Friday, April 30, 2010


SPILL, BABY, SPILL... (a thought or two about off-shore drilling)

      Noticed how quiet certain folks have been about the prospects for expanding our off-shore oil exploration policy?  Only a week or two after the Obama Crew caved in to the Drill, Baby, Drill crowd and announced a new policy that would greatly expand our current oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and off of the east coast there has been a disaster of untold magnitude on one of those very deep water oil rigs near the Louisiana shores.
       Back during the Republican convention Silly Sarah was holding forth about our untapped resources both off shore and in her native state of Alaska, and led a chanting crowd of acolytes in the now familiar "Drill, Baby, Drill!" mantra of the right.  Again, after watching these people over the years and hearing their total disdain for anything remotely resembling environmentalism, you have to begin to wonder if they even watch or read the news. 
     They favor nuclear power in any and all forms, despite having no earthly clue of what might be done with the radioactive waste it produces.  Doesn't matter to them as long as the lights stay on and the bills stay low.
     They don't mind landfills for their garbage anywhere a good market-driven company wants to put one, as long as it isn't within the confines of their gated community or has any adverse effect on their property values.  A national park sanitary landfill sounds great to those guys!
     They support oil and coal burning plants regardless of the environmental effect, and champion any and all pseudo-scientific evidence that might suggest the theory of man-made global warming is bogus.  Even the prospect of species extinction phases them not, so long as the important species are left unharmed (you know, the ones that provide hamburger and bacon?)
      In short, they go through life with the same basic philosophy as anyone who never learned to share or respect the rights of others, or who might have learned that the universe doesn't actually revolve around their arrogant assholes.  I call it "The Only Child Syndrome", and most conservatives have it, in spades.
      If they ever wanted a mantra that would perfectly fit their tribe's philosophy of enviromental concern it would have to be "This is Our Planet, we'll Shit Where we Damn Well Please!"
      As the oil washes ashore in Louisiana, and as tens of thousands of gallons of crude continue to spew from the sunken remains of that deep water rig daily, you might expect them to be a little less exuberant about oil drilling...  But if they've taught us anything in the past it's that they can take any issue or event and twist it to suit their talking points, despite all evidence that contradicts their position.   We've grown accustomed to hearing them try to convince us that up is down, white is black, and evil is actually good... so their silence in light of this disaster is amazingly refreshing.
      Of course, it's early.  We haven't seen the tip of this shitty iceberg yet, and as the facts (and the oil) roll in we'll (without a doubt) be entertained by Rush and Sarah and Sean and Bill-O The Clown reminding us that oil is actually good for marine life and is a wonderful way to lubricate boat hulls.
      Huff-post reports today that the investigators looking into this oil rig explosion are focusing on the concrete seals that were poured around the rig's pipeline, and preliminary reports say they believe that was the source of the conflagration.  Guess what wonderful company was in charge of THAT process for the Deepwater Horizon company that operated this particular oil rig?
      Mr. Cheney still gets a check from them.  They specialize in supporting our military with electrified showers and overpriced meal deliveries in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They have a subsidiary that built some cages for us on our naval base in Cuba, and those cages are still holding a lot of folks we gathered up after 9/11.
       If there is a hell, the people who manage and operate Halliburton will have front row seats... but I hope they leave a little room for the people who brought them to us with such vigor.
       What's a little oil on the shore?  Just vacation on a different beach, my man!  Go to your summer house in the Hamptons instead... why not visit Arizona?  It's turning into a WASP paradise as we speak!


Thursday, April 29, 2010


   Just read where the Discovery Channel has announced a new show called "Sarah Palin's Alaska".  That's not a joke... they really are planning a new series by that name.  A channel devoted to serious scientific and environmental documentaries, among other programming, will soon offer more face time to that vacuous bucket headed fear monger who rants and raves on Faux News when she isn't ranting and raving on some stage for considerable amounts of cash.
    Guess it balances out, though.  They also host Stephen Hawking's Universe, so if you average out the grey matter of the Cosmologist and the Space Cadet you end up with an average IQ.  Which is quite a drop from the level of genius Hawking brings to the table, obviously, but then, you have to consider that Sarah's the same vice presidential candidate who had to be told that Africa was a continent and not a country, and who couldn't identify the three nations that comprise North America.


     It was just reported on that the Facebook group which asks members to "pray for the death of President Obama" has passed the one million member mark.  I recently added some commentary to this space (Facebook'em, Danno!) which referred to this particular group as one of the main reasons I had cited before I abandoned Facebook.
     If you find this kind of thing acceptable, perhaps you should ask yourself how you might have reacted had this type of hate speech been directed toward previous presidents, even the ones you supported or defend.  After all, if it's okay now, it would have been okay then, right?
     Personally, I don't care if someone spouts off absolutely ignorant or hateful slogans in their own homes or even in public if they can stand the blowback from those who don't feel as accepting... but to put this type of thing on a social networking site and not moderate its message, even after nearly three-quarters of a million Facebook members had signed a petition asking FB to moderate such hate speech is unacceptable.
      It might be time to ask ourselves exactly what free speech means in America, and where the lines are, if indeed there are any.
      In the event of a violent act upon our president in the future, will those who support such a site be willing to accept the blame for that act of violence?  Not a chance... they merely signed up out of political frustration, they'll say... or meant no harm, just trying to make a teabaggy point about the party in power.
      In short, there is no downside to such a thing happening in mainstream American society today, unless you count moral decay and potential karmic consequences as the wages of sin.
      It's sad, folks.  And there's more of this out there than we care to recognize.
      Might make an interesting fanclub list, though, just in case one or two of these million members decide to make a dash toward public office someday... or decide to apply for a job at a major news organization... or come forth in the future with some charitable or Christian organization they support or belong to... 
      If you want to wear your ignorance and hateful bigotry like a badge, understand that some of us might take note of your bling and remind everyone else of your behavior at a later, more inconvenient date.
      To all involved, I give you a heartfelt double dose of middle finger salutations... Wish I could invite them all to take a close look themselves...

Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post

Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post

MALE CARDINAL (for Diane, redbird fan...)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

RAISING ARIZONA (at least up to Georgia standards...)

   There are times when it seems various states are vying for the title of Idiocy Capital of the United States.  I've always just assumed Alabama had it locked up, based on my personal relationships with so many of that state's former residents, and the way their football fans behave.
   But in the past couple of weeks I've come to understand that there are more than a few states deserving of serious consideration... Georgia recently passed a law making it illegal to surgically implant a tracking device or computer chip into an unwilling human, based upon the testimony of various individuals who claim to have had this procedure performed upon them by the Department of Defense.  Tennessee's own legislature is determined to pass a law that can survive a Constitutional court challenge allowing folks to carry loaded firearms into bars... because as it currently stands the arguments have to be settled with nothing more deadly than darts...
    You'd have to go pretty far down the food chain of command to find anything that insane taking place around the country, right?  Way wrong...  Out in John McCain Country they've passed a law making it a requirement for all presidential candidates in future elections to show a valid US certificate of live birth in order to be placed on the ballot.  Most folks assume this is some kind of birther movement aimed at Barack Obama's reelection campaign in 2012, but then again they might indeed be questioning the potential candidacy of Maverick Himself should he decide to run again... seems the good Senator wasn't actually born in the mainland US of A... nor was he spawned in some outlying state, like Hawaii or Alaska.  Check it out... McCain was ass-slapped in Panama, of all places.  Don't remember hearing anyone ask HIM for a birth certificate a year or so ago, do you?
     But that's just the tip of Arizona's Iceberg.  Now they've passed a law that requires all law enforcement personnel in the state to stop, question, and detain anyone they SUSPECT of being in the country illegally.  Breathing While Brown might become a crime to be investigated in Arizona.
     Petitions are being passed around to boycott the state because of this potentially unconstitutional law, and already tourism has taken a hit there.  Of course, the Seal the Border crowd is happy, now.  They can make a phone call to report the mobile home full of Hispanics next door and some boondocks sheriff's deputy will HAVE to be dispatched to check out the complaint, or face civil charges of their own for failure to enforce the law.
     Papers,  Comrade...  Look for Georgia and Tennessee to break into a trot trying to beat one another to THIS level of idiocy any day now.  Film at eleven...


Monday, April 26, 2010


     One of the people I've learned to listen to (albeit through that odd mechanical computerized voice box he uses) is Stephen Hawking.  I figure anyone bright enough to sort out the mysteries of black holes AND cool enough to lend his voice to a Pink Floyd CD HAS to have something on the ball...
      Recently news leaked out that Hawking has offered opinions on the possibilities of human/alien interactions in the not too distant future, and his assessment is that we would most likely not fair well in the process.  Speaking in an upcoming Discovery Channel series called "Stephen Hawking's Universe" he was quoted as having said that aliens might simply raid Earth for valuable resources after having depleted their own planet, seeking to colonise and conquer whatever planets they can reach. 
       "If aliens ever visit us (and by "ever" I guess he's assuming they haven't yet...) I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which did not turn out very well for the Native Americans." was the quote that stuck with me.
       First of all, the Columbus debate rages every year at about the time some Italian Americans like to celebrate Columbus Day, and centers around four or five contentious points of view held by Native Americans and certain people who don't think Columbus landed anywhere close to North America or knew where the fuck he was if indeed he DID.  Personally, I couldn't care less about that debate, and find it annoying that my bank tends to close on this arbitrary "holiday" some people mourn as the beginning of a genocide.  But I digress...
       Hawking's assessment that aliens would be a threat to modern earthlings comes as a preface to his advice that humans should immediately begin searching for sustainable planets which we can conquer and colonise in order to save our species in the event of asteroid collisions with earth or a man made disaster such as a nuclear war.  In other words, while we should fear alien interactions because their superior scientific advancements would make them a threat to our way of life, he suggests we take our own scientific advancements out into the universe on a search and destroy mission of our own... making sure we don't let the neighborhood bullies of the solar system know where we're from to protect earth from colonization.
        I can hear the gasbags at Faux News now, finding a talking point in his generalization of Columbus's visit... Hannity would begin an oxygen-sucking rant about how Columbus might not have led to a happy hunting ground for the Apache Nation, but his ancestors and their intrepid followers had built the greatest empire the world will ever know, second to none in both moral and military superiority as well has having the greatest health care system on Earth, and that our founding fathers were right to have had the good sense to spawn future generations of Americans willing to wipe out indigenous peoples in order to see to it that our own kids have the best of computerized games and tennis shoes.   O'Reilly would sneer at Hawking's conclusion as yet another pinhead trying to blame America First for ruining the untapped wilderness of North America.  He would look at the camera with that "you either agree with me or suck" smug mug of his and millions of RedStaters would nod silently in their mobile homes across the heartland, sick to death of elites like this wheelchair dude telling them how their white forefathers had fucked up the world of the Indians.
       On the other hand, the boys at Fox and their disciples would rejoice at the thought of new worlds to plunder and pillage in the name of progress.   "Drill, Baby, Drill" would be replaced by "It's our Universe, We'll Shit Where We Damn Well Please!"
       I like Hawking.  He's putting out stunningly interesting theories right in the middle of our national food fight, and thankfully someone somewhere has the good sense to notice and report on his pronouncements.  Imagine if Einstein were alive today... would anyone be willing to turn away from American Idol or Survivor long enough to care if he had solved some quantum theory mystery?  I sincerely doubt it.... but they might tune in if he offered an opinion on invading and occupying nearby planets.
       As Hawking said on Division Bell, "The important thing is that we keep talking."

Saturday, April 24, 2010



       Normally, I take a wide path around mounds of steaming horseshit.  As a rule, it just makes sense to avoid smelly, useless headaches if they can be avoided.  But for whatever reason I recently decided to sign up for and frequently immerse myself in a time-sucking endeavour far more insidious than any mound of poop could ever be, and did so voluntarily several times during any given day.
        It's called Facebook.  Meant as a social networking tool, it has (in its defense) reconnected me with old friends I had lost touch with over the years, and introduced me to several people with whom I immediately bonded.  Cyber buddies... fellow internetters on the steaming horseshit mound, rooting around in the poop for the occasional nugget of humor and truth.
        Several times a day I would find myself drawn to this network of friends, relatives, and oddballs from all walks of life and from all parts of the country (as well as a few from overseas), and their stories, comments, and humor would invariably brighten my day.  Folks would comment on the weather, their own personal struggles with caffeine deficiency, lack of sunshine, or the sudden impulse to murder coworkers... and do so in a public forum for all the world to see.  It was refreshingly new, and for the most part fun.
        Of course, there were the minor annoyances... a virus of mind-numbing stupidity called "Farmville" springs to mind.  There were people who seemed relatively intelligent on the surface scurrying around to collect decorative cyber eggs, unicorns, hugs, flowers, and other shit I'll never understand in a million years, and for the most part all of that was just screen clutter easily blocked and avoided.
        The problem for me came when faced with the unrelenting proselytizing by right wing "Christians" and their ilk, holding forth about everything under the sun from immigration to health care to wars against terror and Muslim extremists, etc.  Every other post seemed to be a slap at common sense or progressive thinking, and that's enough bait to draw in opinionated jerks like me who can't back down from a debate, especially when it's being tossed out like red meat to starving wolves.
         In recent days I've found myself embroiled in heated discussions about our current president and his administration's efforts to clean up the bovine excrement left by the last herd of merchants of evil who occupied the White House and both houses of Congress... and it's left me weary.  The most frustrating thing was noticing that while friends would privately send messages of support they wisely stayed out of the public fray, because, after all, Facebook is SUPPOSED to be a fun networking site for people to connect with one another, not an episode of Crossfire and Meet the Press mashup.
         It took a group promoting itself with the following premise to finally chase me away forever:  this group is enlisting people to pray for the death of our president.  Pretty clear cut message there... we're Christian and we want this Negro usurper to go away, permanently, and soon. 
         For folks who can't fart without posting a thread on Facebook praising Jesus for the methane, this was a step to far, even for most of them.  And yet, there is was.  A daily reminder of just how foul organized religion becomes when it swims in the political waters.
         I'll admit, the membership of this little band of hate mongers was small, by most Facebook standards, but then again it was basically an exercise in hate speech going unmoderated by the folks who were supposed to keep tabs on such things. 
         At that point someone suggested a Facebook "time out" to protest the message of this group.  Petitions were passed around asking for the powers that be at Facebook to cull the network of such groups, and no doubt this will happen at some point in the future.  At first, my position was that I wouldn't surrender the field to the ignorant and bigoted... it was a worthy fight and I would stay for every last second of it.
          Then it hit me... why do I give a flying fuck about this silly shit???  What possible justification could I come up with for spending hours of my free time arguing with the deliberately obtuse?  Why fucking bother?
          So I dumped it.  Harder than you might think, because like marriage, Facebook is much easier to sign up for than to dump.
          But it was a refreshing flush once I found the handle.
          I miss the good folks, and I miss the fun.  But then, I miss getting high and having sex with various women... neither of which fits my current lifestyle, and most certainly wouldn't lead to a long and prosperous life if I were to return to those hedonistic days.  In short, I'm too old for shit like that.  Too set in my ways to suffer fools quietly, and not willing to let ignorant assholes get a pass when they offer mindless cliches and platitudes as reasoned debate.
           The camel-back breaking straw came in a thread that included these comments directed at yours truly:  "you need to read your constitutation!" (to which I replied "I can't find my copy of the Constitutation, but I'm looking for it") and another telling me "the Constitution was a gift from God" (which is probably just a little confusion on her part, misreading the title of that Charlton Heston film as "The Ten Amendments" or something like that... Moses coming down from Mt. Sinai with stone tablets containing the Bill of Righteous)
            I'm outta there.   Free time now abounds.  Birds are chirping and somewhere out there the wingnutters are posting some really interesting drivel, unmolested by facts and contradiction.

Friday, April 23, 2010


      There used to be a horseshit threshold I could point to as "the line", and anything beyond that point would necessarily cross that line... for whatever resulting reaction appropriate.  I've recently seen my "line" moving around in front of me, wavering like a mirage in bright sunlight, with shimmering heat rising up from the steaming piles of horseshit I would normally have avoided like body lice.  But instead o

Thursday, April 22, 2010




       Couldn't help but notice the deafening silence from the Teabaggers yesterday... when Obama and the financial wizards decided to step in and acquire a controlling stake in General Motors to make sure two million GM employees and millions of people employed by support industries kept their jobs, the right called it Socialism and a government takeover of the automobile industry.  After all, if a company sucks at what they do they should be allowed to fail, right?  Just like a bank or investment firm?
        Anyone remember the Great Depression?  Anyone remember hearing about it in school?
Anyway, the news broke yesterday that GM had not only paid back the loans from the US and Canadian governments, but that they were well on their way to full financial recovery with a new line of electric vehicles going into immediate production.
         Funny how the screamers of The Sky is Falling crowd haven't made a peep about this little tidbit of news.  Instead of adding millions to the ranks of GW Bush's unemployed manufacturing base, Obama stepped in and actually saved their jobs... good paying jobs with union benefits.  Would we have been better off to let those jobs go?  Would it have been better for America to be paying unemployment benefits to millions of people all over the country, or are we better served by having a healthy and revitalized General Motors Corporation?
         I'll wait... but I don't think I'll hear anything from the Teabaggers about this success story.  They've got Hawaiian birth certificates to bitch about... it's a full time thing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


       You can't make this shit up.  If you did, people wouldn't find it funny or even mildly amusing, they would just accuse you of having skipped your meds one time too many, and then do whatever they could to unplug your computer's access to the internet.
        On Monday, April 19th, an obviously demented individual burst into Parkwest Hospital in Knoxville with a handgun searching for a doctor he believed to have implanted him with a tracking device during a routine appendectomy in 2001.  Unable to find the doctor who had performed the appendectomy (and routine chip implantation) he opened fire on some folks who just happened to be standing around when his lid flipped.  One woman died, two others were wounded seriously before the chipped-off dude offed himself.
        Now, this wouldn't make all that much of a splat on my radar screen had it not been for the following story:  The legislature in the state of Georgia has just passed a law making it illegal for anyone in that state to implant a microchip into another person against that person's will.
        Apparently there's a lot of this going around.  The Georgia state legislature is a normally staid group of folks, prone to taking things a little bit over the top from time to time, especially when it comes to school integration and other such socialistic matters, but for the most part they keep their public pronouncements relatively sane.  Or at least they have since Lester Maddox moved on to that great plantation in the sky...
       At any rate, the Georgia legislature wasn't about to adopt some crackpot agenda into law without hearing from at least one such proponent, so they summoned one to testify before their committee.  According to a woman from Dekalb County testified that she had had a chip involuntarily implanted in her "vaginal-rectal area" and that coworkers were activating her genital "beeper" with "cell phones and other electronic devices".  Furthermore, she stated that her "beeper number" was posted on billboards all over town.  When asked by incredulous members of the committee to tell them who had implanted chips in her, she replied that it was done by the Department of Defense.
       Now, normally, any bill put before the state legislature by two Republican Representatives named "Chip" (Chip Pearson and Chip Rogers) would warrant serious consideration.  After all, when you're named Chip you must have some other redeeming qualities that more than make up for whatever scars your childhood life of privilege must have inflicted.  But this one must have had the more serious among the legislators shaking their heads in amazement, right?  Surely, after hearing this woman's testimony the concensus must have been to politely thank her for her time and concern, and then have her escorted (and searched for weapons and tin foil) to her spaceship.
        That wouldn't make news.  And it certainly wouldn't make me write a blog.
        The motion carried, the bill passed, and today SB 235 of the Georgia Code makes it illegal for you or anyone else to shove a chip into someone else's body against their will.  If there is any justice in the Peach Pit State, someone will make it illegal for anyone named "Chip" to shove anything attached to their testicles into a female human for the purpose of procreation... thus preventing the passing down of at least SOME of the genes that led to this silly shit law.
        You can't make this shit up... no one would find it even remotely amusing.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



     Back when I was in recovery from my first marriage (a twelve step process that continues to this day, even though it ended over twenty years ago...) I rented a small apartment on the top floor of a building that overlooked beautiful downtown LA.  Not Los Angeles... Lower Antioch.  I don't get out much.
     In those daze there were several fellow divorced guys in the complex who would congregate at the apartment complex swimming pool to drink massive quantities of adult beverages while staring unashamedly at the semi-naked and nubile women drawn to the watering hole.  We would partake of can after can of cold beer from various coolers, then dash off together to the closest apartment for a quick doobie or two with bourbon chasers.  In other words, we were living the happiest days of our lives, bar none.
      Some of those days at the pool would leave all participants in a state of addled bliss, and at some point it would become evident that the party needed a time out for food.  So we would suspend activities for about an hour while we each went to our respective caves for sustenance, only to return to one apartment or the other for the rest of the evening.  A lot of brain cells are scattered around the swimming pool at the Hickory Hollow Arbors... trust me on this.
      Anyway, during one of these afternoon breaks-in-the-action I was at my apartment wolfing down some remnant of leftovers when I noticed something unusual occuring in the lot behind my apartment's back deck.  For several days a bulldozer had been steadily plowing down trees and brush to make room for what would eventually become a storage rental facility.  I had been rudely awakened for about three consecutive mornings by the sound of a deisel Caterpiller clanking around through the trees outside my apartment and had begun to hate the guy driving it.
      What I saw from the back of my apartment was enough to make me suspend returning to the party, however.  The bulldozer of my dreams (it had interrupted several of them) was actually on fire.  Thick black smoke was billowing up from the engine and the operator was standing a respectable distance away from the inferno shouting at some other guy in a hardhat who was running around a nearby truck, presumably looking for an extinguisher or a camera.
       I grabbed a pair of binoculars I kept handy for watching women walk their dogs around the complex... don't ask... this was the dog-walkingest place on earth... so I could get a better view of the conflagration.  At some point in all the chaos I noticed that the pile of dirt in front of the dozer's blade began to move.  That seemed odd, so I trained the binocs on the dirt while the operator and his highly excitable coworker waited for the approaching fire engine to arrive.
       What I saw next has been called into question on numerous occasions, and I swear to you that what you are about to read is gospel truth.  Only the names have been changed to prevent lawsuits.
       The reason the dirt was moving in front of the dozer blade was because a very dirty and annoyed groundhog was burrowing its way out of the pile.  Apparently it had been rolled up in the mound of dirt before the dozer had self-immolated and was taking the opportunity to make its escape.  A living reminder that there is profit in chaos...
      The workers were so concerned about their burning equipment that neither of them seemed to notice the groundhog as it scampered away toward and across Bell Road.  Five lanes of traffic had slowed to watch the burning spectacle, so being fleet of foot wasn't a requirement to get across the road, a requisite at any other time of the day.  The groundhog made it safely across the road, climbed up the hill in front of the Olive Garden resturant and began to wander down the slope toward Casa Fiesta, the only Mexican resturant in the area at that time.
       I watched in amazement as this groundhog walked straight up to the glass door of Casa Fiesta, stood up on its hind legs as if to get a better view inside the resturant, then suddenly began to run down the hill toward an oil change facility.  Immediately three individuals in waiter uniforms opened the door of Casa Fiesta and began to give chase, two men and one woman.  The groundhog, which had seemed almost nonchalant in its pace crossing one of the busiest highways in all of Davidson County was now moving at what can only be described as Hauling Ass Speed, and right on his furry butt were three Mexican resturant workers.
        What happened next is a bit of a mystery, because when the groundhog entered the back bay of the oil change building I could no longer see what was going on... but I can tell you that at about the same time the groundhog (and its posse) entered the back, several people exited the front.  Everyone was looking back behind them as if a bear had come in for a lube job, so I can only assume that the groundhog was responsible for their decision to vacate.
       About thirty seconds later one of the waiters came out of the front of the building with his jacket wrapped around a squirming ball of pissed off groundhog.  Behind that guy and his captive rodent walked the other waiter, holding his hand in obvious pain, while the woman walked alongside helping him cradle his hand.  I'm no detective, but I pretty much deduced what had happened... he had obviously gotten on the business end of a cornered groundhog and was probably bleeding profusely from the experience.
      The intrepid trio (and Chuck) entered the front door of Casa Fiesta and the door closed.  Suddenly I was no longer privvy to the show... which seemed unfair since I'd completely forgotten about the burning bulldozer and was ignoring the fire department's efforts to put out the blaze... something I normally would have put on my to-do list, regardless of my state of inebriation.
       So, not having anything better to do, I called information and got the number for Casa Fiesta, dialed said number, and when a very excited voice came on the phone I asked if I could speak to Chuck.  "Chuck???" the heavily accented voice repeated.  
       I said, "I sent my groundhog Chuck to the store for beer, and I saw you guys grab him.  Put him on the phone!"
       "Que?" came the reply... so I hung up and drove over to Casa Fiesta.  Here's where I get some level of confirmation of my tale.
       The guy who was bitten on the hand still works there, or at least someone by his name does.  I was just in this resturant a week ago and asked if anyone there by that name might still be an employee... and there were two of them currently working at that resturant.  On the day of the groundhog incident I asked to see his finger, and it was indeed a mess, having a divot missing near the fingernail of the index finger.  I asked him if he was going to see a doctor and he said no, he was fine, just a scratch... so I informed him that he had been bitten by a wild animal and would have to be tested for rabies.  It took several minutes and a few of his coworkers to help convince him that the prudent thing to do was to go have it checked out.
       In the meantime, they had "Chuck" in a broom closet.  The girl who was part of the posse told me that were planning to take him to Smyrna to release into the wild, because that's apparently where all captured groundhogs are taken... who knows.  My suspicion was that it was likely to become part of the menu, either there or at home, but I didn't voice those concerns.  What I DID say was that since it had bitten a human it would have to be tested for rabies by the Health Department.  That's when things got a little ugly....
       This girl had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen, or at least the most beautiful eyes that weren't being used by a Labrador Retriever.... I'm partial to Labs.  At the sound of the word "tested" she got very close to my face and asked what the test would involve.  Now, there's no easy way to tell an obvious animal lover that the standard animal test for rabies isn't exactly the same test they used in the movie "Ol' Yeller" wherein the suspect animal is locked away and observed for a few weeks to see if it shows any tell-tale signs of the disease.  No, our modern way is a bit quicker, and a lot more terminal for the animal involved.
      As I explained that they would have to remove the animal's head and send it to the state lab for examination I could see tears welling up in those same beautiful eyes, and I was suddenly the most hated man she had ever looked at.  Nothing I could say would ever make her feel less hurt, so I excused myself and drove back to my apartment.
      A little while later I watched as the Animal Control Department workers carried Chuck out by the neck with a loop pole, dropped him into the back of their truck, and drove away.  A very pretty young lady stood in the door of Casa Fiesta and cried like the junta was hauling off her father to be "disappeared"...
      I went back to Casa Fiesta with several of my inebriated friends one night weeks later, and one of them called my story into question in front of the staff of the resturant in an effort to make me recant.  Salvadore showed them his finger scar, and for a few minutes I had a certain level of credibility with my drunken friends.  It passed about as quickly as it was acquired after a couple of margaritas.
      RIP, Chuck.



       We've spent the better part of the last month remodeling our kitchen, and there isn't enough space on the blogosphere to list off the headaches and hassles involved therein.  BUT, there is enough room to mention one environmental concern that seems relevant enough to warrant a rantish moment here...
        If you buy paint in gallon buckets you will inevitably end up with empty paint cans, or at least empty enough that the remaining paint at the bottom of the can turns to petrified goop no one would recognize or use as paint.  At that point one has a conundrum... how to dispose of said paint can.
        They warn you that you're never allowed to just toss the empty paint cans into your outgoing trash because paint is apparently regarded as something slightly more toxic to ground water than low grade radioactive waste.  I came to that conclusion from watching our local landfill's material acceptance over the past few years... they've been importing low grade radioactive waste from out of state, burying it in our county landfill (which has now grown to be one of the highest points in the county... Mount Refuse) which just happens to sit adjacent to and above the East Fork of the Stones River.  Last time I checked the river was also serving as partial water supply for downstream parts of the county.
        So you can put radioactive waste in a plastic lined landfill above your water supply, but you can't put paint cans in the same pile of garbage because they're just too dangerous.
       We were watching the TV series "24" last night (because we like to take a shot every time someone on the show uses a cell phone... a great drinking game that usually only lasts about fifteen minutes into any given episode of "24" before both of us have forgotten why we're watching such silly shit when we're obviously too drunk to keep up with all of the intricate- and banal - plot twists...) and during one of the clock-ticking cliff-hanger commercial breaks the Fox network aired a paint commercial.  That's why I called you here today...
        During this commercial they showed an actor rinsing out his paint brush under running water in a sink.  Let me repeat that.  During this commercial they showed an actor rinsing out his paint brush under running water in a sink.
       You can't put paint buckets in the landfill because they're too toxic to groundwater.  But you are encouraged to rinse out your paint brushes in that same water supply.
       And another thing... how the fuck does Jack Bauer's cell phone always work, even when he's in caves or "nucular" missile silos or aboard submarines or in space... and mine won't complete a call at certain places in my own driveway.
       I've decided to use my remaining paint by putting a coat of bone colored trim on some nuclear fuel rods and hauling them to the dump.  Gotta play by the rules...

Monday, April 19, 2010


     For anyone unaware of the significance of today's date in history, I hope there are no reminders in today's news that make this day even more dreaded in the future.
     Years ago the skinheads and white supremacists decided to mark Adolph Hitler's birthdate with their own brand of hatred and intolerance here in America and across Europe, making sure we all remember the Nazis in an even less favorable light after all of these decades by parading swastikas and Nazi symbols through Jewish and black neighborhoods.  For years it was nothing more than an annual display of hatred and bigotry marked only by the occasional flaring of tempers and the obligatory ACLU lawsuits and court injunctions that accompany such events.
      Then a religious nut and child abuser in Waco decided to push the federal government one shove too far, and the standoff between the Branch Davidians and the ATF erupted in a deadly inferno that will forever mark this date as one of our darkest.  Ever since that horrible tragedy the wingnuts and conspiracy theorists have pointed to April 19th as their version of the Fourth of July.
Bring the kids, pack a cooler and a couple of firearms, paint up some signs, iron the klan klown suit, and find some TV cameras to parade around in front of for the the evening news.
       A few years later (as Todd Snider famously recalled in his song "Ballad of the Kingsmen") a couple of latchkey kids went tragically mad and decided to mark the day by killing a lot of their classmates and burning down their high school in Littleton, Colorado.  Today, Columbine is regarded as the flaming model of teenage angst, times ten.
       Add to the mix a little conflagration in Oklahoma City on this date and what you have is a pattern.  Not trying to foretell gloom and doom, but today's one day we oughta keep an eye on the weirdo loner neighbor who kinda keeps to himself, tinkers around in the little shed out back in the middle of the night, and has on occasion expressed more than just a little outrage about the federal government, the IRS, the ATF, Congress, and especially Negro Presidents sitting around in his by-god White House.
       I'd stay off the subway and out of the tax buildings today if I had the choice.
Hope we don't remember today for anything other than a beautiful Monday!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


    Mr. and Mrs. Squatlo met a former neighbor of mine at a Mexican resturant off of Bell Road yesterday for a couple of pitchers of margaritas and to exchange prints and frames.  A large time was had by all.  Upon leaving we couldn't help but notice a middle aged Indian man apparently trying to open the door of Mr. Squatlo's ancient Pontiac.  Hmmmm, I thought.
    I asked said man if I could help him, noticed then that he was with three other family members, one of whom was very busy taking his photo holding the handle of my car.  He nodded at me to acknowlege my question ("Can I help you, sir?" which was about as confrontational as I can muster after my third of two pitchers of very stout margaritas...) but continued to pose for the photo, oblivious to me and my keys waiting patiently to leave.
    When they had the shot they were after (and god only knows why anyone would want a photo of themself pretending to open the door of a 1996 Firebird covered with bird poop and oak pollen, but hey, I'm just a witness to all this...) the guy turned and offered to shake my hand.  I gave him one of my cards (seemed like the thing to do) and he gave me one of his.
    On the ride home Mrs. Squatlo began to read this man's occupation to me as I wove down I-24 in search of home and a functioning toilet.  Here's verbatim what the card reads:
(name of gentleman from India)
World Peace Ambassador
Founder and Chairman
World Human Development Center
Kutch Vagad Fauj
Vagad Salvadora Plantation
Gujrati-Hindi Drama
Street Play Originator

followed by a street address and phone number in Mumbai, India.

You never know when your fifteen year old discontinued make/model vehicle is going to inspire an international incident.  I'm sure had I reacted in typical Antioch Tennessee redneck-full-of-bottom-shelf-tequila mode (in other words, had I opened fire on this unsuspecting idiot) I would have sparked news in at least two places, here and Mumbai.
   After all, how many travelling writer/director/actor/world peace ambassadors from India get murdered in your average afternoon news cycle?

   Damn... coulda made the news.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010


     Just checked out my buddy's blog and he's rantin' on me for not rantin' enough here... as if all must be right with my world to bring about such silence.
     Truth is, I've about decided the only thing less helpful than bitching about the moronic plague sweeping the country is being part of it.  They're everywhere.  They spend their entire days in perpetual fear, anger, and decidedly loathsome denial of the facts, and are instigated by the most popular (if slanted) cable news network AND the echo chamber of right wing radio ranters.
      I've been shouted down on Facebook, if there is such a thing as shouting text... because I dared to question the veracity of some of the posts therein.  I've pointed out (in my subtle, gentle manner) that anyone who would buy into half the shit they pass along via email, FB, and all the other rumor-mongering methods of the day must have boiled cabbage for grey matter.  After that things got pissy.
      I finally took a good look at Facebook and the circle of "friends" I was surrounded by, and realized that over 50% of them were apparently going steady with Jesus.  They write his name on their notebooks, they draw little hearts, and they can't fart without praising the lord for the blessing of methane.  Another 25% of them are just as exhibitional in their piety, but have taken on the added charm of being willing to parrot whatever right wing horseshit they've been sent, or heard, or seen since their last post.  Another 15% of the remaining "friends" seem more interested in gathering up imaginary farm animals, playing imaginary cyber games, and sending one another crystal unicorns and "hugs" and butterflies and puppies and flowers all day when they're supposed to be working.
        That leaves another 10% of Facebookers who can't seem to decide if they want to play this silly shit any longer, or if it's just for amusement purposes only.  I'm on the cusp of dropping the page from my 'pooter's fave list in lieu of something more meaningful to do with my time.
       Unlike this... gotta go...
Sorry if I'm rantless lately, but it's sure as hell not from lack of material.