Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The pig stays in the picture

I believe this is a photo of my dad's family, and possibly my Grandpa there in the middle in the WWI uniform. I never met my real Grandpa and have very few pictures of him, Grandma married him around 1900 but was already twice-widowed when I was born, so husband #3 was my Grandpa for all I cared (she outlived him too). Those really unhappy-looking kids are probably some of my aunts and uncles, but this was before my dad and probably a few siblings were born (there were 9 kids). I like the hats. The man on the far left looks like he's wearing an old Civil War era hat, and love that ten-gallon hat on the man next to Grandpa (with the dog)... and yes, for some reason, there is a pig in the picture.

They were from Southern Illinois around Makanda [late 19th century gallery of that tiny town] and you can see Grandpa's old Red Crown gas station circa 1924-1925, and a couple more old relics here.


[LINK] The author of "More Guns, Less Crime" was scheduled to speak at the UT law School tonight, an event that must now be postponed because a man firing an assault weapon on campus ending up shooting himself in the Library. They are still looking for a possible 2nd suspect or involved person, and all events on campus have been canceled.

The lecture was hosted by Libertarian Longhorns, the UT Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, the UT Objectivism Society and the UT Federalist Society.

Jeff Shi, president of UT Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, was quoted saying
"I don’t want to comment on any political aspects of this, I hope everything turns out well and the only casualties are the bad guys."

Friday, September 24, 2010

I am shocked... SHOCKED...

Chrysler Auto Workers Caught Drinking During Lunch, Possibly Smoking Pot (with VIDEO)

Uh, yeah, they are acting like this is brand new thing - NEWS, even. Yes, it's very bad behavior but this kind of thing has been going on for a long, long time. It's not all autoworkers who are inebriated at work, but I think it's enough to matter.

I was an auto assembler from 1976 to 1979. It was damned hard physical work and in summer it got up to 125° at my station/part of the line (and it wasn't the hottest area there). It's not only hard work, it's really, really boring. You are stuck in the same place doing the same thing over and over and over again. In this place a car went by about once a minute, so there was time to do whatever it was but falling behind couldn't happen. We put in 53 hours a week for 3 weeks, then 45 hours the 4th week (when we would have Saturday off). Like I said, it was hot, and also really filthy - everything was covered in grime, there were mice and roaches, very poor ventilation and heavy machinery going everywhere, hydraulic tools, forklifts, sexual harassment, pranks (those were usually OK), loud noise and lots of crap. Mostly, the biggest problem was boredom.

I was in my early-mid-20s, and was having as much fun as I could, working hard and partying hard.

During our half-hour lunch, a lot of people hit the nearby bar or convenience store, and guzzle or smoke as much as possible within the time limit. Then, if that wasn't enough, during the shift many had flasks, liquored thermoses, cocaine, whatever could be sneaked.

We got a week off for Christmas, and on that last work day there would be approved parties in some of the work areas - and there would be a punch bowl. It would end up spiked at the source or in the cup. I remember a Christmas party where one guy was so drunk they had to practically carry him to the time clock at the end of the shift, and with his time card placed in his hand, someone else held his hand to clock him out. It was strictly against the rules to clock out another person. We all knew that if you were buying a Big-Three car, it would be wise to make sure it wasn't assembled on the last day for Xmas break.

The foremen were not in on this. They knew about a lot of it, but none of it was officially tolerated. They could look the other way - or not - depending on how they felt like dealing with it. See, if they sent you home, they had to get somebody to do your job NOW. It was a hell of a lot worse for a worker to not be there, because a job on the assembly line can't wait. The line has to keep moving to keep up the profit$.

The guy a couple of stations down from me was a hard-core drunk (and by that I mean he was a lot drunker than anybody else at any given time). He could easily drink a whole bottle of something (and now I can't remember whether he preferred whiskey, gin or vodka) in the course of a day - every day. One day he came in so drunk already that he leaned over to do a job and just kept going... passed out. The foreman was mad as hell, and he got him up and sent him home. The guy left and crashed his car. He wasn't killed, just banged up pretty good. His job was to install the passenger-side seat belt.

I was already a carouser when I started working there, but it was during that time that I started to snap out of it. I got religion for awhile (substituting one damned thing for another one) and eventually gave up the weed and cut the booze waaaay down. The only thing that kept me from ending up as a laid-off factory worker with no skills was the fact that I got myself back in school - taking classes in my spare time. At first I decided to become a draftsman (a "skilled trade" they called it), then set my sights higher on technical illustration - figuring I'd probably have to move to Detroit at some point, as that kind of work was only done at World HQs. (Thanks to the layoffs and plant closings, I never went to Detroit.)

My skilled trade studies and eventual 4-yr degree (even though acquired at age 40) and the smarts I was born with turned out to be the things that saved me better than baby jesus, because the auto industry did not end up providing a future for me. Ever since my first office job in the mid-1980s, I've gotten by without excessive back-breaking work and in fairly safe and pleasant working conditions.

So far, anyway.

And I'm never bored out of my head.

More blue-collar tales here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bullet = dodged

I know that the Obama administration has been an occasional disappointment in varying degrees for progressives. Any moderate is not going to match my ideals because I'm a liberal, and there were no liberals in the Presidential race after Kucinich left it... and I doubt that a liberal will ever make it to Party nominee again in my lifetime, but... that being said, let's look at McCain here.

With his hot temper and belligerence, he is absolutely unfit to hold the office of POTUS (and plenty of lesser jobs too), imagine a President so old, incompetent, flying off the handle in fits of rage, and not in the best health, and if imagining him as Pres isn't frightening enough then there's the prospect of Vice President Palin. Let that thought simmer, and then boil.

My frustration with current events has been mostly with Congress, mostly with the childish and infuriating tactics of the Republicans, but also with quite a few Democrats. Yes, a lot of them in both Parties need to thrown out, but this "throw 'em all out" sentiment is causing the surge of the extreme fringe nuts (generally lumped together as the Tea Party) to actually make it to the (R) nomination. The only way to prevent these extreme freaks from taking over it to VOTE. Just do it. Get your butt to the polls. Vote against them.

A possible lead

I think we may have discovered one of the things causing the outbreak of toe consumption by pet doggies. Check out this product that is for sale right there in the pet aisle of the HEB grocery. Stop the insanity. See [A Disturbing Trend].

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Here We Live

A scan from an old children's book published in the early 1920s called "The Story of Mankind" by Hendrik Van Loon (link goes to the list of digitized versions at archive.org).
The scene of our history is laid upon a little planet, lost in the vastness of the universe.
This charming illustration was made before Pluto was discovered had its brief run as a full-fledged fellow planet.

I love the illustrations in this book that is sitting here on the desk. It's loaded with wonderful ink map illustrations in the vein of Tolkien's Middle Earth maps. This telling of human history begins with evolution from sea life and continues through the author's present day of 1921, and this is the 2nd printing that includes an extra WWI chapter, After Seven Years. [wiki]

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ya Scurvy Cur!

The 19th of September brings Talk Like a Pirate Day, a bit of fluffy silliness. This page offers a dialectizer, where you can type in some words or a YARRRRRL and get it re-spoken, so you don't have to do the lifting. For example, here's this very post translated into Pirate. Have fun, and remember that eye patches are sexy even though we all hope that we will never actually need one.
A sea dog says 't this way:
The 19th o' Septembree brings Talk Like a Gentleman o' fortune Tide, a bit o' fluffy silliness. This page offers a dialectizer, 'ere ye can type in some words or a YARRRRRL an' get 't re-spoken, so ye dasn't be havin' t' do th' liftin'. Fer example, here`s this very post translated into Gentleman o' fortune. Be havin' fun, an' reckon that eye patches be sexy e'en tho we all hope that we will nereactually need one.
Ya horn swogglin' scurvy dog!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Furbaby Birthday

We don't know his exact birthday, but it's pretty close to right now. He just turned 19. It's hard to believe. This is what most of his days are like, when he's awake that is. We try to make his food really convenient, even putting it where he can eat laying down.

Here's one of his window spots, equipped with cushioned landing and a spot nearby to hide (wrapped up in the bottom of that curtain and between the wall and a bookcase).

Poor Henry hasn't had a very happy birthday, because while we were gone today the roofer showed up and removed the skylights - so Henry had to endure some dust and noise and general nap disruption all day. Unfair!

This is a cat age chart that was put out by IAMS. According to this, Henry is about the equivalent of 93. He has every right to be a little grumpy, but mostly, he's not. He's a dear old sweetie.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Comment moderation is back on

I've picked up a troll, someone who doesn't understand that he/she (this one goes by the moniker "Pub") doesn't have the right to spew whatever they like into a comment on MY blog, including name-calling directed at me. Sorry, but this is my place and you are not allowed to come here, call me names and insult me and my readers.

If you want to rant and rave against me and people you think are like me, and how much you hate people that you mentally lump in with me, you can do it on your own blog, or on facebook, or twitter, or myspace, or in your own little handwritten diary, but you can't do it in my comment space...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bulk trash day and home fixits

Goodbye you dusty old mini-blinds that, in a home with cats, are nearly always going to be hopelessly bent unless they are made of wood.
funny pictures of cats with captionsfunny pictures-wearing shades your doinit wrong

funny pictures of cats with captionsfunny pictures of cats with captions

Even that Indian bedspread I draped over the curtain rod even looks better that those old blinds. The rest of the blinds in the house were pitched a couple of months ago and replaced with old-fashioned room-darkening vinyl shades (with sheers over them), and believe me - they keep that west-facing upstairs Texas bedroom a LOT cooler in Summer (which is 6 months long).

Goodbye old bamboo reed fencing that I had stapled to the wall around the master bath in an attempt to create a "tiki lounge" motif. I lived in Hawaii in the 50s and have a small collection of period knicknacks from that, things that have no other place to go. Stapling reeds to the wall was done after being inspired by a lot of stuff they used to have on that show "Trading Spaces," where they would commonly and intentionally misuse implements of decor. Actually, it didn't look that bad, but after I put it up I was afraid that it would end up full of bugs. In taking it down though, I only found 2 click beetles in it (both dead).

The real reason for taking it down was because we are getting the shower re-tiled. I used to clean that shower with Ajax and other harsh abrasives, and apparently that causes the surface to disintegrate. Anyway, it's a gawd-awful mess in there that I've been wanting to hit with a sledge hammer for a long time. Now it's a matter of necessity since I suspect that the degradation might be allowing water to seep in where it shouldn't be. The demolition process is going to be dusty, so reedy wallcovering, out you go.

The first bid we got for the tile replacement was through Home Depot, and so laughably high that I might frame the quote. They are using a contractor, whose quote stated that their price would be $12,777, but because we were going through Home Depot it would cost only $10,850. The second and third bids were about half of that, so the process will begin on the 20th with them swinging the sledge hammer (or whatever they use).

The recent occurrence of Tropical Storm Hermine going right through us brought heavy rains and flooding. All we really suffered was the failure of one of the skylights to keep out all the water. After having its twin skylight's leak repaired a couple of years ago, we have decided to give them both the boot. $500 will get them removed but still leave us with a couple of funny-looking ceiling tunnels. We can worry about those later.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Gods of War

So the international burning of the Koran (Quran) has been postponed... {yawn}. If you are looking for a topic that will ugly up the conversation faster than politics, go for religion. The patriarchal Yahweh/Jehovah/Allah rules his subjects through the fear of his jealous wrath.
Davidson Loehr: The Story of God's Birth
"The earliest Hebrew traditions show that Yahweh was a Bedouin war god from the deserts of Edom and the surrounding regions. His warlike characteristics are shown in his name: "Yahweh" is an abbreviation of his official, longer name, "Yahweh Sabaoth," which means, "he assembles armies." Yahweh's name identifies this god as primarily the military commander of his people. When he became identified with the tribe of ancient Hebrews, he kept his war god attributes, and added a “tribal chief” character.

The covenant he made with “his” people was modeled on an ancient Hittite sovereignty treaty, and was what we would expect from a war god or tribal chief. He would be their god, and they would be his people. If they obeyed him, he would protect them; if they disobeyed, he could destroy them..."
Christianity, Judaism and Islam all claim to seek and work toward peace - but the central character in monotheistic religions is an entity who does not share power or the allegiance of his followers. He is a stern, jealous ruler. There can be no peace until all humans are following the one of the those three sects, and after one is chosen, then everybody has to narrow it down to one particular brand (such as Catholic/Protestant or Sunni/Shiite). The "narrowing down" process is done partly through conversion but mostly through killing the ones who are different from you. Then, after there is just one religion in charge it has to keep a stern hand over people who choose to think for themselves.
[heresy: from the Greek hairetikos "able to choose" (haireisthai "to choose").]
Also under the thumb of the rulers are those who have broken religious laws as interpreted by the rulers, and punishment is carried out accordingly. A broken law could be as simple as cutting hair or shaving, dressing improperly, eating something you shouldn't, maybe just eating it on the wrong day, speaking to the wrong person, etc. Punishment will vary widely and might include death. This is Theocracy, and it's why it's soooo important to preserve freedom of religion (which also includes freedom from religion).

This is 9/11, and the anniversary of when the USA was attacked on our own soil. The tactics of neoconservative nation-building, being in bed with the likes of Bin Laden and the most unsavory types in the world via the CIA, World Bank, NSA, all the other TLAs (3-letter acronyms) and the long list of International corporations who want to own all the valuable resources in the world - by hook or crook - to use an old-fashioned phrase. The religious idealogy war that smolders on the surface of all the Wars the USA gets itself into just provides enough of a spark to ignite a real shitstorm like we had on 9/11 and afterward.

Seems like the best way to observe this anniversary would be to put aside ALL religious activity that has any measure of intolerance for different beliefs. Put aside nation-building, leader toppling, and war for resources conducted in other countries. This goes for everybody. Oh yeah, and hug a firefighter if there's one nearby.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I think we're done here...

Jimmy Page will be pricing his autobiography at $685. It will be made up of a series of photographs rather than text. [edit: includes autograph.] [link]

Crosby, Stills and Nash are recording an album of classic rock covers. [link]

The Rolling Stones may or may not be planning a Farewell Tour, depending on the boredom level of Mick and Keith (Charlie’s words, not mine). [link]

All tidbits via Paste.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Goodbye, dirty neighbors

That cluttered and tacky fixer-upper of yours was a matter of National Security and Civil Defense back in 1954, when "The National Clean Up-Fix Up-Paint Up Bureau" figured out (through numerous experimental nuclear explosions) that nukes aren't nearly as big a problem if you just clean up a little.

It could have been a real Bureau, or even if it was made up, its existence was part of the bigger lie delivered by the Federal Civil Defense Administration. Not surprisingly, this little gem of a Public Service film was sponsored by the National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association (I think it's likely that the "bureau" was a film production company that was a branch of the paint/varnish/lacquer group, and allowed to masquerade as a government entity. How's that for some varnish?). And here you thought that corporations heavily influencing the government's actions was a much more recent trend.

Search google.

Found via flick filosopher.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Tour de Machete

 We saw Machete today, and it is every bit as over the top as you've heard. Really violent and also really hilarious. It stars Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Robert DeNiro, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez and Jeff Fahey (both ex-Losties), Lindsey Lohan, Cheech Marin and Don Johnson. Wow. This is the Cinco de Mayo trailer that Rodriguez put out via Ain't it Cool News with the message for Arizona.

For the "official" and latest trailer, click here.
The movie was filmed in Austin, and there was a Premiere and Afterparty here on Thursday (we didn't go to any of that, but it was all open to the public as long as you had a ticket). R. Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Michelle Rodriguez and Danny Trejo were in attendance for both, and here's a gallery of pics from those events.

We saw the movie at the downtown Alamo Drafthouse theater, which is located within blocks of a lot of the shooting locations, so it was weird to walk out of the theater and see those things.

Here's the spot where Robert DeNiro's character has his rally, right in front of the State Capitol

and here is the sniper's building, which is right across the street.

This is the parking lot where Michelle Rodriguez's character has her taco truck

and here is the lot with the Frost Bank Building in the background.
 Frost Bank in the movie with Trejo
 and Alba.

Here's St. Mary's Cathedral where Cheech Marin is the padre

and here it is in the movie.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I'm not touching you...

I'm not touching you... I'm not touching you... ha ha... I'm not touching you...

Kudzu Jeezy

This was bound to happen to at least one of those power pole crosses strung together from coast-to-coast. [article]

What's next? Triffids?

Jesus loves kudzu, which has found its Promised Land.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Do you have a phobia or are you close to someone with a phobia or phobias? The person who is phobic about something might sometimes expose themselves to the feared subject in measured amounts, and it has to be done with either the afflicted person or a qualified therapist in control.

If you take great pleasure in afflicting the feared thing upon the poor, sick person who can't handle it, even when you've been told it's unwelcome, and you think it's funny, and you keep doing it because it freaks the person out and you get a kick out of watching it - you are the one with who's the sick bastard - and it's really not as funny as you think.