Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Call me a crank, but Halloween cocktails are bullshit.

Maybe I'm not that creative, maybe I think it's hokey to make garnishes that look like eyeballs, maybe I'm just uptight about the way I drink, but for my upcoming Halloween party there's no way I'm putting orange or red food-coloring in a cocktail, creating some pumpkin-flavored monstrosity or using any holiday-themed gimmick.

I'm an amateur mixologist and take pride in what I do but the masters who came before me have provided an entire cocktail lexicon to choose from. Some of the best cocktails were made over 100 years ago when bartenders took pains to combine a balanced beverage --- much like making a well-crafted meal. Would those people have garnished a drink with a candy pumpkin? God no.

I present you my cocktail menu for Friday's party:

I'd like to invite my loyal readers to my party at my home in Washington, DC. Email me at lonniebruner AT gmail and I'll put you on the evite. Would love to meet you all. Truly.

This "Socialism" charge is code for "take white people's money and give it to blacks."

This is a last ditch effort to scare the few undecided white voters to vote for McCain. This "spreading the wealth around" crap is simply trying to make idiot white douchebags like Joe the Plumber think that Obama is gonna take their money and give it to a bunch of black welfare queens and jive-talkin' crackheads.

You know it's true.

UPDATE: A day after I wrote this post, the McCain campaign put out this ad:

I rest my case.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When the right wing guy at the Army surplus store doesn't even like you ...

I just stopped by the Army surplus store in Maryland to pick up some liquid paraffin for my oil lamps on the boat when I overheard one of the fat old guys working there saying this to his buddy:
"You know, this is not like 1980, when the Republicans actually stood for something. I have no idea what they even stand for anymore."
Conclusion: things aren't looking good for Grampy McSame and his know-nothing dumbass of a VP if the dude selling bumper stickers that say "YOU CAN TAKE MY GUN WHEN YOU PRY IT FROM MY COLD, DEAD HAND" doesn't even like Republicans.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In Defense of Reid Stowe

I'm not a loopy person, I don't believe in the supernatural, and I have a healthy annoyance of hippies, but I appreciate a half-insane guy named Reid Stowe who set out over 500 days ago to sail non-stop at sea for 1,000 days. Sometimes reading his blog makes me feel a bit more free.

His voyage has generated a ridiculous amount of criticism at a popular sailor forum called Sailing Anarchy; the post on his voyage has received over 190,000 mostly negative comments and 600,000 views. I stopped following the thread long ago, and I won't try and dissect the various reasons people are against Reid and his weird voyage, but I wonder if the root of the criticism is simply the fundamental difference between racing sailors and cruising sailors.

I've sailed for 10 years and I'm passionate about it but I don't race. Sure, I love the Volvo Ocean Race, but mostly for the cool videos. The first time I directly experienced the mentality of the racing sailor was when I applied to be a sailing instructor in Annapolis. Me and three other applicants went out with this hardcore racer sailor for a day of observation and training on the water. I was excited because I'd get to sail on a J-80 --- supposedly the Corvette of sailboats --- but while on the water, I felt something that I'd never felt while on a sailboat: the desire to just get back to the dock. Usually, going home is the least fun part of the trip for me. What was going on?

Racing a sailboat often draws the same jockish mentality that I hated in high school. On the water that day, trying to sail a boat in a racing style reduced my enjoyment and I made mistakes that I would've never made on my own boat. See, I'm a set-it-and-forget-it sailor; as long as the wife isn't complaining, the beer isn't spilling and the dog isn't about to fall overboard, I'm happy. I could give a flying fuck about whether the outhaul on the mainsail is the right tension or we could be going 0.03 knots faster. If I wanted to play competitive sports, I'd join a soccer team instead of owning a 36-year-old barnacle-covered sloop.

This is likely why many racing sailors find Reid Stowe so repellent. Reid is a dreamer --- a real dreamer, the type that's rare these days. He talks to rainbows and fish. He tries to sail paths on the ocean in the shape of turtles and whales. He practices yoga on a gimbaled platform on the stern. He lives on mung beans and flying fish. He's a freak who's over 50 and got a 23-year-old pregnant. He was arrested for trying to smuggle massive loads of marijuana into the US in the 1980s. He made this hippy-dippy tripped-out video. For god sakes, his website has a banner of him looking like this:

The square world has a natural hatred for all that shit!

I can't wait until Reid finishes his trip. When he gets back to New York after 1,000 days at sea, I'm gonna make a road trip up to welcome him back. And I'll be laughing at all the people who said he couldn't do it --- just like the d-bags who said Obama could never win. Reid and I probably have nothing in common other than our love of sailing and the sea but I'd like to shake his hand. I don't care if he owes alimony (he does) or the 100 transgressions he's made in the eyes of racing sailors. This is a man who looks out at the water as I do, and sees not a race track or just another component of the rat race, but something deeper, more spiritual.

No, I didn't just say the word "spiritual," did I? Oh shit, am I becoming a god damn hippie?? STOP ME.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Borneo Trip Put Off for Now.

There've been some glitches in the smooth operation of my business so the Borneo trip I mentioned earlier has been put off until next year. So sad. I don't get to meet any headhunters.

The chicken or the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it.

David Sedaris perfectly sums up the phenomenon of undecided voters:
"I look at these people and can't quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. "Can I interest you in the chicken?" she asks. "Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?"

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I gave vodka to a homeless guy. Am I going to hell?

A month ago I was buying two big bottles of rum for an upcoming party and the store clerk threw in a small "airplane bottle" of Smirnoff as a gift for my large purchase. I hate vodka, so while I was unlocking my bike I noticed a homeless guy sitting on the steps a few feet away. I asked him, "Hey man, you like vodka?" His eyes lit up and he responded, "Yea man!" So I tossed the bottle his way and he drank it on the spot all in one gulp.

I did this without thinking much, but it's been lingering on my conscience since. Most middle class people from the suburbs who now live in cities (like me) don't give money to homeless people because they "just spend it on alcohol or drugs." But being homeless is horrible enough, so why not cut out the medium of exchange and make someone's day pass smoother with a nip of my neighborhood bum's favorite tipple? The problems the nation's homeless go through are likely so complicated that giving or not giving them change will make no difference. had a funny thing about how white people think they "know what's best for poor people." It's so true, isn't it? How about we let poor people make their own decisions?

Or maybe I'm an asshole.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dear All Racists in America: FUCK YOU. WE'RE WINNING.

That is all.

Monday, October 13, 2008

"The Big McCain": Thank you, Jeff

My friend Jeff created an awesome video of McCain in place of the character Walter in the movie The Big Lebowski. It perfectly sums up McCain's true anger that always seems to be lurking beneath. (Beware that this video is NSFW for language):

Can you imagine McCain in charge of the most powerful military on the planet? That's absolutely terrifying. I know for a fact McCain has a temper because my neighbor works for Ted Kennedy and has coordinated with McCain on numerous occasions. For example, he told me that right before the McCain-Kennedy bill on immigration was announced, McCain was literally screaming at another Senator "fuck you!" over and over. This man would certainly jump to war and be foaming at the mouth the whole time.

The other night I watched a documentary on JFK and it had a part about his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis. At that time, every single advisor to Kennedy --- military and otherwise --- except his brother Bobby was telling him to invade Cuba and take out the nukes. These "experienced" old bureaucrats said the conflict would be winnable.

But now, since the end of the USSR, we know that the Russians had over 100 nuclear missiles in Cuba and that if America had invaded, half of them would've been launched at the attacking force, and the other half on all the cities on the east coast of the USA. Basically, we owe the existence of the living world to Kennedy's calm demeanor and desire to put non-military solutions first --- he blockaded the island instead of invading. Which one of our current presidential candidates would've acted as Kennedy did and which one wouldn't have? That's an easy answer.

The program also played part of Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in Berlin which is absolutely amazing. He kept repeating that for all those people who make excuses for Communism, "come to West Berlin" and see for yourself its true face. He gave the speech right after the wall was built and on the other side you could see the bricked up windows, barbed wire and desolate streets of East Germany. Just striking. Apparently, even today old Germans still gather in that spot on the anniversary and play Kennedy's speech on a big screen. They showed the faces of these old Germans with tears streaming down their faces.

America used to be a country that people in foreign lands respected as a model to emulate --- not one to fear and loathe. Many of us seem to forget that.

I found Obama's speech in Berlin recently and I was blown away by the number of people who showed up and how many were waving American flags. This gets said so often so flippantly by jingoist patriots, but the below video makes me feel truly proud of my country. At least watch the first minute of his speech so you can see the size of the crowd:

Imagine what an American president could accomplish abroad when the populations of many foreign countries see our president as a hero. We'd hardly need the military to get things done! It's sad that the positive German reception to an American politician should come as a surprise, but it's simply the result of eight years of some of the worst leadership the civilized world has seen since WWII. But let's not dwell on the past: on November 4th, one of my heroes is very likely to be our next president.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I vow to play guitar at least once a week.

I've let my guitar-playing go by the wayside and it's affected my temperament negatively. Last night I played my Dobro for hours in my basement bar and I felt so good that I now vow to do it at least weekly.

When I play my Dobro, my mind clears of this damn election, my unstable job or the upcoming deep recession. The world fades for a moment and all I think about is the guitar, the glass slide on my pinkie, and maintaining a rhythm.

I do my best playing alone. I actually prefer playing alone. I could give a damn who thinks I'm good or not --- just like sailing.

I play with the strings tuned to E Major so I don't focus on the multiple notes; the important thing is a repetitive rhythm that can last up to five minutes on a single chord. This wouldn't been interesting for an observer, but again, I play alone so it doesn't matter. I try and make my rhythm downright mathematical which becomes mesmerizing after a while.

After I'm done, I feel calm and focused. I suppose some people would explain this feeling with spiritual terms, but shit, I'm about the least "religious" or "spiritual" person you'll meet. The supernatural has zero to do with what I feel at that moment.

It's a calming transcendent feeling that makes me glad I'm living the life I'm in right then --- nothing more. Why cheapen that feeling with pretentious exaltations about some bogus supernatural nonsense?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Rant from Daily Kos

I saw this on Daily Kos and had to reprint it here --- just awesome. I couldn't have said it better myself. I bolded the parts that are pure poetry:
"I suppose it should go without saying that if Sarah Palin has been reduced to speaking to hard-right audiences, but can't do any nonpartisan interviews because they're confident she'll blow it, and can't appear without John McCain because he may have to bail her out if things get dicey, and generally can't do anything but stay in her little anti-media box, coming out twice a day like the little bird in a cuckoo clock to yell a few phrases into a crowd and leave again, she's all but useless to her own campaign. Her favorable ratings have been diving. She's still got Troopergate in the works. There's still gawd knows how much embarrassing tape from her Katie Couric interview, which is probably going to keep being dribbled out from now until the election. So far, she's been making her most indelible American impressions on the pages of the National Enquirer.

Yeah, she's firing up the wingnut base. Who cares. The wingnut base is the easiest group of people on the planet to fire up. They get fired up when they think gays might steal their marriages. They get fired up when they have to press "one" for English. They get fired up when some black guy gets all uppity and runs for president. They get fired up when their sub-sub-sub-version of Christianity isn't the dominant religious ideal of the nation. Holding Sarah Palin in front of them is like teasing a dog through a fence, but that's about it."

Monday, October 06, 2008

Four Things I Regret Saying on This Blog

1 - Most of my recent economic statements. While I still say, 'never predict anything, especially the future,' I was wrong in the direction of the latest few posts on the economy. I've learned that just being smart as hell, selling products to multiple foreign countries, and being a long-time subscriber to The Economist does not make my economic opinions worth a shit.

2 - Some of my cockier posts about sailing, like this one. One of the beauties of sailing is that right when you think you're a bad ass, you do something that puts you back into shameful humility, like running aground, hitting something, or an accidental jibe. I recently applied to be a sailing instructor for J World in Annapolis and the instructor put me to shame during the on-the-water segment. I have not received a call back. No surprise there.

3 - The hunting and freedom crap. I was being a blowhard when I wrote that post. Freedom is an impossible thing to measure and it's ridiculous that I said that restrictions on hunting could be any indication of this complicated phenomenon --- although I still maintain that the USA is one of the most free countries on Earth.

4 - Questioning whether I'm a left winger. In hindsight, that post was ridiculous considering that if tomorrow I heard that Sarah Palin got ass cancer, I'd be celebrating. God, I hate that bitch more than Hillary Clinton.

Other than these four, I couldn't find anything in my blog that I thought was ridiculous enough to include on this list. Maybe my readers disagree.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sailboats for Obama Button

I just received this button today. You can buy one here for a dollar.

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