Putting Away Childish Things

You might have noticed that I haven’t been around the lair all that much lately. It’s not for lack of desire, denizens. I’d love nothing more than to come hang out at with you all with the same frequency I used to. It’s for lack of other things…lack of time, mostly. But also lack of motivation. Lack of inspiration. Lack of give-a-damnedness.

There’s been a lot going on IRL: good things, great things, frustrating things, worrying things. It’s a Damoclean life, the professional one I lead, and presidential election years only make it that much worse. Plus, the state of things is so depressing that for a while I simply lost my will and way.

Mainly, it’s because I am so tired of and sickened and disheartened by the continuing devolution of the “of, by, and for” part of the equation: We The People.

Plainly put, We The PeopleTM kind of suck, and it’s time we started to fix that. It has to start with us because, if all those sacred and holy documents are to be believed anymore (if ever), we’re supposed to be the lynchpins of Mr. Toad’s Wild Government Ride. We’re supposed to be the ones steering this ship; the politicians are supposed to be the ones reporting to us. Yet, somewhere along the way, the politicians mutinied, started changing the rules when we weren’t paying attention. Wasn’t that difficult to do, really…for a “highly evolved species” or “greatest nation in the world” or whatever other self-awarded accolades we like to tout, we’re not exactly the brightest crayons in the box. We’re kind of like the Pakleds of the planet.

For you non-nerds, this is not a compliment.

Now here we sit, a divided, divisive muddle of easily distracted dolts, unable to see the forest because we have to stop and piss hate-filled comments onto every tree. Corruption continues to run amok while we stand in line to buy a fried chicken sandwich. Because that fried chicken sandwich represents the protection of our freedom of speech!

To paraphrase Inigo Montoya for a moment, “You keep using that phrase, but I do not think it means what you think it means.” Seriously, look up “Freedom of Speech” and learn what it really means. That’s a really good place to start.

Now, the title of this post is sort of a tip of the paw to a recent episode of Dan Carlin’s Common Sense, which he called “Put Up or Shut Up.” I used to love listening to Common Sense, mainly because Carlin’s viewpoints on so many things match my own viewpoints. Everyone likes to listen to people who
agree with them, right?

However, I stopped listening a while ago because, quite frankly, I was tired of listening to reinforcement of how I felt, but no suggestions for how to change things…how to make things better…how to reroute the abysmal direction of this country.

Seems like Carlin felt the same way. In “Put Up or Shut Up” he basically stated that even he was tired of listening to himself go on and on about these things without providing a plan for how to fix it. And he called on himself and listeners to…put up or shut up.

So this is me putting up. It’s time to start turning things around before we really do end up plummeting off into the abyss. Our government is corrupt and unresponsive, why? Because we let it become so. All of us. Not just the Republicans. Not just the Democrats. All of us. Somewhere along the way, we lost our ability to reason and debate and problemsolve and now we spend most of our time and energy attacking each other, either in person or via the vitriol of online comments where anonymity apparently bleeds us dry of any empathy or compassion.

What do I propose as part of the solution to this mess? It’s time to grow up, America. Time to start behaving like the “evolved intellects” we liken ourselves to be. Because whether you believe we’re 2,000 or 2 million years old or more, we’re old enough to know better.

First on the agenda? Stop playing the Blame Game. Blaming everyone else for your problems is what little kids do. Also? Doesn’t fix a damn thing, does it? No. So stop it. Stop pointing fingers and saying that it’s _______’s fault that things are the way they are. It’s lazy and ignorant. It’s also how the politicians keep us from ever coming together to fix the problems we have…because they know that part of the fix will mean stopping their free run of the place. Divide and conquer…who knew it worked, eh? George Orwell, actually. I always fall back on one particular passage of his book 1984, which once again speaks relevance to our current state of affairs:

Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbours, films, football, beer, and above all, gambling, filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult. A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous; but no attempt was made to indoctrinate them with the ideology of the Party.

It was not desirable that the proles should have strong political feelings. All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working-hours or shorter rations. And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because being without general ideas, they could only focus it on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice.

Primitive patriotism. “You’re either with us or against us.” Sound familiar? Aren’t you tired of it all as well, denizens? Aren’t you tired of bloviators telling us who’s to blame and riling up this primitive patriotism as a means of blocking true progress, true change, true hope? We are capable of so much more, so much better.

So stop playing games. First, stop your own part in the Blame Game. I’m just as guilty of this game as anyone else. I’m in no way proud of how I have readily bought into various notions that it was X group’s fault that things were the way they were. I was negative, bitter, and resentful. It didn’t solve anything and it just served to make me feel even worse about everything and about myself. Even more? It wasn’t true and it wasn’t fair.

You cannot blame all the problems that ail us right now on one group of people. You also cannot broad-brush an entire sect of the population based on interactions you’ve had with limited members of that sect. In true scientific method of inquiry, it’s a matter of case-by-case analysis that will continuously test, form, and modify ideas and opinions. We’re “individuals” for a reason. Is it easy? HELL NO! Why do you think so few people do it? Is it what needs to be done?

Yes. Yes, it is. It’s called logic. Spock it to me.

Second, call people out for their part in the Blame Game. If you find yourself surrounded by people who just want to spew this kind of negative passive bullshit, call them on it.

Hold on. Don’t go out and start screaming at strangers. Start at home. Not with the screaming though. That doesn’t go over well at all. Be respectful, but point out that blame doesn’t solve anything. Also? Constant complaining is actually antithetical to problemsolving.

So, combat negativity and complaining and blaming with proactive responses. “Okay, what can we do to fix the problem? How can we improve things?” Start seeking solutions! And if you find that there are people who simply refuse to change…well, then leave them be. That’s right…leave them be. Some people would rather throw themselves the mother of all pity parties than try to come up with solutions. You don’t have to stick around and help them celebrate.

See, right now, the United States of America looks like a hard drive that hasn’t been defragmented since it was purchased…all the way back in 1776. And there has been a whole long line of fragmentation ever since. It’s time we activated the national defrag program and leave those “unmovable files” right where they are. They won’t be able to stop the rest of us from rejoining and working together efficiently, if we want to. They’ll just stay where they are, inevitably being as useless to the improvement of this country as all those groups they like to hate on so much. Karma, betches. Look into it.

We live in a country of extraordinary freedoms. It’s one of the many reasons I am, indeed, thankful that I live in America. But I am not proud of who we have let ourselves become as Americans. We have allowed the politicians to take total control, to divide us with incendiary wedges designed to blind us to the solving of true issues and the striving toward true progress. We bicker and blame like children, and we gain nothing by doing so. We simply harm ourselves while the politicians continue to drag us further downward toward a drop we might not survive.

It has to stop. I’m willing to try. Are you?

Containment Breach!

I love coffee. Anyone who knows me, knows this truth. Don’t try to communicate with me before my initial caffeine intake has had time to reach my blood stream. Bad things might happen to you if you do.

It’s no surprise, then, that I would invest in a coffeemaker that’s a little more high-end than your average Mr. Coffee. It’s not that Mr. Coffee makes bad brew. It’s just…I’m a coffee snob when I’m at home. There, I said it. I am a coffee snob. I rarely buy pre-ground coffee. I buy whole beans, which I store in vacuum-sealed containers and grind per my own various specifications for the perfect cup to fit my varying coffee moods. I have been known to pay top-dollar for specialty selections, like 100-percent Kona beans. I use only filtered water. I tear down my machine for regular cleanings and decalcifications.

I succumb to very few personal indulgences in this life, but coffee is one of them. My coffeemaker of choice for more than a decade has been Bunn. My dad (another coffee fiend) purchased our first Bunn machine when I still lived at home. It was such a magnificent machine that when I finally moved out, my parents bought me my very own so that I would always have a decent cup of coffee to make everything better. The sprayhead on these machines disperses the water over the grounds in such a way that, to me, the end result is a pot of coffee that’s stronger and more flavorful than a conventional Mr. Coffee brew.

The primary reason I have long preferred Bunn machines, however, is because of their “velocity brew” line. These particular machines have a water reservoir that keeps a potful of coffee constantly at a brew-appropriate temperature. The reward for this? All I have to do is grind my beans, place them in the filter, pour in a pot of fresh, filtered water, and 3 minutes later, I have a full pot of perfectly brewed coffee.

It’s coffee nirvana for the terminally impatient.

The downside, of course, is the fact that these pots do expend a significant amount of energy, keeping that tank constantly at brew temperature. Also, if you go through a stretch of time in which you don’t drink a lot of coffee, you still have to remember to either switch off the reservoir or refill it regularly so that it doesn’t evaporate all the water and burn itself out.

The ultimate downside, however? When the reservoir seal fails and the tank leaks all over your counter.

This seems to be the intrinsic failing of the Bunn velocity brew line. And it’s gotten worse over the years. My first machine, the one that my parents bought for me when I moved out, actually lasted me a little more than 8 years. In that time, however, my parents went through three Bunn machines. Subsequently, others in my family (we are a long line of coffee snobs, apparently) went through even more of these machines. Almost every single one ended up suffering the same containment breach.

And now, the Bunn machine that I bought to replace the one my parents gave me has done the same thing. It’s not even 3 years old.

This is unacceptable. And so ends my relationship with Bunn. Obviously, some corporate douche in a suit made the decision to skimp on materials in order to make more money available for their own year-end bonuses. Fine. But you can no longer expect my money to add to that bonus level. Nor the money from my family. And, as far as I’m concerned, from this point on, I’m going to discourage people from wasting their money on anything from the Bunn coffeemaker line.

Hell hath no fury like a coffee snob who can’t make her own coffee at home without threat of electrocution from a leaking reservoir.

After some research, I have decided to give Cuisinart a try. Several of my family have already embraced this brand, including my dad. The problem was, I couldn’t find the machine that I wanted locally, so I had to order it online. It shipped today. I shall report back once I have had it and tested it out. Photos may be included.

Until then, though, you might just want to steer clear of me while I’m un-caffeinated…


To Whom It May Concern (You Will Soon Know Who You Are):

Thank you.

Thank you to all the politicians who have, for years been dedicated to the cause of digging us deeper and deeper into a national deficit of vulgar proportions through your uniform and bipartisan complacency in your roles as the supposed Watchmen of the “American WayTM.” Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Apparently, no one.

Thank you for the years you have spent bending the American people over a barrel in deference to the demands of corporations that own you like the cheap dockside hookers you are. Oh, and a special thank you to the Supreme Court tools who last year ruled that corporations could be considered “people.” Who knew free speech was reserved for those with the most money to buy it?

Thank you to the slew of Republican presidents from Nixon to Bush II, all preaching the fairytale gospel of “fiscal conservatism,” who helped to increase the national debt by a combined total of nearly 62 percent, including golden boy Dubya. In his final term in office, he helped increase it by 20.7 percent with all his decidering and warmaking. Way to go, Georgie! Not only did you beat your dad

Restoring Sanity

There’s definitely something rotten in Denmark, denizens. But don’t say that to these TEA baggers. They’ll start lecturing you about how Denmark is one of those evil Socialist countries. And Socialism starts with an S…just like Satan. Who is obviously Obama, because he is trying to turn America into a Socialist country by wanting things like universal health care so that American families don’t go through the horrors like my family has gone through at the hands of Capitalist doctors who, when they no longer saw the profit in treating my mother, sent her home with the instructions to my father that he should “let nature take its course.”

Obviously, this is a touchy subject for me. But I think it should be a touchy subject for anyone possessing even a shred of reason. Think about what happened here in D.C., denizens. On the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, we witnessed what could quite possibly be considered a nail in the coffin of that dream. And I’m speaking about both rallies, which were each divisive in their own ways. Beck and his predominantly White followers versus Al Sharpton and his slightly more diverse but still predominantly Black opposing rally (and neither side seeming to get the sad irony of the situation at all). How could anyone look at these events and for an instant believe that King’s dream could be anything but close to DOA at the feet of Abraham Lincoln’s monument? His vision was for a blending of colors, a coming together of beliefs, opinions, ideas. Judge me on the content of my character, not the color of my skin.

Somewhere along the way, we became incredibly derailed.

Beyond the issues of race, however, is the offensiveness of the wording of Beck’s clarion call to his brainwashed masses. Restore America. Restore Honor. Turn America back toward God.

What does all of this mean? Making certain that you’re allowed to continue to make second-class citizens of fellow Americans for the “crime” of not conforming to the questionably translated beliefs of your unproven god? Or that you be allowed to deny something as basic and deserved as good health to those who cannot afford it…not because they’re not trying but because they can’t find the work they need to give them access to health care. And why is that? Because politicians have unilaterally, and in many instances bipartisanly, sold out the American blue-collar worker by allowing corporations to outsource jobs to the lowest bidder. Whatever it takes to make sure they win the most at playing this Capitalist game, full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes. Damn the blue-collar workers as well.

So stand around like little sheep, spewing your Beck-prepared and Palin-approved jingo dingo lingo while wearing your Communist Chinese-made American flag shirts and hats and fanny packs, waving your Communist Chinese-made American flags, sitting in your Communist Chinese-made American flag folding chairs (but keep damning Cuba for its evil, evil Communist ways!). Wrap yourself in Old Glory and hide your true purpose behind the stacks of dead soldiers you conjure in your liturgy, never once mentioning the erroneous and debatably felonious war (started by your last president to hold office…you know, the same president that drop-kicked us into the middle of this ever-widening sea of debt with his “fiscal conservative” spending sprees and his unending wars) for which they were killed. Stand up and spout the Pledge of Allegiance when the lemming call comes for you to do so.

Never mind that the pledge was written by a self-acclaimed Christian Socialist. See? There’s that evil “S” word again. The pledge’s author, Francis Bellamy, believed that the tenets of Christianity and Socialism were interrelated philosophies. I wonder how long Bellamy could have stood on stage at yesterday’s rally before Dreck’s…sorry, I mean Beck’s bleating hordes booed him off.

I bet they would be more forgiving of Bellamy, however, if they were allowed to do his original salute for the pledge. The original salute wasn’t placing your hand over your heart. It was instead quite similar to what would soon enough become famous as the Nazi salute. Ironic, isn’t it? Okay, probably not. It’s all good, though, just as long as you slap in “under God” thanks to all that jingoistic McCarthy panic of the 1950s. And click your heels together while you say it. Then you’ll be back home in your Communist Chinese-made Republican utopia.

I wish I could give this more thought. Wait. No, I don’t. I still don’t quite understand what has happened to us as a country. But I must admit that I am losing a great deal of respect and hope for us all. And it has nothing to do with restoring honor, whatever on earth that is code for this time. It’s about my continued wish for restoring intelligence, reason, and integrity, traits that have become almost completely extinct on both sides of the fence, both among the politicians and the people.

It’s been a very long time since I felt anything more than apathetic disdain toward the downward spiral of stupidity being propagated in this country. I have to say, though, that this rally has sparked within me a great deal of anger and disgust. And fear. Fear that we are locked into goose-stepping toward utter brainless chaos, led to the slaughter by our emotions since it’s obvious that we sacrificed our intelligence a long, long time ago. Does anyone else feel the same as I do? Could there possibly be as many people as me, as equally upset and afraid at how easily we as a country can be manipulated by those who have motives far more sinister and ulterior than the patriotic pabulum that they spoon-feed their followers? What if we all got together and rallied in Washington? Could we make a difference?

Unbridled Hypocrisy

So, let me get this straight (and that particular pun will become more apparent in a moment): These TEA baggers, lovely conservatives that they are, don’t want to be taxed any more by the federal government because, as they so plainly put it, they are Taxed Enough Already. But they don’t mind donating money to the RNC, which in turn uses their donations for such worthy tasks as taking in a light repast and some equally light bondage play at a West Hollywood club known for its “[i]mpromptu bondage and S&M ‘scenes’ being played out on an elevated platform by scantily clad performers throughout the night.”

Yes, that’s right TEA baggers, your RNC donations may have helped cover the cost of a $2,000 tab run up at a lesbian bondage club known as Voyeur (yeah, probably mildly NSFW, but it plays a pretty tune). A place where the women wear all variety of bondage accouterments, including horse bridles, and simulate sex acts, I guess as part of their dinner service (I wonder, is it like at Lonestar when the servers just suddenly stop what they’re doing when the music starts playing and it’s time for the hourly floor show?). Personally, I think that’s so much more awesome than paying more tax money to the federal government.

This latest revelation about the RNC made me so simultaneously giddy and furious that I had to marinate on it for a while before even composing any kind of rational thoughts. Giddy, you may ask? Of course! I love schadenfreude, especially when it involves revelations of utter hypocrisy within the God-Ordained Plutocracy (Ooh! There’s one I haven’t used in a while!).

But why furious? Because this is precisely the kind of bullshit that makes me hate the Republican party. These self-assumed scions of morality, who sit on high, damning the sins they so eagerly accuse the Democrats of committing and embracing…why? Because as long as you’re pointing out the “sins” of others, hopefully no one’s going to be noticing that you’re doing the same damned things.

What makes me even more furious, though, is how the Republican party has convinced so many people that they’re the responsible party, that they’re the ones who should be in charge because they know how to manage funds and reduce debt and grant all their constituents three wishes and a chicken in every pot and a Lexus in every garage and a free sparkly pony…and all with a tax cut or three thrown in!

Never mind that the national deficit we now rock was caused by the reign of a Republican president and his Republican Congress. We’re not supposed to remember that. So just shake your heads vigorously and let the GOP control the vertical and the horizontal on your Etch-a-Sketch brains.

Oh, and of course, keep fighting against true evils, like health care reform. Because poor people don’t deserve health coverage and it’s perfectly acceptable for pharmaceuticals to continue to drill us dry and for doctors to prescribe completely unnecessary tests and procedures that often don’t do anything to help us and in some cases kill us…but not before the insurance companies are tapped to pay out. And if you don’t have insurance? Don’t worry. You won’t get those tests or procedures, even if you actually need them.

Sigh. I feel anger sparks in my fingers now.

Is the recently passed health care reform bill perfect? Of course it isn’t. Will everyone be happy? Nope. Then again, name me one thing that everyone can universally agree upon and I’ll show you a second season episode of TNG starring Dr. Crusher. Nothing is ever going to please everyone. Nothing is ever going to be perfect. But this should not be the excuse to continue to avoid doing something that should have been taken on decades ago.

Our health care industry in this country is horrid. We’re nothing more to these people than a means to make money. Money that they, in turn, use to pocket politicians from both sides of the aisle to ensure that they can continue to make maximum profits in the name of health “care,” Hippocrates be damned.

And are we angry about this? NO! We’re angry that the government is trying to step in and repair what has been allowed to devolve into such an utterly unchecked train wreck. We’re angry that someone is trying to do something to help us.

How dare they?!

And, of course, the ever-vigilant, ever-pious Republicans are at the very forefront of instigating this anger. Instead of trying to work with the Democrats to just this one fucking time try to come together and do something for the good of the people rather than the good of the corporations (who are not people, you stupid effing Supreme Court wankers!), what do they do? They help fund the efforts of TEA baggers (you know, with RNC donations not used to fund bondage parties). They send out their pretty (empty) talking heads like Sarah Palin, to burble insipid but easy-to-chant mantras like “Repeal and Replace” or “Lame-stream Media.” And they offer no alternatives, no solutions. No help.

I’m sorry. I don’t want my new lair to be an angry lair. But this has me so furious. So frustrated. So utterly disgusted and disappointed in the whole lot of fools. Truth is, it’s too late for health care reform for so many members of my family, and that truth has struck a vein of sadness within me that aches more than any palliative effort could ever hope to relieve. But it’s not too late to offer help to so many, including even those who have been duped by the bloviators into believing that these reform efforts are bad.

So what’s it going to take to get people to see beyond the shallow sheen of obfuscation and realize that we deserve better than what we’ve been getting? And that, while a little side order of lesbian bondage play with your meal might be more fun, maybe putting that money into reforming a system that we desperately need to reform might do a bit more good in the long run.


How To Massacre a Horror Movie Classic In Three Easy Steps

Here, first, is a brief list of Things That Never Should Have Happened:

  • Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween.

Well, I did say it was brief.


Typically, I don’t condone real violence of any kind, but I would like to officially request that I be allowed to kick-box Rob Zombie in his outtie bits for the full 2 hours that I wasted on this piece of shit movie.

I warn you now: This post will be graphic in language and anger, and will spoil the hell out of Zombie’s remake. Why? Because I’m angry that I wasted time on what I knew in the very core of my being was going to be shit, and I want to make damn certain that none of my denizens make the same stupid mistake.

Unfortunately, I may ruin bits of John Carpenter’s original movie as well, so be forewarned. Actually, though, if you’re reading this and you haven’t seen Carpenter’s Halloween, stop right now and go watch it. I’m not kidding. I’ll still be here when you’re finished, venting and howling pointlessly.

First let’s begin with…the beginning. The opening of the 1978 version is so classic and so iconic. The clown mask. The fastest sex scene in the history of movies. The killing. The reveal. Oh, the reveal. What a brilliant moment that was, wasn’t it? How the camera that has been, up to this moment, showing us the action from the killer’s POV, changes to now show us that the killer is a tiny little boy with the most chilling, expressionless face in the history of Haddonfield. I can honestly say that I found this to be one of the most disturbing setups for a horror movie villain ever.

How does Zombie fuck it up? The same way most people from my generation fuck things up: by taking it TO THE XTREME!!!11!!!!1 We’ve got to see everything! We have to have reasons! Why and how!! We can’t be satisfied with just seeing a little boy fall into the abyss of pure darkness. We have to see what made him that way!! So what’s Zombie’s take on what made Michael Myers? He’s full-blown, over-the-top, no-holds-barred White Trash, of course.

I hate copouts like this. It’s a benchmark of lazy, unimaginative writing to fall back on something so trite and, quite frankly, stereotypical.

Also, which do you find more disturbing? The idea that Michael Myers was the product of a by-the-Hollywood-numbers dysfunctional upbringing, with his stripper mom (of course she’s a stripper!!) and her abusive, useless boyfriend, his slutty sister and houseful of predictable White Trash insanity? Or that Michael Myers was the son of a bland suburban family living in a bland suburban house in a bland suburban neighborhood, with two happily boring parents and an older sister too busy fooling around with her desperately-in-need-of-stamina boyfriend to notice that her baby brother was getting ready to step into the darkness of pure evil for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

I don’t know about you, denizens, but the latter version is way more disturbing to me.

Plus, in addition to the White Trash angle, Zombie heaps on gluttonous helpings of offensive language and over-the-top unnecessary violence, including showing Michael Myers massacre his entire fucked-up family minus his mom, who’s off stripping, and his baby sister. Yeah, Zombie decided to embrace that portion of the Halloween franchise and make Laurie Strode Michael Myers’s baby sister.

Of course, what Zombie fails to then explain is how exactly Michael Myers knows where his little sis ends up after he’s put away and his mom kills herself over the clusterfuck her family became. He also fails to explain how Myers ends up being built like a brick shit house when all he does is sit in his locked room in his locked ward, making papier-m

The Malignancy of Hate

I don’t really know what to say about today’s shooting at the Holocaust Museum beyond condolences and questions for which there couldn’t possibly be any satisfactory answers.

We come unhinged so easily, we humans. We think we’re the superior life form, the top of the food chain, and yet we fail at something so seemingly simple as respecting our own kind. Not that I am in any way making light of this tragedy, but wasn’t this one of the prime Laws of Dr. Moreau’s Island? Not to spill blood, that is the Law. Are we not Men? Are we not Humans?

And what sort of malignant hatred could drive an 89-year-old man to do what James Von Brunn did today? A lifetime of anger, bitterness, and blame of all others for his place in life. Blame only goes so far in any situation and in the end, it rests upon our own shoulders how we live the life we’re given. His choices obviously ate away like a cancer any vestiges of reason and compassion. It’s a shame his choices weren’t limited to only destroying himself.

I had hoped to come online and leave a happier entry to reflect my improved health state. Now, however, there is a sadness and a disdain inside that goes far deeper than any physical ailment.