Monday, August 29, 2011

The Right-Wing god schtick

It must be election season, because the teabaggin' herpa-derps are thanking god for killing people with natural disasters...Hey, don't blame ME, I am still trying to reconcile a "natural" disaster with a supernatural being.
So, yeah, here's America's answer to a female Grand Wizard thanking god for killing us.

I wonder how the right-leaning denizens of all those trailer parks feel about this. Are tornadoes the work of Satan? Or maybe just Socialists.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Indian Ice Cream and The Inherent Evil of Cable TV

Is cable TV evil? Yes. Yes it is, and not just because they charge you a pile of money just to sit through a bunch of commercials, but many of the programs ARE commercials and the others are just crap. CRAP! My kids however think cable TV is a godsend. See, we don't have cable TV at home...yeah, we're those people. So when we take a vacation the first thing they'll do if we stay at a Hotel is flip on the damn TV and assume the position of a good opium smoker in a Hop joint.(Slack jawed and vacant stare in case you're wondering). I mostly think this is one of the worst things you can let a kid do, but, my daughter who likes to watch every kind of cooking show on TV, actually came away with something useful. And that thing is: Bombay Ice Cream!! Luckily for you and me, you don't have to go to Bombay to enjoy it.(Unlucky for you if you are already in Bombay, but I'd wager you have such Ice Cream stores there).
Anyway, there was some cooking show about desserts I guess and she kept pestering me to take her to San Francisco to try the Saffron Ice Cream. We finally made it over the bridge and found the place. (Even with Google Street View, you'd think it was no longer in business, but you have to go around the corner of the building). It's located directly under the Central Freeway at 245 South Van Ness Avenue. It's worth trying to find it. Sadly, they had no Saffron flavored ice cream when we visited, but they did have Cardamom. I know. Cardamom? They lady at the counter was very nice and allowed me to sample it first and after one taste, I couldn't get enough of the stuff. I can't explain why it was so good or what it tasted like, except that it was great and tasted like cardamom. My daughter got the Rose flavor and it was tasty, but I preferred mine
They also have an impressive array of herbs and spices, most of which i recognized and one of which I knew what the heck to do with. I love Indian food...I mean, I love it, but which spices to use and in what amounts and, well, everything about how it's prepared is a mystery to me. Which is fine, I prefer to have someone who know what they are doing make it rather than have me try and fail.
I'm getting side-tracked. Do yourself a favor and go to Bombay Ice Cream located in the Bombay Bazaar, you will not be sorry.

Speaking of being sorry, I would like to ask everyone to go an buy ice cream(and other stuff) from this store. No, I don't have a financial interest in it, but I do want them to succeed and stay in business. My wife and I used to eat at a place in Berkeley called the India Cafe. It was above a store that sold spices, saris and other stuff and was the best Indian food I have ever tasted. The woman who ran it cooked all the food herself with help from relatives and it was amazing. The atmosphere was relaxing and you felt like you were thousands of miles away from home whenever you entered. Sadly, running two businesses became to much for her and she closed the restaurant. I would hate to lose another awesome source of supreme deliciousness, so please do yourself a favor and get some ice cream!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Found this great site the other day. It's a constantly-updated blog showcasing bands covering original songs.
You can check out the most awesome cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody" performed entirely in a VW Polo!
What, Queen is not your bag? Well, How about "The Queen is Dead"?
Not weird enough for you? OK, how about Girl Crisis covering Black Sabbath?

You can search or browse by artist, so if you want to see who is covering Public Enemy or Elvis Presley, well, knock yourself out.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The anti-Union train keeps rolling( sans Union Engineers,Porters,etc.)

Found this ant-union video today. Looks like Target, in its move to take over the Grocery business(and head-hunt grocery store employees?), wants to make sure those pesky Unions stay the hell away from their stores.

Have a look at the Video. It gets good at around the 1:00 minute mark.

Look, I dont think every workplace is right for unionization, just like some things aren't going to run better when privatized(I'm looking at you Slate of Potential GOP candidates), but good lord! This video is a little over the top. A lot over the top.
"Refuse to sign!" Jesus, hey, thanks Unions for getting all those great labor laws in place, but we don't need you now. We can "cross-train" our employees, see? That way, they think they are bettering themselves, when in reality, we can get more work out of them for the same damn pay. Hurray Capitalism!
OK, see, there I go. Really, maybe Target isn't the place for Unions, but this is such overkill, especially in light of all the ant-union hysteria in Wisconsin a while back.
Why is it that when people try to stand up and protect themselves from powerful forces they are labeled greedy and lazy? Gee, all those top management guys at the big corporations, you know, the ones who drive the company into the ground, causing thousands to lose their livelihoods...yeah, those guys,with the obscene salaries and perks, why are they not the object of such mouth-foaming, teabagger hatred?
Ask Ronald Reagan.

Ich lebe noch...

Hey's a little tip...when trying to keep a blog up to date, try not to get sickness in your family in January...then get a PUPPY(!), then get more sickness...then get the great idea you will do some home remodeling...then, I think, more sickness....oh, and Puppy.

So, I'll be back at it now, and trying better those hits coming.

BTW, here's Meg's Glamour Shot:
(click for super adorable big pic)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

I think it's a toss up on which is the more un-Christmasy song, but since I like them both, here they are.
Holly Jolly.

Christmas in Paradise

Fairytale of New York

Friday, December 17, 2010

Julian ASSange

Come on, someone had to write that. No matter how feel about the Wikileaks big man and his penchant for publishing secret documents, you will have to agree he is a complete ass after reading these emails from him to a woman who wanted nothing to do with him.

Still waiting for more dirt on him, but this is a good start...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tea Time

You know, these Tea Baggers, er, Tea Party-ers, have been getting a hell of a lot of press lately,and it made me wonder: WHY?
Honest to god, the people are just plain annoying. Actually, they are worse than annoying, but I'm in a good mood today.

And now the Teabagger that stomps on women who are being held down wants the victim to apologize. I hope this is the death knell for these dopes.

*click me*

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hidden Treasure

So my battery died(again) in my ancient Camry. Hey, the thing is pushing 235k miles, what do you expect? That car will last forever, and yes I know, I am not helping the economic recovery by holding onto a 17 year old car.
Anyway, the damn battery dies and I was away from home so I called AAA to jump the thing. I know, or have heard..or maybe saw it on the internet, that you are supposed to drive around for about 20 minutes after jumping the battery to "recharge" it. I decided I'd head out to Pt. Molate since I'd always seen the sign for that place and had never been out there. Well, the damn park is money (surprise) so I kept driving back around that area to see what I would see.
If you are not familiar with the area, it runs long the Bay on the other side of the Standard oil refinery. There is a strange mixture of government owned land/buildings and Refinery owned land, both with their own variety of signs admonishing you to stay the hell away from everything and don't drive down this dirt road and keep off that building, etc. Just the place where you want to wander around and explore old buildings and weird-looking industrial things.
Only, I saw a nice, paved road with a sign saying "Rifle and Pistol Range"...Hurray thought I, maybe I can stop by here some time and blast a few targets. I drive up the road and there's a guard shack with an old guy in it. He looks at me dubiously and when I tell him that I'd never been out this way, he says half-joking, 'So you're lost". I try to tell him about the battery and the recharging, but it starts to sound like the bad alibi of a suspected thief, so I switch gears and ask if the range is open to the public. He tells me it's not and allows me to pull a U turn in the lot by his shack.

After I got home, I had this nagging feeling...I really wanted to know how or why there was a shooting range in what looked like the Refinery. What to do? Oh, well of course, Google! They know everything...everything. They're like benevolent Gestapo. Sure they pry into every part of your life and know all about you, but look how smart and hip and young and cool they are! What's that? The cell on the right is mine? OK, no need to shove.

Where was I? Oh yeah, what lay over that hill past the Guard Shack I needed to know. Off I went to Google Earth and lo and behold, not only was there a shooting range, there was a pool, tennis courts, barbecues and a playground! Check out the shot below...I love this stuff. This hidden treasure..a little oasis in the shadow of the hulking, stinking refinery. Of course, it's off limits to you and me(unless you work for Chevron), but thanks to the magic of Google Earth, you can see it all. Almost. We need to get a Street View Car down there...

You can see the magical oasis here: (Click to enbiggen it!)

Monday, September 27, 2010


So I've been meaning to post some really great, hard-hitting stuff on the Tea Baggers(party)...but alas, I'm too lazy and easily distracted.
I saw this Mompetitors video on Consumerist and of course was drawn to the xtranormal site where you can make your own movie!
It's "text-to-movie", which is why the characters sound so robotic, although maybe the author of Mompetitors prefers that to make her point(?).
Anyway, watch this space for hilarious "text-to-movie" videos!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Goodnight Irene

I thought I'd talked about Grooveshark before, but I must have dreamed it. Grooveshark is a streaming music site, sort of like Mixturtle and the former lala, before it was assimilated by the Evil Steve Jobs.
What I like about Grooeshark though, is that you can not only search by title or artist, but it lists the album name as well. The fun things you find are, well, fun. I searched for "Goodnight Irene"...I'd only heard a version by Tom Waits (There is only one Tom Waits and his name is Tom Waits) and I found quite a surprise: Michelle Shocked's version was nice as was Johnny Cash's. The Pogues' version was a shambling mess as you'd expect, but the jewel may have been the version by the Chieftains with Willie Nelson, from the Another Country album.

I also found some interesting versions of "The Black Velvet Band". One was by a band called "Celtc Pride II", but I think that was a mistake. It featured a female singer with an accent I cannot place and it's driving me, any help...
You might be able to listen to it here. I had to create an account to share it, you might have to do the same to listen to it.
It's fun to listen to several versions or covers of the same song...until your wife and kids go nuts hearing the fifth rendition of "Green Fields of France" and begin to throw whatever is handy at you.

Take your chances I say.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


So those of us in California face a proposition on the ballot this fall(Proposition 19) which will essentially legalize the use of marijuana. Currenlty, "medical marijuana" is legal here and it seems that was the first step in a move to completely decriminalize it.
I always the thought the "medical" idea was kind of funny, not that there aren't benefits to its use for some people, but the fact that there is no real control as to the levels of THC in the "medicine", no control on how much to take(prescription?), and the fact that so many "patients" take their dose right at the "pharmacy". I don't know, I just thought it was a "Emperor's New Clothes" thing, where I thought "Am I the only one who sees this for what it is?"

If Proposition 19 passes it wont matter anymore, but other things might. Here is an interesting article from the New York Times on how a Dutch city is dealing with the issue.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


This is not ironic...or is it?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On A Lighter Note

Thanks everyone for your kind words and thoughts after Asher's death. We're still trying to get used to life without him around the house...Now we actually have to clean up whatever we drop on the floor in the kitchen, no more Asher standing by to grab whatever hits the deck.

I saw a link today to an "impossible soccer game"...a game in which Joseba Etxeberria, Athletic Bilbao's forward, promised to play against 200 local kids. It struck me becasue the team for which I am assistant coach had the same idea: Kids vs. grown ups. We only have 12 seven-year-olds, but still...

So, here's the video on the EITB sports site. It struck me as a great idea: Awesome for the kids and just a nice way to say thanks to the fans. But there was a comment on Digg that really made my day.
Someone 'Benny-Hillified' the video!Benny Hillifier Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like: Take a video and it will Benny-Hillify it by adding the Yakety Sax soundtrack!

And you can too! Just insert the URL of your favorite video and Voila! Instant idiocy!

I made This One

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

R.I.P Asher 1995-2010

My dog Asher passed away yesterday. He was 14 years old. I remember when I first saw him at the shelter...I wasn't even looking for a dog. I just used to go to the shelter to visit the poor dogs there and when I saw him, I had to take him home.
I almost didn't get to take him. Another person had seen him first and I didn't know there was a a "waiting list", only that I had to call on Monday to see if he was still available. Fortunately for me, he was.

Thus began a 14 year odyssey with sweetest(unless he didn't know you) and craziest dog you'd ever know. He had had such a 'sheltered' life in his first six months that he didn't know that he couldn't walk across water, and so his first introduction to swimming consisted of him trying to walk on the Bay, with predictable results. He was never a big fan of water after that.

His aloofnes and distrust of strangers earned him the moniker asher.mental when I worked at Red Herring, but after he got to know you, he was your friend for life.

When we brought him home, he met our cat, Spock, with whom he immediately wanted to play, much to Spck's dismay. After a while, they became the best animal friends ever and when Spock passed away a few years ago, Asher took the loss very badly. He never got over losing his best friend, and now I know how he felt.
I miss you Asher, you were a good dog.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Why does everyone hate us?

I know what you're thinking, Jersey Shore, right? Well, yeah, maybe, but that is a relatively new phenomenon, there must be something else that leads the world to hate Americans...something enduring, something that's been happening continually over the past few decades.
There is. It's our absolute helplessness in our lives. It's the incredible obstacles we have to overcome in our daily lives, just to remain happy. Tings like not spilling milk all over the table, getting our shoes on without having to bend over, organizing our ever-growing pile of useless CRAP!

Yes, we Americans have it so tough. Apparently we really have a problem with cooking and eating...Meanwhile, a large portion of the world's population is just trying to get enough to eat. In Haiti, they eat dirt cakes.
Also, our uncoordinated and weak pets need a lot of assistance.
I watch this video an cringe. I love the looks of utter despair on their faces!
"Oh what's the use of living, this is not a soft-boiled egg!"
"I just can't keep my storage containers organized! What ever will I DO??"
Man, if this is all you had to go on to get an idea what Americans were like, you'd think we were a nation of spoiled, lazy and stupid losers who can't handle the slightest obstacle in life. Luckily this isn't all the world has to go on....There's also Fox News.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Back in the early Nineties, when the TV show Cops was in full swing, I remember thinking that Reality TV was the future! Unfortunately, I did not know how to capitalize on that.
Now it appears the money-related websites are the new wave of the future. I base this on two, two!, observations:
One was the Cars For A Grand Site(which is still awesome by the way), and the latest is Fiverr(via The Consumerist). This site is devoted to people offering to do things for five dollars. That's right, five bucks! What can you get for five bucks these days? Well, apparently, having your likeness made into a Cartoon or anAnime Characteris pretty popular.
But I like the guy who will hold a poster with your name on it, stand in front of the Sydney Opera House and have a picture taken the best. Because, really, what the hell is that?

P.S. I have no idea how to capitalize on this trend either, but I'm thinking of a quick way to make five bucks!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Pat's!

A little cheer from Jonathan Swift:
"All folks who pretend to religion and grace,
Allow there's a HELL, but dispute of the place:
But, if HELL may by logical rules be defined
The place of the damned -I'll tell you my mind.
Wherever the damned do chiefly abound,
Most certainly there is HELL to be found:
Damned poets, damned critics, damned blockheads, damned knaves,
Damned senators bribed, damned prostitute slaves;
Damned lawyers and judges, damned lords and damned squires;
Damned spies and informers, damned friends and damned liars;
Damned villains, corrupted in every station;
Damned time-serving priests all over the nation;
And into the bargain I'll readily give you
Damned ignorant prelates, and counsellors privy.
Then let us no longer by parsons be flammed,
For we know by these marks the place of the damned:
And HELL to be sure is at Paris or Rome.
How happy for us that it is not at home!"
-Jonathan Swift

Friday, March 05, 2010

I have no idea...

It sure is fun to watch though. Oh, and in Soviet Russia, song sings YOU!

Here is a supposed explanation of what you just saw.

Even more and better info HERE with graphs!!

Monday, March 01, 2010

What's The Frequency Kenneth?

I was reading an article in Computer Power User magazine(more about that name later)that floored me. It wasn't really an article, more of a side bar. The gist of it was that RCA has developed a device that you can plug into your mobile phone that will suck the energy from WiFi signals to charge your battery. It's called the Airnergy.

I know...that's what I said. But Gizmodo has a write up on it too.(On the internet, must be true, etc.,etc.) So this thing converts Wifi energy...great, so why aren't we converting radio waves? Are they too weak? Will it distort the signals so Lady GaGa or the Black Eyed Peas will sound lamer than they already do??
I'm not an Electrical Engineer...I can install a ceiling fan, so, yeah, that's the exetent of my knowledge. But, I immediately envisioned people modding these things and hacking their Priuses(Prii?)to take advantage. Imagine a herd of them parked outside a Starbuck's feeding off the wireless teat of the global caffeine giant.

Ew.Anyway, more Priuses that currently congregate outside a Starbuck's.

As far as the name of that magazine goes: Pure Genius. No, I'm not talking about the clever abbreviation of CPU. I'm talking about having the "Power User" in the title of the magazine you're reading.
"Yeah, I'm a Power User baby...overclockin'!" Well, maybe not.But I'm sure someone thought that would be a good idea. Kinda like how I always have a copy of the Scientific American in my back pocket.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Recession-Proof Cars

What a time to buy a car....Toyotas and Hondas have lost their appeal as the flawless vehicles we once thought they were. In the meantime, the truly flawed cars like Chevys and Chryslers are, well, still flawed. I guess you could get a Ford, but now they'll have you over a barrel since they're nearly the only game in town. Oh, there are Nissans, Mazdas, Volvos and BMW's, but let's be honest here, who has any money?

Not me. Hell, I drive a car my sister who, in better times, gave to me when it hit 180,000 miles. It was pretty rough and had a missing passenger-side mirror(still does), so I guess she figured it wouldn't be around much longer. I recently rolled over the 230,000 mark. So when I see cars for sale, I actually look at old cars and the better the deal, the better it looks.

So Cars For A Grand really caught my eye the other day when I saw it featured on Jalopnik. I mean, a car for a thousand bucks? Are you kidding me? Well, for some, yeah, they are.

The guys who started the site have an application that scours the interwebs for cars listed for $1000 or less. Now, a lot are on eBay, and have a low starting bid and will probably wind up above a grand, but who knows?
You can find sub-grand cars, like this one. Wow, what a pedigree though: It overheats, battery is dead and the Bondo is cracking. Good times. Of course, if you,re at all handy with cars, or enjoy bashed and bleeding knuckles, you're all set!

I haven't seen a Trabant on there yet, but I swear I saw Jim Anchower's Ford Festiva on it the other day!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

More Ranting on Banks...Now with alternatives!

Thanks to The Consumerist!. Remember my rant below about banks, capitalism and entrepreneurs? Yeah, I kinda hope you don't either.
Anyway, I was checking out The Consumerist when I saw this most awesome post on punishing the Big Banks. Bonus points that it links to the MoveYourMoney site, which has on its homepage a video that begins with clips from "It's A Wonderful Life"...Most awesome.
Better yet, there's a place on moveyourmoney to find local banks near you based on your zip code. My wife and I have been talking about this for the last couple of years, and by god now is the time!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Being Resolute

Some people make New Year's resolutions....not me. I just write a ranting, incoherent blog post about the state of the economy. That and take the family to the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco.And why not? The weather is great(sorry rest of the country) and I had time off of work.

One of the most famous sites in the Tea Garden is the Drum Bridge (Taiko Bashi). As a kid I remember the one time my parents took me there and I immediately had to climb over the bridge when I saw it. I had no real appreciation for the work that went into it, nor the beauty of the arc reaching over the tiny stream below.

At that time, I'm sure there was no plaque in place explaining the origins of the bridge, but today there is. I made it a point to read it, as so often I pass by these things or just give them acursory glance. I was truly amazed at what I read(and very disappointed afterward that I could find so little on the subject online).

The story goes like this: Shinshichi Nakatani was
commissioned by the government of Japan to create a Drum Bridge for the 1894 San Francisco Midwinter Fair. He came to San Francisco in the early 1890's and found that he did not have the materials he needed, so had to travel back to Japan, where he built the bridge. It was blessed and disassembled, then shipped to San Francisco. The project ran out of money however, so Nakatani-san went back again to Japan to sell his family's rice fields to raise the needed funds.

OK, stop there. Travelling between Japan and the U.S. in the 1890's isn't like a Jet Blue trip to Miami. It's grueling days at sea, with no guarantee you'll even arrive. On top of that, he sold his family farm to complete this job he was entrusted with.

He then asked his son to remain in the U.S. for nearly fifty years in order to work and save enough money to buy back the family farm.

Why had I never heard of this?? I was was honestly dumbfounded after reading that. I ran to catch up with my wife and kids and led tham back to the plaque and read the story to them. I felt like this man and his son needed a lot more recognition for their contributions than just this sign next to tthe bridge. I could not find the words to explain to my daughters the level of responsibility, honor and perseverance this man had. I will never look at that the bridge the same
...I will always think of Shinshichi Nakatani travelling half way around the globe, twice, to ensure the bridge found its rightful place as promised.

Please visit the Nakatani Family web site for more detailed and better researched information.

In searching online for information, I ran across these San Francisco Recreation and Parks Commission Minutes. See page 2 for some of the controversy surrounding the placement of the plaque.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holly Jolly

I know I shouldn't do this, what with Christmas and all, but I've kept my trap shut for a,long time about this. "This" is the situation we all find ourselves in today: An economy in the tank, a worthless Congress that can't pass a real piece of game-changing legislation, and a public that is increasingly being led to believe our country is on the verge of becoming the next Cuba.

What brought me to this lowly state? It was...soap poisoning! Oh wait, wrong movie. I have had a few reminders of the political/economic state we're in. First, was the eerie deja vu feeling I got while watching "It's a Wonderful Life" Mr. Potter gobbled up all the businesses in town and went on a tirade against the "discontented, lazy rabble" who want home loans. Potter wasn't a miser, not at all, he used is money to monopolize(read: Destroy competition) all the businesses in town. This in conjunction with the news that good ol' Wells Fargo was paying back their government money. Gee, didn't they do well by grabbing up some struggling banks? Thanks for the loan Uncle Sam! What's that? Someone needs to modify their mortgage so they don't lose their house? SCREW ' EM! Oh, and Merry Christmas.

The next was an article my friend sent me. He sends me a lot of things like this, it keeps me balanced I suppose. But this one in particular really drove me nuts. The guy starts out with a biblical quote, I guess we are to believe the Bible is now an expert source on Economics, but ultimately, it's a moral issue. He goes on to say that Entrepreneurs (he tends to mix capitalism and entrpreneurism freely) are actually driven by an altruistic desire to help, not money. You silly Lefties, see? It's all about taking care of peoples' need. OK, great, I might buy that on a limited scale, but the article ends with the author bemoaning the cap on pay and bonuses for bankers! What? A. Are investment bankers really entrepreneurs? And B. What about their altruistic drive to help others? Oh yeah, that was just a load of crap to make greed more palatable.
Don't get me wrong, I know that competition and risk are necessary for innovation and ultimately we all get rewarded in one way or another, but these articles that stop just short of praising greed and selfishness? Too soon? Yeah, maybe. The mere hint of a Public Option for medical care sets off alarm bells around the country! "They'll raise taxes!" they say. Yeah, about that...see, one of the mainstays of Conservatism(or Libertarianism, which seems to be invoked more often in light of the previous administrations destruction of our country's economy and liberties) is the idea of responsibility. Like, being able to pay for what you buy. So, yeah, they want to raise taxes to PAY for Health Care, unlike running two wars simultaneously and not raising know, so the next guy will have to.
Anyway, this drive to convince you that your government, any government, is essentially the enemy, is really getting out of control. Do these Republican Senators not see the irony that they decry a "socialist" health plan, when they themselves take advantage of one? And how about the constant comparisons to the Post Office? You know, the veiled threat that your health care will be run like the U.S. Postal Service. Really? OK, you might be able to argue that that wouldn't be so bad. The few PO's I've used in my neighborhood aren't that bad, certainly I have patronized private businesses that were definitely run worse, but OK, fine let's let them keep that one. My question is this, why is it that the Post Office is always used as an example? Why not NASA? They do some pretty cool things...would you like your health care run like that? Or, how about the U.S. Military? Sure, Senators are always using the "troops" for political points or photo ops or any other "use"...except their health care. Why? Because then you'd be denigrating the troops and that is a political no-no, but let's face it folks, they are government workers, are they not? Of course they are, and they all get the dreaded government health care(as did I until I was a teenager, and it wasn't the end of the world).

So to sum up: Wall Street Investment Bankers are just altruistic entrepreneurs, who only care about the People's needs(But let's not regulate their bonuses, eh?).
The government is useless and possibly even your enemy, except the guy telling you this, who seems to always have an "R" after his name.

Here's a great Frontline episode on comparative health care systems around the world.

And some light the whole "The Government is your enemy" thing all started: The Man Who Sold the World

Happy New Year.

Friday, December 04, 2009

RIP Liam Clancy

Liam Clancy passed away today. My sister-in-law,whose mom had the pleasure of meeting the Clancys, alerted me and this is the first song that came to mind.
RIP Liam

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ohne Mauern leben

It's been twenty years since that momentous day when the unthinkable happened: The Berlin Wall came down. I remember the first time I visited Berlin and was in awe of this monolith, this insane testament to man's warped sense of reason. The citizen's of East Berlin were told the wall was thee to protect them from the evil West.
I was obsessed with the Wall. I spent days just walking along it, looking over the into the eastern side at the tanks traps and razor wire...the soldiers staring down at me through binoculars, until i raised my camera to take their picture, which sent them scurrying away from the window of their tower.

In light of the anniversary of the Wall's demise, I'm recommending a few movies that capture some of the essence of that time;

First is Das Leben der Anderen(Lives of others). This captures the oppressive control the Stasi had over the people of East Berlin and the ultimate futility of the whole system.

Second, a comedy: Goodbye Lenin. An hilarious comedy of errors, where a son tries to convince his good Socialist mother that everything is as it always was, despite the wall coming down.

Last is only remotely related to East Berlin/The Wall, but is worth a watch: Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It's a loves story...boy/girl meets boy, boy/girl loses boy, boy/girls goes on a quest to find boy.

Here's a link from good ol' Paracelsus that shows some pics of the wall. Be sure to click on numbers 13,14 and 15 to see a Before and After...stunning.

And Sid Vicious' observations...

Monday, November 09, 2009

It's Not Like It's Written In Stone

Are you thinking of getting a tattoo? Maybe you've been out with your friends and have had a drink or two...or seven or eight..and think to yourself, "Hey, let's go get a tattoo!(hic)".
Or maybe you're really hip, or the silent, brooding, mysterious type. Maybe you just want one because everyone else has one. All good reasons of course, I mean who the hell am I to say what you should do to your body? It's not like it's written in stone.
Wait. No, really, wait. Go look at some of the Ugliest Tattoos on the face of this Earth...or face even.

Some are dopey typos that just make you wonder "How?"

Others make you wonder about the "skill level" of the "artist". Yeah...or if maybe the artist drank as much as the customer.

Some just make you cringe

Some are NSFW...that is Not Safe For Work OR the World!

Almost forgot: The obligatory Chinese Characters

Still want that ink?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


"Hero: n., 1.a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. 2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal".

When you think of heroes, what typically comes to mind are soldiers who throw themselves on grenades to save their comrades or New York Firemen who, without concern for their own safety, entered the World Trade Center buldings to save the lives of those trapped inside. These are indeed heroic acts, but there are other heroes in this world...A lot of them, like Brooksley Born, are of the unsung variety.
Until now that is...Check out this Frontline Special on the history of the economic meltdwn we are experiencing now.

Even after saying "I told you so" in the late '90's, she was still ignored...then villified and eventually run out of town. But she never gave up...and she was right the whole time.

There's also an Interviewwith her on the Frontline site.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Tom Hanks, your staircase is ready

Or, how to battle obesity.
Would you take the stairs rather than an escalator if it were more "fun"?
Well, some people in Stockholm wanted to find out, so they created the The Piano Staircase. Not too surprisingly, more people chose the stairs over the escalator.
Honestly though, if you were to put one of these in Grand Central Station, the resulting sound would be one, big irritating mess of notes.So it's back to the escalator and a big bag of chips to munch as you slowly ascend.

This just in: A local resident in Stockholm, Sweden was severely injured when he tried pounding out Chopin's "Polonaise" on the stairs in the Odenplan.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

People Who Died

Jim Carroll is dead
He died Last Friday and was only 60 years old. Although maybe "only" isn't the right word. He managed to survive most of his childhood acquaintances by several years and considering his early years, it's a wonder he made as far as he did.
I remember having a cassette tape of Catholic Boy and wore the damn thing out in a nihilistic frenzy of non-stop play. Unfortunately, its raw, brutal style was its attraction for me at a young age and I think a lot of people were drawn to that seedy tableau Jim painted with music and words.(He also wrote the autobiographical "The Basketball Diaries"). Wasn't until later in life I realized that it's easy to romanticize the junky/misfit life when you're not living it.
If you haven't read The Basketball Diaries yet, you really should. I think it's a must for definitely takes away the glamour of drug use and now that poor Jim is dead, it's that much more powerful.
RIP Jim.
Here's a video of "People Who Died". I chose this one despite the clips of Leonardo DiCaprio in it from the movie of "The Basketball Diaries", mainly becuase this was the version of the song I knew and loved.