June 26, 2006

I can’t help but comment on last Sunday night’s episode of HBO’s Entourage.
The last few episodes were already suspect. Having guests stars for no purpose other than to have them a la Simpson’s (James Woods, how embarrassing for you)… no plot… and to just suddenly end because the timecode says so isn’t the way to create entertainment, people.
It was a fun show to watch evolve. Very entertaining how they presented the side of the biz the rest of us don’t get to see in a fresh way. But now that the pivotal character is successful, the struggle is over, there’s no where to take it.   Great planning there folks!
A show with sixteen producers, you’d think one of them would have spoken up and say “c’mon guys, they’re going to notice. his show needs honest tension. “
What’s uuuup with the increased screen time for Ari’s daughter (two expressions: smile and blank stare) and wife (hot JAP with tude, dude, but you gotta reign it in, keep them wanting more). We don’t want to see Ari’s domestic strife! < spits > I was getting indigestion as the episode turned into a functional version of the Brady Bunch. Or Father Knows Best. Or Bachelor Father.
Sheesh. Never have I seen a show crash and burn so fast, so unexpectedly. Not only has it gotten stale, it’s got mould.
And what the F is with the introduction of the obnoxious jail bird friend into the mix, what the HELL was on their collective minds? A revisit of Oliver, the kid you bring in to save the franchise? HELLO (fer chrissakes ask your interns): that move does not work. 
Too bad they’re not so cure when they grow up, methinks.
Bleeeergh. Look! Down there! Fonzie! Is that a shark!


Yes I’m a car guy

June 25, 2006
…and a motorcycle guy, and a bicycle guy, and a gun guy.

I have a passion for vehicles and machining that goes back to my early childhood experiences in ‘shop.’

I got my start when once upon a time we moved into a house that had an old abandoned Harley lying in the garage. It would be worth a great deal now, but then it was just left behind by the previous tenants, who also left their military uniforms (Vietnam era, so I am guessing vets who got back and went into the biker underworld presumably). Probably a panhead, if you know what that is, with a springer front end.

I come from an era when manufacturing and the industrial arts had a certain importance in this country. Skills- running a mill, a lathe, doing precision metal work, were highly prized. Still are, but in small idiosyncratic ways now, nowt to do with mass production (not on these shores anyway).

During this current fuel glut I got to wondering about things, as you do. Now that Americans are discovering, for the first time, what $4 a gallon gasoline is like, they’re experiencing grief every time they fill up. Europeans know what this is about, and were always better prepared to deal with it, since it goes back almost to the post war days when adoption of the automobile started to become common.

I pulled my Vespa up to the pump at the local 75 station. Guy who looked like Kenny Rogers was filling up his black Escalade. I think I paid about $4 total- it only holds a gallon-point-three. I was getting nostalgic for the days when I could fill it for under two.

“What kind of mileage you get on that thing?”

“About 40. It’s a two-stroke, so not all that miserly.”

“Man, I’ve got to get me one of those things. I’m paying about $50 every time I fill up.”

I noticed his vehicle contained no passengers. Typical.

What we need is a mass importation of something like the Citroen 2CV. Oh wait, it won’t pass government safety regs. But wait, it gets 50 miles to the gallon. But wait, it won’t travel more than the minimum speed limit (55). But wait, it’s small and easy to park and maintain. But wait, it’s rust-prone bucket of bolts. But wait, it’s small and efficient and designed with comfort and minimum environmental impact in mind. But wait, any American car would wipe it off the road.

I guess it’s wrong to presume that when the going gets tough, the Americans will get going. A whole new market has long existed in Europe- Smart cars, people movers, which exist because they have to, there is a need. Limited parking due to an over-abundance of vehicles, old cities, narrow streets. $5 per gallon petrol.
But #wouldn’t it be nice#. Where we Americans coped by going retro, getting the laws that needed changing changed so economical cars were exempted from irrelevant safety regs and given preferences as an incentive. Actually dealing with the problem instead of scratching our collective heads while we sit there feeding the beast that might eat us alive.

Deux Chevaux, Gogo Mobile, Messerschmitt, Isettas, Vespa and Lambretta, Fiat 500, Mini. Consider decontenting and lightening, using technology to make them run clean and sip fuel. Making them infinitely recyclable along the way- and fun. People would take more care when driving- they would more in touch with the road than now- and those big behemoths will get left behind in the garage until eventually getting recycled back into several smaller, lighter, more economical and more fun automobiles or autocycles.

The retro Beetle and Mini now being produced are good place to start the revolution. With modern technology manufacturing techniques, we could make a wonderful modern quality replacement for, say, the Crosley Hotshot. Or a Morgan three-wheeler.

C’mon, YKIMS.

Hummer, Excursion, Escalade: Chick Wheels

June 17, 2006

More I’m noticing these big behemothic mechanized dinosaurs tailgating me on the freeway, and in my small sedan’s rear view mirror all I can see is this big grill you could broil a side of beef on.Maybe they’re after my hide?

Big intimdating cars with their big intimidating drivers. Oh wait a min, I think I see a …

As they change lanes and pass me (I”m already over the speed limit, and possessing a CDL means I could get a big fine if I am pulled) or I fall in to the other lane, again I note, it’s a woman at the wheel. More often than not behind the wheel is a middle aged, soccer mom type.

What gives? What’s put the demon spirit of the road-incident-enraged driver into supportive care givers? Have moms always been vile, wretched, malevolent creatures- or is it the power and pseudo prestige of being behind a 6,000 pound vehicle? Outa my way, you gas sipping parasitic maggot.

Apparently it takes a real man to drive a small car. A small sporty coupe or sedan (or sports car) is really living on the edge now in this era of large and deadly road going ego machines. I can kill the weight of your car and insects and wildlife on one cross country trip, ya commie.

Insanity or Neurosis?

June 17, 2006
Earlier I opined on the ridiculous notion that the US would build a fence along the Mexico border. As if that would make a difference.

When the people who promote such outlandish ideas fail to see them as ludicrous, and that the position they’ve taken might be too simple for so complex and issue, then it’s pretty apparent they also fail to see their view of reality is skewed.

They simple fact is their government fails to meet their demands for a reason. Yet these wall-builders bait, cajole, and act by sending private citizens to act as proxy border control agents. But then, I may be failing to see an agenda or goal other than their stated ones: national security, enforcing the rule of law, etc.

The people who promote wall-building will be quick to tell you racism has nothing to do with their stance. I’ll accept that for the sake of argument.

Ignoring reality can only work for so long. Mexican (and other) illegal immigrants are here. They’re vitally important to the economy of this country and constitute at four million strong a labor market that supports industry in this country: interstate commerce, restaurants, agriculture, meat and poultry processing, clothing, etc.

What the wall builders want is the government to be focusing their efforts is on the businesses that hire these illicit workers. But they do this in a half-hearted way. That’s when the guise of national security became the straw person.
Everyone knows, the government has it’s own agenda. This one’s is promoting business. That’s the simple truth. But like the president they elected is fond of doing, the are more energized when aiming for a show-down.
In the end, compromises will be made, tax dollars will be inefficiently spent, and each side will privately grumble but publicly exclaim victory.

While the public at large maintains a lottery mentality (misunderstanding laws of probability seems to be a national epidemic) and keeps twisting the teat of government largess to get their wall (everyone has their hand out), the facts will remain, well, facts.

Yes we have undocumented workers and families working at jobs on American soil. Yes everyone turned a blind eye until it was tenuously identified as a possible security breech. Yes there is a potential security risk, though that’s somewhat a fantasy given facts about how those held responsible for the 911 attacks actually arrived here (does anyone think all of the airport security American citizens are subject to will ever catch a real terrorist?). Yes the executive branch failed in their duty to enforce certain laws that might have curtailed illegal immigration in it’s early stages. Yes… well, I could go on.

Sending mixed messages is a sign of neurosis. Ignoring reality is a sign of Howard Hughes. Perhaps there’s is a leader behind this with long hair and fingernails and jars of urine lining his vault in chronological order. I dunno. I scratch my head and wonder, when we have people who deliberately lie and obfuscate their intentions, is it possible they might get what they want, but never really know it?

Heineken? Shit! Heineken is pussy beer. Give that man a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

June 15, 2006
Since I was hired the day of my interview last week, I’ve been reflecting on this event. It effectively puts an end to my projects. I’ll simply not have time or motivation to work on them. That is unfortunate; it’s the only life we get, and we should pursue those things that make us purr.

Last Thursday, after I’d been called with the news that the job was mine, I was then directed to give them my piss. Well, that’s a ridiculous thing, to drive fifteen miles to piss in a little cup, then back again. But this is the world in which we live.

Anyway, today I was called and told that my sample was insufficient. Hot damn!

So lucky me I get to trot back over there again, and do it all over again. Will it take another week? I don’t know, they couldn’t say.

Meanwhile there’s a tiny respite from the daily grind. Expect I’ll be working there and telling y’all (anonymously of course) what life is like in another dysfunctional work place. Dilbert I am not, yet. But give it time. I’m sure I can give it a funny spin worthy of the absurdity.

Meanwhile SWMBO makes life even more difficult for not just me, but herself as well. Not only has she simply given up on me (I was asked to move out for I believe the fifth time this year) but she’s on the edge of cracking. Not really cracking, but pretend cracking, in order to get what she wants. She wants what she wants, and really does not want to hear what I have to say in the matter. It’s taken me this long to learn she’s not the empathic person she claimed to be, nor the person I thought she was (I was blinded by desire, and should have queried three friends for their honest opinions). Discussion is fine as long as she wins
, and I don’t go on too long, and in the end she gets what she wants.

She’s looking for an out, quitting her job, and taking some time off, maybe forever. I didn’t sign up to be someone else’s sugar daddy. And yet it’s happening.

, I can hear you say, if you’re going to write a blog, your supposed to give the answers, not pose the questions. In that case, I say: you’re dead wrong.

Should we Take the Smelly Bait?

June 15, 2006

This story, as well as others in recent days following the assassination of Al Zarqawi have a suspicious ring.

Some have questioned if Al Zarqawi indeed existed. Was he just a straw man propped up to be knocked down, and the US president can get an easy win to up his poll numbers when needed?

What makes one suspicious are a couple of recent events that just don’t ring true.

  1. Why did Al Qaeda publicly name a ‘successor’ rather than remain schtum? To tell the US and the world who to start looking for so they can start the manhunt all over again is pretty stupidยน… wouldn’t it be smarter to keep the US guessing? After all, this is Qaeda, not a sovereign national power with a hierarchy and bureaucracy to support and be recognized. They are a guerilla force, and play by different rules.
  2. The letter that is reported as being found in one of the Zarqawi safe houses (not the one in which he died) reportedly contains text which acknowledges that the US is winning. This is fortuitous if it’s true.

That these events coincide when the US president is unpopular because the war has been going so bad could simply be dumb luck (and maybe in Chimpface’s case it is). Applying Ocham’s razor to the recent events leaves one with the suggestion neither event can possibly be authentic. Wishful thinking perhaps, something made up in the inner sanctum by old hands perhaps. As a long time fan of the study of war time propaganda, this certainly smells vintage. An old tactic, planting the enemies ‘secret musings’ to bring a naive and trusting public back into the fold.

I guess we’ll know if #2 is an authentic report when the bombings stop or even slow down over the proceeding weeks and months, and the poor Iraqi souls and American occupying forces stop dying so needlessly.

1. To keep bombing until you hit the target you’ve been searching for, akin to aiming for the needle in a haystack, isn’t not the way to spend tax dollars, son.

The Cold Shoulder

June 5, 2006

I called my A1 case worker today, who is the person I check in with on a periodic basis. A1 is a well known employment service which I signed on with May 25 in an attempt to find work. P is my ‘account executive.’
I made several calls last week to P and made changes to my resume to suit each position. Each position was an administrative capacity, one was even in a purchasing department, something where I know my way around. I called P for updates last week at least once per day, up until last Friday. Today I called and couldn’t reach him. I was intercepted by ‘Dave’ who would email P that I called.
All of a sudden, it would seem, the past is catching up with me. These last three years I’ve spent examining my life and seeking out alternatives (thanks to the good fortune of my years of saving and the sale of my house) to the 9-to-5.
And to enjoy life away form the rat race, something few get to do.
I re-decided recently, thru heated discussions with my spouse, that I should return to the work-force. My internet project has not progressed for months primarily due to my depression about the state of my marriage. This slow-down lead me down the path to visit A1.
And it would seem I am on my own again. Naturally.
Time to review again my options. Let’s see… there is Cal-Jobs, yet another agency, Careerbuilder, etc.
Since I have a CDL and live in the proximity of at least two ready-mix companies, I will investigate that next, on my own, and see where that leads me. I have no experience with driving a ready-mix truck, but one of the sites recruiting drivers said that experience was helpful but not mandatory.
Ve shall zee.