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Thought I'd post something a little more light-hearted after last night's seriousness. How 'bout a little Toothpaste For Dinner?



Originally published at Warum Ich Bin v3.0.

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I think a week-in-review post might be in order.  Oftentimes I find myself with an overabundance of potential blog topics and no time to flesh out all of those ideas into respectable articles.  So, as this is, indeed, a receptacle here is this weeks mental purge.

Politics:

There is a lot going on this week with the economic crisis topping the list.  Although you will undoubtedly see political topics covered here, I must reiterate that I do not for one second believe that I possess either the depth or breadth of knowledge necessary to be a purely political blogger.  I admire the policy wonks and full-time watchdogs, but I cannot be one of them.  From time to time I will write a little something and even cross-post it for my ideological soulmates over at Kos, but the overarching purpose of this site is not to push a political agenda. 

That being said, the most interesting electoral development (in my opinion) is illustrated by this newly-updated map.  I give you this weeks number one reason why McCain should really not start cleaning out his Senate office desk just yet:

The McCain strategy has always included the assumption that Florida was safe.  The Obama camp, meanwhile, was going forward almost as if they were conceding the state to the Republicans (being, demographically, an inherently hard sell for the Obama campaign).  The conventional wisdom has been that, with the strong possibilities of pickups in the West and Midwest, they didnt need Florida to win.  If Florida continues to trend in this direction, there is no chance that McCain will pull the upset.  It is a dagger to the heart.  Without Florida, this is all but over for John Sidney, my friends. 

The other big happening was last nights vice presidential debate.  Two debates have now gone by without me offering much in the way of commentary.  Truthfully, I dont feel I should have to.  To all my conservative readers: I will not presume I have the ability to change your minds.  But I urge you to shut out the political punditry from the left and from the right, from Fox News and MSNBC, from Rush, Sean and Bill and from Keith, Rachel and Andrew.  If you havent watched the debates, watch them like this uncluttered by propaganda.  These are the full CSPAN feeds from the first two debates (Ill post the other two as well).

 

 

Make up your own minds dont let other people tell you what your opinion is.  If that leads you to a decision that is different from mine, I have nothing but respect for it. 

Local:

Steve Chiotakis just signed off for the last time on WBHM.  Hes off to Los Angeles to host Marketplace Morning Edition.  So long and good luck.  We will miss you here. 

Happy Birthday, Mom!

We are taking her to my favorite restaurant tonight the Hot & Hot Fish Club.  I still need to get her a present.  A couple of her friends gave her an iPhone.  How can I compete with that?

State of the Blog:

Tomorrow will mark one whole month since I started this unwieldy thing.  How is it going?  For one thing, I never get the feeling of being finished with it.  There is always some element that could stand to be tweaked.  There is always a topic that I intend to expound upon (right now Im planning a) a book review, b) a critique of Capitalism, c) an exploration of the psychology of death and dying, and d) what will most likely be a controversial theological discussion these projects are in extremely early stages of development).  As much as I want this blog to be a space for me to simply write freely and openly, I often seem to be more concerned with the technical side of things which widgets should be in my sidebar, should my background be dark or light, what color should my hyperlinks be, and on and on.  It is fun to customize the site and get it looking and working exactly the way I want it to, dont get me wrong.  But I look forward to getting to a place where I can just sign in, write a post, send it on its way, and sign off.  That will most likely never happen.  I am too much of a perfectionist (and a technophile, apparently). 

Some blog design initiatives I am mulling over:

  • adding a photo gallery
  • polishing up the different pages (and adding more)
  • including some interactive polls
  • creating a resolution-tracking page (this would follow my progress toward various personal goals I have set for myself)
  • learning how to use WordPresss custom fields
  • cleaning up the category and tag lists

Speaking of categories, let me clarify something Im not sure if people are wondering about or not: the use of foreign languages.  It is just intended to be a quirky nod to my love of words.  Linguistics is a subject that fascinates me.  My use of German, Dutch, French and Italian is simply for my own amusement.  There may even be some made-up foreign words (grammaticastung for instance, does not mean anything).  Just ignore it. 

Finally, Ive always missed the old social networking conventions like the current mood, books Im reading, music Im listening to, etc., even though they seem a little trite and overdone now.  So I have decided to use the weekly round-up to insert that element back into my blog, rather than cluttering the site up by having them appear at the end of every post.  So

Currently reading:

The Raw Shark Texts

The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall. 

People who follow me on GoodReads or social networking sites will know that Ive had this on my currently reading list for a month.  Like so many other tasks, development of this blog has pushed reading further down the to-do list than Id intended, but the plan now is to start up again (from the beginning, in this case). 

Id only gotten a few chapters into it, so answers to the what is it about? question will be very shallow.  The protagonist is a guy with amnesia whose former life is slowly being revealed to him.  Why does his brain wipe everything out and start over (it has happened eleven times)?  How did his fianc die?  How much is his doctor keeping from him?  What is in that locked room in his house?  Good stuff so far.  A full review should be expected.

I need to read more.  It has become apparent over the years that reading good literature makes my own writing that much better.

Geeky Diversion of the Week:

StumbleUpon.  The cure-all for internet boredom.  Just click the stumble button and the service randomly directs you to a site it thinks you would like based on your own ratings and the ratings of people who share your indicated interests.  I love this and I use it all the time.  I have already found enough interesting websites to, if nothing else, keep the geeky diversion of the week section full for weeks to come.

Thats it.  The slate is a little cleaner.  We go on from here.



Originally published at Warum Ich Bin v3.0.

Last night I finally received the long awaited confirmation from the hipster gods that I am, indeed, not cool anymore.

We had tickets to the Ted Leo & the Pharmacists show at WorkPlay always a fun time. Over the past two years, I've had the pleasure of seeing such artists as Alejandro Escovedo, Hem, Son Volt and, okay, Angie Aparo (my wife makes me go to his shows... again and again and again and again) there at WorkPlay's soundstage. It is a cozy, two-tiered concert hall with tables or standing-room on the floor, booths around the perimeter, and intimate tables lining the balcony. You can run a tab and order bottles of wine, mixed drinks and beers, served to you by very attentive waitresses. A wonderful venue. As it turns out, though, the soundstage is not the only space WorkPlay rents out for music concerts.

Last night, for instance, WorkPlay was apparently hosting two bands one at the soundstage and one (Ted Leo) in the back, seemingly recreated in the style of a tiny high school cafeteria complete with cinderblock walls and fluorescent lighting. Running a tab at the bar? Not hardly. It is a folding table, cash only, tonic water from a 2-liter bottle kind of affair. Tables to spectate from? Nope. Standing room only. A black, unadorned room with a stage at the front. Last night, by the way, upon our arrival, we found this lovely space to be slowly filling with twenty-something emo/punk-wannabes in black shirts and matted hair kids that probably couldn't even name a Sex Pistol. And then, there was the opening act.

There is no word other than "suck" that would do this band justice. Crunching power-chords and guttural screams. What was the opening song about, you ask? It appeared to be about sausage. On a stick. That was the chorus: *imagine screaming punk-guy* "SAUSAGE ON A STICK!!! AAAIIGH!!!!!!" It was beyond terrible. The audience, to their credit, weren't reacting at all to the music they were just standing with their arms crossed, as was I. But the fact that people weren't streaming for the exits, or at least deciding to take a cigarette break outside, was disturbing in a way I am still trying to come to grips with.

I stood there, mulling over the happenings of the past five minutes. The concert isn't in the nice theatre space, it's in this psych-ward-esque shithole. I can't sit at a table, sip at a gin and tonic, and enjoy the intellectual punk-pop of Mr. Leo. I have to go to the ATM, pay four bucks for a watered-down flat concoction in an 8 ounce plastic cup, and strain to see over punk-posturing, moodily gyrating emo dudes and goth chicks. I looked at my wife, slumped my shoulders, and walked out of the "concert hall" and into the disgustingly pale and buzzing lights of the "lobby". I had decided against it. Having weighed seeing a truly good band in an uncomfortable and irritating atmosphere and going home, napping on the couch, and going to bed at a decent hour, I took the path less traveled by. And that, my friends, makes all the difference.

Good music just isn't worth the annoyance anymore. There are nights when I enjoy the idea of going out to The Bottletree, say, and standing in a crowd listening to good independent artists. It isn't about the people. It's almost about the expectations. On a weeknight, when I have to go to work the next day, I like the idea of sitting back and enjoying a few drinks and some quality artistry. That is what I wanted. That crappy little room with the afterthought bar was just too much for me.

I'm sure Ted Leo was very good. But I've got all kinds of Ted Leo songs on .mp3. I don't need to subject my slightly more refined sensibilities to sub-optimal listening spaces. That is not my idea of a good time anymore.

So, gentle readers, please go check out some Ted Leo & the Pharmacists' material. It is as if Elvis Costello conceived a child with the Ramones (you don't have to conjure that mental image if you don't want to). And go check out WorkPlay if you haven't been. Just make sure the concert is on the main stage. That back room gets a hearty thumbs-down from me.



Originally published at Warum Ich Bin v3.0.

Unfold for snark.

I have decided that I will not blog today, so this should in no way be taken as an actual blog post. It has been recently pointed out to me that I am spending too much time on the internets both in a funny, tongue-in-cheek way (Blog you later? Nice.) and in more irritatingly and passive-aggressively overbearing ways. So I will not be spending my free afternoon blogging. I will spend it trying to build my sleep reserves back up. That's probably another reason why I shouldn't write anything journaling under sleep-deprived conditions should definitely be a no-no. If there is a Ten Commandments of Blogging somewhere, that should probably be one of the thou-shalt-nots. While everyone is still hard at work, then, I shall not be surfing the web, sifting through all the megabytes of political, sociological, satirical, and nonsensical information in order to extract that tiny bit of inspiration necessary to put finger to keyboard and bang out a random thought-of-the-day personal dear diary load of linguistic tripe. I will be sleeping a more productive exercise, really and dreaming dreams that smell of cafeteria food and generic professional-grade disinfectant. What a lovely day. I am not a slave to the internet, by God. I refuse to be seduced by its free-flow of information, melting-pot of unique opinions, and open access to pornographic images and videos. I report to a higher master.

Then again, if I was to browse around a little bit, you would not have any way of knowing, now would you?

It is impossible to go through life without trust: that is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.

                                   ~Graham Greene

inalienable (from Wiktionary)

  1. Incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred to another; not alienable; as, in inalienable birthright.


Originally published at Warum Ich Bin v3.0.

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It seems like this season has been unusually dry musically, or else we just missed out on the good stuff. In either case, there is a whiff of change in the air. Here are three upcoming concerts I will attending with my proverbial bells on:




Now that I look at the schedule, it appears that two out of the three are on a weekend. Sweet. You out-of-towners will have no excuses. Anyway, go to their sites and check them out. They are really very good, and the venues are the best in the city. I will post a couple of songs here when it gets closer to show time (and as soon as I figure out how to embed audio on this thing).



Originally published at Warum Ich Bin v3.0.

I do not pretend to understand all of the ins and outs of Paulsons $700B bailout; nor do I claim to have a wealth of knowledge about every shady business practice, every corporate tax break, every financial policy misstep that led us to this point (and I am a CPA). My first thoughts on this mess as of this morning are these: why is it that these mega-million-dollar financial institutions are getting this free pass? What about the low-middle class American citizens who are facing foreclosure? Where is their bailout package?


This is but one more example that that the current political climate directed by this rotten executive branch and its inept appointees places more value on the welfare of capitalists and corporations (and their ability to make purse-busting donations) than the welfare of individual citizens.


A few quotes I found poignant:


From William Greider:



If Wall Street gets away with this, it will represent an historic swindle of the American public -- all sugar for the villains, lasting pain and damage for the victims.

From my senator, Richard Shelby (R-AL):



We don't know the endgame in this. And I'll tell you what bothers me about this: that I believe that the chairman of the Fed and the Treasury Secretary Paulson, with all due respect to them, they've been staggering from crisis to crisis and they haven't even said today that this will end the crisis. He said this will lubricate the financial markets if we take the financial sludge, as we call it, off the books of the banks. But as Congressman Frank said, this doesn't do anything for the homeowner. This is doing something for the banks. And if [homeowners] get any relief, it'd be incidental (CBS Face The Nation).

From a Diane Rehm Show listener:



How is it that socialized medicine is so bad but socialized financial systems are okay?

Indeed.



Cross-posted at Daily Kos



Originally published at Warum Ich Bin v3.0.

Three minutes to kickoff.  I do not expect this one to be a nail-biter this year, but past seasons have taught me that expectations dont mean dick.  I will be glad when this one is in the books and I can enjoy all the other games today. 

Ugh.  Here we go.  Updates to follow.



Originally published at Warum Ich Bin v3.0.

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I know this should not surprise anyone, but when I stumbled upon this story

Originally published at Warum Ich Bin v3.0.

Brains are strange organs.


Today an old high school acquaintance was arrested for trying to kill his father and brother. (I know seriously.) He beat his father within an inch of

Originally published at Warum Ich Bin v3.0.

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Natalie Goldberg is an advocate of writing for the sake of writing. One of the exercises she proposes in her unparalleled Writing Down The Bones is that of sitting down and making yourself write -- and once you start, not letting the pen stop until you are finished (usually these are timed sessions). Just free-flowing thoughts from brain to hand to page, not worrying about making sense. And the discipline is, of course, to make yourself do that every day, whether you feel like it or not.


It is in that mindset that I lay in bed tonight with my computer on my lap, contemplating what to write. I had stumbled across a neat little open-source text program called Q10 earlier this week -- an extremely stripped-down word processor reminiscent of those early '90s PCs with their monochromatic screens. I found that it lends itself very well to a typed version of Natalie Goldberg's method.


Here is an excerpt from what I produced in the 5 minutes or so that I gave myself (I hope you like your syntax scattered and your metaphors mixed). If you enjoy writing, please consider hunting down Ms. Goldberg's book. And if you're feeling nostalgic for amber type on black monitors, check out q10 as well. I think it's pretty neat.




At night every sound is a snare drum. The breath beside you. The street noise out across the lawns and under the pale, undulating lights; the car doors and dogs. Wooden skeletons pulsing in and out the house lungs. Loud whispers.


You roll your neck, rub your eyes, rustle the bedsheets, twist, arch, scratch, curl, rest and repeat. Your mind is a twenty-eight page to-do list. Your stupid mouth is just another pore sweating in the early morning autumnal blush.


This is your every, your continuous. Your birth. Spill into the mattress and dissolve there, suspended in the tufts and coils, until you radiate away your little particles flicking off one by one, counting down, 47, 46, 45, 44, 43.



Originally published at Warum Ich Bin v3.0.

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