Posted by: slartibartifast | October 20, 2009

Congrats Bonehead Republicans!

An ABC/Washington Post poll, taken 10/15- 10/18/09, shows that only 20% of the 1004 adults asked self-identified themselves as Republicans.

Here- read for yourself, from one of that 20% himself (so it must be true!):

http://blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon/2009/10/only-20-percent-claim-to-be-re.html

With all of your delusional fantasies clouding your brains and actions you’ve succeeded in driving away non-delusional Republicans and Independents in RECORD NUMBERS for the last 26 years! Nice job!

Here’s the link to most of the results of the poll:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/polls/postpoll_101909.html?sid=ST2009101902502

Look at question #3- the “do you think things are going in the right direction” question. 44% replied “yes.” Skip down to one year ago when Alfred E. Bush got an 8% “yes” reply (the LOWEST affirmative reply in the 36 years of this poll).

So, in summary- keep up the great work with Obama’s a Muslim, Obama’s not an American citizen, Obama’s Hitler, Obama’s a Socialist/Fascist/Communist, FOX (non) News is the BEST source for information, and Rush is THE MAN. Keep on being the party of NO- NO ideas, NO cooperation, and NO integrity. Keep on trying to out-crazy each other on a daily basis. By the 2010 mid-term elections there’ll be almost nobody to vote the Republican ticket.

Thank you.

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Posted by: slartibartifast | October 13, 2009

Fav Five- Acoustic Guitarists

When I worked at a university in Southern California I instituted a small social exchange game to amuse the small department of ten of us- The Fav Five. It’s a simple enough concept. Just list your Favorite Five items/people of whatever category is called for. I was trying to use this game as a device to stimulate some idea and personal history exchange among us.

So, I’m doing it here, too.

This category is my favorite five acoustic guitarists:

1. Leo Kottke– My all time runaway favorite for over 35 years, since I heard about him from my brother-in-law, in about 1972. I bought 6 & 12 String Guitar in about ‘72 or ‘73. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen him live…somewhere around 12-13 concerts. I never tire of his stories, music or sense of humor. One of the few people I don’t know personally (although I DID shake hands with him in Eugene, Oregon, about six years ago) who I will cry for when he dies. Phenomenal talent.

2. Michael Hedges– I first saw him as opening act before a Kottke concert in San Diego around 1986. I had never heard his music before then, but was so knocked out I started collecting his albums right away. His music is amazing enough to listen to on a recording, but to see him live was stunning. He did things with a guitar that I would have said were impossible. The single coolest thing I ever saw at a concert was when Michael did his version of the Beatles’ Come Together and assigned three vocal parts to the audience and had us do them on cue. I did cry when I learned he had died in an auto accident in 1997, although I didn’t learn of it until 2002. He had some kind of psychic control of a guitar; no single human could have played a guitar like he did, even though I saw him do it. Seeing Michael and Leo Kottke together twice at the open-air theater on Mission Bay, in San Diego, were truly the most entertaining concerts I ever went to.

3. Steven Stills– I love his playing ability as much as I do his song writing ability. I’ve seen him live 6 or 7 times in some combination form of CSN & Y. I once saw him at the dedication of an Indian Reservation outlet shopping complex east of San Diego in 1998 (for FREE, no less, because I got comped an entrance from a cigar store manager I knew in the center) when I sat about 15 feet away from him, on a one foot raised stage. Great talent.

4. America (Dewey Bunnell & Gerry Beckley)- Just something I love about their playing and writing makes something resonate inside me. I’ve seen ‘em twice in San Diego and once here in Corvallis, Oregon, (at the county fair, no less). Despite having several Top Ten songs over the years, I think they get underrated/forgotten in Pop/Rock music circles. When we saw them live I was surprised at the number of their songs I loved over the years.

5. My friend Chris Mickle- nobody worked harder or wanted it more than Chris to become a guitarist and performer. I had the luxury of seeing him go from zero to wonderful over the years he was playing. There are a handful of songs, like Old Man and Heart of Gold by Neil Young, that I can only hear Chris doing in my head, not Neil Young. Success, and even fame, are such luck based events. I always thought Chris deserved much more than he got out of the music performing biz.

Now it’s your turn to list your Fav Five in the same category and something about why they are. Have fun.

Posted by: slartibartifast | August 5, 2009

This is NOT democracy

The orchestrated disruptions at congressional town hall meetings lately really make me sick. It’s one thing if people of both major parties and independents want to ask questions and be heard by their lawmakers, but this health insurance lobbyist funded and organized ploy is the opposite of democracy:

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/08/03/durbin-townhalls-gone-wild/

These are the identical tactics used by Ernst Röhm and his Brownshirts in the Germany of the late 1920s. Only now Dick Armey (I secretly love it that his name makes its own joke in this circumstance) is leading the thugs to disrupt one of the few opportunities we have to interact with congressmen and women at town halls. Shameful.

I hope that even half reasonable people will see this blatant sham of grassroots uprising for the stupid corporate-paid-for BS it is.

The health insurance industry and their lobbyists are currenttly spending $1.4 million A DAY to prevent anybody from rocking their boat! Do you think that this money, which was taken from policy holders, some of whom were denied legitimate health expendatures to produce it, is being spent just for the hell of it?? They don’t want the Gravy Train they run to even slow down, much less be stopped.

If people have legitimate objections to reforming our health care system then let’s debate them fairly, NOT in rigged, bussed-in agitators packed circuses.

Posted by: slartibartifast | July 23, 2009

Birther stupidity

After seeing the video all week of the Delaware “Birther” morons taking over the Town Hall Meeting held there and reading about similar nonsense being promoted on FOX (Faux) News and even CNN, I’m going to choose to believe that this whole thing is tongue-in-cheek. Because the alternative is that any Ass Clown ignorant enough to believe that President Obama is NOT a natural born citizen from Hawaii is not acceptable to any adult who isn’t mentally ill.

To further extrapolate (as I read in an online newsgroup) that Obama “planned all of this to make the Repubs look foolish” is really gilding a dog turd. Really…they don’t need any help looking abnormally stupid at this point. John Ensign, Sarah Palin, Mark Sanford, and Michael Steele are proudly riding around the ring flying those colors.

I know that anybody who actually believes this “Birther” stupidity is not able to be persuaded by something as irrelevant as facts, but just in case this might make it through the multiple layers of delusion there’s this:

http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_in_the_usa.html

Looky looky! There’s even pichures of it for you!!!

Posted by: slartibartifast | May 30, 2009

Herb York

     Another one of my favorite professors from UCSD (University of California, San Diego), Herb York, just died.

 

The photo run with Herb's obituary

The photo run with Herb's obituary

     He co-taught a class, The World Space Program, along with Hannes Alfven (who never told us during his introduction of himself that he won a Nobel Prize for Physics!!) that I thought was going to be a big bust, but turned out to be one of my favorite classes at UCSD.

 

     When I came to San Diego in December of 1976 to pre-register for the classes of my first Quarter everything was closed already and I picked this class because it was one of the few left. After getting most of the General Education classes out of the way in Colorado I was ready to jump into my major of Communications. Uh-un, not so fast…the rest of the students, who had already registered, leave mostly useless crap for transfer students, like me. Or so I thought.

 

     Herb (he insisted on us calling him that) and Dr. Alfven (he insisted on us calling him that too) were two of the most experienced and interesting profs I ever had. A lot of the class was War Stories 101 (or in this case Cold War Stories 101), but I learned a tremendous amount of space history and politics from these two guys, who lived a lot of it because they were part of it.

 

     I remember I busted my ass writing one of the best research papers I ever did in college- on a “still on the drawing board” satellite called HEAO-1. They gave me an A on the paper and even made note of it in class because of the fact that UCSD had a part of the research time on the bird. Little did I know then that Herb probably had a major part in it coming into being. It was launched in August of 1977 and I felt like I had a small part of ownership by writing about it.

How Herb looked when I got to hear him 2 times a week

How Herb looked when I got to hear him 2 times a week

 

     I learned more about Herb from this obit than he ever told us, too. I had no idea he was the first Chancellor of UCSD OR the first (28 year old!!!) director of Lawrence Livermore Labs. He mostly liked to talk about his days as an Assistant Secretary of Defense back in the Kennedy administration. Imagine that!

 

     He spoke fluent Russian and told us that the famous Kruschev line “we will bury you” was a mis-translation; that it was an idiom in Russian that meant, literally, “we will dance on your grave,” which just meant that their system of Communism would outlast Capitalism. Mis-translation, my ass. It had the desired effect on us.

 

     Funny and fascinating guy. I’ll miss him.

Posted by: slartibartifast | May 15, 2009

Long ago, far away

     Here are the only two photos that survive from my days in the Air Force, when I was a Medic.  I took these at about 4 am in, probably, October or November of 1972.  This is the old Dispensary at Peterson Field, now Peterson AFB, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was torn down long ago when the medical services moved to a new Dispensary in late 1972.

Disp1

     This shot is of the front entryway, open 24/7. Does this look like somewhere you’d walk into to get a traumatic laceration or head wound looked at at 4 am? It seems like the Stone Age to me now.

 Disp2

     The other shot is of the ambulance area out back. On the far left is the “good” ambulance, a Cadillac. To its right is the “old” one, a Pontiac. Then a flightline medical admin Dodge pickup. Then the two Crackerboxes, both Dodge Powerwagons.

 

     I used to hate the goddamned Crackerboxes. NO insulation in them AT ALL. They were f**king freezers when we had to sit in them out on the flightline for an emergency landing or exercise. The only thing I liked ‘em for was that they ALWAYS started and took us over to the chowhall for early breakfast.

 

     I seem to recall they started serving at 4 am. That was the ONE thing I liked during this period of shitty shift work- early breakfast. It was a GREAT chowhall and the cooks knew that we were the ones who might save their ass sometime and they made the docs and Medics a special custom breakfast that ANY farmer in the U.S. would be envious of.

 

     Seems like it happened to somebody else now.

Posted by: slartibartifast | March 19, 2009

PSA info

    Hey over 50 dudes!

    First off the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/19/health/19cancer.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

     Pay special attention to the seventh paragraph.

    Then my experience: A little over 2 years ago I had a PSA test as part of a routine physical exam and my Primary Care doctor told me it “came back a little high.” Not scary high, but just a little out of the normal range. He recommended that I go to a Urologist to see about it. OK, I did.

     But first I did some reading online and found out that the PSA test is not very accurate or even useful. There are a high percentage of false positives and false negatives. Even IF the test results are right most Prostate cancers move very slowly, so that there is less of a chance of doing anything in a rush.

    The Urologist was DYING to “take me across the hall and needle biopsy it and then recommend treatment.” In a 5 minute conversation he must have said this exact sentence four times. His pushiness is what actually scared me off of having the biopsy (along with the idea of having a long needle shoved into my Naughty Bits area…brrrrrr!).

     I decided to just wait for 6 months and repeat the PSA test to see if it was a valid result. Well, I actually wound up waiting about 8 months because my mother got sick during the week I had scheduled to repeat the test and I had to fly back home to help out. When I repeated the test it was back in the normal range again, much to my relief.

     Moral of this story- this may apply to you and it may not. It did for me. It also proved one of my favorite adages to be valid here: you never ask a barber if you need a haircut. Do some research on your own before being stampeded into treatment that may, or may not, be necessary.

     At ease. Smoke ‘em if ya’ got ‘em. Over and out.

Posted by: slartibartifast | February 23, 2009

Ham Burger

    Bored out of my mind with the prospect of yet another homemade sandwich at home for lunch I went to the Highland Bowl (which automatically intrigues me because of the fact that we live in the Willamette Valley) bowling alley snack bar to have anything different for lunch. There was an item at the top of the menu, usually reserved for the “premiere” item on the menu, described as the Highlander. I felt like playing along with the joke, so I axed the tepidly bored shoe rental jockey/waiter/manager/Maitre’De/bouncer behind the counter “OK, what is the Highlander?”

    After an almost imperceptible eye roll, he answers “it’s a 1/4 lb. hamburger with (he actually took an extra breath here) American cheese, Swiss cheese, bacon, red onions, lettuce, tomato, and a slice of ham.”

    Feeling especially low on an excess of fat from two different farm animals in my bloodstream that day I said, “manufacture one of those for me please.”

    Tingling with anticipation of the arrival of my Ham Burger I wondered why the inventor of the Highlander thought that a Scottish resident of the low mountainous region of Northern Great Britain would be so keen on a double dose of pig product in their burger.

    After an appropriate period of manufacturing time the assistant tepidly bored shoe rental jockey/waiter/manager/Maitre’De/bouncer foot delivered my Ham Burger to me. It wasn’t half bad. Even after processing through the standard bowling alley snack bar Food Deflavorizor, it tasted like all of the aforementioned ingredients were present.

    At least it wasn’t another ham sandwich at my house.

    And then I went and played 7 pinball games (2 paid for and 5 won) on a “NASCAR” pinball machine in the seedy game area. Not a bad lunch.

Posted by: slartibartifast | January 22, 2009

Another Day

It’s the end of another day. Another day when you …

…just got by.

…knew that you made someone feel bad by not saying something.

…kissed the boss’s ass rather than doing the right thing, thereby perpetuating not only a false sense of achievement in the boss, but also distrust of you in your coworkers.

…unfairly criticized someone just to make yourself feel more important than them.

…made a joke about someone that people around you feel made you look smaller.

…were a jerk to another driver while in your car.

…faced a situation whether to make a positive or negative comment about a coworker to a higher authority and chose the negative.

…ignored someone because you think “they’re not up to your standards.”

…chuckled to yourself upon hearing of someone else’s misfortune.

…took unfair advantage of a personal relationship with the boss to hurt a coworker professionally.

…gave someone an impossible task just to watch them fail at it, then enjoyed it.

…changed your subordinates whole focus and direction without “bothering” to get any input from them, thereby maximizing confusion and discontent.

…half-assed a job because you think no one will know the difference.

…threatened a subordinate with termination over a misunderstanding or mistake that you made.

…”got even with someone” for some past, half-forgotten transgression.

…only listened to your own opinions and those of your regular power-lunch crowd.

…made a snide remark to others about  a coworker’s personal life.

…left a dangerous situation for someone else to remedy because “it’s not your responsibility” to fix.

…stole someone else’s ideas and work, passed it off as your own, and gave nobody else any credit.

…lied about a coworker just to get them in trouble.

…threw away a phone message you took for someone else rather than give them a positive opportunity.

…criticize in public and praise in private.

…think that everything around you would run just fine if those “other idiots would stop screwing everything up.”

     If you want to create misery and stress for yourself and everyone around you, then do some, or all, of the above every day. If you want to be a better person, then be one. It’s your choice. Tomorrow is another day.

Posted by: slartibartifast | December 2, 2008

Something works!

 

     Over the last 40 years I have had a relationship, I hesitate to call it a Love/Hate relationship because there’s been more Hate than Love in it, but anyway, with windshield wipers for my cars. Average ones, cheap ones, WAY TOO EXPENSIVE ONES, decent ones, crappy ones, REALLY crappy ones, SHITTY ones…you get the picture.

     At some time during their useful life they squeak or chatter or don’t clear at all or streak longitudinally or streak horizontally or skip a spot or hit the other wiper blade or fall apart or split or make a whistling noise at high speed or scratch the windshield or click at the end of their travel or constantly get dirty or moan or thunk against the windshield frame in their enthusiasm or, TWICE in my experience, get so fed up and despondent with their lot in life and miserable failure to perform their ONE job, they fling themselves off the car entirely and Kamikaze some other (hopefully) inanimate object alongside the roadway. 

     Sometimes they mix and match these behaviors together for added miserable condition driving pleasure. Sometimes they decide to do one, or several, of these behaviors the very first time you use them. That’s always a special thrill after spending the time and money to buy and install them; to have a brand new squeaky wiper blade that skips spots and chatters! This last example was actually my last experience and it was with some of the most expensive blades I’ve ever bought- some Bosch ones. To make it funnier it was on my older model BMW. Who woulda thought that Bosch hates any Beamer that’s not brand new???

     And this doesn’t even take into consideration the lifelong scar you incur while trying to cut the F*^#&%@ bubble of the package open or the ripped off fingernail while trying to unjam the last blade from its frozen position of two years or the topological exercise of trying to put the new blade onto the F*^#&%@ arm you just took the old one off of one minute ago.

     Nor does it take into consideration the 1/2 inch shattered area at the base of my passenger side windshield when the naked wiper arm decided to flex its muscle and contract back to its normal resting place JUST as I was reaching for it to insert said topological exercise blade. REAL funny.

     Well, the point of this screed is to announce that I may have found something that finally works up to my, I don’t think excessive, demands for a stinking windshield wiper blade. I just put them on my wife’s Honda Accord tonight and went for a drive in OPR (Oregon Pissy Rain- that annoying precipitation that’s too hard for the intermittent setting of the wiper control and not hard enough for the low speed setting) to go eat out at a restaurant.

     I was stunned after turning on the wipers. For the first  time in recent memory nothing annoying happened with the wipers for the entire round trip. No squeaking, no chattering, no streaks, no suicides. I uncontrollably sobbed with grateful thanks as I pulled into my garage at the end of my journey.

     The source of my newfound inclement weather clearers? Rain-X Latitude refill blades.  They’re wonderful. I can die a happy man now.

     I didn’t even have to go to the Emergency Room for stitches after opening the F*^#&%@ blister packaging with my box knife.

     I don’t expect them to even be on the car the next time I drive it. It’s a sick universe.

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