Saturday, November 29, 2003

Everything that's wrong with America summed up in one short article
CNN.com - Woman knocked unconscious by trampling shoppers - Nov. 29, 2003
Great quote: "Ellzey said Wal-Mart officials called later Friday to ask about her sister, and the store apologized and offered to put a DVD player on hold for her." Gotta love that. They were so concerned, they put a $29 dvd player on hold for her. How touching. Cause, you know we couldn't have learned a lesson from this that perhaps the $29 dvd player might not be the most important thing in the world. In other news, WalMart set a single day sales record yesterday. In unreported news, about 1000 family businesses went under yesterday.

Good Morning
I have a painting inside me that has welled up and is asking to come out. It feels good. It's been too long since one of my creations has decided to reveal itself and come forth. I think it will be beautiful. I wonder how long until it's manifest. I'm not sure if I even have everything I'll need to make it. The colors may not be in stock, so there could be trips to the art supply store. I'm almost certain we have the canvas. Sketching will need to take place. Unwittingly, that's already begun.

Yesterday, on the morning of my 32nd (eegads, it's been that long?) birthday, I got a new tattoo. I do not think these events (the tatt and the painting getting all ready to burst out - think Alien) are coincidence. My life comes together at times with a variety of happenings that seem to join someplace in the ether and express themselves in the sacrement of a canvas. Watching (and feeling) Alice work yesterday with color and form, being jealous that she does so everyday and supports herself with her considerable talent, listening to Alice in Wonderland on NPR on Thursday, being a jerk, being inspired by the people closest to me, drawing upon new imagery & new colors, seeing new artists and seeing old ones with a new eye. Then this morning, I'm laying in bed and this little painting (actually, I think it might be kinda big when it's all growed up) just introduces itself to me.

Later this morning, I get to take the bandage off and see my new shoulder. I can't wait. It's like a birthing, and I love births! I want to say thank you to Alice, who inked me, and to my wonderful partner, Laura, who designed my tattoo. Poor Laura! I made her go through several drawings as I said, "no. It needs to be fatter," or longer... or try a different curve in this area... But then one drawing, I just said... "That's it!" And it was perfect. She was so patient with me, and there's no way I could have done it without her. She is a brilliant artist. As for Alice - I'd recommend her to anyone. She listened to me, conferred with my designer, made me feel comfortable, ran a clean shop, and was reasonably priced to boot. Very professional. It was an absolute pleasure working with her.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Cheney let Georgie wear his flight suit costume again!
CNN.com - Bush pays surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq - Nov. 27, 2003
Okay - "Surprise visit" means that it was planned, but they didn't tell anybody. Why do you suppose they didn't tell anyone? Could it be because they (rightfully) thought there might be some attempts on his life? What happened to "Bring it on?" you fucking coward?

This is my email I'm sending to the president:
So you didn't tell anyone that you were visiting Iraq, because you quite accurately predicted that if you had announced it, some of those whack-jobs probably would have tried to kill the lot of you. Wise not to tell anyone! But my question is... what happened to "Bring 'em on!" I mean, that wasn't just false, flight-suit costume wearing bravado, was it? The president has the guts to say "Bring 'em on" right to the cowardly faces of those un-american Iraqi insurgents, right? I don't know if I can live through my thanksgiving dinner if I can't have faith that my president could kick their butts if they, you know - brought it on. I think he should go back and challenge the lot of them to fisticuffs. John Wayne would have. And John Wayne would have probably then won over the hearts of those nasty Iraqis and converted them all to Christianity. I can't have anything less from my President, or our collective manhood is just... in doubt.

Thanks in advance,
Matt Ryan
Portland, Oregon

Cripes. They'll probably take it as some kind of threat and come and arrest me today.

Happy Thanksgiving
Bwahaha. Nobody give Laura chocolate covered gummi bears for her birthday. If I hear one more time that she wants chocolate covered gummi bears for her birthday, I will single handedly sabotage the world's supply of the little devils, ensuring she never gets another single one of them.

On to what it is for which I am thankful...
I was going to say Laura, but all this whining about how she wants chocolate covered gummi bears for her birthday has me a little wavering on that one right now. She's being quite the pill.

Sebastian still makes the list. He is, without question, the single greatest person who has ever lived. How could I have been any luckier? If he had a laser cannon coming out of his chest, he couldn't be any cooler. He is amazing in his knack for being the center of attention in what ever space he occupies, due to everyone's recognition of his greatness and charm. When this boy turns three, the world could be in trouble. The world, after all, has never been forced to deal with anyone containing so much damn charm.

I'm thankful that I have all of life's necessities, plus several luxuries. I'm thankful that I don't currently live in a war zone, (even if some people disagree with that.) I'm thankful that there are literally millions of people today choosing not to kill an innocent turkey out of a disgusting "tradition" because those people choose to live a more peaceful life. And I'm thankful that Laura is one of those people. (Thanks, La! You rule, and I'll see to it you get those chocolate covered gummi bears as a reward!)

Kisses to everyone! Don't forget my birthday is tomorrow, you generous readers!

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Pinochet cites his Catholocism as a defense for his life; calls self "Angel."
story Religion (very much including Catholocism) has caused so many problems in the world, it would be impossible to catalogue them all. This man is truly evil, and anyone who is Catholic should distance themselves from this association. I suggest leaving Pinochet's church.

Important study on breastfeeding released
More Mothers Are Breast-Feeding Longer, Survey Shows
Now, I have read enough about breastfeeding that, given statistics like those in this study, I'm pretty confident I'm in the top 10% of the country on breastfeeding knowledge, and easily in the top 1% of men. This study, performed by a formula company, is working under the ridiculous assumption that all babies are born in hospitals, and is horrible slanted. Calling feeding past 3 months of age "extended" breastfeeding simply does not reflect reality. I'll try to find the actual report, and not just the article, and post a link.

Senator Wyden
I just sent Ron Wyden a nasty email because of his vote with the Rebublicans in favor of the medicare bill. If you want to send him your thoughts on his pathetic right-wing voting, you can use this form here. What an asshole.

Monday, November 24, 2003

We can hope this guy dies and qualifies for a darwin award.
Salon.com News | Bullet fired during KKK ceremony hits participant

Yet another reason I'm no longer Catholic
Amid Acceptance of Gays, a Split on Marriage Issue
This quote: As Ms. Hall, 55, listened, her eyes widened. "I just don't agree," she said. "You marry to procreate. You can't procreate if you marry someone from the same sex. As a Catholic, I feel very strongly about this. My religion doesn't permit me to agree with that kind of lifestyle."

I can't imagine basing an opinion on Constitutional rights on what my religion "permitted me" to believe. Nor can I even understand how anyone of any religion can see marriage solely as a means of procreation. What a dismal view of a lifelong, loving partnership. Should all marriages be annulled once people are past the procreating age? What the hell? Should people unable to have children for other reasons, like sterility, be barred from marriage? And even if marriage is in some way used for procreation, why should other marriages be prohibited?

King Kaufman
I just wrote the following letter to King Kaufman in responst to this column. Maybe he'll rpint some of it, maybe not, but i thought I'd share it here regardless.

Dear King,

While I appreciate anyone's rooting against the national favorites (ie, the Coyboys, Yankees, & Notre Dame), I think your rant celebrating ND's poor season is misguided.

You have been a fantastic proponant of reform in college athletics, so I would think Notre Dame would be one of your favorites!
--ND has direct presidential oversight of the athletic department,
--keeps the athletic department integrated with the university (as opposed to being a seperate entity with an independent budget as it is at almost every other school),
--embraced Title IX (and has subsequently excelled in women's sports with championships recently in soccer and basketball),
--continually enforces academic standards for atheletes higher than required by the NCAA,
--graduates atheletes in all sports (including revenue sports) at some of the highest rates in the country
-- doeas not maintain athletic dorms and has football & basketball players living in the same halls, eating at the same dining halls as their classmates, and
-- does not have easy athletic classes for atheletes.

It would seem that if these types of practices were adopted by the community of universities at large, it would constitute fairly major reform.

As for the NBC television contract, did you consider
-- that ND shares the money equally with the visiting team, meaning the Pac 10, ACC, Big 10, and Mountain West all shared in the money from the contract this year?
-- that ND uses all of the revenue it keeps from the NBC contact to fund need-based scholarships & financial aid at the school (and has since it began 10 years ago?)
-- that opposed to "mediocrity" (implied by your "Navy again" comment) ND hosted and played three teams that spent much of the year in the top ten (Washington State, USC, & Florida State) and another that spent most of the year ranked in the top 25 (Michigan State?)
-- that if NBC wasn't showing ("clogging the airways" with) ND games, we would instead get to see more NASCAR or infomertials (which is what is shown on Portland's KGW Saturdays when ND is not playing at home.)

ND being on NBC has simply meant six more games televised each year, with revenue distributed to every conference.

On the criticism that ND plays Navy on a regular basis, consider the history and benefits to the Naval Academy. During World War II, Notre Dame almost had to close as nearly the entire student body was called away to war. The Navy helped ND survive by using ND for temporary facilities. The University gave its word then that they would play Navy every year so long as Navy wanted to. Despite the fact that the Navy games have little to offer ND these days, ND has kept its word and honored that committment. Navy uses the money from playing ND (alternately, the money from the NBC contract in odd years and the money from the travelling "home" game in even years) to fund its entire athetic department. This saves US taxpayers a huge sum of money and allows the Naval Academy to compete at a D1A level.

Overall, I simply cannot support your assertion that what is bad for ND is good for college football. We all enjoy seeing parody, but ND has hardly hogged bowl appearances and championships for the last decade. I do agree that Notre Dame has been shockingly arrogant at times, but they also have been one of the few havens of college athletics where things are still done the right way. (Navy being another of the few havens of integrity in college sports.)

It's fine with me if you want to cheer against Notre Dame and even if you celebrate that in your column. I think it's absurd to pretend that those of us that like sports could maintain a pure lack of bias. I often root for one team over the other simply by my gut feelings against one of them. That's sports. And it's fun. What I do object to is your hypocrisy in writing one day in favor of integrity in college sports, then the next day writing that what's bad for ND is good for college sports. Those two positions simply don't jive.

Thank you for putting out five of the best written columns on sports every week!

Monday Morning thoughts
Simpsons: Hit & Run is wonderful so far. It's way better than There.com was, and doesn't have that same dreadful feeling of "I'm being ripped off" associated with it. This is the first Simpsons game I've played (am I the only one who reads reviews?) and it's what I've been wanting - the ability to run (& drive) around Springfield. It's brilliant.

The Medicare Bill gets the big thumbs down. Republicans are bizarre in their uncanny ability to side against the people. Their like the anti-populists. And the AARP, who gets 30% of their income now endorsing insurance companies is supporting the bill because it benefits insurance companies. Great. (A single payer system which put all of the insurance companies out of business would relieve the need for R's to hand our country over to them, btw.) Good for corporations, bad for the elderly. And Bush will use his huge cache of cash to convince gullible Americans that this bill was passed over D's objections to help the country (and probably is part of fighting evil arab people.) Hopefully, the few brave D's in the Senate can block the bill with a fillibuster.

4 Shopping Days left until my birthday! Better fed-ex it at this point, with Thanksgiving on Thursday!

Sniper case: So let me get this straight: If another person is murdered, everyone will feel better? You people are sick.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

5 Shopping Days Left
I want The Simpsons: Hit & Run (PC) for my birthday. If I don't get it, I'll buy it myself. Hell, I might just go buy it for myself anyway, because I doubt I'll get it. That way, I could just play it today, and I wouldn't have to wait a stinkin' five days. Hmm. Target has it for $30, as does Amazon. In fact, I could just drive to Target, pick it up, and have it installed before the rest of my family wakes up. I also want dvd's of Farscape (all seasons), Simpsons season 3, both available sets of Futurama, Angel seasons 1 & 2, and Buffy season 4. And I still need a copy of the Matrix 2. covet, covet, covet. 'tis the season for coveting.

Speaking of Xmas/Yule, I'm thinking December 8 is a good day to get a tree.

Update: said desire earlier has been sated, as I got an early birthday present of The Simpsons: Hit & Run from my special lady friend.

The new Republican ads seek to scare Americans into voting for conservatives
Scaring Up Votes
Exploiting the terrorism around the world for crass political gain, the GOP is launching ads in Iowa which tell Americans that their lives are hanging by a thread, and George Bush is their hero. And I'm cynical enough to believe this shit will probably work. W. has raised $200 million to scare gullible Americans into reelecting him. What a fucking asshole.

Great. Now they've poisoned our vegetables, too
Food-Borne Illness From Produce on the Rise
So much for eating vegetables to stay healthy, huh? Looks like the culprit is food imported from countries with weak health standards. But hey, protest the free trade agreements, and you're beat up by police and investigated by the FBI, so just shut up and eat what George Bush tells you to eat.
--From the article: "Dr. Tauxe of the Centers for Disease Control said: "As far as I know there is not a mandatory requirement that water used to rinse or ice or wash vegetables be potable. There are guidelines recommending this, but in terms of fairness we don't require other countries to meet standards that aren't required in this country."

And I must add that everytime you prepare fruits or vegetables, even if you got them from an organic farmer's market, wash them before you eat them, and keep your countertops and cutting boards clean.

A few thoughts on Michael Jackson
There once were news stories about Michael Jackson claiming that he was singled out among his siblings for abuse from his father. Now there are allegations that he himself abuses children. The existance of each of those allegations make the other more likely to be true in my mind. Also, any analysis of this guy's behavior and what this guy believes about reality shows that he is most likely insane. Unfortunately for him, he has had the money to make his day to day existance look like that of royalty (remember when he insisted that in order to have access to him, members of the media had to refer to him as "the King of Pop?") and he has created a bubble in which his dimensia and paranoia have become manifest. This is not condusive to the healing process. This is a recipe for further removal from reality. This is a guy who still claims that he has had very little plastic surgery. This is a guy who keeps giraffes for pets. This is a guy whose genitals can be accurately described many many young boys to the police (at least in 1993.) Ahh - that's all.