Friday, May 28, 2010

And first, they came for him...

This is a political post.

Obama is staring down the field at what is gonna be a long moment in his legacy.

And it's happening in the Gulf.

Not the Arabian Gulf, where we all expected. End the war, troops coming home all that, campaign rah rah rah. No, in the Gulf of Mexico.

The one nobody was looking at until last month.

The Army Corp of Engineers is on the case and I'm waiting to see which Republican is suddenly going to turn against the "troops" now. It's funny how they support the troops but hate the government...basically the same folks. And since short of nukes, there isn't anything the government can do that BP isn't already trying in an effort to cap that hole a mile below the waves, other than it just magically be fixed, what else do they expect the President to do? There is a lot of, oil.. flowing out of that hole and everyday costs BP a few million they could have been doing something else, and in this vengeful political climate, they want to cut their losses as quickly as possible. How much oil, what exactly it's doing to the ocean, how long this is gonna be an issue in the Gulf all need to be explored, then explained. In detail. Truthfully. They might want to get Morgan Freeman or James Earl to narrate the DVD.

And then, at the next phase, the Justice Department needs to, on behalf of the citizens, bring a massive public nuisance case against BP. One of the great folly's of the free market is that you're free to sue to recoup losses, but as most of the people who would sue don't have the pockets deep enough for a lengthy...possibly decades long battle, BP will pay out little or nothing comparatively in restitution. An iffy class action situation would only enrich the attorneys. Which is in my opinion, not good. The age of accountability needs to start here, and now. We won't even discuss how the free market corrupted the administrative agency handling its oversight, which contributed greatly to the basis of this mess. We can discuss the pluses and minuses of the system later.

I watched part of Obama's press conference, I do have chickens to pluck after all, and looking at him, unless he got the questions in advance...and maybe he did, I don't know...he answered the question in an informed, though long winded, but very informed manner. I mean long freaking winded, mentioning names (I swear he kept saying Fat Allen, not Thad), giving fix ideas that had been thrown up and discarded, talking like someone who was actively involved. He even, as is becoming his trademark, tried to personalize it by saying even his kids had checked him on it.

When the reporter questioned him if they were really doing everything they could, giving examples of international help we hadn't accepted, Obama explained the whole process, in effect saying that much like crowding 50 people around to dig a six foot grave, sometimes everybody doesn't need to show up at once. He owned up to his statements from before this happened about oil drilling, and admitted he was wrong - something our former President couldn't do - about some of his beliefs. He answered some terrorist and immigration issue questions out of left field without blinking. Then he said in the end, the whole thing is his responsibility, and pretty much nobody would be happy until it was fixed. And he did it for thirty minutes or more without a teleprompter! (they were in retract mode, check the tape!)

Not a horrible press conference, but then you really don't want to have to even hold these. And they did it in one of the big rooms of the White House proper, not in that little press room off the West Wing, so you know it was important.

Now, and this is the important part. Bush found this out and Obama is about to as well. If you're going to tell the story, make sure the facts back you up. As Bush found out, a great tale doesn't work if the "facts are biased against the chosen reality".

Oh yeah, and I think he's coloring his hair. Where did the grey go?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Somebody's got a Tiger in their sights

Ramblings Post #103
Sometimes, I amaze myself. Not that time I really thought I could make the jump at 13 and cracked up my bike, not that time I asked that girl to dance right before she threw up on me, or even that time I decided not take that trip and everybody who went had the time of their lives. I mean surprise myself in a good way. Hey, it happens!

A little over six months ago, I suggested on this blog Tiger Woods to get his checkbook out immediately. He had a pre-nup that promised her twenty million and I said he should be generous and double that, generous custody of the kids and all the property she wants.

Now she wants $750 million.

Who is advising him? I mean, somebody call him and tell him to call me...her folks about to have him ass up face down.

In my mind, I can't justify this. Just like Juanita Jordon never put up a jump shot, Elin never swung a club. Okay, that night she swung a club upside his head, but she never sank a putt worth a damn. But at least Juanita was there from the beginning, helping Micheal Jordan become Micheal Jordan brand, this blond chick signed on after the Tiger Train had already left the station. Considering the image he portrayed contrasted against who he really was, in reality she was essentially a hired Woods Corp employee, a rented womb. Let's be real.

Really? She had to be blond? Does he know how crazy the media gets when something happens to a blond?

Worse, some women I heard today feel she deserves it for JUST getting cheated on. I know cheating is a touchy issue, but damn! Um, there are people who get actually hurt by companies who have more resources than Tiger, who with end up with life long, debilitating, disfiguring injuries that will leave them in pain for the next 30 years, and they wouldn't get this kinda money. And she's asking for it for getting her feelings hurt? By actions that in the current day and age and modern media make her the heroic victim, and and don't diminish her, but help her personal brand. She went from doting wife to household name because of this. And she wants it all?

Kiss my ass.

Look, I could see 60 million, and them kids will never be hungry a day in their life. They'd live better than 99% of the people on this earth. Her demand is just anger and pain talking here, and it is despicable.

The real sad part is, she'll probably get most of it. And alimony. For being a "little" freaking embarrassed.

Barkeep, something cool and slippery. Hey, can you make a chocolate shake?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Let me get out of your way

Ramblings Post #102
I remember this time in St. Louis, at 3am in a bathroom in an all night restroom...this guy stopped me and my buddy and talked to us for 10 minutes about a charity boxing match he'd been roped into. Another time, I found myself at Northwestern University on a Friday night in a huge crowd waving at the only other black person I'd seen in 20 minutes. There are odd moments in life. Strange.


Here at the "chicken plucking" & ping pong factory and our working spaces aren't too far from one another. So occasionally I'll overhear a conversation taking place, oh, five feet away, that I not only probably should not have overheard moreover I really had no desire to. One such conversation occurred today. Again.

A quick bit of background:

Two guys I work in fairly close proximity to hang out together. One of them is a recovering neurotic [as in was institutionalized neurotic] and the other is a role playing card game aficionado. Let's call them the Blu and Poppi, because the first draft called them Bluto and Popeye, and that got boring and visually jarring after a quick minute. And I'm feeling frisky. Blu is the one still under doctor's care, and Poppi - whom I worked in proximity to for some time - used to give me ideas from his life for that long forgotten script gathering virtual dust on a USB drive somewhere.

Blu scares me. He's a fairly nice guy most of the time, but he really kind of reminds me of Alan in the Hangover, he's there and its cool and then....zing... just a bit too far. You want to say something, but your not sure what. Poppi on the other hand is a well, you want to help kind of way. Which kinda makes them halfway perfect to pal around with. They go to the Comic Book shows, and comic book oriented movies, parties and play the online games, etc . Your basic geek buddy-palship. Which is cool, right.

Well anyway for the past few weeks, Poppi has been relating how as of late, Blu has been making him uncomfortable with some his innuendo and jokes. After he described them to me I joked that maybe he wasn't aware of it, but from his telling of the tale, it would be fairly obvious to anyone listening that he and Blu were dating...and as it turned out he was the woman. Which I and a few co-workers thought was funny. Theoretically, Poppi is supposed to be heterosexual. At least I assume so. He does show an interest in women, and there are times I when I over hear him talking to a woman and I have to look over to make sure he really still is at work. He sounds great, but then nothing happens.

So today, I'm neck deep in feathers plucking chickens when I hear this line....

"I don't know what to say to you, that you can fix, so that it will be all better and we will be alright again." It's Poppi and he sounds a little sad.

I wasn't paying attention before then, I was actually "working" and so I'm thinking Poppi is talking to one of the many women he flirts with, but doesn't follow through on. I mean, reasonable to assume, we all have moments at work where personal situations just can't be avoided, which is why everyone in your office might now know your private nickname for partner's woohoo. It's cool. He's having a moment. That is until...

"I'm not sure what you mean." That would be Blu responding.

I peer up over the edge of my workspace and it looks like THEY are having a real moment. A weird moment, but a moment nonetheless.


Poppi mentions some comments Blu made about "putting him to bed", the treatment Poppi got from Blu for being busy one weekend and a few other lines that made me uncomfortable just listening. Right about then I remember that Poppi is a brave man, considering Blu once came to my desk frantically before he realized the music was coming from my speakers and not his own head. Which apparently was possibility. Really.

Normally I'd put on my headphones, duck my head and let it all go. Instead, I'm up and out of my seat in a flash, to the other end of the floor where I take a quick breath and wait until they have to get back to work - approximately twelve feet away from another. With me in-between.

Tomorrow promises to be exciting.

Barkeep, a B-12 shot and Red Bull. I might need wings tomorrow.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lost (As required by Internet Rule #47854b)

Ramblings Post #101
I don't watch as much TV as I used to. I have a job, take classes, study, and for the hundred some odd channels I have on my satellite, there surely is very little worth settling in and paying attention for an hour or so. And that's coming from a man who sat through a whole episode of E!'s the Soup on multiple occasions, and watched Tosh.O not because I couldn't find the remote. That said, I have a television confession to make.

I never watched Lost.

I think I watched a part of the first episode, and then maybe a part of an episode where they went back to the first episode where this time you saw the plane split in half from the outside, and then a part of an episode where some folks had made it off the island. Oh, and one where some folks were in a cage, maybe 5 minutes or so. That's about it. The rest I discerned through fanboy articles and attempts to recap the story beast that more and more I think was written on the fly by guys on 'shrooms. .

I never really liked Lost for that reason, that it looked like it was written on the fly. I don't mind the 'shrooms.

I only found out reading the recaps that there are some crazy numbers, a nuke went off, the immortal guy died, and that they're now time travelers or alternate worlders or something which makes me ever more certain that the writing group really is a group of manatees in a tank somewhere pushing balls with words on them into a bucket. It wasn't the kind of story you could tune in one week and pick it up, you had to watch every slow motion. Two or three times. Which made me wonder how it stayed on the air.

I actually like a lot of science fiction/fantasy/alternate reality stuff and I didn't like this. I realize that television is a odd medium, you don't really know if you're coming back the next season or what actor is going to balk so you tell the story in quirky chunks. I personally prefer a more complete tale..I liked Babylon 5 - where they admitted they had the entire story written before hand - more than the redux of Battlestar Galactica - where at times it looked like they found out they weren't being canceled so they have a big meeting and decide what to do next. I like good story telling, and I didn't think this was it.

I don't know who these people are...

Today, I looked at the National Post's Lost app, and the sheer number of characters is ridiculous, and the number those now dead is even more insane. I haven't seen this many characters developed then bumped off ever. The body count reads like a Rambo movie, only there I believe they're listed in the credits as "dead guy 1" and "dead guy 2" and don't get speaking roles, unless you count screaming to death. I'm going to generously attribute that to actors always looking for the bigger better deal and drunken story writers, and maybe at some point someone will write it all down in novel form so I can read it start to finish so I can see the big picture, but I doubt it. It doesn't look to me like a story for that particular medium.

There are fanferific message boards, mash-ups, multiple maps and time would think it was Star Wars or Lord of the Rings or something.

Now I hear they're going to simulcast it around the world, so there are no spoilers. So folks in England have to get up 5am to watch. That, and I heard that the producers really really admired the ending of the Sopranos.


At whatever time it comes on where I'm at, I'm hoping that I'm busy doing something else.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cooking tips and other lost art forms

Ramblings Post #100
Sporty is in the home stretch, and in less than two weeks her project will officially be off the ground and running. Until then she's needing to stretch a few bucks, and since the woman don't cook, I put together a few tips to help her out. She's quick study. She'll get it.

You aren't really struggling if you don't have a five pound bag of potatoes in your house and have started to dread the smell of french fries. I've made ramen noodles every way they can be made, and probably a few ways they shouldn't have, learned the value of buying seasonings when times are good, and only just got out of the habit of buying groceries on payday when I realized I was never going to eat all the food already in my freezer. Ever.

So you need to stretch a few bucks to cover a few meals? Well, let's look at chicken....a meal for the ages.

You will need:
One pack of chicken (three breasts) - about $9
One packet of store brand gravy - about $1
Whatever seasonings you already own - about free

Heat your oven to about 400 degrees. Clean the chicken and season with whatever you have - a little salt, some pepper, garlic if you have it, I think everyone in America is legally required to have one can of "old bay" - which you can sprinkle on, just use whatever you got. I once seasoned a chicken with orange juice, okay?. Put the chicken in a baking dish, and put a little water on the bottom. Put in oven.
Tenderize how you choose. Just sayin'

Wait about 30 minutes or so.

Mix up your packet of store brand gravy and water, and heat it up in a small pan. It should get thicker in about a minute or two. When you pull the chicken out, cut it up into smaller portions, then pour this gravy over the chicken. Most people are surprised, but chicken by itself tastes less like chicken than say, something that's supposed to taste like chicken. This gravy is for flavor. Yes, you are putting chicken flavoring on chicken, to make it taste more like chicken. Don't think about it. Put the chicken back in the oven and let it cook for another 5 or 10 minutes, cooking in the gravy. Pull it out, salt and pepper to taste. Put it in the fridge to keep, you got about three or four days.

Now. What is that good for?

With some boil in a bag rice ($2) you got chicken and rice. With some bread ($2), you got chicken sandwiches. With some vegetables you got chicken and veggies. Chicken and stove top stuffing ($2). Chicken and um, did I say rice? If you don't mix the chicken, but only add it as you make the meal, it maintains it's versatility. I have a friend, if you got to his house to eat with the family and you have a choice of the chicken, the chicken, or if he's feeling the culinary adventure, the chicken! Those kid's taste buds are going to explode when they finally get their first piece of bacon. Maybe some fish, but mostly chicken, so repetition can be okay if you're willing to use a little imagination. Wing sauce?

But I digress. So for about $15, you got eats for three or four days, with variety.

This works with pork too, but I wouldn't suggest the chicken gravy. Believe it or not, pork actually tastes like pork.

Try a pork tenderloin ($9) on or about 400 degrees for about 25 minutes in a shallow pan, then take it out and cut it into slices about finger width. Then lay out the slices and put it back in the oven for another 5 or 10 minutes. Sometimes I'll add barbecue sauce on half or some other sauce, and with a knife and some veggies ($1) and oil (jeez, you got oil) you can make a little stir-fry, some boil in a bag rice or again the with bread you already paid for, sandwiches.

So for less than $30 you got a weeks worth of eats, you just gotta get used to leftovers. And if it starts getting old, you hit a dollar menu somewhere.
But wait! There's more!

5 fairly large potatoes - about $5
1 roll of store brand foil - about $1
1 tub of butter - about $1
1 packet of cheese (optional) - about $3
1 thing of bacon bits - about $3

And just like that, loaded baked potatoes! Use the fork to poke holes in the potato before cooking, slather up the potato with a little oil water and salt, and pop them in the oven on - you guessed it - about 400 degrees for about an hour.

> or as my Mom discovered, wrapped in a few layers of cling wrap ($2) stick them in the microwave for 7 minutes.

Looks good, don't it?

Then remove, add the butter, the cheese and a splash of bacon bits and salt, and whammo...loaded baked potato! As a straight back up, and it will cover 5 good meals.

So, let's see...You got chicken, pork and baked potatoes, almost 13 or 14 meals...and you ain't even spent $40. Okay my math might be off a bit, but you see what I'm saying.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

PSA - The Era of Self Absorption

Ramblings Post #99
I've begun to wonder about the universe, why it's here, who made it, if they're happy with their creation, if they kept the receipt. It's a funny world, with a funny way of looking of things, and everyday it gets maybe a little funnier. One day I hope I'll get the joke.

Thank God I for the most part write the blog as a form of personal therapy, by putting virtual pen to virtual paper and giving non real concrete terms to only mental envisions, because in this age this new age, this "age of self absorption" nobody is watching. If I was hoping for a crowd, I'd be halfway through the sheet cake, have downed all the brown liquor and feeling a little guilty.

There was a time I guess, where there fewer places to focus our attentions. When I was kid, deep down in the country we had five channels. One was public broadcasting, another the Christian channel, and of course the three major networks. That was it. And in the era, when someone spoke people listened because they had no choice really. It was this or nothing.

Cable was the first crack in the dam.

When we first got cable, I marveled, yes, marveled at the channels available. We had a box that sat on top of the TV in the living room, with switches on the top and dial on the side for fine tuning. And it was amazing. But what it did was make us all stop watching the same shows. I remember I heard on TV once, when a character from the country lamented she wouldn't fit in with more urban students at her new college, whereupon her brother quipped "You know them, you were all raised by the same television." Alas, that was no more.

I remember watching MTV, waiting for the one rap video that they would play in the hour. But the watch it, I had to sit through the rock groups, the power ballads and other things...all of which I grew to appreciate over time. It broadened me to a great degree. Even if I didn't like the band, I could explain why. Because of the format, you ended up listening to and sometimes even appreciating a little bit of everything. Today, there are channels or at least shows which only play only urban music, or only country music, or whatever special genre they can get away with, which I think harms the minds of kids who are missing something common upon which they can go forth and build an understanding.

The internet wrecked the dam and still ravaging the countryside, drowning us all in self absorption and the idea that we are somehow all important.

Think Twitter.

I mean really, what I'm doing all day, in 140 character bursts? Really?

This page is linked to my Facebook, and yet I doubt five of my "Facebook friends" have been here. I joined a little blogging forum, Blog-catalog, and most of the posts I get wait, let me rephrase....95% of the posts I get from there are people busy trying to drive viewers to their sites. There is no: let me see what you have and if it looks interesting I'll follow. Its usually "I looked at your blog" of which there is NEVER any evidence, and a quick jump back to themselves. I realize I'm not discussing politics or sex - the two big topics of, well, always, but I thought my story might pique someone's interest. Maybe. [ In the interest of full disclosure, I personally follow a blog chronicling the tales of a young girl from NY, one that covered the first 100 days of marriage until it ended, and one other one - but she's been posting infrequently lately. And I post comments! ] Everyone on the internet is starring in the movie of their life, and don't have time to watch yours.

Which is kinda sad.

It sounds kinda sappy, but I think the world would be a better place if we all stopped being so self absorbed and paid attention to other people for like 15 minutes a day. Or a week. Try a week first.

Barkeep - I've gone through all the brown, what you got in a red wine?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

And Now? Well, now we wait.

And with that, it's done. And unlike my tech tests, where when you confirm you are finished you get the grades instantly, it takes a lot longer in law school. Like a month.

So we wait.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Waiting on the whistle to start the game...

Ramblings Post #98
I've come to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and I'm all out of bubblegum.

It's been a minute. I'm taking a moment now just to steady my nerves.

I've been neck deep in the study and trying to pull it all together after another semester in the Looney Bin, no time to blog. Around this time every year the lament of "Why did I decide to go to law school again?" rings in the halls as we all stare down the barrel of that single test that will determine if the last few months have all been for naught. Oh joy. I've done one, this one here and one more to go.

I wistfully remember those days when at the end of a semester a professor would tell you "Hey, you already got an A in this class, you don't have to take the final". What happened to those days? I mean really what was wrong with that?

I say this because I don't test well in law school. Law is about writing in a particular style, using particular tools. Well, as a creative writer, guess who occasionally will try to inject something new into the discussion? Note, the law doesn't really like new. I do a lot better on short answer, no chance to get fancy tests than long discussions that let me draw out (in error) some kind of storyline.

But we're here. This test is open book, open notes, open everything. Which means it can be anything.

I've got a 42 page outline. The text book. Three study guides. Copies of a diagram from a fourth study guide. I've been reading for three days. Okay two and half, I slept most of yesterday.

I'm a little scared. Make or break semester here.

Barkeep. Liquid courage. With a shot of smarts.