About me

Friday, April 30, 2010

Mike Bettes looses his luggage on Delta

It was an ordinary Friday. A meterologist heads from Atlanta to Oklahoma City to chase a few tornados.

http://twitpic.com/1jpwur On our way to OKC for Vortex2! Broadcasts begin Saturday at 7et /via @abramsandbettes

Unknown to our intrepid weather dude, disaster looms.

Delta you rock! Thanks for forgetting to put my bag on the plane. /via @abramsandbettes

But where oh where could his underoos be?

Delta do u know where Oklahoma City is? Why are the bags in Wilmington, Delaware? /via @abramsandbettes

I see doom on this future, if not a stop by KMart for new draws.

Meanwhile, Stephanie and Al do not seem all that alarmed.

Could they be in on it, plotting Mike's undie doomnation?

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Hugo Chavez invites Fidel Castro to join Twitter


The Buzz: During a visit to Bolivia this week, Venezualean President Hugo Chavez invited Bolivian President Evo Morales and Cuban leader Fidel Castro to join him on Twitter. Chavez, who has launched vehement criticism of Twitter, calling it a "tool of terror," has only recently changed his mind about the micro-blogging website, which has a large following in Venezuela.

Oh dear. First, Hugo. Now, Fidel. Who could possibly be next? Evo? This is getting wierder by the minute.

Next, we'll see my mother on here.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Dating by blood type in Japan


The Pic: Many Japanese believe blood type determines personality.

The Pic: Blood type can have an effect on professional as well as personal life.

The Pic: Taro Aso was proud to identify himself as a type A while in office.

The A Buzz: The received wisdom is that As are dependable and self sacrificing, but reserved and prone to worry.

The O Buzz: Decisive and confident - that is people with type O.

The AB Buzz: ABs are well balanced, clear-sighted and logical, but also high-maintenance and distant.

The B Buzz: The black sheep though seem to be blood group B - flamboyant free-thinkers, but selfish.

And now we see my doom continue in manners never considered. My blood type is B+, sort of like the grades I made on my good days in high school.

Yet again, the black sheep.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Arizona Ethnic Studies Classes Banned, Teachers With Accents Can No Longer Teach English


The Buzz: Arizona's new immigration law is just about crime, its supporters say, but given that the state's new education policy equates ethnic studies programs with high treason, they may not be using the commonly accepted definition of "crime." Under the ban, sent to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer by the state legislature Thursday, schools will lose state funding if they offer any courses that "promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."

Just when I thought Arizona had reach its limit in stupidity, I take a short break for OJ, open a screen, and cast my eyes upon this idiocy.

Fortunately, I no longer have to be worried about working in Arizona. Between my tan and my accent, I am completely unqualified.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Taxes aren't so high


The Historical Buzz: The percentage of income that we pay in taxes has been going down for half a century. This year, Americans paid 26.89 percent of their income for all taxes, according to the Tax Foundation. In 2000 we paid 32.98 percent, in 1990 we paid 30.4 percent, in 1980 we paid 30.4 percent, in 1970 we paid 29.6 percent, and in 1960 we paid 27.7 percent. You have to go back to 1950 to find a time when the tax burden was lower (24.6 percent).

The Higher Rate Buzz: Also, much less income redistribution is going on today than in your father's or grandfather's day. Consider the top bracket of the federal income tax, which now stands at 35 percent. In 2000 it was 39.6 percent, in 1980 it was 70 percent, in 1960 it was 91 percent, in 1950 it was 84 percent, and in 1920 it was 73 percent.

Well, well, how much I have forgotten so quickly.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Gulf oil spill as seen from space



The Pics: The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured a natural-color image of the oil slick just off the Louisiana coast. The top image shows a wide-area view, and the bottom image shows a close-up view of the oil slick (outlined in white in the top image). The oil slick appears as dull gray interlocking comma shapes, one opaque and the other nearly transparent. The northwestern tip of the oil slick almost touches the Mississippi Delta. Sunglint—the mirror-like reflection of the Sun off the water—enchances the oil slick’s visibility.

The Sad Buzz: The oil slick resulted from an explosion that occurred on April 20, 2010, on the Deepwater Horizon rig. Two days after the explosion, the rig sank to the ocean floor, and a pipe connected to the well on the sea floor broke. Oil began leaking from the pipe, The New York Times reported. The following week, the U.S. Coast Guard discovered a new leak, and also found that five times as much oil was pouring from the well as initially assumed, according to Reuters.

Disasters such as this one are rarely the result of a single catastrophic failure. Usually, they are the result of a series of smaller failures, any one of which might receive little or no attention.

In this instance, I wonder just how many small corners were cut to save a buck, to improve a profit margin, to boost a bottom line, to make investors one dollar happier, until finally the stage was set for an explosion, a crash to the sea floor, and an oil slick the likes of which this world has never seen.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hate group Westboro Baptist Church to picket lesbian teen Constance McMillen's graduation


The Pic: Constance McMillen, an 18-year-old senior at Itawamba County Agricultural High School, is being targeted by a hate group that plans to picket at her graduation.

The Buzz: A Mississippi lesbian who was denied the chance to go to her school's prom is now being targeted by a Kansas-based hate group - and it is going to protest at her graduation. The Westboro Baptist Church, which has drawn jeers for picketing at soldiers' funerals and on Tuesday cheered the deaths of 12 tornado victims in Mississippi, said in a statement last weekend that they will be on hand for Constance McMillen's high school graduation ceremony, the Advocate reported.

The Reason: "[We] will picket the graduation of Itawamba Agricultural High School to remind the parents, teachers and students of this nation that God said 'Thou shall not lie with mankind, as with womankind, it is abomination,'" the group declared.

And here we have evidence sufficient to know that Christianity as we know it is a fiction. Otherwise, Phelps et al would be on the receiving end of a vigorous smiting.

Location:Perimeter Park Dr,Morrisville,United States

Racist email from Harvard Law School student goes viral


The Buzz: I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic. African Americans tend to have darker skin. Irish people are more likely to have red hair.

Oh yes, this one is real! I couldn't make it up any better.

Check the link for details, the full email, and the circumstance.

It's good to know even Harvard's student selection procedures blow chunks now and again.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hugo Chavez is on Twitter




The Verified Twitter Feed: twitter.com/chavezcandanga

The First Tweet: @chavezcandanga Epa que tal? Aparecí como lo dije: a la medianoche. Pa Brasil me voy. Y muy contento a trabajar por Venezuela. Venceremos!!

The Translation: Hey how's it going? I appeared like I said I would: at midnight. I'm off to Brazil. And very happy to work for Venezuela. We will be victorious!!

The question is: How does the ever-verbal Chavez plan to express himself with a 140 character limit?

This will surely be interesting.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

40 Topics You Can't Discuss at Work

From this one, we will see my assured doomnation.


The Buzz: You spend a lot of time at your job. Maybe most of your waking hours. Ideally, your boss and coworkers become your friends, which is nice. But be careful! Never forget that you can’t totally let your hair down with work friends the way you might with family, old schoolmates, your book group, your buddies, or your cat/dog.

Well, I think we knew this buzz all ready.

The 40 Things:

Your politics.
Your religion.
Your salary.
Your medical history.
Your sexual exploits.
Any workplace gossip.
Any plans to quit.
Your aches and pains.
How much you just paid for something.
The progress, or lack thereof, of your therapy.
Your blog URL.
How much time you spend on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
How messy your house is.
Your extensive knowledge of curse words.
The fact that you’re ovulating, PMS-ing, or having your period.
Your hot flashes.
Gory details of any major illness or accident.
Your Viagra side effects.
Your tax problems.
Your criminal record.
How much you hate a thing
Your difficulty in digesting any food, and symptoms thereof.
Your, or your wife’s, fertility treatment.
Your, or your wife’s, miscarriage.
Your messy divorce.
Your expertise in filching office supplies.
Your penis size.
Any odd/quirky/weird habits.
The state of your undergarments.
Your fear that you’re going to lose your job.
How much you hate your job.
How much you hate your customers.
How much you hate the boss.
Your cute kids.
Your adorable pets.
Your last, or next, vacation.
Your new house, boat, car, computer, etc.
Your home remodel.
Your wedding plans.
Your diet.

I am doomed yet again. I have broken most, though not all, of these rules. Maybe I should telecommute more often.

I should go ahead and report to HR.

Location:Factory Shops Rd,Morrisville,United States

SAS Institute: Nursing mothers get a break, starting now


The Pic: At the SAS campus in Cary, Leslie Anderson of Raleigh plays with her 9-month-old daughter, Reese. Anderson takes two work breaks a day to feed Reese.

The Buzz: At SAS Institute, nursing mothers who need to express milk during the workday can go online to schedule a lactation room that features a recliner and soft music. The Cary company, known for its family-friendly business model, has provided the service for 12 years. Now, all businesses are required by law to offer such a room for nursing mothers. (The recliner and music are optional.)

SAS has always been a trendsetter in the way it treats the people who work there, and it's good to see some of the SAS HR principles make it to the law of the land. The sad thing is that it required an act of Congress to get most other employers to do the right thing.

For as advanced as Americans like to see themselves, we are at the core a very backward thinking people more often than not.

Location:Airport Blvd,Morrisville,United States

Arctic explorers get nasty surprise -- rain


The Buzz: In what looks to be another sign the Arctic is heating up quickly, British explorers in Canada's Far North reported on Tuesday that they had been hit by a three-minute rain shower over the weekend. The rain fell on the team's ice base off Ellef Rignes island, about 3,900 km (2,420 miles) north of the Canadian capital, Ottawa.

What you do or do not believe regarding global warming is no longer germane. This world is warming, and the evidence is compelling.

Now, let's put a finer, less mentioned, point on it: We cannot make any measurable changes in the progression, at least nothing that can be assessed for a generation. Not unless you know how to control the ash output of some large volcanoes.

The current progression towards warming began decades ago. We've only contributed to the acceleration, and now the evidence is undeniable.

Probably, the pressing question back home regards whether the Atlantic will rise and return the coast to Highway 50. Perhaps that accounts for the recent explosion of land prices.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

The Religious Case for Church-State Separation


The Buzz: Here we go again. On April 15 a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that the National Day of Prayer, slated for May 6, was unconstitutional. The usual voices have been heard rising in objection (Sarah Palin and Franklin Graham among them) and, proving yet again that President Obama is no radical, the administration announced its own plans to challenge the decision. One can make a reasonable case that the weight of custom puts the fairly banal idea of an occasionless, generic day of prayer (how many of you even knew that we have had such a day every year since 1952?) on the safe side of the Establishment Clause. But the right is, as ever, taking things a beat too far. Lest anyone try to convince you that God should be separated from the state, Palin said, our Founding Fathers, they were believers.

Even Better Buzz: Governor Palin's history is rather shaky. Religious liberty—the freedom to worship as one chooses, or not to worship—is a central element of the American creed. Yes, many of the Founders were believing, observant Christians. But to think of them as apostles in knee breeches or as passionate evangelicals is a profound misreading of the past. In many ways their most wondrous legacy was creating the foundations of a culture of religious diversity in which the secular and the religious could live in harmony, giving faith a role in the life of the nation in which it could shape us without strangling us. On the day George Washington left Philadelphia to take command of the Continental Army, the Rev. William Smith preached a sermon at the city's Christ Church, saying: "Religion and liberty must flourish or fall together in America. We pray that both may be perpetual."

Newsweek has published a breath of fresh air, here in this world of unidimensional and unwielding Christianity, which threatens to make us no better than those religious states across the globe that would seek our destruction if they caught us not looking more than a moment.

Let me nominate this piece for required reading.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Writer Goes Undercover At Gay-To-Straight Conversion Camp


The Buzz: Have you ever wondered what it might be like to spend a weekend of your life in the middle of the desert at one of those quasi-Christian camps dedicated to "curing" the gay right out of your genitals? Well, wonder no more! Over at Alternet, you can read all about how Ted Cox went undercover at a "Journey Into Manhood" camp, Matt Taibbi-in-The Great Derangement-style. What does it feel like for a man, learning to be a man, with the help of other men? It involves isolation and strange rituals and "Native American flute music" and re-enactments of junior high school gym class humiliations.

This might be the best read that HuffPo has ever published. And the "exercises" prescribed in the process are at times astoundingly homoerotic and at other times decidedly disturbing in their violence.

I do not see how the journalist maintained his cover in the face of all this nonsense.

However, the real sadness in the reading for me is that I have had prolonged communications and face-to-face conversations with otherwise seemingly intelligent people regarding my need to attend such therapy.

Of course, there was also discussion of brain tumors. And demon posession. And an overbearing mother with a weak father.

Name the innane stereotype, and it reared it's head. That a man could honestly be gay was not a considered possibility, and I doubt that anything I said caused anyone to see that.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Cows tweet by RFID in Canada


The Buzz: A herd of dairy cows from the University of Waterloo might be the first of the bovine species to use Twitter. The cows brag about milk production, RFID transponder glitches, eating habits, technical issues with the “Mr. Terminator” milking machines and the specific nuances of which teats perform best. Some of the cattle even let loose with an occasional literary quotation from Virgil. We’re hoping for Twitpics soon.

Tweeting cows in Canada? Cows tweeting about teats in Canada?

This is probably just a little bit more than I needed to read on a Tuesday evening.

Imagine the potential of Maidenform were to get wind of this.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Evangelical explorers have found Noah's Ark atop a mountain in Turkey


The Buzz: Noah's Ark has been found atop a mountain in Turkey, a team of Turkish and Chinese evangelical explorers said Monday, April 26. The 15-person team claims to have recovered fragments of wood and pieces of rope from a structure on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey that carbon dating has put at 4,800 years old, roughly coinciding with the time the biblical flood was said to have been occurred.

Or so they say. I would point out that this is not the first group of Biblical explorers to have found the Ark. Oh no, there have been others. Just scroll down the linked page to the YouTube vid.

Nonetheless, suppose for a moment that the Ark exists somewhere because at some point it existed. If we tried to repopulate the earth now from two of everything, we would not have the genetic diversity to produce viable populations.

We'd have a lot of crosseyed critters running around.

Come to think of it, perhaps this explains a lot of things.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Maidenform introduces the ultimate pushup bra

From Twitter

RT @Maidenform: Works like magic! RT @MariDavis: @Maidenform Introduces the Ultimate Push Up Bra http://cli.gs/DAseW /via @thebrabook



The Buzz: With the décolleté as a mainstay in today’s woman’s wardrobe, having the proper bra for it is a must. Seeing this need by women, Maidenform presents the Ultimate Push Up bra, a bra so magical it boosts you 2 cup sizes all while maintaining your natural shape.

Read further at the link. Notice how the big girls are yet again excluded. Not a 42A to be seen!


Location:Perimeter Park Dr,Morrisville,United States

Police Search Gizmodo Editor's Home, Seize Computers In iPhone Probe


The Pic: The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Civil Liberties director warns that the warrant used to search Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home may have been illegal.

The Buzz: Authorities seized computers, digital cameras, a cell phone and other items from a technology blog editor who posted pictures and details of a lost iPhone prototype. A computer-crime task force made up of multiple law enforcement agencies searched Gizmodo editor and blogger Jason Chen's house and car in Fremont, Calif., on Friday, according to a statement and search warrant documents provided by Gizmodo. The warrant, issued by a Superior Court judge in San Mateo County, said the computers and other devices may have been used to commit a felony. Steve Wagstaffe, spokesman for the San Mateo County District Attorney's office, confirmed the warrant's authenticity. Members of the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team took several computers, hard drives, digital cameras, cell phones and other gadgets, plus Chen's American Express bill and copies of his checks.

So let's see. Someone loses a phone in a club bathroom. Another someone finds it. That other someone recognizes what the phone probably is, says finders keepers, and arranges to sell the phone to a blogger for $5000. Apple asks for the phone back. Blogger gives up the phone. Police raid blogger's home.

Apple is probably taking this one a step or two too far. Besides, the company received tons of free publicity, most of it good. There's no reason to turn around and create the bad now.

I still do not believe the loss of the phone was accidental. It was a plant, plain and simple.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

New Tarmac rules go into effect this week


The Buzz: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is expected to discuss Tuesday the new tarmac delay rule that goes into effect before the end of the week. The rule, set to take effect Thursday, is designed to prevent planes on domestic routes from sitting on the tarmac for more than three hours with passengers on board. Airlines who violate the rule could face fines of up to $27,500 per passenger, the maximum allowed for violating any aviation consumer rule.

$27,500 per passenger? I could get into this in a hurry! If only I snag a piece of that fine.

However, I'm here to tell you that the flight cancellations have already begun, and I don't find it all that bad. It's certainly better than the repeated 30 minute delays, announced one after the other, until finally the flight is cancelled at 3 a.m.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A little lunch

After three loads of laundry and the challenge of fetching a cup of coffee, it seems prudent to refuel.

Put the two cans of beans (and peas) in the pot with a lot more water. Add some salt and chicken boullion. Bring to a boil, and add the shells. A splash of olive oil is also prudent.

Return to a boil. Stir a little. Turn off the heat. Cover. Go fetch the last load of laundry from the dryer. After you put the clothes away, dip out a serving and add some cheese.

Yes, this time it's that wierd American cheese, but you should know by now that I'm in need of some comfort food.

Let the cheese melt while you write the blog. Then chow down while it posts.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

I'm thinking stress fracture

This will teach me to wake up, especially on a Saturday.

Feets hit floor. Weight hits feets. Butt hits bed. Mouth utters expressions unbecoming a gentleman.

Of course, stress relief is stress relief regardless of how it occurs, and you don't spend much time around me before you learn of that colorful vocabulary that I find necessary to express my reaction to a good bit of the nonsense that can fill my world.

Saturday, it felt like a pulled muscle that was engaged as toes pushed forward on a step.

Today, the well-remembered feeling of fractured metataursals came to mind as I took forever to fetch my coffee.

Not even the cane helped as I hobbled to the Shell station as the ancient beast I more become every day.

At least, I'm doing better than this bug.

Of course, I doubt that bug is ouching from traumatized feets, and that might make me jealous if I dwell on it.

So the question for today involves a visit to the doc. For as good as Kellie and Crystal can be, I'm pretty sure they have nothing to offer for sad feets, except maybe hydrocodone or Oxycontin, neither of which are going to be prescribed for this mess.

At the most, they'll prescribe an immobilization boot. That will do the trick, at least until it's time to drive. Last time on the right foot, the boot didn't see much action. Hot. Unwieldy. A pain to put off and on for driving.

A pair of combat boots might have to suffice.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Today's orphaned socks

It's very rare to find a matched set, even if the one is a little darker than the other.

They are too small for me, if they are laundered to EBay standards. Give me a holler if you have a house elf or two you want to be rid of.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Boots: Free to a good home

Yes, the boots that left me hobbled are now gifted to the universe.

One resident from the Middle East, a very handsome man, was having trouble with both my writing and my vocabulary. Probably the construction also.

I suppose they don't give away kittens and puppies where he grew up.

So he asked the even more handome American fellow in the laundry room to explain. I suppose the explanation took.

What I expect is that the ESL fellow wanted the boots, but he didn't want me to know that he wanted them. Pride, you know.

And before you ask, I can't take them back because I didn't retain the receipt. Yep, I also threw out the box.

One day I'll learn.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Ancient beauty

Well, not ancient in most senses of the word, but nearly primeval in terms of modern landscaping.

Gregory Poole owns a large chunk of both sides of Blue Ridge Road. I walk through it a few times a day.

Often, climbing roses are grafted, and the graft is rarely as hardy as the root stock. What we often see is the root stock taking over, the graft dying, and a thorny vine with small pink flowers takes over.

That is not the case with the roses planted along the fence at Gregory Poole.

These plants are untended, left to do what they will, and what they do is delight the occassional passer-by such as myself.

We had this one in the rain a day or so ago.

From the one follows the many.

The previous bloom in the rain but from another angle.

There might be ten or so of the plants along the sidewalk. I assume that at some point, the fence will be removed, and the vines destroyed.

This world will be a lesser place at that point.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Friday, April 23, 2010

Islamic extremists lash out about media, Americans, and snacks

Can you tell I'm on a prolonged hold?


The Buzz: Younus Abdullah Mohammed, of the web-hacked and rightly go-f!ck-yourselfed collective known as Revolutionary Islam, has directed a torrent of whinging at Gawker's Ravi Somaiya. He confirms that his group's website has been forcibly redirected, but isn't concerned because all of the attention due to his threats at Comedy Central drove enough traffic to his website to bring it down anyway, and "Islam will take over the world," so whatever.

The But Then: "It is American oppression," he said. But, he added, we probably wouldn't understand such issues as we are "Darwinist faggots who are as despicable as the rest, walking around eating your Triscuits."

Triscuits? They're upset about Triscuits? Just imagine what a Fig Newton might produce from those minds! Or a Skittle. Taste the rainbow?

Good grief!

Location:Perimeter Park Dr,Morrisville,United States

North Carolina town bans thongs after getting e-mail


The Buzz: A town council in North Carolina has banned thongs, with the mayor saying he wants to keep the area as close to "Mayberry with a beach" as possible. The Star-News of Wilmington reported that the town council in Kure (Cure-EE) Beach voted Thursday to ban the swimwear. The move came after the police chief received an e-mail earlier in the week asking if the town's existing nude bathing ordinance allowed thongs.

OK, so that's more tonga than thong.

First, I have been to Kure Beach, and I didn't leave a thing behind. There is no reason for me to ever return.

Think white trash without the culture of free ranging yard chickens.

I can also tell you the place is no Mayberry. Not in the least.

You really want to avoid this place, regardless of how you feel about thongs on hairy men.

Unless you get a volume discount at the ABC store.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

iPhone Loser Gets Free Flight and Beer From Lufthansa


The Buzz: “I recently read in the news that you lost a very special phone at a German beer bar in California…At Lufthansa we also noted with great interest your passion for German beer and culture. We thought you could use a break soon–and therefore would like to offer you complimentary business class transportation to Munich, where you can literally pick up where you last left off.”

OK, this fabrication has gone on long enough. I do not believe anyone lost that phone in San Jose. The phone was planted in that bathroom.

Apple wrote that "send it back" letter weeks ago, all as part of the plan to promote the hype.

Apple probably paid for the plane ticket described here.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Archie Comics announces new gay character


The Buzz: Riverdale High School, the stomping ground of comic book legend Archie Andrews, will open its doors to its first openly gay student. Kevin Keller will be the new student to join Archie, Jughead, Veronica, Betty and Reggie, Archie Comics publications announced Thursday.

The Why: "The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive. Archie's hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie comic books," said Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics co-CEO.

Keeping Archie current and inclusive?

Well, I see the point. I like the point. I even applaud the point.

The thing is that I wasn't aware that the Archie comic still existed. I read it way back when I dodged dinosaurs walking two miles uphill both ways to school, but it never occurred to me that someone out there was still writing, much less publishing, Archie.

This leaves me wondering what else from my storied past is waiting out there to surprise me. And why am I wrtitng about Archie at 3 a.m. anyway?

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Has South Park gone too far this time?


The Old Buzz: This is a show, after all, that once painted God as a gap-toothed rhinoceros-monkey, portrays Satan as a simpering milquetoast and regularly features Jesus as a superhero -- the kind who's not afraid to ignore the peaceful teachings of the Sermon on the Mount to smite his opponents. The show has mocked Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Scientologists and atheists, among (many) others.

The Current Buzz: For its 200th episode April 14 -- the beginning of a two-part story that concludes Wednesday night -- "South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker decided to go all-in, creating a plot line about free speech in which most everybody the show's ever offended comes back. Among the episode's characters: the Prophet Mohammed, who is first pictured behind a black "censored" bar and later in a bear suit. That didn't sit well with Revolution Muslim, an Islamic group that objected to Mohammed's portrayal. According to some Muslim traditions, the visual depiction of Mohammed is not allowed.

Well now, I watched that episode last week, and I might be able to sit up late enough to catch the second part tonight.

There was nothing offensive about the show, not even the portrayal of the religious figures. While we're here, if the language of the children on the show surprises you, you might spend a little time in the classroom. Your eyes will be opened.

So Mohammed was portrayed in a bear suit. BFD! If that's all it takes to upset your religious apple cart, you might want to re-examine your reasons for holding that religion. If the portrayal makes you want to murder the cartoonist, you should seek counseling of some kind.

South Park has a long history of holding nothing sacred, and the boundless hypocracies of this world have offered an endless supply of scripts. You should be glad we still have shows like this, the kind that makes us think.

All in the Family used to do the same thing, though those scripts don't translate so well to this newer world.

Frankly, I find it valuable to have personal foibles revealed. What's so easy to see in others is often invisible to the self.

It's called enlightenment, people. Let's get with the program and become smarter for it.

More to the point, your TV surely has an on/off switch.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

The Nine Countries with the Worst Bathrooms in the World


You can check out the link for the complete details, assuming you have the stomach for it. When I saw the title, my vote for #1 was China when away from the Americanized hotels.

Been there. Seen that. Used one. Remember to take your own paper, and lots of drugs for digestive distress. There is no way you'll have the aim to ring that little hole over which you're squatting when that blowout arrives.

So here you go. My favorite two.


How can a society that was centuries beyond the rest of us way back have failed so grandly on this one basic matter?


Here, I'm not so worried about the elevated crapper. It's the swim up design that leaves me wanting a military evacuation.

The rest are a treat. Enjoy!

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Walking in the rain

So I went out on an early evening walk to clear some confusing crap from my head. Besides, Da Man wants a few coherent sentences about it.

Two miles from home, the rain begins. And continues. And gets harder.

I stop at a BP for coffee.

I stand under the awning and wait. And wait.

And wait some more.

Whoever said walking in the rain was romantic probably never walked in the rain. It's far more like cold and wet.

Location:Gorman St,Raleigh,United States

How to make leftover chicken and rice for lunch

First, find the container of leftover chicken and rice. The one with the Great Northern White beans.

Open the lid a little on one side.

Buzz it in the microwave for three minutes.

After three minutes, take it out, stir it, and buzz it two more minutes.

After the two minutes, let it sit while you write something like this.

Take the container out, open, stir, and chow down.

The finished product should look like this.

Texting eclipses calling among US teenagers


The Pic: Texting is more popular among girls than boys, the survey showed.

The Buzz: Texting has become the most popular form of communication among young people in the US, research indicates. The study, by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, suggests that texting has eclipsed mobile phone calls among teenagers for the first time. More than 30% of teens send more than 100 texts a day, it shows. Researchers say more payment plans offering unlimited texts have helped to create the surge in the US, which used to lag other parts of the world.

Ages ago when I first met texting, my reaction was very much WTF??!!! Why would I want to do such a thing?

Then a bud started texting me. Of course, my phone at the time required that I go online to check text messages. A little later with a newer phone and a different carrier, I saw the light.

Now, I text far more often than I call. And I text before a call to ask if it's a good time for a call.

And I use text as a verb.

I've also used texting in areas where AT&T has a weak signal, and those areas are more easily found than you might expect.

Of course, the carriers must be making a mint on texting. The bandwidth needed to transfer 160 characters is miniscule, and it does not need to be continuous, much less strong.

So there you go. So much for my foresight regarding this now ubiquitous technology. I wonder just how much else I've missed.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Church Promotes Bishop Who Blamed Devil For Sex Abuse Lawsuits


The Buzz: A Chicago bishop who once blamed the devil for sexual abuse lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church and proposed shielding the church from legal damages has been named to lead an Illinois diocese. Thomas Paprocki, an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Chicago, was announced Tuesday as the church's ninth bishop of Springfield.

This appears to be the day of few surprises so far. Scan the text at the link. You'll see the fellow also a lawyer. You'll also see that the Catholic Church is more interested in maintaining it's own internal consistency veiled in some cloak of doctrinal purity than it is to meeting the current spat of problems head-on, suggesting to me that the Church sees no reasonable solution the the growing assemblage of child abuse complaints against pedophilic priests mounting against it.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Both national party committees spend big chunks on fancy meals, hotels, travel


The Buzz: Both the national Democratic and Republican party committees spend about two-thirds of the money they take in on the care and comfort of committee staffs and on efforts to raise more funds, with lavish spending on limousines, expensive hotels, meals and tips, an analysis of the latest financial disclosure data shows.

The Benchmark: The two political committees are not typical nonprofit organizations, and such high spending for overhead is almost unheard of in the nonprofit world. A rule of thumb among nonprofits is that administrative and fundraising costs should consume no more than 20 to 25 percent of income.

Surely, this comes as no surprise to anyone with a thinking brain. About the only difference between the two parties is (1) the name, and (2) whom they choose to hate. It's just that the RNC had the misfortune of using the most licentious meeting venue of late, the lesbian bondage club.

The DNC will catch up soon enough just for the bragging rights if nothing else.

I can see that I need to re-up my WaPo subscription.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

These boots were not made for walking

I'm not sure what Wrangler had in mind when it designed these boots, but walking, at least by me, was not on the table.

I'll be removing the above average inserts from the foot bed, and dropping the boots off where someone who might love them more can find them.

Worn twice. Less than an hour each time. I shudder to figure the per hour price I paid for these hoof covers, but I do know that not for all the Kingdom of France would I put them on, much less walk in them, again.

Meanwhile, the regular sneaks sponsored seven miles yesterday evening. That's far more with the program.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Monday, April 19, 2010

It was fun while it lasted

Walking. Losing weight. Getting back that I can move feeling.

That ended this evening. Instead of the anticipated seven miles. I sat down some mile or so from home by a plot of iris in front of some business, worried the night watchman, and wondered if Raleigh had a taxi to spare.

Then I remembered I only had a fiver in my pocket as I was planning to fetch a Diet Coke at the Shell as I went back home.

The blisters are not the problem. Annoying, yes, but tolerable and better. Doing their protective thing.

It's the return of the chronic tendonitis that has done me in, making me walk slowly back home like the old man I suddenly feel, but those men I remember were like 90 when they walked like that.

Too many years barefoot in the fields made arches too high? Losing that gym membership 12 years ago and the resultant addition of 50 pounds? One too many concrete blocks broken? A few too many broken toes?

Two pods. One arthropod. Two pair of custom orthotics. $500 each. Not covered by insurance. Countless cortisone injections. More NSAID in a year than most people take in a lifetime. Think naproxen sodium. The makers of Prilosec love me. Oral steroids for three years. At least I was impervious to poisen ivy then. Different shoes everyday. Five pair just for walking rotations. Two pair for work in rotation. Two pair for knocking around the house and the lake.

The only thing that works is rum. I picked the wrong season to get on the wagon.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Flying pigs in a Chicago Walgreen's

So a fave bud in Chicago sent me a sight to behold. Flying pigs in a Walgreen's near Chicago.

I see a road trip in my near future to fetch back one of these.

Meanwhile, I'll have to take my comfort here.

Location:Beryl Rd,Raleigh,United States