Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hurry, before I die.

God forbid I died today and my last blog post was about mulch. I feel some incentive to update.
As some of you know, a Philadelphia police officer was shot and killed last week during a robbery by three men. As usual, I choose to focus on the minutiae, and I focused on this paragraph that appeared in the Inquirer's story on Thursday:
Floyd arrived at Police Headquarters at 12:20 a.m. inside a van from the 24th Police District, the dead officer's station. Mayor Nutter and his security detail arrived at the same time.
The van then backed into a loading bay, and Floyd and his girlfriend were whisked into an elevator, away from the view of the public and the many reporters who had gathered there. The entire episode was a somber, businesslike affair, without any reaction from the officers there.
"The one emotion that everybody shared was relief," [Philadelphia Police Chief] Ramsey later said.
Afterward, the mayor told reporters said he got within two feet of Floyd.
"I looked him dead in the eye when he came in, and I told him how disappointed I was in him," Nutter said. There was no response from the suspect, the mayor added
The reason Nutter was disappointed in him is because both Nutter and the suspect are black. The mayor obviously felt that Floyd was letting down their race by committing a crime. I found that an odd response.
Being white and kind of dopey from time to time, I've never been told by another white person that I have let down my race and disappointed people of the white race by my dopey actions. I don’t know where that feeling comes from. Perhaps it’s because black men still feel out of place socially or that they feel that they constantly have to prove their self-worth and their worth to society? I don’t know.
Maybe it's that same feeling that other blond-haired women get when another blond does something stupid and it's blamed on them being blond? I know I feel disappointed in other men when I find out that they don't know how to work the washing machine or can't figure out how to clean a toilet, but I chalk that up to bad upbringing and not the fact that they happen to be men.
I like Mayor Nutter. He seems like he'll be good for the city, but I don't like him any more or less because he is black. If he is going to be disappointed in someone, he should be disappointed in them because they shot a cop, not because of the color of their skin.
It's hard to break away from stereotypes and even harder to stop holding people responsible for the progress of some race or hair color because of their individual actions. If Michael Nutter is a horrible mayor it won't be because he is black. We went through 8 years of a horrible mayor named John Street who happens to be black.
I was very disappointed in him.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mulch this.

I feel the need to be increasingly controversial and obtuse as the days go by. Naturally, I turned my thoughts to mulch.
Mulch is one of those things that magically appeared, and once it was here we just seemed to accept it as though it belonged here. I look at public trees (as opposed to nature's trees) and wonder, "why do they need the mulch?"
I'm figuring that they really don't need it. I think it is foist upon us by well-meaning (yet greedy) landscapers (another magically appearing item) who told us that it does something good. I wonder what it actually does, since trees grew when I was a kid without mulch and they grow today with it.
What I am left with is the feeling that we are being sold something that is basically useless, yet we are told it belongs here, and we accept it.
Like the Republicans.

Is there an $ in re$olute?

Pronunciation: ˈre-zə-lüt
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin resolutus, past participle of resolvere
Date: 1533
1 : marked by firm determination.
WASHINGTON - Her money drained and her options dwindling, a resolute Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed Wednesday to press on with her presidential bid even as she and top advisers were hard-pressed to describe a realistic path for her to wrest the nomination from Barack Obama.
Politics is a funny business. Not funny (ha-ha), funny (strange). Most of us, in the real world, faced with drained finances and dwindling options would just bag it and throw ourselves on the mercy of the court, as it were. Our resolution would be our downfall.
Politicians however, seem to take the opposite tack. They feel as though their supporters (the dwindling money part) deserve to have them fight it out to the last breath, lest they think their money was wasted. They appreciate resolution because to them, the candidate owes it to her supporters to fight to the last.
The country however, doesn't benefit much from such resolve. I think there's a certain amount of arrogance in Hillary's resolve. As though she thinks, "I'm a Clinton, damnit!" and fights on, figuring that sooner or later America will see what she sees. [buzzer] Not gonna happen.
The party is already divided, and recent polls indicate that whichever candidate is chosen, the supporters of the other will either vote for McCain [gak] or not vote at all [the wiser choice]. The fight between Obama and Clinton has produced a chasm that may wind up costing the Democrats the election, which is after all, the point - resolve notwithstanding.
It says here that America has spoken and, like it or not, Barack Obama is the choice to run against John McCain in November. I think he can handle himself politically and challenge McCain on the issues, as long as they are real issues and not made-up ones like who his pastor is or how old he is. Those are not issues, they are distractions.
There are a scant few primaries left and Hillary has a ghost of a chance of finding enough delegates to secure the nomination, so it is about time for her to prepare her supporters for the big let-down.
It's best for the country that she cut her losses and allow us to spend the better part of the next 7 months figuring out how the Republicans plan to undermine another fine American and his run for the White House.
I have faith that they'll figure out a proper distraction.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On me, on you, Ennui.

I ran across a word while doing my daily crossword puzzle. Ennui.
Listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest; boredom.
A near-perfect description of my mood lately, with emphasis on the dissatisfaction part. It doesn't seem to matter. What? It. The Hopi call it Koyannisqatsi - Life out of balance. It contributes to ennui, because we realize that the more we care, the less it matters.
Then, I read a little story about a 12-year old who allegedly didn't take off his Brett Favre jersey for 1,581 days. Sure, I'm about to believe that. First, the kid is 12. When I was 12, I wanted to wear Beatle boots and Nehru shirts all day, but I had parents.
David Witthoft, who rose to national prominence in 2005 after he revealed during TV, radio and newspaper interviews that he had worn his No. 4 jersey ever day since he received it for Christmas in 2003, donned his favorite player's colors for the final time April 23, the Green Bay (Wis.) Press-Gazette reported Tuesday."His last day wearing the jersey was April 23, which was his 12th birthday," said Chuck Witthoft, the boy's father. "It was tough for him for awhile but now that he's 12, he is a little more concerned about his appearance. And the jersey barely came down to his beltline."
I had parents who figured that a 12-year old who wore what he wanted would look like a smacked ass. Now, the Beatle boots are replaced by football jerseys, and we're supposed to believe that a kid hasn't had an opportunity to take a football jersey off in over 5 years? What kind of idiots do you think we are? Don't answer that, because I already started asking what kind of idiot are the kid's parents who allow him to do whatever he wants.
I'm not sure what is worse: Allowing the kid to wear the thing for 5 years or that he "rose to national prominence".
I don't have a 12-year old kid (only a 17-year old cat) but I can damned well assure you that if he wanted to wear a football jersey every day, I'd find a way to place it in the local incinerator and advise him that he is acting like a jackass. Expect to see him on America's Most Wanted in 6 years.
Afterward, I received a letter from my condo association, telling me that the pool renovations would be finished by May 24. Hoorah. Now, I can continue to ignore the pool as I have in the past.
What followed was this little blurb in the letter, reminding me why I don't use public pools:

During my heated discussion with the condo president, I wish I had known this little tidbit. When he told me, "You should try the pool, you might like it", I could have replied, "No, I prefer forms of recreation that don't involve regurgitating children and their parents who allow such behavior in public, thank you." How many chemicals does it take to remove child vomit from standing pool water that is already treated with chemicals? Not enough for me.

The procedure that would suit me is a total removal of the pool "water" (if that's what you call chemically treated water), scrubbing with an antiseptic cleanser (twice) and re-filling the pool with clean water. Treating chemically altered water with more chemicals isn't the correct path, and it only serves to reinforce my opinion of pools.

I really hate being right all the time.

What are the odds that the sick kids show up at the pool in football jerseys?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Happy Sexto de Mayo, bitches.

I'm not sure where to get asshole wax, but I'm pretty sure it's one of those jobs I'd have to do myself. I don't think I could pay someone enough to do the asshole wax job. I checked the Yellow Pages. Nothing.
Great. Now, here comes the Google searches. Welcome a-hole waxers.
But really, it's over-stating it a bit (a lot) but are there any of the presidential candidates that make you want to wax your asshole? I see a lot of sign-carrying enthusiasm, which I see every 4 years, but I have a hard time figuring out what all the enthusiasm is about.
I think the last number I read was 3.5 million new voters, mostly on the Democrat side. Maybe those are the people cheering and jumping up and down? I suppose it's the age and cynicism of having been through a dozen or so of these things, but I'm not hearing a lot of "change the world" ideas coming from these people.
A gas tax holiday? Really, that's not ass-wax worthy. That's a purely American quick-fix "tell them what they want to hear" solution that isn't really a solution. It's a zero-percent interest rate offer that goes up to 20 percent when the offer is over. It's a time delay screwing.
The deeper we get into this election process the less impressed I am with any of them, and I'm left with the age-old "lesser of two evils" approach to voting which doesn't make me want to wax my chest hair, let alone any other part.
Those 3.5 million new voters who are excited about the process will invariably be turned-off when the rug is yanked out from under them when they find out that either their candidate will not get the nomination or that the candidate that does disappoints them. One of the two will most assuredly happen.
Then, we're left finding another bunch who are willing to carry signs and scream. They'll find them somewhere because we're a gullible bunch, but we also don't like to be lied to, which is where the disappointment comes in.
I think their political energy could be better spent working on solutions to their own personal problems that have more to do with the current state of America than anything a politician can fix.
Or not fix.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The first Sunday in May.

Don't we have the most beautiful gas stations here in New Jersey? I know, the price is beautiful too, unless you live here, then we curse it like death. Chances are, you're wishing your price was the same as ours, but then ask yourself, "Do I really want to live in New Jersey?" It might be worth fifteen cents to say, "No."
It's always worth $3.45 for me to leave the car sit during the day on Sunday. It isn't much of an effort, since (a) everything I need is within 5 miles of home and (b) I really don't have any place to go. Besides, the girls were playing golf over on ESPN2 and Paula was in the lead ... until she gave it up to Juli Inkster on the 18th hole, forcing a playoff for the second straight week. This time Paula came out on top.
So, another horse died on the track this weekend. This one, Eight Belles, finished second in the Kentucky Derby. It isn't all that unusual. The trouble-makers at PETA want the jockey suspended.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is seeking the suspension of Eight Belles' jockey after the filly had to be euthanized following her second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Reports by veterinarians at 34 tracks across the country between June 2007 and early this year showed synthetic tracks averaged 1.47 fatalities per 1,000 starts, compared with 2.03 fatalities per 1,000 starts for horses that ran on dirt.
Either way, horse racing is fatal about 0.2-percent of the time, so the fact that it happened on national television in the biggest race of the year shouldn't be a reason for PETA to be assed-up over it. The fact that it happens at all is, however.
Horses race for our enjoyment and our financial enhancement. Regardless of what the trainers tell us, they don't have a "winner's look" in their eye or any inherit desire to win. That's something they say to salve their conscience. They make that excuse when they believe it fits their purpose. They're horses running in a circle for our benefit. Let's not engage in anthropomorphism over their efforts. I don't believe for a minute that the horses know what's happening to them. When one dies, it's tragic but not on a human level.
Eight Belles paid $10.60 to place, and that's what is important. Meanwhile, Michael Vick is in prison for making dogs fight each other. I suppose, because horse racing is sanctioned by society and we celebrate "Derby Day", the tragedy that we inflict on horses isn't as grand as that which we inflict on dogs. I can't help but think that the wealthy horse owners who run them around on those skinny legs aren't that much different from the dog fighters, except that the dog fights aren't on TV.
After all, the whole reason Barbaro was kept alive for so long after his tragic fall was that his stud service was worth millions of dollars. Otherwise, he would have been euthanized like all the others. My love of animals has nothing to do with how much money I can earn from them.
I refuse to run my cat in a circle for my entertainment - or profit.

What is that under his tail? I think he's trying to hatch one of his catnip toys.

Mascots on Fire.

NEW ORLEANS - Trouble putting out a ring of fire used in a mascot stunt caused a 19-minute delay during Game 1 of the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Hornets second round playoff series Saturday night.
The delay occurred between the first and second quarter after Super Hugo, a Hornets mascot who uses a trampoline to dunk a basketball, soared through a large hoop that had been set ablaze before slamming the ball through the basket.
While Super Hugo celebrated the success of his stunt, workers struggled to put out the fire with a carbon dioxide extinguisher, then had to douse the fire with foam extinguishers for several seconds before it would go out. Maintenance crews then tried to clean up the mess by using dry mops normally used to soak up sweat, but that ended up smearing it from end to end.
After the floor had been cleaned to the referees’ satisfaction, the teams were given a couple minutes to warm up.
The Hornets also canceled the halftime show so the court could be cleaned again
We used to go to the circus because it was "the circus." Now, we go to sporting events and a circus breaks out. Are we that bored with life that a professional sporting event isn't exciting enough for us? We need mascots, fireworks and loud music to get us going. We're starved for entertainment.
Watch the NHL playoffs. Every time the puck stops moving the music starts - right up until the time the referee drops it and play resumes. There isn't a dry moment in the game. Baseball insists on showing videos on their giant screens between innings. Mascots dance on the dugout and music plays.
You'd think the game would be enough. Maybe that's why the circus isn't as popular as it used to be?