Friday, September 26, 2008

Owen annoys medical professionals.

My long suffering wife is fighting some sort of cold or something. She had a pretty bad sore throat for a couple of days, and so went to the doctor to get swabbed for strep. The only appointment she could get was after the kids got out of school, so she had to take the little animals with her to her appointment.

Owen, 5, for reasons of his own, decided to call the doctor "Old Man Jenkins" repeatedly. "Hey, Old Man Jenkins! You're Old Man Jenkins! Haha! Old MAN JENKINS!!!"

The doctor took it in stride.

She got her results back today:

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

One more political post. God DAMN it.

Fuck, Sarah Palin is colossally dumb. Like, not dumb for national office, but dumb, for say, my neighbor. She would be my dumbest neighbor. I miss Republican elitism.



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our new corporatist state!! Warning: might be dull.

First of all, I don't know what I'm talking about. It's just a bunch of half understood concepts jumbled together at 11:00 pm.

And I don't make many political posts, because they're usually pretty shrill and they aren't interesting after a week or so (and I am writing for the generations to come to show them what it meant to be fuckin' classy), but dang, the 700 billion is some crazy ass shit.

It's just so bonkers that we're on the edge of becoming a corporatist socialist state, and it's not really being discussed in those terms. And just so we all know what I mean by corporatist, I DON'T mean it in the sense of the folk "EXXON BLOOD FOR AMERIKKKA PIGS" neologism that a hippie can paint on a large puppet.

No, I mean historic corporatism, the economic system of Fascist Italy, and an way of organizing capital that exists in some lesser form in more or less every modern economy. In corporatism, the state might become the main client or minority partner in firms that serve a crucial role in the functioning of the state (this vastly simplified). In pure corporatism, industries are organized into cartels called corporations, and firms, while still owned privately or by shareholders, act as much as agents of government planning as they do as independent actors pursuing their own interests. Firms are guaranteed a certain share of government business, and the capitalists are allowed profit, while risk is absorbed. The government controls capital through licenses, patronage and in some cases, direct partnership.

It's interesting, because we have under Bush seen a social form of corporatism, in the form of Faith Based Initiatives. In pure corporatism, the state, through a process of licensing and deputization of social, religious, or popular organizations as actors of state policy, effectively co-opts their leadership by establishing the state as the source of their legitimacy.

So: profit and "good" risk stays private, while real risk is assumed by the collective. It's socialism for rich people. And like any economic system where the government attempt to fill in the gaps, reliable economic data gets smothered and we end up a lot more blind about about the state of the economy, local capital needs, even sociological trends. A bubble forms, it pops, everyone is screwed. An extreme example of this is the U.S.S.R. A more mild example was is the current Japanese economy, which has never really recovered from the 90s doldrums.

Now, outside garage sales, there are no pure free markets in the world. There are no pure socialist states. The people of Earth all must follow some degree of regulation, just as they all pay taxes and receive some benefit, whether simple capital improvement, or services, or full cradle-to-grave social benefit. Good, bad, what the hell, it's the modern state and it's here.

And while we throw around a lot of rhetoric about being the freest market in the world, we've been, de facto, a mildly corporatist state since the advent of modern capitalism.

So, here's what I'm thinking: let's stop pretending, Republicans, that your party represents borderline anarchism, and Democrats, that your party has anything to do with Jeffersonian anything. Let's drag our corporatism out into the open, and see where it leads us.

Vive Il Corporativismo!

Crap, that was long and boring.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chewie's destiny, forever altered by Frankie Muniz!

As you may recall,Chewie had a nasty tangle with a little boy recently.

Things were looking grim for the plump little turd, and all last week Paula and I dragged our feet. Whenever we'd look at Chewie, and his stupid little tail would flick, we would shutter. He was probably thinking "As sure as hell did something RIGHT, because the humans are all into me this week, petting me, feeding the good scraps. Yep, you got it Chewie. You are right up on top now, like goddamn Freddy Mercury."

Anyway, it was like an episode of "Murder She Wrote", the way stuff went down. This past weekend, the kid that was bitten by Chewie was also bitten by his own dog, because he was teasing the much bigger and sort of scarier looking dog (who is really very sweet) much like he had teased Chewie. (Just to be clear, Chewie IS sort of an asshole, and he shouldn't be biting kids. But that's what his crate is for.)

AND, when I tried to take Chewie to the SPCA, they were full up with other child biting dogs and couldn't take him in.

"So let's see how he does this week, and maybe we'll keep him" was the consensus.

Now, here is were the Gods of Justice pull out the stops. On Sunday, I took the brats to the shitty ass video store (as opposed to the good one) and we rented a raft full of trashy kids movies. Out of pangs of quality control, I grab My Dog Skip, which has a decent cast and has a funny picture of a terrier looking at toilet.

So of course we watch all the crappy kids movies first -- sub-muppets, shitty product tie-in franchises, even a stealth Christian parable that looks like it was made with pirated North Korean animation software. Tonight, Ruby suggested we watch "My Dog Skip".

It was then Chewie was bared on the wings of eagles to Eschaton, which is an entirely horrible metaphor, because it sounds like he died, but I don't recall you laying down any money to read this thing, so maybe you should calm your ass down, Roger Ebert.

Anyway, in "My Dog Skip", Malcolm in the Middle's own Frankie Muniz plays a sensitive young egghead in the South during WWII, and he gets a dog called Skip, and along the way he learns about love, and racism, and honor, and justice, and dignity, and gas, and feminine itching, and syphilis, and he gets his first pair of Caprezios and meets a rough handed Corsican roustabout named Nunzio who teaches him how to wrestle (made that up), and bleh, and bleh, and bleh, and you're read the short story and you've seen the Hallmark Special and you've watched the Waltons Episode, and FEH!!!

Anyway, some moonshiners club Skip at the cemetery, and the alcoholic Army deserter redeems himself by rescuing Skip. The final scenes are the now college age narrator leaving Mississippi to go to FUCKING OXFORD, and Skip passing on quietly, with great dignity on his beloved master's now childish bed.

Of course, the kids are eating this shit up, and pretty soon I have a mini Pieta on my hands, with Owen rocking the supine, ham-like toneless body of a very much alive and bewildered Chewie, bawling "Cheeewieeeeeee! Oh, Cheeeewieeeeeee! I (SOB) LOVE (HUP) MY (SNURK) DOG!!!!!"

So, it looks like Chewie is staying. I may have to track down some Malcolm in the Middle dvds. Very effective actor, that Frankie.

PS -- Owen's goddamn feet reek like summertime abattoir. I have washing them with RUBBING ALCOHOL, and all that does is make his feet stick like a chemistry set found in a recently abandoned abattoir.

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Mouthy Canadian Broads

There's so many of them.

That's a gross generalization, actually. I know all of two in the real world, one is currently not blogging and one never even had a blog...AND SHE LIVES IN OAKLAND. (And there is a Canadian blogger I know who lives in the U.K. who is currently not blogging and she's not mouthy.)

In the blog world I know of two: The inimitable Jay of Kill the Goat, this new Kim person, proprietess (which is a sexist word) of the insanely named Repliderium, which is a Canadian term that refers to your mom.

Neat. Up Canada! Huh!


Monday, September 22, 2008

The problems with being a hopelessly obscure

I get a lot of visitors looking for information on the Russian Orthodox diaconate.

Why? Because of this: Igor, the Retarded Russian Orthodox Deacon.

I'm even offended by it at this point, and I can't imagine most folks searching for information on Russian deacons share the same sense of humor I do.

I also get a lot of referrals from the search terms "Kim Jong Il" and, curiously, "Nude Fat Man".

I do love the goddamn internet so.

(PS -- 500th post.)

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Looking in the mirror

It's a weird thing. I like to look at my pores. I'm not too keen on my looks in general, but I do enjoy to scan across my face and examine bumps and anomalies -- wild hairs, etc. I'm removed from it, like a satellite in low orbit over a blackhead planet.

When I was more of a drinker, a smoker, a tab dropper, I'd spend what seemed like hours staring at my own pupils dance, occasionally dipping my forehead to transfer my chemically driven body heat to the cool of the mirror. Psychedelics and mirrors is a hell ride of course, but sometimes I found it to be a ball full of jollies.

It had a Bloody Mary thrill to it. There was this shivery nag that because you've given yourself over to psychotropics, you might see something completely batshit eyeball exploding insane. I never did actually. Just oscillating pupils and Sea of Tranquility-sized pores. The only pleasure I had the one miserable time I dropped X (many, many years ago), was riding the Sunday morning 7 am train and watching my face stretch and warp in the window in time to the metronomic splatter of the track below.

The most sublime pleasure Vaclav Havel enjoyed in the years he spent waiting in a Czechoslovakian cell was staring at himself in the mirror while he smoked. I would have been right there with him.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Och, Chewie, we hardly knew ye. But then you bit a kid like a dumbass.

Chewie is going back to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, because while he's perfectly lovely to Paula and me, he is an asshole to every other living being on the planet.

Not entirely true. He is tolerant of our kids, other than growling at them from time and time and nipping at Owen.

So, wait. Maybe he isn't good to have around the house, since he views our still smallish children as growl-at-able.

The incident that led to his banishment wasn't even entirely his fault. Owen and his little friend were antagonizing him with potato chips or cheese puffs or something, basically baiting him with treats and snapping them away at the last minute. Owen's friend put his face up to Chewie's, put a puff on his own nose, and said -- haha -- get the treat. Now, if you are attuned to the rhythms of small boys and small dogs, you know what happened next, and you are rubbing your nose right now. The kid was okay, but it was a little too close to disaster.

My heart is heavy, because I do love that little dog. If we had a barn, I'm sure he'd be a champion ratter. But our kids are too prone to casual scientific enquiry for a dog like Chewie. He's not up to the task of being a constant experimental subject.


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Monday, September 15, 2008

Goddamn it! I LOVE MUSIC!

It's the craziest damn thing, but I love that shit!

I was all in a mood this morning, grumbling about the twilight of the west, the brattiness of my kids and dog. Then, dear hearts, I got into my car, set the ipod to shuffle, and WAS SLAPPED INTO A METABOLIC HYPER-EXPLOSION. And this is before coffee, you creep.

Boom! Boom! Boom! Wave after wave of just the right modal tension, tempo goes up, tempo go down, and next thing you know I'm on the freeway and I AM APOLLO.

I mean, goddamn it, I could bare knuckle any and every mope that wants to put a foot down to me. HA! I mean, figuratively. I'm sort of sissy. But still. Music.

Listen you some.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Listening to San Francisco

I spent the day with Paula's extended family, and it hit me: these people talk crazy!

It's the "Mission" accent. It exists in ever decreasing pockets of the city (most folks aren't even aware it exists), and it's the old Irish/Italian working class accent of San Francisco.

It's like a mild Brooklyn accent with broad midwestern vowels. For example, Paula's grandfather Mario says "sure" as "shor". Paula's mom has a very mild one, while Paula's (or Pawl-uh) recently deceased grandma Tilly had the thickest expression of it.

In the San Francisco I operate in day-to-day, the dominate accent is the flat American Midland accent, the voice of CNN. It's a transitory city, North of the Slot (the slot is the cable car track that bisects the length of Market Street, separating Downtown and the business district from the residential districts)... people commute in from Marin and the East Bay, or live Gentrified enclaves, but South of the Slot, where I spent today is San Francisco. I was a little bit sad that less and less of that old San Francisco will be heard.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Idiotic anecdote from the edge of the consciousness!!!

I am flying/levitating above a house.

It is a moonless night, and the house is sitting on top of a butte.

It has no roof, and I can see the walls that delineate the floor area of each room.

Every room is lit up, and I can see the residents of the house going about their business. They don't know I'm up there, spying on them.

(And yes, this is going somewhere.)

I decide to get up to some mischief and scare the habitants of the house.


***Greg... GREG!***


**WAKE UP!**

"ooooo. A-booooooooo....WHAT! WHAT!"

"What are you doing?"

"What? What was that sound?"

"It was YOU. You were making ghost sounds. What the hell are you doing?"

"Scaring people."

"I'm going back to sleep... jesus."


Monday, September 08, 2008

My GOD this a great podcast

The Cold Bath

This is really good. My friend Michael (who I really don’t know all that well, to tell you the truth. But he’s a nice chap) has another friend, a mysterious Luciferian gent who is a former political consultant. Michael has convinced this man, a man I guessing is in his sixties, to sit down a spiel about anything and everything. And it’s stunning.

Your parents may have had friend like this, a charming bastard who corners you at a dinner party and terrifies you by showing you the abyss before you even realized there was such a thing.

Mr. Anonymous is a hell of a storyteller, completely infuriating and hilarious.
It’s not probably for everyone, but if you’re a This American Life-loving sort of person, you’ll enjoy this.

It’s like This American Life crossed with Nietzsche.

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I ordered three books about Stalinism today.

I hope to improve my parenting skills.

I saw a man eat pancakes today.

It was former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Just being all cabinet member-y, eating pancakes with his lady on a Sunday.

Berkeley is like that. You see people.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Paula's dad can and will fall asleep anywhere. Here he is on our floor. Ruby, always enterprising, piled a bunch of shit around him, and then went around asking if anyone wanted to "tour the mummy's tomb".

(All those boxes in back are our attempt at storage before construction starts on our house)