Saturday, February 24, 2007

Read a Book!

My soon-to-be Chief Justice Avitable ran a meme yesterday that looked interesting, so I'd thought I'd steal it, and save myself from having to think up something original today.


Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror? Well, Stephen King is my all-time guilty pleasure, so I'd have to say horror. I'll read all three though, and have great affection for books from each of these genres.

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback? I have a lot of trade paperbacks from my "Buck A Book" era, back when you could get decent crap from B-a-B if you paid attention and went in daily. For instance, I've got the entire Richard Nixon library, special edition, in trade paperback. The problem is I'm a re-reader, that is, I find a book I like and I'll read it over and over again, so the paperbacks tend to get a little beat up over time. I do love the feel of a good hardcover, it feels so substantial - so official. But if I'm reading on the train, nothing beats the convenience of a mass market paperback. So put me down for "yes" on all three.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar? You ever notice that bookstores make you pee? I swear to god they're pumping up the humidity or something to make sure you don't just lounge around for hours and read all those wonderful words for free... If I'm after something specific, which is usually the case with the books Wifeypooh needs, we'll go Amazon, or more likely, Barnes and Noble's website, because she has a teacher discount. If I'm just looking to blow a half and hour and find something that will catch my fancy, nothing compares to an actual store.

Barnes & Noble or Borders? B&N for stuff the wife needs, but my lunch hour browsing is done at the local Borders, as the B&N in downtown Boston went bye-bye a couple of months ago.

Hitchhiker or Discworld? I laugh out loud at parts of the Hitchhiker series. Never read Discworld.

Bookmark or Dogear? I'm with Av, I'll use a bookjacket, if the book comes with it. If I own the book, I'll dogear - I don't see it as defacing the book, I see it as a tangible expression of my affection for these books.

Asimov’s Science Fiction or Fantasy & Science Fiction? I've only read a couple of Asimov's short stories, and was never too impressed by them. What do you mean by Fantasy & Science Fiction? Color me confused.

Alphabetize by author, Alphabetize by title, or random? I actually separate by genre - fiction, non-fiction, and then by author, usually. But mostly I just throw things around and stack 'em in the corners. My Buck-a-Book era left me with several hundred books I routinely have to hide from the Wife.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell? Keep. I have a copy of the freakin' Bhagavad Gita for goodness sakes...

Keep dust-jacket or toss it? Keep it, until it disintegrates into little bits. Then tape it up and still keep it. Why on earth would you throw it away?

Read with dustjacket or remove it? I use it as a bookmark, so definitely leave it on.

Short story or novel? It really depends on my mood. A short story is like a quick affair, a little peck. A novel is a commitment (well, a commitment for a couple of days on the train, I blow through books pretty quickly). I'll usually read a novel, then do a collection of short stories, then onto the next novel.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Both. Love the movies too, although "The Prisoner of Azkahban" was too short -- although it was very, very good. "Goblet of Fire" was very good, and bodes well for the next one. They're getting darker, and thus I think more richly textured and enjoyable. I loved the art direction for the Lemony Snicket movie, matched the feel of the book's illustrations perfectly.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? Never stop until I need to eat, or sleep.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time?" Ditto Avitable: "Who thinks up these stupid fucking questions?"

Buy or Borrow? Prefer to buy, because I'm lousy at giving back and I always feel bad when I have someone else's books... Plus I forget who I borrowed it from until they angrily confront me, usually at some family event.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse? Recommendations. Wifeypooh's in a book club, and they actually hit upon a good book now and again (The Time Traveler's Wife).

Lewis or Tolkien? Tolkien. I find the Narnia series too thin gruel. (And I like the overblown, pompous language of the Tolkien stuff. So there.)

Collection (short stories by the same author) or Anthology (short stories by different authors)? Collection. I fall in love with authors and read their entire bodies of work, and then move on.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger? Things have to end. Endings may be ambiguous, but to not end is a cop out, unless there's another book in the series.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading? Train reading. Bathroom reading. Very rarely bed reading anymore, because now that I'm an old fart I fall asleep when I'm tired and in a prone position. Plus, now that I've got someone in bed with me, I've got to use a booklight. When I was a kid I'd stay up all night and read in bed, but that's a thing of the past.

(oh, and if I'm in the middle of a particularly engrossing book, or coming to the end of a book, I'll often sneak off into the can for extended periods... even if I don't really have any other business in there, if you get my drift)

Standalone or Series? Series. I love getting to know a character, and coming back time and time again to visit his or her world.

New or used? Doesn't matter. We go to the library sale each year, when in the last hour you can get buy a grocery-bag's worth of books for two bucks. We'll usually fill four or five bags and walk out with 100 books for ten bucks and have our book needs taken care of for the year.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard? Perhaps "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger, although it is a book club favorite and is in being talked about for a movie, so lots of people have heard of it. Hmm... I'm stumped. I can't think of anything I've read lately and would recommend that hasn't been read by everyone and their brother...

Top 5 6 7 favorite genre books of all time? I don't contain my reading to a single genre, and a lot of my reading mixes across genres, so let's try top five favorite Sci Fi / Fantasy / Horror books of all time:
  • Inkheart, Cornelia Funke
  • The Stand, Stephen King
  • The Time Travelers Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
  • Alfred Hitchcock's Ghostly Gallery, Various (it's a collection of horror stories for juvenile readers)
  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling.
  • The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice
  • It, by Stephen King
Favorite genre series? Oh, I have a couple. I love the Potter series, and Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, and Stephen King's Castle Rock books, which all seem to go together. Also, of course, the Lemony Snicket series, and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

Currently Reading? I'm currently slogging my way through "The Earth is Flat" by Tom Friedman. It's a 400 pound hardback, so I haven't taken it on the train with me, and what with wives and kids to entertain, I'm stuck reading it five pages at a time. I may be reading this thing forever...

There. That's it. Have a great weekend, and read a book!

Friday, February 23, 2007

So Long, Suckers!

No, no, I'm not quitting blogging again. I'm just practicing for my Monday morning call into work after I win Tonight's Mega Millions lottery game.

First, you've got to understand I'm not one of those schleps who throws $5 or $10 bucks a week into the lottery in hope of the occasional $250 Numbers Game hit. Gambling in general, and The Lottery in particular, is a highly regressive activity, usually taking much too much money from people who can't really afford it.

(And before you protest, as does my father-in-law, "well, I break even at worst", let me point you to Connecticut, where the two tribes that run casinos make voluntary payments in lieu of taxes to the state exceeding $300 million per year. Are they able to make those payments if everybody is "breaking even". No. That's your money they're giving to the state, and if they're giving $300 million, than I'd be willing to say they're making a billion and a half, at least.)

So I'm not a huge fan of legalized gambling. Actually, truth be told, it pisses me off. But I'm not above throwing two or three bucks at these ridiculous big stakes games when they come up.

For instance, tonight's Mega Millions game is over $170 million. Now, the chance you'll hit is something like 175 million to one, but it does take only one, doesn't it?

So I doubled my chances and bought two tickets to tonight's drawing. Someones eventually got to win this thing, why not me? And besides, I'll get way more entertainment dreaming of the ways I'd spend the dough than $2 bucks could get me anywhere else. (I mean, really: have you seen the look you get giving $1 bills to strippers lately? It's like you've got three heads or something...)

Anywho, how would you spend $177 million?

First off, you've got to decide how you'd take the money. Like a lot of these big games, they don't give you a check for $177 million (well, they give you those big, oversized checks, but take it from experience, you can't cash those... Ooo, this brings us to a digression, if I may:

In one of my old jobs I used to be responsible for setting up "big check" events where we'd have a press event announcing a large grant, usually a million bucks or more, and would bring along one of those big, four feet long checks, complete with forged signature of the Governor. The money would usually go to communities via wire transfer and required various hoops and hurdles for the town to actually access.

Well, we had an issue with one community where we were giving a grant for work done years before, and the town had been dicked around by the state forever in their attempt to get the money, so the town fathers were a bit skeptical that we would actually give them the money, big check notwithstanding.

The asked their state representative, a real pain in the ass, if they could get the actual check at the event. The state rep. asked me, and I replied: are you crazy? No. We don't give out paper checks for a million bucks. So he went about making my life miserable, pestering me for weeks, pestering my boss, calling the governor's office. Basically making my life a living hell until I finally went to the finance guys and threatened to light myself on fire if we couldn't make this happen.

Somehow, and I don't know how many state laws were broken, one morning the CFO swung by my office and handled me a paper check for One Million Dollars. Now this was back when I that was about 33 years worth of my salary. In one check. After about 30 seconds of wondering if Lil' Peach would cash a third party check for a million clams, I had a panic attack because I'd have to keep this thing in my possession for two or three days until the event.

Now this was back in the days that I'd actually lost my mortgage payment, one of Wifeypooh's checks, and a small dog in the mess that was my desk. These days I understand the value of a daily desk-purge, but back then I was captain clutter. I think I carried that check around in my hands, sealed in a manila envelope, for two days until we finally had the event and I gave it to the pain-in-the-ass state rep, who made a big deal about how tough getting the check was. Tough for him? Yeah, sure, did he sleep with a million dollar check under his pillow for two days? Bah..

**Oh, and by the way, should anyone from the Inspector General's office be reading, I made this up. Plus, it's been more than seven years, so I think we've gone beyond the statute of limitations...)

Anyway, where the heck were we? Let me just scroll up and see..

Hold on...

Oh, yeah. Mega Millions. Anyway, Mega Millions gives you two choices of how you can get your money; you can either get the jackpot split into 26 yearly payments, or they'll give you as much cash as that 26 year annuity would cost.

So, with the prize at $177 million, the cash option would be $107 million or so, and the annuity would run you $6.8 million a year, before taxes. Figure you can manage to keep 60% (we're being very conservative) and you'd end up with $4.4 million after taxes.

See, personally, I'd take the 25 year option. I know most people jump at the lump sum, thinking they can make way more money off investing the dough than they'd get form the annual payments. Sure, maybe you can. But maybe you'd end up like those idiots who blow through all their dough in a couple of years and end up broke and bitter, calling their lottery winnings the worst thing that's ever happened to them. That would suck.

So, being super-cautious type people, and taking the cash option, here's the first ten things I can think of that I'd do with my after tax booty:

Top Ten Things I'd Do With $4 Million A Year, After Taxes

10. $1mil - to be used to buy shotguns, canned goods, and bottled water for the coming of the apocalypse. Because I know with God's sense of humor, letting me win $177 million paid out in 26 years means that the world is ending in seven months.

9. $58K each kid into 529 plans for school. In case the world doesn't end.

8. $100K for each relative to pay them to leave me alone (5 siblings, 4 parents).

7. $300K for a yearly luxury box lease at Gillette Stadium - to pay Brotherdear back for every time he's taken me to Pats games on him.

6. $1mil for land (20+ acres of mixed pasture and woodlands), plus house, outfitted with solar panels, a windmill, and, resources allowing, a hydro generator. And a big freaking fence.

5. $100K for a Tesla Roadster.

4. $75K to get Joe Satriani to give me guitar lessons.

3. $200 for a new MP3 player (see, I'm not just blowing money willy-nilly).

2. $50K for a gold and diamond encrusted skin for the MP3 player.

And the number on thing I'd buy with $4 million per year after taxes:

1. $1.259 to my lawyers to get me a good deal out of the divorce which is caused when Wifeypooh hears about my little $1.259 million offer to Penny....


UPDATE: Oh my, I just realized that the bribes to my inlaws would cost $900K, not $100K, so I'd only have $329,000 to bribe Penny... That's not enough... Hmm... What could I get Av to do for $300,000???

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Okay, I'm back.

Looking at yesterday's post I realized my Dunkin' level must be low, causing these depressive and suicidal thoughts. So here I sit with my Dunkin' Great One, and, wouldn't you know it, all is right with the world!

I'm sitting here looking at a Father's Day present The Boy made me last year titled "Five Reasons Why I Love My Dad." And in addition to highlighting the sublime perfection of my fatherhood, it also speaks volumes about The Boy, and why he is destined to a life of slide rules and .... well, whatever the heck engineers do.

Five Reasons Why I Love My Dad
by Boy Jones

1. He is nice. Well, comparatively, I guess. I see the Boy hasn't yet discovered that "yes, ahem, yup, true..." are the conversation tactics of a Dad desperately trying to read that paper, not a nice guy engrossed in your breakfast table discussion.

And here's the sad part: in ten years I'll be sitting, probably at that same table, wishing I could have those conversations...

2. He plays with me. This is what happens when you have a dad with the mentality of a twelve year old. Actually, it was ideal. When Wifeypooh got tired of playing with me, she popped out the kids, and given me new playmates so I don't have to bother her.

3. He does not yell at me. I'm not the yeller of the family. I growl more than yell. I've also been known to huff and sigh. Which is why in the rare occasion when I do yell, it gets instant attention... Although the advent of adolescence in The Girl has seen increasing yelling with decreasing efficacy...

4. He buys me food. Well, I like food too, so it's not like I'm buying it just for him. And he eats like a bird anyway, so it's really not a big deal. Just give him a bit of macaroni and cheese and a cookie after dinner and he's all yours...

5. He gives me shelter. What kind of eight year old thinks about stuff like this? "He gives me shelter"... Whattaya think, I'd make you sleep out in the cold? What a left-brain, logical, Spock-like thought...

So, a future of protractors and calculator watches ahead of him, or what?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ugh... February.

Now is the winter of our discontent, the times that try men's souls, if I can mix my historic quote stealing.


February sucks. Can it just get its ass over with please? Were in full pity-party swing over here and need March and the renewal of spring to get moving again.

A list of my grievances:

  • Trusty Laptop went teats up; windows ate itself.
  • Trusty MP3 player is missing, and feared somewhere in the bowels of the Xray machine at the State House (but, oh, I feel so safe!) (Until, that is, Wifeypooh finds out I lost the MP3 player and chews my ass out to the Nth degree)
  • Non-winter had been replaced by biting, searing, ice-storm cold. Thanks a efffing lot, Mother Nature. You biotch.

On the plus side:

  • Still on the right side of the dirt.
  • Nifty new Treo makes it possible to be hounded by email everywhere, even the can.
  • Got a new toy:

Of course, this new toy is necessitated by the fact that I weigh approximately 945 pounds and need someone to help me pee by lifting my ponderous gut out of the way of my rapidly disappearing manhood...

Oh Christ, that's a lovely image.

And this goddamn world has gone completely off the rails.

The 2008 Presidential Election is 21 months away, the New Hampshire primary is 13 months away, and ads are already going up? The rest of you are lucky, you don't live in the media market that covers Southern New Hampshire. We're subjected to political ads early and often, and have to put up with ridiculous shit like stories that Dennis Kuchinic is trying to get 42 votes in MooseScrew New Hampshire by taking sides in a local permitting issue that is absolutely none of his business.

I swear, you get your cat stuck in a tree in New Hampshire anytime within a year and a half of the New Hampshire primary and four they'll be four presidential candidates coming over your house with a ladder.

I just can't take it.

Can't take anymore talk about Tom Brady's bastard child, Anna Nicole Smith's body (or that poor soon-t0-be multimillionaire baby and the circus paternity trial), Britney's hair, etc etc etc.

Not to mention if you're a sports fan in New England up until this week your February sports options were watching the Celtics go on an 18 game losing streak, or trying to find the Bruins on some channel, any channel. When did they put hockey in the witness protection program?

But things are looking up, my friends. Pitchers and catchers reported this week; opening day is a little more than a month away. You don't even have to be a rabid baseball fan to appreciate that, pitchers and catcher reporting is, like the return of the geese or those little green eruptions that become your daffodils, a sure sign that spring is on the way.

I'm ready. Ready to renew life and put behind me this winter of my discontent. Ready to face my new life with firm resolution, not dread resignation. Goodbye cruel winter. Hello affirming spring.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy Valentine's day to me!

Did our traditional Valentine's Day thing yesterday: Kentucky Fried Chicken by candlelight followed by watching "So I Married An Axe Murderer." This tradition was started years ago after a particularly lousy Valentine's Dinner at the local hoity-toity restaurant where the service sucked, the food was merely okay, and every other woman in the crowd was given a rose when they came in, except Wifeypooh. I won't mention them, as I wouldn't want to kill their business.... oh what the heck:

The Layfette House in Foxboro SUCKS!!! Sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks Layfette House sucks sucks sucks...

There, that feels better.

Well, anywho, got the wife her usual Godiva allotment, and a DVD of Oliver and Company, the first movie we went to together. She got me some chocolates, thus contributing to my future of morbid obesity, and a neat little toy came in the mail:

I somehow hoodwinked the wife into thinking that a Treo was completely necessary for my new gig... bwa ha ha... Now I can blog on the train, in the elevator, in my car, while showering!!! I will be invincible!!! bwa aha hah ha ha --choke choke, sputter sputter---

Alright, enough of that, time to shower...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

In Honor of Valentines Day

Av did this one about his gorilla-human relationship. It was touching and all that, so I decided to steal it and comment on my fictional wife...

1. Where/how did you meet?
My best friend's birthday party. She was his date. We bowled. I had a cast on my hand, which I had broken punching another player in the helmet (I never said I was bright). I bowled left handed. She bowled with two hands. I beat her soundly.

2. How long have you known each other?
Well, that party was some time in the fall of 1985, so 21 years and a few months.

3. How long after you met did you start dating?
I chased her three long years before she finally succame, in the fall of 1988.

4. How long did you date before you were engaged?
I was engaged in my heart the moment I saw her. It took her a little longer. We got engaged around Christmas 1990, two years after we started dating.

5. How long was your engagement?
Four and a half years. It was a Bataan Death March engagement, during which we must have broken up half a dozen times, particularly as the wedding neared. This was the first wedding in each family, and we were about 12 years old, and we didn't have jobs yet, so it was a little tense.

6. How long have you been married?
Thirteen years this April.

7. What is your anniversary?
Not telling. Gotta keep something for myself, you know?

8. How many people came to your wedding reception?
I think it was 200, although I wasn't much involved beyond fighting with my wife-to-be, fighting with my mother, fighting with my eventual Mother-in-law.

9. What kind of cake did you serve?

White cake with strawberries and white chocolate mousse, with a butter cream icing. Had to ask Wifeypooh that one, I had no idea... (I think I was still in shock, people tell me we had a reception, but I don't really remember it)

10. Where was your wedding?
The Catholic Church in Pleasantville. The reception was at a golf course the next town over.

11. What did you serve for your meal?
I have no idea. Probably chicken, this was 1994 and normal people were still doing the rubber chicken thing at wedding receptions.

12. How many people were there in your bridal party?
14 total, with junior bridesmaids and the flower girl, and the designated fluffer for later that evening.

13. Are you still friends with them all?
(This is going to be a sore spot should motherdear be reading this, as I didn't have my cousins in my wedding party but I did have a couple of college friends, one of which I haven't heard hide nor hair from in about ten years). I keep in touch with all my groom's men but one, and I think we've lost track of two of the wife's attendents, but since most were family (my brother, and her four siblings), we still see them (I wouldn't push it and say we're still "friends" with them all).

14. Did you or your spouse cry during the ceremony?
No. I did cry after I bought the engagement ring. I had never spend that much money on something I couldn't go through a drive-through in before. Took me a year of loansharking and leg-breaking to pay it off.

15. Most special moment of your wedding day?
Heh heh heh.. (Dirty laugh)

16. Any funny moments?
The wedding party sang the Time Warp. And my 19 year old cousin got to put the garter on my nine year old sister-in-law. He behaved, which was a pleasant surprise.

17. Any big disasters?
Not that I know of, but I was living the Life of Flounder (Fat, Drunk, and Stupid), so the hall could've caught on fire and my father and step-father could've had a duel to the death with AK-47s and I wouldn't have noticed.

18. Where did you go on your honeymoon?

19. How long were you gone?
About a week. Both she and I had basically moved out of our parent's houses to get married, so going off alone at 4:30 in the morning to Florida seemed like a big adventure.

20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change?
Would've been a whole lot mellower about the whole thing.

21. What side of the bed do you sleep on?
On the right, to the left of the wife. When I shared a bed with Brothergoodson as a kid I had the left-hand side, but when Wifeypooh and I moved into our first apartment the eave was over the left, so to save me from concusssions every morning, I took the right.

22. What size is your bed?

23. Greatest strength as a couple?
She calls me on my crap, and I understand her better than anyone else. (For instance, I have conversations with her in my head; I know exactly what she's going to say, before she says it. Really cuts down on wasted conversation.)

24. Greatest challenge as a couple?
She calls me on my crap, and I don't call her on hers. But, frankly, everyone else calls her on her crap, so she doesn't need that from me too, does she?

25. Who literally pays the bills?
We do it together, at the kitchen table, every Monday night. We started doing it that was after a certain "secret" credit card with a $4000 balance was accidentially discovered one time... Not good times, not good times at all.

26. What is your song?
"Eternal Flame", The Bangles.

27. What did you dance your first dance to?
"Eternal Flame". Our "last song" at the reception was "You're my best friend" by Queen. That's a friggin' hard song to foxtrot to, I'll tell you what.

28. Describe your wedding dress?
We had matching white beaded off the shoulder numbers. I had me back hair braided for the occasion.

29. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding?
Edible? I don't know, it was 13 frickin' years ago. Actually, I think she had lilacs in her bouquet, as she loves lilacs, but don't hold me to that.

30. Are your wedding bands engraved? What do they say?
We put our ATM PIN in there in case we ever forget it.

Well, that's it. Have a happy Valentine's Day, even if it's just with yourself... (And don't be cheap, buy yourself something nice first, okay? ...perverts...)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Soundtrack of our lives...

Well, all the major party candidates are trotting out their theme songs. So rich boy John Edwards, who's building a 55 thousand square foot house on 40 acres of land in North Carolina is using "Our Country" by John Mellencamp (maybe he's suggesting that he's so rich he can buy the entire country), and Chris Dodd, the Senator from Connecticut, is trying to make us forget he's the token old white guy in the race by using "Get Ready" by the Temptations.

Hillary will take the stage to "Right Here, Right Now" by Jesus Jones (an obvious play for the evangelical vote) while Iowa Governor Tom Vilsac uses a song I might actually use if I was running in non-bloglife, "Let the Day Begin" by The Call.

But, as I am running in bloglife, I have no need to use a song anyone might like. So, as my trusty advisers, my wetbar, I need some advice. What song should we use as the theme song of this glorious campaign of global domination of hope and love...

As a Yankovicicanocrat, or something like that (I can't be bothered to check last week's post to see the name of our political party), perhaps we should use a Weird Al song. The polka mixes are intriguing, as you get many, many songs for one licensing fee. The latest remix, off of Straight Outta Lynnwood has a bunch of good riffs that provide a good picture of what we stand for in this campaign;

"I say you don't show
Don't move, time is slow
I say take me out!" - Take Me Out, Franz Ferdinand - bespeaks the immediacy of this campaign and how important it is to act now and vote for me!

"When the pigs try to get at ya
Park it like it's hot
Park it like it's hot" - Drop it Like It's Hot, Snoop Dogg - good advice for anyone dealing with the police

"I'll take you to the candy shop
I'll let you lick the lollypop
Go 'head girl, don't you stop
Keep going 'til you hit the spot (woah)" - Candy Shop, 50 Cent - see, we're a pro-young person campaign... hold on... oooohhh... That's not what that's about? No? Really? Oh my, that's dirty... Moving on.

(The very unsettling aspect of having the Boy get into Weird Al is that he walks around the house singing "Dontcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me"... I really hope he doesn't sing that at school, or we're going to need to teach him how to streetfight...)

Another possibility could be "Gimmie the Prize (Kurgan's Theme)" from the movie Highlander. I certainly think the whole "here we are, Princes of the Universe" thing sums up our campaign well. Plus it'd be real cool to be immortal.

Another good one is Sunday, Bloody Sunday by U2. But you've gotta admit between sporting events and other politicians, U2 has become a bit cliche. So to take it up a notch, we could have our version be the one rapped by President Bush at his last State of the Union. It'd work on multiple levels; Republicans would think we were down with the whole Bush thing, and Demmies would think we were poking fun at George W.

We could go old-school, and use an old Dylan song. I always liked Subterranean Homesick Blues. "You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows..." It's blowing toward a Kal victory, Baby!

Or, I could stay old school, and at the same time invoke another political hero of mine, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld. In his 1994 reelection for Governor he used the Grateful Dead's Truckin' as a campaign song, perhaps the first time in history a candidate has used a song with a line like "Livin' on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine,".

Oh well, perhaps I should just pick a theme song that sums up my personality? That would be this one, or course;

Well, loyal supporters, you got any ideas?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Kal 4 Prez!

Many have asked, "well, Mr. Kal, exactly what kind of president would you be?"

To tell you the truth, I don't know, I've never been president before. So how better to find out, than to surf over to the fine folks at Blogthings and ask them?

You Are Most Like George H. W. Bush

You're considered boring by people that don't know you well. But like Bush senior, you do crazy things.
Maybe you'll end up banning broccoli in your house, or puking on the Prime Minster of Japan!

Well, of course, they didn't have a question about the proper treatment of interns. That may have changed things a bit. At least I didn't get Nixon....

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

A Major Announcment

The 2008 election is more than a year and a half away, and already these politicians are running around, claiming they’re all God’s gift to America. Well, let me tell you: I’m fed up. I’m fed up with both parties, and can’t see myself supporting any of the minor third parties, because, frankly, those guys are nuts.

So I’m doing what any rational person would do. I’m running for President too. In 2008. And maybe 2012 too, you know, should we lose In ’08.

I am forming my own political party, based on the writings of the genius of our times, Weird Al Yankovic. I thought of calling it the Yankotarian party, but that sounded too close to being a party named after the joys of self-love. Instead I’ve settled on Yankovicratican.

Now, just as the Republican party turned the thoughtful musings of Abraham Lincoln into a party based on foreign domination and obscene corporate raping and pillaging of the American economy, and the Democratic party took the reasoned self-reliance of Jefferson and turned into the handout to everyone, hate-America-first party, the Yankovicraticans will undoubtedly wander from the teachings of our spiritual leader, Mr. Weird Alfred Yankovic.

Don’t get me wrong: the Yankovicraticans do support wars of foreign domination, if only to steal their treasure and take their women spread democracy, love and Fleetwood Mac across the Globe. We’re also cool with the whole “government giving us money” vibe that the democrats like, but instead of handouts, which are a bummer ‘cause you’ve got to go to the welfare office or the unemployment office and wait around, I’m thinking we’ll go with the government will just mail everybody $100 a month for pizza or beer or guns whatever, no questions asked. Sort of like FEMA debit cards for everyone.

It is important that this juncture I disclose that Mr. Al has nothing to do with the Yankovicraticans, and does not know about our existence, and, furthermore, might likely, if he were to know about us, would probably denounce our movement and demand we stop using his most sacred of names in our materials. So let’s not tell him, Mmmm’kay? Let this be a surprise, so when we take the White House in 2008, or 2012, we can invite him to an inaugural ball, and he’ll think it was like cool that a President would invite him to a ball, but he’ll think it was like some Bush or Clinton relative that won, so he wouldn’t be suspecting it when we jump out from behind the punch bowl and like shout “surprise!” and everything.

Yeah, that would be cool.

Anyway, as your President I promise to do very little. No expensive government programs that just don’t work anyway, no expensive excursions into foreign lands; unless those lands have a) ample numbers English-speaking inhabitants, b) are a strategic source of Margaritas, or c) threatened our American spring-break way of life. I’m not going to bug you every ten minutes with presidential news conferences, and if those jerk reporters who pester the president on his way to his helicopter must ask me questions, I promise to only answer in Pig Latin, so the news people won’t know what to do and won’t bother showing you the tapes on some sort of bullcrap “special report”. I promise that I WILL spend as much time as possible at Camp David, and arranging State Dinners to invite Mary Lou Retton and Elizabeth Shue to. I might even pick up a new hobby, like golf or something.

I am accepting applications for the role of my Vice President. I have my Secretary of War all settled, but other cabinet positions are open. Oh, and we’ll be renaming the Cabinet. Cabinet; that’s a stuffy name. I mean, it’s weird. It’s a piece of furniture for goodness sakes. Who’s going to take seriously a President taking advice from a piece of freakin’ furniture. So I’m going to rename the thing and appoint a Presidential Wet Bar. I pledge to hire Isaac from “Love Boat” to be my First Barkeep. I pledge to stock only top-shelf booze: no cheap imitation Russian vodka for this magnificent country.

I am neither left wing nor right wing, but instead chicken wing. I am buffalo wing. I will be the drumstick of American politics – somewhat crude, definitely funny looking, makes a mess, but ultimately satisfying.

I ask you to join me on this journey, and together we will scarf down all the free sandwhiches and political-event chicken kabobs we can get some other sucker to pay for.

Kal For America, America for Kal

Two Things

Stole this one from RW, before he went into a death spiral of depression after his beloved Bears got two in the cap from Peyton Manning and the Colts.

The "Two Things" Meme:

Two Names You Go By: Doofus (wifeypooh) & Mom (the boy)

Two Parts of Your Heritage: Scottish & Lithuanian (yeah, I'm a pissy drunk)

Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now: Birthday & Suit (there's a visual for you)

Two Things You Would Want in a Relationship: Discipline & Bactine

Two of Your Favorite Hobbies: S & M... No, that's wrong... Umm... Blogging & Madden Football.

Two Things You Want Really Badly At The Moment: A billion trillion dollars & a fake ID.

Two Pets You Had/Have: Fat Kat & Peaches the Wonder Idiot Dog

Two people you talked to today: Me & Myself (I also chatted with I, but he was grumpy)

Two things you did last night: Hee Hee & Leer Knowingly

Two people that live in your house: Boy & Girl

Two things you ate today: Coffee & More Coffee

Two people you miss: Reagan & Clinton (c'mon, wasn't that the most entertaining eight years of presidency you've seen? Can you imagine how much fun this guy's going to be if he doesn't actually have any responsibility and still gets to live at the White House? Keggah at Bill's!!!)

Two things you're doing tomorrow: Taxes & Sleep (Not quite death and taxes, but close)

Two vacations you've been on: Disney & Every day from 2 to 3:30

Two Favorite Holidays: My birthday (soon to be a major international holiday) & Bastille Day

Two favorite Alcoholic beverages: Scotch & Whiskey

Two bands you have seen live: Jethro Tull & ...gulp... The Bangles

Two things you will do after you finish this survey: Get dressed & Go off for another day of humiliation and slavery to The Man.

There, two things. Face it, you're not coming here for anything original, are you?


Sunday, February 4, 2007

Not that I'm bragging....

Stolen from Chris, who is a heathen going straight to hell because he got a 95...

You know the Bible 96%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Actually, I credit reading David Plotz's Blogging the Bible series on Slate. It's at once funny, hip, and informative. Well, except for the entries on Jeremiah... He's a major bummer, old Jerry...

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Viva La Garage! Viva YouTube!

I used to have a blog called "The Garage" which reflected my obession with 1980's and early '90's culture. Well, culture's a bit of a stretch when talking about Wham!, but, anyway...

In the interest of not juggling four different Google Id's, I thought I'd bring The Garage over here, and incorporate it into the new place. So, to kick it off, here's a quintessential 1980's song. It makes no sense, it's got a ton of electronic instruments, and it's from a one hit wonder.

Well, I'm not being fair; it's from a musical, so it must make some sense in the context of the musical, and Murray Head had a good broadway career, but you get the idea.

Now, about Viacom's attempt to pull all MTV clips off of YouTube. First of all, the actual artistic product here doesn't belong to Viacom. A clip from MTV shows a video, produced by the artist, not the work product of MTV, they just put their little bug on the corner of the screen. And it's not even like they play friggin' videos anymore, what the hell do they care?

(Putting on old man beard)
See... When I was a kid, MTV was music videos 24/7, they didn't have any crappy shows to get in the way... blah blah blah...
(/old man beard)

Anyway, now that YouTube is owned by Google, this is obviously a ploy by Viacom to grab some licensing dough from the Google boys. In the spirit of solidarity with the Googlionaires, let's put up another video grabbed from MTV, shall we?

Here's Tom Jones and the Cranberries covering Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House."


Oh the Shame!

You Are a Conservative Democrat

Frankly, the way most other Democrats behave embarasses you greatly.
You pride yourself on a high level of morals, and you have a good grasp on right and wrong.
It's likely you think America needs to get back to its conservative, Juedo-Christian values.
Why aren't you a Republican then? Because you believe the goverment helps more than hurts.

Now some of you folks are new to Kal, so don;t take this to heart. I'm not a Conservative Democrat, but because I'm pro-choice these tests always get this wrong, well, and the fact that I beleive in some modicum of environmental responsibility and I don't want to see every inch of wetlands paved for Walmart, or the fact that I couldn't really care less if my friend Ahhhndrew finally settled down and married himself another guy. For this they call me dirty names, like Democrat.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Grow the F up...

Ok. Let me get something straight.

You, you twenty-something slacker skateboarding blogger punk iDioT Whu Kant SPELl in yeR BloGGG Idiotarian, you think the city of Boston and State of Massachusetts are governed by fools because they took seriously a number of phoned-in threats related to various objects attached to major pieces of public infrastructure?

Boston's getting the heat from the enlightened Generation Y for their "fascist overreaction" to the (sarcasm)brilliant(/sarcasm) marketing campaign that brought several major roadways to a standstill yesterday.

And the two dudes busted for actually installing the "devices" held an improptu news conferences acting like, well, jackasses. Here's the link, I'm not wasting the space putting it up.

What a bunch of idiots.

Here are the facts.

  • Wednesday morning at all about the same time:
  1. Separate from the Mooninites ads, two simulated pipe bombs were found, one strapped to a major highway bridge and another in the offices of the New England Medical Center (NEMEC).
  2. A clearly disturbed man who was not a patient was busted running out of NEMEC saying that today (Wednesday) was going to be a horrible day, and God was going to get us all.
  3. A sequence of calls went in to Boston Police giving the locations of a number of the infamous "lite brite" marketing devices.
  • These "devices" were attached to landmarks and pieces of important infrastructure, not stuck to Joe's Autobody or the neighborhood Dunkin' Donuts.
  • While authorities had figured out fairly early in the day that they were a cartoon character, and the blogosphere was buzzing about this fairly early on, Turner Broadcasting did not get in touch with the city until something like 5pm.
  • Bombs, or IED's as the media loves to call them, are often disguised as something innocuous. For instance:
"Another new tactic identified involves women carrying IED disguised as a baby while trying to enter hospitals (two hospitals were targeted in Baghdad in early November 2003 using this tactic, and so far reports claim that five women have attempted this kind of action)."

and, remember, the Soviet Union used to disguise bombs as toys in Afghanistan.

So. You're responsible for the lives of the around one and a half to two million people who work and live in Boston. What are you going to do? Treat this as real until proven otherwise, or
wait until someone gets blown up?

Fine, you sit around in your mother's basement playing guitar hero all day. I get it. You're too cool to be fooled by some dumbass marketing ploy.

But when you're on this side of the line, the side actually responsible for shit other than deciding whether to put in the stainless lip ring or go with the gold, well, that's a different kettle of fish. Sure, if you live in East Butt-truck Indiana it's easy to dismiss Bostonians as a tightly-wound group of nincompoops. But nobody wants to bomb Indiana.

And as to the other major metropolitan cities and why they didn't catch it, well, did they have people calling them in?

There's the crux of the matter:

Somebody, or maybe a series of somebodies, called these things in. You can't go ignoring calls from the public about things attached to pieces of public infrastructure that don't belong there. That would be a serious dereliction of duty.

I think that maybe the "starving artists" who put the things up didn't think they were getting enough attention out of them, and called them in. Now if that's the case, then there's your jailable offense. That's when it crosses the line from simple trespass (there's no way they had permits for any of this) to felonious hoaxing. That's what I'd be worried about, were I them.

I'm glad they took this stuff seriously. I was on a train that was stopped, we all had to get off, and bomb-sniffing dogs were run through. Nothing was found of course, and I was ten minutes late getting home. Big deal. My civil liberties weren't infringed by getting off the train for ten minutes. And I got home in one piece.

Let the folks who are responsible for the public's safety protect the public. Let the folks responsible for body piercing and graffiti worry about other crap.

Am I wrong?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

I got NOTHING...

I think turning into a crunchy environmentalist do-gooder has killed my sense of humor. I got nothing... Could just be exhaustion, I guess, or the tragic lack of any readers -- that's always a bummer.

Oh, by the way, wanted to thank the members of the Daily Canon over there on the right who updated their blogrolls to reflect the change in locations. Love you guys.... sniff sniff.

Anyway, I can't figure out if I'm depleted of blog ideas because work has got my a bit bummed out, or if it's just that I'm sad I have to watch Gray's Anatomy tonight and not 30 Rock.

It's not that I don't like Gray's, it's just that I need a little gonzo in my decidedly dour do-gooder life...