29 October 2007

Joke: At A Biker Bar(Thanks Cheryl)

Just saw this joke in a bulletin re-posted by my MySpace friend Cheryl, whom I thank for doing so.

Nothing like a little rude, crude humour to get the day started.

Enjoy and be seeing you.

Three guys were sitting in a biker bar.

A man came in, he was already drunk, sat down at the bar and ordered a drink.

The man looked around and saw the 3 big men sitting at a corner table. He got up, staggered to the table, leaned over, looked the biggest one in the face and said, "I went by your grandma's house and I saw her in the hallway, buck naked. Man, she is fine!"

The biker looked at him, but didn't say a word.

His buddies were confused, because he was a bad ass, and would fight at he drop of a hat.

The drunk leaned on the table again and said, "I got it on with your grandma and she is good, the best I ever had!"

The biker still said nothing. His buddies were starting to get mad now.

The drunk leaned on the table again and said, "I'll tell you something else boy, your grandma liked it!"

The biker stood up, took the drunk by the shoulder and said, "Damn it, grandpa, you're drunk. Go home!"

28 October 2007

YouTube Animated Video: "Fantastic Voyage"(1968) Intro

After the heavy-duty, and lengthy, posts I've made here over the past few days, I figure that something of a bit lighter order's needed.

So, thanks to ClassicTelevisionFan over at YouTube, comes this video clip, which is the opening titles to the 1968 ABC Saturday morning cartoon series adaptation of the 1967 science-fiction film, "Fantastic Voyage", produced by Filmation Associates, and which ran from September of 1968 until September of 1969.

Vaguely recall seeing this as a little kid in Reno, then recall considerably better viewing episodes of it in syndicated re-runs while visiting in New Jersey in 1978 and 1979.

Discovered this video clip about a week or so ago, while noodling around on YouTube, and so, I present it here, to share with you.

For those of you old enough to remember the "Mary Tyler Moore Show", and specifically the pompous news-caster character from the series, Ted Baxter, yep, the narrator's voice in this clip belongs to Ted Knight, whom some of you out there may also remember as the thoroughly obnoxious Judge Smails from the first "Caddyshack" film back in 1980.

Knight provided the voice of the series' narrator, as well as the Combined Miniature Defense Force's team commander, Jonathan Kidd, in the series.

From my admittedly scanty recollections of the show and its episodes, it was, I thought, one of the better-written Saturday morning cartoons of the period, and there still is, at least for me, a certain excitement I get whenever I watch this clip.

Hope you enjoy it as well, and be seeing you.

V Is For Vendetta

Nope, Kiddies, don't let the title fool ya. This isn't about either the Neil Gaiman graphic novel, "V For Vendetta", nor its recent film adaptation, neither of which I've read or seen.

Nope, this is about something more important to me, and that's how angry and bitter I can get, and for how long I can hold onto such poison.

This was prompted by a response I made earlier to-day to a poem posted by my friend Pie about a marriage gone very sour on her MySpace blog.

There's an axiom, "Bitterness can be cathartic" in italics on the very top of the entry, before the poem's text begins, and, in my response to the poem, which I rather liked, I said that I couldn't agree with that notion, as well as stating what I liked best about the poem.

In her response to that, plus a couple of later ones, this evening, Pie stated that she found working the bitterness out of one's system, which I had not understood to be the meaning of that axiom, by acknowledging it, getting it down on paper and exorcising it from one's system, can be and is tremendously cathartic.

In my response to that, I said that I agree with that, said that I had not understood that to be her meaning, and made my apologies for having mis-understood that.

In the short time between writing that response, checking out my e-mail accounts, going to two on-line forums to which I regularly contribute, and returning here, I got the notion to write a little piece about my own anger, bitterness and other such qualities, as I don't feel I often give voice to them, which is perhaps a mistake.

I am not going to, however, dish out any dirt on individuals, groups or institutions that I dislike, or have felt hurt by in the past or present.

That would take far too long, and be far too hurtful to others, for me to do that.

Instead, I'm going to write, briefly and incompletely, about my own feelings of bitterness, anger and their associated emotions to give you some idea of what they can be like, and, in a way, to possibly, if only temporarily, unburden myself of some of that very raw, negative energy.

First off, I have a very quickly reactive temper, and, am if not careful, my injudicious expression of it, especially through profanity, blasphemy, personal insults, and, at times, even in the recent past, using physical force on those who hurt and anger, can result in great discomfiture or harm to others and, most especially, to myself.

There's a part of me that likes to think I'm ten feet tall, 300 pounds of sheer muscle, and that can, in the words of John L. Sullivan, the 1890's boxing champion, "lick any son-of-a-bitch in the house".

Ha, ha, ha, don't you be-LI-eve it, 'cos am only 5'10, approximately 150 pounds or so, never been in shape, and am a shitty fighter on my best days.

I can also be a considerable coward, when I want, as I hate either verbal or physical confrontations.

Why, 'cos, with either one, am afraid of being hurt and of losing family members, close friends and even acquaintances as a result of whatever stupidities I might say or do while angry.


Hell, no.

But, I hope, an honest admission of weakness and folly, and, in my book, it counts far more to be honest, especially with oneself, than to present a bright shining lie(to borrow the title of Stanley Karnow's biography of the late John Paul Gann)to the world and myself, have everyone believe it, then take the merited pain, shame and disgrace of being exposed as a bright shining fraud.

There have been so many times in my life where I've often felt slighted, rejected, humiliated, suckered, and metaphorically(never literally, Thank God)spat, pissed and shat upon by family members, friends, enemies and acquaintances, and have been so frustrated and angry about those incidents, even years and decades after their happening, that I can work myself up into a nice volcanic rage, combined with the worst aspects of an adult reaction(aka the grown-up version of a temper tantrum).

I can even do this while watching characters in films or on tv shows saying or doing something that I consider to entirely unjustified, unwarranted and unfair, and I can project myself mentally into the film or show to give the richly merited, and viscerally nasty punishments I feel they so richly deserve.

My heart's pumping,and adrenaline's flowing as I work myself into a lather(Hydrophobia!!!! Hydrophobia!!! Mad Man!!! Mad Man!!!)just contemplating and enjoying the imaginary power I would have to dole out the most vicious imaginary punishments to imaginary suckers who ain't on the up and square, and that's where the horribly addictive nature of that kind of thought and behaviour comes into play.

Adrenaline's an extremely powerful neuro-chemical, as it has to be, considering its vital role in helping stimulate flight-or-fight responses in humans and animals. If it weren't, our distant ancestors would have gone extinct due to being someone else's snacky-poo or din-din on the plains of East Africa long, long ago, and none of us would be here to-day.

Now, I've not read up on what other neuro-transmitters or other neuro-chemicals, or neuro-chemical reactions, do, either separately or in interaction with adrenaline when one's angry, frightened, etc.

But, from the fly-speck of knowledge I've picked up about adrenaline and its role in human neuro-chemically generated emotional reactions(There's a mouthful, if ever I wrote one!!), and from using that dimple on a pimple on a flea's bum worth of information to analyse my own reactions, I'd say what I've read and heard about adrenaline's properties are quite true, and that it is quite addictive stuff indeed.

Could be entirely wrong about the matter, but I don't think so.

Either way, there's nothing quite like the high of either wanting to kick, actually kicking and stomping, or even just imagining kicking and stomping someone's ass right into the dirt, and leaving nothing but a lil' ol' greasy spot behind for me, and that's what makes it so dangerous for me as well.

It's a powerful high that, even more so than most prescription or street drugs, can generate an intense and long-lasting neuro-chemical flow to those areas of the brain affected by it, and can be done so at will, and boy, do I have a LOT of will!!!

But, its aftermath can be pretty ugly too, especially when I realise that, like it or not, I am going to have to live with everything I've thought, said and done while in that state, if not for the rest of my life, then for a long time afterwards, at least.

Self-centred of me???

Yes, it is. But, the fact that I know that am gonna haveta live with the consequences of whatever I say and do, in one way or another, and I like having my self-respect and not having to feel like a complete schmuck, thanks a lot.

I can be one, if I want.

But, ain't powerful enough, in whatever sense of the word you may care to name, to ward off, at least, not for-ever, the responsibility and remorse for whatever deeds and actions I carry out while frustrated or angry.

It's perhaps that awareness, and there are times that I can either ignore it or lose it completely, of the fact that my mind and body can't necessarily cash the cheques my ego(Leggo my ego, you!!! LOL)sometimes likes to write.

Now, as for bitterness and all the rest of the good shit(heavy on the sarcasm there, if you please)that goes with it, well, whether I like it or not, that is my burden to bear.

Does it mean letting myself stew in isolation and frustration???

God, I hope not, as am isolated and frustrated enough for my taste already.

Instead, and I could be wrong here, folks, it means doing the best I can to understand how it works in myself and others, and of finding ways of constructively releasing it in small bursts, rather than letting it build up into a nice explosive mass of pent-up rage that will do no-one any damned good at all.

If am in a romantic relationship with a woman, and in a paternal one with kids, I better make sure that I am aware of my emotional states, especially when frustrated or angry, and better make DAMNED sure that I don't say or do anything that will hurt them.

If it means taking a long walk for a couple of hours so's I don't give into the temptation to give a nice, long, profanity-filled tirade(Fun For The Whole Family!!! Yeah, if ya belong to the Manson Family, that is), that's what has to happen, for their welfare and my own.

Mind you, at the age of 43, and considering that I don't get out of my house, let alone my neighbourhood, very much at all, and I haven't been with a woman in ten years(No, I ain't been in prison, and please don't start with those kind of jokes, thanks, as I can probably make up better ones myself), the likelihood of meeting someone and having a family isn't all that great.

But, then again, who knows, as I've a brother-in-law who didn't meet and marry my sister 'til he was in his late 40's-early 50's, and he's 55 now, and a friend of mine who's now 52, or is he 53, who only recently got married himself.

Mind you, he'd been married and in relationships before(I, on the other hand,have a Helluva time just even getting one started).

But, those examples at least give me some margin for hope for myself. Will just haveta see what comes, or doesn't, as time passes.

Even if it doesn't happen, and one of my greatest fears, that of always being alone, is realised, I hope that I can at least handle that with the maximum amount of grace, and the least amount of self-pity(one of the big seed-beds of bitterness, I think)possible.

Again, will see about that, as only time will tell, etc, etc, etc.

In closing, I only hope that I can live up to the fine words and sentiments that I've articulated here to-day, and that I can successfully master, or at least better control, the anger, frustration, bitterness and hatred that I can sometimes feel, without turning into either a timid little soul a-scared of his, and everyone else's, shadow, or going to to the other extreme, and being a minor league legend in my own mind(Now Playing In Concert At Caesar's Palace!!!! Ba-Dum-Bum!!!), and a minor league arsehole with a major league ego to boot.

The only sure way for me to find out if am doin' it right or not, is to do the best I can with what I have on hand, and go from there.

What I have may not be much, but it's mine, to use an old German(I think)proverb, and it's better than havin' nothin' a'tall.

Don't know about y'all, but I feel MUCH better now, though, after readin' this, some of you out there may have slightly upset stomachs. Not to worry, as it's probably something that a little Maalox, Alka-Seltzer or Pepto-Bismol can't fix;).

If your symptoms worsen, please take two tranquilisers and call your doctor in the morning.

Be seeing you.

26 October 2007

My Quick Take On The Southern California Wildfires

This was originally posted on my MySpace blog at 12:41 this morning. Hope those of you who are in the Southern California area, or who have family and friends there, are alive, well and safe, or that those near and dear to you are.

'Nuff said.

Be seeing you.

Well, within the past two days, have heard from my therapist and a very old and dear friend of mine, who live in Santa Monica and Los Angeles proper, respectively, via e-mail and telephone call that they and theirs are alive, well, and haven't needed to be evacuated due to the wildfires burning up a good piece of Southern California over the few days past.

There's one other old and dear friend and his family who live in the Long Beach area, from whom I've not heard, but am hoping that the situation's the same with him and his as with the other two I mentioned above.

Until I do hear from him, I won't know either way, but can only hope that he and his family are well and safe.

From what little I've been following about the fires, mainly via AP articles on Yahoo News and the LA Times, with some articles from the San Diego Union-Tribune and North County Register, while the winds are finally dying down and firefighters are getting a better handle on the situation, especially in the San Diego area, they are far from over, and it will probably take several more days before they are extinguished.

This will, unfortunately, come far too late for the 10 people, 3 of whom were burnt to death, and the other seven of whom died from other, fire-related causes, that have been reported so far.

I send my condolences to their families and friends, and my hopes to a safe return for the evacuees to their homes in the days to come.

Be seeing you.

Some Long-Winded Comments Not Quite Left On A MySpace Blog Post

Posted the following on my MySpace blog two days ago. The contents of the essay herein pretty much speak for themselves, so I'll spare thee the usual introductory blather.

Be seeing you.

There's a MySpace blog to which am currently subscribed, called the Truth About PETA, which is, to say the least, rather critical of many of PETA's stances on various animal rights' issues.

Well, was reading to-day's blog post there, about the support given by both PETA and the Humane Society of the United States, to various local and state ordinances either regulating or banning the breeding and keeping of American Pit-Bulls and other related dog breeds, of which the blog poster was extremely critical.

Well, went to make a comment or two about this topic, and, in my rather wordy fashion, crafted this mini-epic, that, because of its length, wasn't accepted on that blog.

So, am posting my comments here, for all the world to see, or, at least those people who occasionally stop by here to read whatever silliness I get up to.

If you wish to see the original post, please go to http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=119667166&blogID=322038865&Mytoken=CD7AF368-9EB4-491E-9352BA89F40132625777666, and see it for yourselves.

My comments follow immediately below this introduction.

Be seeing you.

My own feelings about this are so mixed, that they'd make a See's or Whitman's Candy Sampler look like a model of uniformity by comparison.

Have never had an American Pit-Bull, nor any of the other, and, being the human parent of a feline, probably never will.

From the extremely limited experiences I've had with members of the breeds mentioned here, I would say that some individuals in those breeds are and can be highly aggressive and dangerous to humans, dogs, cats, and members of other species not in their pack group.

On the other hand, have also experienced these animals' softer side, specifically in the 150 lb shape of one Bronx, who was likelier to lick one to death(assuming that one COULD be licked to death), than to maul one.

I agree far more with the premise that pit-bulls, like any other dog breed, aren't necessarily 99 and 44/100ths, vicious as all get-out. That line of reasoning is simply an ad hominem, or, in this case, ad canem, sweeping generalisation about the breed that is erroneous, because it makes no room for any possible exceptions to it.

One could, and it has been done quite enough throughout human history, make similar sweeping generalisations about any human group, and make massive, radical prescriptions for the elimination of such groups.

The Holocaust is the best known example of this kind of logic being carried out in recent history, but it is far from the only one, alas.

Please don't forget that, early in the 20th Century, American and European eugenicists called for the compulsory sterillisation of developmentally disabled people, and especially those from African-American, European-American ethnics and immigrants, especially those from Central, Southern and Eastern Europe, and the mentally ill.

In many American states, such procedures were carried out, in the hopes of "improving" humanity, by weeding out the "un-fit" members of the human race, and supposedly making room for the "fit".

The laws that supported such procedures were eventually struck down in the 1950's and '60's, but considerable damage had already been done to those individuals regarded as "un-fit" and sterillised in mental institutions and other medical facilities while they were in force.

The major problem with making public policies based on such generalisations ultimately comes down to this question-who or what is fit, and, most importantly, who gets to decide who or what should be allowed to live or die????

Far too often, it has been members of the intellectual classes, whether in academia, politics, business, the military, or the media, most of whom are, if not born into them, either come from the upper and middle classes in their respective societies, or have successfully been absorbed into them. If such individuals fall into the latter category, one of the reasons WHY they've been successfully absorbed by the upper and middle classes is that many of them have, in varying degrees, bought into the assumptions, and even some of the intellectual fashions and fads of their employers and colleagues.

I would say that this particular movement to regulate and ban out-right the breeding and keeping of pit-bulls and other dog breeds falls within this category, and, that while many of its advocates may have the very best of intentions, they often fail to recognise that their assumptions are perhaps rooted as much in their social positions, as they are in whatever other ideological or humanitarian motives they have.

Had an African-American left activist and newspaper columnist acquaintance here in Las Vegas(That's right, Sin City, Folks), Nevada, whom I heard express on a couple of occasions, the sentiment that it was easier for European-American animal rights' advocates to get worked up over the plight of animals, than it was for them to become upset over the plight of African-Americans.

Now, even with taking his own personal and ideological biases into account here(He has his, as I've mine, and all of us, in one way or another, do), I would say that there is at least a grain of truth in his statements, because a fair number of animal rights' advocates do come from European-American, upper or middle-class backgrounds.

This was recently evidenced, in a small way, in the spectacle of demonstrators and counter-demonstrators outside of the Virginia courthouse where Michael Vick was sentenced for his crimes.

According to the Washington Post articles I read about the demos, the majority of those who wanted Vick punished as severely as possible were European-American in origin, while Vick's supporters were predominantly African-American.

Now, the demonstrators on both sides, I'm sure, had their own individual reasons for being there, and it would be wrong of me to say that race and class were the only motivations behind their being present outside that courthouse.

But, I also wouldn't be surprised if, in the cases of some of Vick's supporters, there weren't at least some feelings that the animal rights' supporters, and the Federal justice system, didn't have at least similar feelings to those expressed by my activist acquaintance.

Given the general history of how African-Americans have been treated in this country, I wouldn't blame them for feeling that way, even if, as in the Vick case, I didn't think that they were supporting an individual whose actions merited being locked up.

Cruelty is cruelty, whether it's manifested in the forms of whipping a slave, lynching an African-American man because he whistled at a European-American woman, as in the 1955 Emmett Till case, pitting dogs against each other in a fight to the death for the amusement and enrichment of humans, or in calling for, and implementing, the extermination of certain dog breeds and categories of humans, whether by "hard"(mass executions)or "soft"(sterlillisation and the like)means.

Ultimately, the intentions, saintly or sinful, behind these actions, matter far less than the actual results, period.

Mind you, this is coming from someone who recently had to have his 15 and a half year old feline companion euthanised, because, according to the veterinarian's diagnosis, she had either Feline Meningitis or a brain tumour, with the latter being far likelier than the former, so, please take any statements I've made here thus far, with that in mind.

Had my family and I had the monetary resources to have an MRI done on her, perhaps it might have been done. But, we didn't, and, while she could have been given a shot that would have reduced her brain's swelling, it more than likely wouldn't have cured her. Hence, I made the decision to have her euthanised, and that is one I shall have to live with all my living days.

The reason I state this here is so you know that am not necessarily speaking from an ivory-tower, inexperienced, point of view on this issue, and because it would be dis-honest of me not to mention this in light of the statements I've made above.

Judge them, and myself, as you will, according to your own standards.

To finish up, I personally think that massive programmes of education about the benefits of animal companion spaying,neutering, and proper treatment in all forms of animals, because of the fact that urban and suburban environments, with their greater concentrations of people and animals, and all the hazards that accompany such concentrations, as well as a real social effort to ensure that low-or no-cost spaying, neutering and other forms of veterinary care are made widely available throughout the society, and tougher civil and criminal penalties, fairly applied, regardless of racial, ethnic or class origin or status, for the ill-treatment of animals would be good steps in reducing, and, I hope, eventually eliminating the very real problems of animal over-population, cruelty and neglect in this country.

The real trick, I think, will be to carry this out in as fair and humane a manner as possible to both animals and humans alike.

My apologies for the lengthy comment here, and my thanks to you for your attention and patience.

22 October 2007

YouTube Star Trek The Next Generation Video Parody: "Scottish Star Trek"

OK, one last blog post for to-day, and this one is a rather inspired YouTube Star Trek: The Next Generation video parody, "Scottish Star Trek", the link to which was sent me over a week ago by my good friend Jo Meditz, and which I post for your amusement here.

Don't have a clue as to whom Taysiders are, or from what part of Scotland they come, and had a hard time understanding a fair amount of the dialogue in the video clip. Nonetheless, I loved the concept and thought the execution of it to be pretty well done, and hope you will, too.

Anyhow, here it is, so enjoy and be seeing you.

MySpace Bulletin Re-Post: "Washing Your Cat"(Cat Humour)

Another MySpace bulletin from a friend of mine, the one and only Cheryl, with its subject being how to wash one's cat.

Not even trained professionals should try this at home.

Enjoy and be seeing you.
----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Cheryl
Date: Oct 22, 2007 10:08 AM

Cat humor....Washing Your Cat
Body: 1. First, dress for the occasion. A 4-ply rubber wet suit is suggested, along with a helmet, face mask and welders gloves.

2. A Bathtub with a glass enclosure is preferred to the one with a shower curtain. A frenzied cat can shred one of these in about 3.5 seconds.

3. Have the Kitty Bubbles and towel in the enclosed bathtub area before hand. No, blow drying the cat after the bath is not suggested.

4. Draw the water, making it a little warmer than needed as you still need to find the cat. Position everything strategically in the shower, so you can reach it even if you are face down or prone in the tub.

5. Find your cat. Use the element of surprise. Pick the cat up, nonchalantly as if you were simply carrying him/her to the supper dish. No need to worry about the cat noticing your strange attire, the cat barely notices you anyway.

6. Once you and the cat are inside the bathroom, speed is essential. In one single liquid motion, shut the door to the bathroom, step into the shower, close the sliding doors, and drop the cat into the water. While the cat is still in a state of shock, locate the Kitty Bubbles and squirt whatever part of him is above the water line. You have just begun the wildest 45 seconds of your life. Remember that cats have no handles and add the fact that he now has soapy fur. His state of shock has worn off and he's madder than a wet hornet.

7. As best, you can, wearing welder's gloves, try to field his body as he catapults through the air toward the ceiling. If possible, give another squirt of Kitty Bubbles with his body now fully exposed.

8. During the 5 seconds you are able to hold onto him, rub vigorously. No need to worry about rinsing. As he slide down the glass enclosure into the tub, he will fall back into the water, rinsing himself in the process.

9. Only attempt the lather and rinse process about 3 times. The cat will realize the lack of traction on the glass by then and will use the next attempt on the first available part of you.

10. Next, the cat must be dried. No, this is NOT the easiest part. By this stage, you are worn out and the cat has just become semi-permanently affixed to your right leg. We suggest here that you drain the tub and in full view of your cat. reach for the bottle of Kitty Bubbles.

11. If you have done step 10 correctly, the cat will be off your leg and hanging precariously from your helmet. Although this view of the cat is most disgusting, he will be in a much better position for wrapping the towel around him.

12. Be sure cat is firmly wrapped in towel before opening tub enclosure. Open bathroom door, put towel wrapped cat on floor and step back quickly, into tub, if possible, Do not open enclosure until all you can see is the shredded towel.

13. In about 2 hours it will be safe to exit the bathroom. Your cat will be sitting out there somewhere looking like a small hedgehog while plotting revenge.

How To Piss People Off(Re-Post)

My MySpace friend Rock Angel re-posted this in a bulletin she sent out earlier this morning, and now, I re-post it here for your perusal and possible amusement.

These methods seem better to me than the one used by the early 20th Century German philosopher Oswald Spengler(author of Decline Of The West), who once displayed a Nazi flag outside of his residence, and was quoted as saying that the reason he did was to annoy people.

Mind you, Spengler, while a devout pessimist who has been cited as being a major philosophical influence on Nazi ideology, was himself never a member of the Nazi Party, and his attitude towards them, from what little I can remember about it, was far from supportive of them.

Fortunately for him, Spengler didn't live long enough to see the Nazis take power, let alone wreak the havoc they did.

Anyway, enough blather about Oswald bloody Spengler.

Here are the gags.

Enjoy and be seeing you.

----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------
From: Rock Angel
Date: Oct 22, 2007 5:06 AM

1. Leave the copy machine set to reduce 200%, extra dark, 17 inch paper, 99 copies.
2. In the memo field of all your checks, write "for sexual favors."
3. Specify that your drive-through order is "TO-GO."
4. If you have a glass eye, tap on it occasionally with your pen while talking to others.
5. Stomp on little plastic ketchup packets.
6. Insist on keeping your car windshield wipers running in all weather conditions "to keep them tuned up."
7. Reply to everything someone says with "that's what you think."
8. Practice making fax and modem noises.
9. Highlight irrelevant information in scientific papers and "cc" them to your boss.
10. Make beeping noises when a large person backs up.
11. Finish all your sentences with the words "in accordance with prophesy."
12. Signal that a conversation is over by clamping your hands over your ears and grimacing.
13. Disassemble your pen and "accidentally" flip the ink cartridge across the room.
14. Holler random numbers while someone is counting.
15. Adjust the tint on your TV so that all the people are green, and insist to others that you "like it that way."
16. Staple pages in the middle of the page.
17. Publicly investigate just how slowly you can make a croaking noise.
18. Honk and wave to strangers.
19. Decline to be seated at a restaurant, and simply eat their complimentary mints at the cash register.
21. type only in lowercase.
22. dont use any punctuation either
23. Buy a large quantity of orange traffic cones and reroute whole streets.
24. Repeat the following conversation a dozen times.
"Never mind, it's gone now."
25. As much as possible, skip rather than walk.
26. Try playing the William Tell Overture by tapping on the bottom of your chin. When nearly done, announce "No, wait, I messed it up," and repeat.
27. Ask people what gender they are.
28. While making presentations, occasionally bob your head like a parakeet.
29. Sit in your front yard pointing a hair dryer at passing cars to see if they slow down.
30. Sing along at the opera.
31. Go to a poetry recital and ask why each poem doesn't rhyme.
32. Ask your co-workers mysterious questions and then scribble their answers in a notebook. Mutter something about "psychological profiles."

Some Remarks I Left On A Socialist Blog To-Day

Wrote this as a response to a YouTube video from the latest episode of Bill Maher's HBO series, on which he was interrupted several times by various 9/11 Truth protestors, because of disparaging remarks he'd made about them and their cause in an earlier episode of the show.

My comments reproduced here specifically relate to comments made by an "old hack" to the blog entry at http://invereskstreet.blogspot.com/2007/10/and-cows-disagree-with-me.html, which is part of the Inveresk Street Ingrate blog, run by a MySpace friend of mine, Darren, whom I address directly towards the very end of my remarks here, and who's, as he puts it, "the only living SPGB(Socialist Party of Great Britain)member living in New York"(City, that is), and to counter-comments made by Darren about Maher and Ron Paul, the 1988 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate and current House Republican Represenative from Texas and the only Republican Presidential candidate running who is, at least publicly, anti-Iraq War.

Few more items to put down here before we jump into the text below, and that's one, I was a bad commentator to the topic because at no time in my comments did I mention anything about the 9/11 Truth protestors and their beliefs, as well as the way Maher and his staff dealt with them, two, I was way over-long and damned prolix, as you will see below, in my responses to the comments about Maher, and three, I got way off-topic in bringing up the whole What's Wrong With The American Left As I See It thread in my response.

To Darren and those who read the blog at the original site, my apologies, for having done those, as it's one thing for me to get all wordy and shit on my own blog, but it's uite another for me to do it on someone else's, as am merely a guest on the latter, and don't have the right to rabbit on and on and on, like I do here.

Yeah, I've done it in the past, have done so at present, and probably at some point, will do so in future.

But, it's better for everyone concerned, and far better manners, for me to keep my remarks as brief and on-topic as possible, and will have to work harder to make those much more of regular habits than I have.

The last item before we get to it, is to say that these following comments below are mine, and are exclusively my responsibility for posting. I don't claim to speak for others, generally, as it's wrong and egotistical of me to do so, and I generally think, unless one can actually produce hard evidence backing the assertion up that one also speaks for others, it is in general.

My remarks are based on a combination of my experiences, such as they have been, on the Nevadan and Las Vegas Left, and from what I've read in both the "mainstream" media and left and other political media, on-and offline, and reflect, for good or ill, my interpretations and reflections on them.

While I speak about the American, and, in one portion of the remarks below, the English-speaking Left, the fact is that most of what I say here is rooted in my worm's eye experiences of the Nevadan Left, and may not apply to other segments of the American Left, nor the Left in the English-speaking world. Also, some of these remarks are based, especially in spirit, on remarks made by George Orwell about the British Left in his 1937 book, The Road To Wigan Pier, in which he took the British Left, and specifically the Communist Party of Great Britain, to serious task for its failures to reach the bulk of the British working class and for its cultural flaws.

While there's a vast gulf between the Great Britain of seventy years ago, and the British Left of that time, and the American Left of 2007, there are still at least enough similarities, in my view, between the political positions and cultural defects found on both to warrant mentioning them here.

Also want to mention that there are plenty of individuals and some groups on the Nevadan and American Left I respect and admire.

It just frustrates me to see just how much time, energy and preciously few resources they have are often wasted on intellectual and political stances that end up going nowhere outside of the confines of those groups. To me, this is a real shame and pity, because, considering the many issues at hand that folks, especially so-called ordinary folks, have to deal with, and will have to deal with in the near future, that the Nevadan and American Left so often seems to blow it by not getting better organised, financed and mobilized, so they CAN get their messages out to the American public at large, and let them know that there ARE real alternatives to the conservative-moderate-liberal consensus on which the American governing classes, their allies and supporters, and the American public itself have settled over the past 30-40 years.

Good intentions and political and ideological purity won't cut it, and haven't, in my view, if the individuals and groups seeking power to make decisive, progressive changes for the better can't and won't even get themselves close to getting actual power to make those changes.

It shouldn't be just up to the Democratic Party, nor to Ralph Nader, to present those alternatives to the current social, political and economic order, and, quite probably, should NEVER have been.

Anyway, in closing, please remember that these are my opinions, and are just those-opinions, and, to use an old joke proverb about the relationship between opinions and arseholes being alike that I habitually over-use, they mean about as much as anyone else's out there in Internetland.

So, here we are, and here we go. Please read, and hope this provides some small measure of food for thought for y'all out there.

With that, let's get to it, and be seeing you.

Maher has always been a bit of a libertarian conservative at heart throughout his career, so am not surprised that he might like Ron Paul's stances on at least some issues.

That said, Paul may be anti-Iraq War, but, as Darren pointed out, he is also essentially an isolationist, libertarian conservative, at least from what little I've heard and read about the man and his positions.

Hence, I wouldn't vote for him if Jesus Christ Almighty, the Gautama Buddha,the Prophet Muhammad, and Vladimir Illych Lenin were to come from their respective resting places to the middle of the Las Vegas Strip, and offer anyone who voted for him free Bubble-Up, Rainbow Stew(Sorry, but am referencing the lyrics of a mid-'70's country music song here)and blow-jobs for everyone, everywhere, who voted for him in '08.

Libertarian conservatives, for the most part, whether in the Republican Party, the Libertarian Party in the US, or in some other political grouping, are essentially the kind of economic liberals whose ideological ancestors had no problem calling out the militia to shoot down unionists and working people in the street if they got even just the least bit uppity.

Those in the Libertarian Party are, generally speaking, essentially lower middle-class and working-class conservatives of mainly European-American descent, who are on the make, or at least would like to be.

Have known a few individual libertarian conservatives here in Nevada, where I live, who are reasonable folks, and for whom I have at least some personal and intellectual respect.

But, in my experience of the ones I've known here, that would be damned few in number.

One of the saddest things about being even marginally on the left in the English-speaking world, and especially in the US, is that Left-wing parties are, again, generally speaking, neither financed, organised nor led well enough to contest most local and state elections, let alone national ones.

That's a God-damned shame and pity, it is, because, even if you and Idisagree with the intellectual and other premises of, say, the Green Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Communist Party USA, the Socialist Workers' Party, the Revolutionary Communist Party, or the various other small left parties and groups out there, the fact that most Americans don't even know they exist, nor could care less, means that the only substantial choices left to American voters, whether left-centrist or far left, are to either vote for Democratic Party candidates, who might promise one or two items in their campaign platforms, and forget about implementing them once in power, or to abstain from voting, period.

Now, if one goes the latter route, one's then confronted with the choice of using non-violent resistance of various sorts, or using violent resistance to seize power.

The biggest problem with non-violent resistance is that it takes quite a long time to plan and implement, and that its results may be quite scant much of the time.

With violent resistance, the biggest problem is, and it's actually quite similar to planning, organising and mobilising for election campaigns, is that one needs lots of money and other resources to successfully carry such a campaign out, and a large enough nucleus of people, at various levels of involvement with the movement, who are committed enough to see it through, succeed, fail or simply break even.

Fire-bombing a police station here, shooting a soldier or civil servant dead there, and other sorts of sporadic activities like those don't work all that well in persuading governments to change their policies, publics to rally to one's cause, and police and armed forces to either come over to one's side, or at least become neutral in the struggle between one's group and the governing classes. If anything, the kind of urban guerrilla warfare practised by groups like the Weather Underground and the SLA in the late '60's and early '70's back-fired badly on them, as it did on the South American groups like the Tupamaros and Motoneros, whose examples they followed, in that the police and other law enforcement agencies, and, by extension, the US governing classes they served at that time, were able to get a generally high level of support from the American public in cracking down on those groups.

Combine that with the often sheer ineptitude, both politically and militarily, shown by the Weathermen and SLA and other groups like them, and it's no surprise that they ended up, not victoriously triumphant, as they and their supporters would have liked, but as wretched failures who either ended up dead, imprisoned or on the run for long periods of time.

If there's anything that can be learnt from the failures of such groups, and I think there can, it's that any group, left, right and centre, hoping to seize power by armed force within the US had best take into account is that any such war cannot be fought on the cheap, whether in terms of money and other resources, or lives.

This means planning, organising and mobilising people and resources well in advance of starting such a campaign, just as one would with an election.

It means knowing the people and groups you want to have supporting you in your struggle, and targeting your messages to them in language they can readily understand, which means, at least in the case of Marxist-Leninists and the like, leaving the Marxist-speak behind in one's public messages.

Most Americans aren't familiar with that language, and have been conditioned to tune out, as nutty lefty radical, hippy-dippy, wackos who should go back to Russia, even if they came from Cleveland or San Jose, anyone who uses that sort of talk.

If you're of the Green-vegan-animal rights-lefty persuasion, leave out the romanticism about veganism, how animals have rights that are equivalent to those of humans, why everyone should be riding bikes, etc, if you want to reach most Americans in whatever public pronouncements you put out.

Most Yanks, even middle- and upper-middle-class ones, who are feeling increasingly pinched and insecure about their own, their kids' and even their grand-kids' futures are gonna make very little, if any, time for that line of reasoning and rhetoric.

Working-class and poor Americans, especially those in the African-American community who feel that European-Americans often care far more about the rights and lives of animals above their own,are generally gonna give even shorter shrift to that, than middle-class folks will.

Wanna reach those folks??? Talk to 'em about bread-and-butter issues, like why the Hell the stock market and the people who make money off of that are generally doing so well, but everyone else is struggling so hard just to get by, the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and their expense in lives and resources that could be better used elsewhere, the inordinate cost of health care and of care for old folks and disabled folks, Social Security, and a whole bunch of other topics that hit people, especially so-called ordinary ones, right where they live.

Tell 'em what you and the people around you are going to DO about those issues and more in clear, concrete, easy-to-understand language that even the biggest dummy can readily understand, and leave the academic lefty language for those in the movement who speak and understand it.

Then, organise and mobilise yourselves to the point where you can begin to bring significant resources to bear in realising those solutions, even before taking power.

Nothing works better, I think, than a real and successful demonstration of your principles in action, and it's likely to gain at least a few more converts than just writing and talking about them will.

Everything I've said here can, and should, be applied to those left parties and groups who are looking to fight an electoral campaign, or at least a non-violent resistance campaign, as much as any violent campaign to seize power, and their use in the former two paths has a huge advantage over the last-named, in that there's no mess, physical, political, social or economic left to clean up after those campaigns as there is after a violent one.

For you folks out there who might say that it doesn't matter if there's a mess left to be cleaned up afterwards, I'd say, think again, because, at the very least, you gotta make sure the corpses left over are either buried or burned, unless you want nice little out-breaks of disease and the like, the rubble cleared from the streets and roads, so people and stuff can get from place to place, and to get necessary services like hospitals, schools and such up and running again as soon as possible.

Fail to do those basic tasks, like the American occupation of Iraq has done, and you create a situation where people will turn to anyone and everyone opposed to your cause, because you and your colleagues failed to come up with at least the basics.

Promises don't fill empty stomachs,and neither do good intentions, and people won't tolerate being promised that everything will straighten itself sometime in the distant future for ever.

The Yanks are finding that fact out in Afghanistan and Iraq, and any possible left government that came to power here would eventually find that out for itself as well.

Better by far then to do the necessary donkey-work of planning, organising and mobilising for electoral and other non-violent campaigns now, and to get the message out to the American people that the left exists, and that it has solutions to the various problems this country and the world face that make more sense than anything other groups have to offer.

Either that, or prepare to remain on the sidelines of American politics for-ever and a day.

Finally, to Darren, sorry to leave such a long-ass comment on this topic,and also sorry for getting off-topic at various points in this comment.

To be honest, am very frustrated with both the incredible mediocrity of much of the American governing class and its potential candidates, and, at times, with much of the American left, which often seems to me to be so preoccupied with intellectual hobby-horses and fancies that it can't even fight a local election campaign and win properly.

Criticisms of the governing classes, their policies and actions are fine, up to a point. But, without concrete actions to get into power so those policies and actions can be ended, they sadly do mean all that much.

That's my take, at least. Make of it how you will.

A Quintet Of YouTube And YouTube UK Cat-Oriented Videos

Here is a new set of cat-related videos from YouTube and YouTube UK for youse to peruse.

The first one comes from YouTube UK, and originally aired on America's Funniest Home Videos. Its YouTube UK name's "Crazy Cat", and features a tabby cat having a very strong reaction to having some part of its body touched, as manifested in the mewing, mouth licking and other behaviour it shows throughout the video clip.

There has been some minor controversy over whether or not any cruelty or injury was being inflicted upon the animal during the course of the video's being shot. Have looked at the video three times now, and have seen no evidence of this. The cat is excited, yes. But, cats being the sensitive and highly reactive creatures they are, I think that if the cat was being mal-treated in any way, it would have made its displeasure very plain, very quickly.

But, don't just take my word for it. Watch the video and pay particular attention to the cat's facial whiskers. When a cat is experiencing pleasure, the whiskers generally point forward from the cat's face. If in the opposite condition, they fall flat-backwards onto the face. Also, look at the cat's ears. If forward-facing or at least up-right on the head, the cat is in generally fine shape. If backwards and flat upon the head, this is an indication of feline distress or hostility.

Either way, here it is below, for you to see.

The next YouTube video comes from Italian television(their Channel 5, I believe)and features a compilation of feline video clips, some of which originally aired on America's Funniest Home Videos in the early '90's, entitled "crazy cat"(to coin a term).

Next, again from YouTube UK, comes "Crazy Cat 3", the third in a set of viral videos featuring animated cat photo cut-out animations dancing, or at least moving, in time to various pop, soul, rap, and even classical music sound clips.

Then, in reverse order, we've "Crazy Cat 3"'s immediate predecessor, "Crazy Cat 2", featuring more kitty pic cut-out musical animations for your viewing pleasure.

Then, for our final feline-oriented video, we have, again from YouTube UK, "Crazy Cat Attacking Spuds Dog", the title of which's a mis-nomer, since the cat in question isn't attacking, but playing with, a Pit-Bull Terrier, which is enjoying its playtime with the cat as much as its feline partner.

For those of you too young to remember the "Spuds McKenzie" ad campaign for Budweiser beer back in the mid-and late 1980's, that campaign used a black-and-white pitbull terrier as its "spokesdog", Spuds McKenzie to push its Bud Light product at that time.

Hence, the term "Spuds Dog" in the video's title.

In closing on this particular video, would like to thank my good friend Jo Meditz, who kindly sent me the original link to this via e-mail. Thanks, Jo, for doing that, and for the other video links you've sent me in the past few weeks as well. Much appreciated.

Well, by now, you well and truly should have had quite your fill of cute kitty vids, unless you're like me, and can't get enough of the stuff.

Enjoy and be seeing you.

14 October 2007

Awkward Squad(Annabelle Lee Gets In On The Act)

Posted this pic of Annabelle Lee up at a British MSN action figure collectors' group to which I belong, and, as it is a picture of her, albeit with action figures in it as well, I think it belongs here.

This was taken four years ago, and the premise behind the pic was that of an "Awkward Squad" of action figures gathered 'round her litter box, and making various comments about its state.

Annabelle just happened to be walking by there, when she saw them placed 'round her box, and I just happened to have the presence of mind to get the shot, while she was still there.

Among her many other qualities, Annabelle was one Hell of a model, and didn't mind being photographed much.

May she rest in peace, and be seeing you.

09 October 2007

Last Portraits Of Annabelle Lee Rilea, 5th October, 2007

The photos displayed here are the last pictures I took of Annabelle Lee, very shortly before we went off to the vet's at around 12:00 Noon or so on 5th October of this year, and the day of her death.

She was in the cardboard box I used to transport her there and back, and she was about as relaxed as a sick cat can be under the circumstances.

I'd hoped that these wouldn't be the last photos I would ever take of her alive, but, alas, that's not the way it turned out.

I had wanted to, just in case it didn't work out,take these photos as a memorial to her, and so, here they are.

May she rest in peace.

Be seeing you.

06 October 2007

Annabelle Lee Rilea: Some Portraits 4

Annabelle Lee Rilea: Some Portraits 3

Annabelle Lee Rilea: Some Portraits 2

Annabelle Lee Rilea: Some Portraits 1

Annabelle Lee Rilea: 1992-2007

At around two PM Pacific Daylight Time yesterday afternoon, Annabelle Lee, beloved feline companion to Donald Rilea of 14 years, and house-mate of Amigo Rilea, died at Animal Kindness Veterinary Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the age of 15 years, 6 months, and a probable two weeks, after being given a lethal injection.

The cause for her euthanisation was a diagnosis made during a check-up, of either Feline Meningitis or a brain tumor.

Within the proceeding four weeks prior to the examination, Annabelle Lee had lost considerable weight, and, on the morning of 4th October of this year, could no longer walk nor stand up properly for very long.

After some discussion with the veterinarian attending, Mr. Rilea made the decision that Annabelle would be euthanised, to spare her any prolonged suffering.

The administration was given at around 1:55 PM yesterday afternoon, and her heart stopped beating some 30 seconds or so later.

She experienced no pain, and went gently into that good night.

To use a far more personal voice at this point than in the paragraphs above, I will miss her tremendously.

Will be holding a wake in honour of her memory at my home, beginning at 5:00 PM on 12th October.

Those of you who live in the Las Vegas area, and who may be interested in attending can reach me at my e-mail address at bakuninmeow@hotmail.com.

Thank you for your time and attention, and, as always, be seeing you.

04 October 2007

Poem By Allen Bramhall: "Last Word"

Got a reply via e-mail from my sister Beth and my brother-in-law Allen to my article about Sara's passing, two years onward.

In their e-mails, Beth mentioned that Brownie, their longtime canine companion had recently died, and Allen sent the following, very lovely, poem, in his response.

Had promised him I would put it up here. But, accidentally deleted the e-mail containing the poem by mistake.

So, this afternoon, I e-mailed him, asking if he could please send me another copy of the poem to reproduce here.

So, without further ado, here's Allen Bramhall's poem, "Last Word." I hope you'll find it as moving as I do.

Be seeing you.

The green field
is a given
tho it takes away

light spills
across his path

he loves to
blink and stop
run and recede

the day darkens
in his exceptional run

we live in the names
and the positions of love

a heaven exists
of running on

we still hold something
in the fog
of our morning

2) Less the bolts of lightning
and less the fields
of lazy grass and
less the dog's
own mooring. Loss ejects the
pleasant sound of lost river,
tributary. Scour the landscape,
which the dog
now roams
full and light. Trees poke high
and dive deep. All union fixes
the sky. Our drama recedes
in the quickness of the dog's
run. Focus is our plan.

3) Only so much
room, only so much
love, the candidate
of love and moving on
comes to know
the green field
of perfect light feet.

The way is clear.

Love mentions us
in passing.

4) These days
are filled with night
and poems need
stars to bring
the words to
warm embrace.

The race is to
the end of this day
and the mortal start
of another.

Love connects the two.

5) It was a beautiful sunset.
The moment of touch
prosecuted an homage,
a peace, tender
information of
long green field.
Is it my job
to remember you? It is
my job to hold the space
we held together.
It remains your job
as well.