March 25, 2011

Is it me or is it you?


I am wondering what happened.

Once upon a time I was surrounded by fellow liberals who believed that the world can change.  Who believed that people matter.  Who wanted the best for their friends, neighbors and family.  Who wanted to 'stick it to the man' because we all knew that 'the man' ALWAYS tried to keep us down. Who thought the environment mattered, how we used earth's resources mattered and how corporations corrupted most everything they touched.

We were all poor but it didn't matter because we were young and enjoyed life and all the new adventures that we just knew were just up ahead.  Most of the time, we were right.  All we had were our ideas, our ideals and our knowledge that we could change the world.  And we had our music which reflected all of that as well and put the soundtrack to each day.

Now I am sad.

For many of my friends and people I have known over the years have left me behind in a fog of their conservatism.  And I cannot fathom the thinking behind their actions or conversation.  They seem to me to not care about anything that might impact their current lifestyle.  It feels to me like "I've got mine, so screw all y'all".  It feels like they don't hear the pain in other voices and the songs that used to mean something are now falling on deaf ears.  I have tried to figure out if it is me that is just reading our conversations badly.  But when I consistently make a point about, say, the Madison protests and almost always get a response similar to "They should pay, the freeloaders" back no matter what point I am trying to make, it becomes difficult to think otherwise.

I would weep for them if I wasn't so angry at them at times. And dismayed.

Is it a matter of growing up and out of youthful optimism?  A changing of priorities that make people grow inward instead of embracing the plight of others? 

Or is it life experience?  I know some people who have never been involuntarily out of a job, who have never gone without health insurance and who have simply climbed the American dream.  And some seem like they think that they were just owed that.
There seems to be a disconnect over experiences.  Which, I suppose is normal - hard to feel anything for someone's plight if you have never experienced it yourself.  But what is wrong with universal health care if it doesn't hurt you at all?  What is wrong with collective bargaining if it doesn't hurt you?  

Is it gaining that plateau of material wealth and being suspicious, then, that everyone is out to take away what they have?

And yet they all still listen to the same music and think they are the same person they used to be. They sing along to "Ohio" and yet applaud a governor alerting the National Guard (as a scare tactic no matter how he spins it).  They sing "Give Peace A Chance" yet bluster about just firing 6,000 public employees since they are just freeloaders (even though I'm not sure how Tommy Smothers enters into this note).  They hum in their Hummers with Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" and forget that Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed while fighting for worker's rights.  Enjoy John Prine's "Paradise" yet have no qualms when our governor wants to okay the destruction of wetlands for corporate use.

Can they really sing the lyrics to "For What It's Worth" and not see how it applies today?

I cannot believe that my old friends have become evil, or have forgotten their kindergarten lessons on how to share or that they actually hate others of their same economic class or that they are so blind that they cannot see the struggles others have and the resolve they have top keep their rights.

Or maybe they were conservatives all along and I was either oblivious or we just never talked about anything critical?  Did the music mean something entirely different to them than to me?

Or am I just still a dreamer?  

What am I missing here?  Where did our paths diverge?  And how did I not know to what distances the paths have separated?

And if your answer is "we just grew up" then fuck you 'cause that isn't a real answer.  Unfriend me now and don't let the mouse hit you on the ass on the way out.

In the words of Bob Dylan:

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

November 12, 2010


A real woman is a man's best friend. She will never stand him up and never let him down. She will reassure him when he feels insecure and comfort him after a bad day.

She will inspire him to do things he never thought he could do; to live without fear and forget regret. She will enable him to express his deepest emotions and give in to his most intimate desires.

She will make sure he always feels as though he's the most handsome man in the room, and will enable him to be the most confident, sexy, seductive and invincible. . . .

Oh, wait....
Sorry, I was thinking of beer.... that's what beer does....

.... Never mind.

(Unknown credit - been making the rounds of the internet)

September 3, 2010

vox is dead soon.

And so vox ends. But blogger is reborn for me. Strange circles in life, eh?

April 6, 2010

business idea?

Is a Nitrous Oxide bar the natural tangential new revenue stream of the Oxygen bar?

March 9, 2009

facebook groups

I don't believe that Facebook groups do anything to further any cause at all. I believe this because I myself belong to 2,487 different groups including 'Democrats who think Obama is swell', 'Heterosexual Men in support of Women!' and '1,000,000 people against masturbating with exfoliating soap'. So far, very few of them even acknowledge my existence let alone give me any information to work with.
Let's put this another way. In some parts of the world, people get active and take to the streets to protest villainy, corruption and oppression. On Facebook, we click a link, get warm and fuzzy and feel that we have accomplished great deeds. Don't like Cancer? Join a group. Dislike Senate Republicans? There is a group for you. Hate Clay Aiken? Let him know by lining up with like-minded group members.

Facebook groups really do nothing to further any cause, policy, debate or malady. They simply allow a small conversation to begin:
"Hey, Bob, anal leakage really sucks doesn't it?".
"Yeah, Bill, it sure does".
And sometimes not even that much.

It is the online equivalent of staying at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

To be fair, though, I do have a couple groups that do, at least, try to keep me informed. The recent group formed to get Facebook to revert back to their old Terms of Service actually worked and showed what these groups might be capable of. Likewise, 'Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene! (Official petition to Facebook)' might be able to change the way the site views these type of images. '25,000 in Wisconsin to Re-Elect Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson' keeps me up to date with everything that is happening with this vital campaign. And being involved with 'I bet I can find 69,000 People who Hate Nickelback' is just a no-brainer.

So, to answer your question, while Facebook groups can help a person feel like they are connected, involved and informed, they actually do not do much of anything. I mean, I know what exfoliating means now, but I had to find out the hard way.

October 1, 2008

put down the phone!

As much as driving while talking on the cell phone makes headlines nowadays, I have to take issue with a much darker, sinister and, well, gross use of cellular technology.
And that is {insert dramatic music here}:
Talking on the cell phone in a public restroom stall while taking a shit.

Yesterday, I'm in there with a more liquid elimination need than the guy in the stall gabbing away behind me.
I could tell he was on a phone due to the syncopated speech patterns. Either that or he just talked really funny to himself.
I wondered to myself just how busy a person needs to be to think it is a good idea to do such a thing. To say nothing of the potential disaster of {shudder} dropping your phone between your legs into a place where hands should never go until after the flush.
And then I started thinking of the embarrassment of the person on the other end who would have had to have heard the sounds of urinals flushing, tap water running and paper towel dispenser twirling in the background. And that empty yet echo-y sound that a full scale dirty tile room makes. What could they have been thinking?
I would have been offended, I think, to know that I meant so little to this person that they had to call me during a "break" in their day.
And I certainly would never ask to borrow their phone.

July 2, 2007

weather report from the other side?

As some of you know, my apartment has had its share of, shall we say, unexplainable events. I won't go into them here since they are old news and they could yet be fodder for slow posting days to come.
But this morning, shortly after the alarm went off, I was lying in the darkness enjoying the drift of thoughts that mark the period between waking up and actually obtaining the courage to leave the warm cocoon of blankets and body heat.
And right next to me, a woman's voice clearly said "Brrrrrrrr".
No, nobody slept over - I would have remembered that. Hopefully would have even enjoyed it as well.
I also realize that it is difficult to clearly hear the monosyllabic utterance of a single sound with no vowels associated.
But it was there.
First time around here that a manifestation (if I can really call it that) has been audible.
Now I'm creeped out and intrigued all at the same time.

February 2, 2007

favorite george carlin quote

If it's true that our species is alone in the universe, then I'd have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.

Ain't that the truth.

February 2, 2006

This morning.

So, normally, I put my contacts into a combination cleaning/soaking/wetting solution overnight. I can then just remove them from the container and slap them in my eyes and I'm ready to go.
I forgot that last night I put them into a protein-removing cleaner instead of the normal all-in-one product.
So I happily slammed the right lens into the eye this morning and noticed immediately that something was horribly wrong. In other words, I was in agony. Spelled A-a-a-a-G-O-N-E-E-E. Obviously, this product which was spawned in hell is not meant to be thrown into the eye without first thoroughly rinsing with a firefighter's hose at 80psi.
As I clutched the entire right side of my face making gross muscle contortions and uttering mono-syllabic sounds like "Uh-Uh-Uh-Uh" and "R-Ee-Ar-R-oo-oo-oO-OO-OO!", I managed to not realize that my writhing body was carrying me downwards as well as perpendicular to the floor. Thus, the 'konk' sound my forehead made on the porcelain of the sink came as a complete surprise. But at least I had something else to complain about besides the caustic chemicals that were still eating the optical jelly out of my sight orb.
So now I'm sitting here at work trying to type this with only the close-reading lense in the left eye. The right lens is sitting in the bowl of a dirty plastic spoon on my desk while I drop Walgreens brand drops in my eye every 15 nanoseconds. I'd glare at it but even if I could see it clearly it would hurt too much.
This day is going to get better. It has no choice.

January 18, 2006

I really really really hate eHarmony.com

At least, I hate their commercials which have inundated the television airwaves (well, cable connections) lately.
I think back on past relationships where I thought "This is the one! I felt that I have known this person forever at first meeting". And I didn't have to spend the large amount of money to join an on-line dating service to feel it.
What I would like to see is those couples touted in the commercials 10 years from now. Are they still together? Or did they fall by the wayside the same way that loving couples have done for so many years now (even [gasp] prior to the internet!)?
It is just that every time I see the marketing for eHarmony, I remember the loves of my life. And I hate the way things turned out each time. And, although I don't expect that life would be different if we would have taken the free on-line personality test, would it be different if we both would have been paying $19.95 (or whatever) per month for the privilege of trying?
I sure sound bitter, don't I?
I'm really not, but those advertisements sure regurgitate some baggage from the lost luggage room of my emotional past.
Ah Ha! That's why I hate them!

has it really been this long?

Argh.
Must.
Post.
More.
I have no idea why, except to take up some time which seems to be weighing heavily lately. Must be the onset of SAD or something....

October 13, 2005

Death again

The last gerbil has died.
Cinnamon has finally succumbed.
The rodent era has ended.
Part of me is verily saddened by this; the gerbils stuck with us through the fire and through the years.
Part of me feels the lifting of a responsibility; with only one left it was only a matter of time before this one went away as well.
Argh. More despondency in a current time frame of total despondency. So, I guess it fits quite well.

Moral Dilemma

I left the local grocery store today and found a $50 bill at the edge of the parking lot.
Picking it up, I had a flash of monetary problems in my life and how welcome this boon would be at this time and place.
Hesitating, I found myself walking back into the store. The moral thing to do, I thought, would be to turn the bill into the office for retrieval by whoever had lost it.
The line to the service desk was long, unfortunately, since it gave me a lot of time to think about what I was doing.
Then I realized (due to the store policy of my second retail job) that the money would revert to the store and not to anybody else. Besides, how was somebody who claimed the loss to prove that they had dropped a fifty dollar bill outside the store?
So, I crumpled the bill in my fist, walked back outside and wondered what to do. I stood by my car for about 20 minutes searching for anyone that might be searching for something lost.
Nobody materialized.
So I stashed the bill in my pocket and drove off.
Did I do the okay thing?
I mean, this is fifty bucks which somebody else could have been counting on to maintain the next several days of their life (of which feeling I know quite well lately). But who to turn it into? How to return to the rightful owner?
I have no idea. All I know right now is that I am $50 in the black which is something I wasn't a scant few hours ago.
But I can't let go of the questions this brought up.

October 12, 2005

Tony Hendra is a god

I wish I had written this. But Tony Hendra of National Lampoon did, instead.
My favorite song/poem of all time. Especially recently. Hook is: "Give Up". I want to do such, lately.....


You are a fluke
Of the universe.
You have no right to be here.....
Deteriorata! Deteriorata!

Go placidly
Amid the noise and waste.
And remember what comfort there may be
In owning a piece thereof.

Avoid quiet and passive persons
Unless you are in need of sleep.

Rotate your tires.

Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself
And heed well their advice,
Even though they be turkeys.

Know what to kiss.....and when!

Consider that two wrongs never make a right
But that three do.

Wherever possible, put people on hold.

Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment
And despite the changing fortunes of time,
There is always a big future in computer maintenance.

You are a fluke
Of the universe.
You have no right to be here.
And whether you can hear it or not
The universe is laughing behind your back.

Remember the Pueblo.

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.

Know yourself.
If you need help, call the FBI.

Exercise caution in your daily affairs,
Especially with those persons closest to you.
That lemon on your left, for instance.

Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most souls
Would scarcely get your feet wet.

Fall not in love therefore;
It will stick to your face.

Gracefully surrender the things of youth:
The birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan
And let not the sands of time
Get in your lunch.

Hire people with hooks.

For a good time call 606-4311;
Ask for "Ken."

Take heart amid the deepening gloom
That your dog is finally getting enough cheese.

And reflect that whatever misfortune may be your lot
It could only be worse in Milwaukee.

You are a fluke
Of the universe.
You have no right to be here.
And whether you can hear it or not
The universe is laughing behind your back.

Therefore, make peace with your god
Whatever you conceive him to be -
Hairy thunderer, or cosmic muffin.

With all its hopes, dreams, promises and urban renewal
The world continues to deteriorate.

GIVE UP!

Reprise

You are a fluke
Of the universe.
You have no right to be here.
And whether you can hear it or not
The universe is laughing behind your back.

September 29, 2005

By the way...

Lack of posts for the last couple of months should require an explanation.
Sorry...none forthcoming.
Chalk it up to that my life lately has been totally fucked up but I don't feel like sharing it with the world populace at large. The people closest to me know. If any of the rest of you really want to be apprised of the situation, just email me and I'll fill you in on ALL the details. Certainly more than you want to know. If not, then just continue reading here and you may glean some nonsense filler.
All this being said, there is no guarantee that my posting here tonight is an indication that it will be continued. I hope so, but......

I am done with vin de francais

I have tried.
For years I loved various vintages of Cotes du Rhone.
For years I thought that French wines were the best.
But now, after many attempts in the last couple of years, I finally give up.

Most bottles I get lately have dried out corks and a nasty turned taste. In fact, I tend to approach my first sip with a lot of trepidation.

Latest was opening a bottle of 2001 Haut de Domy. And it sucked.

Lately, Argentinian bottles and Chilean vintages are far more fetching to me.
I don't know if it is a conservative conspiracy to drop the value of old French wines ('Freedom' wine, anyone?) or what it is.
All I know is that I can't take it anymore.
Maybe my tastes have finally deteriorated to Thunderbird or MD. Hey - at least it'll be cheaper!

August 10, 2005

Song in my head

Running endlessly over and over: Bob Seger's "Night Moves".
Kill me. Just kill me now.
Please.

In other news:
Dukes of Hazzard just pisses me off.
Kyle is recovering splendidly.
Things have been nuts.
The IRS is on the move again.
And the number one thing is that I was Secret Shopped at my part time gig and got a perfect score. I would normally be proud of such an event, but instead I feel merely that I have become a lifer. Once my name goes up on the plaque, I will have no outside life at all and will still be selling retail tobacco products when I am 70+ years old.
And I am back to Kill me. Just kill me now.
Please.

July 29, 2005

The family reunion

Last weekend was the family reunion. I go, in recent times, every decade. Others go every year like a pilgrimage to Mecca.
I suppose it should be big deal; after all, this is my extended family. However, most of them are folk that I would never have anything to do with in the normal events of daily life. Not that they aren't nice people, but their expectations of life are in a completely different realm than mine. In fact, in the past it's almost like several hills out of the hills of Kentucky were lifted in entirely and transplanted into SW Wisconsin; that is my family: bible thumping country folk that I have absolutely no ability to relate to.
Kind of sadly, though, I don't think this reunion is going to survive many more years - the older folk are not attending (either through lack of ability or death, including my dad who was my most immediate link to these people). Some part of me wants to keep the family spirit going.
But let's just say that my last name is Smith. Since my mother, my daughter and myself were the only ones there with that last name, it has already escaped beyond my purview. There were a host of others with relationships to the family but no other Smith's in the party.
What does that say about this particular reunion? Over? Yep.

July 21, 2005

Northern Exposure

As a result of the recent traumatic events around here, I'm being more of a lazy ass than usual. And finally sitting back and watching the 3rd season of Northern Exposure on DVD.
I always forget how much I enjoyed this show until I actually sit down and watch it.
Humour, drama, character development, quirkiness...it is all there. And I love it.

Life sneaks up again...

So, my daughter's boyfriend got into a car accident the other day. Flipped the company PT Cruiser a couple times. He's got major stiches over his head, a broken elbow (going in for surgery to pin it all back together tomorrow), his head is in that plastic head/neck casing to eliminate movement...in short, he's pretty banged up.
I saw the pics of the vehicle tonight, too...it is a wonder he survived at all.
She's freaked.
But I am proud of her...she has had an aversion to blood and gore and yucky stuff all her life, but she's putting her own fears in place and staying right my his side throughout this ordeal.
Very crazy.

July 10, 2005

I have so much to tell you....

It has been a long time since the latest entry....a new part time job, a week of a summer cold/pneumonia/sinus infection (whatever), and a lack of motivation...
So:
First, let me tell you how much I hate June bugs. For those outside of the midwest, I don't know if you experience these mindless beetles, but they are the stupidest, ugliest and most ridiculous creatures of creation. For reference, check http://www.pbase.com/shaun/image/30280226 or, for a more scientific bent: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/gaston/Pests/junebug.html
Anyway, they are the stupidest creatures, always flying into walls or windows or my hair - in fact, the last two evenings, they have flown into my head where I find myself senselessly beating them off of my head wondering why, if it is July, they are still here. Dammit.

Next, I find myself as the token guy at my part time job. Not a huge surprise except that I just found out that I am the only guy that has ever been hired at this place. I was told I was the subject of some gossip already because of this and further, because I was cute! This is more than I can take. But, unfortunately, a woman came into the place yesterday and told me that it was good to see me behind the counter rather than "those miserable females that usually work here". She continued: " I mean, I love vaginas, but only my own, so thank god you are working today!".
I gave her my little Lord Fauntleroy bow and said thank you, but what else could I say?
I feel so....spotted? Used? I dunno...all I know is that I do not feel sexy in the slightest in my work garb, but somehow I am the poster-dude of the store now. Ugh.

Finally, (there's more to tell, but I just don't feel like writing any more), I have found my fav jeans at Target. I have long wondered why it was acceptable for women to wear 'flares' in the current decade but not men. And, I have to tell you, the old Levi's big bell button fly jeans were my garb back in the day. Now, at least, there is a slight leaning towards that end: Mossimo, at Target. The "old style boot cut" jeans are flared, with a button fly and they fit great. Almost like I remember 20 years ago. I'm happy. Plus, I found a pair on clearance today, for only 12 bucks, so the joy abounds. Life is for the little things, and this happens to be one of them.

More later, if I can remember....

June 27, 2005

Totally nutso week

I've ignored my StumbleUpon friends.
I've ignored the blog page.
I've tried to write music to no avail...
In short, this has been just a nasty week for communication and/or creativity.
Thing will get better as I settle into a new reality.
What is a new reality? Is it an episodic representation of what should be happening? Or is really a quantum leap from one plane of existence to another?
For myself, it is both: The gestalt consists of the planetary and societal alignments with me dropping through the planes to wherever I end up...there is little choice in the matter.
Now, if I only knew exactly what I was talking about......

June 17, 2005

waste disposal tip...

Don't ever put sunflower seed shells into the garbage disposal in the sink and turn it on.
The shells swell up due to the moisture content, shred themselves into pulp in the tumultuous blades and then proceed to clog up every pipe under the sink. If my kids were normal and ate the whole seed shell and all, I wouldn't have had this problem. As it is, I will forever just throw them away and not try to grind them out of existence.

My ghost is back....

I have had some weird paranormal experiences in my current residence over the years. But, after the fire, the spirit seems to have gone out of the...er...spirit. I was never sure if it was because there were no people here while the place was being rebuilt or if the smell of burnt wood drove it off or what.
Turns out, I guess, that it was just biding its time.
Tonight I am at the kitchen sink cleaning up a bit (one of my main irritations in life is a cluttered and messy cooking area). While my back was turned to the dining area (not a formal dining room, just an area), I noticed out of my peripheral vision that the light in the room became perceptively more intense. I turned around and the light fixture above the table was on. It is dimmer switch that has to be rotated to function. I know I did not turn it on (4 100 watt bulbs in it - I would have noticed!) and I did detect the additional illumination when it happened.
I can't explain it. The light wasn't on when I went to the kitchen. It got turned on about 5 minutes later. I was home alone. I was 15 feet from the dimmer switch.
How would you interpret this?

June 16, 2005

Oh, god...call me Steve

For those of you who do not know of it, go to Steve, don't eat it before you read the rest of this so you have some context.
We'll wait....
[insert traveling music here]
Dum du da dum...




Oh, you're back? Okay. On with the post.
I get home tonight and find the freezer door slightly ajar. and the appliance itself humming away madly trying desperately to avert a disaster.
All that was really affected, however, was a package of venison cheddar bratwurst. It was thawed completely, being close to the door.
So that pretty much decided what was for dinner. I fought any attempt at ptomaine...cooked them with butter, onions and beer for 2 hours and then grilled them for about an hour to make sure that any traces of toxins were eradicated.
I have a digital camera, and could post a pic of the end result here, but I am more of a humanist than that.
Suffice it to say, I am eating them right now.
The flavour isn't bad, but I expect to be deceased before morning. Those of you who expect to gain some insurance money should be at the solicitor's office before 10. I'll call you if I happen to survive.