I’m absolutely for sending troops to Iraq

Yes, we should suit up Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Bill Kristol, Liz Cheney, George W. Bush, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Karl Rove, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and every last Neocon we can round up, arm them to the teeth and paradrop them smack dab in the middle of Iraq. There should be at least 4500 of them we could find– just the number of lives that we have already invested in the country. Obviously those who died there in the last 11 years were not committed, if they had been they would never would have been killed…

We will keep them supplied: plenty of ammo and food, however medical evacuation and extrication is out of the question until they have solved the problems in Iraq they are so certain they could mend if they were once more in power.

Now is the time to prove with actions the conviction of their words.

HBO’s Rome (1 & 2)

This is addressed to a young friend of mine, Eric, with whom until recently I worked at a tech startup in Boulder. I loaned Rome to him before I left the company, and he, through a common friend and c o-worker of his, returned the DVDs to me.

I was wondering what you thought. Did you look up any of the people on Wikipedia? What about a society that lived by a morality that was entirely pre-christian and pre-islam, how did you feel that was portrayed?

Let me know your thoughts, I will eagerly await your comment while I dwindle my life away on a commute to the other side of planet Denver.

Later.

The History Channel’s “The World Wars”

The difference between this series and a sack of bullshit is negligible.

Donald Rumsfeld? The guy who blows Dick Cheney regularly and got us into two wars we never should have gotten into in the first place? The guy who learned his chops from the Nixon Whitehouse? The one who believe that Abu Ghraib was “just a few bad apples”? Why he not dispensing his “wisdom” while being bludgeoned with threaded rods by the overwhelming numbers of vets who want his blood (why threaded rods? Oh, they want to beat him, but they want to cut him, too) is beyond me. Tell me what insight this blood-gargling zombie can deliver to a historical documentary about warfare, puh-lease!

And Dick Cheney! Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!

John “I never met a war I didn’t want to get hip deep into” McCain? Mr. “I crashed more planes than most Americans drive in their lifetimes” McCain? Mr. “Chatterbox” to his fellows in the Hanoi Hilton? Sure he was tortured, so were other airmen, but they didn’t talk like . LOOK IT UP! Ferchristsake, this asshole ran for president in 2008 with Sarah Palin as his running mate! Why didn’t they just put her sorry ass on and let her come up with one of her cutesy sayings? “My father could look up Hitler’s asshole from his house!”

Colin “The Hypocrite” Powell: “Once you go to war, you know how serious it is…” Really, Colin? Tell us again about the phony tube of anthrax and cartoon drawings you showed to the UN?

And one conservative wind bag after another: John Major (purse holder for the “iron lady”), Gen. Stanley McCrystal (ret. and disgraced), David Milbrand, the bloviating list goes on and on. And those lesser-known “historians” they dug up are a who’s who of right wing revisionists: just look up their CVs: Brands, Reid, etc.

Horseshit!

Dougie MacArthur? A hero? An arrogant self-promoting dictator at best. He was the very prototype of Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, and the rest of the crowd that believes that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Did they cover how he railroaded Billy Mitchel because General Mitchel dared state that air warfare made Dougie’s vaunted strictly ground military largely obsolete? Did they cover how he turned GUNS on his fellow WWI veterans at Hoover’s order whey they marched, starving on Washington to get the bonuses promised them? Did they cover the guy who only wanted to be photographed returning to the Philippines throughout the war regardless of necessary strategic positioning?

And facts? Out the fucking window: Episode 2 opens with a “stock broker” jumping out the window after the 1929 crash. In short, it NEVER FUCKING HAPPENED, not once. Look it up! You have the Internets and the Googles! Fucking never happened. Not one stock broker jumped to his death after the crash. One banker, exactly ONE, blew his brains out 2 weeks after the crash, and he wasn’t even from Wall Street, he just lost everything. Talk about perpetuating a myth!

Oh, and the New Deal? Entirely financed by cutting the military! I didn’t know that! Wow! So glad you cleared that up.

And Stalin? His real name was Joseph Dzhugashvili, NOT Stalin (which is Russian for “steel”); but they pass him off as Stalin from the beginning and portray him as Lenin’s right hand man. Lenin (Vladimir Illyich Ulianov was his real name) distrusted Stalin, he thought he was a thug (no shit!). Lenin relied more on Trotsky (whom Stalin drove out of the USSR and later had assassinated in Mexico).

Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch was much more complicated that depicted: he was not trying to overthrow the German government, but the provincial government of Bavaria whose capital was Munich.

And no, American intervention in the First World War was not the panacea depicted: the US did not just show up and the war ended. Hardships at home in Germany and Austria were well under way to undermining the war effort, the 100 days’ offensive was not as dramatic as depicted. Read “All Quiet on the Western Front” for a better understanding of how a beleaguered nation that had no material imports for over 4 years destroyed the German war effort. Any nation that is surrounded (their navy was destroyed at Jutland) and denied access to basic raw materials is doomed. A new word for these “History” Channel bozos: Attrition. But, of course, the true story is not as exciting as the made up one.

“The Night of Long Knives” did not bring Hitler to power! Only people in Hitler’s own party were killed in the NLK, like Roehm (his principle rival and a man recognized as a “degenerate homosexual” by his fellow Nazis). Hitler’s assumption of power was much more complicated (his party only controlled 30% of the seats in the Reichstag– think of that the next time you consider the Tea Party as just a bunch of loons out on the fringes): the aged conservative Chancellor Hindenburg who made Hitler Vice Chancellor to make the conservative coalition which included the Nazis outnumber the socialists and liberal block in the Weimar Republic’s parliamentary government. But, hey, that’s not as sexy as claiming Hitler came to power through assassination of his “political rivals”– implying that he killed his non-Nazi enemies. In fact, telling such a lie whitewashes the blood on the hands of the conservatives who made him Chancellor after Hindenburg died. Funny how modern-day conservatives telling this “history” want to hide conservative complicity in Hitler’s rise.

History simplified for idiots. I’m quite certain Fox News gives this crap 5 stars.

Go back to producing reality shows like “Mountain Men”, “Pawn Wars”, “Biker Battleground”, and “American Pickers”. Now THAT’s history.

Short Story: Always Look for the Gremlin Label

Note: some folks might take this as an anti-union screed, and it was at the time I wrote it; but I have become pro-union over the years and so I no longer intend it as a vehicle to support the pro-corporate, "free-market" idiots (who could not describe the tenets of a free market described by Adam Smith if their lives depended on it) who might masturbate to it.

The story is based on an incident related to me by the boyfriend of a co-worker of my first wife. He worked on a nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania in the 1980s (no, not TMI) as a safety inspector. While on the job, he would occasionally come across a meter, electrical component or some such that had been sabotaged by a union worker to keep the job going. If something had to be fixed, it meant more work for the union construction workers.

I have no doubt such incidents occurred, but from this extreme behavior we have swung to the polar opposite, where corporations now do the moral equivalent of sabotage by oppressing their employees. 

History and human behavior are forever a pendulum, swinging from one extreme to another.

There's hilarity in there somewhere, but there always is with suffering. I offer this ditty as a kind of a paranoid conspiracy theory, to be taken as seriously as an elephant joke.

Enjoy it or suffer it as you choose.

Oh, and the title? It comes from an old commercial in the 70's and 80's that had a bunch of union employees sing a tune to "always look for the union label" to support garment workers in the USA. I recall my mother, a staunch Republican to this day, scoffing at the concept of supporting a union when the commercial played. Since then garment and fabric work has moved off-shore and America no longer has a home-grown garment industry (thank a Democrat, Bill Clinton, and NAFTA for that).

Gremlins are fictional creatures that were invented by the propaganda arm of our burgeoning nation upon entering World War Two.  The gremlin was used as metaphor to warn workers not only of the threat of spies; but laziness and accidents in afflicting the war effort.

I was out at the monkey house at the zoo last Thursday with the kids.  Yeah, I took ‘em ‘cuz they had the day off and I’d picked up a lot of comp time lately. I earned it, ferchristsake.

Jesus, that place stinks.  Must be all that monkey shit or something.

Fuckin’ A.

Anyway, I just happened to look around at the wall behind where people stand to look at the little shits.  You know, the one opposite the monkey cages, and there it was. Sure as shit—a Sigil, and on a voltage regulator that still looked brand fuckin’ new, and it had to be at least 5 or 10 years old to boot.  I thought to myself, didn’t nobody from the IBU ever get out to the zoo?  It didn’t look like it.   Lazy fuckers—dumb shits, too.  You bet.  Besides, didn’t they have no sense?  Didn’t they have no culture? I mean, it’s the friggin’ zoo for Chrisakes.  Somebody hadda come out there every once in a while, am I right?

Fuckin’ A.

If nobody made it out to the zoo on their own, somebody shoulda at least been sent out by central to look for Sigils in all the buildings out there every year at least, right?  What, they want the world to go straight to hell or something?  The bums. It could really piss a guy off, and it did.

Fuckin’ A.

And who knows how much overtime the fellas who woulda hadtafix the fucker missed out on by it being in perfect shape all this time.  That’s the real shame, and a goddamned shame at that.  I’ll bet the guy who left the Sigil had no fucking idea things would go this long without somebody takin’ care of the thing.  If I was going to be able to look at myself in the mirror in the morning, I just hadta do something about it.  Who knows when another IBU guy would get a chance to take a whack at the thing, let alone even get out there and see the Sigil?   Months.  Years.

Fuckin’ A.

Well, it looked like it was up to me to set things right (as per fucking usual).  I hafta do this shit all the time.  So why not now?  Just wait ‘til there’s nobody around, and set things straight.

Fuckin’ A.

I had to figger out a way to get by myself so’s I could do a number on the regulator.  I looked around the place and there was another family lookin’ at the monkeys—a guy, his wife and three fucking kids.  I coulda sent the two of my kids to the ice cream stand I saw outside, but how could I get rid of the other folks that were in there?  Yellin’ ‘fire’ woulda only drawed attention, right?  Maybe I coulda farted or played with myself, but if there’s one thing drilled into every IBU guy’s head it’s don’t draw no attention to yourself when you fix equipment.  I hadta get rid of those people discretely.  Right?

Fuckin’ A.

It was then that I got a lucky break.  Those people just up and left all of a sudden—fuckin’ answered my prayers.  So, I gave the kids some money and told ‘em to get some ice cream.  I told ‘em I’d be out in a sec, I just wanted to look at the monkeys some more.  And they headed out the door.  They’re 10 and 8—so, they can take care of themselves long enough for dad to take care of a little business.  You know what I mean?  Yeah.

Fuckin’ A.

So, there I was—a member of an “international conspiracy”.  Can you believe it?  That’s what we are you and me—no shit.  Least ways that’s what most people’d call it if they knew the half of what was going on.  But they don’t—the freakin’ idiots.  They wouldn’t believe it if I went out and told ‘em anyway—not that I’m gonna.

Anyway, once I got my chance, I figgered I had to hurry.  So, I looks for a bar or something heavy that I could smash the regulator with, right?  There was a heavy kind of a grill around a trashcan on the outside wall next to the doors.  One of the slats that made up the grill wasn’t welded to the frame real good, so a little prying got it loose.  Lucky for me nobody comes along while I was tearing the bar off the frame, but it was a weekday—thank the union for a little paid time off, right?  So’s I could even be there on a weekday in the first place.  Well, it was time to give a little payback to my union brothers no matter where they were.  Hmm…  maybe my being there was more than one of them “coincidences”, y’know?

Fuckin’ A.

Anyway, I got the bar loose and I looked around to make sure nobody was watchin’ before I stuck it behind the regulator and started prying it loose from the wall.  The regulator came loose from its bracket after a coupla tugs, and I gave the fuckin’ thing two or three good thwacks until all the power went out in the monkey house, right?   It looked like the thing was fucked.  Somebody was bound to be called out to fix it and soon.

It was time for me to make my exit after a job well done.  The IBU oughta make me a fuckin’ hero for that one, it was such a good job.  I tossed the bar into the trashcan and headed out the door after the kids.

That’s life in the International Brotherhood of Unions—when you see an old Sigil on something you fix it so that somebody hasta come out and replace it, right?   There wouldn’t be no work out there nowhere if it wasn’t for us keeping the work coming—more broken shit means more shit to fix, right?  An’ more shit to fix means more work, just as long as somebody knows how to mark something properly it all keeps working that way…

Fuckin’ A.

It’s pretty cool, the IBU.  If you’re a member of any labor union anywhere and you show the right attitude and a little brains (yeah, I got ‘em—so do you or I wouldn’t be talking to you about none of this shit) and you can keep a secret, they come around and ask you to join up.   I’ve been doing it for eight years now.  You find a Sigil that’s out of date and you break whatever it’s on or next to, no matter what.  It keeps people working, y’know?

Fuckin’ A.

The deal is any time I see a Sigil on something, I’m supposta break it (I call it “fixing” it, heh-heh).  Least ways that’s what I learned once they made me a full IBU member—that way a “union” guy gets called out to fix or replace it.  You can’t beat that.  Since the guy who does the fixing is union, he gets paid, and he pays his dues to the union and the union slips a little to the IBU.

It’s a sweet deal.  And what’s really fucking beautiful is that if the fellah is IBU, he puts a nudder Sigil on the replacement.  For “fixin’” stuff (which I’m pretty good at, if I do say so myself) I get paid some extra cash—enough so’s I can send my kids to a private school instead of that shit-hole my neighbors send their kids to.  Who wantsta send their kids there, right?  Turn them into a bunch of no-accounts?  Not my kids.

Fuckin’ A.

At first I felt kinda funny breaking things at first—‘specially when for years before that I’d been fixing stuff up, right?  But one of the brothers at the IBU made it real clear to me.  He said, “where do you think all the work that keeps us busy comes from, numb nuts?”  And I got to thinkin’—you know he’s right.  Shit’s gonna break anyhow, right?  Why not nudge it along at a pace that keeps fellas working, right?

From that point onwards I was an all IBU man–keepin’ the unions strong.  “Fixin’” shit keeps the people working and markin’ things with with sigils makes sure that shit gets busted when it neads to be.

Fuckin’ A.

‘Course nobody leaves the IBU, if you take my meaning—at least not alive.  It’s one of them lifetime commitments once you join, and nobody leaves ‘cept in a box.  So keeping the secret about what we do is pretty easy.  Lots of money or get polished off in some kinda freak “accident”—real hard fuckin’ choice, my friend.

Fuckin’ A.

What’s really sweet is that nobody outside the IBU knows that we’re marking shit.  Nobody.  Fuckin’ idiots.

I work on the city road crew for my cover job, so I get around.  I put sigils all over the place, and anytime I see something that looks like a union guy would have to fix it, I put a sigil on it for good measure.  It kinda spreads the good fortune around.  You know what I mean?  Yeah, you do.  It’s what makes this fuckin’ country great, right?

Fuckin’ A.

I also write sigils right there on the roads I fix.  What the fuck, right?  It just looks like a little bit of paint got spilt on the road—that’s what’s cool about the sigil code, right?  If you ain’t an IBU guy, you don’t know it from shit, right?.  But if an IBU guy driving an overloaded big rig down the road sees it and loads up on his air brakes—well, the blacktop gets fucked up and one of the city’s all-union crews will get called out to patch the pothole he dug.  It’s just too fucking perfect.

Fuckin’ A.

And pothole patches always lead to more potholes, right?  You seen ‘em, right?  And more potholes means more union brothers get paid to fix ‘em.  It’s fuckin’ beautiful!  It makes me proud to be an IBU guy.  I mean, it’s the fuckin’ American dream, right?  We keep the whole fuckin’ economy moving, right?

Enron?  Halliburton? Give me a fuckin’ break.  Those losers can’t pull their dicks out of their pants to pee.

High tech? Fuck that! Where do you think the need for new tech comes from? Every fuckin’ CPU cycle that squeezed outta fuckin’ silicon is sucked up by slow software, so it don’t mean nuthin’.

Fuckin’ A.

Most people wouldn’t know a sigil from a scratch or a doodle or a part of a gang tag.  Hell, I even think that some of the gangs are even under IBU control and they tag things so’s a union brother has to go out and repaint it—that’s what I think, but I don’t know that for sure, y’know what I mean?  But sigils are everywhere.  And they make everything happen, right?

Fuckin’ A.

My kid sister once dated this smart-ass fuck who she met at college.  Stuck up asshole.  What a prick.  Anyways, he was this physics major and he was tryin’ to impress us with all the shit he knew at this barbecue over at pop’s.  Remember those?  Yeah, I’ll tell ‘im next time I see ‘im.  Anyway, he started talkin’ about this thing called ‘entropy’ and how it makes everything fall apart.  Fuckin’ idiot.  The whole fuckin’ universe is goin’ to hell by what he says.  Anyway, I just about blew my beer outta my nose, I started to laugh so hard.  It sounded like the IBU was part of this entropy thing!  ‘Course I didn’t let him know what I was thinking—that woulda blown everything and my ass woulda been in a huge fuckin’ sling.  But I about busted a nut I was laughin’ so hard.  There might be somethin’ to that entropy shit, though, right?

Fuckin’ A.

Everybody thinks all this shit that’s going on is vandalism.  Vandals!  Can you believe that shit?  As if a bunch of teenage pricks who are too busy slappin’ their dicks could be so smart and choosey about what they broke or somethin’.  Little pukes.

Fuckin’ A.

Hey!  Y’know, I heard some old stories about miners playing jokes on each other in the mines—puttin’ a rock in some guy’s sandwich or switching signs so guys got lost or blew up the wrong shit.  They always said it was ‘the little folk’ or ‘gremlins’—no real harm done, just a gag.

Fuckin’ A.

So I got to thinking.  In a way, we’re sorta like gremlins, you and me.  Yeah, gremlins!  But our little joke keeps the world workin’.  Better than those fuckin’ welfare bums—they wouldn’t know an honest day’s work if it bit ‘em on the ass.

Fuckin’ A.

Besides, it’s better than those goddamned communists, not that there’s any of them anyplace worth living anymore.  Fuckin’ idiots.

Me?  I’m just doin’ fuckin’ my part.  Just keepin’ the boys and girls in the IBU workin’.  It beats the fuck outta being a fuckin’ communist or something, right?  At least my kids’ll have something to look forward to insteada bein’ a coupla fuckin’ commies, or socialists like that fucker in the Whitehouse.

Y’know, someone’ll be out here to fix that motherfuckin’ voltage regulator at the zoo in a couple of days at the most, and they’ll put a Sigil on the new one.  I’ll get my kickback and the world will keep turning.

Fuckin’ A.

The Derriere

For so many men at women’s despair,
Find chests and breasts beyond compare;
But I say to them, “au contraire, mon frere!”
For I prefer the part that’s nearest the chair.

To my wife’s chagrin, for she’s well endowed,
She’s picked a man from a wide, worthy crowd
Who’s more than often stated aloud,
“Legs and booty for me my male thinking cloud!”

For that is what brings this male to distraction
And puts me in the lesser male faction.
My Jolly Roger I’ll always hoist in reaction
To that gluteal magnet of sublime attraction.

But to be fair, I must honestly confess,
that brains are what I prefer the best;
but physically I’ll pass up the more popular chest
For the other end (as you might’ve guessed).

Is there a better place to rest one’s head,
or spoon against on a cold night in bed?
That wiggles and wriggles as my lovely might tread?
It’s the lovely buttocks, just like I said!

Pertly does the feminine behind grace,
the polar opposite of the lovely face.
I fitting home for a bit of white lace,
Where I rest my hands when I choose to embrace.

When speaking to women, men’s eyes are oft plastered
Upon female bosoms, their desire un-mastered
And caught by the lady, she’ll say to the dastard,
“My eyes are up here, you misogynist bastard!”

I am for the large part, however, spared
from being caught in the act of the fool who has stared.
For no eyes reside on the side of of the paired
lovely orbs of my longing, my gaze oft ensnared.

Whether round or flat or large as a house
Sticking out like a shelf or as small as a mouse…
Please, my friend, do not think me a louse!
My life-long preference I surely can’t dowse.

Oh, derriere! Feminine part most fair!
Cleft but unbroken, right and left cheeky pair,
forbidden soft fruit of my longing despair.
Oh, reminiscence in shape of the ever sweet pear!

But please don’t forget those marvelous gams!
Lovely support for the well-rounded twin hams
(more desirous than men’s preferable yams
and target of most male’s seductive scams).

Yes, it’s the legs willowy, winsome support
And their lovely shape that I oft choose to court
And just now I think of no livelier sport
Than pursuing those limbs, whether long or short.

Apologies to my wife and all other people of taste. I can’t help it, I had to write this– it’s been bugging for days.

Quirks

Quirks are what make people interesting– if it weren’t for quirks, we’d be pretty dull—like ants or republicans.

Food

Probably the quirkiest thing about people is their taste in food.  Food should just be sustenance, right?  There’s no reason to be fussy—we need to eat, so we should be happy to chow down on anything organic and non-harmful, but that’s not the case.  Just try eating root grubs or liver and onions if it’s not your bag, and you’re talking instant boomerang effect—you eat it and right back up it comes.

I happen to be one of the fussiest eaters I know—partially because of the taste of certain things or their texture is alarmingly hideous to me.  Let’s examine what I consider non-food.

Raisins.  I guess my hatred—no, outright fear—of raisins goes back to my father convincing me as a child that they were bugs.  Having a father who liked to play such practical jokes on his kids was a real gas—what a card.  I’m really busting up, here.  My mental scars are small.  I could be much worse off—Dad convinced my brother Steve that shredded coconut was hair.  He wouldn’t eat German chocolate cake if you held a gun to his head (I’ve tried—it’s okay, the gun wasn’t loaded).

But I digress.

You have to wonder about he origin of the raisin, though.  I mean, why would anyone choose to mummify a fruit?  Was some cannibalistic Egyptian tomb-robber sampling canopic jars and accidentally impressed by the fruity-pulpiness of some grapes sent on by the priests of Anubis to feed pharaoh in the after-life?

There’s something sneaky and underhanded about raisins.  Honest fruit does not have to lurk inside cookies and cakes waiting to spring out and surprise you with its dried eyeball-like pulpiness—you just eat honest fruit.  But not the raisin—oh, no—it’s got to destroy perfectly good muffins, and cereal.  I don’t know how many times I’ve had to paw through a bowl of raisin bran on a search and destroy mission just to make my breakfast edible.

Hidden Fruit in general should be outlawed.  My grandmother used to utterly destroy Jell-O by hiding fruit in it.   I know what you’re saying—it’s not hidden, you can see into Jell-O.  It doesn’t matter—it’s the attempt at hiding fruit that is sick and twisted.  There are 12 step programs for such people.

Craisins are ok. I don’t know why, but they are. It’s a quirk of mine.

Tomatoes.  I swear I must have been an Aztec in a previous life, because biting into a ripe, uncooked tomato is exactly like biting into a still-beating human heart.  There is no difference.  None.  It’s not the taste—I love the taste of tomatoes.  I love tomato paste, tomato sauce, tomato ketchup; but that’s only because they don’t have the texture of the whole tomato.

I have since recanted on my stance with Tomatoes.  I eat them now, but I still hate a raw one…

Pickles.  So what kind of sick, twisted person thought that soaking a cucumber in a strange chemical bath would produce anything edible?  A pickle is simply a cucumber made worse—if that is imaginable.  I’ve got to give the person responsible credit for originality, but we’re talking about one sick puppy here.

Imagine the idea of the bizarre transformation which a cucumber goes through in its picklization– it starts out crunchy, it’s soaked in a bitter, acidic liquid for a non-specific period of time.  You’d think that the pickle would come out of the process softer– much like hands having been soaked in Palmolive—but no, the pickle emerges crunchy—doesn’t that scare you?  I mean, EVERYTHING gets softer after soaking in a liquid, right?  Cereal does, you do when you soak in the bathtub, even auto parts and concrete soften in liquid (if you wait long enough and use the right liquid)– but not a pickle.

Picklization is not natural, it’s an other-worldly phenomenon.  Watch the movie Alien—if you look at the alien’s head from the top or the side, there’s our old friend Mr. Pickle.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.

And the taste.  Great God Above!  Hideous!  Grotesque!  Who would want that strange flavor mix of vinegar and stale vomit in their mouths?  Someone must have been starving when they tried the first one.  Maybe they ate it on a dare, and to not look like an idiot they convinced everyone else in the tribe that it tasted pretty good.  Next thing you know—pickle eating fad!  Nobody has the guts to say, “hey everyone, this is sick!”  Peer pressure is a terrible and powerful thing.

Thousands of years later I have to ask to not have a pickle put on my burger.  If I forget to ask to have it left off and I have to remove it myself, there’s still pickle corruption on the hamburger.  Is that right?

Cereal.  Who ever said that they wanted their cereal to stay crunchy?  Why did they get to vote for all of us?  If you like your cereal crunchy, don’t pour milk over it.  I don’t like crunchy cereal.  I figure it’s first thing in the morning, I’m not fully awake, I don’t want that load crunch or the sharp edges of the cereal cutting into my gums and tongue.  Aren’t mornings tough enough?

Before breakfast cereal was invented, people drank beer for breakfast– even children. Breakfast cereal was originally made from the dried malt waste product of beer. Look it up. And beer is not crunchy unless there is something seriously wrong.

Professional Ice.  The ice you make in your freezer is not professional ice.  It’s amateur ice.  It crunches wrong.  It melts wrong.  It feels wrong.  How does a restaurant do it?   It’s not like there’s a secret recipe or something.  It takes water and a temperature below freezing.  You don’t get much simpler than that unless you want to boil water, but why doesn’t the ice I make in my freezer turn out the same as professional ice?

Eating habits. My father has the unfortunate habit of just mixing all of his food together on his plate before he eats it.  He says that it all gets mixed up where it’s going anyway.  I figure—why rush it?

I’m not one of those poor souls that has to be served dinner on a partitioned plate so that different foods don’t touch (my dearly departed brother in-law was one of these, but for some odd reason, he loved the KFC “bowl”), but it you mix it all together you can’t differentiate.  If someone asks you what you ate last night, all you can answer with is “food”.

Clothing

Clothing.  I like Hawaiian shirts. I like tie-dye. I like “uniform” shirts with other peoples’ names on them.  I love it when I wear a Conoco golf shirt with another name on it over the pocket into a fast food restaurant and see how many times the server calls me “Vince”.

When the boys still lived with us, I put X’s on the toes of my socks so that they won’t get mixed up with my stepsons’ socks.  Those kids could really work dirt into socks down to the sub-atomic level, and once they’d done so, I’d have rather eaten razor blades than put my feet in them.  Your feet, fine.  My feet, NFW. You never know what kind of trench rot I’d be exposing my flesh to. Teenagers are disease vectors far worse than small children because at any moment they may graduate from a snotty nose to VD.

I like custom T-shirts with sayings that only mean something to me and see people’s reactions:

“Lab Rat”

“Let me find someone talented to help you with that”

“Test subject #23”

“I <heart> Chia Earth”

I wear shorts year round.  I abhor clothing. Before I met my wife and was expected to attire myself like a grown-up, I would go home from work to my bungalow in Washington park and (because there are such things as curtains and blinds) toss off every stitch. I had a bathrobe hanging on the front door should guests arrive.

My favorite color is plaid, with paisley running a close second.

Driving habits

My wife is a magnet for bad drivers.

Politeness

Talking in Theaters. It’s not your fucking living room. Shut up.

Cell phones in theatres.

Ungagged children allowed off-leash in public places. That means up to the age of 18.

Bodily Functions and Higene

Everyone eats.  Every sleeps and drinks.  Everyone picks their nose.  Everyone burps.  Everyone spits, farts, pees, and poops—everyone, even Queen Elizabeth, even Jesus and Mohammed.  There are no exceptions.  Why all the fuss?

Talkin’ ’bout my G-g-generation

Why is it that people getting together at the office and talking about space exploration bothers me? It really pisses me off when they say things like “we” went to the moon or “we” won World War Two.

What I think bothers me is if that stuff is so important to them why don’t they go do it?  Why don’t they go work for NASA?  Like they’re going to solve some great mystery that makes space colonization possible or something.

I’m cynical.  I’m skeptical.  The last time I registered to vote I wrote “Cynic” as my party affiliation. The Cynic Party would have a national convention, but to quote the by-laws, what’s the fucking point?

My generation is all talk and no do.  We watch idiotic television like “Star Trek” and “The X-Files” and we think that we understand the mysteries of life.  We’re just silly enough to hold out hope that that stuff is true.

My father’s generation did not talk about going to the moon, they did it.  My grandfather’s generation did not talk about building the most impressive building achievements ever produced—they did it and they kicked Hitler’s ass for an encore.  What are we focusing on?  Better 3-D resolution so that we can make the “Holo-Deck” a reality.

We talk about righting the world’s evils.  We talk about going to Mars.  We talk about eradicating hunger.  We talk the talk.  We don’t even walk, let alone walk the walk.

Our folks walked the walk.  They had integrity—what they did matched what they said come hell or high water, and a lot of the time hell or high water is what did come.  But consequences be damned!  They did what they wanted when they said they would.  Maybe no 100% integrity, but somewhere around 80%– which is pretty damned good.

What’s really sad is that our kids aren’t even excited about talking about anything other than sports and entertainment.  I sound like some old fart here, but we have been such money-grubbing dolts that our kids think that cash is the answer.  Achievement for the sake of achievement is a non-existent goal—and there’s no one to blame but us.

We’ve never picked a mountain and climbed it.  The older boomers than myself accomplished nothing and left us with a no legacy to live up to.

I look with utter disdain on the 60’s.  What has been depicted as a noble gesture to stop an unnecessary war in southeast Asia was to my mind nothing more than a means of escaping personal responsibility.  A lot of people claiming to be fighting against social injustice just look to me now to have been a bunch of selfish teenaged brats throwing a fit because they weren’t ready for the responsibility that was their lot in the world.

There were some noble causes, but for the most part the counter-culture of the 1960s was neither—it wasn’t really counter to anything and it certainly wasn’t a culture.  It was a bunch of selfish potheads hoping to spend just one more day as irresponsible louts.  Look what they’ve done since then—moved from hippies to yuppies to minivan drivers– and now ‘tea-partiers’.  I have a new name for them—“The Locust Generation”.

More than anyone else that whole “culture” has led to people having a cynicism that keeps them from doing anything—a sense of futility, of anger, of hopelessness and frustration.  That’s what we’re left with now—because those freaks back then weren’t sincere or committed to making this a better world, nobody now thinks that change is possible.  Thanks a lot you hollow, selfish, spoiled, 1950’s brats.  Go fucking die.

I guess we can blame “the Greatest Generation” somewhat.  They forgot that mankind is supposed to struggle, so they went about spoiling their kids—saying “no kid of mine will go without.”  Now we’re not prepared to face the almost certain catastrophes that await us in the future.

But some of us from that time are utter freaks– we live in the shadow of the greatest generation.  World War II and the space race make us all weak-kneed.  We long to have our walk on the moon.  We long to sink the Kaga, Akagi, and Soryu at Midway, to storm the beaches at Omaha, to make a stand at Arnhem, to fly the Atlantic solo, but that time is gone.  We are not understood by generation X or Y, because we speak of the things we wish to attain but never can.  We are given the tasks of the computer and Internet age and ask, “is that all?  Aren’t we going to Mars?  Can’t we do something meaningful?”

Not all of us are lame, and we can’t even begin to explain to those younger than us how meaningless their goals are.  Twitter?  What a waste of time.  Facebook?  You have got to be kidding.   Is this what it means to stand on the shoulders of giants?  And “apps”? Just the basis for another bubble. It’s going to happen because the only thing that people want who are producing apps (nothing more than glorified browsers) is an exit strategy. Producing something of value? Fuck that. I worked for an app company and to be honest, it did not make a product that anyone in their right mind would claim to need. People’s smartphones are jam packed with apps they never use, because they are un-useful.

For fuck sake.

I want to make a mark.  I don’t care if I’m remembered, I just want to make a difference, hailed or not– who gives a shit.  If I’m the only one who knows, I’m OK with that, but why the low standards of excellence that pass for today’s achievements?  Why do we go through bubble 1 (2001) and bubble 2 (real estate) and bubble 3 (apps!)?  Where is the urge to have something to show?

Since when did mediocrity become a goal?  Since when did posting some idiotic junk on GitHub make for a career?  Lame, lame, lame.

I never feel challenged.  I just do what I do, but people feel like I really do things.  What the fuck is up with THAT?

God’s Comic

Note: I shall roast in hell for at least one eternity for the contents of this blog if there is a God, because by all accounts He is one humorless bastard.  I have read the bible twice (yes, really) and the Holy Quran once. Nowhere in either of these tomes did I run across the phrase “… and God laughed mirthfully”, not even in the books of Job or Ruth, which were heavily loaded with the grist of humor: pain. Not even a chuckle from the old bastard.

Oh well, I’m fairly sure with all the folks down there in InfernoLand I’ll be too busy chumming around and meeting everybody to worry too much about the hot poker shoved up my ass or the scheduled twice-daily flayings by the demons. Besides, after the first couple of lifetimes spent in hell, I’m pretty sure the torture will become routine.  “White hot needles in my eyes again? Can’t you devils come up with something new?” Ho hum, indeed.

Heaven is a very empty place, and probably very boring.  If Dante spent 80 pages of “Il Paradiso” (yeah, I read that shit, too along with “Inferno” and “Pergatorio”– NTIEDMAFG) just describing the types of harps available, I think it is fair to compare heaven to any waiting room you choose to think of, only all the magazines are copies of “Golf Digest” from 1973 with all the pages oddly stuck together. It sounds more and more like the Judaic “Sheol” or “waiting place” where you hang around with your relatives until… what exactly?

I took the name of this article from an Elvis Costello tune from “Spike”. The chorus of the song says “now I’m dead” which is very much where we all end up. If you didn’t want to die, you should have skipped the whole existence thing; but it’s a little late for that, so get ready for the end game, because entropy gets us all.

I’m pretty sure there is an intelligence at work in the universe, and for lack of a better word, I call it God.  Things could not be this fucked up if it were not so– it takes something that calls itself intelligent to louse things up so badly. That intelligence seems arbitrary at times—not malicious, just arbitrary.   Many people confuse the concept of being arbitrary with maliciousness, especially when they think the universe is being tough on them.  My middle stepson thinks that something is “unfair” when it does not go in his favor…  a subjective definition of “fair” that I think applies to most people that I’ve met. As uncle Frank says, “Fuck Hydrogen, Stupidity is the most common element in the universe.” Never attribute to evil what can be chalked up to idiocy, the more likely cause.

God essentially meets the 3 requirements of godhood described by my wife’s former neighbor, Robert A. Heinlein: a god must be invisible, capricious and omnipresent. We certainly have that. I haven’t seen the Fella in a while, His rules and physical laws are a puzzle, and He’s supposedly watching everything. Kind of like a peeping Tom who’ll never get caught and runs the police department anyway, so you’ll just have to put up with it.

I think where we go wrong is that we think that God is on our side. This is a dangerous and very vain assumption. God has shit to do and we are the material He uses and then discards. At best, we are the sensory organs of God who (being a narcissist) wants to understand Herself and perceive Her divine creation.

God is also a woman. Birth is entirely the domain of woman. Men invented the male God to assuage their sense of worthlessness at only having to contribute a tablespoon of genetic material to the equation. Men therefore had to denigrate and belittle the concept of a female God. Woman is sin and must be blamed for all the shit that man has got himself into.

She doesn’t mind, She’ll get them. The fuckers.

Is there just one God? Definitely not: even the first commandment (“I am the Lord thy god, thou shalt put no other gods before me”) spells that out pretty plainly. Fuck those other guys, I am the only one you’d better worry about. Pretty much makes the point there, so forget the Muslim “there is no God but God” horseshit.

All but four of the commandments (don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t fuck your neighbor’s wife, and don’t kill) are there to protect Her franchise, and the four that don’t are there to help societal cohesion. In short, God is essentially a very powerful, narcissistic social engineer.

And taking the Lord’s (Lady’s) name in vain? That one was fucked up by religion itself. Saying “God dammit” is not taking the Lord’s name in vain. It is at worst a blasphemy. No, taking the Lord’s name in vain is what my uncle Robert did almost every time he told a story: “by God, I told that asshole to leave my property or I’d get my gun.” Swearing with God as witness is taking God’s name in vain, and people do it all the time. Burn, baby, burn. Maybe the demons will turn your soul once one side is well done.

The God game is one of ego from top to bottom, side to side and front to back. I have a former friend who is an atheist and I am absolutely certain the reason he’s a non-believer is that there is not enough room in the universe for his ego and God. Hell, it’s mighty crowded with just his ego. One of them had to go, I guess it was God. God does not appear to be seriously put out by this.

So what does God want?

We only assume He (sorry, I should say “She”; but old misogynistic habits die hard and you know who I mean: G-O-D) wants us around; but the geological evidence does not support this theory. Every few million years God pretty much wipes out most of the living things on the planet. It could be sport, cleanliness, compulsion

The analogy I can think of is that God has this drying rack with all these pretty planets on it that are as clean as a new cue ball: God likes empty planets, because there are so many of them; but every once in a while they get polluted with that icky life crap. God is off somewhere in the lab fucking around with singularity anomalies, but every once in a while he comes back to the drying rack to check on things, and this one planet “Earth” has all this fucking life on it.

“Me dammit!” He exclaims and picks up his favorite cleanser (Comet: He keeps an infinite supply in the oort cloud) and scrubs that scummy life right off the surface of the Earth and grumbling to Himself puts it back on the rack and goes back to the important shit. Fucking life, screwing up His pretty, clean planets!

We assume that we are important to God’s plan, that we are agents of God’s will, and we may very well be in that we are at this time the principle agent of extinction at this time. Maybe if we do the job for him all he’ll have to do is wipe us out . Dirty cue ball problem solved.

God is also an experimenter. Maybe we are not an accident; but we are not as crucial as we think we are to the final result. Imagine God with a big-ass whiteboard that He draws out His plans for Earth on. It starts out about a billion years ago completely blank, He draws some proteins, they collect into a complex bundle of amino acids over a few million years and then He makes a single-celled organism.

Cool so far. He sits back and considers for a couple mill then joins a few of the singletons into a multicellular creature. At first, it’s sessile, but it breaks off the surface and starts swimming around. He gives legs to some of them and they become trilobites (three lobed critters). He fucks around with them for a while, then frowns, picks up the eraser, says “nah!” and wipes them out.

Okay, so those free swimmers. Let’s call them proto-fish that He draws into fish. He gives some of them legs and lungs and some of them crawl up on the land. Some form three-chambered hearts and become amphibians: they live on land but have to raise their kids in water. That’s bullshit–it’ll never fly, so He gives them 4 chambered hearts, makes them scaly and makes it so that their offspring can be raised on land, having hard egg shells. He decides that these reptiles should dominate the world.

They get huge, their brains get small (by design or oversight we’ll never know). At this point in geological history, I consider God to be developmentally the same as a 6 year old. He’s fascinated with these giant monsters, so He spends a few hundred million years letting them battle each other: the first gladiatorial games on a planetary scale. Meanwhile He’s sketching this new concept He has of creatures that give live birth to their offspring. He makes them warm blooded and gives them hair, at least until middle age.

God eventually grows tired of the giant monster battles, picks up the eraser, and says “nah!” and wipes them out.

Now those mammal things he kept in reserve have some potential. He starts specializing them into different kinds of creature. Some are fast, some are smart, and some are the ancestors of man. He makes the mancestors walk upright, drops the tail, gives them an attitude and lets them start using tools and discovering neat things like fire and health insurance. They are very clever, but not very bright. Heck they even believe in Him and He kind of digs the worship. The dinosaurs never kissed His ass like these critters do. Kind of nice.

After only a few thousand years the hairless apes He’s turned loose are kind of running amok. They are in the process of wiping out all His other options on the whiteboard and they’ve even put up junk up in orbit around the planet and destroyed the oceans, so He picks up the eraser and stands there thinking a moment…

Maybe He can work with the fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, algae, insects and plants to start over again. He’d better act fast, because we’re taking away His options. Maybe he’ll just say “fuck it” and start over again. Like I said, He has lots of empty planets out there.

Maybe God, as pointed out in the excellent film “Fight Club” is an absent parent. He kicks off life on a planet, gets it all grown up and smart, and then walks away. God is busy elsewhere starting a new family– people who are not familiar with His bullshit yet, and won’t get wise for a while. He has no interest in sticking around and answering questions from ingrate kids that no longer take his word for things as they get older. He sure as hell has been quiet since setting up Islam, and no, He was not around for creation of the Mormon church. Even He thinks those fuckers are crazy. The Mormon church is kind of like a kid who was still in the womb when He split. That child is going to be fucked up and there’s little He or we can do about it.

This scenario is one that definitely indicates that God is male. Although I don’t understand this behavior at all, it has occurred many times in my personal experience, even though I am not a perpetrator of it. I know of a family where the practice has occurred in three consecutive generations– have kids, they get cranky and dad splits and starts a new family. “Setting up franchises” as Tyler Durden would say.

God is so big, so vast, and so incomprehensible to our tiny ephemeral minds that it is sheer vanity to even remotely hope of understanding its nature—let alone that we would be made in God’s image.   It’s far more likely that the entire universe is in God’s image.

The old fable about the five blind men and the elephant is applicable, but just to demonstrate the seriousness most people place on their religious beliefs, imagine that the five blind men are highly opinionated, on prozac, packing weapons, and have an advanced coke habit.

Each of the five blind men walk up to an elephant and try to tell the others what they’ve found.  The first blind man grabs the tail and says, “it’s plain that this is a frayed rope—anybody that disagrees gets a round in the gut.”

The second blind man feels the moving trunk and says, “you idiot—it’s obviously a snake and if you don’t retract your ‘rope’ argument, I’m pulling the pin on this grenade”.  The third man feels the leg of the elephant and proclaims that the thing they’ve found is a tree.  The fourth guy completely passes by the elephant and wonders if he’s going to have to put the others out of their misery before they do something rash—obviously a rabid atheist.

What about the sixth blind guy who finds the pile of elephant dung and has no idea what the others are rambling about?  I mean, shit is shit, there’s nothing wall or tree-like about that…

People take this stuff so seriously because if they allowed something to erode their faith their house of cards on which they have built it might crumble.

The analogy I prefer is one in which God dispenses a culturally-biased intelligence test based on God’s culture (whatever that is), and based on whatever culture we happened to be raised in—Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Rastafarian, Cthuhluist—we fill out our answers.  Only God knows the right answers—and he’s not about to give them out until the time is right, but we smugly sit back, having finished the exam early since we know all the answers.  Each of us turns to our chums nodding that we got the answers right and that they—the slobbering unbelievers—are going to fry big time when the scores are posted.

And what about frying?  What about hell?  What about Evil?  Is there an entity responsible for universal evil—a Satan, a Kali, a Limbaugh?

And an evil being?  Sounds like a scam to shirk personal responsibility to me.  I mean—you get caught doing evil things and all you have to do is say “the devil made me do it” and everybody shifts blame to the horned-one.

Who says that God wants us to live and be happy, anyway?  Sometimes I think that the whole of existence is a form of game preserve for the big G to use to kill us in new and interesting ways.  Why wouldn’t God hunt us?  It makes as much sense as “saving” us.

So I’m going to start my church—“The First Church of Jesus Christ, Deadeye”.  Instead of being our savior, God will be referred to as our “stalker”.  A parishioner who dies will not be thought of as deceased, but as “bagged and tagged”.

I’ll post more as I go along, so be warned.

Fired, but very happy about it.

I was let go from my CTO position at Clip Interactive today, and I must say that it was a necessary move on somebody’s part. It really was time I moved on.

While at Clip, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best people I have ever had the opportunity to work with. Some of them I had the pleasure and fortune (and I sincerely home they feel the same way) to have worked with more than once.

Many are new people I have had a chance to work with for the first time, they represent a what we call a testbed in software: a laboratory where you can have first-time opportunities to learn the capabilities, limitations, and suitabilities to job situations of these new people, and help them and yourself to grow your professional (and if you are lucky) personal networks. This will sound racist; but some of my best friends are people I met at startups.

Some are, quite honestly, why I may steer away from away from an opportunity; but they are all, each and every one, the very reason I work at startups. Startups are the places that draw extremes of people; but they are also laboratories where only the very volatility of those kinds of people can be exercised to their fullest and achieve the best result.

Think of the kind of people you know. Some of them are more “normal” than others. They don’t have or exhibit extremes in very many things (collecting war games obsessively, for example), but it’s boring shit (think porn collection), and they hide it from their neighbors lest their inner self be revealed (the war gamer will end up burnt at the stake, while the porn guy will get a pass).

But I digress. Remember the bell curve? These are the folks in the “hump”. The common man, of whom Lincoln said the lord must have loved so much because he’d made so many of them. These folks are not big on risk taking, and that’s all well and good.

These normal folks don’t take a lot of risks. You won’t find them in the kitchen at parties; but in the kitchen you will find the risk taker.

That chick with the funky hair and odd facial tatoos, wearing a mesh wife beater emblazoned with the phase “crank yanker”? She’s going to take some risks. She likes ladies and gentlemen. Be afraid.

The creepy guy angling for wallets of the guys (he’s “into” real estate “networking”), and the nether regions of the ladies. He’s got some cash from his ventures, and his face lights up like a slot machine on triple cherries when you say anything about technology. He’s going to take some risks. Be very afraid.

The people who have honed their skills and established a name in their field and want to apply themselves in ways outside those areas in which they are normally asked– they are going to take some risks. Open up your heart and let the sun shine in.

Say it with me, because it rhymes:

IBM is not for them.

People who fit within a single standard deviation from the norm in behavior work at IBM. People who work at Google are pretty much within 2 standard deviations, but they’re getting more stultified as they get older: they’ll be looking within one deviation in a few years.

Only freaks are out beyond 2 standard deviations: <music play=”The Twilight Zone Theme”>the place where the people who lurk in those spooky locales out beyond 2 std devs: “You see it ahead: the Startup Zone!”</music>

You work with the best, and you work with the worst; but extremes are always more fun: that’s where the lab is.

When I was a kid, whenever anyone asked what I wanted to be, I always said “scientist”. What I meant was “evil mad scientist.” I wanted the bubbling lab equipment, the receding (didn’t get that), wild hair (got that), the glasses, the mad cackle–the works! (Said in a Peter Lorre voice) To experiment ! At Trada I finally got the title (EMS), but came to realize that the great experiment is the people: Finding out how they work best, how they do and don’t work at all, what motivates them– that has been, remains and will ever be the great experiment that is any startup.

Good luck to all at Clip. I really loved working there; but I never really felt like they needed a CTO there, maybe I was right, or maybe I just wasn’t the right one.

I’ll still work out here in the Startup Zone, and look forward to the future freaks I will get a chance to meet and work with and the past freaks I will bump up against personally and professionally once again.

The world is a circle.