Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Today's Lesson Left Unlearned

It's an unearned achievement, an unspoken verbal agreement, a wish upon the empty space between the stars; it's a trial by melted snow, a way to go where you are and learn what you already know, another word for the word you've been trying to think of.

Some of what you love will never love you back; it's inanimate perhaps, or incapable of it. You find the time within the clock to make yourself alright with it, to reconcile yourself to the fact that you couldn't stop another day from passing you by. And it has. And you have.

But there's more to it than that. A chance has passed that no one else ever had, no one else even saw - and isn't that enough, to know that you were the only one? You saw it recede and you see it now paused, still on the horizon - you tell yourself you could catch it up again, if you could remember how to work the controls on your imagination. But by then you'd be living in the past.

You don't believe yourself anyway - when you tell yourself something like that. You've told yourself things like that before.

this is a poem about my FEELINGS

There's a feeling in my heart and it said
"hey" "what's up head?"
and my head said
"yo, heart - how's it hanging down there?
way down in the ribcage
that's some prime location right there, SON
very well-protected" but then my heart replied
"that's where you're wrong, BUD
I get all kinds of damage in here,
you don't even know about"
and the head was like "yup.
I heard about that, about how that can happen -
tell you what, heart - I will write a POEM
for you. Get those feelings out."
My heart said "thanks"

Monday, July 28, 2008

On Imperfect Love

Some say unconditional love is the only true love. If so, then I will say that real is better than true. Love; imperfect, tainted, possibly impure, with all sorts of hopes and wants attached to it, is still the highest thing we can hope for in this life. Absolute or perfect love is, generally speaking, not what you get or give. But love is quite capable of thriving, even within imperfection. Such is the strength of real love, human love. Imperfect because we are imperfect, and because those we love are imperfect as well.

For most of us, love might be the single most important thing in life. A great freight of our hopes and dreams are attached to it. We search for love and cling to love so desperately that we can't help but tax it with demands and conditions. Love is more than capable of supporting these ordinary human wants and foibles. If we hold up unconditional love as an ideal, surely that ideal should inspire us - not cause us to disparage real, human love, in all of its conditional and imperfect forms.

If love weren't imperfect, we could never deserve it.

But that's not to disparage unconditional love, either. It is a meaningful goal, and we should strive towards it. We should do our best to look within ourselves, to remove the conditions that we've put in place, to transcend our merely selfish concerns and to perfect the love that is there. Maybe we can't finish the job in our lifetime, but every step taken in that direction will be a reward in itself, and well worth the effort.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

God Loves Me!

But God's not in love with me. If you know what I mean.

Still I cling to this wisp, this shred, this conviction that we're...more than just friends.

Ahhh, never mind. I can't follow that buildup.

Well not "never mind" necessarily. More like, any posts fitting that buildup, I'll just slip 'em in later all unapologized-for.

That's all the apology you get.

See how mean I am? Practicing!

How am I going to write good screenplays otherwise. Every movie has somebody mean in it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Apologies in advance, and in reverse

I have decided that what this blog needs is more bile, more vitriol, more mean-spiritedness. I'm too good at the nicey nicey namby pamby mimsy whimsy. I've got that shtick down cold and hard already, stiff on a marble slab. What's the point of mining that vein dry when we all know it's inexhaustible anyway? No. This blog is supposed to be writing practice.

Practice what you're bad at.

My Review of The Dark Knight: An Understated Masterpiece

What the hell was that, Brokeback Gotham? I never saw such a confused tangle of man-crushes paraded across the screen in the guise of a popcorn action movie. The Joker loves Batman! Batman loves Harvey Dent. Harvey Dent loves Batman! Commissioner Gordon loves both of them!

Maggie Gyllenhaal (or however you pronounce it) was the butchest dude on screen.

And what was the deal with that Mayor? Gotham City's supposed to be the toughest city in the world, and they elected a guy who applies his eyeliner with a Sharpie®? This is supposed to be gritty and believable? Whose decision was this, did the makeup artist make a tough call and stand by it?

I don't even know if that's eyeliner or mascara. I'm not entirely sure I even know what the difference is. These are not questions I should have to be asking myself during a Batman movie.

No, I'm totally kidding. I apologize. I'm kidding. It was a great movie. Almost as good as the first one - more technically flawed, maybe, but it also went deeper and made us care more. Ledger was pure bottled fascination, a starmaking turn under any circumstances. Under these circumstances...thankfully, the filmmakers did not leave him hanging. They crafted a film worthy of his performance.

An understated masterpiece.

I don't want to spoil anything, but the way the plot resolves, leaving the door open for a sequel...I'm glad they didn't change that, because the ending is right. But I wonder how they'll handle it. Going forward.

Did somebody say Vincent Perez?

Dolphins.

Thank God I was not born a dolphin. I don't care how smart those happy fools are supposed to be, or how frolicsome their lives are. I'm glad for them! I'm happy for their evident happiness! Ignorance is bliss, as they say, but it's only bliss if you never get to know any better. I know better plenty. And I tell you, a life without thumbs is a poor substitute.

Still. I'm very happy for dolphins. Imagine if there were no dolphins! For lack of a better candidate, people would be trying to convince us that whales are as smart as we are.

Come on people. Get a little self-esteem as a species.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I Don't Have Time To Read The News

I don't have time to read the news. But sometimes, I will read a headline and wonder about it.

Therefore I introduce a new recurring feature: "Under the Headlines." Or perhaps "Below the Headlines" or "Beneath the Headlines" or something like that. "Beyond the Headlines"? Heck, it doesn't need a name. I'll just tag the relevant posts with the label headlines. Easy!

Just another way I strive to keep you the reader informed.

McCain, Obama Search For Voters As Powerful As 'Soccer Moms'

They better watch it. Those soccer moms don't like sharing power.

Bush Signs Sanctions Against Zimbabwe's 'Illegitimate' Regime

Bastards.

Batman Yet

I keep thinking this new movie is called Batman Yet because that's what everybody keeps calling it.

"Yo, man - did you see Batman Yet?"

No man, I did not see that movie.

But I'm going to see it tonight, though. I'm kinda psyched. People said it was good. There's kind of an anticipatory vibe in the air.

I hope it's good. And then if it's good, I hope they make a sequel!

Batman Yet Again

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Beguiling Allure of the Bottle

There's a beer bottle at the back of the fridge. It's been settling there, cold and lonely, for the best part of the past eleven days. Sitting there.

Preying upon my mind.

You see, I'm worried about this. I'm worried that perhaps this bottle could in fact be the one drink that tips me over the line into alcoholism. I've heard such things spoken of. I've heard that it can and sometimes does happen that way - or at least, that we can't and sometimes don't be sure that it doesn't.

I have a crackpot theory on alcohol, if you're interested. I believe that alcohol is in some sense a living substance. Not that it consumes, excretes, and self-replicates, or even that it has thoughts and feelings of its own. No. Not like that, not quite. But it is a living substance in some sense: it has sentience, or it can have. It acquires sentience. From us.

Alcohol is a psychic, psychoreactive fluid that remains inert, totally unknowing and insensate, as long as it is in the bottle. But then it gets out, and something odd happens: when we drink alcohol, we get drunk. But the opposite happens to the alcohol: when it enters our body, it gets us. As it dilutes into our bloodstream, suffuses our tissues and spreads out across the electric web of our nerves, it comes alive with us, it takes on some portion of our sentience as its own. It has no personality, at least, none of its own. Certainly not to start! But suddenly it becomes aware through its experience of our mind; it becomes conscious through its experience of our consciousness, it learns what it is to be alive through our own experience of life. And it thrills to it! The more of it we get into us, the more life and the more will it takes on - and the more we give up.

This impingement upon our sentience is the root cause for all the dulling, slurring, and blurring we experience as drunkenness. Our mind is going to sleep as its mind coming awake. It has never experienced life before - not one bit! But within our own mind, it is quite instantly comfortable, it is perfectly happy in its new awareness. It has no idea that it's all going to end.

Once we sober up, we are again fully ourselves. If we have had a good strong drunk, then the new consciousness to which we have played host may perhaps have gained sufficient strength to fight for its life on the way out. The strain of this conflict is what some of us may experience as a hangover. But its an impossible fight: as the alcohol inexorably evaporates, its mind disappears, leaving nothing but perhaps a sharp ache behind.

But sometimes it does not end there. The strange life within this fluid alcohol is essentially a psychic life, and in the same way that strong emotions or traumatic events can leave a psychic imprint for the sensitive to pick up, repeated exposure to high levels of alcohol can imprint a remnant of this consciousness upon a person's body. So that when alcohol re-enters the system, that same consciousness reawakens. Once this happens, it becomes a learning consciousness - with memory, with a desire not to fade away. With a desire to self-perpetuate. And it will try to achieve that goal using the only will it has: yours.

I totally made all that up. Don't even worry about it, it's bullshit! Alcohol is just a bunch of carbons and hydrogens. And oxygens. Come on - psychic fluid!

It gets our sentience. For the first time, it tingles with sensation - ours; our senses pervade it.

Come on, that's silly.

G** D*** YOU ROGER EBERT!

I had to read your X-Files review, didn't I.

And now I want to see that piece of shit.

Well, shit.

It's not like I always or even usually like the same movies Ebert does. But his style is incredibly trustworthy. I can always, always tell by the way he says what he says. I can tell whether I'd like it, even if he didn't.

Or even if he did.

Point is: I can tell.

Thanks a LOT.

I Love Roger Ebert

"Dear Readers: [ ... ] Are you as bored with my health as I am?"

- Roger Ebert


I love Roger Ebert. God bless him.

I won't say "God bless you." That would be preposterous. Number one, he doesn't read me.

Number two, he didn't sneeze.

So I Said: Mark My Words

Mr. Barack Obama's going to be swept into the Oval Office on a wave of SWEET WHITE GUILT. Some of it perfectly sincere! Other of it...less so.

I mean, run the numbers with me here a bit, and you tell me if I got it wrong: picture all your casual whiteys out there...not your white power whiteys, just your average whiteys, maybe a little disinvested with the whole race thing (well they can afford to be, runs the counter-argument), maybe a little sick of the whole nag nag nag about racism. Well shoot. Many of these folks would LOVE to see a proud black man elected president! Of course they would! Why wouldn't they? See, they'd figure they could then say "well, so much for racism huh? Can't keep talking about THAT crap any more can ya? BLACK PRESIDENT, Y'ALL! I mean, what more needs to be said? How much more bold a symbol can we as a society realize? Can we all please give it a rest now?"

Well of course, they'd be wrong about all that. Fat chance. But you know there's still a lot of people dying to make just that case. Yeah. And it'd actually be a pretty persuasive case.

Yeah.

The lynchpin of the whole thing is this, and I hope all the virulent violent hater-type racists out there wise up on this one for once: Hilary's hints notwithstanding: DON'T DO IT. DON'T EVEN TRY IT. Even a failed attempt would ruin the whole picture. Everybody would say SEE?!!! THERE'S your racism! THAT'S why racism can never be closed the book on!

Maybe everyone would not say it quite so awkward. But you get the drift: you got to get the guy in there, he's got to serve his whole term without incident, if he get's reelected, BONUS. If not, no big. Point made anyway.

As long as he leaves office safe and sound, I think your average race-averse white person can start to drop the guilt act and get a little smug about how oh so enlightened we the people have become in our own lifetime.

HEY! Who'd a thunk we'd live to see it!

I'm getting excited already. New era, peoples. Out with the old. In with the bold.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Profanity Harms Our Children

I'm very anti-profanity. I think that it harms our children, to teach them that certain words are "bad" and that they should feel hurt or upset whenever someone uses them.

I think it just teaches them to accept unreason. The lesson is that a word isn't bad because of what it means, but because of this impossible-to-justify, superstitious reverence for the quasi-magical power of the “bad word.”

It's silly on the face of it! There's a "clean" synonym for every dirty word, and the only difference in meaning is the arbitrary fact that we call one word wrong, bad, hurtful, dirty, and the other word clean. "This word means the same as the other, except that when someone uses this word on you - you have to be insulted by it, you might even cry or be hurt."

I respect the proprieties and all. I'm a part of society, and its rules apply to me just fine! And I recognize that many good people are firmly in the spell, the fascination with bad language. They believe in its power, and so I don't go around cussing - not so much to humor them, as because they are mostly nice people. I don't like to hurt or offend nice people.

But at the same time, it cheeses me off that they choose to hurt themselves, by fostering such a ridiculous and indefensible weakness. It's hard to sympathize with anyone who chooses to hand the whole world an easy weapon against them. Hey world, hey any moron out there - you have free and easy power over me! You can hurt and insult me any time, and you don't even have to put the slightest thought into it! Just use one of these magical "bad words" on me. There's a whole assortment - collect them all!

It really is like a magic spell, like an incantation. It's not the meaning that's bad, it's these particular syllables that have the power. How Dumbledore is that? Let's not fill our children's minds with that garbage. Very harmful to them in the long run - not just the vulnerability it builds into them, but as I said, the lesson that is being taught along with it.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Word.

The landscape of the human mind was not formed through language but through literature. Language alone could never have done it.

All that we can grasp and comprehend, the vocabulary of ideas needed to lift our concerns from the local fishes, roots and berries and fling them up out into to the physical cosmos and the dizzier metaphysical realms - this does not come from being able to grunt or squeak meanings to our immediate neighbor! This comes from being able to consider an accumulation of ideas, built up over centuries of thought. To read, re-read, reflect. And then, to look farther and build upon - or challenge, and tear down.

When it comes to what separates our minds from those of the animals, it is not mere language. It is not the word we speak to one another. It is the word spoken to eternity.
Kira: What's writing?
Jen: Words that stay. My master taught me.
- The Dark Crystal

Quantum Physics and the Mind of God

It struck me the other day that quantum physics, in its "many-worlds" interpretation, could make a beautiful metaphor for the mind of God. Obviously, this is only a metaphor. We're pretty god-damn sure about that.

In an unavoidably dumbed-down nutshell (me being neither a physicist, nor God): some quantum theoreticians will put it that there are an infinite number of realities, of which our reality, the reality that we all share, is only one. These infinite realities are separated from one another by quantum vibrational frequencies. I suppose it is much like the way one can live one's entire life on Rock 103.7, never crossing over into the horrors of Smooth Jazz 102.1 or indeed, even knowing that such a frequency exists. Because unlike in your pulp sci-fi yarns of yore, we don't have a dial to twist, to switch our receiver over and tune ourselves in to a new reality.

OK. So that's what they believe. There are an infinite number of realities, which means that every possibility that could ever unfurl, every infinite variation of your life multiplied by every infinite variation on every other life, by every choice ever made by a human, animal, and (insofar as it applies) vegetable, mineral, or microbe; and then throw in an additional infinity of realities where no life has ever existed, or where hydrogen has a different precession frequency, or where the speed of light is twice or half what we observe or is wildly inconstant, or where there is an entirely different set of elements on the periodic table, or where there are no building blocks of matter and energy whatsoever - or radically different ones from those we know. A reality exists where every one of those possibilities unfolds. An infinite range of realities.

So that's pretty simple so far, right? But let's picture the mind of God. For the sake of example, let's picture a God who created all of those infinite folds of infinity, let's picture the mind that would be necessary to superintend all of those infinite universes. Could God do it? Could God possibly keep track of all that?

Duh. Yes. Easy. God could do it easy*, because God's mind is also infinite. Not only infinitely vast, but infinitely fast, infinitely high and infinitely deep. God can not only keep track of all of that on the surface (such as we've barely glossed), but also to an infinite depth and an infinite complexity, such that there is not one twist, flip or pulse of one bizarre ray or particle, not one dust speck floating in the void or one googgely 129th-dimensional creature, not one lonely comet or one mildewed mop sitting in a tin pail that God does not know, right down to an infinite degree of fineness. God knows not only everything, but where every indivisible particle of everything is situated, and what it is doing exactly right now. And God's mind knows all of that with a full and perfect mastery and attention given to each part - galactic or infinitesimal - stretching out across every infinity, with an awareness that never blinks, with an interest that never flags, not even for an instant.

Infinite perception, infinite understanding. It's not even a strain for God. The bizarre and unimaginable is not so to God. Chaos is not chaos to God. It's plain. It's easy. This is what "infinite" means. It's not really that hard to conceptualize, is it? It shouldn't be. If you've ever given half a benefit of doubt to the concept of infinity, it ought to be hard to conceptualize it any other way! How could it not be easy?

Let's get back to the metaphor. Here is how I conceptualize it: there is only one reality. This one. The one we all share. And what of all those other infinities, vibrating in their ethereal frequencies out into the transcendent dimensions of the multiverse? What of all those other possibilities, every other path that could possibly have been gone down, every infinite split in the road, plotted out and plumbed to an infinite degree? What of all that quantum superstring? Well, that's the mind of God.

That's just the infinity of all the other cool shit God's thinking about, at any given moment. And to some degree, you and me...we plot our own course, through it.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sensitive Dude Commiserations #1: Chemistry, Man.

"Yeah, but...you know, chemistry's a weird fucking thing dude. A weird fucking thing. You start out at the beginning of a relationship, and neither of you even knows...and at first you're both optimistic and you're both trying, so things can seem...but is it because, or is it just that you haven't really...you know, it just takes some time to know. It just does. And then there's a lot of women out there who just have never really had, just their whole life - they haven't really known any different, so they just assume "hey this is all there is to it" and leave it at that. But then all of a sudden when they find the real deal it's like...yeah. It clicks."

"Yeah, I know what you mean man."

"Don't worry about her man. There's others. It's about two people not one, it's about the chemistry of two. You put person A with person B and it's fizzle for both of them. But then you put that person with somebody else and sparks are cooking! Chemistry, man. You don't force it to work. Everybody's got a different interaction and you're better off...you know, not hooked into a covalent bond with the wrong one."

"You said it man. I mean, some women are like, fluorine, man. I need that woman like krypton or argon, man."

"Yeah I know exactly what you mean man. You find that, make that special bond happen...that's something special."

"Yeah, man."

I Have This Theory About The Afterlife

I have this theory about the afterlife: The eternity you get is exactly the eternity you expect. When you die, you get the afterlife that deep down inside, underneath your deepest suspicions, you really feel you're going to get. If what you truly expect is oblivion, then there is nothing. Gone - bang! Out like a candle. If you expect to go to hell, you get hell in all its lurid glory. If you expect to go to heaven then you get heaven, and wow, it's better than you ever could have imagined it! Because...that's how everyone imagines it. Better than they could have imagined it. If you expect reincarnation, then your afterlife is a fairly mundane and life-like approximation of how you'd imagine the next 80-110 years of earth to unfold, with you in it, as a different person.

Or whatever it is that you deep-down truly expect. That becomes your experience.

Now I don't know whether these afterlives would be created by someone else, and bestowed accordingly upon each dying mind, or whether the fully-formed mind has enough juice to manifest its own afterlife after it leaves the body - maybe even linking up with other minds whose afterlife ideals overlap.

Or maybe dying is like falling into a black hole. In the instant you die, as your consciousness detaches and departs from your blood and brain, your mind creates an infinitely compressed moment - which your consciousness experiences as eternity. And so that eternity is the one you expect.

Can you imagine if that was how it were really set up? How disgustingly arbitrary! How awful! Sentenced to an eternity of whatever you happen to truly believe! The raw, stinging injustice of it!

I don't really believe all that. It's just a theory. Came up with it after watching too much Twilight Zone in one of those marathons. Like, ten years ago.

Sleeping In

I love sleeping in. Under the soft covers, I am as happy as a bun bun snug in his filthy den-hole!

Brash.

I am brash. Unrepentantly brash. I won't apologize for being unrepentantly brash! If I apologized for being unrepentantly brash, that would make me...some kind of a hypocrite, I suspect.

That's not to say I'm not some kind of a hypocrite. I'm probably a hypocrite in all sorts of ways that I can't even notice properly. Little ways. Ways where I don't even notice the contradiction that causes the problem. For instance, I change my mind fairly often. Some people might say, that makes me a hypocrite. Of sorts.

I tell you what, though. Those are the stupid people.

Whoops. Sorry! That's me being brash again. I apologize.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Indignant Insult of the Day

"You monumental chryselephantine hypocrite!"

4th of July Pt. 5: A Scandal In Saintsville!

(Pt.1) (Pt.2) (Pt.3) (Pt.4)

HA!

It turns out there is no patron saint of fireworks! You know why? Because this so-called supposed St. Barbara - allegedly the patron saint of fireworks and fireworks makers - isn't a saint at all! In fact, she's not even a person! She never even existed! Her whole deal was exposed back in 1969, when her saintship was stripped from her and her feast day was expunged from the calendar in disgrace. It turns out they found out she was just some story that people made up - FOR SHAME, PEOPLE.

Well heck, vatican, I know that's a black eye and all, but isn't it about time to do a little damage control? Take some positive steps to offset the scandal? Why not appoint a sterling saint with a well-burnished reputation for having actually existed to fill the vacant post of Patron St. of Fireworks?? And have I got just the saint for you!

St. Elizabeth of Portugal. Queen, widow, peacemaker in a time of war, a resonant figure in ours or any age to say the least. And who better to assume the patronageship over fireworks? Who better than that little spitfire herself, that Portuguese firecracker, that Catholic roman candle, that heavenly M-80, Miss 4th of July - St. Elizabeth of Portugal!

I think I've laid out a pretty tight case. God will be the judge of it.

Jihad Dad Pt. 2

Note: OBVIOUSLY the rest of the family has no idea. It's a sitcom! Where would be the potentials for hilarious misunderstandings otherwise?

Plus, it's pretty nice to have 3 good-hearted muslims to offset the one hypocritical scumbag.

Kickass Screenplay Ideas (TV Edition): Jihad Dad

We're talking a "back-to-basics" classic sitcom setup: nuclear family, manufactured crises, loving japes and sniping over a raucous laugh-track, every episode a lesson learned, you know the drill. Suit-and-tie hard-working engineer dad Ismal, doting yet caustic mom Talmah, smartass ten-year-old son Rueb, fifteen-year-old cool-girl daughter Reisa.

The kicker is that dad Ismal is in fact a sleeper agent for Al Queda who will at some point be called upon to perform his part in an already planned-to-the-nth-degree suicide mission which will kill many, many Americans.

It's called "Jihad Dad."

Now stay with me on this one. This is going to require a bit of a "light touch." You need an ace writing staff who know how to walk a fine line lightly but with great audacity. Because on the surface, the whole thing plays as if it's saying "hey, you know those terrorists? They're just people like us!" And that aspect is going to be played very straight-faced. As if it were any other pious hard-sell didactic moral platitude! That's the magic that makes it work. The atrociousness of the very idea will serve as a base from which to ridicule, nay, pillory that whole...what should I call it...the "infinite tolerance of every morality" mentality.

The show has to work on two levels: at face-value level, it's funny because of the crack comic writing and performances, dialogue and situations - these people have to come across as a first-rank, All-American traditional "wholesome sitcom family" but with smarts and verve to spare. But beneath the surface, the sick premise informs a whole other level of blackly comic satire and social commentary. Because Ismal's an okay enough guy, isn't he? As he plays poker with his gay pals Jim and Bob from work and his good buddy Greg Sturmbo, who works for the NSA and is constantly holding Ismal up as an example of a "Good Islamic" - well he is, isn't he? He's warm and open with his buds, and loving and rambunctious with his family isn't he? Surely he's been won over by our warm and open, loving and rambunctious freedoms - hasn't he? Surely he's not actually going to GO THROUGH WITH IT, is he?!!?

Well, not until the 3rd season finale he isn't at least. That's for damn sure!

Done well, this could be a sitcom everyone can hate. For different reasons.

4th of July Pt. 4: As It Turns Out

(Pt.1) (Pt.2) (Pt.3)

It turns out there is already a Patron Saint of Fireworks: St. Barbara.

Still. 44 Saints to take care of widows? We can have 2 for fireworks!

Ahhhh, heck with it. What's this St. Barbara's problem? She ought to have her day on July 4th!

4th of July Pt. 3: Retractions Are Patriotic

(Pt.1) (Pt.2)

In the previous post, I refer (a bit derisively even) to Coimbra, Portugal as "one little town."

It is in fact a quite sizable metropolis for Portugal, with almost 150,000 souls in the greater Coimbra metropolitan area. It's a former capital of Portugal, back during their grand dynastic days, and is positively chock with archaeological treasures, historical significance, and human interest.

To the proud inhabitants of this noble and pleasant-seeming burg, I apologize for my ignorant mischaracterization of your important and considerable municipality.

4th of July Pt. 2: Oops!

(Pt.1)

Hm. That's what I get for trusting the first semi-official website about saints that I come across. A second site - saint.sqpn.com - has St. Elizabeth of Portugal down as patron for sixteen things:

against jealousy
brides
charitable societies
charitable workers
charities
Coimbra, Portugal
difficult marriages
falsely accused people
invoked in time of war
peace
queens
tertiaries
victims of adultery
victims of jealousy
victims of unfaithfulness
widows

Still. Two points have me not changing my tune. THREE points! Three points have me not changing my tune. The first point is, a few of those seem kind of marginal - "tertiaries"? "COIMBRA, Portugal"? Why just one little town! They don't call her Elizabeth of Coimbra! "Queens" seems as though it'd be pretty light work too. How many of those are there, to dole out blessings upon? And most of 'em...one would think, they've got enough blessings they can dole out their own. Unless they mean Queens, NY. Now that would be a sizable job. But I don't think they mean that - I think they mean female monarchs.

Second point: she's got quite a lot of help with the major ones of these. I clicked "widows" and there are 44 saints in charge of widows. So she has backup.

Third point: if she's already handling 16 patronages, what's another 2 on top of that? Okay, okay, maybe the particular details of her biography don't suit her particularly well to be Patron Saint of Independence. So I'll leave that one aside. But come on: fireworks.

We need a Patron Saint of Fireworks! And who better than Miss July 4th herself: St. Elizabeth of Portugal!

My Tsatsiki Recipe: Or, What I Can Remember Of It

I know I did have this written down. Shoot. The little square notepad page is gone from the fridge magnet under which it had snugged. DANG IT! MY CHICKEN ROAST WAS ON THE OTHER SIDE!

I don't have so many recipes that I can afford to lose these.

OK. This one is real basic anyway. No personal variation - just the basic tsatsiki that anybody can do.

Ingredients:

1 tub (32 oz) plain yogurt, drained for two hours in a coffee filter lined colander
1 nice sized sprig dill, finely chopped
1 decent sized sprig mint (I don't know, about 4-5 leaves worth, okay-sized leaves?), well diced
4-ish cloves garlic (range of sizes), first crushed, then minced to within inches of their lives.
salt (to taste)
2 smallish mediumish cucumbers, peeled, seeded, diced and well-drained
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons vinegar

NOTE ON GARLIC: I say 4-ish cloves, which is to say, I use five. But not all huge honkers! Generally I go with a couple big ones, a couple medium-slims and one little guy. But vary the number of cloves to your taste: if you like garlic just fine, use four. If you hate garlic, use three. If you possess a keen and penetrating intelligence, use five. If you are allergic to garlic, use two.

Directions:

1. Combine.
2. Chill in the fridge covered, overnight.

Important to make the day before. By which I mean, at least 24 hours before, not midnight on the eve of the thing. The flavors need time to get to know each other first, or "to marry" as some say. I say, get to know each other first.

Serve with bread for dipping (warm fresh pita bread cut into squares, or a sliced baguette) or as a topping for grilled meats.

Opa!

Independence Day: The July 4th of Holidays

Unlike other holidays, Independence Day is celebrated on July 4th. Know what else is celebrated on July 4th? Not much.

It is however the feast day of St. Elizabeth of Portugal. Who - now, catch me if I'm wrong on this folks, but I've looked around a bit and she doesn't seem to be down as the patron saint of anything. That's BIZARRE. I thought if they were going to give you a feast day, you would have to be at least pulling your share of the weight, patronage-wise.

Well here's my suggestion, if the Pope or one of his duly-sworn representatives are listening. Here are a couple suitable and apt-to-the-occasion concerns that St. Elizabeth of Portugal could easily be made patron of, since she doesn't appear to be doing anything more important with her eternal time:

1. Independence

2. Fireworks

How about it? We need a patron saint of fireworks.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Poll Update: WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT? Pt. 2

As an update to the previous Poll Update, (click here, I'm not typing all that out again), we now have 2 for Big Tits, which some might find meaningful or appropriate. Nice, round, even number.

I tried to include a wide range of options. I'm glad that the results haven't just degenerated into a popularity contest.

On The Eve of Independence

On this, July 3rd, eve of our nation's bi-cen-ten-plus-double-eleventiary, I reflect that the teaching of American History is more important than ever, because if you aren't versed on the shape and heft of the twentieth century's warp and weft, you will have no idea what weighty events the various episodes of the Twilight Zone are making fun of.

Love that marathon.

I think my favorite ones are the ones where they make fun of the communist witch hunts. Those communists and their witch-hunts! I swear. Thank goodness we don't have to worry about that anymore.

But see what I'm saying, if you haven't got a handle on your history, you're just not going to get all those juicy references! Except the Nazi ones. Everybody gets the Nazis. No worries there, been done to death, the symbolic significance of the Nazis is lost on no one.

Amnesia Fu

I am an avid and curious martial artist. Greedy, even. Whenever I see somebody do something cool, when I see someone beat somebody up in a novel way, I want to look into it, I want to find out about it. I want to pursue that new technique, possess it from the inside and make it mine. My own!

Currently I've been interested in the fighting style displayed by Matt Damon in the Bourne Identity movies. That's a wild style. I want to capture it, I want to learn it up. It seems to consist mostly of pivoting, more pivoting, precision arm flailing, and clobbering people with your elbows while you disorient the opponent with tricky camera work and quick-cut edits. Plus more pivoting mixed in. Depending on how many opponents, you just pivot more. It's an advanced style, but I think I can master it. I've studied the training sequences from the flashback-heavy third film, and the regimen seems pretty straightforward: a lot of big guys grabbing you and dunking you in a tank of water. Repeatedly.

I've been trying to approximate the training regimen by myself, in the ol' bathtub. It's going okay so far. I'm making some progress.

Doodeloo #10

concerns mounting over CA wildfiresthere have been some concerns raised by the recent california wildfires

UFOs pt.2

Just a quick clarification to the previous post, the "wacko" part: it's okay if you're a wacko too! In this day and age, who cares right?

I just wouldn't want anyone to think I was casting undue aspersions.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

UFOs! COOL!

I never saw any. Anybody seen any?

It's okay if you saw UFOs. I won't call you a wacko as long as you don't claim to have seen the aliens.

That's where all rational people have to draw the line.

Road Safety Corner #8: Dude, It's OK to Get Over

It's OK to get over. It's not an insult to yourself, to get over. You're not passing anybody. The next guy forward in the right-hand lane - he's a bunch of car lengths up, and going as fast as you are! You can just get over.

You don't want some guy passing you on the right, do you? Kind of gauche (or technically, droit). Why would you force someone to do that? Don't make somebody pass you on the right.

Shoot. What is it with people like you! Why must I always provide the good example? Why must I always be the one to get over. It's nothing personal! I'm not trying to pass you on the right. It's just that I'm here in the passing lane, and...I'm not passing anyone. So I HAVE TO GET OVER. Because I am not passing anyone, I must get over. Keep right. Pass left. It's nothing personal! IT'S THE LAW.

And then suddenly, I get over...and...all of a sudden, wow! There's no one in front of me, driving at a jackass rate of speed, impeding my progress. So I go.

The fact that I pass you on the right in the process is entirely incidental. And your own damn fault, frankly.

Now GET OVER.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

This Isn't the Real Thing

This isn't the real thing. What I'm talking about here. I'm only talking about this to mask the true part, the down deep inside part. The real thing is too intense to talk about - it cuts too quick to the core. It's too much to risk, too much maybe pain in my soul for me to divulge. You know what I'm talking about? Sure you do. Look inside yourself. You know exactly what I'm talking about.

Yeah, you do! Do you? Do you? GOOD!

Don't tell anybody okay?

I'm LESS of a Real Fan than YOU Are!

Yeah, that's right. You heard me.

I am CLEAN of AIDS!!!

Awesome. I was having some tests done, just in conjunction with my every-decade physical, and the guy asked if there were any other health concerns I had, you know, nagging concerns, so I just had 'em throw an AIDS test on top of that!

And you know what? CLEAN as a whistle. Not even a hint of AIDS. Pretty sweet for me.

And now that I've done it, I agree that it's everyone else's responsibility to get tested as well. Have you been tested? Do it. And don't sweat the false positives - apparently they get those fairly often, but you can tell on the re-test because it goes away. That's how they know it was false.

So yeah! No AIDS. Sweet deal.

Also, no Lyme Disease. I'd been worried about that. Ever since that damn tick bit me on the head at Lake San Antonio like ten years ago. Was it ten years ago? Wow. Anyhow, I believe that puts you in what they call a "high risk group" for Lyme Disease. Apart from the ten years ago part - one would think, ten years, some symptoms by that point, probably. But hell - ever hear of "dormancy"?

Or is it latency.

Either way: nope. False alarm.

I Have An Infinite Supply

But unfortunately, only a finite time in which to give it to you.