Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

There Are Really Two Raising Arizonas

My old friend Jason told me years ago that watching Raising Arizona is completely different after you have a baby. God damn, there ain't much truer than that (watching it now on TV). I've loved this movie for 15 years and watching it now, it's like watching it for the first time.

I would put out a few choice quotes or videos, but there are just too many to list; it's like the whole movie is perfect -- an everyman's video version of Dr. Spock.

Further elaboration would be lost on people without kids. Anyone who has them will totally understand.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If You Don't Mind, Allow Me To Quote Myself

On March 27 at 10:46am, I commented on my own blog:
I think these people just don't have the balls for an attack of any significant sort. Think about it: that militia leader in Alabama (Vanderbough?) basically said "we're cleaning our guns ..."" and urged people to throw bricks through Democratic offices. Oooo, I'm so scared; a bunch of dumb-ass rednecks are wacking off to their guns and encouraging petty vandalism. Pussies. I say to them, bring it, bitches. You do, and our excellent law enforcement system will lock you up for a long long time.
Then, two days later, from NYT, on March 29:
Militia Charged With Plotting to Murder Officers
In an indictment against the nine unsealed on Monday, the Justice Department said they were part of a group of apocalyptic Christian militants who were plotting to kill law enforcement officers in hopes of inciting an antigovernment uprising, the latest in a recent surge in right-wing militia activity.
See ya, suckers. Enjoy prison.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Vimeo is the Place for Sailing Videos

You'd have to sort through youtube all day to find the number of quality sailing videos you can find on Vimeo in 15 minutes. That's why when I'm longing to get back on the water, I troll Vimeo; you just can't top their production quality, despite being made by amateurs. Below are a few of the good ones.

Here's the "last sail of the season" probably somewhere in England onboard a really old wooden schooner:

Ocean Pearl - Last Sail Of The Season from Richard Gooderick on Vimeo.

Here's a guy who sailed from San Fran to Hawaii. He seems bored throughout the video but there are some good shots:

Singlehanded from San Francisco to Hawaii in 27 days from nickj on Vimeo.

This was shot in the Azores, in a port that's one of the last stops for people heading out of Europe across the Atlantic. Seems like a port I want to visit one day. And the sound track is quite nice as well:

The most colourful marina in the world from Alexandre Jesus on Vimeo.

I'm not much of a cold weather sailor but if I had a motor-sailer like this one, I might consider going to Antarctica aboard this boat:

Antarctica 2008 yacht expedition from Blazej Pyrka on Vimeo.

I'm not crazy about the song in this video, but this definitely took a lot of work and the boat is beautiful:

Sean wants to take you for a ride on a sailboat. from Sean Aiken on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why Obama Isn't Gonna Take Your Guns: The Short Answer

Bill Clinton got tons of shit from the right because of his 1994 crime law which restricted assault rifles. The far right will never forget this as long as we live, but here are a few quick reasons why Obama has no interest in doing anything about guns in the US: he doesn't need to. Crime is on a major downswing and has been since the mid-90s.


It's obvious Clinton tried to restrict weapons, not because liberals hate the 2nd Amendment, but because crime was at an all time high in the US in 1992:

I'm not saying Clinton's weapons restrictions reduced crimes; let's not confuse correlation with causation. I'm just saying that in the reality of left wing politics in the US, gun restrictions is sooo 1992.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Halibut and Salmon Fishing Trip in Alaska!

The CEO of the company whose product I sell invited me for a week-long trip to Alaska to fish for halibut and salmon in the Cook Inlet in early June.

I've loved fishing since I was a little kid when my grandfather got me hooked fishing for catfish, bluegill, spot, croaker and crabs out of Norfolk Virginia. As a young teenager, I was obsessed. I used to subscribe to Saltwater Sportsman magazine, even though I'd never been on a private charter boat -- only the cheaper "head boat" trips out of Virginia Beach. I had an old net on my bedroom wall and adorned it with all sorts of finds from the beach. Surrounding that net were cut-out pictures from fishing and surfing magazines, even though I'd never surfed a day in my life. I remember just hanging out in my room as a kid and staring at that wall, dreaming of fishing and coastal life.

But I'd never had the chance to go on a private charter boat until July of 2007. Granted, I've trolled and bottom-fished from my own sailboat, but it's not comparable to paying the experts to take you out for the big ones. Charter boats are no doubt fun, because you catch big fish almost every time, but the mates take away a significant part of fishing's fun because they basically do everything for you until the fish is securely hooked, then they pass you the rod to fight it in. Then they land the fish and take care of the dirty business. In fact, the only time your hands get dirty on a private charter is during that typical goofy smiling-and-holding-fish pose for the camera. I guess we should call this "businessman fishing".

Part of the fun in fishing is the failing part; most of my fishing experiences don't actually involve catching fish. The anticipation hones your tolerance for patience, and it teaches you a lot about the way nature really is. I mean, from watching TV, you'd assume that nature is an all-action-all-the-time phenomenon, but in reality, the lions are sleeping 23 hours a day. You can always spot the fishing greenhorn by the guy who's surprised and pissed that he didn't catch anything. I also love learning about which gear will bring the right fish and how to rig it up. While I hate losing fish, it teaches me how to improve my skills and land them better the next time. And yes, I love unhooking and cleaning and filleting and handling my own fish; having someone else do it all makes me feel -- how should I say -- less like a man. What, does the mate think my dainty paper-and-computer-softened hands can't deal with the messiness of fishing? For me, that all detracts from the fun.

But damn, there is NO WAY I would turn down a trip to Alaska to catch the most tasty fishes in the world -- halibut and salmon. And Jesus H., look at the size of some of the hogs they catch up there:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Elliot is Four Months Old

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kraken Rum: Great Bottle Design, Not Great Rum Taste

I am a sucker for product packaging design. That's the only reason I bought a bottle of Kraken Rum, pictured here.

And what a cool looking bottle! A black rum with two built-in finger handles with a picture of a mythically large kraken with an ancient sailing ship in its evil tentacles. How could I NOT purchase it.

I even purchased the bottle knowing that it's a "spiced" rum -- long derided by cocktail snobs like myself. After all, spiced rums are sold to be mixed with cola, and rum-and-coke is a pretty uncreative drink and is one of the few alcoholic concoctions that nearly makes me puke. See, I enjoy the raw taste of straight rum and don't need the manufactured spices to make me enjoy the basic flavor of distilled molasses spirit and whatever woody sugary notes and color picked up from the barrel.

The taste of Kraken Rum is simple to describe: moderately high-proof base spirit with vanilla. Seriously, I could duplicate Kraken Rum simply by buying a cheap bottle of vodka, some black food coloring, and a two ounce bottle of McCormick's vanilla extract bought at Safeway for $7.99.

If you're ever in the mood for vanilla-flavored liquor, have a glass of Kraken on the rocks. Otherwise, stick to real rum. There's not much more to the story than that.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sometimes You Have to Walk Carefree Across the Street with a Big Ass Hammer

Yesterday I biked down to the US Capitol to see for myself the Teabagger crowd on the day the historic healthcare reform bill passed.

Whenever I had posted pictures or videos from Tea Party protests or Sarah Palin rallies in the past, I would get the same comments from my right wing friends: that the photographer or video producer had only published the images and interviews of the most extreme elements that the protests had to offer and the most extreme posters, and that somehow the intellectual or reasonable people were not being shown. There are crazies in every crowd -- so the argument went -- and all video is biased.

Well, take my opinion for what it's worth, but the negative stereotype of the Teabagger we've seen in the media is highly accurate. This is a movement whose origins are not in mere response to Obama's policies; they are the same exact angry, sometimes racist, often religious and conservative protests we saw during the 2008 election, which are the clear roots of the Tea Party movement.

I walked around with an Obama t-shirt on and spoke to many people -- perhaps two dozen. Some folks were polite, some folks not, but many of the signs were offensive, comparing the Obama administration to some of the worst governments known to modern man. Here are some photos I took:

The comparisons are, of course, completely ridiculous and not worthy of much comment. However, having visited the physical evidence of Nazism when I visited Auschwitz and been highly emotionally affected by the experience, I would like to extend my sincerest fuck you from the bottom of my heart to the types of people who wrote the above signs. Granted, those types of signs were not the majority, but coupled with the intense anger exhibited around me that day, there is something different about these extremist reactions. I've been to many many protests in Washington DC from over 10 years, but I haven't seen this level of anger, threats of violence, and demonization of the presidency, ever. Plus, the widely-reported shouting of the words faggot and nigger at members of Congress carrying out their democratic duties. I mean, even the enormous anti-war protests under Bush didn't yield more than two signs comparing the presidency to regimes like Stalin or Kim Jong Il. You can even see my photos from those protests back in 2005 here.

What's most disturbing and should be understood by any thinking person, is that this isn't just the fringe elements of right-wingism in 2010. This is no longer the big tent party of Ronald Reagan. My favorite economist, Paul Krugman, put it very well in a recent op-ed:
And let’s be clear: the campaign of fear hasn’t been carried out by a radical fringe, unconnected to the Republican establishment. On the contrary, that establishment has been involved and approving all the way. Politicians like Sarah Palin — who was, let us remember, the G.O.P.’s vice-presidential candidate — eagerly spread the death panel lie, and supposedly reasonable, moderate politicians like Senator Chuck Grassley refused to say that it was untrue. On the eve of the big vote, Republican members of Congress warned that “freedom dies a little bit today” and accused Democrats of “totalitarian tactics,” which I believe means the process known as “voting.”
This is what pisses me off so much. What's going on here isn't that old saw that "both parties are guilty of the same behavior." Bullshit. One party is dedicated to whipping up fear by spreading lies and misinformation, regardless of its sometimes violent effects, and the other is trying to move the country into 2010. Until Republicans change, that is my assessment of a wide swath of their party (yes, I know not 100% of Republicans are like this; that's not my point).

One great part of the day that made me feel proud of my democracy was the fact that the congresspeople walked from their offices across the street to the Capitol building, boldly walking past screaming Teabaggers. And this picture of Pelosi and her entourage with the fucking big ass hammer is just awesome:

I was standing with the mob of angry screaming teabaggers a few feet from where Pelosi walked in to vote. She walked right past them in bright sunshine, without security, and without fear, despite the violent rhetoric and insults. It was a great democracy-will-prevail moment that few people get to see in person. And now the US will have universal healthcare. It's hard to believe, but it gives me chills still.

Healthcare in Capitalist Countries Has Fully Delegitimized the Marxist Worldview

Most of the people calling the new healthcare law "socialism" have no idea what socialism really is and the view that true Marxists have regarding medical care and capitalist systems. This is the case because the Teabaggers and other misinformed people with no understanding of history who are screaming socialism have never met a real socialist in their entire lives, nor have they likely read Marxist literature, ever. (Perhaps if they are calling American healthcare reform a move toward European-style systems, they are more accurate, but those are not truly socialist systems, so the term is being misapplied in that case).

Here is the important point: starting well over 150 years ago, the Marxists' key point was that capitalism could never and would never provide universal healthcare because of its core nature; the only way to provide healthcare for all, in the traditional Marxist view, was to destroy capitalism and implement state socialism.

So the fact that many advanced capitalist countries have been able to successfully provide medical care to all of their citizens, while maintaining industry overwhelmingly in private hands, is nearly the biggest blow to the Marxist worldview that has ever occurred. This is a major devastating reality to the entire Marxist ideology, and further drives home the point that regulated capitalism is the most superior economic system that has ever existed.

So it's truly ironic that opponents of healthcare reform in America are using that word "socialism" to criticize it, when in fact, what happened last night is further evidence of the complete triumph of a flexible capitalist system to provide economic growth, full employment and affordable social security and healthcare for everyone. Incredible.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

This just makes me happy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Actors Are the Least Interesting People to Watch Being Interviewed.

More people probably agree with me than disagree on this one.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My son got his toe pinched by Nancy Pelosi. Suck it, right wingers.

Through some connections on the Hill my wife was invited to a press conference given by the most powerful woman in the United States. And no, I'm not talking about Oprah; I'm talking about Nancy Fucking Pelosi -- the woman who has enough power to alter 350 million people's lives with her influence and is third in line to the president. Here she is looking at my son Elliot and reaching to give him a pinch in the toe! That's my wife Katie holding him. (Original picture here).

And my son has already got that Ann-Coulter-wannabe, Michelle Malkin, up in arms. She's ranting about it on her blog here!

Ha! Suck it, right wingers. My son had a brush with the most powerful Democrat in the world today and health care for all is close to passing the House this week -- closer than it's ever been before. Intrade is betting HCR passes by 65% this week. Life is gonna change, people. And if not, I will only be pissed at the Democrats in Congress.

Fingers crossed ...

Antiques Roadshow Score

I love Antiques Roadshow, or more precisely, any show having to do with antiques. And I love when something really rare and expensive is appraised like this:

Friday, March 12, 2010

God, if you take the chorus out of Springsteen's Born in the USA, it's a sad, sad song.

It's weird that people rock out so hard and happily to Springsteen's Born in the USA because it's a song about a Vietnam Vet who's been in jail, been denied a good job, is probably nearly homeless, and whose brother was killed in the war. Take a look at the song if written in a prose style without the chorus:
Born down in a dead man town. The first kick I took was when I hit the ground. You end up like a dog that's been beat too much, till you spend half your life just covering up. Got in a little hometown jam so they put a rifle in my hand, and sent me off to a foreign land to go and kill the yellow man. Come back home to the refinery: hiring man said, "Son if it was up to me ..." Went down to see my VA man, and he said "Son, don't you understand?" I had a brother at Khe Sahn fighting off the Viet Cong. They're still there, he's all gone. He had a woman he loved in Saigon. I got a picture of him in her arms now. Down in the shadow of the penitentiary, out by the gas fires of the refinery, I'm ten years burning down the road. Nowhere to run, aint got nowhere to go.
Gets me choked up watching the video having read the song like that. Watch it here.

Lonnie B's Mint Julep

A friend on Facebook asked me for my recipe for a Mint Julep so I thought I'd transcribe it here too:

Ingredients and Equipment:

First, buy a set of four 10 oz metal julep cups like these.

Second, buy an ice crusher like this.

Third, get a wooden muddler like this. (Make sure you don't get one that has those stubby barbs at the base like this one. Those barbs rips the mint to shreds, which you do not want).

Fourth, get a bottle of your favorite 80-proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon. I use Jim Beam. (100-proof+ bourbon is just too much fire for a Mint Julep, which should always be drunk ice cold on a hot summer day. Also, 80-proof is a little more friendly to inexperienced drinkers).

Fifth, make a batch of simple syrup. Use the expensive organic sugar or Demerara sugar at Whole Foods. To make it, mix water in sugar 50/50, boil, simmer for 1 minute, cool, done.

Sixth, buy a bottle of Fee Brother's Peach Bitters (this is my special touch).

Seventh, get a big bunch of fresh mint, preferably picked from someone's backyard, or wild, near a creek or in the woods.


Pour 1/2 oz of simple syrup, 1/2 oz bourbon, a dash of the peach bitters, and about 3 mint leaves into the cup (no ice yet). Muddle this mixture. (Do not over-muddle! You don't want to bring out the bitter vegetal flavors in the mint. You're just giving the mint a light massage really quick. DO NOT put muscle into it).

Crush a full batch of ice in your crusher and add ice to fill the julep cup about 3/4 of the way to the top and add another 2 oz bourbon. Slowly stir this mixture with a long bar spoon until there is frost forming on the outside of the metal cup; it should look pretty snowy before you're ready to stop stirring (may take 30 to 45 seconds of stirring). When done stirring, top off the julep cup with crushed ice until it's rounded over the brim, almost over-flowing the cup.

Give 3 or 4 sprigs of mint a single hard slap between your palms (this "wakes up" the mint and it will become very fragrant after only a quick bitch slap). Put the slapped mint sticking out of the cup and add two skinny bar straws beside them. It is very important that the straws are short enough that when someone starts to drink, they will smell the mint with every sip, ie, the mint should tickle their nose with each sip.

Take the Mint Julep to your porch (preferably one located below the Mason Dixon Line) and sit down in a wooden rocking chair with a couple of hound dogs sleeping by your side. This is the BEST drink on a really hot humid day and it's not only good during Kentucky Derby day (very important).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

That's Right, I Snuck in a Sail on Monday

March 8th: first sail of the season on the Lonnie Bruner II. Sadly, no pictures, but do have my whomper (185 genoa) in my basement with an 8-foot rip in it. Damn, I always fly that thing when there's too much wind and the boat is heeling over at 25 degrees and the weather helm is working my flabby, winter-starved muscles.

It was a good quick sail -- not another sailboat on the water, just a small fleet of crabbing boats heading for Galesville for some reason.

And this winter was hard on the boat. My depthfinder transducer is broken off, the CD player got waterlogged and don't work, the head intake valve froze up and broke, and now this 8-foot tear in my most powerful sail.

I gotta say, I like sailing better in warm weather. In the fall, I quite like the colder weather coming on and the hot bowl of Dinty Moore cooking in the cabin while the leaves blow by, but I really love seeing other boats on the water, catching crabs at the dock, and trolling my two lines in hopes of catching a rockfish for dinner. All that's just around the corner right now.

And I hope I can pull together everyone for my annual guys' trip. I'm having some difficulty coordinating the usual suspects to commit to a weekend in May, but it'll work itself out -- even if I have to take everyone out sans toilet or radio or big whomping genoa sail.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

90 "Types of Bitches" - from a Third Grade DC Classroom

My wife's cousin works at a Northeast Washington DC public charter school and she sent me this internet GOLD today. This lengthy note was found on the floor of a 3rd grade classroom. Luckily the teacher saw its worth and scanned and emailed for posterity.

Here we have a 90-point list of "Types of Bitches" -- unfortunately, page 4 is lost. It speaks for itself:

In case you can't read the above, it says:

Types of Bitches

1) Dirty dumb assbitches
2) aint got no ass bitches
3) Dusty trick bitches
4) Fishy bitches
5) dont know how to figh bitches
6) got all that mouth but cant step bitches
7) ugly looking bitch that think they all that.
8) cant keep a man bitch
9) track wearing bitches
10) bitches that be trying to steal your man.
11) hoche looking bitches
12) aint got no damn sense bitches
13) stupid bitches that act dumb
14) bitches who can only get a dirty boy
15) want to be jocking bitches
16) bitches who think their man love them but get pregnent be left alone
17) bitches who thing they better than me
18) inste geting bitches
19) Talking behind your back bitches
20) loud mouth bitches
21) pissy bitches
22) stingy bitches
23) Funky looking bitches
24) Short hair bitches
25) Spanish bitches who think they all that cause of their hair
26) Bitches that be ignoring you when they know they can hear you.
27) Staring in your face bitches
28) big eyed looking bitches
29) crazy bitches
30) napy tender headed bitches
31) booty shorts wearing bitches
32) Coast signing bitches
33) dick riding bitches
34) whiped bitches
35) buck tooth bitches
36) Chesesy teeth bitches
37) Same wearing clothes each day bitches
38) getto bitches
39) hair dying bitches
40) Wearing shoes that be talking bitches
41) bitches who think they hard
42) bitches that think they get money
43) bitches that go to a dirty school
59) Gay bitches
60) Stanky fishy coche smelling bitches
61) tom boy bitches
62) Stain on your pants bitches
63) dry scap dandruf bitches
64) drity hair bitches
65) Stealing bitches
66) Stinky feet Bitches
67) big gap bitches
68) protecting their store bitches
69) pajamas out side bitches
70) ragly braid bitches
71) Stanky but bitches
72) greedy bitches
73) Slimy girmy bitches
74) Phyco bitches
75) drug dealing bitches
76) geeken bitches
77) Suntanning bitches
78) goofy looking bitches
79) triflin bitches
80) Skankishy bitches
81) mugging bitches
82) Sloppy bitches
83) dirty fingernails bitches
84) dirty sock wearing bitches
85) un creative bitches
86) White bitches that think black people poor
87) Concetied bitches
88) tall bitches
89) Short bitches
90) Jelous bitches

Monday, March 01, 2010

A 39.2 Metric Ton Mistake: A Work Rant

Think about a time when you ordered something from a company and you received the wrong product in the mail, or Fedex messed up the shipment somehow. Most likely, this was a small item, like clothes from the Gap, computer parts, or a used book on Amazon. Probably made you irate, and was annoying to deal with because you had to return the shipment and you lost time dealing with it waiting for the product you actually wanted.

Now imagine that situation, except you didn't order a small item like a book or computer part, but many tons of product -- and I'm not talking about dainty-ass American "tons", I'm talking about the way the rest of the world reads the word "ton" -- a metric ton, ie, 1,000 kilograms, ie, 2,200 pounds of stuff. Now multiply that metric ton -- that two thousand two hundred pounds of product -- by 39.2. That's 39,200 kilograms or 86,240 pounds.

The point of this rant is that because of a screw-up that was entirely NOT my fault, the manufacturer of the product I sell accidently sent 39.2 metric tons of the wrong product -- some weird type of powdered clay instead of the mineral product that they wanted -- to my customer in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

This is a bunch of shit he doesn't need, and as elaborated above, it's a BUNCH of shit. I often find that people can't directly relate when I tell them that I sell real goods in massive quantities in forty-foot shipping containers to nations very far away. Most people work in offices where they deal in abstract services where no physical goods are ever traded. I sometimes envy those people. When I get an order, we ship hundreds of metric tons at a time and there's a possibility that all that crap will get fucked up along the way.

You know those freight trucks that carry big loads across highways? Yea, well, I'm talking two of those guys that are loaded onto a ship and have crossed the Pacific Ocean for three weeks, then fought through Communist customs people in Uncle Ho's Socialist Republic of Vietnam, then trucked to the customer many miles away, only for him to discover that we've sent him the wrong god damn product. Jesus Christ, steam must be coming out of his ears by now. It's coming out of mine.

This is the problem with this business of exporting big loads. There's a good chance you can make decent money in the long term, but there's a decent chance that the screw-ups will be embarrassing and put my years of labor down the tubes, or cut it back significantly.

I've had a rough week. Sales had been great for the first part of 2010 and I was looking ahead at seeing my income increase by an amount I haven't seen in years, or ever. But now, because some uneducated fuckface low-level loading guy loaded the wrong god damn product on my shipping containers, I have people on the other side of the globe so angry that we might be back to a revenue of like 2007.

I hope a visit with a bottle of Blue Label can keep this customer, but Christ, would you want to remain my customer if I had just sent you 86,240 pounds of shit you don't want and can't dispose of?

(Rant over).

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Web Counter
Web Counters