16 November, 2008

A Dogs Life

This is Bonzo in his backyard. He's one of the luckiest dogs in Hampden in that he and his brother, Kingfish, have a full yard to run in and play in and holler at all the other dogs passing by. Many other dogs in Hampden have to walk their humans because they don't have yards of their own but these two are like the Stadler and Waldorf of the neighborhood. They give hell to every dog that walks by. I'm sure they tell them about their great yard and that their owners are afforded the luxury of being some of the laziest dog owners in town.
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11 November, 2008

Photo of My Dead Dog


This was Kingfish. He served us well. At 4 yrs old this black standard poodle was a pretty good guy. A bit of a meathead but a great companion and loyal to the end.
We did make a pact, you know. We would care for eachother until the end and whoever survived got to eat the other.
So we'll be having hot dogs for the next few weeks. His spirit will do me well.

Ok, OK. He's not really dead, but he might as well be. Lazy varmit.
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Yea, I Still Love Obama. But MoveOn?

OK, so the last entry I wrote about Obama and cash strapped DNC should have been seperated. I was caught up in the idea of reimbursting a campaign. MoveOn is a powerful machine for democratic change and very good at raising money. I'm sure they did well for Obama and I'm sure many of them will land prized seats on the change bus. Good for them. But I'd like to say "mission accomplished" to them if they are going to keep hawking me for $$. It's change I want and we have enough $$ to make that change. Oh wait. Do we? Have the banks and insurance companies swallowed up all our $$ yet? If so why is MoveOn asking ME for $$? Don't they know who has already taken my savings?

Anyway...in a "new president makes good" effort I see on CNN.com that Obama has set up a websight for the country to communicate with the new admin. A transparency that we've never seen before? Check it out for yourself. It's a fairly small site for now but I'm sure it will grow with leaps and bounds. change.gov
Just in time for Veterans Day. Have a look see.

Uh...Wait. Do I Still Love Obama?

Below is an Email I just got from Moveon.org.
If you are on the mailing list then you probably got the same email.
In the past week I've gotten invitations to buy Victory bumper stickers, Posters and now T-shirts...To help repay the DNC. Repay the DNC? For what? For doing their job and running a candidate we would vote for? Wait a min. We donate before the election to support the candidate. We don't pay after to reimburse those who put more in. Who are we paying back? Is someone getting back their investment at our expense?? Does this sound all too familiar or am I already hating our new president? Someone, please tell me I'm wrong!

I've never dealt with MoveOn when they were actually loving a president. This could get ugly.
Here's their letter...

Friend -- In the months and years ahead, we're going to accomplish amazing things together. No president has ever had the support of such a powerful grassroots movement, and Barack and Joe will need you to continue fighting alongside them. But before we take the next step, we need to get our house in order. The Democratic National Committee poured all of its resources into building our successful 50-state field program. And they played a crucial role in helping Barack win in unlikely states like North Carolina and Indiana. We even picked up an electoral vote in Nebraska. The DNC took on considerable debt to make this happen. Make a donation of $30 or more now to help the DNC pay for these efforts, and you'll get a commemorative 2008 Victory T-shirt.
The DNC began building a 50-state organization in 2005. The infrastructure they put in place over the last four years opened up a new batch of battleground states where a Democratic nominee hadn't been competitive for a generation. In the final few months, the DNC went above and beyond to expand our ground efforts and ensure victory. We couldn't have won this election without their support. As we start laying the groundwork for real change, we need to help the DNC recover the resources it took to win. Please make a donation today and get your 2008 Victory T-shirt: http://my.barackobama.com/page/m2/55c13974/506d20f9/9e59ff1/11884a3f/3588423768/VEsF/ This movement for change is just getting started, and we look forward to working with you to bring the change this country needs. Thanks for everything you did to elect Barack and Joe, Obama for America


07 November, 2008

Why My Thanksgiving is Going to Suck

Well, it's going to slurp more than suck.
So my mother and sister had the great idea of having an alternative meal for TG this year. They're tired of slaving in the kitchen and, really, I can't blame them. So we're doing away with the turkey and all the trim this year. Instead, we're having soup. Fuggin' soup! 3 different types of soup of which I can't remember because, hey, it's fuggin' soup!
I'm going to have to go out for some real food after TG this year. It's on a Thursday so maybe I can give thanks for 1/2 priced burgers at Fraziers.
Does anybody know of any good Thursday dinner specials around town? I feel like I'm going to need some options.

05 November, 2008

Maryland Correctional Enterprises.


We got some new desks in at work. They all had this in the top drawers.

Breaking Racial Boundries: A White Perspective

Throughout much of this election process I’ve rarely noticed that I will be voting to put an African-American into the White House. It just hasn’t affected me for most of this election. Is it because Obama is not a very black acting person? Is he pandering to the white vote? Or is he genuinely trying to bring many sections of this country together in unity? I am hoping for the latter. But now that the election is over and we do have a Negro; a colored; a black; an afro-American; an African American, an American president-elect I have been starting to see the color line again.
This is not the same line that I may have seen in the past though. No, this is a new line. Maybe the word “line” is not even relevant anymore. Or at least a line made of chalk rather than razor wire. I am hoping this is true.
Maybe we are all getting the chance to cross that line. Many of us are straddling it and want to cross but not sure what to do next. But now we have something to help us that we may have never even though of before. A black president will show us the way.

Speaking from years of white liberal guilt, I have seen myself mature from living in a learned racial fear as a child growing up where work was scarce to going to more integrated colleges and jobs now to a new rung in my journey of self. And now I have seen the highest position in the known universe opened to an African American. This is one example of history NOT repeating itself. This is a new course. A new day for you and I.

For many years I have thought that if racial equality were to be met then it would have to be white people opening up and accepting everyone into the entire process that is America. Did that just happen? It is white folk, after all who are the center of power in racial issues, right?
Well, my paradigm may have just shifted overnight. I welcome this shift though. I know it won’t be easy but I personally have been waiting for something like this to happen. I think many of us white folks have been waiting for more.

I guess I really like the idea of giving up ownership of this racial separation in America. If it was white people who created it I’m not sure white people can stop it or at least not white people alone. We need help. It may be just around the corner.

This thought of mine here is a work in progress. Comments and criticism is warmly welcomed. I hope to touch back on this again and develop it further.

04 November, 2008

Yea I Voted. I Killed the Slots

I was a bit apprehensive about the long lines and all but my election day has turned out pretty good. First off I have the day off. Bonus. Secondly the polling location is 1 block from my house and thirdly it only took 20 minutes to vote and that's including the leisurely stroll up the street.
Now I have the rest of the day to be lazy. I'm going back to sleep. It's bedtime for democracy

03 November, 2008

Gamer's Radical Realization: I Prefer Playing With Myself

Ugh...I don't think I'll ever truly understand the world that capable and mostly sane human beings put themselves in when they enter the World of Warcraft or any other online RPG world. I can't be totally niave though as I spent 2 solid years locked in my parents basement playing AD&D only to surface around 3am for the nightly Taco Bell run. But I was in the midst of real life friends and throughout the course of intense dungeon bashing or mindless capers involving halflings and orcs we would break out into story and "hey did you know?" conversations. How else would I know that my 10th grade English teacher had arieola the size of pepperonis.

Anyway, so yea, I was there. But online gaming that takes up this much time with no one around is different...to me. I had a buddy who I had lost for 4 years to Everquest. It was like watching him insert the cable line into his vein. He was totally sucked in. Too far gone. He's back now so that's cool. But when he was in he would talk about...well, I really don't know what he would talk about because he totally lost me. I do think it was clever for him to play a girl and have all these jockos or pimply faces hitting on him throughout the game. Such an online Boys Don't Cry charade that was. But he did make friends across the country and has kept contact with many of them long after he returned to this plane of existence. I guess that's something he can show.

But what about single player games where it's you and nobody...for hours. I came across an article on Wired about these games. They have a certain plus because now gamers don't have to worry about the human interaction and the unpredictability of these lesser humans. Hmm. Complaining about the human factor in humans? Maybe it's best for you to stay plugged in then. Here's a quote from the article that equates the situation to the Stanford Prison Experiment. Exxageration? Maybe. Absurd? You betcha.

"Because really, who needs people? People suck. I'm joking, of course — but only a bit. The truth is that, in online multiplayer worlds, dealing with the delightfully unpredictable behavior of "real" people can be an absolute chore. Teammates fail to show up for a raid, or they leave everyone waiting for an hour, or they log out in the middle of battle and leave you gored by a howling mob. Have you ever actually tried to play Age of Conan? It's like the Stanford Prison Experiment in there, my friend."

Imagine that. Having to depend on other humans for your entertainment. It's nice to see we have found away around that. Now if we can just convince them to plug this blue wire into their hearts so we can harness their body's energy while they sit there it won't be such a waste of humanity.

02 November, 2008

I (Heart) Nina Simone.

I've been ripping quite a few CD's to my new computer in the past few weeks so I've had the joy of sifting through and organizing many CD's that have been in unorganized stacks and various musical graveyards all over my house and some even to be found in between the cracks of never ending run-on sentences.

In all of this I am currently ripping my Nina Simone library.
It was in my junior year of college that I came in contact with this lady that would forever make an impact on my musical life. I was returning home from visiting my friend James at Northern Michigan University. He was taking a jazz appreciation class at school the same semester that I was at Michigan State. He gave me a Verve classic CD of Nina Simone Nina Simone

Well, the directions were to give the CD to our friend, Josh, back home. Sorry Josh. You never got that CD. Instead I was introduced to this jazz/blues/soul legend.

Now people ask me what she sang as if she had some radio hit at sometime. I couldn't tell them. I rarely hear her music on the radio. So I did a Google search of her at Billboard Top 40 and they say how many she had. One.

"Raised in a family of eight children, she originally harbored hopes of becoming a classical pianist, studying at New York's prestigious Juilliard School of Music -- a rare position for an African-American woman in the 1950s. Needing to support herself while she studied, she generated income by working as an accompanist and giving piano lessons. Auditioning for a job as a pianist in an Atlantic City nightclub, she was told she had the spot if she would sing as well as play. Almost by accident, she began to carve a reputation as a singer of secular material, though her skills at the piano would serve her well throughout her career. In the late '50s, Simone began recording for the small Bethlehem label (a subsidiary of the vastly important early R&B/rock & roll King label).

In 1959, her version of George Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy" gave her a Top 20 hit -- which would, amazingly, prove to be the only Top 40 entry of her career. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/bio/index.jsp?pid=3625

What I have noticed the most about Nina Simone's music is the belief that every person's work that she touched she made better. A majority of her recorded work consisted of standards and covers. Every one better than the original from Gershwin to Dylan. Yes, she does Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen better then they do. Strong words? Of course they are. But hey, listen for yourself in Nina's versions of:

Bob Dylan- The Ballad of Hollis Brown

Leonard Cohen- Suzanne

So there. A legend with nearly 40 years of recordings and only 1 Billboard hit.