Saturday, May 29, 2004

Not again

Yup it's been over two weeks since I linked to Neal Pollack:

"It gets trickier. According to Ashcroft, Al Queda is seeking recruits who can “portray themselves as Europeans.” What does that mean? Are they wearing berets? Vacationing in Ibiza? Going on strike for no discernible reason? Genuflecting to Michael Moore movies? Why, anyone could be a terrorist! Even you!"

I don't know if there is a humorist out there that makes me laugh more than he does. Jesus, he kills me.

Friday, May 28, 2004

A rooma zoom zoom

Last night I went to the Lowes Motor Speedway with these two wonderful people.

We went to the qualifying for Coca-Cola 600 that will take place Saturday afternoon and evening.

Simply put we got to see big fast race cars take laps by themselves to see who was fastest. The faster you go the closer to the front you start Sunday night. It ain't rocket science but I hear it's close.

I highly recommend going to one of these qualifying events if you live in the Charlotte area. The people watching is fantastic, admission is only 15 bucks, traffic is about one tenth as heavy as it is on a race day and you get a good feel for how fast these cars actually go. It's big time and it's right around the corner from where you live.

Who duh superstar?

Years ago when I first started going to these events the two drivers who got the most crowd reaction were Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. Gordon got mostly boos and Earnhardt recieved about 2/3 cheers and 1/3 boos.

My most recent two trips to qualifying events have pretty much sealed my opinion that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the biggest star in the sport. I now see why he is in all those advertisements, when his car pulled onto the track Thursday he got a bigger reception than I ever heard his daddy get for simply qualifying.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I hate being tired at work

I've been battling a nagging little cold and it's causing me to lose sleep. Today at work I was trying to explain to the new kid about that story concerning whether or not farm-raised salmon should be counted along with wild salmon in order to lower their endangered status. From what I read, a government official trying to push this through once worked as a lawyer for the professional organization that supports the rights of developers on the west coast. That would be a conflict of interest similar to, say, a supreme court justice going fishing with someone whose case he will be viewing in the future. I think I summed that up pretty clearly. Why in the hell couldn't I do that at work today. It's funny how when you are exhausted it's much easier to write than talk. At work I was about as well spoken as a hockey player with a mouthful of his own teeth.

Anyway, I'm going to bed now. Hopefully I'll fall asleep reading.

Reading in a few minutes: The Cloud Atlas by Liam Callanan.

I usually shy away from novels by English professors but this one is good. It concerns those balloon bombs the Japanese set aloft toward the states back in World War II. Besides, it a perfect book for a booktalk.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Has anyone seen spring?

The temperature in this burg has been unseasonably high for an unreasonable amount of time. By the time the temperature gets back to seasonal it will be summer and nothing will have really changed.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Let's hear it for transparency!

So far I have only seen this report on foreign news sites. It's funny, Rumsfeld is so sincere about bringing the perpetrators of the prisoner abuse crimes to justice that he is banning the means with which the world learned of the abuses. One small step for Rumsfeld, one giant leap backwards for accountability.
The Winston

I love the Winston or, as it's called now, The Nextel All-Star Challenge. Some bullshit like that. I think I got it wrong but I don't care. It's still the Winston to me. The Winston is a very dangerous all-star shoot-out style stock car race that is held at a facility too big and fast for such an event to be held at. It's good sparkling car-smashing fun until someone dies. That hasn't happened yet. Personally, I think they are dodging a bullet every time they hold this all-star race. I still love it though. This race has everything that draws me to racing, guys putting their asses on the line for the sake of a big wad of cash. The event is purposefully staged for a maximum amount of chance taking by the drivers. The announcers make a big deal about the one-million-dollar prize for winning but if you put these guys on tricycles and awarded the winner a soda pop they would hurt each other just to be first.

I won't bore you with details other than to say that, once again, the Winston was great fun. There was some aggressive racing, there were bonehead moves, there was the unexpected and finally a great pass at the end for the win.

What was disapponting was the unnecessary ceremony and the bloated television coverage of it. All season long I have found the coverage by Fox Sports to be lacking in substance (the race in California had a last lap with lead-lap cars running out of fuel all over the track and Fox totally blew the coverage. That would never have happened back when ESPN covered the sport). Thank god Darrell Waltrip is in the broadcast booth to bring to bring it back to the race once the green flag drops. How bad was the coverage? Think Superbowl bad. Last night, while watching the pomp between the first and second segments, I thought of the bit that Lewis Black does about the Superbowl. He claims that eventually the coverage will get so bad that it will be unwatchable. The Winston coverage might get there first. Last night's lengthy show made the last two minutes of an NBA game look like the 100 meter dash. When Mark Martin walked out during the fireworks and forced fan screaming I could see by his demeanor and his face that he just wanted to get the damn race started. I was with you there, buddy.

Several times last night I was dying to be at the race. I'll be there next year, dadgummit.

100 Meter Dash

There was an invitational track and field meet on TV yesterday and I was lucky enough to catch the men's 100 meter dash final. There are few things more exciting than the ten seconds it takes these guys to run 100 meters. I found out a couple of years ago that it's not about speed. A human can only run so fast. The key to winning the race is who can maintain top speed the longest.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

The good, the bad and the dead battery

Today I got that ramblin' urge. Not the kind of ramblin' urge that takes you out of the county in which you live but enough of ramblin' urge to keep you driving for over an hour. An hour being about the time of the Modest Mouse album "Moon & Antarctica." It's one of those albums that has a lot of great lines scattered through it

Somehow between back roads, main drags and intertate 85 I ended up at the Shoneys on Little Rock Rd. After not driving in Charlotte for over a year it was the third turn I took that was a suprise. It was pushing noon and I hadn't eaten yet today. I remember that at one point in my life I used to love the Shoneys breakfast buffet. After today's meal I now recall why I stopped going: it's fucking crap. It's nothing but burnt and yet undercooked scrambled eggs and overcooked rubber sausage. It's the first time in years that breakfast made me weaker.

I knew I was in a hellhole when the elderly man across the table from me was eating what the menu called a "salad." What he acutally had was a pile of shitty-ass iceberg lettuce with a pile of cheese and bacon bits on top located in the bullseye area of the plate. He kept making comments to his wife and what must have been her fat neice and looking over to me for confirmation. I didn't know how to respond since I couldn't hear what he was saying. I just stared down at my burnt and runny eggs.

Of course it took forever for the waitress to bring me my check. For five minutes I looked around the room, avoided the gaze of the old guy, stared at my disgusting plates, balanced my checking account in my head, thought about tonight's NASCAR All-Star race, watched the two redneck dudes decide if they should wait for the waitress or hit the breakfast bar immediatley and bolted toward the register after I got the damn thing.

When I paid I noticed I spent as much money as I would have for good breakfast at Hugos. That annoyed the piss out me and I ambled out to my 1989 Honda Civic hotrod. I stuck my key in the ignition and the car didn't start. In about two seconds I considered all those that might be willing to help me out and realized I had only one number memorized and I couldn't call her unless my life was in danger and it was 90 degrees and I justed wanted to go home and take a nap. Fuck, I fretted, what the fuck am I going to do?

I went into the Shoneys and used the bathroom. Maybe if I go back out after a few minutes it will fix itself and start. No dice. Click, click, click goes the dead battery. As I sit in my car I can feel it getting hotter. Not even considering asking other villagers for a push I go back inside and call a guy I know that owns a car repair shop and runs a towing service. He says, "Why in the hell do you call me? Try and get a push start you know how to do that, right?"

"Yeah, I say I know how to do that."

"Then try it," He says, "If that don't work then call me back."

Right, I think, if I go outside and wait long enough someone will have to give me a push. No one ever turns down a request for a push start. Think about it, have you ever denied the request for a push start? I haven't. Shit, I'll volunteer to push a car. There are two occasions in which we'll truly become a global village: when someone is on fire or if a car needs a push start due to a dead battery.

I walk out into the desert-like 90 degrees. I see two fat fifty-plus guys smoking cigarettes surrounded by five women that could be either of their wives. I walk up to them,feeling like a hobo holding his hat in his hands, and say politely (like I learned living down here), "Would you two be willing to do me a favor and give me a push start. My battery appears to be dead."

To my great relief one of them says, "Sure where you at?"

I point behind me and say, "It's that tiny and very light Honda Civic."

He says, "Just tell us what to do."

I hop in my car, they push me backwards out of the parking spot, push me forward, run for a second and then I pop my clutch and the engine fires. I wave thanks out the back window then stop to rev my engine. The vocal one comes up to my window and says, "We're taking a bus up to Virginia, you can follow and you won't have to worry about stalling."

Friday, May 21, 2004

Weird-ass Dream

Sometimes I have trouble sleeping. Last night was one of those nights. Usually when this hits the first time I do go under I hit the half-awake dream state which tends to cause in me a mild waking nightmare.

Last night I dreamed that I was laying in my bed, having a hard time sleeping. Screwed up, I know. For some reason I had my telephone close by and I was taking a call from a telemarketer who was talking very fast. Since I had been awakened by her in this dream I was mocking her by telling her to speak slowly in a very slow manner. Then I hung up on her. She called back and I felt her in the room and she was pulling my hair, hard. I woke up and it took me about thirty seconds to fully convince myself that I was alone in my room. I had to get up and go out to the living room and watch a couple of movie trailers at before I was able to go back to bed and finally go to sleep. Jesus, our brains are weird.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

I can't believe I left it out

On my previous post that I stole from Tom I recalled some of my favorite live albums. Someone posted a comment that mentioned the album by Jimi Hendrix called "Jimi plays Monterey." For those of you that don't know, at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 Jimi Hendrix played his first American concert in front of a significant crowd. That was the night he played a fierce half-hour set in which he opened with a version of "Killing Floor" that has an opening riff that is like the gates of heaven opening. He does a version of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" that feels autobiographical and is so passionately read that Jimi loses his place but he still has the presence of mind to alert the crowd that he realizes that he missed a verse. It also has that famous version of Wild Thing where Jimi humps his guitar into the speaker and then sets the guitar on fire.

If I remember correctly there are portions of this show on the movie called "Jimi Hendrix: the movie." When I first heard that the full show was being released back in the late eighties I was all gaga for it. I had read much about it and could not wait to hear, especially since it was gong to be released unedited. Now, with newsgroups, finding unedited concerts of your favorite artist is relatively easy if your favorite artist is worth a shit. When this audio cassette came out I was thrilled. Rarely has anything lived up to the hype like this show did. I don't have a copy of it at the moment. I need to remedy that.

Thank you, mysterious stranger, you reignited my appreciation of Jimi Plays Monterey.


Oh yeah, speaking of live shows. The other day I bought the DVD of the Stooges show in Detroit from last year. Tom, you need to buy this right away.

More James kudos

Again, thanks to the currently existing link from James' blog. I'm still racking up the unnatural number of hits. I've never had such a popular friend before. He's like the varsity quarterback of our blogging team.
Thanks, bubba

I'd like to publicly thank James for linking to my blog the other day. Because of his selfless act my hit average has doubled for the last two days.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Stealing Ideas

Today's entry by Tom naturally caused me to consider live albums that I listened to when I was younger.

I recall having KISS Alive on LP and cranking it up on Saturday evenings as I got all cleaned up to either go to a movie or drive in circles down Main Street in Traverse City, MI.

Three that he mentioned that I owned were "Wings Over America, Bob Seger's
"Live Bullet" and "Live Rust." "Wings" surprised me when I listened to it because I had no idea how many of those songs I was familiar with but didn't know they were Paul McCartney songs. This was when I was in my early teens and had just consumed the Beatles catalog and was moving on to solo works. I stopped paying any attention to Paul after he came out with "Pipes of Peace" and I bought "Plastic Ono Band."

I will always love that point on "Live Bullet" when Bob Seger said that he read in Rolling Stone magazine "that Detroit rock audiences are the greatest rock and roll audiences in the world. I thought to myself, shit, I've known that for ten years."

What about "Live Rust?" Let's just say it was one of my first DVD purchases after I got a player.

Monday, May 17, 2004

What doesn't?

I saw a headline on Netscape news that said that stupid billboard with bunnies screwing on it has offended some. Shit, some would be offended by chunk snow that slightly resembled a penis.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

A wedding

Yesterday Michael and Christine were married. They had a wonderful short ceremony and everyone in attendance shared their joy. I took a few pics before the ceremony.

The bride was beautiful.

The bridesmaids were also beautiful. Although I think Amy is giving me the evil eye.

The groom and his posse all took showers that morning.

This one just makes me chuckle.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Enough of that crap

OK, no more political posts for one whole week. I belive my opinions are pretty obvious and my pipsqueaky little voice ain't doing no good. You know they aren't coming to me for advice, they don't even bother to listen to their own intelligence reports.
Just in case you missed the Daily Show last night

This quote from Rumsfeld is priceless: "One thing that appears reasonably certain, and that is that those who make allegations of a culture of deception, of intimidation or of cover-up need to be extremely careful about such accusations." Or as Gene Simmons once said, "You better watch out because I'm a war machine."

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Who knew?

Today I took a class on google searching. I learned that if you put a tilde in front of a search term then google will search for synonyms of that word. Kinda cool. Say you were looking for pictures of female high jumpers, if you put a tilde in front of the word 'female' google will also search for terms like woman and women as well as your original search term. Cool, huh?

Monday, May 10, 2004


I see that ole GW is sticking by his secretary of defense. I am sure some people's cockles are warmed by such a show of loyalty in these unsure times. All I see is a man who has to suppoort his secretary of defense because these two helped created the lawless environment that allowed such behavior to exist. As the great poet Billy Joel once said, "We all go down together."

Actual quote by Bush: "One basic difference between democracies and dictatorships is that free countries confront such abuses openly and directly." One question, dude, what about Cuba? A nice example of his practice of saying one thing while doing another. How can you say our practices are transparent while our camp in Cuba exists without your head exploding, I don't know.

It seems blogger has changed their log in page drastically sometime today. I felt like I was in a foreign land for a second.

Bachelor Party Memories

Last night we celebrated the Big Guy's upcoming official end of bachelorhood. Things I saw.

1) Michael ingesting an unhealthy amount of hard ale.
2) His future brother in law deciding to get drunk because he didn't want Michael to drink alone.
3) Some really shitty pool playing.
4) A guy almost electrocuting himself with a pool table light.
5) Later, at the titty bar, Louis Farrakhan working for tips in the bathroom.
6) A solitary male watching basketball in the quiet room while boobies were thrown to the wind behind him.
7) Men with their wife/girlfriend paying for much younger women to put their boobies in their wife's/girlfriend's face.
8) Michael with a chesire grin.
9) Future brother in law with a cigar and a ringmaster's grin.
10) The interests of the fellas waxing and waning as different girls hit the stage.
11) Dancers with rural southern accents.
12) A dancer with an overly muscular body.
13) Whenever an amateur had her top removed by a dancer the DJ would say, "Puppy alert!" Heads turn...
14) A blonde...thank god I didn't have a lot of money with me.
15) Michael getting his butt spanked with a belt by a dancer, his face screws up. He yells at us, "That really hurt!"
16) Future brother and law and I helping Michael climb a pole so he can get his socks back.
17) After that I had a nice dismount off the stage.
18) Boobies.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Wesley Clark lays it down

"Gen. Wesley K. Clark, the former supreme commander of NATO and an erstwhile Democratic presidential candidate, said on "Meet the Press" that "a failure of leadership" over Iraq "goes right to the top." He said that he would now place as better than 50-50 the possibility of "a catastrophic early end to this mission" — a premature withdrawal under heavy pressure.

"It would be very patriotic if Secretary Rumsfeld resigned," Mr. Clark said."

Saturday, May 08, 2004


A cute little three-year-old just walked by the desk and she was holding a helium-filled balloon on a string. It was floating about three inches above her head and static electricity was pulling a curtain of her hair straight up.

God bless our great nation. Remember we should be judged on what we say, not on what we do. How abhorrent is it for an American president to actively seek out and utilize regions of the world where he can skirt the Geneva Convention? These people are monsters.

From Stephanie Zacharek's New York Times Book Review review of Jean Thompson's book "City Boy."

"Plausibility is overrated in novels. Fictional characters should be allowed to do things that real poeople never would, if only because fiction is a way of flexing the what-ifs of life, of assessing the consequences of mistakes we hope we'd never dare to make."

Friday, May 07, 2004

Get your war on

I haven't checked in with my favorite clip art political cartoonist in a while. Man, don't read this while eating or drinking because you will spit food and or drink all over your computer screen and, quite possibly, the front of your shirt. You might even get a little mess on your trousers too.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

These colors don't run

"In Iraq, we now have pictures of American soldiers degrading captives. The brazenness with which the soldiers conducted themselves, snapping photographs and flashing the "thumbs-up" sign as they abused prisoners, suggests they felt they had nothing to hide from their superiors. Indeed, there are now reports that their higher-ups in military intelligence urged such behavior to create better conditions for interrogation. "

Not only should Rumsfeld resign but so should our president. Oops, he won't because he's never made a mistake.
I'm linking to the O'Reilly Factor? Jesus...

"Seymour Hersh: And I could tell you something else. Let me just say this. I believe the services have a -- look, the kids did bad things. But the notion that it's all just these kids [doing these things]... The officers are "in loco parentis" with these children. We send our children to war. And we have officers like that general, whose job is to be mother and father to these kids, to keep them out of trouble. The idea of watching these pictures, it's not only a failure of the kids, it's a failure of everybody in the command structure."

For extra fun look how O'Reilly tries to assert his unfounded opinions as facts but Hersh does not let him. That is how O'Reilly works.
Almost enough to cause you to pull an Elvis and shoot your Teevee

Last night while flipping before Southpark came on I came across Hannity and Colmes on Fox Infotainment. They were interviewing a defense attorney that was representing one of the soldiers being scapegoated for the rampant abuse of Iraqi prisoners by our military. The whole point of the interview seemed to be the point at the end made by Hannity that John Kerry claims to have violated the Geneva convention in Vietnam. He gave the attorney a nice opening and allowed him to say something to the effect, "Yes, killing noncombatants and shooting unarmed enemy in the back is worse that the mistreatment of POW's." So, there you go; anything taking place in Iraq is better than John Kerry's behavior in Vietnam. How do these creeps sleep at night?

I was appalled that these two "journalists" did not even bother to question the insinuation of this attorney. I have heard some of the quotes by Kerry when referring to atrocities. The way he stated it was that the Vietnam War was an atrocity and by participating in it he committed an atrocity. The way that statement has been twisted is shockingly dishonest.

Oh, and from what I've read, if the only people who get convicted of any crime in this prisoner abuse thing are low-ranking enlisted folks then we have a big problem because it goes a lot higher than that.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

How long will we be in Iraq building democracy?

Democratization is a noble goal. I was involved in democratization efforts for most of my diplomatic career. It is a long and hard road that requires institution-building and a significant investment on the part of the local population in a new and different system of governance that is often at odds with tradition. The best description I have heard for the process is that it is like a fine English lawn: you must seed it, you must water it, and if you want it to look really good, you must roll it -- for six hundred years. It is not a task that comes naturally to our military, however excellent that institution is.
Quote by Joshua Marshall

"This isn't a matter of the aesthetics of leadership. It is another example of how this president is a passive commander-in-chief, how he demands no accountability and, because of that, allows problems to fester and grow. Though this may not be a direct example of it, he also creates a climate tolerant of rule-breaking that seeps down into the ranks of his subordinates, mixing with and reinforcing those other shortcomings."

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


Off and on for the last ten years I have been going to a diner on South Blvd called Hugos. It's owned by a Greek gentleman named George and, although they do serve meals other than breakfast, I only get breakfast there. My buddy Chris tells me that their pita burgers rock but I haven't sampled one of those yet. I'm pretty happy about the couple that owns the joint because in the last two years they bought the building from the company they had been renting it from and then remodeled the place. They serve my favorite hashbrowns in the city. Nice and crispy on top and warm and moist in the middle, like a turtle.

Lately I've been screwing up when I go to work at noon. I have been leaving at the last minute and then I end up having to rush to work. Today I decided to leave at 11 and run by Hugos for breakfast. I got me a ham, green peppers, onions and cheese omelet. Oh yeah, their omelets rock. I read the paper while waiting and devoured my food when it arrived. It worked about perfectly except that I forgot to bring a tie with me and had to run by my home to grab a tie. I was five minutes late. The best laid plans...

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Unfair and biased

I just flipped over to Fox news and they were covering the story about John Kerry adding Warren Buffett as an economic advisor. The Fox analyst, some guy named Smith, said he didn't know what Kerry was thinking because Buffett wants to raise taxes. I read a column by Buffett last year where he said he thought taxes on the rich (people like him) should not have their taxes cut. Of course the fox analyst didn't mention that fact. All he said was "raise taxes" several times. Buffett is willing to raise his own taxes because he knows he doesn't pay his fair share. That is dishonest news reporting and so far from "fair and balanced" that one can only laugh.
If there was a god and you were lying so blatantly in front of so many people snakes and worms would crawl out of your ears, nose and mouth.

My mother loves Fox news and even thinks that Bill O'Reilly is a great man. Do you have any idea how depressing that is? I have been campaigning with her for over a year to turn that goddamn network off.

Speaking of scum fucks

I did some partying down in Savannah and I don't like to go to sleep while still a little messed up so I did some late night television viewing. I came across CBN and got to watch Satan's little helper, Pat Robertson. There is a special place in hell for people like him who hide behind Christianity and the ignorance of others in order to spread lies. They actually showed a 'news' story about a little boy who had a nasty cancer that up and went away. That may be true, cancer is funny that way. It's happened before. It can also come back just as quickly. Of course CBN portrayed this as a miracle from god because an angel supposedly appeared to the boy's parents and told them everything was going to be alright. Heck, maybe it was Muddy Waters. I do have to give CBN some credit the piece was very well put together. The doctors they interviewed were mystified and referred to the boy's recovery as miraculous which, of course, later translated to miracle when the parents were interviewed. It was a marvelous bit of propaganda.

People like Robertson sometimes cause me to hope there is a god because she's got some payback for him when he finally croaks. I hope he's enjoying his worldly goods while he can.

Saturday, May 01, 2004


OK, so it's been a view days since I done blogged. I was waiting for emails asking why I hadn't blogged. None arrived so I have to motivate myself to write. I am posting a lot of pictures this time and I hope you dial-up bastards don't have too much trouble with it.

I've been on vacation the last two weeks. What did I do? I Xboxed, dicked around on the computer, ate out a lot, self medicated, read, played guitar, played tennis once, went to the park, spent a couple of days in Savannah, slept in, traveled twice to eat genuine North Carolina barbecue.

My first trip, in my first week of vacation, to eat barbecue was to a place called R.O.'s located in Gastonia. Oh my fucking god, was it good. What makes their barbecue so good is the coleslaw they put on the sammich. It's to die for. Yesterday Chris, Wendell and I drove out to Albermarle to go to a place called Whispering Pines. Oh my fucking god, that was awesome also. Let me say that if you live in North Carolina and don't seek out and eat at one of the local family-owned barbecue joints near where you live you are doing yourself a disservice. They are one of the perks of living in this area like dirt tracks and sweet tea.

I went to Savannah with an old buddy I hadn't traveled with in ages. You know how sometimes you feel the need to spend time with a person? He hadn't been to Savannah before and I have been there several times. I hadn't been in a while so I wasn't sure if I still knew my way around. I did, which was cool because it made me look cool. In front of Savannah's courthouse there is this eternal flame kinda thing called the Flame of Freedom. I thought it would be fun to take a picture of Chris getting burned by the Flame of Freedom. Yes, we had had a few drinks that night.

Earlier that same day we went out to Tybee Island and did some sight seeing. I hadn't seen the ocean in several years and it's good to be near the ocean now and then. It's where we all came from. It's like going back to the womb but with more wind.

Even earlier that same day we stopped by the Bonaventure Cemetery. Although we got there at midday with a strong sun that detracted from the potential gothicism of the place it still has a magic to it even at high noon, baby.

I just thought I would do a little vacation wrap up so you don't think I just slept in everyday until noon and then went and got a plate of hashbrowns at Waffle House. I only did that twice.