Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Selah...

My buddy Derrick sent me a couple of pieces, one from The Boston Globe and one from The Aspen Daily News, that say friends of Hunter S. Thompson now see, in hindsight, that the Good Doctor's recent suicide was probably planned out. I can see that, frankly. The man had some serious health problems recently - highly indicative of his body just simply giving out, frankly - and he seems the type to call his own shot, as it were.

Hunter didn't want to be an invalid and recently changed his mind on the issue of selling his papers and archives to the highest bidder. His lawyer, George Tobia Jr. of Boston, said it was important his legacy find the proper home, such as a university, rather than being spread all over creation in order to finance his declining years.

Again, this makes perfect sense. And, apparently, when he shot himself, Hunter's wife was on the phone with him and his son and daughter-in-law were in another room of the Woody Creek compound. That makes sense, too. He wanted his family around but didn't want anyone to stop him.

He made his choice and people are seeing the pattern. That's how it goes with suicide, frankly. Everyone always says, "Oh, it's such a shock", but once you start looking at things, it never is. It's never just one thing, either. It all adds up, once you look at it with the benefit of hindsight. Maybe you could've prevented a friend's suicide if you knew what to look for beforehand, but trust me...you never do. And when someone makes that final, horrible decision - and it's well and truly made - nothing in this world can stop him or her from carrying out. You might delay it for a bit, but you'll never stop it.

The problem with suicide, however, is it's all too often used wrongly. Life's tough and suicide shouldn't be considered shameful if someone's seriously thought it out and decided "Well, that's enough." You're gonna die anyway, so I personally see nothing wrong with choosing your shot.

However, as a survivor of suicide, I know it ain't always that cut and dried. Unfortunately, mental illness still carries a heavy stigma in this country, and believe you me, when you hit that rockiest of rock bottoms, you ain't thinking clearly. You don't care about the impact suicide might have on your loved ones or even the possibility of life getting a little better. You just want the pain to stop, and death's the only sure way of making it stop.

So where do we go from here? Who knows. Even with the scars on the wrists of my soul, I don't have the answer for that. I do have suggestions, though. Love your loved ones, don't just have them around for distraction. Pay attention to what they have to say, don't just wait for your turn in the conversation. Respect someone's decision, but help that person make the right decision. Only very, very rarely is suicide the right decision.

And anyone who feels those dark, black thoughts creeping in during the lonely hours of the night, when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls, and there's no one who'll listen or understands...don't hesitate to drop this country boy a line. I don't have any solutions or answers or even help, I admit, but I'll do my best to listen. Also, give these good folks a holler. They'll put you in touch with people who can give more help than I can.

Life's tough, but it's also amazing. Suicide isn't a decision to be made lightly. Think on it some, brothers and sisters, and remember... there’s enough pain in the world, so don’t add more to it unless you have no other option.

Hands Up, Anyone Surprised?

Lovely. The Bush-appointed U.S. Special Counsel revealed last week in a letter to U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) that it had dropped over 1,000 whistleblower cases in 2004. In many instances, whistleblowers didn't even get a chance to explain why their cases were valid. Special Counsel Scott Bloch says a mass culling represents "progress" in the system. Right.

For what it's worth, the cases dumped represent a healthy number of cases of fraud, threats to public safety and violations of law by corporations and a number of claims of retaliations by said corporations against whistleblowers. So far, the Special Counsel has yet to represent a single whistleblower in an employment case, which is sorta what it's supposed to do. Long and short of things is this: the government is supposed to keep an eye on corporate America and make sure it isn’t screwing over the public. However, like the press’s job to keep an equal eye on the government for the same reasons, things ain’t quite workin’ out like that. Reckon why that could be...

Remember, beloved...the government doesn't give a damn about you. Democrat or Republican, it does not care one whit as long as the green keeps rolling in. Mr. Bloch's clearing of decks is just another primo example of how egregious that little bit of knowledge is under the current maladministration.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Banshee Screams...

Another piece on Hunter S. Thompson, this one from my friend, former teacher and one of the few people I suppose I could call a "mentor", Dr. William McKeen. He's a professor at my alma mater, The University Of Florida, and recently published a book and compiled an anthology on rock & roll writing. I haven't read the book yet, but knowing McKeen, it's worth the time to check it out. McKeen also turned me onto Hunter Thompson back in the day. He also got me into the world of rock criticism, so take from that what you will.

Anyhow, fill a pipe and check it out. It's good stuff.

History Is Written By The Whiners, Apparently

From our good buddy rorschach comes this story about some Christian group up in Virginia playing with history. Seems this joint called the Christian Heritage Center had a big to-do about religion and politics, and in between saying really nice things like "we're not loving each other enough" - that's for damn sure - they piss and moan about how Christians are persecuted in America even today. Christians have never been persecuted in America. Certain sects like the Mormons have been persecuted, yes - despite them currently running an entire state - but not Christianity as a whole. Please, people complaining about this, move to some place like China if you really want to be a persecuted Christian. They also said George W. Bush was a "good example to today's young people" because he has Jesus Christ as Lord and master. Really. I don't even know what to say to that. Didn't really the Swingin' Nazz was such a warmonger or that he was fine with cutting old folks, fatherless children and the disabled off from being helped.

Anyhow, what strikes me funny about this article - which is otherwise your standard whiny faux-persecuted Christian twaddle - is this pair of grafs:

The new religious group, which recently built a complex on a hilltop overlooking Interstate 64 at Tinkling Spring Road, pronounced Jefferson “the anti-Christian” and George Washington’s opposite.

Jefferson, they said, “feigned belief in God to achieve his own political ends and came to sever Jesus Christ from his divinity.”


Seriously, they said that out loud. Thomas Jefferson was, no doubt, not a fan of Christianity - or religion ruling state, or vice versa - but even the most modest perusal of his words shows us he never pretended otherwise. But I hate to break it to the good folks in Virginia, the Father Of Our Country wasn't that enthralled by Christianity, either. And Washington's famous "Prayer For The United States" which some faux-persecuted Christians use as "proof" ol' George was a man of faith, well... sorry, but someone's been playing around.

Ye gods...Christians in America, listen to me, please. I am your friend, even if I think your beliefs are, in a word, silly. You are not persecuted, okay? A lot of our fellow citizens think your beliefs are, in a word, silly and many others - some who'd even agree with you, inre the metaphysical world - think the idea of getting government involved with religion is very, very dangerous. This, however, doesn't mean you're "persecuted", okay? People making fun of you and people disagreeing with you isn't the same thing as the government making you skulk around, hide your Bibles and deny your beliefs. Nor are they shooting at you when you pray or blowing up cars with that weird fish thing on them. Okay? Okay.

Y'all really want to do some good in this world, how about practicing what you preach and maybe spreading a little kindness and charity in this world, instead of stamping your collective feet because some folks think differently and the government says - for the time being, anyway - that it's okay.

One thing I've always wondered about this whole "America is a Christian nation" thing is, frankly, what kind of Christian is it? Baptist? Methodist? Presbyterian? Catholic? Or if it's, say, Baptist, what kind of Baptist? Southern? Primitive? Freewill? I grew up in a Southern Baptist church community, and I know every little group looks at every other little group as "the wrong group". In other words, if God's word is infallible, why do so many believers disagree on the particulars? And if some dingleberry decides this is a Southern Baptist Christian country, what'll the Methodists do about it? My Christian brothers and sisters...do you really want the government - which has problems keeping the roads in decent shape - telling you how to pray? Study on that a bit and get back to me. Y’all said “not loving people enough” was a big problem, and I say get crackin’, celestials. Might not be a bad idea to show that love to people who disagree with you instead of just foaming at the mouth, but what does this heathern know?

Monday, February 21, 2005

Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride

For anyone who's interested, I'm working on a piece for publication in an actual media outlet concerning Thompson. When it hits the street, I’ll put up a link here. If it gets rejected - hey, it’s happened before (especially with this magazine) - I’ll post it here. So I'll keep further thoughts on Hunter Thompson's death - and there's plenty - to myself for a bit, but I'd like to point out a few rather nifty pieces by other folks. The always greatSteve Gilliard has some words which should be read, though I have to disagree with his take on the overall impact of bloggers in today's media market and how they compare to the "outlaw journalists" of the past. Let's not get above ourselves, beloved; after all, I have a blog. My buddy Jayne sent me this from This Is London and William Pitt did a nice piece for truthout.org.

And completely contradicting what I said about, I want to make a few more points about Thompson, his death and his impact. As of late, I've become a bit despondent about humanity and its seemingly never-ending love of ignorance. People have stopped asking "Why" when told something - assuming they ever really did - and we just take what we're given. Modern punditry is either merely preaching to the choir or it's cheap screwheads who do little more than print what they're paid to say (whether they realize it or not). We don't want the truth, whatever the hell that is; we want verification. We want validation. We want to be told We're right and They're wrong, because all that really matters is that We beat Them.

Thompson never did that. Thompson wanted to know why. He wanted to understand the truth. He didn't take "Just because" for an answer, whether it came from Richard Nixon, Sonny Barger or Ken Kesey. He didn't do it from some noble impulse or a need to better the world. He did it because whatever they said wasn't good enough. The bastards could run but he didn't let them hide. We shouldn't either.

Mourn Hunter S. Thompson, but remember what he did and why he was important.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Well...Shit...

Hunter Thompson shot himself. I really don't know what to say, frankly. He’s a major influence on my own writing and, to be honest, outlook on life. Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas is beyond description for me. I re-read it at least once every six weeks. I've read The Great Shark Hunt cover-to-cover four times. I even like Where The Buffalo Roam.

I hope he knew what he was doing. I imagine he did. Ambrose Bierce did. Ernest Hemmingway did. F. Scott Fitzgerald probably did. H. L. Menken probably would've if he could've. I won't shame a man who takes his own life if he knows what he's doing. I've been down that road myself, so I don't know if I got the right. I do hate it for his family, and that's a pain that shouldn't be visited on nobody. I also know the good Doctor was a man who truly lived life, someone who stomped on the terra. I doubt there's a man with many regrets.

Accident? Maybe. The man loved his guns and he loved his booze, so it's probably something of a wonder the combination never got fatal. Suicide? Maybe. Why? Who knows. Maybe it was a fatal disease. I hope to hell it wasn't over the election, and I really can't see that. Just doesn't fit, really. He knew the game was going to get ugly either way. Maybe it was just time to go. Pay the ticket, take the ride.

Who knows. I'm still trying to process it, frankly. Death is a strange creature, and it's beyond me how we deal with it. Mostly we don't, I guess, which is why it always comes as such a shock. People die everyday, all over the world, and we don't think about. Someone we know - be it a celebrity or a friend - and suddenly it seems real for the first time. And suicide's particularly personal for me. I understand the thought process, and I hope any person who ever reads these words never understand the thought process to suicide.

So, yeah...shit. Life goes on, a star goes out and another one will born. Hunter was, at his best, a guy who wasn't afraid to ask "why" and take no bullshit for an answer. In this sad age, he was one of the last left that had sort of impact on popular culture as a whole. Pundits and critics don't do that anymore; the either preach to the choir or they say what they're paid to say (whether they're aware of it or not). It was by his own twisted sense of facts, logic and honor - if there's a better definition of "The Truth", I can't think of one off the top of my head - but he played the game by a set of rules that he thought was the best. He never insulted you. He never underestimated his readers. He was trying to get it all the make sense.

So, we ask why. We feel sympathy for his family. We feel the loss. We remind ourselves why this person was important in our life and why their contribution was significant. Life rolls on.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

No Word Yet If The Army's Hiring DJ's

There are just some things one cannot make up. One of 'em's this. Apparently, the U.S. military has been given the go-ahead from the FDA - which once again shows us they don't care what drugs you're hooked on so much as who's getting the money - for tests determining whether or not soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder will improve with MDMA, the active ingredient in that dance-club favorite ecstasy.

I am, again, not making this up. What it boils down is psychiatrists treating folks with severe emotional damage, like one would find it what we used to call "shell shock", might open up a bit more and talk about their experiences and feelings. The actual trials began a year before with victims of rape and sexual abuse, generally areas where treatment is resistant. Trial leader Michael Mithoefer says it's too early to draw any conclusions, but "so far the results are encouraging".

Huh. Well, ain't that a helluva note? Personally, I don't like ecstasy. Not only does it put my mouth in gear big-time - and considering how much I talk sober, that's a dangerous thing - I don't feel that comfortable feeling that good for no reason than a drug. Plus, I don't really care for the people you do ecstasy with when you do it. The music's tedious to my ears and the whole touchy-feely thing that kicks into high gear on that mess gets on my nerves. And trust me on this, doing X by yourself is a really bad idea. I shan't elaborate.

A couple of things come to mind regarding this story. First, of course, it strikes me as amusing that the United States government spends so much time and money on anti-drug propaganda, not to mentioned trampling Constitutional rights in the process, and then they turn around and give soldiers a drug that even enthusiastic users know is a bit dangerous. Secondly, as much as I dislike it, ecstasy makes one feel really, really good, and as Scooter Blue notes, how do you convince 'em to kill again once you've squeegeed the third eye?

And finally - and I know this one's a bit of a pipe dream - wouldn't it make sense if humanity made a bigger effort to stop putting folks in such scenarios? I mean, call me a dreamer, if politicians were really concerned about how war affected soldiers, they wouldn't be so anxious to whistle up the dogs, now would they.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Might Improve Tipping, I Dunno...

My buddy Dodd Ferrelle has this thing about Wyatt Earp. He reads books about the famous lawman, watches movies about Earp, and generally learns all he can about Wyatt, the Earp brothers, Doc Holliday, the Clantons and whole shebang. Which is cool, as everyone has their obsessions, and hell, my heroes have always been cowboys, too.

What a lot of people forget, however, is Earp was mostly famous - apart from the whole O.K. Corral thing - for being kind of a vicious mother and a gambler. Beyond that, his to-do in Tombstone had less to do with his own skills as a gunslinger - apparently he wasn't much of one - but that he flat-out refused to allow guns in his town. The trouble with the Clanton-McLaury gang was over some other shit, but the gun thing was the catalyst. With that in mind, I wonder what Wyatt - not to mention Dodd - would think of this. Long and short of it is that some folks within the Arizona legislators - backed by, surprisingly enough, the N.R.A. - want to rewrite current state law so that it'd be "a requirement that a bar or restaurant owner must post a sign specifically prohibiting firearms". Otherwise, the thinking (if it can be called that) goes, guns would be presumably welcome in such establishments.

And, of course, folks are going a bit silly. Visions of liquored-up nitwits slinging hot led when the argument over who’s a better quarterback/race car driver/candidate/country singer escalates past the “loud voice” stage can’t help but dance through anyone’s mind. Sure, it's a possibility, but it's a possibility that completely ignores any sort of common sense, really. Think about it for a minute; is it really logical to think that the companies that insure bars and restaurants would be groovy with the idea of gun totin' patrons? Furthermore, is it really logical to think that owners of said joints would be willing to pay the exorbitant insurance fees that not putting up a sign would most likely require, much less dig on the idea of giving booze to folks who, as a generalization, have serious penis-size issues? I’m not saying some folks wouldn’t slap leather to defend the honor of Dale Jarrett - I know some who would - but you really don’t want this sort of clientele patronizing your establishment as a general rule.

Arizona has fairly liberal gun laws, more or less, and to the complete amazement of both sides of that particular boondoggle, it's neither a peaceful haven devoid of crime or a complete battleground. They've also got some common sense about the issue, home as it is of John McCain and his efforts to close the "gun show loophole", as well as efforts by former Senator Dennis DeConcini to pass a federal ban on assault weapons.

My own personal views on guns are fairly simple. I got nothing against folks owning but I, personally, got absolutely no use for them. I used to hunt, so I own several shotguns and rifles, but they're all at my folks' place as I no longer have any use for hunting. Never had a use for pistols for that reason, too - no serious hunter uses a pistol extensively or solely - and because my Old Man always sorta sneered at pistols. As for the idea of "defending myself", well, I'm not sure I could end the life of another human being just to preserve my own. I'm not sure I got that right, and as for defending my property... well, it's just stuff. I love my bass guitar, but I can always replace it. It ain't worth another man's life. Maybe a Rickenbacker, but that's neither here nor there.

And for what it's worth, I dunno if I buy the whole idea of an armed society being a polite society. America's armed to the damn teeth, bubba, and we're by no means polite. Furthermore, all the gun control laws in the universe ain't worth a hill of beans if they ain't enforced, which they barely are. And anyway, America's problem isn't guns so much as it's a deep-set national sense of fear and loathing. The flipside of that is, of course, the whole idea that guns some mean security. They don't. They mean power, pure and simple. Power over life, and that's the most attractive power of them all. Being creatures of absolutely no power whatsoever, brothers and sisters - politically or otherwise, and you know it’s true - human beings have the tendency to latch onto whatever piece of power they can get, no matter how tiny or insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

I also don't quite buy the idea that citizen ownership of guns somehow keeps the government in check or, for that matter, ensures the safety inherent in the Constitution. If the wars on terror and drugs have accomplished anything, they've shown us just how easily Americans will give up their rights for even the appearance of safety. With apologies to Woody Guthrie, the fountain pen beats the pistol any day of the week. Besides, if the government ever does decide to clamp down on us, Orwell-style, they'll have not only the military and law enforcement on its side, but a distressingly large number of our fellow citizens who'll think a fascist state is fine and dandy as long as it's in their favor. Or what they believe "their favor" is, whether it truly is or not, anyway.

Still, I gotta wonder just who this law's for, who's it gonna benefit? I mean, it's silly to think restaurant and bar owners will allow guns in their joints even if the insurance companies don't charge 'em an arm and a leg for such a privilege. And how does it help out them that are in favor of the Second Amendment? Bill passes and your favorite bar puts up a sign, you still can't pack heat. Simple as that. It's got a good chance of passing, too, apparently, so maybe there's a little-known but incredibly powerful sign-makers lobby that's really pulling all the strings from behind the scene. That's about all that makes sense in this to me.

Long story short, I really don't see how this is an intelligent piece of legislation, much less a meaningful one. My old pappy always told me, "Don't go causin' yourself trouble, because life is tough enough as it is." I would ask if state legislatures didn't have more important things to worry about, but seeing as how I live in Georgia, I know better than to waste my time.

Thanks for Atrios regular GWPDA for the heads-up.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Well, At Least It'll Be An Entertaining Election...

Well, this was to be expected. Former Christian Coalition leader, GOP gunslinger and all-around dickweed Ralph Reed announced plans today to seek the Lt. Governor's seat in 2006. Oh, joy. I'm serious, beloved; I live for shit like this.

And in other Peach State news, Georgia Power is seeking another rate increase less than two months after the state Public Service Commission let the company raise their already re-goddamn-diculous rates. GP plans to slap down a request for a $550 million-a-year increase over the next two years to offset fuel costs. The increase - the largest of its kind, like, ever according to Georgia Power officials - would raise the average residential customer's monthly bill from $81 to something like close to $90, an increase of 9.8 percent. Ahh, the joys of deregulation...and not being to afford to run your goddamn air conditioner in hundred-degree weather.

Maybe He Ran Out Of Scotch...

When Christopher Hitchens went apeshit a few years back, I did not wash my hands of the man, unlike many of my ideological counterparts. I've always thought the son of a bitch was a wordy, puffed-up bore with a petty mean streak. I'll admit, the man can write and he does the leg work, but he's also got a huge chip on his shoulder, a bigger ego and is way, way too in love with his admittedly sharp way with a phrase. Like the excruciating Modo, Hitch just pisses me off because he treats this wonderful opportunity - an open forum for one's thoughts and a pretty good chance said thoughts will be at least read - to constantly remind us "why" he deserves this honor. I'll give the devil his due, but I'll still think ol' Scratch is a shit ass if I want to, thank you very much.

Well, I said all that to say all this: when Hitch is on, he's on. This is a rather neat little Vanity Fair piece that pokes Hitch's Fieldsian proboscis into the, shall we say, oddities surrounding the 2004 Ohio vote. There's a lot of good stuff there and, frankly, a whole lot of unsettling facts and too-convenient coincidences. I won't go into great detail about the trouble with Ohio, as it's been repeated ad nausea since Election Night, but do check out Hitch's story. Good shit.

Now. One thing I really like about this little piece of true journalism by the Johnny Bond of punditry is because it's expressing a stroke I've been having for a long, long time: somethin' ain't right here. Now, I can go into long detail concerning the various logical inconsistencies we humans being find ourselves dealing with each and every day, but we'd be here for a spell. Hell, the less-than-consistent concept of reality, not to mention the silly idea that "words mean things", by the Bush malAdministration would give Wittgenstein fits. I'm just gonna focus on the specifics of Hitch's article.

To wit: there was some very obvious monkeyshines going on in Ohio, but the majority of the country and the sum total of the Corporate Media basically said "whatever". Fact of the situation is Bush is president, by hook or by crook, and we'll probably never know just what went wrong with Ohio's voting system, if anything indeed did, if it was purely dumb coincidence or something more sinister, or even what steps were taken to prevent such occurrences from happening again. Seriously. They're not even letting anyone look at the damn things to make sure everything was cool and froody. Dig:

But had there been a biased "setting" on the new machines it could be uncovered—if a few of them could be impounded. The Ohio courts are currently refusing all motions to put the state's voting machines, punch-card or touch-screen, in the public domain. It's not clear to me, or to anyone else, who is tending the machines in the meanwhile …


That, dear hearts, troubles me. What troubles me even more is the general run of the country didn't really care. Sure, some good souls did some mighty fine work in the weeks following the election, but far too many Democrats and other assorted liberals too easily beat the gong of partisanship, and way, way too many Republicans were just hoping everyone would shut up before the worm turned agin'm. And the Media had Scott Peterson to worry themselves about.

And none of that really means a hill of butterbeans, frankly. Look, folks, I know a whole lot of y'all what read my trifles are of a decidedly partisan bent and are quite happy being incredibly nasty to your ideological opposites, real or imagined. This, however, ain't a left or right issue, or one of party affiliation. Our elections don't mean a damn thing if this is allowed to continue. The very idea that the government itself, via the state courts, is refusing to allow the capital-P People - their employers lest we forget (and apparently we have) - to double-check those voting doo-dads is, to be a bit blunt, fucking disgusting.

We can argue about astoundingly unqualified "journalists" with incredibly silly back stories getting White House credentials and "left-wing" professors who have more in common with people called "self-absorbed assholes" than "liberal intellectuals" all we want to, and we're doing little more than pissing in the wind. We let these sons of bitches take away our ability to decided who's supposed to be "in charge", it ain't gonna mean shit. I'm sorely afraid we ain't gonna get over our bullshit and realize it until it's way, way too late. We make a big, huge deal about elections in Iraq - which managed to not quite turn out how the Bush malAdministration planned - when our own system is rapidly approaching being little more than a charming yet meaningless ceremony... like marriage, for example. I don't think any of us want that.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Maybe Americans Have Too Much Money...Some Americans, Anyway...

Great leapin' horny toads, this is re-goddamn-diculous. Texas-based company Homeland Defense Vehicles is putting a truck - formerly used as a military vehicle, a la the ubiquitous Hummer - out on the market that's 10-feet tall, can drive through five feet of water, climb a 60-degree grade and tow six tons. Options include infrared cameras, a bulletproof cab and all mannerisms of electronic gee-gaws like a DVD player and a global-positioning system. The starting price for the stripped-down version is $225,000, but for $750,000, buyers can get doo-dads that detect ad block fallout from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Now. Of course, the first question one must ask is there a male on this planet who's penis is so tiny - physically or spiritually - that they need this vehicle? The CEO of the company marketing the truck, Daniel Ayers, said possible markets could be with CEO's and sportsmen who need to travel through "unfriendly areas". Sure, I can see that. That trip to the country club is getting to be a booger.

But the very best part of this whole to-do is the truck's name. It's being called - wait for it - the "Bad Boy Heavy Muscle Truck". And that, dear hearts, says it all, I think. On that same note, International Harvester is apparently marketing a miniature-sized semi for around $95,000, which actually, I think is pretty cool. Not cool enough to actually buy one, mind you, but I have to admit I've always been a fan of 18-wheelers. And, of course, nothing in the above link mentions what kind of gas mileage the Bad Boy gets, which they should take into account. It seems the number one complaint amongst new Hummer drivers is how crappy the gas mileage is. Well, hell...that's a small price to pay to prove you have a large penis, I think.

In other news concerning out-of-control consumerism, Los Angeles-based genetic engineering firm Allerca is taking orders for a specially modified cat that wouldn't affect people with allergies. The critter will be available by 2007, they say, and cost around $3,500. There are also plans to make a Frankenkitty that would retain the size and playfulness of a kitten, which I have to admit, I'm a bit divided on. I don't like cats, but then again, I have no use for pets in general. However, everyone loves kittens. But the idea of a Peter Pan of the feline world via genetic monkeying is just goddamn creepy for some reason. I know we've been breeding dogs for specific uses for centuries, but that's a long, arduous process that has useful applications. These cats are being called "Lifestyle pets", in other words, pets to fit human need. The company's already got a zebra fish implanted with a fluorescent sea anemone - marketed as the GloFish - for sale.

Like I said, I never did the pet thing. We had a bunch of dogs growing up, but they were mostly hunting dogs like running walkers and beagles. They had a use (well, sort of). I'm not an animal lover, frankly, and I never could quite grasp the mentality of pet owners. Part of it is I recognize I can barely take care of myself, much less a pet. Now, don't get me wrong. I take no truck with animal cruelty. For me, all nature's creatures have one job and one job only: be yummy. Them that ain't are, in my opinion, more than free to do whatever they please. I won't bother them if they don't bother me. But hey, some people dig pets, and whatever's whatever. Still and all, genetically modifying critters just so they'll be easier to deal with seems to be defeating the purpose of owning and loving a pet.

Ah, well. Brave new world and all, I suppose.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Most Accurate News Headline I've Ever Seen

There are several reasons I really don't worry about getting into any sort of romantic relationship. Admitedly, this really isn't one of them, but it certainly gives pause. Long story short, dumped girlfriend demands sex. Former boyfriend refuses. Jilted girlfriend rips boyfriend's left testicle off with her bare hand and puts it in her mouth. Now, I've dated several women who were crazier than shit-house rats, but this a bit extreme. Well, Valentine's is just around the corner and love is indeed in the air. Or, I suppose, the mouth.

Oh, and the story about the baby thrown out of a moving car? Bullshit, but that doesn't keep the media from spending a massive amount of time on it. I mean, it's not like anything important is going on in this country, you know, nothing that'll serious affect people's lives.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Rock & Roll Ain't Pretty...

This is pretty entertaining, a listing of some of the worst album covers in music. There's plenty of bad ones for your approval, though they somehow miss the most famous bad album cover of them all. Oh, well, and in any event, it's a perfect companion site to the most excellent Daily Douchebag. I will say, however, that odd cover aside, Swamp Dogg's Rat On is an awesome record and the man known by his momma as Jerry Williams is a criminally underrated R&B rocker. Go track down some of his stuff, particularly if you're into Sly Stone or P-Funk. Musically, he's a bit more laid-back than Sly or Uncle Jam, but his lyrics are way out there and he pulls no punches. Consider it a total destruction of your mind, Jeremy.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Despite It All, It Remains A Big Ol' Goofy World

Just in case you were taking the universe too seriously, the universe reminds you not to, even during a war. Long story short, a group calling itself the Al Mujahedeen Brigade is claiming to hold a U.S. soldier named John Adam hostage. They are, of course, threatening to behead him if American forces don’t release Iraqi prisoners. Not a new story (unfortunately), right?

Well, the hitch in the git-along is that the picture the group posted is of a toy. I'm not kidding. It's an action figure made for the U.S. military named - and for some reason, this cracks me up - "Special Forces Cody". I have no idea why that makes me giggle but it does. Words fail me, quite honestly, so I'll leave you to enjoy the grand goofiness that is life in this cosmos. I will say, though, that despite all the horror and tragedy and confusion that comes out of a bloody, wasteful war, I take comfort in knowing there's still goofy shit going on despite it all.

Course, there's other news. The State Of The Union speech went down last night, but I didn't watch it, so I can't really say much about it. Other folks did, though, and it was the same "babies need to eat" speech we always hear with, as Zepp points out, the usual Bush inability to connect with reality. Apparently, The Little King got booed when he went into what we'll call "detail" about his plan to completely wreck Social Security, and the Irrational Bush Worshippers are all a-twitter over the indignity. I say "tough titty". In Taiwan, the parliament apparently devolves into fistfights, so Lil' Georgie can stand a few people not liking him. And already we're apparently learning some of the pre-packaged heart-string pullers aren't on the up and up. If you read that and find yourself dismayed, you only have yourself to blame.

Ah, well...for those who are interested in such things, today's the day the music died. I'll have to admit, I've never been a huge fan of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens or The Big Bopper, but we'll raise a pipe nevertheless in memory and for the man who gave Waylon Jennings his first big break. Because I dearly love Waylon Jennings' music. Story goes that when Buddy learned Waylon wasn't going to fly, he said, "Well, I hope your old bus freezes". Waymore came back with, "Well, I hope your old plane crashes". Ain't that a helluva note.

And if you got a few minutes to spare, go read what this guy has to say. He's heard a whole lot. You've heard it, too, so has the entire country. Unfortunately, 51 percent decided to ignore it.