behalf, really, it’s all on her.

She is a product of the public school system, and I’m proud of them both.

And though it might sound like the school system where I live just rocks to hell and gone, it has problems.  One of the biggest issue here is the age of the schools.  For example: my daughter’s grade school is one of the oldest in our town.  It was original build in the early fifties, and was expanded in the late 1970’s.  It’s class load is actually higher than then average for other elementary schools in the stat.  And it’s very ill-suited for the 21st Century, with tightly packed heavy brick and steel walls making it difficult to wire the building for full wireless use.

School infrastructures fail students.  A lot of the schools where I live were built in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Even the high school, which was built huge to accommodation a growing population, is over 30 years old and starting to show the strain of aging facilities and a large student population.

And yet, going back to my daughter’s elementary school . . . that one is not only considered one of the best in the state, but one of the best in the country.  That probably pisses the hell out of those people in Indiana who probably think the 300 students packed in there should be forced into a non-public environment where they can get a real education.  Sure.  Because we know everything run like a business is an Epic Win every time!

Another thing our system does is keep parents engaged.  We hear from the schools all the time, whether it be through news letters or automated phone messages, the various after school meetings and functions, or thought the various online sites, one which allows parents to monitor their child’s progress online.  Now, I am not a helicopter parent who hovers around making sure my daughter does everything the right way, but I did keep up on her progress, and when I saw she was having issues I helped where needed.  I didn’t do it for her, because by only helping she still learns.

And that’s another important lesson; your kid has to learn on their own.  They have to be shown how to take in the information they are taught and apply it to their work.  ‘Cause if all your kid is going to do is sit around and scratch ass all day and not give a shit, it doesn’t matter if the instructor is Albert Einstein–Little Johnny ain’t gonna lean a damn thing.  And in order for Little Johnny (or Jenny, I’m all for equal opportunity) to figure out how to do this, they need help from the parental units.

But if said parental units are unable to give a shit; unable to get up off their own asses to help where needed; unable to give encouragement where necessary; unable to do anything but piss and moan about how the “teachers ain’t learnin’ Johnny anything!” and how we needs to simple shitcan the public school system and replace it . . . well, folks, to put it bluntly–Little Johnny/Jenny is fucked.

Any time you want to cut funding for school programs that might enlighten your child and stimulate their imagination, you have fucked them.  Any time you take the disingenuous position of the schools have totally failed because your kids spends all their time watching TV and playing video games and you can’t understand why, you have fucked them.  And–a personal peeve of mine–any time you, as a parent, think the most important thing your local school can have is a brand new $30-40 million dollar football stadium–because you view football as a “religion” and see it as the only ticket out of your town–then you have no only fucked Little Johnny/Jenny, you have fucked every kid in your local school system.

You want your kids to find a way out of you town.  Then take that football money and spend it on science and math and literature classes, ’cause your kid has a hell of a lot better shot of getting out of Podunk Shithole, TX, by being a researcher or an engineer or, hell, even as a teacher, than they do as a future quarterback for an NFL team.  (And notice: where football is seen as a way up and out, it’s only for the boys–’cause we all know girls don’t need to be lifted up and out, yeah?)

Like everything else, you only get out of something what you put into the effort.  My daughter has gotten a lot of her school, and she’s told me that next year she wants to forgo Spell Bowl and Track because she wants to concentrate on her school’s Science Olympia program.  As she told me, “Yeah, I’ll have to study for it every day (after school), but on Saturday they let us come in play!”

Sure, they work all week and the school lets them cut loose on the weekend.  Sounds like fun.

And it will be.

What Do You Mean You Haven’t Fixed Our Mess Yet?

Yeah, you gotta hand it to the GOP; they are very skilled at taking bullshit and spinning it into something that approximates gold.  I mean, look back through about 60 years of politics and there they are, talking how the U.S. is gonna become a socialist hellhole if we allow Medicare to continue (something Ronnie Raygun was whoring for Operation Coffee Cup back in 1961) or if we don’t cut taxes for corporations we’ll become a third world country, or how you can just wear a shit-load of sunscreen if the ozone layer is destroyed and all will be cool . . . you get the point: they create such an event horizon of hyperbole that only their crap is able to escape its gravitational effects.

It’s been at its worse for the last 10 years, what with the GOP having been taken over by an unimaginable lineup of bullshit artists who so seem incapable of telling the truth that if they did, they’d need to lie about that fact to anyone they met.  Cut taxes to get more money to the people not making it; getting rid of regulation will turn the country into a fantastic world of free money for all; once you get rid of government you’ll be a totally free man.  It’s all there, man, the whole manifesto.  And the one I’m hearing more these days: Mr. President, you’ve had your chance to fix thing, and you’ve fail.  Now it’s our turn.

Now, hold on there, Hoss, and lets look at this last one–and lets look at it in a way that make more sense from a personal situation.  Lets say you’re in a relationship, and in that relationship your significantly other is sort of–well, when it comes to handling the group finances, they tend not to pay much attention to something known as cash flow.  They tend to take in $1 and spend $10, and sometimes they say, fuck it, whip out the credit card and rack up about $100 in charges for something they really, really need, and when the bill shows up the following month they only pause what they’re doing so they can piss on it before tossing it in the trash.

And this isn’t something they do one month, or two, or six.  Naw.  They keep at it for years, baby.  They live for the idea of “There’s no success like excess”, but they aren’t successful, they’re a fuckin’ looser mess, and they have been since Day One.  But when you try to bring this up, they not only get pissy, but all their friends jump in and call asshole on you for even trying to question your SO’s money management style.  So you let it continue, because if you say a single word, you’re labeled as 20 different kinds of ridiculous, callous bastard who needs to shut up and let your SO do their wonderful thing.

Finally, you get to where you just can’t take it anymore, and you take the debit and credit cards away, you move what little money you have left into another account, you kick your SO’s lying ass from you house–oh, and let there be no doubt, the only way they’ve been able to get as far as they have has been on pure bullshit, enabled 1000% by their friends–gather up all the outstanding bills, and start the slow, painful process of getting your financial house back in order.

If you’ve ever been sunk into a financial hole, you have a pretty good idea how hard it is to get out and back on your feet.  Now, imagine instead of your SO having drained the bank account and running up about 40k on your credit cards, they put your ass about a trillion or two in debt, ran up another $400 billion or so on the cards, cleaned out the bank account and took the silver on their fist-pumping way out the door . . . do you really think you’re gonna fix that shit in a couple of years?

Yeah, you had your chance to fix things, Mr. President.  Now the bullshitters who put us in the goddamn hole want another chance at “fixing things”.  Right.  That’s sort of like Jeffrey Dahmer as your handyman, who a few years back came over to put up some cabinets and, in the process of putting them up rapes, murders and eats your Significant Other–and he’s now knocking on your door saying, “You know, I can clean out your gutters and mow your lawn, and I know we had some unpleasantness in the past, but I assure you, this time around I’ll do the job and totally not knock up your daughter and eat your son”.

And, some idiots will nod and go, “Hey, no problem, Jeff.  Come on it–“.

One doesn’t even need to smell the bullshit swirling around the upcoming cock fight–I mean, presidential election, to know the GOP is so full of shit everyone’s got brown hair . . . go back to the start of our current congress and the GOP House.  Hey, they were going to get jobs going full time, man!  You know it, ’cause if there is anything the GOP is about, it’s jobs–

Only it wasn’t.  Since the first of this screwed up year 2011, they are only about three things:  cuttin’ taxes for their friends–of which you and I aren’t–getting rid of programs they don’t like, and, oh, yeah–making certain that section of the population that’s sportin’ a uterus knows their place, yo.

And what about jobs?  Jobs?  You wanna job?  Fuck you.  We got Chinese to make Nike shoes, so what we need you for?

I know people tend to have such a short attention span that they can’t remember important things like who just won American Idol last week, but, jeez, people–you got bullshitted into economic hell.  Are you really that willing to get bullshitted into believing that the very people who screwed things up in the first place are really gonna fix things?

It really is a good thing I don’t drink early . . . but I might start.

This Isn’t the Future You’re Looking For.

Yeah, yeah, I know all my geek friends are celebrating Star Wars Day today because, I don’t know, there simply aren’t enough ways to fellate George Lucas for bringing a tiny measure of joy into their lives?  Whatever floats the boat, right?  Personally, I prefer getting with some lady friends on International Fetish Day and kicking back for a day of stimulating conversation, but that’s me.

But I have an issue with May 4th being used to pimp some light-weight entertainment that needs no such pimping, ’cause it has a much greater significance for me.  And that’s due to four people and a date.

First off, the date.  May 4th isn’t that big of a deal for me (up to 1970, that is), but the day before, May 3rd, is.  That’s my birthday, and on May 3, 1970, I turned 13.  Yay!  Teenager at last, and right at the end of the Swinging 60’s.  Becoming a teenager is when it all changes, right?  Well, hell, it didn’t change much for me: I was still a book reading geek, and a psychological mess, but now–I was all that and a teenager!  If this had happened 20 years ago, I’d be walking around my high school a few years later wearing a black trench coat and dark sunglasses.  As it happened in the early 1970’s, I was just a mess.

One of the things I did back then, because I was a geek, was keep up on what was going on in the world.  And that meant watching the news.  We didn’t have CNN or MSNBC or Faux Noise to keep us entertained with 24 hours of BS; we had an hour of local news in the morning (I remember it being about 6:30 AM), then another about 4:30 PM, and then 30 minutes at 10 PM, and that was on all three channels plus the local, which was WGN.  And on the major networks we had a half hour of national and world news from 5:30 to 6 PM.  And that was it.  Oh, we also had newspapers and radio, but TV was the shit, kids.

And on my 13th birthday there was a little something going on–it was called protesting the war.  Nixon had order the invasion of Cambodia on April 30th, and unlike today, when a president did something you didn’t like, you started protesting, and that went double if you were in college.  So that weekend (and it was; my birthday was on a Sunday) a number of colleges were pretty much shut down due to protests.  Some of them were pretty bad, though not so bad that you needed, you know, to declare an emergency and do something like, oh, say, call out the National Guard.

However, that’s just what happened in Ohio, at the quiet college town of Kent, Ohio.  The National Guard was called into Kent, Ohio, because . . . well, hey, “radical revolutionaries” were all set to blow up the hell out of the town and college, and only Micheal Bay as the right to blow shit up, right?  It was no big deal: the Guard arrested some people, tear gassed a few more, bayoneted someone . . . on my birthday the Governor of Ohio said the student protesters were un-American, called them dirty revolutionaries, and said their goal was to destroy higher education in Ohio, something the Republicans are in the process of doing all over the country right now.  (Oh, did I go there?  My bad.)  Students were called brown shirts and communist, and the governor did a great job of being pissed off and pounding his desk.

How did the students react?  Protest, mofos, that’s how.  The call went out: on May 4th there would be a huge protest at noon, and when the day rolled around about 2,000 people showed up.  So did the Guard, who said, “Time to go home, kids,” and pressed their point home with a little tear gas.  They fixed bayonets and a group of 77 Guardsmen marched on the group.  This went on for about 20 minutes, at which point the Guardsmen looked like they were marching away, giving a bit of a victory to the protesters.

And then, at 12:24, PM, shit got real.

We know now that an order was given.  We know that once that order was given, Guardsmen turn, took aim and fired their M-1 Garands into the crowd, expending 67 rounds of .30-06 Springfield ammo at a muzzle velocity of 853 meters/second (if you don’t know the math, that’s fast).  13 students “caught rounds” as we like to say, ’cause “were freakin’ shot” doesn’t sound as clinical.

Most of those were wounded.  But “all” ain’t the same as “most”, and when one starts cracking off rounds into a crowd, you gotta expect some, shall we say, “Collateral Damage”.  Here’s how the “collateral damage” stacked up, and since these people weren’t living in the Cyberpunk game world, festooned with shitloads of body armor, it didn’t turn out well:

  • Jeffery Glenn Miller; age 20;  distance 81 m (265 ft); shot through the mouth; killed instantly.
  • Allison B. Krause; age 19; distance 105 m (343 ft); fatal left chest wound; died later that day.
  • William Knox Schroeder; age 19; distance 116 m (382 ft) fatal chest wound; died almost an hour later in a hospital while waiting for surgery.
  • Sandra Lee Scheuer; age 20; distance 120 m (390 ft) fatal neck wound; died a few minutes later from loss of blood.

Needless to say, hearing this put a bit of a spin on my head for some reason.  I didn’t know why, but I know it did.  Now, it didn’t turn me into some crazy, ready-to-toss-bombs freak, but I grew up (was growing up) in a semi-conservative–and dare I say, racist–family, and hearing my parents and grandparent go on about how “those dirty hippie deserved to be killed” didn’t exactly leave me feeling I was among friends.

So I started reading more.  A lot more.  More current affairs books.  More science fiction that had “opinions” (if by “opinions” you mean “I discovered Harlen Ellison”).  I read James Michener’s Kent State: What Happened and Why, about a dozen times in the coming years.  I changed my opinions about the country’s institutions and developed a very healthy distrust of all things to which we’re suppose to “show respect”.

In short, I went my own way.  I didn’t become a crazy radical–okay, maybe crazy, but I already was.  But it turned me away from what I might have been, and help push me towards what I became.

So that’s what May 4th means to me.  And always will.

Oh, and lastly: Fuck Star Wars.  ‘Cause I grew up with real science fiction.

In the Valley of the Ignoramus

I know, I wasn’t going to say anymore . . . but, goddamn folks, sometimes people I know do some dumbass stuff.

With Dead Mass Murderer Dead (Or Not, ‘Cause We Know the President is Likely a Lying Negro) Day just about over, there is still a meme floating around that I’m seeing here and there on Facebook.  Pretty much, “Obama didn’t kill him, a solder–who Obama was debating paying a few weeks ago–killed him.  It’s not a victory for Obama, it’s a victory for AMERICA!”  All one needs do is slap on a “Fuck, yah!” after “AMERICA” and the sweet scent of jingoistic bullshit would be complete.

As I’d already said, yes, the President didn’t stomp on in and kill bin Laden himself; no one is denying that.  But it’s the whole tone that simply pisses me off to no end, because it seems that no matter what happens that might shed the President in any sort of nice light, you’re gonna have haters who will do what they can to piss on the man’s parade.

lets get is straight: it was considered a priority by the administration to smoke bin Laden.  Obama said that during the second debate, and so it came to past.  He authorized the investigation months ago to track the guy down, and when it looked like they had him, gave the green light.  That’s what a leader does; authorize all the way down the line.

But, hey, Bush went off cherry picked bullshit intelligence and his gut and let Mr. Wanted Dead or Alive vanish into Pakistan so he could go “get ” Saddam instead, which he did–at a cost of about half a trillion totally off the books and over 4000 dead.  You know that recession you’ve been living through the last three years?  See, that’s the difference between being a leader and “prezidentin'”, and if you think the later is better, then you should try prying your head from out of your buttocks.

As far as “debatin’ paying the soldiers” a few weeks back . . . people who think that must be as stupid Eric Cantor, who thinks the House GOP can make a bill law if they say it’s law.  The only “debating” about soldiers getting paid came during budget debates–or as I like to call them, Boehner’s Circle Jerks.  You know, the debates that decided Medicare and Planned Parenthood and the NPR were causing the US to sink right into the shitter, but cutting the military budget–now you’re talking sacred cows.

And if you know how the budget is really passed, you’d know the only way Obama would keep a solder from getting paid is if (a) Congress said he could, or (b) he vetoed the budget because it was total bullshit.  And even then the solder is probably going to get paid, because it’s very likely an emergency appropriation would be whistled up and passed to keep the military going.  You know, as Bush did all the time with Iraq: his “I need $80 billion to keep the lights on, gimme the money or the terrorists win” style of prezidentin’.

Lastly: a victory for America?  Hardly.  As long as we’re buying oil from Saudi Arabia–bin Laden’s home, and the center of most of the truly radical Islam in the world today–we’re keeping the radical party going.  Osama’s gone, but other assholes will step up to take his place in time.  Will they be as bad?  One never knows.  It’s the way of the world.

Right now, however, the asshole brigade is out in force here.  If Bush had managed to do something beside blame everything bad that happen to him on someone else, he might have understood the whole concept of “leadership”.  He wasn’t going to do that, though; his whole life had been one of getting by on bullshit and mirrors, and why change once you’re in the Oval Office?

One can imagine, however, how people would have acted had bin Laden been capped before Bush ran the country into the ground and secured his place in history as the worst president ever.  There would have been a huge media show, akin to his “Mission Accomplished” event on the Lincoln, although instead of strutting around in a flight suit so everyone could marvel at the Presidential Codpiece, Bush would have likely had bin Laden’s head on a pike, thrusting it into every camera immortalizing the event, then probably tossed it down a well before muttering, “Get to killin’ in Iraq.  Lets roll”.

People would have ate it up.  Marginalize Bush, the Great Prezidentin’ Killer of The Most Wanted Man Alive?  Not a fucking chance.  And anyone who would have tried to rain on this parade would have gotten a kick in the nuts for their troubles.  Because no one marginalized Junior.  You only did so at your own risk, ’cause such was the power of the 8 year long 2 Minute Hate we lived through.

As I said earlier, there is a segment of this country that will never acknowledge anything the current president does as being “good”.  ‘Cause to do that it to acknowledge he is legitimate, and they just aren’t about to do that.  Because just as they would have splooged red, white and blue for Bush, they are never, ever going to admit that Obama is anything but an interloper.  As said in the TV movie The Man, where James Earl Jones portraied the first black President of the United States, “The White House just ain’t as white as it used to be”.

And really, is there any other reason?

The Chicago Way

Notice a pattern:  pirattes in Somoli take people hostage on a ship, President Obama sends in Navy SEALs to take them out.  Gaddafi is starting shit with his own people, and over the weekend NATO (which is so totally not the U.S.) nearly gets him and kills his son.  And now, the most infamous mass murder ever gets smoked, along with a few others (including one who might be his son) while chillin’ in a walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by a team of Navy SEALs.

The lesson here: don’t fuck with Chicago.

Everyone know the famous exchange from the movie, The Untouchables, about what will happen to someone when they start screwing with a person from the city of Chicago.  And it’s seemed like this whole week has been an example of what happens when you bring a knife to a fight with our sitting president.

Check it out: birther’s keep talkin’ shit, suddenly there’s the long form and the lecture from the pulpit saying those people are idiots, for the rest of you, we got better things to do.  Then there’s the Washington Correspondence’s Dinner, and Obama rips the birther’s very white knight, Donald Trump, a brand new asshole for the world to see.  So how do you finish up your weekend if you’re President Obama?  Hey, I think I’ll send a special forces team into Pakistan and put a cap in bin Laden’s ass.

So they got his ass, confirmed the kill, and now bin Laden sleeps with the fishes.  And it was done quickly–or as quickly as things can happen when you’re lookin’ for someone who managed to bugger the previous dumbasses in power for 8 years and was “allegedly” receiving help from a government who has been labelled from Day One as our main ally in the War on Terra.

And how long before this gets spinned as another whitewash by the Secret Muslim?  There were some people who were trying it last night, but hey, fuck them.  Right now the haters can take a backseat and shut the hell up, ’cause if they hadn’t noticed they’ve been marginalized.  They’ve been told, “We have more important things going on”, and no shit, dudes, that is the case.

So the Chicago Way seems to be the order of the day.  Where Junior got bored going after a guy he’d said we were going to get, “Dead or Alive” (and lets be honest: a living bin Laden was worth a hell of a lot more to Shrub than a dead one, so why bust your ass going after him?), the current president made it a priority to take the son of a bitch out, and he can put another mark on his big List of Things to Do Before I Leave.

This is the way we do things in Chicago, folk.  We might not look like we are doing anything, but things are never what they seem.  We always take care of the important things, and only take time to acknowledge the insignificant bullshit when we realize we now have time to tear it apart and drench it in piss.

That’s how we roll, folks.  Spin it how you like at your own risk.

Leave your Star-Spangled Tights behind on the way out, Immigrant.

Ah, so it’s not enough that we have to argue about Obama’s birth being a fraud, now we got people pissed because Superman, long the epitome of Truth, Justice, and–never forget this part–The American Way, is ditching his U.S. citizenship.  Why?  Because he pissed off the government of Iran, who viewed his “standing around” during a demonstration in Tehran, as U.S. intervention and a possible act of war.  As such, Suppie got pissed that every time he does something it’s viewed as an act by the United States, and said, “Hey, enough of this bullshit,” and said he was revoking his current documented status.

Well, now, most people wouldn’t really give a true rat’s ass about this–after all, Superman ain’t, you know, real.  But you know, there is a certain segment of this country that don’t do real very well, so the idea of Our Favorite Alien Son becoming a citizen of the world is kinda driving them batshit.

Oh, sure, the outcry ain’t on the same level of a Trump or Oliy Taint screaming that we gotta now check Obama’s school records to see how he really got into college, ’cause hell, man, we all know those black guys don’t got the same smarts as all the white guys who earned their way in (like, say, the admission to Yale and Harvard by a notoriousness C Student preznit whose fracturing of the English language were among his more endearing qualities), but it’s there.  Only looked over a couple of boards to see the gnashing of teeth, but it was still good.

It was the libs who did this.  Sure, you know we did.  It was the libs that made Suppie turn his back on “his” country and say, “Screw it, I gotta look at the big picture”.  We have a way of doing that, you know.  Must be something in our genes.

And the rebuttal is amusing, if not down right stupid.  Time after time, as noted, people blamed liberals and their PC World for forcing this.  One assclown said that, “If there were someone like Superman, the counties of the world would bow down to him (and) the UN would be more ineffectual than it is now,” perhape ignoring the notion that America would be one of those nations bowing to the Man of Steel.  But that couldn’t be true, right?  I mean, what American wants to see their country weaker?  Maybe some born a few thousand light years from here?

There were also a few who didn’t like the Red Son story line from 2003, though one said he didn’t mind it because “it wasn’t real”.  Yeah, like the rest of the character?  And thinking back to what the one person said about the nations of the world bowing to Superman–wasn’t that pretty much what happened in Red Son?

(There was another wag who commented, “Next thing they’ll saw Wonder Woman is a lesbian.”  Hummm . . . maybe she’s not swinging Sappho, but apparently this guy forgot about her making all the other Amazons tie her tight with her magic lasso?  How could you forget that?)

Truth be known, if you start looking into Suppie’s past, there’s a bunch of stuff that has been done that doesn’t make him come off in a good light, but few people have commented upon it.  In Frank Miller’s Dark Night series Superman came off as the U.S.’s super whore to Ronnie Raygun’s pimp.  There’s been the instance where Superman has needed to deal with “illegal aliens”–the kind that come from other planets–and is pretty much put out by the effort–even whining about the fact that, sure, he’s an illegal, but his planet was destroyed, what was he suppose to do?  He’s run into crack dealers and shinned them on to someone else to deal with, ’cause, hey, I’m faster than a speeding bullet, ain’t got time for no rock heads.  Really, when it comes right down to it, Superman is kind of a dick.

(And we won’t talk about the time Superman and Batman had a sleep-over at the Fortress of Solitude and ended up crying over tentacle sex.  We just won’t go there–)

At this point it seems like anyone pissed off about this story line didn’t need much provocation to get pissed in the first place.  To them it’s another “water down job” of their past, where superheros refuse to exist in their own little world and are force, by events, to step up and look at the world with a critical eye.  And make an intelligent decision about what to do next.

Sort of like what the people doing the bitching refuse to do on their own.

Madness of the Losers

Yeah, you knew it wasn’t gonna last long.  The president gives up the long form for all the yokels calling for his head, and the next meme takes place: Photoshopped!  Why, of course it was, ’cause we all know by now Obama is not only the ultimate Master of the Universe (unlike that simmering bastard Prescott Bush, who once tried getting some people together to overthrow FDR so they could put a cabal of business leaders in charge of the county), able to pull off the greatest swindle in history, but he’s got some crazy mad Photoshop skillz.  Who knew?

I keep hoping and praying that people in MSM would call out these assholes for what they are: racists.  Yeah, I said it.  Before you get your shorts in a bind look in your heart, ’cause you know this shit to be true.  If not for the half-black guy in the Oval Office, the “birthers” wouldn’t have jack to say . . ..

Although that’s not entirely true, because if Obama weren’t elected, the it would be Hillary sitting in the White House (if you are of the notion that John McCain had a shot, you must be him), and sit back and imagine, if you will, the shit that’d be flying across the airwaves right now.  It wouldn’t be skin color, it’s be her uterus, because the uterus makes women crazy, and having a crazy person in the Oval Office is bad, right?  Oh, and she’s a closeted, murdering lesbian, lets not forget that.  And . . . and just about any repugnant crap you could think of, and some you couldn’t.

No Democrat was going to get elected in 2008 and not suffer the slings and arrows of the illiterate right wing.  But who knew the Republican oxygen stealers would sink this low?  Hummm . . . if you knew anything about the last 30 years, it wasn’t hard to figure out.