Thursday, March 30, 2006

What I did today

Today I went to the Revolution golf course and played a round with my buddy Chris.
Before we hit the course we stopped by a driving range and split a bucket of balls. While there I took another step into the abyss and bought a pair of golf shoes. I was unsure about it until I started playing and not having your feet slide around when you swing makes a world of difference.

Here's a picture of the big guy hitting an iron shot. This is right before he started swearing.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

That's crazy talk

Jesse Jackson on immigration:
"How do we stop our country from being overrun by impoverished immigrants if we offer them pathways to citizenship? There is only one way - and it is not mentioned in this debate. We passed a treaty called NAFTA with Mexico and Canada that guaranteed rights to employers and investors but not to workers. The results have been catastrophic. Wages in Mexico, the United States and Canada have fallen. Mexico now exports more cars to the United States than the United States exports to the world - all made by US companies benefiting from cheap labor in Mexico. And US food exports have displaced millions of poor Mexican peasants and driven them from their communities. They don't come to the United States because they want to leave their homes. They come desperate for work.

The only way to stop the flood of immigrants is to help lift their standards up, rather than drive ours down. When Europe created one trading union including impoverished Spain and Portugal, the high wage countries of the north spent billions on development in the poorer countries, while demanding that they adhere to labor rights, environmental protections and basic social protections. While those countries still are not as wealthy as those in the north, their people were given hope and opportunity - and would much prefer to stay home.

We can spend billions trying to lock immigrants out and hold those that come in down. Or we can devote energy and resources now wasted on a civil war in Iraq to help lift our neighbors up, gain real trading partners and significantly reduce the misery that drives people from their homes."

You know, I don't know what Jesse Jackson thinks he is doing by bringing reality into this debate. That's total bullshit.
One more down

The day before yesterday I finshed "Arthur and George" by Julian Barnes. I think the best summation I have found in a review is one that said something along the line of 'everything a novel is capapble of.' Sounds good to me. You know you are reading a good novel when you don't want to finish.

The story is about Arthur Conan Doyle and a solicitor named George Edalji. George is half Indian and half Scottish and is convicted of a crime he didn't commit. Racism is so obviously at play that Doyle jumps into the fray and helps George receive a pardon. It's just a delightful character driven story. Supposedly it's also about what it means to be English but that don't matter. The storytelling style reminded me a little of E.L. Doctorow. Very little dialogue at times and a lot of time spent inside a character's head. The character of George Edalji is so thoroughly realized that, later in the novel, the way he reacts to his surroundings is perfectly in keeping with his character that you laugh inwardly and think, "Good ole George. He's never going to change." It's astounding.

Monday, March 27, 2006


When I was a kid my grandparents had a cottage on Lake Bellaire in northern Michigan. On the mantlpiece of this cottage my grandma kept a small collection of small glass figurines. I remember I liked to play with them and was allowed to only after I promised to be very careful with them.

On the right front speaker of my home sound system I have a collection of random figurines. A couple of superhero's, Phoney Bone and a cheap plastic milkmaid are there. I also have a few Homies. I was always worried that my collection of Homies is a little racists. I figured they were all in good fun. Now I feel better though because I received in the mail my full set of Trailer Park Homies the other day. There, it all evens out now. Now I need to get a set of Mafia Homies so the right front speaker of my home sound system will offend everyone.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What every wardrobe needs

How about a glow-in-the-dark Shroud of Turin t-shirt?
CPCC Literary Festival

Over the years I have tried to take at least one day off and attend an event or two at the CPCC literary festival. I haven't made it every year but I went when I could. I went twice today. I went at 11 am to see Jimmy Santiago Baca speak about life and writing. I went home for a couple of hours, read, took a nap and went back at 7:30 pm to see Baca read some of his work. I've been dying to see Baca read for over ten years now and this is the first time, that I know of, that he has appeared in this area. He mentioned today that he lived in the Greensboro area for four years but I don't know when that was. I hope it wasn't during the time I've been waiting to see him in person. If that is the case then I am a knucklehead.

Seeing Jimmy Baca in person was as wonderful as I knew it would be. I have never seen a better reader. Tonight, when he read one of his poems or a section from his memoir, everything else left my mind and only his words were there. It was a stunning performance. His writing is spiritual and earthy and he spends large amounts of his personal time interacting and helping others. It was an honor to be in his presence and now I have a prized possession, a signed copy of his recent book of poetry.

For some reason before his evening appearance the festival organizers awarded three achievement prizes to local writers and publishers. All the awards were deserving and each person earned their recognition but I felt really uncomfortable watching Mr. Baca squirm in his chair onstage during the half hour plus time it took to recognize these local literary figures. During his morning talk Baca mentioned he had hurt his back taking water and food to Mexican refugees in New Mexico and, judging from his posture in his chair, he was in pain or at least uncomfortable. I would think a seperate ceremony devoted to these awards would have been more equitable to all parties. Including audience members like me who were there to see Baca.

Monday, March 20, 2006


A lady came in who is desiring to know if our group services department delivers books to her grandmother's assisted living center. Today she called and left two messages with the group services department and they did not get back to her. She came upstairs just now and wanted me to tell her whether or not the library delivered books to this particular rest home. As far as I know there is no list I can access to tell me which homes house a rotating collection of books delivered by group services. I swear she looked at me like I didn't want to help her. The disbelief in her gaze, the obvious contempt for library red tape was so blatant that I almost hit her. If such a list doesn't exist and it's after 5:30 and there is no one left at main except the drones in telref there is nothing I can do except suggest you call group services again tomorrow. I am not giving you the runaround, honest to god. Besides, one day of unreturned calls hardly qualifies as being ignored by group services.


The disbelief people express when we tell them we do not have wireless in here is getting a little frightening. Hopefully we'll have it while people still come to the library.

School in the summer time

Somebody sponsored a contest to see who could draw or paint the best versions of characters from the Fat Albert cartoons.
Dude, your pants are on fire

Our glorious president in an interview on May 29, 2003: "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Some say you're a national disgrace

'Bush routinely is criticized for dressing up events with a too-rosy glow. But experts in political speech say the straw man device, in which the president makes himself appear entirely reasonable by contrast to supposed "critics," is just as problematic.

Because the "some" often go unnamed, Bush can argue that his statements are true in an era of blogs and talk radio. Even so, "'some' suggests a number much larger than is actually out there," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

A specialist in presidential rhetoric, Wayne Fields of Washington University in St. Louis, views it as "a bizarre kind of double talk" that abuses the rules of legitimate discussion.

"It's such a phenomenal hole in the national debate that you can have arguments with nonexistent people," Fields said. "All politicians try to get away with this to a certain extent. What's striking here is how much this administration rests on a foundation of this kind of stuff."'

Deys pants is on fire

I'm always shocked and fascinated by how often and how blatantly we are lied to at the library. Sometimes they will swear to god and on their mother's grave that they have never had a library card in this county. In fact, this is the first time they have ever set foot in this county. What happens when you put their name into the system? Yup, they not only have a card, they have two cards, both with many lost books. It doesn't happen as much now as it did in telephone reference but with phishing, spyware and library liars you can't help but question the nature of man.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Memory Lane Museum

Today I went to a racing museum off of exit 36 of I-77 in Moorseville. It's called Memory Lane. I first heard of it while watching a show on Speed Channel called Back in the Day. The show is just a rehashing of those old racing documentaries with Dale Earnhardt Jr. making a few comments before and after commercial breaks. During the ending credits the museum gets a credit so I thought I'd go check it out. The museum in amazing if you like NASCAR. There are several old classic stock cars on one side of the room. The other side is filled with old American cars. I've never seen so many Model-T's. One was from 1919 and the sign next to it claimed it was all original. It was beautiful. I've included a few shots I took today at the museum.

This be the front of the museum.

This is a car Bobby Allison drove in the early 1980's.

This car was driven by Cale Yarborough and was owned by Junior Johnson in 1978.

This is a promotional cardboard display featuring, left right, David Pearson, Bobby Allison and Harvey Gant.

This car was driven by Dale Earnhardt in 1980.

Tim Flock's car from the 1950's.

Driven by Fred Lorenzen in the sixties

Richard Petty's Talladega from 1969.

Rusty Wallace's first car.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Sunabe Seawall

I found a webcam of the seawall in Okinawa where I used to sit and drink beer with my buddies. I'm not one to long for the past but I'd love to spend one more evening there with my buddy Mike as we polished off a twelve pack of Budweiser and tried to meet girls.
Life'll kill ya (at least for now)

"Aubrey de Grey, a biomedical gerontologist from Cambridge University, goes much further. He believes the first person to live to 1,000 has already been born and told the meeting that periodic repairs to the body using stem cells, gene therapy and other techniques could eventually stop the aging process entirely."

I knew it, I knew it. I'll bet I die the day before they cure death. I'll be in Wikipedia, listed as the last person to die by natural causes.

Bush Bashing Bonus

"Bush and his circle, as we now know, were not interested in breaking al Qaeda or fighting terrorism; they were interested in "establishing a military footprint" in Iraq, as part of a wide-ranging plan to "project dominance" over the energy resources of the Middle East and Central Asia, while fomenting "creative destruction" throughout the region, in the belief that when the resultant rivers of blood had at last subsided, there would be a series of obedient client regimes installed in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere – including, in the dreams of some of the crankiest cronies, new, even more obedient American satraps in Egypt and Saudi Arabia."
More America hating

God, I hate this guy:

"Now that the war in Iraq is all but over, should the people in Hollywood who opposed the president admit they were wrong?"
(Fox News Channel's Alan Colmes, 4/25/03)

From an article by Fair.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Let us Demonize

I stole this link from the Illustrated Daily Scribble which you can visit via a link to the right.

Looking for a Villain
By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Tuesday, March 14, 2006; 12:42 PM

President Bush always does better against an enemy. His strongest public support has come when demonizing Osama bin Laden (not hard), Saddam Hussein (a bit harder) -- and then John Kerry (his finest achievement).

But as the morass in Iraq seems to worsen day by day, identifying the enemy there has become increasingly difficult. Is it Sunnis? Shiites? Foreign terrorists? The insurgency? Saddamists? Independent militias? Is it us?

Yesterday brought two strong signs that even as Bush is trying -- and failing -- to placate the public about Iraq, he's increasingly keen to focus attention on a new villain: Iran.

...As Jim Axelrod reported on the CBS Evening News: "For a speech designed to build support for the war in Iraq, the biggest headline was accusing Iran of being behind some of the worst violence."

Caroline Daniel writes in the Financial Times: "In a sign of hardening US rhetoric against Iran and an effort to shift some blame for the turbulence in Iraq, President George W. Bush yesterday accused Tehran of supplying components for some of the most powerful improvised explosive devices used in Iraq."
Oh yeah

After the debacle of The Thin Place let me say that Julian Barnes' Arthur & George has re-ignited my joy in reading. For a while there with The Thin Place I was considering never reading again and moving a television into my bedroom. The genius of Mr. Barnes has quelled such thoughts.

Post o' the day

"...the highlight of my march 14 was when my two-year old brained my five-year old with a long, yellow club."

Monday, March 13, 2006

Okinawa Memory

It's been a while since I've written about Okinawa. Urban Okinawa, for the most part, wasn't especially attractive. A lot of bulky concrete buildings that were painted white. Sometimes it seemed like an island of rectangular apartment buildings. I guess one of the reasons Okinawan architecture coule be so boring and modern at times is because much of it was levelel during World War II. I remember when the Burger King was being built at Camp Kinser they had to hault construction so the bomb squad could detonate a large bomb found on the building site. Like farming in Vietnam, construction on Okinawa could be risky.

When I could I would get off base and drive around the place. There were parts of Naha, the capital city a short drive from Camp Kinser, that were still quite beautiful and had some age to them. On this occasion I am out and about in my first few months on Okinawa. I don't remember how these couple of buddies and I ended up deep in Naha but it must have been early in my stay there because Twinkie was with us. Twinkie became a shut in after a couple of months into his year there. Some guys just couldn't handle being so far from home. I couldn't have been happier, to be honest.

Twinkie was called Twinkie because he looked like a Twinkie. He was short and a little round. He was one of those little guys that everybody likes. He had a loud raw voice and was comfortable in his littleness. He didn't have short-man syndrome and was fun to be around. It always saddened me that he shut himself off from everything Okinawa had to offer but so it goes. I tried a couple of times to get him to leave his room but he was happy to be locked up with his Ozzy Osborne tapes.

Three of us were walking through this older area of southern Naha. Perched at a corner at the bottom of a small hill was this small teahouse. We see an old old lady coming down the hill toward the shop which across the street from us. An equally tiny and old woman comes out of the teahouse. They recognize each other and exchange bows. Their bows were not in unison and the lady who received the first bow returned it. The first bower returned the second bow before the second bower finished. Then the second bower gave another one back. They were stuck in a bow loop. This went on for about thirty seconds. They did a semicircle around each other while bowing. They both then backed up while still bowing until there was enough distance between the two to allow them to politely turn and go on their way.

Twinkie summed our amazement up in the only way a young Marine could when he said, "That was pretty fucking cool."

OK, so the wire cam during the NASCAR race wasn't all that cool but at least they tried.

Played Scrabble yesterday with the One Big Loud Guy, Granville and M. The gang hadn't played Scrabble in a long time and the first game we played was sans Granville and I beat the One Big Loud Guy for the very first time at Scrabble. He actually came in third which is unheard of in local Scrabble lore. He was so desperate that he even attempted to pretend not to know you could't play prefixes while counting on the inexperience of his competition. How's that for needing to win just a little too much?

Granville came by and we played a second game which the One Big Loud Guy one handily because during the game he had the Q, Z, X and J. Hard to beat someone when the pull those letters out of the bag.

Friday, March 10, 2006


I just saw this link of Jayski: "Fox officials say the network is bringing its popular Cablecam for Sunday's coverage of the UAW-DaimlerChrylser 400 Nextel Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The high-definition camera, made popular by NFL on Fox, will be suspended above the track by a system of cables, puleys and computer-controlled winches. The camera moves within a 250,000-square-foot area covering the front stretch, the start/finish line and pit road at LVMS. This will be the first regular-season NASCAR event in which the Cablecam is used."

That is going to be so cool.
I'm a quitter

For the last few days I've been plowing through The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis. Last night I gave up. Although the writing is top notch, I just couldn't develop any empathy for the characters. The prose distanced me from the novel while I'm sure it was attempting to pull me in. Maybe it was over my head. I may have been an Engrish major but I was more into writing and reading poems than analyzing novels. It was the chapter that opened with the thought processes of a bull moose that broke my back. Instead of continuing I went ahead and started Arthur and George by Julian Barnes and, though I only read it for about half an hour before I drifted off, I already am deeper into the two main characters than any of the dozen or so characters in The Thin Place.
Radio on television

I am listening to a interview on Fresh Air with the director of Taxi and he remembers telling the writers of Taxi that they had created a great radio show. Makes sense if you think about it.
Radio on television

I am listening to a interview on Fresh Air with the director of Taxi and he remembers telling the writers of Taxi that they had created a great radio show. Makes sense if you think about it.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

What the?

I see congress is losing it collective mind over the Dubai ports thing. Wouldn't it have been nice if these bozos would have paid this much attention to the obvious lies about going to war and the illegal wire tapping of citizens? Congress: Making itself less relevant everyday. Being in congress must really be a gravy train if these guys are so willing to do absolutely nothing about anything. Is there a ball-cutting machine at the entrance these guys use, or what? They must have their balls cut off and then are handed a check for one million dollars and then told to sit over there and shut up unless something pointless comes along that will allow to look like you are doing something. Think Sue Myrick and her anti-beaner stuff.

This just in

From a NY Times article: "Despite the daily carnage in Iraq, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Iran might be an even bigger danger. "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," she said, describing that country's leadership as "the central banker for terrorism," an oppressor of its own people, a fomenter of unrest in the Middle East, and a would-be member of the nuclear-weapons club.""

Dear Sec State Rice,
Everything you just said was already said by anti-Iraq-war people a couple of years ago. But, thanks anyway for reminding us.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It's Time

After this Sports Illustrated article there is now no longer any debate how Barry Bonds became the unnatural hulking beast of a couple of years ago. He consumed steriods like a fat kid consumes zingers. Baseball needs to go ahead and give the home run record back to Roger Maris and start a real drug testing program.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My favorite Metro

Sunday while stopping at my favorite convenience store for a Mountain Dew squishy I saw the best example of a metrosexual I have yet seen in Charlotte. I've seen a couple of doozies at the Southpark Mall but this guy beats them all. As I pulled into the parking lot the first thing I notice is his license plate says "NYANA." I immediately check out the ride, it's a sporty convertable Mercedes. Definately a Nyana car, the prick. I can't help but take a good look at someone who is such an asshole that he has a taunting vanity plate on a car worth at least 30 times my own. He's got perfect jet black hair that stops uniformly a few inches down his neck. There are perfectly patterned waves in the hair also. His skin is just dark enough to reflect that he may or may not tan year round. If he does it's not a big priority in his life. He's wearing those sunglasses with the screws in them that have a translucent frame. I park my car, climbed out and, I swear I couldn't help it, I just started laughing. He was playing house music while pumping gas.

Monday, March 06, 2006

No way

I watched the Academy Awards last night and I was shocked that Crash won for best picture. It was an OK movie that tried to grasp concepts beyond its means and for that I guess it was given much more credit than it deserved. Hell, Capote addressed issues of class more effectively than Crash did and that wasn't even the main theme of the movie. This was the least deserving best picture since the atrocious Titanic won. At least Phillip Seymor Hoffman won. That was very cool. How many were waiting for him to bark like a dog? I think he pussed out and I hope his friends tell him so.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Nerds of movie nights past

This picture was taken back in August of '03 when the world was much simpler and much more single. It has been sitting on my Roadrunner webpage for over two years now so I thought a blast from the past might shake some people up. Have you ever seen a bigger collection of nerds? I have to exclude myself since I took the picture but, believe me, I fit right in.
Friggin' teachers

Sometimes the assignments that students bring into the library really cause me to doubt the existence of their teacher's brain. A couple of days ago these two high schoolers came in working on a similar project. Their class is studying Dante and each of them has to write a five page paper on a character that appears in the Inferno. One of them had to research Virgil. No problem, there is material on him everywhere. The other student was assigned to research and write about a minor noble from Florence, Dante's 'hood. She was able to find a reference to him in a couple of essays on Dante in our literature online resources. I found a book we had on the history of Florence, he's not mentioned at all. My quesion is is this class a research class or a literature class? If it's a research class then all this digging is good, if not then it's pointless busy work. I only mention this because it happens all the time. These teachers hand out assignments is such a way that a couple of the students in a particular class end up getting assigned to research a topic that hasn't been covered as much of as the rest of possibilities. What happens then is that the kid, one of his parents and I end up busting our tails for an hour just for the tiniest sliver of information. The student then must learn, much too early in life, how to pad a paper.

Friday, March 03, 2006


So I got to watch the video of the briefing on Katrina and you have to wonder just how horrible of a leader is George Bush? You can see and hear all the dire warnings of the experts and then you can see a few days later our fearless leader saying to the nation that no one could have predicted such a catastrophe. How is it possible to lie with such a straight face? His one true talent, lying his ass off.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Clock watching

Usually I tried to avoid clock watching. I figure since my job is so cool that clock watching is an insult to everyone who doesn't love their job. That's not entirely true, I don't particularly like my job when the stinky car guy comes in and I have to spend a half hour downloading pictures of new cars for him. Other than that, perfect job. Today, though, I am clock watching because I can't wait to go home tonight and watch the online video of the teleconference Bush held as Katrina was roaring toward the gulf coast. Essentially I guess he promises to do everything and then you know what happened, nothing at all. How long is it going to take before this guy is impeached and then beaten publicly right before going to jail? What is it going to take? How badly does he have to screw up? It's almost like he would have to kill someone on live TV in a satanic ritual to get impeached. It's mind boggling.

P.D. James

I finally finished the novel "Lighthouse" by P.D. James today at lunch. I don't know if I can recommend it too highly but I did enjoy it and the solution to the murder was not pulled out of her butt. The clues were there for the reader to pick up on. I didn't, but that's OK. It will probably be a long while before I read another mystery novel. They aren't really my cup of tea but it's good to branch out every now and then. Now when people ask me if I can recommend a mystery I can say, with great assurance, that I've read P.D. James and liked her writing. I might delve back into her work via an earlier novel sometime. I've read a couple of reviews on "Lighthouse" that have been a little negative. Maybe I'll enjoy her writing more if I enter the life of Adam Dalgleish earlier in his career.