Saturday, November 3, 2007

What time is it?

It's midnight. Two hours from now, it will be one hour from now.
Just as I do when I'm trying to remember how many days there are in a certain month, I find myself reciting a silly phrase to decide what to do with my clock today. Fall back. Of course, I could fall forward, but that wouldn't go with the first half of the saying.
Modern Daylight Savings Time was first proposed in 1907 by William Willett, and saw its first widespread use in 1916. Now, our government has taken it to ridiculous extremes. At this point, we are on "regular" solar time for only about three months. I suppose, if we set the clocks an hour ahead and left them there, technically it wouldn't be Daylight Savings Time, since we wouldn't be saving anything.
Can we really save daylight? Wouldn't we accomplish the same thing if we persuaded businesses to open and close an hour earlier? I'd start work at 7 if I could be finished by 3:30. That might piss off the teachers, since their cushy schedule wouldn't be so unique anymore. Maybe they'd like to work a full year while they're at it?
Gasoline gets more expensive every day and we in the United States use more of it per capita than anyone in the world. Energy is precious and expensive and the best thing that our president and Congress could come up with last year was expanding Daylight Savings Time. They told us it was going to help us conserve energy. Far be it from me to cloud the issue with facts, but I beg to differ.
A 2007 simulation estimated that introducing DST to Japan would increase energy use in Osaka residences by 0.13%, with a 0.02% decrease due to less lighting more than outweighed by a 0.15% increase due to extra cooling.
In 2000 when parts of Australia began DST in late winter, overall electricity consumption did not decrease, and the morning peak load and prices increased.
DST may increase gasoline consumption. U.S. gasoline demand grew an extra 1% during the newly introduced DST in March 2007.
Georgie, you're amazing. Make us think that we're doing something to help, when actually we're digging a little deeper hole. I used to think you were stupid, but now I know you're more like an evil genius.
Any resonable person would have to ask themselves how moving the clock an hour would have any significant impact one way or another, but as we know, we don't have very many resonable people in government. Whatever it does, it does not change the length of the day, which I figure is the next thing they'll have to work on.
I propose a six-day week, shortening the year from 365 days to 312. That, combined with the new seven-cent nickel and 120-cent dollar should even out all this energy consumption and poverty.
Problem solved.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy little Halloween.

Today, November 1 is traditional around the old office. How, you ask? Glad you asked. The tradition is that on the day after Halloween, the giant bowl of candy appears. It's the giant bowl that one employee brings in filled with all the Halloween candy that they didn't give to the hungry, begging children yesterday. It is our gift now.
It is filled with Reese's cups, miniature Butterfinger bars, miniature bags of M&M's (plain and peanut) and ... well, mostly miniatures, including the world's most ridiculous Snickers ... um ... bar.
They're so small (slightly larger than a United States penny) that the only thing there is room for on the wrapper is the phone number that you should call if you have a question or comment. I have both.
Question: Who needs a Snickers bar this tiny? Does the wrapper weight more than the candy?
Comment: I don't need a tiny Snickers bar. I would much prefer the regular size Snickers, since all this does is piss me off that I didn't get a regular Snickers bar. If you gave this to the kids in my neighborhood, your car would be smeared with miniature Snickers goop.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Blogging isn't rocket science

But then, rocket science isn't what it used to be, either. There must be some downtime at the space agency, and it's nice to know that they fill their idle hours over here at the blog. So I have that going for me. One of the rocket scientists was searching "Hillary Big Booty" and stumbled on this, which probably annoyed them to no end.
And how nice that the folks at the Pepsi Bottling Company stumbled on this post about my favorite chemically-altered water-flavored beverage. Better late than never.
Meanwhile, not one trick or treater tonight. It's not all that unusual, since I haven't had a trick or treater (are they called something else?) since I moved in here 17 years ago. When I was a kid (when dinosaurs roamed the earth) condos and apartment complexes were the Holy Grail for any kid begging for candy on Hallowe'en.
Now, it isn't "safe" to go to anyone's home that you don't know, so here I sit with my de rigueur black cat and refrigerator full of apples wondering where the kids are. I tried to get a razor blade in one of those apples, but those damned Gillette Fusion's just make a big mess. I guess I'll turn the lights back on and wipe this goofy make-up off. It's just as well, since I don't keep candy in the house. I was going to give out cans of Fancy Feast. Hey, it's real salmon. Eight bucks a pound.
It must be nice to have the world on a string. All you need is some fancy make-up, a wig and a push-up costume to get a major morning TV show (The Today Show) to ask a 58-year old woman to make all the boys skeleton's creep up their pants. Never mind that it probably takes two hours to get her to look like that, it's the fifteen minutes of TV time that matters.
Hey, I'm the last one to be picking on "The Mistress of the Dark" ... it's just that it's a pretty good example of the power of the media and the illusion they create that something as timeless as boobs in a black dress can be brought to morning television - out - as it were.
The funny thing is, that for 58, she looks pretty good without the black fright wig and the contrasty dress/boob combo.
Let's see ... she's been in Elvira's Box of Horrors, (whatever could that mean?) Playboy Presents Halloween Spooktacular, several calendars, TV specials, a horrible movie and she's hosting a [egad] "reality" show for Fox (who else?) in which they search for the next Elvira. I'm guessing she'll be younger (no kidding) and have even bigger boobs and a skimpier costume.
All of which proves that all you need is the flimsiest gimmick and you too can be a media mogul and self-made gazillionaire. It helps to work the sex angle, (especially if you can do it with stuff like Box in the title) but really, all you need is a gimmick. Nice going, Cassandra.

Now, for something really scary...
There's no box, just a dick. But it is horrible. Darth Cheney.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lighten up, dude.

OK, in response to yesterday's mind-numbing post on the current sorry state of organized religion, I'll lighten it up a little.
Politics. Democrat presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich was in town the other day, and had this to say about our sitting president:
"I seriously believe we have to start asking questions about his mental health," Kucinich, an Ohio congressman, said in an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer's editorial board on Tuesday. "There's something wrong. He does not seem to understand his words have real impact."
I'll tell you what. It's still early, but I'm starting to listen to Dennis. For most of my life we've elected television candidtates. That is, guys (guys, that's another story) who look or act nice on the TV. The ones we perceive as dull and boring (e.g. Al Gore) get kicked to the curb. I think it's about time we elected a dull guy with a brain in his head.
Wednesday is some sort of secular holiday where kids dress up and go out begging for candy. It's one of those days where devilish behavior is loosely tolerated, and when I was a kid, encouraged. Mischief Night is largely a relic of a bygone age, since now it is considered vandalism. In the 1960s, where I come from, it was a juvenile prank and at best, it was irritating to the mischief victim. Now, your parents are being called to the local police station.
At work, they are "allowing" us to wear "our favorite Halloween themed sweatshirt - but no jeans". That's right, we can come to a professional office wearing an orange sweatshirt with a carved pumpkin on it, but we can't wear jeans. I hear that all my supervisors attended college.
If you're looking for some bright new music, I offer up Band of Horses' latest CD called Cease to Begin. Borrow or steal it, or even buy it if you have to, but I think you'll find it as uplifting and energetic as I did. I've had it for 2 days and I've already listened to it a half dozen times. Stop me. The only irritating thing about it is that I found that I could have bought the CD for a dollar less than I paid to download it. Bastards.
I think the proper term for it is power pop, but I might be mistaken. It's as smooth as glass and powerful as a punch in the stomach at times.
I'm working on figuring out the lyrics, but from what I read they don't always sing the same line the same way twice, so we're free to interpret it as we wish. I'm making up my own words, then.
It's cold in the mornings now. I'm back to scraping frost off my windshield. Then, the inside fogs up before I'm out of the driveway. It's like driving a submarine through an inner tube. Lucky for me the kids waiting for the school bus are standing on the sidewalk. So far, I've stayed on the road.
The best thing about the cold nights is that the cat curls up and sleeps in bed with me. I know, that's kind of pathetic, but he's warm and furry, and so far he's the only warm furry thing I've got going on. [make up your own jokes].
The better news is that his bloodwork came back and his kidney numbers have stabilized, and one even went down. Daddy's taking good care of his little furry son.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Oh God, what's he writing about now?

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.
- Lenny Bruce
While I was out wasting time and precious gasoline on Saturday, it occurred to me that there are an awful lot of opulent churches around. Huge palaces with parking lots the size of a supermarket's are dotting the landscape. Some are more magnificent than gambling casinos, and ironically, look like space vehicles. They're mostly the new ones, and if your area is anything like mine, a new and bigger one goes up every six months or so.
I figured there must be a lot more money in organized religion than even my cynical mind had thought. How else could they build these tax-free palaces? Can it just be from their patrons? I guess the contractors donate a certain amount of time and materials, but still there's maintenance and utility bills to pay. They do pay utility bills, right? Please tell me they do.
Anyway, what I was thinking is that it's an awful scam to be pulling on people, if it turns out that the whole thing is bullshit. Of course, nobody would know that until after they died, which makes it the perfect scam. A Scam of Ages, as it were.
After all, if the 3-card Monty guy scams you on the street, at least you can stick around until after he's done and pummel the crap out of him. There's the revenge factor, which makes any scam flawed from the beginning. Usually, the 3-card Monty guy scams you so fast you don't realize it until you're a safe distance from him, so the likelihood that you'll be able to find him is slim. A near-perfect scam.
However, if it turns out that the poobah's of religion are correct, and there is a better life awaiting us, then maybe the shillings we're being shilled out of could be worth the effort. Some of us calculate those odds as pretty long, but we hedge our bets by tithing and doing "our fair share", even if there's an ulterior motive that may not actually exist. For those, the effort is disingenuous and probably, by its nature, damns them to Hell regardless. So even if they're right, they're wrong - on account of because.
That leaves the small minority of true believers. The ones who literally practice what they preach, lead the good life and abhor anything that they perceive as modern. I don't know how many of them there are, mostly because it's impossible to know. First, they hang in their own closed social circles and kick anyone out who doesn't go along. Secondly, it really isn't possible to narrow down any one religion as the right one. Even if you are a true believer, part of your belief system is tied into the idea that anyone who doesn't practice your religion is damned to Hell. That really narrows down the margin.
So, you'd have to figure that the money that goes into churches and their parent religions is an awful lot of money coming from a small amount of people. I cannot imagine the real, genuine good to society that could come out of a huge chunk of that money from all the schools, parks, energy conservation projects, health care ... God, health care ... you could pay for with that. Subtract out the fact that these Monuments to God do not pay property taxes on the acres of land on which the "complex" is built - not to mention (but I will) the huge tax break that the donors get from giving money to religion, separate from State, but included sometimes. Add and subtract all that stuff and I think the net to society is at best a 50/50 proposition.
I'm not saying that the people who practice a religion are at fault, because I think they get led around by the people they worship who carry their word to their God and feel powerless to resist. They're God's middlemen, and as His representative, you're going against God to go against your human leader/God rep/symbol. Resistance is seen as anti whatever, and your resistance will cause you to be shunned by God. Most religions preach conformity, which is convenient for them since it is the behavior that most benefits religion.
I think by nature, people are good. They can practice any religion they want, but do they need to do it in a castle? They associate the building with their love (which is an odd relationship) and could have given just as much love in their garage or a small tent, but we love you more when you have five air conditioning units outside and a full-size gymnasium - because the body is a temple, just like the building.
They never ask where the money comes from, just as long as it comes. Some of it was probably built with, as Letterman used to say, "mob concrete." Some religions believe that their Lord threw the moneychangers out of the temple, so how's it figure that the moneychangers are building the temples now?
Just pray that God isn't dealing cards, because you'll be a safe distance away by the time you find out.
As for me, I'm going to make sure I'm wearing asbestos underpants when I kick.
I'm hedging my bets, too.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I need to see a man about a horse.

If you're looking for one of those haunting melodies that gets into your head and you can't get it out (who isn't?) check your local download portal for a tune called "Is There a Ghost" by Band of Horses.
Or, open the YouTube video at the bottom of the post to see what I'm talking about.

16 billion pixels can't be wrong ... or can they?

Hi-res Last Supper. Jesus and his pals (minus one) go online.
I get hungry just looking at it: