August 29, 2014

A thing or two

Last night I watched a White Sox game. I enjoy listening to Hawk Harrelson, one of their sportscasters. He says the oddest things. After watching a hitter take a swing in last night's game, he said, "He got a little bit o' Joe Mauer lookalike to him, don't he?" He has such a backwoods way about him. Do I think it's largely put on? Yup. But I still like the guy.

As for other matters, I can't find the energy to blog lately because the world looks so dreadful. I mean, what is there to say? "Man the lifeboats!" seems appropriate. But it's hardly uplifting. And I like to uplift you guys.

But seriously, an eight-year-old girl shoots an instructor in the head with an Uzi that he put in her hands after setting it on "fully automatic" -- and the media can only say this is "starting a conversation" about kids and guns?!! A conversation? Yeah, between the rational and the braindead.

And that's the thing. The world is running amok and everything is getting worse by the minute. Worst of all, there is no smart, charismatic leader to point the way forward - not here or anywhere else. And please don't tell me Hillary will make things better. She won't.

Welcome to planet Earth, run by hairless monkeys who've lost their way. May the Flying Spaghetti Monster have mercy on us all.

August 27, 2014

Open letter to a demon

To: L. Diablo

Dear L,

Thanks for commenting on my blog post the other day. That was swell! I really appreciate the fact that you took a break from your demonic duties to write to me. I mean, how many demons would do such a thing? You're special.

Today, I just want you to know that I'm not angry at you or any of the demons who infest my home. I say this because it's finally hot and humid here -- and I know it's you guys who've been keeping the heat at bay for me. For almost the entire summer, you kept NY cool.

But I also know that you do important work here on Earth. It's you and your demon pals who keep the religious gits at bay and prevent them from going totally postal on everybody. I'm sure that takes up a lot of your time. The fact that you still managed to cool NY this summer is, well, it's downright impressive.

So I want you to know that I'll happily put up with a few days (or even weeks) of hazy, hot and humid weather. And I'll do it with a smile. It's my way of saying thanks to you and all the other demons who make life so nice for us humans. Stay well and don't forget me.

Keith O'Connor

PS: Do you know B.L. Zebub? I've heard he's cool, too. Okay, later.

None o' them new-fangled gadgets for me. No siree.

Although I love computers and everything they bring to the world, and though I consider it fun to perform maintenance tasks on a motorcycle, I detest most machines. Give me software; you keep the hardware.

Fax machines? I skipped them entirely, never deigning to actually use one. In baseball, they often say a hitter "spits on" a pitch. It means he thinks the pitch is garbage and ignores it. Well, I spit on fax machines.

I also hate washers, dryers, cars and most other machines. And I especially hate toaster ovens. Spawn of the devil! How dare they make me turn dials and settings? It's way too complicated and it sucks at toasting bread.

So I got me one o' them toasters. Yup, an old-timey toaster. It's great! I can't get over it: you just put the bread in and push down on a thing -- and moments later, toast pops out. It's a miracle!

I put the old toaster oven, which was only used by visitors to my house, in a pile of stuff I intended to throw out. But then a friend stopped by and he wanted it. So it found a home. (In case you're wondering, someone bought the damn thing for me. They were obviously possessed by demons.)

Now life is grand, what with my new toaster and all. Mmmm-mmmm-mmmmm. Crunchy.

Is there any kind of machinery you've avoided since it appeared on the scene? Seriously, fax machines?! Ugh.


Joe Jervis reports that the Vatican yanked that evil guy's diplomatic immunity. I'll believe this when I see the guy in a Dominican prison. Still, if the pope didn't do this he would become a cartoon. I mean, this is basic. Your representative sexually abuses kids; you yank his immunity and turn him over to the authorities. They've done the yanking, now let's see if they do the turning over.

Kate Bush, again

I love Kate Bush. Her songs are unusual, brave and shocking. That's my kind of gal. Apparently, she's ba-ack. In fact, she recently performed in a knock-em-dead show.

The NY Times story recounts her presentation of one of my favorite Bush songs, "Under Ice". Here's their description and then I'll post the video (for the third time). It's an unearthly song that really gets to me.
Then she performed entire halves of records — the conceptual, interwoven-story parts. First was Side 2 of the album “Hounds of Love”: the seven songs collectively titled “The Ninth Wave,” with a central character trapped under ice, and possibly returning to her family as a ghost. It’s like a soundtrack to a disjointed film, and here the theater took over; for a stretch the vocalists sang against surround-sound backing tracks. There were actors with fish-skeleton heads, a rescue crew in life jackets. A film of an astronomer with a telescope calling the Coast Guard to report a sinking ship, with dialogue written by Mr. Mitchell. Another film of Ms. Bush singing face up in the cold water. An apparatus with flashing lights and sound — a rescue helicopter — descended from the ceiling. And in the second section of the story, Ms. Bush-as-ghost suddenly appeared in a living room set aslant, as if sinking into the floor, to visit her partner and son.
Here's the song. It's very short. Play it loud.

I'll bet her show is great. BTW, that's a fan video. Good job!

August 26, 2014

This is pretty cool

From an AP story:
Neo-Nazis rallying in the Swedish city of Norrkoping have been greeted by the theme song from "Schindler's List" ringing from the bells of city hall.

Local government spokesman Ulf Mossberg said city officials decided the tune from Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning Holocaust drama was an appropriate way to demonstrate the city's belief in "the equal value of all people."

He said the bells of the clock tower played the song before and after a political rally Tuesday by the Party of the Swedes, a small extremist group that wants to stop immigration and reserve Swedish citizenship for people with "Western genetic and cultural heritage."
I love it. What is it about those northern countries? How come they get it? Could it be the lack of religion? I think so. If you don't waste time thinking about nonexistent super-creatures, you're able to focus on the meaningful aspects of life.

August 25, 2014

She'll make a great prez

Westhampton Beach, New York (CNN) – Hillary Clinton, who has yet to comment about the protests over the death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, ignored questions about the incident on Sunday.

After signing more than 700 books at Books & Books in Westhampton Beach, Clinton was asked by two reporters for her reaction to the controversy.

Clinton ignored both questions and left the bookstore.
A brave, brave lady. I'm sure she'll lead the country well.

August 24, 2014

Pope Francis does same old thing with child abuser

You thought Pope Francis would do better, didn't you? But when a papal nuncio (a papal ambassador) made a habit of sexually abusing boys in the Dominican Republic, the pope whisked him out of the country and brought him back to the Vatican. In other words, Jozef Wesolowski, the nuncio, will not be prosecuted for his crimes in the country where they took place. Same old, same old.
But far from settling the matter, the Vatican has stirred an outcry because it helped Mr. Wesolowski avoid criminal prosecution and a possible jail sentence in the Dominican Republic. Acting against its own guidelines for handling abuse cases, the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome last year before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic.
This is not what we expected from Francis the Good. It's more like the stylings of Benedict the Bad. And though there will be a "trial" at the Vatican, it seems the nuncio isn't suffering at all.
A Dominican bishop, Victor Masalles, visiting Rome in late June, said in a Twitter message that he was surprised to see Mr. Wesolowski “strolling the Via della Scrofa,” in the city’s picturesque ancient center. He added, “The silence of the Church has hurt the people of God.”
And of course, this unseemly affair is not viewed positively by the Catholic population in the Dominican Republic.
“The people used to say, ‘I want my child to go to a Catholic church,’ ” said the Rev. Rogelio Cruz, a Catholic priest here. “Now they say, ‘No child of mine is ever going to a Catholic church.’ ”
Not that that's a bad thing, mind you. But this interlude is just more of the same. Why can't the church turn their priests in for crimes? In light of the history of such crimes by church members, this is unacceptable. Why can't this church do the right thing?

Roman Catholicism. Same as it ever was. 

August 23, 2014

Nazi eyeglasses finally fade into oblivion

For nearly 20 years, the industry that makes eyeglasses seemed to be Nazi-controlled. Think back to yesteryear and recall how there was only one shape for eyeglasses: thin rectangles. Before the Nazi ultimatum came down, eyeglasses came in an assortment of shapes. But "not no more," as some of my local friends would say.

I remember going into eyeglass stores and looking around at all the nearly identical rectangular glasses. That's all there was. In exasperation, I'd trot over to the proprietor and ask, "Uh, do you have any other eyeglass shapes, any retro-glasses, maybe in a storeroom in back?" Nuh-uh. Only the Nazi glasses.

But finally, the tide turned. These days, you'll find all sorts of eyeglasses when you visit an optometrist. SF Gate has a photo feature today, showing the various frames used by "hipsters" (a term I detest).

We finally broke free and I have no clue why it took so long. Personally, I felt the rigid reliance on a thin, rectangular shape was imposed by artistically-challenged heterosexual designers. I also had a suspicion that they knew these frames were an awful idea and launched them as a prank. Surely, no one thought they were attractive. How they must have laughed!

Anyway, live and breathe. Go buy new glasses if you're still wearing the thin, ugly kind. You're allowed to, now. Hooray!

It's hard to believe this Sinatra interview is real

Seriously, this is old Blue Eyes? The following is allegedly from an interview with Sinatra in Playboy:
There are things about organized religion which I resent. Christ is revered as the Prince of Peace, but more blood has been shed in His name than any other figure in history. You show me one step forward in the name of religion and I’ll show you a hundred retrogressions. Remember, they were men of God who destroyed the educational treasures at Alexandria, who perpetrated the Inquisition in Spain, who burned the witches at Salem. Over 25,000 organized religions flourish on this planet, but the followers of each think all the others are miserably misguided and probably evil as well. In India they worship white cows, monkeys and a dip in the Ganges. The Moslems accept slavery and prepare for Allah, who promises wine and revirginated women. And witch doctors aren’t just in Africa. If you look in the L.A. papers of a Sunday morning, you’ll see the local variety advertising their wares like suits with two pairs of pants.
That's Sinatra talking? It sounds more like an atheist blogger. I find this almost unbelievable but apparently these really are Frank Sinatra's words. If so, he was a lot smarter and better educated than the world knew. There's much more at Jerry Coyne's web site. Go read it. You'll be glad you did.