Friday, February 17, 2006

Courtney Love and Len Bias

OK, I have been thinking about kids and drugs. It's interesting that now the baby boomers are the voice of conservatisism, what will they say to their kids about drugs? There are 2 ways, they way I see it. One is to lie, lie lie your ass off. Nope, never did it, it's bad because once, a long time ago, Nancy Reagan showed us the way to just say no! Or you can tell the truth. Which would be either nope, never touched the stuff (OK, I don't know anyone over 35 who can say this, but it could happen...) or maybe you could be as honest as you can with your kids. How you will get around pot (since it isn't a gateway drug - only in that the gateway to getting pot is often the same as the herion gateway, simply because they are both illegal - and the effects are much less than those of drinking). But with the other, truly dangerous drugs, here is my analogy, for what it's worth.

When you are young, you think you will live forever, and nothing can harm you. Drugs can't hurt you. Well, did anyone see Courtney Love at that Pamela Anderson roast? No woman aspires to that. And for men? There is Ozzie Osborne. So if you do live, after doing all sorts of mean nasty things to your body (unlike all the other dead celebs who OD'd, which is a lesson in and of itself), look at your role models.

As far as the government goes, herion is as bad as pot. And here is where I have an issue. Quite simply, herion is worse. Let's prioritize on our achilles heel, shall we? As long as we lie, and say "all drugs are the same, and are bad" when kids find out we lied - oh, at what, the age of 10? - they will be suspect of everything we have to say. Which is not to say that's a bad thing, but to set such an obvious and easily debuncable precident? And by the way, how is alcohol not a drug? It IS a drug, with greater ramifications than pot will ever have. so now we give a moral compass based on the prevailing law, and nothing else? Niiiiiice....

The shape of things to come.... I find it interesting that some states are proposing legislation that makes comapanies that offer crappy benefits pay the state for what the states have to pay for employees who can't afford health care. In other words, companies offer benefits that are so shitty that the state must step in and make up the difference. so, in essence, we have become a country so rich that we can now treat our employees like 3rd world country employees. Yee haa. I am so proud that the invisible hand has not smacked Wal-Mart and made them aware of the status quo. And yes, they have a different exemption based on their business model shaping of the american economy. In Pennsylvania, all other relevant employers currently compy.

And best of all, I have in my music collection Falco's "Rock Me Amadeaus" (sp?) to remind me of how really bad music can be popular. How the majority can be wrong.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Katrina - what the hell?

It is horribly fascinating. Watching our government respond to Katrina. I have learned

more about deltas, social engineering, and I guess most shocking, the perception of the

role of our federal government in the face of a "natural" disaster(I think most folks

would agree that the breeching of the levees did more to 1. impact the city 2. hamper

relief efforts than did a cat 4 hurricane). I have been out of Florida for almost 10

years now, and so have not been following FEMA as closely as I might were I still in the

consistent path of hurricanes. But I am shocked as hell about Brown's incompetence. I

have been thru, oh, what, 10 hurricanes in my life, and countless storms.

One such storm

came up so unexpectedly that it had no name. Those of us on the Gulf Coast called it the No Name

Storm, my sib in Atlanta called it The Storm of the Century. No warning, except if you

had watched the news the night before. (And oddly, not every station...) No tracking, no

72 hour notice. I think we had 8 hours. And if you live on the gulf coast, you don't and

can't freak out over every tropical depression reported in the news. I was working in a

restaurant right on a canal from the Gulf Of Mexico, and the downstairs open-air bar

showed watermarks as high as 7-10 feet on the walls. We were back in business in 4-5

days. Publix ran on a generator until they brought the power back for businesses. Out of

power at the house for 4 days, but able to get to supplies. I was impressed (as I always

had been) about the way FEMA and the local governments worked in tandem to bring

everything back to normal.

Driving north on the turnpike the day Andrew made landfall,

the only vehicles on the road heading south were military. I am pretty sure you couldn't

get south unless you were military, but I did not see the media, just humvees and tanks

rolling south. No questions asked, don't know what the plan was, but it was heartening to

see. For the first time that I could remember, radio transmissions continued out of Miami

for the duration of the storm.

Also, during every hurricane I could remember, we had shelters open for those who could

not evacuate. Stocked and prepared for the evacuees would could not and would not leave

until the last minute. It appears that New Orleans had done numerous studies on evacuating the

area, and had some indication of those who might not get out of the city. No excuses.

But ultimately, our local government depended heavily on and worked extremely closely with

FEMA. To me, ultimately, and at it's most base level, what you need the federal government

to do are the things the local and state governments cannot and/or will not do for

themselves. From everything to civil rights to civil engineering, that is the federal

government's job. While you may argue abortion, Jim Crow laws, what is not up for debate

is emergency management. We have said that Homeland Security is open season. Want to tap

our phones? Go ahead, it's for our protection. Want to profile us for flights? Know

what books we check out of the library? OK, just keep us safe. And how do they respond?

By politicizing the position for the head of FEMA (Hey Brown, how about those Arabian

horses? How did THAT job go?) and rolling it into - read make it subordinate to - the

Homeland Security guy. Who quite frankly gives me the creeps, as he reminds me of one of

my Poli Sci professors who was a complete lech. But I digress.

I am mad as hell over this.

I used to date a guy who was in charge of the 911 call center. (He has since been

promoted, and now I believe runs the county emergency management center, which is a big

job in a south florida, atlantic-side coastal town). His mantra was, even back then, not

what to do IF a cat 4 or 5 storm hits, but WHEN it hits. I actually got to participate in

a disaster recovery plan, and got to be a wounded victim - I might even have been a dead

body, I don't remember - but it was my one and only ride in an ambulance. Last year, in

2004, NO had a $250,000 mock scenario of a cat 5 hurricane. Where are the results from

that? All I have heard on the news is that they were working the bugs out. Ouch. And

our local management team? Down to earth, tough-love guys is how I remember. It was all

about the body count. No body count if possible, or mitigating it if possible. At the

time, I thought they were unrealistically harsh. Now, um, not so much. Our FEMA (Florida Emergency Management Association) guys were negative nellies. Always doomsday guys. And they should be. Not politicians. Not appointees with only a legal background to make them qualified. I remember a guy named Neil Frank (now Dr. Frank) who was head of our hurricane center. (Wanna read about someone interesting? Google Neil Frank hurricane center...) Had a crew cut and a no-nonsense approach to storms. He was our hero, and except for stupid yankees who had never been thru a hurricane and saw it as 1. an inconvenience 2. a chance to drink heavily - most folks respected him. It is a thankless job, because there ARE a lot of false starts. A lot of scaring people who may not be in harms way. But the alternative seems to be to be a nice, likeable guy and let the body count begin.

OK, maybe Neil Frank (or someone equally qualified) would have been unable to do the job required to save lives. But here's the thing. Doesn't our Commander in Chief have a mandate to put the best person for the job in the FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT position? This should be a non-partisan position, for God's sake. Even Ayn Rand must be spinning in her grave.

Sidebar - coastal cities continue to grow. The predicted population ratio (by both liberals and conservatives alike) is that 90% of our country will live on the coasts. Don't know if this includes the Mississippi Delta, but it doesn't matter. What this means is that the most volatile real estate will be the most populated. So emergency management becomes more important. And if you want to protect your own, damn imperative.

2 DAYS! In two fucking days we were airlifting food to tsunami victims across the world. It is Sunday, and still, 7 fucking, God-damned days later, the city of New Orleans is not evacuated. Better to be an expat in Indonesia than someone who cleared your dishes in New Orleans. Shameful. Disgraceful. Bush should resign out of shame. Because where, oh where, does the buck stop anymore? Have we become so familiar with the Teflon Presidency that we roll over and play dead when our politicians disappoint? Micheal Brown said we have never seen devastation of this magnitude before. Oh, sure we have. It has not been on our shores, and still, still we responded more quickly. So bite me, Michael Brown. You are a moron.

Michael Brown, the paper-pusher. Still sucks at his job. There are reports as of May 2005 of failure of payment to Florida counties for FEMA PROMISED money. So New Orleans, get ready to get fucked yet again. The feds promised a 90% reimbursement policy for storm cleanup and rebuild, (usual is 75%, 5% to the state, the balance 20% to be paid by the local governments) so don't think that the precedent is for the feds to pick up the entire tab...), but that has been delayed, and counties in FL are paying interest on the loans necessary to make these areas habitable. Your tax dollars at work. But hey, photo ops abound.

Florida has made her share of mistakes with hurricanes. But if I recall correctly, we also had an old-fashioned evacuation plan - drive around with a bullhorn and notify. Pick up those who could not evacuate, but wanted to. It was a fairly affluent community, but what we had (and still have) is a disproportionate amount of old people. So after Hutchinson Island had been evacuated, they would drive thru, with bullhorns if necessary, looking for folks who couldn't leave. Would this have saved lives? My guess is yes. Is New Orleans capable of such a sweep? Don't know, but would have been worth a shot. Remember the body count. Because my theory is that we are not being told the initial body count because it would pale in comparison with the body count post-levee busting. And that would be too much for the American public to bear. And for what reason? Nothing can be done now. Not for those folks who were living for the first 2, 3 days. Even day 4,5. But to die day six? Too horrific to imagine.

Looters - define for me please. I love how our government has decided that getting looters out of the way is higher priority than feeding fucking people. During Hurricane Andrew, the National Guard (or someone, maybe MacDill?) was there the first day. And with minimal supplies. You wait, and are good citizens, for how long? What I think is funny is that folks are castigating New Orleanians for firing on helicopters 5 days after Katrina made landfall. Nothing, nothing did they get. No direction, ho help, no evacuation. Now, I have a temper. Would I have fired on a military helicopter 5 days after the fact? Don't know. Never had to be a looter to feed my kids. You stand in lines. You go to the Convention Center because it is a pick up point, as per the nice policeman on the corner. You get there, and nothing. 3-4 days, and nothing. You think the south is some sort of anomaly? Put this in NY, in the bronx. And tell me how many rapes, deaths would be attributed to rioters. Cluster fuck beyond compare. We are just lucky it happened in the south, where folks expect this kind of treatment.

So, I guess the upshot is this... I hold Bush accountable. Cronyism is tolerable when

it's for something like an ambassadorship to a country we have no trouble with, and

communicate openly with... - who is the ambassador to Canada, anyway? - but for Emergency

Management, it is criminal. Watch the body count for Katrina....

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Recycling for the Oughts...

I think us women ought to start our own recycling program. For all the things we buy, and then don't like. And while the obvious application of this theory is clothes (certainly there are already markets for that..) I think we should expand and include makeup and hair/body appliances. For example, remember the Epilady? If not, let me refresh your memory... It was a device that used vibrating coils to RIP THE HAIR OFF YOUR LEGS! And for the most part, we lined up in droves to buy the first one... I was in college at the time, and could not come up with the $60 to buy, er, a razor. My girlfriend however, had a very nice b'friend with a day job who got her one. Yes, as a present. I think it was part of her Christmas haul, not sure. So we were excited to try this lovely device. It promised weeks between uses (figured out later it was because that's how long it took the scars to heal...) which in Florida seemed definitely worth the price of admission. Did it work? I will never know, as after just trying it on my ankles had me cussing like a sailor. I believe she eventually threw it out. But how nice might it have been to circulate the medieval torture device among a group larger than our own? Ionic hairbrushes to reduce static electricity? Scamming scum sucks. Those funky curlers that looked like pool noodles that WOULD NOT knot your hair (I had to cut out a chunk of hair to remove, but I think I got some chemo sympathy looks for awhile...). All bought (or received as gifts by the most right-thinking of gift-givers) with the best intentions. But what do you do when the scrub that was to reveal beautiful new skin just strips a few layers? Pass it on. Because we don't believe what we don't want to. I mean, maybe it WILL work. So rather than be punished because hope springs eternal, pass it on. Include in that lipstick the 15-year old Lancome counter worker told you looked just the thing, but made you look more like Vampira than Vampira herself. The shoes that are so cute, you wear them whenever the memory of how painful they were fades. The moisturizer that supposedly tints your skin to a healthy hue, if that hue more closely resembles jaundice. (I have green powder that is supposed to reduce rosacea- red skin- and it, well, surprise surprise, just makes my skin look green. Like an alien. Not a good look by anyone's standards...) I mean, do you see hordes of men lining up to have their face shot up with cattle anthrax? (Which I suppose is redundant, because people don't get anthrax, unless perhaps they are WILLINGLY SHOT UP WITH IT... I would think that would increase your chances of, if not getting anthrax, getting a new human version...)

This way we get a chance to try what we are so jonesing to try, what Allure tells us works on every single 24-year old who tried it, and then the chance to pass it on... Lipstick that won't wear off, foundation that feels like silk and covers like plaster. Steam cleaners for your face. Hair polyurethane/shellac. Nail polish that never chips. Pantyhose that never runs, and doesn't feel like you are wearing spandex for the Tour de France. Ceramic hair torture devices of any ilk. Ditto for ionic. Why do I think this would be a great idea? Cause this 20-something person at Sephora told me about this great new product that...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Wack-a-mole Redux

Remember how I said the wack a mole game was over 'cuz the construction was completed? (Oh, well, I said... oh never mind..) I guess they actually finished on time and under budget, because the road has been re-graded to expose those exciting manhole covers! Let the games resume! On a side note, I spent a few days in Michigan this week, and seemed to spend a great deal of that time on the road. I have come away with a few things. They are genuinely nice people. The speed limit is simply a passing recommendation, but unlike Chicago drivers, see the above sentence. They are professional drivers. Speed demons, but nice about it. There are more semis on the highways there than I have ever seen in my life. They will honk at you for no reason. There is a town in Michigan named Climax. And it has an exit off of 94, so you can say "I got off at Climax", which even now makes me laugh.

Sad note. I was in my local Blockbuster renting some mindless entertainment, and mentioned Wayne Huizinga. the guy behind the counter never heard of the guy. Geez.

and this is pure poetry. Look for "corporal acts of mercy". I so miss the Miami Herald...http://www.goodread

OK, I can't stand wrong diatribes on either side. And don't get me wrong, I understand why liberals have taken this radical stand. But for me, here is where they err. In thinking that dems never make mistakes. So, I am listing to liberal radio, and they are talking about a rep making money illegally. And then someone says "well, and how much did they spend investigating Hillary for whitewater?" Now the point should not be that she was investigated, I have no problem with that. Nor was it that she was found non-complicit. But shouldn't we just ask for the same thing for reps? And not say, "see, and they investigated the dems for nothing!". I mean, isn't that what we should be doing? And shouldn't they expect that? Maybe I am just stupid, but this is how liberals piss off middle of the roaders. Show us what they are doing wrong now, not what you personally take as an affront.

FYI, Meijers has Fair Trade coffee! And non-shot-up meat! I am happy...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

It takes a village to buy a set of speakers

I have a new pair of speakers. OK, new to me, anyway. I have been using my ex's, and the bass has been blown on them since I have had them. No biggie, all my CD's are on the 'puter anyway. So my audiophile friend is helping me slowly upgrade all my components. First he gifted me with a cooler-than-mine DVD player. Then he let me know that a guy on this audio forum was selling a pair of JBL speakers for $135. And would deliver to my neck of the woods (which I didn't think was such a big deal until he dropped them off, and I discovered they are about 2 feet shorter than I am). MSRP on these speakers is 300$ a piece. I am happy. REM never sounded so good! And Green Day? Fughetaboutit... The funny thing was, the guy gave me (in addition to stands that tilt the things, how cool is that?) about a hundred feet of speaker cable. He said "oh, I don't need them, I don't have any speakers right now". My first thought was, oh, bummer, I took this guy's speakers! I should offer him my piece 'o crap blown ones. But once we got them into the lobby, I forgot about it. I was talking to my friend, and said, well, maybe he just needed some quick cash. My friend said, no, he is upgrading. That's the way we do it. So I am thinking, hmmmm. I could dig this retail market. My friend has spent 700$ for an amp. Of which he has several. He has an amp for his mini-disk player! So these people's obsession is my gain. I saw "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" this week (which made me happier than seeing the chick flick we had planned on seeing) and while it was hilarious (I can't believe I laughed out loud watching some guy get whacked - literally and figuratively - in the head with a golf club), the ticket, popcorn and coke were 19$. Geez. And there were commercials for TV shows. Now, doesn't it seem stupid to advertise TV shows at the movies? It says, "see, here you are, having just dropped 20 bucks to see something you may or may not like, and you could be HOME watching this fabulous miniseries/sitcom/drama for FREE!". Did they hire the guy who came up with Coke II for this marketing gem? But now, with my new speakers, I can have movie quality (to me, anyway) sound! (See, there was closure!) We watched "The Life Aquatic". Strange and cool. Very nicely filmed flick, sort of surreal. Is funnier if you remember Jeaque Cousteau and the Calypso, and/or the whole Mel Fisher thing .

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Car Whack-A-Mole, or Why It's More Fun To Drive in Chicago!

I have discovered a lovely shortcut to work. It takes me off the 2-then 4-then 6- then (very quickly) back to 2-lane path I used to take. I call that the Asshole Derby, and it stressed me out. Not because I never won, but because I actually found myself placing in the Asshole Derby. So now I get to drive down a less-congested, but equally under construction road. So they are re-tarring the road. And there are lots of manhole covers on this road, not aligned. And the difference between the top of the manhole covers down to the top of the road has to be what? 2 feet? No, I guess four inches. My little car clears it with no problem, so can't be much. But if you don't position your car just right, you get a bone-jarring bounce. So I call this Car Whack-A-Mole. And if you drive correctly, you can lap the folks in the left hand lane! But it takes skill and nerve. And Hummers don't count on this course. Oh, and you have to yell "Whack-A-Mole!" when you time it right. Cuz if you yell it when you don't, you bite your tongue. It is best in the summer, with the windows rolled down. Cuz all of us who drive that lane try and play, some wimp out by slowing down (wusses! all wusses!) or running over to the left hand lane (chickens, all fowl!). I say, "Let the games begin!" Update: construction is completed, the Wheel Alignment Olympics are over...

Friday, June 17, 2005

My Coffee Maker, My Enigma

So many things are enigmas to me. I love my coffee maker. http://www.mycoffeemakeryoubetcha She is a sleek, stainless-steel, bean-grinding water-heating animal. She is programmed to start just before my alarm, so I hear the grinder every weekday morning. So this week I decided she needed a bath. A simple thing in the past, just some vinegar and water (insert tasteless joke here) and in a few coffee-making cycles, she is clean and scale-free, which doesn't even need a joke... However, While preparing coffee for the following morning, I forgot to put a filter in the little filter basket thingy. So next morning, my coffee was a bit, shall we say, chewy. After cleaning up the mess, (no, this is not the first time I have done this), I thought we were done with our little episode. But no, the next morning's coffee was also a bit on the crunchy/chewy side. Somehow, the insidious grounds had gotten in the water dispenser part. How? I have no idea. I have to clean every removable part of this lovely piece of machinery every night, so I thought I knew her better than I did. Did they just erupt into that part? Get tired of their current location and take a coffee grind vacation? I wonder...

So, now I have heard about this documentary, Stolen Childhoods It's about child labor throughout the globe. I am not a Wal-Mart shopper, for ethical reasons. And ixnay on the Ike-nay. So I can't buy goods where the labor is suspect. Why not? Well, I can never say "I was taking my daughter to the hospital, and I needed coffee, so I had to stop at the White Hen..." Or I had to shop at Wal-Mart to feed my family of (pick a number, any number...) on our budget. I mean when it comes to clothes shopping, I am a Nordstrom's Rack and Saks Fifth Off kinda gal! Bargains are me! But food? Not so much. So now I am stuck with two grocery store choices. I must give up my beloved Costco (I will miss honey in sizes bigger than my head, and more rice in a bag than I can lift), and even the local Jewel, because I want to be on the good-guy Tuna team! So it's Whole Foods and Trader Joe's for me. But you know what? The people who shop there (both places) are friendlier than in the Jewel, or the Dominic's. I swear. Must be the cheap wine at Trader Joe's or something... And at least at Whole Foods, they have an EXCELLENT meat counter. And that is something that is very near and dear to my heart. Kinda like boycotting child labor. The enigma here? How can you not support this? Who is pro child labor? I mean, Hitler is dead, right?

Another, and last enigma. Why would you ask a spider to uncrush your hand? And how would a spider do it? (use a popup blocker with this site!)