Friday, April 29, 2011

Let's Call Them "After-Birthers" Now*...

One post over at the Great Orange Satan got my attention tonight. It concerns Karl Rove's contention that Obama suckered Republicans into becoming birthers. Oh, Lord, here we go. I suppose Hillary Clinton suckered Republicans into believing she murdered Vince Foster, too. Get the fuck outta here, Rove. Why anybody ever thought this clown was a political genius, I'll never know. He did one thing very well over the years, and that was using the power of advertising to turn his political opponents' strengths into weaknesses in order to make George W. Bush look good. Rove may be Bush's brain, but he doesn't seem to know jack about anything beyond Bush. That ain't genius, it's fixation.

As for why Obama didn't release his birth certificate earlier? Um... he did. In 2008. While he was running for president. John Cole has already covered this nicely.

And as for Obama's reluctant participation in this birther nonsense? As he said, he has better things to do than address this ridiculous non-issue of where he was born, and he only did so to demonstrate that point. Sounds like a clear-cut answer to me.

So then, Donald Trump, as if to prove Obama's point that it's time to get serious and we don't have time to give this birther nonsense any more attention, goes ahead and draws more attention to it. "Why didn't Obama do this sooner?" "We need to examine it to prove it's authentic." "Yeah, I know we need to get serious, but I'm a publicity whore and a natural-born grifter with boatloads of money and a big fucking yap, I just can't help myself."

Of course, this issue will drag on... and on... and on.

Gonna be a long eighteen months...

* * *

{*: I don't know who came up with "after-birther," but I first saw it at Digby's place. It's priceless...}

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good... To An Extent...

I stumbled across some good political news tonight. You know how some progressives thought it would be a wonderful idea to pit Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders against Obama in the primaries next year? Well, check out the Sanders For President web site.

One less thing for Democrats to worry about next year.

I dealt with this subject over at skippy's place a couple weeks ago, making my case why I thought drafting Bernie Sanders was a bad idea. On one hand, I really hate finding myself at odds with my co-contributors there, my allies, and that has happened more times than I care to remember -- two weeks ago, it was George over Sen. Sanders, and now Mahakal and I are going at each other, starting with our differing opinions on Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and me going through the roof when he called me blind and suggested that I was a right-winger. Common sense tells me to just stay away from skippy's place from now on, and yet I keep going right back to it. I guess some part of me enjoys the abuse.

But on the other hand, Sanders deciding not to run for president is one of those little things that makes me want to keep blogging. Once in a while, things go my way. That, and I've managed to find an approach to this medium that is more user-friendly and satisfying, especially when it comes to politics, than the old way. One simple adjustment was all it took: I stopped looking at what I thought ought to be, and started concentrating on what is -- or, as I like to phrase it, logistics first, strategy later. This is why I think I fail to make the grade as a progressive, or what passes for one these days. Progressives have plenty of good ideas, and obviously they know what they want. But their main problem seems to be, if not knowing how to go about getting what they want, then letting their faith in their ideals cripple whatever chance they have of getting what they want -- whatever chance they have of turning what they think ought to be into what is.

And they keep making this mistake over and over. This time, it was the Draft Sanders nonsense. The time before that, it was opposing the health care reform bill because it didn't contain a public option. Fortunately, progressives came to their senses while there was still time back then, once they realized that if it failed this time around, it might be another generation before they had a real shot at reforming health care. The votes needed for the public option did not exist in Congress -- hence, no public option. Logistics first, strategy later. The bill that got signed into law is a goddamned mess, no question, but at least there's something in place that can potentially be debugged as time goes by -- that's better than nothing. But this time around, it took a sitting senator to bring progressives back to earth.

That's the part that worries me, knowing full well that somewhere down the road, something else is going to happen that will rile up the progressive bloc, and thus threaten to ball matters up all over again. Because these folks never seem to learn from their mistakes. I don't know if I have the stomach -- or, for that matter, the sphincter -- for the next eighteen months. If it was just the Tea Partiers I had to contend with, I wouldn't mind -- I can focus on and confront one political enemy. But when there are progressive clowns to the left of me and Tea Party jokers to the right?

Well, I'm a logistics man now. I don't like what I'm seeing here...

I Saw Jesus Dying...

And it didn't change a thing.


Thank you, BadTux. You said it all.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hurry On Sundown...

See what tomorrow brings:


Enjoy...

That Is Truly Spooky...

I've been on this Hawkwind kick lately. I don't know why, but I'm glad I'm on it, because I'm finding some songs of theirs that are blowing my mind right now. Case in Point: "Hassan I Sahba." It came out in 1977. Hassan I Sabha was the founder of a group known as the Hashashin in eleventh century Persia -- or, as they are sometimes referred to, the Order of Assassins. They are often credited as being the father of all terrorist outfits. The song came on the heels of the Red Army Brigade (aka the Baader-Meinhof) atrocities in the mid-70s, and then-Hawkwind frontman Bob Calvert just happened to be sympathetic to this sort of lunacy. If that were all, I would just dismiss Calvert as being a Far Left head case who belonged in a rubber room, and move on without giving him a second thought.

But a large portion of the lyrics to "Hassan I Sabha" is devoted to both the West's addiction to oil and the Islamic true believer's conviction that infidels deserve to die -- and, should the true believer become a martyr, that he will be rewarded with "a thousand and one nights in the perfumed gardens of delight."

Oh, and the words "Black September" are repeated several times in this song as well. 9-11, anyone? War for cheap oil? Death to infidels? All the virgins you want beyond this mortal coil? I was listening to this song for the first time earlier tonight, and the similarities between what Calvert was singing back in '77 and what has happened since are quite disturbing to me...




That's fucked up.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Oh... All Right...

I read two startling things on two different blogs tonight that either killed something inside of me or awakened something within me. As yet, I can't tell what happened.

This much I do know: from here on out, I'm on my own.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thank Goodness...

There were no problems with the plate processor today. Everything worked as they should.

All the same, I could use a vacation...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Okay, Back To The Medley...

Nothing really new going on around here. I did get a membership subscription to the game site Pogo, but that's all. Forty bucks for one year, but I'm definitely getting my money's worth -- some of their members-only games are addictive. Pogo also has online versions of a number of the games I loved playing when I was kid -- Boggle, Monopoly, Scrabble, and Risk, to name some. Hell, I forgot all about Risk until I found it at Pogo. Back when I had roommates, we'd call up a few friends on a Sunday and we'd play that game all afternoon.

So that's how I've spent some of my evenings after I get home from work but before I go to bed. My work hours are odd, running around 10:30AM to 7:30PM, and there really isn't much else to do in my neighborhood by the time I get home. At some point later this year, I'll be moving. But for now, this is how it goes...

* * *

Speaking of work, I have no idea what I'm going to walk into tomorrow morning, but there's a chance it won't be good. Before I went home for the night, I did some routine maintenance on the plate processor -- changing a filter, draining the plate developer, cleaning that part of the machine out, and putting fresh developer in. I've done this a dozen times or more, and nothing went wrong. But tonight, there was a leak in the system -- and by the time I found it, I'd lost probably fifteen liters of fresh chemicals.

At least, I think I found it. It wasn't completely plugged up by the time I left, but it was close. The loss rate was approximately one drip every twenty seconds, then every twenty-five seconds, nothing serious -- the problem seemed to be resolving itself. I put everything back together, talked to my department head over the phone just so he'd have a heads-up in the morning, and at the time, I thought we'd be all right, since I intended to give the matter a second look when I punched back in.

But when I got home, I thought of something else, and I was like, "Oh, shit." You see, I don't have my own transportation, so I couldn't just turn around and go back to work -- a problem that will be fully addressed when I move later this year. I forgot to do one thing in the routine maintenance process, which may or may not come back to bite me in the ass. I don't know yet. I'll know it if someone walks in and finds developer all over the floor, though.

Basically, it all comes down to one O-ring that has a habit of slipping out of place. If that O-ring isn't where it's supposed to be right now, I'm very likely fucked...

* * *

Forget everything I just said. I called the print shop up, got the shipping guy, and had him check the plate room. Everything is fine. No leaks, no problems.

That is a major relief, believe me.

I'm still double-checking everything tomorrow, but damn, that was scary for a moment...

* * *

We need a video clip. Here's XTC, one of my all-time favorites, doing "Playground":


Enjoy...

* * *

I'm spent. You can probably see why. Til further on...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

This Is Almost Too Funny...

This has already made the rounds on the Internets, but I thought I'd toss it out here anyway. I used to watch Family Feud back when Richard Dawson was the host. The current host is Steve Harvey, one of the Original Kings of Comedy. And this show was never this funny when I was watching it. This is fucking hysterical...


Enjoy...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Weekend Randomness...

We had hail this afternoon. For about three minutes. At first, I was like, "Get a load of this." But then I remembered the day I moved into my first apartment in Virginia. We had hail that day, too -- and if I remember correctly, tornado warnings, if not actual tornados. It was kind of wild to me -- the hail then was a lot worse than what we had today. And this was in April 1998. So it's not all that unusual to see this here, I suppose.

But when I think of how cold and snowy these last two winters down here have been -- really, they were on a par with your average central New England winter -- I can't help wondering how much of this is due to global warming. Just because the planet is getting a little warmer overall doesn't mean it's not going to get colder than usual in places you wouldn't expect it to. A conservative friend of mine asked me what I now thought about global warming during the previous winter, after we'd been hit with a couple of good-sized weekend snowstorms. Then the summer came around, and it was brutally hot and humid the whole time.

During which, my conservative friend said not a word about global warming...

* * *

My voice is returning to it normal pitch now. I still have a liter of snot in my sinuses -- and it's annoying as hell. But whatever this is, I'm gradually getting over it. Very gradually.

I'm suspecting, though, that this may be a work-related issue. There are six people who work in the pre-press room five days a week, and to differing degrees, all six of us have this problem. And then there's the plate room, where I spend most of my time at work. I've been burning about 90 percent of the plates for that print shop for a year now, and there's something about that room that isn't quite right. It's the only room there that stays at the same temperature year-round, for one thing -- mid- to high-70s. For another thing, the lights are orange rather than white, since the plates we use are ultra-sensitive to white light, and I swear, working under those lights for hours on end month after month has rendered my eyes a little too sensitive to sunlight for my own good -- I often wear sunglasses when I'm out and about, even when the sky is completely gray. The lights in my apartment are 60-watt at the brightest.

And a third this may be the chemicals we use for the plate processor. We do the whole MSDS thing, I know how it works and how to read the labels, and I know how to handle the chemicals properly. All the same, my exposure to them is probably greater than that of everyone else at the plant combined. I think back to the first week I worked at that plant, essentially cleaning parts of the press I was assigned to because it had yet to be reassembled after being taken apart in the previous building it was housed in and transported to the place it's in now. Those chemicals I used were overwhelming -- I got off for the week early Saturday morning, and come Sunday, I was coughing up a little blood. I'm not coughing up blood now. But I'm coughing hard enough to wonder what the hell is going on...

* * *

Sometimes, I forget to wear earplugs when I'm working with the plate processor. I always wore them when I worked in the pressroom -- those machines can get pretty loud when they're running 500, 600 feet per minute. The processor is not that loud. But after a few hours with no earplugs and listening to the noises it does generate, I start getting this odd tension in my head. It doesn't hurt, or affect my motor skills, but I do have to get out of that plate room for a while just to try and dissipate it. I take dinner breaks a lot of the times this happens.

It seems my hearing is getting more sensitive to noise, much the same way my eyes are getting more sensitive to white light. I occasionally wear foam earplugs to bed. Lots of people these days seem to be terrified of silence. Not me -- I grab it whenever I can get it, fuck all this noise. Sometimes, the best part of my day is when I'm lying in bed for the night, earplugs in, eyes closed, room completely dark, when all I can hear is my own breathing and heartbeat, and I feel myself drifting away until I have to come back in the morning. It's rather peaceful and enjoyable.

And I'd have more of these pleasant nights if it wasn't for the neighbors who seem to be afraid of silence...

* * *

Not that it's silent in my apartment at the moment -- I've hooked my CD player up to my keyboard amp, popped Naveed by Our Lady Peace in, and set it on shuffle. Not too loud. Just loud enough to drown out the leather-lunged ramblings of the next-door neighbor who has friends over and a few drinks in her this Saturday night. I'm not mad or anything -- it's Saturday night, you gotta have some fun sometime. But damn, woman, you sound like Monique on angeldust tonight! I can't handle that right now, so I'm playing some music...

* * *

Now I've got Throwing Copper by Live playing. And the selected song is "Lightning Crashes." Which is one of my top ten favorites of all time. This calls for some YooToobery...


My favorite songs tend to be the long or longish ones that start off quiet and slowly build up to a crescendo -- what I like to call the Led Zeppelin approach to songwriting, because Led Zeppelin did that better than any other rock band ever will. (That's why "Stairway To Heaven" will always be the number one rock 'n roll song of all time.) I love songs like this to no end. It's like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Or an ugly duckling turning into a swan. Or rain creating a rainbow. It's... just... beautiful...

Friday, April 1, 2011

I Wonder If This Is Short-term, Long-term, Or Permanent...

I'm definitely getting over this cold, or whatever the hell it is, that's been plaguing me for some nine or ten days. I'm down from spitting out about three liters of snot a day down to one liter, I guess. But it seems that my regular speaking voice has dropped some seven or eight half-tones from where it was a couple weeks ago. It's deeper and a wee bit quieter now. I've always had a quiet voice, but I'm still noticing a change. I don't know what this signifies.

It's weird. I don't mind the change, and I'm not feeling any pain. But I've pretty much gone from a baritone to a bass overnight. What does that mean?