Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We 'bout to get Turnt Up! (Within Reason)

Ramblings Post #248
You can tell all my pets, and all my Harlem coquettes, that Mr. Otis regrets, that he won't be around. You can tell the mailman not to call, I ain't coming home until the fall, I might not get back home at all, 'cause Lulu's back in town.

We been getting Turnt up! Where you been?
It's NYE 201... do you say last year or the next year? NYE 2014, yeah, works for me.

All them lies you meant to tell this year become null and void at midnight, so I suggest you speak fast. I got a bottle for party, some Pineapple Orange juice for the ladies, and half gallon of ice tea for me. I been down this road before and I thinks I know the turns. It was gonna be home with a strong drink and cheap cigar...but when opportunity presents itself.

It's a been a long strange year, one I hope to not have to repeat. Yes, I realize technically I can never actually repeat this actual year, but you get my drift...circumstances man, circumstances. If you're going out, stay safe, if you're staying in...hey, this blog is a fairly good read, goes back while. Heck, you can even leave a comment. Pop some popcorn and tell me what I should have done. Write me a poem. A dirty limerick. I even accept pictures of kittens.

In any case, I'm headed to the turn up...see ya next year! (Ha, I said it first!)

Barkeep, start me with the Buffalo Trace in the first two, then it's all sweet tea for me..

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Once again it's....oh, my back!

Ramblings Post #247
There is a theory, that one day, if things happen like in the movies, someone will invent a time machine and go back and change everything so that the world is a better place. There is another theory that this has already happened, and how you remember history IS the good version. I should also take a moment to point out that time travel pretty much is impossible, planets moving, starts moving, excetra. Please, continue as you were.

You can't really ever go home again. You can visit the house you grew up in, and roam the same streets but it will never be like when you were a kid, when the streets were more magical than treacherous, and the house was peopled by your parents, who in your mind you thought could protect you from everything. And just like you can just go home again, you also can't just be "on" again. Oh, no, no you cannot.

You see, last night my RP threw what used to be the annual end of the year party, an informal extended drop-in with food, drinks and fun for all. Because he's got a kid now his place was out of the question, so we had the joint at another friend's house not too far away. Well, not too far away on a map. In reality, I made two turns and I may as well of been in the wilds of Mississippi. It just felt far! Nice house though.

We hadn't done it in a while so it was a slow start crowd wise, but as the night wore on people I hadn't seen in ages rolled through. They were as happy as I was to see folks, have a few drinks and catch up on the life the don't put on Facebook since the last time we crossed paths. Cards were played, dancing occurred, food was eaten. It was fun. Hadn't done that in years.

Today however, my back and the associated muscle group attached have decided that last night was a total fiasco and should never be attempted again. Ever. This isn't the result of imbibing either (I didn't drink) but just standing up for let's see, I got there at 7:30pm and left at about 3am, so roughly seven hours. I'm stumbling around my house in slow motion, bowlegged, and at a 70 degree angle. And since I mistakenly didn't go grocery shopping last week - holidays and all - my fridge is almost bare of things that don't involve 45 minutes to an hour of prep time. On the upside it didn't matter, because after that big glass of water...or the other big glass of water, I went to lie down for a second, and woke up a few hours later. As of this posting I still haven't eaten today.

Double bonus, there are two parties tonight and its raining, and I hate driving in the rain. Plus my RP is having a fish fry tomorrow. Then next week is NYE somewhere. My social calender is packed for the first time in ages. Provided I can walk comfortably in a little while.

Never thought I would miss the peace and quiet of studying. But I need to get back out there if only to pop up and say hi before heading back to the mental trenches.

Barkeep, let me get two Aleve and tall glass of sweet tea. And a bowl of your finest peanuts.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Odd Quotes

Art by Paul Davey (mattahan)

"A soulmate is an ongoing connection with another individual that the soul picks up again in various times and places over lifetimes. We are attracted to another person at a soul level not because that person is our unique complement, but because by being with that individual, we are somehow provided with an impetus to become whole ourselves."
~ Edgar Cayce

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Seriously? I mean Dallas, Seriously?

Ramblings Post #246
This year the NFL is running a "Why I love Football" campaign. Sometimes though, its hard to quantify the feelings I have for my team. Who are they really? Is it the name? The collection of players? The history? Well, if you're a Cowboy fan its all about the history, because they're not doing anything in Texas to build a future.

With less than five minutes to play, leading by five, with a running back averaging over SEVEN YARDS PER CARRY....and you throw the ball? Dallas, Seriously? This is basic coaching at the Pee Wee league level. I realize you have great faith in your quarterback, but the weakest defense in the league hadn't been able to even slow down the Packers offense in the whole second half. There was a long period where the clock was your friend, and running would have disrupted the other teams rhythm. But your play caller chose not to do that. What were you counting on?  A miraculous turn of events where the third string linebackers you're having to play would suddenly assert themselves? The secondary to suddenly turn into ball hawks?

When the game announcers start talking about running, think of it as a sign. 

The tactical error....no, I mis-speak. This isn't an error as that word implies a mistake that was unintentional. This was a conscious decision by the person who was supposed to be replacing last year's throw the ball every down thinking that didn't quite get them to the playoffs. This disdain for the run was deliberate. After an incredible first half, it's like the coaching staff went down to the bar to celebrate and left the game to English soccer players, I'm sorry, Futbol players. Is the Cowboys coaching philosophy that opposed to running? Is there a contract clause that requires that Romo be the hero? What gives?

It's not the players. Andy Reid took over a dismal and weak Kansas City team and with no major personnel changes have made them monsters. Dallas has arguably more talent, so what's going on here? Poor coaching. Bad game management. Misdirected team focus. All the things that start in the front office and not on the field.  

Where is that petition to have the government remove Jerry Jones as the team owner?  Because change starts at the top. And Garrett needs to be gone.

Barkeep, I'm not drinking, but leave the bottle. I just want to look at it for a while.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Odd Quotes

“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.”
~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

Friday, December 6, 2013

A pause...in the Long Walk to Freedom.

Nelson Mandela.
I ain't gonna play Sun City.

Most people have forgotten that phrase and the song. It was a "We are the World" against apartheid, the collection of segregation laws to maintain a white minority rule in South Africa held over from it's colonial past. Sun City at that time was a South African resort, open only to that small ruling group, and had hosted many of the top names in entertainment from around the world. In 1985, a group of entertainers, including Bruce Springsteen, U2, George Clinton, Run DMC and Bob Dylan joined in a protest song against apartheid, "I ain't gonna play Sun City." I can still remember the chorus. 

That was my introduction to South Africa. Schools didn't really cover anything but American history back then. They still don't, but back then we had to actually go to the library to learn anything. 

And from learning about apartheid I learned of Nelson Mandela.

I remember watching his release prison, and him walking with his wife. It was oddly compelling, although at that time I couldn't fully grasp the gravity of the situation.

When I learned his story, I realized what an amazing man he was. What I remember most was the lack of anger. After being put away from the world for almost three decades, he lacked a bitterness to which he was more than entitled. And then, he persuaded all the South Africans who had been trod upon under the heel of apartheid to put their bitterness aside as well. In less than a decade. Transformative doesn't quite do it justice. That Mandela, who at the time had spent most of life away from politics, was able to finesse a less than cataclysmic transition of his country into the modern age is nothing short of remarkable.

And understand he was a genuinely nice guy as well. And politics at the level sees so few nice guys. 

To paraphrase our President "We will not likely see the likes of [a] Nelson Mandela again."

This is but a pause in Nelson Mandela's story, for his story must include his legacy...and that will outlive us all.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Holidays are Here. Where is the food?

Ramblings Post #245
There is nothing quite like family. There just isn't. It is said that "home is the place that when you go there, they have to take you in." I don't know if it's true, but it's nice to think so. Looking at it as a whole, I can honestly say I've been blessed with a great family. And that about sums it all up.

I remember a comedian once joked that when he finally could afford to buy his parents a house, he made sure it had a circular driveway. That way, when he forgot why he didn't visit and dropped by, he wouldn't even have to turn the car around to leave. This holiday weekend, I went to visit family.

Now, let me preface this by saying I had been to my parents home just seven days earlier.

Visiting my parents probably is something I should be thankful , as their are many whose parents have passed on.  Still, there is the idea that once you reach a certain age, you should be treated as a adult...and at my parents house, I'm not really feeling the adult-ness. Let's start with the trip out. I rode with my brother, who had originally intended to leave on Tuesday night and get back on Saturday. But complications arose, plans were interrupted, etc and so on, and thus we didn't actually leave until Wednesday. Around 2-ish. Because he (my brother) hates travel schedules. And on the ride down, he pulled one of my dad's moves - around the just getting started mark, he suddenly feels tired. So I end up driving. Now...we end up talking the entire rest of the trip about the frustrations of office life, his plans for the future and more, but he was too tired to drive. As they say in the hood, I got got.

At the folks, I retrieved the power cable for my laptop I'd left the previous week (which crippled me when I found out the replacement could ONLY be ordered). I also introduced my mother to Solitaire on my little pad, which at first she thought was silly but then played 15 games in a row. An old drinking buddy of my brother's and later mine dropped by, looking like a man worn out by his onging his divorce. It looked like he'd dropped fifty pounds, which changed his appearance  to a shocking degree. It was even more shocking to hear from my brother say later that since the last he'd seen him our old drinking buddy had improved quite a bit. Life changes, man.

The next day, Thanksgiving, started with a dutiful trip to the grandparents, both now in their venerable years. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Thanksgiving dinner was a quiet immediate family affair, different from the extended family dance I'd grown up with. Afterwards, we did something unusual for my family...my brothers and I had a few beers and watched football. To you maybe it doesn't sound strange, but my father has never been into sports, so there is no family tradition of following any team. My mother is better, having played basketball when she was younger, but the idea of us sitting around the TV for sport really isn't something that happens at my house. There was a certain odd comfort about it.

Black Friday saw no bargain hunter strategy being employed from my mother's house. Instead,  I was
annoyed because I didn't wake up until late, and had to listen to my brothers explanation of why he had roused me : When he travels from home in Atlanta, "everyone always manages on their own". I wanted to explain two things to him - a) he wasn't home and b)he wasn't traveling with his regular travelers, so why would he think those rules applied? Some people get old and loosen up, some get old and turn into travel divas. Go figure.

In any case we trundled out to...well, the boonies to see the other side of my family. Our trip, which was supposed to be fairly quick stop by my mother's childhood home turned into three hours in the kitchen talking to one of my more theatrical aunts, who relayed stories and tales bringing us up to date and then some on the local goings on. This was followed by a trip to see my equally theatrical cousin, which filled in pieces my aunt missed and lasted probably an hour or two more than it should have. I'm seriously thinking about getting a movie camera and making a film called "Stories my Family Told", and just have them tell stories for an hour or two. The whole day was reminiscent of my childhood holidays, with laughter ringing off the walls catching up with the news of family.

Then, as we got home from a almost two hour drive, my brother said "get your stuff, we're headed back to Atlanta". He'd decided at some point that day...or maybe even the day previous...that Friday night he was going to sleep in HIS bed. Which meant gassing up and riding west for the promised land. At 9pm. After he'd been driving all day. I will give him credit though, he made it all the way.  I had a Five Hour in my pocket just in case, but he made it, no stutter.

It was family. It was fun. It was grounding and gave you a reason to soar. It was refreshing. Sometimes, in the dark of an empty house you forget things, important things. This was a good reminder.

So those were my holidays. And now...we study.

Barkeep. A chocolate milkshake. Whipped cream. No cherry. Yes, little bits of brownie would be nice. Or Oreo if that's all you got.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

And the Tide...stopped.

Ramblings Post #244
It ain't over, until it's over. The idea, notion, concept or whatever you want to call it. It's the mantra that one should always try the hardest, even when all seems hopeless. Because when all the little coincidences that need to happen all fall into place...it's like magic happened.

Image from CBS - Screen capture

I've often screamed it at Tony Romo. The usual refrain is "You don't have to win it all now! Don't bet the farm on your arm! Omigod, what are you.....Arrrrgh!" Well, maybe not that exactly, but that's the general gist of it. That and the liberal use of the phrase "Snatched defeat from the jaws of victory." But this story is about Alabama-Auburn.

I watched this game from home, because I really wasn't ready to put up with the Crimson Tide's fan base after my earlier faux pas at a Clemson-Georgia game. After revealing I wasn't a Bulldog fan it was politely suggested that perhaps I'd have a better view through a window from the yard. And whereas that might have been a joke at that party, at a Alabama viewing function you'd have thought I'd suddenly claimed to be carrying the plague. Let's just say a few of my comments during the game would have gotten me a prime garbage can spot. So I stayed home.

And I noticed that the Crimson Tide reminded me a lot of the Atlanta Falcons of last season. By that, I mean that luck was on their side. After that slow and sloppy first quarter, just about every call, every bounce, everything that could seemed to go their way. This is not implying anything untoward, it's just that sometimes, you get on a roll. I watched a player make the cut at just the right moment, an arm tackle miss, a wrong defensive read that leaves someone open, a player pop up in just the right position and the like. They were just lucky, like the Falcons. Now, this isn't to say the teams don't have talent, as it can be argued that luck is product of preparation. It's just that it always seemed that only Alabama had come prepared.

I don't watch much Auburn football, so I was a little surprised to see so much running in this day and age of "excitement" football. I think it actually worked to their advantage as they made the few pass plays real surprises. But if running is your focus, it makes it hard to score points in a hurry, and when Alabama scored on a cartoon play (99 yards), Auburn needed points. 

Now, that moment as we'll call it. Auburn had scored with short time on the clock, and Alabama looked to driving back up the field to position for a Hail Mary pass. Or so we all thought. And when the guy stepped out and the CBS graphic popped up end of regulation, I was sure we were headed for a shoot-out. But then somebody channeled the spirit of Jason Garrett, and by somebody I mean Nick Saban. Early Garrett was good for the "let's make this thirty seconds count" mantra, leading to more mistakes than a soul should have to endure. Instead of letting the game end and going for the overtime win, Saban argued for and got one second back. Again, 'Bama was on a roll.

Seriously, I thought it would be the Hail Mary. Or a trick play. They'd already missed three kicks from much shorter distances. I said out loud, in my deepest low-country brogue, "it would be goody for them if he catches that damn ball and runs it all the way back" when I saw them trotting out the kicker for a Field Goal try. But I didn't think it would happen. Not seriously. In fact I turned the channel, expecting to come back to the OT graphic.

Clicked back and went, WTF?

I enjoyed the sights of the stunned Alabama fans. If you've ever met an Alabama fan you know why. The unusual silence is just so...deafening.

Barkeep, a little ice water...I'm just gonna sink into the quiet.     

Monday, November 25, 2013

Okay, if the Cowboys could not mess this up...again.

Ramblings Post #243
Sport teaches a lot of things. Young people learn teamwork, as well as the ability to play your position and not try to be the hero. It teaches us that training and dedication are necessary evils. It teaches us that sometimes one little thing can change a the ultimate outcome. But most importantly, it teaches us that time moves on, that we put our failures behind us, and get ready for whatever happens next. 

For the past few seasons, the NFC East championship has come to the the Dallas Cowboys versus somebody. And by versus I mean the a game of the season who wants it more affair. And for the past few seasons my beloved Cowboys have come up short.

And this season is looking no better.

The Cowboys of late, the last few years really, have developed a habit of playing to the level of their competition. I don't know if it's the attitude or the training, but the level of ability seems to rise and fall as a needed (when it doesn't just evaporate). They played the "on pace to set records" Broncos to a standstill until the last two minutes. They just lost to the Chiefs. But then turnaround and played down to the level of the hapless Vikings to scrape out a win. Then this week, after dominating the Giants for the first half, actually three quarters, needed a drive in the fourth quarter to win the game.

It pains me to think that it will be a tight game against Oakland.

This is ridiculous. I'm just saddened that Jerry Jones's ego has doomed my team for the last two decades. Yes, because you better believe that he's still mad that everyone credits the last Cowboy Superbowl victories to Jimmy Johnson (this would include the Barry Switzer one, because that was all Jimmy momentum). He has to prove that he did it. With his hand picked coach. With his draft picks. In his stadium.

The Cowboys need a consistent running game. A better offensive line. And a defense. Man do they need a defense. When they built the new stadium the grass must have come from the Bermuda Triangle, because defenders keep disappearing.

All I want is for the Cowboys to make the playoffs and win one game. End the Romo hate. Or at least dampen it down a bit.

Barkeep, you know what I want. From the private Cowboy Nation stock.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Odd Quotes

 “The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention...A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.”
~ Rachel Naomi Remen

Monday, November 11, 2013

There was NOT supposed to be a round three....

It was supposed to be a first round knockout.

But you missed a punch somewhere, and the bell rang and they were still standing. You knew when it
happened, you could feel it, the absence of pressure in your arm from failing to connect, the glove connection missing, but you'd pressed on because this is what you'd trained for. You were supposed to get that little sensation again and again, over and over to let you know you were on the right track. But you knew you'd missed and hoped for the best, pressed on because one punch isn't supposed to count. But sometimes it does. So you put that behind you, and started the again.

The bell ending the second round caught you by surprise.

That round you'd felt more confident, the punches flowing from your arm as natural as breathing, the  power of muscles crackling along your sinews. It was supposed to be over now. You knew this stuff or at least thought you did. The punches had landed you were certain. You whole body tensed as you let each one go, uncoiling with power and follow through. Brain cells fired, muscle, motion, speed, contact. You could sense the idea of victory with each passing second.

Now, suddenly,  you can taste blood in your mouth that you hadn't before. You realize the punches you thought you had ducked must have landed, caught the corner, nicked you, stunned you. And maybe you didn't even realize it. Maybe you'd gone down and hadn't felt it. Why hadn't the jabs worked? The left and the right must have been too slow. You take a second to run your tongue along your teeth and confirm that they're all still there and not loose. The buzz in your ear, the crowd, sounds different, as if they've lost faith in one they once imagined could be a contender. There is a sudden stabbing pain in your ribs as the adrenaline you've been living off fades into nothing, and all you've got left is the burning need of your success and the fortitude to keep going. 

This round wasn't supposed to be here.

No matter.

You keep punching. You will win. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ah, Jury Duty

Notes from the Jury Assembly Room
Stuck in a room with a large number of people you don't know enduring a task that is both mind-numbing and publicly important. No, I'm not talking about going to a sporting event for losing team, which I did once...or twice...several times actually, for several hours (because the tickets were free). That and waiting patiently for my BBQ ribs. Both are public and civic duties. 'Murica! No, I'm talking about a real duty of the public, ala Jury Duty, where it turns out we actually are the peers who are going to get to judge somebody. It is so not the drama. 

Monday was Jury Duty, that vast public service that holds us all in the grip of fear. A missed day of work. A day sitting in a room waiting to be called for...something. I had hoped that next to my name would pop up a little symbol that said "Not him, anyone but him" in the county computer. Actually, I should have been happy to serve, as I'd deferred my previous Jury Appointment which had luckily been penciled in as the day prior to the summer bar exam. The people from Juror Services had understood for some reason. Go figure.

I've actually only gone down for Jury Duty once before, as opposed to ringing up the juror contact phone line to check my standby status and being thanked for my willingness to serve. I've done some work at the courthouse, so I knew it's the same room from all those years ago. And last time I was in that room, there were little tables along one wall for laptop users. Think about, it's Jury Assembly, not the jury room! They know you're going to waiting, so they try to make it nice. Nice-ish. All those years ago I had been upset because I didn't have my laptop, so this time expecting to get a little work done I took it. AND damned if the little tables are gone, and not even some chairs.  Oh, the outlets are still there, but the tables are vamoose! Genius! But, they've got what looks like some old library tables on the other side - you know, the old long wooden ones that look like unimaginative dinner tables - and some cheap four seat cafe tables. And one outlet. No, I lie, if you look over by the kitchenette, there are two more behind the stacked stuff. And the room seems smaller too.  I realize things are tough...but oh my.

For that transgression, I had hoped that if they had called me I would have walked into the courtroom and recognized one of the attorneys. Or the judge. Or the person on trial. And there would have been a momentary situation where we just look at each other like in the movies,  I kinda half smile and give them the thumbs up on the low, which in turn would lead to some hilarious TV hijinks that require an ancient laugh track and where in the end we strike a blow for justice that somehow involves banana creme pies in evidence. In reality, any of those situations would immediately get me struck from the pool. But ah, a man can dream. Okay, what I actually hoped was that my house didn't get broken into (the first time I'm out of it for more than a few hours in a while), and that I would get to spend an uneventful day of not getting picked and playing the occasional video game. Okay, the recognize the lawyer thing and getting removed might have been a gas too. Either or.

We got the floor show, as a judge came out and answered all our questions for like a solid hour. Then they started the calls, which got to be annoying as each time they started you would begin to pack up...and then she'd finish at which point you'd have to unpack again. Just so you know, in Atlanta proper, if you're called to Jury Duty you're name is already been picked to be on a jury. We had five or six trials that day, and they called enough for folks for five or six trials. They may randomize once you check in, but you start the day pretty much on a jury. Where the drop offs come is when the cases settle on the eve of trial, one way or another. After they'd called three groups (roughly 145 people) they called a list of names and told those people to be back after lunch. The remainder, of which I was a part, was thanked for their service.

So I went and got me a nice salad. Went home and put in some online applications. Stared at the walls for while. Thought about stuff. And things. Not a bad day. 

I have done my part. I have served. AND I got my voter registration card the same day!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Odd Quotes

There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!
~ Terry Pratchett, The Truth

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sometimes Batman Only Works in the Shadows

This is a political post. 

I have avoided talking about the government shutdown because there was too much information, from too many angles, coming too fast. The wheels that turned Washington were spinning in every direction as the board continually shifted, the final prize transformed by the hour, the pieces and parts flew together at odd angles daily and new surprises kept popping up as you watched people who wouldn't acknowledge the audience's disgust put on plastic performance to a crowd only standing around to ogle the inevitable train wreck.

As I read through the posts from my "No, I'm a Libertarian" FB friend, who seems to only posts links from staunchly conservative sites, it became increasingly clear that the a large number of the people in this country really don't know how this country works. She just found out today that Boehner and the Republicans changed the House rules so that only Majority Leader Cantor could bring a vote to the floor to avoid a pure majority vote undermining the Republican position. My FB friend and her fellow "whatever they ares now" cries to not to raise the debt limit have echoed through the internet, as though raising the debt limit somehow issued the First Lady a fresh credit line at Macy's. Claims that it would be fiscally irresponsible considering how much debt we already have showed a disconnect, because it reasoned that somehow not paying those debts we have now is fiscally responsible. As I've pointed out before, the debt limit only authorizes borrowing for bills Congress has already told the President he has to pay. America, like most large corporations, operates on a credit line...not a cash basis. We're just expanding that line like any growing business does.

And further undermining the "don't raise it" argument from the other direction, all the people we actually owe money to - China, Wall Street, etc., - were giving Congress the stink-eye for even thinking about not raising it. You see, its not a well known fact, but pretty much all current financial markets around the world are built on the bedrock idea of US debt never defaulting. Troubled market? US Treasury bills please! Worldwide. A default would reverberate throughout the world markets, slowing further an already slow global recovery. So how would defaulting be a good thing? Why were the pundits with no finance background were so sure of what would happen when the people who did this everyday were terrified of the possibility?

Another reason I didn't really talk about the shutdown is the affects real people. Sporty works for the Federal government. Spanky is a contractor for a government contract. Other friends of mine as well.  The suggestions by Senators that they and their co-workers take out loans exposed the callousness of the those who scream for our "freedom." You need to go into debt so I can hold out to make sure you also can't afford health insurance! Yeah, real catchy.

Looking back, I keep wondering if this was all planned to some degree. I was pretty sure I knew how it would turn out, but since politics turned into a zero sum game in the past few years, someone still might have closed their eyes and jumped. In the trenches, Reid did a lot of the dirty work to get it all set up, the President in sync with him this time. I want to think maybe planned because here we are, roughly a year removed from the next midterms and the Batman President's quiet methods are systemically dismantling his opponents, this time outfoxing the Tea Party rebels by not negotiating with himself as they expected, a sort of political rope-a-dope if you will. While they danced in front of the cameras, outraged at the results of their own actions, he waited. While they demanded he lead, he waited at their destination. The Chicago came out. "You want to burn it down? Let me get you some gas and some matches. Oh, you've changed your mind? I thought you would."

Not a lot of press conferences. Few statements. Boom. 

Game. Set. Match.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Odd Quotes

Intimacy is not entirely physical. In fact, it can have no physical interaction at all. For an intimate relationship to take place, allow someone into your thoughts. Let them hold and caress your feelings. Let them be intimate with your mind. Allow for the emotional intimacy to be the reason for passion to be bred. Now that is intimacy that is long lasting.
~ Somewhere on the Internet...

Friday, October 11, 2013

The New-ish Atlanta Classic

Ramblings Post #242
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. Which might explain why most of my wishes seem to focus on large sums of cash, the problems of which I am already familiar via classic rap, bad movies and the occasional piece of literature I can't believe got printed. They say money can't buy everything, but you know what? I'll take one for the team to find out if it's true. I'm really doing this....for you.

Normally around now, or sometime in the last week, I would been regaling you, both of my readers, about the previous weekend at the Georgia Dome amongst my old classmates as we would have gathered together to tell old lies, embellish some alcohol soaked memories and pretend we were all five sizes smaller than we are now. Or will be five sizes smaller by next year when we see them again, because we're going on a diet next week...I swear. But alas, last year without the venerable Hundred (my alma mater's marching band) the attendance at the dome was spotty. Well, sad is probably a better term. "Not good" as a phrase comes to mind.

So this year they invited some other schools.

I had people call and tell me they were coming a week in advance. They eventually had to back out because of work. I kept getting the email invites to the various functions - a Pre-Game Brunch, a Cocktail Drop-In, an After Party or two. It appeared for all intents and circumstances that the city wouldn't miss my old classmates and I at all. I was a wee bit bummed.

On game day I stayed home. No big, I've become a bit of a homebody anyway. I'd slip down later after the parking vendors lowered their prices I said. Then I looked at a few of the pictures that some of my more entrepreneurial classmates took as they ventured out anyway. After all a buck is a buck, you can rent out the same spots, charge the same event prices and it's not like they even have to change the DJ, so you get a flyer, you get flyer, everybody gets a flyer! But, looking at the crowd...or lack thereof...I hope they didn't put up too much money behind that thing.

That ain't my school. No sir.
Because even if I thought the stadium looked empty last year, and it did...at least there was a bustling and moving crowd on the concourses, eating the overpriced vendor food and seeing all those old classmates to lie to. And if they weren't inside, then there was the crowd outside, enjoying the impromptu vendor mall, the free concerts, the grilling and chilling and planning on a evening of sinning...er, enjoying the Atlanta nightlife. But the vendors looked lonely on the concourses. And this year there was no outside crowd. None. I understand that at some point they started giving tickets away. I know things are rough all over...but oh my.

Maybe it's not their fault. After all, it may have taken a while for our crowd to build back in our day. But then I asked myself, who takes time to let things develop in this day and age?

I think that next year we'll be invited back.

Barkeep, let me get that Gin and Tang. Yes, I know what I said, and yes, I realize that it doesn't make sense.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Odd Quotes

Went out for a walk and found myself.

Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but “steal” some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.
~ Albert Camus

Monday, October 7, 2013

And Yet So Far.....

Ramblings Post #241 
When people ask why sports are celebrated, athletes revered, one has to realize who they are in the larger sense. Athletes allow us to feel success, as part of a team, a larger group, that might elude us in other parts of lives. You might not have the greatest job, or enjoy the best things in life, but YOUR team won! We tend to embrace victory as ours, and make the losses less personal. Or at least we try to.

He had a near record 500 plus yard night, scrambling early and making plays when needed. He racks up five touchdowns on the way to leading his team to a 48-point game. He arguably outduels one of the best in the game for fifty eight minutes. 

And that all goes away, all will be completely forgotten, due to an interception on his own half of the field in those last two minutes.

With the game tied, my only mental request was that Tony Romo NOT make a mistake. Take the sack. Throw it away. Scramble for the sidelines. Just don't give them the ball back right here, in this spot. He'd had a fine day, his team playing this years already anointed Super Bowl victor and gridiron wreaking ball the Denver Broncos to the their tightest game of the season. Where others are blown away, Dallas had hung in there scrapping for every inch of turf. They'd exposed the Broncos suspect secondary. The 'Boys had even managed to pick off a pass from the formerly perfect on the season Peyton.  In a season chock full of close games, this was the first time it had been necessary for the older Manning brother to play to tie the score with the end of the game looming.

Two more minutes!

I said out loud to my TV, as though they could hear it in Dallas, "All I need is for Tony to not throw and interception. Don't force it. Somebody remind him that we can go to overtime."


Later I had me a drink of the good bourbon I keep in my pantry for solace. With a few cubes of ice.  So close but yet so far. It's like...I can't even put it into words.

And they'll scream that Romo is a bum for the next three years behind this. The commentary already makes it sound like Dallas got stomped into the turf and Romo is responsible for not playing defense  good enough. MOST quarterbacks who'd scored that much would be celebrated.

Barkeep. Some chips, I already have my drink.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thank You Mr. Clancy

Tom Clancy wasn't my favorite author. But with just one glance at my bookshelf I spot Red Storm Rising, his 1986 tale of a fictional skirmish at the at the front rim of a World War III scenario. It's intricate, showing how the small parts effect the whole and a pretty good read. His collaboration Op-Center Sea of Fire sits right next to it. I remember reading the Hunt for Red October and Sum of all Fears before they movies, but I can't find my copies. And although everyone remembers Jack Ryan as personified by a remarkable Alec Baldwin my favorite character was the "man in black", operative John Clark.

Even now, although I want my writing to be light and airy, just glancing at a Tom Clancy novel reminds me how good a story can be even when it's density is thick with detail. He made heavy lifting to read enjoyable. The loss of an author, the loss of imagination, is always a tragedy.

Thank you Mr. Clancy, for a good read.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Republikans Strike Back...

This is a political post.

com·pro·mise  /ˈkämprəˌmīz/
1.  An agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.

The Republican argument is they're willing to compromise their demand of the complete repeal to just delaying the implementation of law until next year. They seem to believe they can purchase enough elections by then (they hope) to completely repeal the bill. But they are willing to "compromise."

Only, the "compromise" they're asking for makes no sense. The offer hardly qualifies as a "compromise". The Affordable Care Act passed in both the House and the Senate, was signed into law in 2010 and upheld as Constitutional by the Supreme Court. The only way to un-make it a law is to repeal it, which the Republicans have tried to do more than forty times. They cannot. So how can delaying the implementation of a duly constitutional law - in effect temporarily repealing the law in a way they cannot themselves do - in exchange for ....er, doing your job...qualify as a compromise?

Even worse, the "compromise" the Republicans are offering is just enough financing to keep the lights on until December....at which point we get to do this all over again. That is Government by hostage, and a success here will only encourage a repeat of such a proposition. That's not good governance by any estimation. This time they asked to repeal Obamacare, what next time? Will Boehner ask the President to step down and name Ted Cruz Grand Exalted Super Cool Leader? It could happen. Because then the argument will be just accepting Ryan's budget sounds "reasonable."

I'm fairly certain that having a faction of one part of one third of government dictate the actions of the whole violates at the very least the spirit of the constitution. The real question here is how long will this go on, how long before the effects begin to trickle down to the man on the street? That's when the real action will begin. Now, to clear, my conservative FB friend is just ecstatic that the government is shutdown. Because according to the people she listens to, we don't need any government! So let me tell you a little story (I wish I had written this, but I didn't):

This morning you were awoken by your alarm clock, powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy. Then you took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, to make sure you were ready for what the day might bring, you might have turned on your TV to one of the Federal Communications Committee regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be, using satellites designed, built and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. You watched this while eating breakfast of U.S. Department of Agriculture inspected food and possibly taking a drug or two which have been determined to be safe by the Food and Drug Administration.

At the appropriate time, as regulated by the U.S. Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology at the U.S. Naval Observatory, you got into your National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration approved adequately safe automobile and set out to work on roads built by the Local, State and Federal Departments of Transportation. Along the way you might have stopped to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank. You might have even dropped off some mail to have delivered via the U.S. Postal Service. It's not even 9am.

After work, where you didn't lose a digit or inhale toxic chemicals due to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, at a company whose patents and trademarks are protected by the local, state and Federal Court Systems, you drove back on the same roads built by the Department of Transportation and returned to a house which had not burned down in your absence due to state and local building codes and the fire marshal's inspection, and which wasn't plundered of all you consider valuable thanks to the local police department. Then after watching some more of the FCC regulated television, and speaking to your mother by phone, who has retired and receives monthly checks from the Social Security Administration about her trip to the doctor which was paid for Medicare, you get onto the internet, which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration, to read this blog.

And yet some people believe that the Government can't get anything, anything at all, right.

I wonder why they think something like that.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Breaking Bad (as required by Internet Rule # 47854b)

Ramblings Post #240
There are certain Rules. You don’t put pineapple on a pizza. Chocolate is the best flavor. You don't buy beer, your rent. Reading is fundamental. You don't hit a girl. Two plus two equals five for large values of two. You don't talk about fight club. And if it is a hot topic, your blog must comment on it...if only in passing. So, today, we discuss a television show I never really saw.

He was the danger - (pic from Huffington Post via AMC)

I have watched a few clips and maybe one and half episodes of Breaking Bad. Well, the second half of one episode and then the episode that followed it in the marathon I stumbled into. As it happened, the whole episode I did happen to see was the where they killed off Gus Fring, and had I completely understood what was going on - I did to read the Wiki later -  I would have been much more impressed than I was just piecing things together.

I think it was because I missed the beginning of the series that I was never really able to get into it, but there were still other things I was kinda irked about. The original premise - Schoolteacher with cancer turns crime to provide for his family after death - just smelled wrong. I'd already seen the lead character with cancer trope go wrong for Showtime, because if the show becomes popular and you need more seasons, the quick fix is the cancer goes into remission, whoosh! It's a way too easy writer out, and wrecks the motivation aspect. But then most television writing has to be so conditional...the afore mentioned ratings, character popularity, who agreed to come back next season, etc...that a writers room can churn out something worth watching nothing short of extraordinary.  Still, I don't appreciate "trapdoors" like that. I expect more creativity.

The continuing theme of "anti-hero" is starting to get less than enjoyable as well. We've starting celebrating killers and thieves in our popular culture. Not "bad" people, like we did in the 70s, but people who are actually bad. There is a book series that I like, but I cannot read, because the bad guy gets away with too often. This show reminds of that - not characters who live their lives and do things because that's how they have always done them, but people who actively chose to do these "bad" things when other possibilities existed. But then fans never really talk about his motivations, and the clips of him with is family never seem to have the right flavor.  

But, the episodes I did see I liked. They were gritty not flashy, the characters seemed very grounded. That the drug lord ran an actual business and drove a station wagon I found refreshing, instead of the the usual nightclub. Ultimately however, the story was in my mind far too sprawling at the point I entered it. The Wiki just kept going and going. Maybe in the future, when I have extra money to go with some time, I'll get the whole box set (or rent the whole box set) and watch it all in one mindless torrent. Maybe.

"Like, literally the best work of art that television has ever produced.” That's the quote I keep hearing, comparing it to things like the Wire and the Sopranos. To that I have to ask... um, how long have you owned a television? How many channels do you get? Do premium channels not count?

Maybe I need to watch another couple of episodes. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Chair Recognizes....(sigh)

This is a political post.

The other day, Presidential hopeful and Barack Obama Legitimatizer, one Ted Cruz stood up in front of the Senate of these here United States and decided to make a stand. Not against the congresses entrenched partisanship, our lack of commitment to government and instead gamesmanship. Or even that they'd raised the price of the brownies in the Senate cafeteria.

He stood up for 21 hours and talked about everything under the sun to ....er, well, it wasn't to stop a vote. Not like in the movies or nothing. Principles! Yes, principles that it. He stood up to argue on principle that the government should defund Obamacare, because it's hurting the country (although it hasn't actually started yet). Just like the Sequester that is hurting the country. That he did vote for. 

And he did this,  theoretically, to the person the program is named after. The man's signature piece of legislation. The one he will be known for. We've accomplished so little in the past six years, and now we want to take back one of the few things we actually did get done. Because....AMERICA!

If I was Obama, well I probably wouldn't have made a it to a second term, but anyway...if I had been the position the President was in I would have gotten together a motorcade, stopped by the local Five Guys and gotten the two patties and the large fries, dropped by the Senate,  got a front row seat and watched for a while. With a little easel behind me with cue cards, just to see if I could get him say something stupid. Well, stupider.

I am belittling the man's accomplishment. Because this was no 300-style epic stand against the invading horde. Not the Tank Man in Tienanmen Square or the stand at the Alamo. This wasn't even Custer at Little Big Horn. This long rambling "green eggs and ham and another thing speechifying" didn't delay a crucial vote, nor did it break new ground, it wasn't sweeping, informative, inspiring or  moving, most of it wasn't even on the topic, no, it was...

...grandstanding. This was his I would like to be President next time around and now I have a glorious moment to point to where "I stood alone" against the Marxist Socialist Fascist Time Traveling Kenyan and his liberal hordes! This was his chance for unfettered camera time. I know, because when I clicked that link to the CNN live feed at 3:35am he was still talking...telling me it was 3:35am. This is cold calculated political maneuvering. When his campaign starts he will pluck from it choice sound bites and piece and parcel of heroics to display. And if he opponents are smart, they auto tune him rambling on and on about nothing when he had the chance to make real arguments. 

Is this what government has become? An extra long episode of American Idol sans judges? A reality show we're ashamed to say comes on The Learning Channel? 

(sigh) This is why I try to watch as much Cartoon Network as I can.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Kenya. A candle for you as well.

Ramblings Post #239
It is the mature person who realizes that tragedy is a very personal term, localized to the individual or small group who connects to a given situation in a specific way. It is the wise person who realizes that just because tragedy is personal does it make it any less horrific.

Nairobi, Kenya. Africa in the 21st century.
I want to call it an incident, so as to not glorify the actions of the perpetrators, but its too much more than that now and the term doesn't do the pictures I've seen justice. The world is clearly much smaller than we thought. This whole thing is shocking on a number levels, in the sense that the concept of the mall has become universal, and though the idea of indiscriminate killing was fresh in our minds, the scale and the particularly graphic images set in locales that closely resemble those we walk through every day sharpens our perception.

Half a world away, yet just around the corner.

I have on my kitchen counter bookends from Kenya. I know they're from Kenya, because Schmoopy got them for me. She's originally from Kenya. I met her when she was still fresh and new, nights on the chat at work, me explaining American idioms and her giving me a better perspective of the world. She goes there once a year to, I guess, keep in touch with reality. Another few months it might have been me sitting up waiting for a text to let me know I could breathe again. She's become like a little sister to me in many ways.

I can offer to those who have seen the horror or have felt the pain little other than prayer. I hope that it is enough.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

More Moments I Meant to Comment On

Ramblings Post #238
Standing there, the force of the wind holding him vertical more than the muscles in his legs, he tried to focus on the sign in the distance, the marker that would tell him if he was on the proper path or if he started his trek in the wrong direction. Stiffly, each footstep like a slog through a million years of humanity he approached. He reached up and raised his goggles, the lenses now a haze. The markings took shape to his weary eyes, and as he came to realize them....

I've had...something this week. At first I thought it was allergies, then the sniffles, then the dreaded summer cold. But then I got chills, my stomach was upset, I think I had a fever (I'm a guy, I don't own a thermometer), and there was the sneezing and the itchy eyes and I was always tired, so I surmised it must be a cold. Or the flu or maybe the plague, or cancer, or whatever it was the commercial was selling that pill for, and now my body clock is screwed and I need to get back to right.

But a lot of things happened this week that had I been fully cognizant I would have commented on so now I need to catch up. Hopefully some this is actually still relevant.


I think I spoke to soon. This new season is kind of why we love football. Because even though we have been proven true in our predictions for greatness in Seattle and Denver, there are the pleasant surprises like Kansas City and the early season woes for Pittsburgh. Hey, I know a lot of obnoxious Steeler fans, gimme a break! And as Philly is now 1-2, somebody has discovered how to tame that potential beast we all saw that first game. The rest of the NFC east, please take notes. And, double bonus, the Cowboys with a win can be first in the NFC East this week. At least before the inevitable let down in December. Hey, we take our moments where we can get them!

The new Pope

My conservative FB friend is one those individuals who has a "unique" understanding of religion. And by unique I mean her interpretation is THE correct one. If your vision of how things are supposed to be differs from theirs, then you are wrong. No debate, you wrong. This understanding of hers exists in a state of superiority over all authorities, biblical scholars, possibly the bible itself and up to and including the Pope. Because according to her, the Pope is off his nut and needs to get his mind right. I pray for her pastor, and hope he's on his game every Sunday.

The New TV season

I don't watch near as much new Television as I used to. Syndication and online episodes are my friend. Is a new season still a thing?

The Looming Government Shutdown

There is a point in a long con where things get dangerous, where you forget that the whole thing is a con and you start believing in your own shenanigans. I realize that the GOP of late likes to re-write history to fit it's narrative, but have they forgotten what happened last time they actually got that far? To point of actually shutting down government? The aftermath wasn't pretty for them. And since to get the majority they have now they had to rise to new heights of gerrymandering creativity, has the idea that which can be created can be taken apart just as easily just not occurred to them?

Grand Theft Auto V

Well, damn. And, thank god for gift cards.


For the record I still use a Blackberry. I've been meaning to upgrade but I'm, er, how can say this, um, ...economically challenged. But it looks like I need to step it up before my cell turns into a little black brick that I like to hold to my ear from time to time. I knew they were in trouble but wow.

Had I left the house to go anywhere other than the grocery store to get various medicines, none of which seem to be working,  there might be more. Okay, there wouldn't be much more, but there might. There is always hope. I'm re-reading my accumulated library in hopes of an epiphany, or at least some inspiration. Time goes on. We go with.

Barkeep, let me get a Benadryl and Claritin smoothie, with a shot of Tylenol and a shot of Mucinex. And three shots of vodka for flavor. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

A candle in DC, another in Chicago.

This is a political post. 

First, I hope those in pain at the loss of a family member or friend find solace in the arms of other family and friends, and come to cherish those relationships for we know not when they will end.  May they grieve as it needs be, and carry on as they should, and find happiness with life once more.

Now, there was a time, just last year as a matter fact, where a bunch of people getting killed at one time was a cause for alarm. Aurora, Colorado. Newtown. Boston. Now it barely registers. Actually, I'm almost certain the death of the black people in Chicago will be, by comparison, relatively ignored.  In the past, and by past I again mean just last year, the press would swarm for days on end to get us A story, any story. Now it seems that one tragedy rolls into the next, and trying to find a reason for these things happening we re-hash the same excuses, start the same discussions that get us to nowhere closer to addressing what has become a problem with mass killings. 

Fox news immediately trotted out the violent video game rationale I thought had retired five years ago to become a gentleman farmer. My conservative FB friend immediately brought up the "my gun sat on the porch all day and didn't kill anyone" story. Neither of these seems to be able to connect the idea of violence with the tools that enhance it, quickly defending the right to bear arms, possibly while the alleged assailant was still reloading. And this was merely on the suggestion that the incident at the Naval Yard might reopen the debate about gun control.

We as a society have become are so polarized by our circumstances that honest discussion may no longer be possible. Who knows what such a talk might reveal? Perhaps after a complete and honest look at the whole situation, the conservative viewpoint might prove to be the correct one. Logical arguments could be made, heretofore unrealized rational arguments might be conceived. But, we'll never know that because we can't even have the conversation! And that's the worst outcome of all.

And when people stop talking, how soon will the divorce follow? Um, not divorce, sorry, got the wrong term there. Well, maybe not quite the wrong term.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Can't win for Losing...

This is a political post. 

So like Syria. Again.

In a few of my previous posts, I have alluded to Obama as a kind of political Batman, someone who has all the angles figured. In the comic books, the Caped Crusader is a meticulous thinker, considering the all the possibilities and keeping something in his back pocket, er...utility belt, for each one. But sometimes, because they also make movies of Batman, and there is only so much they can cover in a movie (to our great disappointment), our hero sometimes finds the solution to the problem just plops down in front of him, all nice and neat. 

That is what I believe happened this time. Obama got lucky.

I keep looking at John Kerry and I can't believe I voted for him in 2004. How he went from dinner with al-Assad in 2009 to calling the man a two bit dictator boggles my mind, but then maybe he ordered the souffle when Kerry was ready for the meal to over? Luckily, the Secretary of State's dismissive off the cuff solution of the Russians taking over Syria's chemical weapons seems to have found a life of its own, gone viral as they say. And I believe it really was an off the cuff remark because the more I hear him the more difficult that is to believe it might have been a setup and he turned in an Oscar worthy performance. Out of sheer luck, his solution was exactly what was needed: A quick and relatively painless negotiated end to this specific type of hostility.

But according to the pundits, well, at least the conservative pundits, Obama lost. To whom I'm not exactly certain, but somehow in a game we weren't playing, we lost. But then these are the people who, after I re-read the text of the President's speech for the third time, seem to believe through their on-air comments that the President wasn't clear enough in his plan or motivations. How much clearer he needed to be I'm unsure. Maybe they wanted a list of targets,  the bombing schedule, and the missile serial numbers? The funniest complaint I read online was wanting to know how much it was going to cost. I'm not sure how to put this, but why would sunk costs be a factor? The navy's costs aren't really going to go up that much from fifteen to thirty missiles launches, will they? We've already bought the ships, paid the sailors...and we've got spare tomahawks, we won't even miss these.

The President's Administration managed to get Syria to the bargaining table and agree to give up its chemical weapons without a shot fired. But we still lost. Giving credit to Putin and the Russians makes us look bad. We let Putin take the reins of the world according to Fox News. Only, as it turns out, this plays out along the lines of a plan outlined by Roger Ailes, head of Fox News. But now it's a bad thing because Obama is doing it. Which is par for the course in Fox News' semi-reality. These are the same people upset that the First Lady suggested we all have an extra glass or two of water a day. You know, something every gym teacher, physical trainer, doctor, any person trying to lose weight and your mom has suggested at one time or another? You know, water?  

One headache down, Eight thousand five hundred seventy...

So to sum up, the Obama Administration stumbled onto a way to get a potentially explosive situation handled without a shot fired...which according to his critics is bad. Confused? You should be.

Question: Does he still have to give back his Nobel Prize?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

They Need to Be Ashamed of Themselves

Ramblings Post #237
Corporations, and the internet, are stealing my childhood. It's just a matter time before we see Dudley Do-Right in a "Come to Canada" promotion and Shaggy from Scooby Doo promoting a drug rehab center. It's bad enough they're using songs I used to jam to sell Eggo waffles. And yes, I'm not ashamed to say that for a minute, I used to kick that MC Hammer. Brother could dance. I used to do the dance for one his videos as my morning workout.

I turned on my TV and saw the ad for the new hamburger from Burger King: The French Fry Burger. In the ad, a little girl tells her mom at the end that "they stole my idea!"

This is Burger King's ad from their website

No little girl. Burger King stole MY idea.

I've been putting French fries on my hamburger for over thirty years. There are people from college that I might see once a year who remember that I put fries on my burger. I chose my burger places, limited that they are, by how the fries are, because I don't like to put bad fries on my hamburger. On the rare occasions I eat a Whopper, I actually drive across the street to Krystal's to get the fries because they're better over there. That and for some reason the 24-hour BK stops serving milkshakes after 10pm.  

And they're doing it wrong. Four fries? You're supposed to put a mound of fries on it, then press down a little. Further I see mayo and there's probably a pickle in there...ugh. Stole my idea AND messed it up. Ugh.

Okay, I'll admit I started doing it because I was copying my older brother originally. I was like five, he was eight, I thought he was cool. Well, he stopped, but I didn't. The burger I had last week had fries on it. The burger was from Wendy's, but I put fries on it.

Burger King might not want you to know that you can do that.

Barkeep. Something, well, potatoey....is that a word?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Are You Ready for some Football?

Ramblings Post #236
I like football. I used to play when I was younger : Pop Warner, School Yard, B-Team, JV and Varsity. Some politics and an untimely injury ended what dreams I had of playing college football, although I'm not sure if my heart would have been in it. When it us in the dirt I was a pretty fair quarterback, but when I got to pads they put me at defensive end. I eventually moved to offensive line. Where I would now be way too small. Size, strength, speed and wisdom is what you need to play. And, to quote 70s action star Lee Majors, I have the wisdom to realize I don't have the other three.

All summer long you tried to remember to figure out things to do on Sunday afternoons. You might watch a movie, or have a late brunch. Maybe even try a little gardening, do some laundry, or sit around eating a box cereal and playing Civilization V,  trying to figure out why your neighbor who claims to be your friend keeps trying to start coups in your allies. Wait, that last one might have been just me. But now, it's football and all is well with the world.

But then it arrives. You gather your things : chips, wings, steak subs, fries, beers, snacks. You get those things that need to be done finished, so as to remove distraction. You get the best spot on your couch, or get if you're lucky head down the stadium and let that breath, that one you've been holding since the start of pre-season, you let it go.

And what a first week it was. I'm trying my best not to jump to conclusions, but Buffalo slowing down the Patriots? So many games coming down to the last second, the last play. And for every bit of heroics, there were the blown coverages, the mistakes. Oh boy were there mistakes. You should have seen some these mistakes. Lavonte David of the Jets has the early lead for bonehead play of the week, with two games left to play, although I think he's going to be hard to top. The previous two front runners, Danny Trevathan of the Broncos, who started celebrating early after a clear pick six but dropped the ball at the one foot line instead, and Darius Reynaud of the Titans, who gave the gift of safety two seconds into the Pittsburgh game, at least didn't give the game away. The phrase I usually use with my Cowboys, "finding a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" comes to mind. 

And speaking of my Cowboys who chalked up the win against the Giants. I'm still disgusted with them, because the Giants had six turnovers, SIX, and yet the game was in contention up until the last few seconds. It should have been a blow out! At least Romo didn't try to jam it into Dez Bryant like he previously would have. If Dez is double covered, that means somebody has single coverage and Romo needs to find them. And for all the change of play calling hype, they still threw the ball a ridiculous amount of times. At least the mistakes were limited this game for my 'Boys.

Tonight, I'm watching the Eagles, and it's like they unleashed a army onto the field. I was a concerned at how the 'Boys would handle RGIII this season, but he looks rusty. Philly on the other hand looks like a crazed drunken Frankenstein with a chainsaw and howitzer! I need somebody to check the rule book, I'm not sure the Eagles are playing in the right weight class! Wow.

I need to get back to the game, so I'm going to wrap this up. 

Barkeep, some of that Doublewood. Here's to hoping somebody figures out how to stop this Eagles madness before it gets to Dallas.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The President needs to stop mumbling again.

This is a political post.
Things are a little rough right now.
So, Syria.

You would imagine the powers that be sitting around the table riffing through the Iraq file for notes and  muttering that they wouldn't want to go through that again. Well, that's the picture you have if imagine that they have sense. The refresher from Egypt over the past two years should clearly demonstrate what happens when power vacuums exist, which is what will occur in Syria if al-Assad suddenly falls. But, I'm fairly certain the President's staff is missing a key person - maybe the Politics to English Translator, who can stand up and explain exactly why we're even considering this one more expedition, kicking in one more door, so to speak. Because right now, the impetus isn't being properly articulated.  That or the media is still all miffed about the whole NSA thing.

Clarification Note: The NSA thing stems from the Patriot Act, which passed way before Obama became  President. His only crime is not turning it off...provided the self appointed guardians of freedom in the  NSA even told him what was going on. But...it's his watch, so, there you go.

Just so we're all clear, Obama is not trying to "win" the civil war now raging in Syria, if such a thing can even be accomplished. First, it's not really our business. Second, at this point there are too many players,  too many factions, too many cloudy motivations for a "winner" to even emerge in the region. The political posturing and ideological gamesmanship on display here has far exceed the scope of the action intended by the  original Arab Spring beginnings. The quasi-apartheid/dictatorship of al-Assad is both a bad actor and a stabilizer for the region. The rebels are both freedom fighters and opportunistic fundamentalists. The outside players are all over the map.  No matter what happens in Syria, it will neither be pretty or quick. The best the Syrian people can hope for at this point is that someday their kids have a country to come back to.  

So why? Why even contemplate military action? The quick answer is Chemical weapons. The kind of weapons that fail to discriminate between combatant and civilian. Weapons so bad that the even Hitler, the default most evil man of the 20th century, thought that their effects were beyond the pale. There is evidence they've been used in Syria, and that violates the status quo that nobody uses them...ever. And if somebody gets away with using them, then the next guy, especially in a war with non-state actors, gets the idea that he can too. Which is bad for everyone. Why again, you ask, again. Because if Chemical weapons, and their bad tempered brother Biological weapons become viable weapons...then its just a matter of time before someone invents something nobody can either stop or control. If they haven't already and just haven't found the stomach to use it. 

Not that all this information isn't in most of the articles on the subject, just not in the headline. Or the first paragraph. Or the third.

Learn to speak again Mr. President. This action you've asked Congress to contemplate is based on principle, not politics. This action is in line with the treaties we've legally entered into. It doesn't involve troops on the ground. And, since, you could call in a military strike if you deem it necessary under the War Powers Act anyway, you've asked Congress for authorization because you honor democracy, understand the country is war weary, and like totally aren't a dictator like the people who hate you want to make you out to be. 

Should the President strike in Syria? I don't have that answer. But I do know that he could tell why he thinks we should a lot more clearly.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

50 Years of Marching

Ramblings Post #235
Winners never quit, and quitters never win. I don't know why that strikes a cord now, that and I just now realize that listening to the copy of the MLK speech while trying to type is not the swiftest idea I've ever had. Nope, not swift at all.

via Redditor - Shiskebob

Fifty years ago, a man had a dream. He dreamt that one day, the nation of his birth would accept him as an equal. That he would judged by the content of character, by the result of his actions, and not by the mere color of the skin that random chance had bestowed upon him. That he wouldn't be consigned to second class citizenry from a country that expected him to defend it until death. And now, fifty years later, we've come farther than I think he might have ever dreamed. We have a president whose color he shared, and opportunity abounds. And yet in other ways we're still in that crowd, amidst the monuments built with the blood of forefathers, our ears ringing from his words, and still only hoping for a better tomorrow. For we are still held in the same regard as he was, as second class citizens undeserving of either justice or the benefit of the doubt by so many, as though the world spun and calender never moved.

But you keep marching until you get there. One guy marched for forty years until his people reached the promised land. Maybe we just have a little farther to go.

Keep the faith.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Vanquish the Night

Ramblings Post #234
Giving advice is easy. Because from the area of detachment, because from the outside looking in, there exists a clarity that can't be seen from the angle of involvement. It's why companies hire consultants and why people go to therapists. Or ask friends. I get asked for advice a lot. I generally try to let people talk themselves into a circle, until they can see they're own answer they've been actively avoiding. But even with the best advice, there lies a problem. The person giving it isn't involved. 

I attended the first night of Spanky's birthday festival, held at the midtown super club, Vanquish. I had never been to Vanquish or it's sister club, Reign, before this event. I arrived around 10pm. This is my stream of consciousness BB message to Spanky, as stood in the line...something I used to never do.

Really? You've got me STANDING IN LINE? No RSVP Line? There are bars I can see from here with no line, no cover. Isn't this just the best? All this Atlanta going on, we the black people crush into one spot. As though we'd been trained. The term 'ridiculous' comes to mind. Funny, were dresses always this short? Any you need the email to acknowledge the RSVP? They have no list. And there goes $20. And you got to be [bleep] me. This is it? This is the whole thing? Oh, and I have no idea where you are. Upstairs bar? Nope. Main Floor? Too crowded to tell. 

I'm getting old.

There is something about going to the club. The cover charge, the nasty looks because I look interested but I'm not the male model she wanted to pay attention, the long wait at the bar, etc. Clubs in Atlanta have gone from glitzy to relaxed earthy and then back, so I've seen it all. And it's not that I hate clubs, I've had some great nights out and about. It's just that now I can only really take this kind of experience, this wanna be glam over the top party, in small doses. So keep that in mind when I reading this.

Vanquish. From the back corner by the DJ booth. My spot.
So, then. Vanquish. Super club. Midtown.

The club is basically one big room, with a bar in the back and front left wall. It contains what looks like furniture from your aunt's house in the middle, and sleek magazine style furniture in the glass enclosed "private" areas. And an upstairs bar with a glass window wall that overlooks the dance floor of the club next door. And a sound system that vibrates your soul. And a light system that might cause seizures. And a tiny little dance floor the size of a kitchen.

If you go back to my stream from earlier, this is what I meant by the 'this is it' comment. From the way I've heard people talk about it, I expected movie-style accoutrements, with women in cages hanging from the ceiling, or people breathing fire on little podiums. Mermaids in a glass tube, waitresses on stilts, tigers, shark tank under the floor and paintings happening on balconies as the party raged below. Um, maybe I expected too much. 

Spanky's party was in the back corner, and I'm going to be completely honest, once I got there I found a spot and sat down. The place was packed, I mean what is the occupancy rating packed, and I really wasn't up to having to fight my way through the crush again. From my perch on the couch in the back corner, I saw everybody I needed to see. As the people worked there way over to wish Spanky her happy birthday, I said hi, gave a hug and promptly sat back down. Spanky had purchased a bottle for the 'table' and it came with various juices - orange, cranberry and pineapple. If you mix just those three together, they're awesome. I was content. I gratefully watched the purses.

Waitresses in little black dresses. DJ was alright, good mix of new and old school. Comfortable couch. I was set.

And that would have been the end of it, snuggled up in a corner trying to avoid brain damage. But as the night wore on, the crowd thinned and the DJ kept going back in time, one of Spanky's girlfriends (who I'd never seen before) popped up with the birthday girl's ex-paramour in tow. I don't think he ever really went away, but that's another story. He sprawled out on the couch next to her as I watched from across the table. (I found out later she'd asked the girl to go find him.) The music was too loud for me to hear, not that it was my business, but I was expecting the worst. There was some conversation, some pointed looks, then he just got up and left. No yelling, no hint of animosity, just got up and walked away, didn't even look back. And Spanky dissolved into tears.

It was nice to see her girls rally around her as she got emotional. A few minutes later her crew took charge and walked her out, the whole scene happening as though I was the season finale on one of the many reality shows that now infest the city. After they'd loaded her into the car in and disappeared, and I walked one of the other girls to her car, I called to leave her a message of encouragement. I was surprised when she answered her phone, but by then she'd fallen into subdued defeat.

It was a bad end to a tolerable evening.

Should you go? Sure, it is an experience you need to have. If only to know why you wouldn't want to go back. There was a time in my life I would have enjoyed this... in small doses. You might be in the time period of yours.

Barkeep, hey barkeep....hey! Man, forget this, I'm just going down the street.