Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why I Support Barack Obama (#2)

Another reason that I support Barack Obama is that I think it’s a good idea for the very wealthy to pay higher taxes. Free market capitalism contains no correction for greed. There is no reason in the world that ExxonMobil needs to clear $44 billion in profits in a quarter. Someone’s going to argue that profits benefit shareholders, but before that person starts, they should go find a copy of any big company’s annual report (that’s SEC form 10-K) and flip to the section on compensation. The number of shares of the company’s stock owned by its executive management and board of directors might strike you as disproportionate. When the CEO makes 400-500 times more than the lowest-paid employee, something is wrong. This country is already quasi-socialist, so the argument that Obama’s plan is socialism is both erroneous and disingenuous. Until the ratio between CEO compensation and lowest-paid-employee compensation comes way down, a tax on the very wealthy is appropriate.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Photos #1

It’s been awhile since I updated the ol’ photo site, although I really meant to get around to it sooner than the last day of my week of vacation. I’ve had a surprisingly full week considering the fact that we went no further afield than Bloomington. We went to Zoo Boo last Sunday, I went to Bloomington by myself on Monday and to the Obama rally by myself on Thursday, Amy and I went to Bloomington and Nashville and then the Southport football game on Friday, and all of us went to the Irvington Halloween Festival and Waterman’s Farm Market yesterday.

Brief sports-related aside: After a goofy regular season in which they went 6-3, including a loss they forfeited because of an ineligible player, Warren Central started sectionals off with a bang, waxing the last undefeated team in 5A, Hamilton Southeastern, 49-21 on Friday night. Additionally, the once-sad-sack Southport Cardinals, who finished the regular season 8-1 and ranked #4 in class 5A (AP), also started off sectionals with a bang, pounding Perry Meridian 56-35. I don’t know that Southport had won a total of eight games before this year in all the time that Amy has been teaching there; but they were lights out this year - largely on the legs of tailback Nick Turner (a 6’0”, 180 pound senior that I would love to see play college football at a place where the team colors won’t change).

Okay, so that was a not-so-brief aside. Whatever. First set of photo updates is from our trip to Zoo Boo last Sunday. Amy found a little green dragon costume for Jackson and we got him dressed up and walked him around the zoo, with all the other kids who were dressed up. He’s at that stage where he’ll be pushing the stroller along from behind and then - without warning, of course - simply stop pusing and begin walking quickly in the opposite direction.

In the next set, taken at the Irvington Halloween Festival yesterday, note the fake human head inside the glass globe on the ground. Also note the little green dragon gazing in what appears to be wonder at said globed head. This is the same little Jackson who was practically quaking in his boots when we took him to one of those Halloween stores so Amy could look for a costume for him. And yet the talking, cackling, howling head in glass globe fascinates. Uncanny.

Third set, and last update for now, has shots from the Waterman’s Farm Market Fall Harvest Festival we went to yesterday. Jackson went on his first hayride, and we picked a pumpkin out of the vast - and extremely muddy - pumpkin patch. The pumpkin is actually way more lopsided than I thought it was when we picked it out. It may wind up becoming the goofiest-looking jack-o-lantern in history. Its innards may wind up becoming pumpkin cheesecake - that remains to be seen.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's A Wonder That You Still Know How To Breathe

I made my way downtown to check out the Barack Obama rally this morning, and became completely immersed in the entire Obama experience - you betcha! It was held at the American Legion Mall, and you had to pass through security gates to get into the mall itself. The mall was already full by the time I got there, and I didn’t want to get into that much of a mosh pit anyway, so I just hung back in Obelisk Square and checked out the vendors and then listened to Obama’s speech.

The vendors were really something, all along the sidewalks up and down Meridian Street - handing out free turbans and selling copies of the Qur’an and pointing toward Mecca so we all knew which way to face when the future Sheikh took the stage and led us in our afternoon prayers. He showed a video detailing how he was going to turn the White House into a pyramid and then he passed around a big coffee can and we all threw our money into it and then the future Sheikh just started passing the money around to the people he thought needed it the most. At the end of the rally, he brought Jeremiah Wright up on stage and pledged to turn over the Presidency to the preacher - and Joe Biden broadcasting by satellite pledged to turn over the Vice Presidency to Bill Ayers, who took the stage just before Wright. After that, everyone lined up to pass through the purification tunnel before leaving, where they were encouraged to renounce Jesus and praise Allah.

It’s sad that I feel compelled to add this disclaimer at the end - but I do. It would be just my luck that some rural person would stumble into this blog by accident, while Googling Ted Nugent or trying to find a paperback copy of Mein Kampf on eBay, and then try to pass my jokes off as the truth, the way, and the light. If any such person does get here by accident - I was just joking; but in all seriousness, you should stay home on election day, because you’re way too fucking stupid to participate in democracy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Goings On About Town (#2)

• The Irvington Halloween Festival is this Saturday, from nine in the morning until five in the evening, on Washington Street between Audubon and Ritter in the heart of “downtown” Irvington. Music, food, a pumpkin pie eating contest, a reptile show - even a parade - all crammed into a handful of city blocks. Be sure to stop in at Lazy Daze for a cup of coffee or tea, as it’s going to be a chilly fall morning. Click here for the festival’s blog site.

• Barack Obama will hold a rally at the American Legion Mall on Thursday (10.23). Gates open at nine in the morning, with the rallying to begin at eleven. Tickets are not required, though they would like for folks to RSVP online. I haven’t had a chance to go to one of these deals yet, but I’m on vacation this week and Amy’s on fall break starting tomorrow afternoon - so we may get to take little Jackson to his first political rally.

• Waterman’s Farm Market puts on a Fall Harvest Festival from September 27th through Halloween. Amy wanted to take a hayride at some point during her fall break, and I think this is the one we’re going to try to do. For the bargain basement price of five bucks (on weekends) you get to tour the farm on a hayride, which then drops you off in the pumpkin patch. The website also mentions a “straw hill” that little kids can climb. Setting the now-walking though not-exactly-steady-on-his-feet Jackson to climbing a hill made of straw sounds like comedy gold, Jerry! Gold!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Why Conservatives Suck (#1)

Pop quiz, hotshot.

It's fourth and one. You're at roughly midfield with around ten minutes left in the second quarter. You're down 10-7.

What do you do?


I don't necessarily think the Colts would have won this game if they had gone for it at that point - Manning's 161 yards and 2 touchdowns in support of the Packers certainly did not help - but it would have been the gutsy thing to do, and Manning, at least, wanted to try. He was clearly displeased as he came off the field - I don't recall having seen many shots of Manning yelling and screaming on the sideline, but I saw it today as the punting unit went on for the fourth down play.

If the season ended today, the Colts would be out of the playoffs. They're currently in a four-way tie for the sixth wild card spot (NYJ, Baltimore, Jacksonville), but the first rule for breaking a tie between three or more teams for a wild card spot is to apply the division tie-break rule - which eliminates Indianapolis because of the loss to Jacksonville.

Why I No Longer Support John Barnes For State Representative

Back on April 1st, which was well over six months ago - that’s half a year to you and me! - I replied to an e-mail sent out by the John Barnes campaign, indicating that I would be pleased to put a Barnes sign in my yard. After several months had gone by and no sign had come, I signed up for one at the Barnes booth at the Irvington Farmer’s Market in August - but never got one. Two months later, at the final Irvington Farmer’s Market of the season, I stopped by the Barnes booth and asked if they had any extra signs. And glory be! Don’tcha know, they did!

So I finally had my sign - along with a mess of cheese, some fruit, and a great big bunch of fresh basil that I chopped up the next day and put into the blender with some chopped garlic, toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil and turned into a very nice pesto dipping sauce that paired perfectly with some ciabatta bread I got at Trader Joe’s and warmed up in the oven.

But anyway - that was a week ago, on the 19th. We walked home from the farmer’s market (my house may be a piece of shit, but I can walk to Ellenberger Park) and I plunked my sign down in the little strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street and was reasonably content.

And then I came home from work this week, either Thursday or Friday, and found yet another Barnes For State Rep flyer in the mail. Our mail over the last several months has contained many of these flyers - and a few for Barnes’ Republican opponent. I’ve perused a few of them but not really paid much attention. The cover of this one, however, said, “On illegal immigration...There is no gray area.” This was on a black and white background in black and white text.

And so, less than a week after getting it, I pulled up the Barnes yard sign. Yes, illegal immigration is a problem; but using a simpleton’s argument - like the one inside this hateful flyer, “No amnesty, no licenses, no jobs for illegals” - isn’t the way to address and correct the problem. It is, however, the way to appeal to xenophobic, racist conservatives. This flyer is clearly a play for the votes of conservative Democrats, and perhaps for the votes of the handful of true scumbags who believe this black and white bovine fecal matter about immigration and think it’s the most important issue we face at the moment. (Um, it’s the economy, stupid.)

Haven’t we had enough of the conservative fearpolitik during the reign of King George II and Darth Cheney? A flyer like this one is not the right signal to send to people who wanted to believe your schtick about being a progressive Democrat. Being progressive means seeing beyond the simple black-and-white parts of the issue and transcending the fearpolitik; it does not mean being a conservative and trying to fool people by putting a cheap donkey mask on your face.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Why I Support Barack Obama (#1)

There are quite a few reasons why Barack Obama is going to get my vote on November 4th, and I was reminded of one of them today while I was checking the news online at work. One of the weaknesses people point to when they talk about Obama is his lack of experience in the arena of foreign relations. What is not often mentioned in the same conversation is mentioned in this article that was posted on MSNBC this afternoon - that Obama, at the urging of Senator Dick Lugar, soon after being elected to the Senate sought and gained a seat on the Foreign Relations committee, which at the time was chaired by Lugar. Since then, Lugar and Obama have worked together on reducing global stockpiles of nuclear weapons (as well as conventional weapons) by authoring legislation to coordinate the disposal of said weapons. There are even rumors floating about that Obama, if elected, might tap Lugar for a cabinet post - and that would be refreshing. It would be a welcome change from the way the White House has been run for the last eight years.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blueberry Hill Pancake House

It’s been a good long while since we got out and tried someplace new to eat, but because of an odd schedule change I was able to have lunch with Amy and Jackson Saturday afternoon before I went to work. Amy suggested we go to the Blueberry Hill Pancake House, along the achingly depressed stretch of east Washington Street between I-465 and Post Road. It’s in the little building that used to be a Perkins and was before that a Shoney’s - and is pretty much your run of the mill country bumpkin comfort food place.

Amy and our waitress were apparently connected by the Vulcan mind meld to some sort of warp speed ordering procedure, so I half panicked and ordered the country-fried steak before I even got halfway through the menu. Amy got some kind of Mediterranean skillet creation, which had gyro meat in it. That and the fact that the gyro sandwich occupies pride of place in the middle of the sandwich section lead me to believe the place is owned by Greeks. Also, the guy who hung around the counter and clearly looked like he owned the place also looked like he was Greek. I know that’s probably not politically correct to say - but he was a stocky, swarthy fellow, with dark olive skin and hardly any neck. Either way, if he’s not a Greek restaurant owner, he should be.

But anyway, after a bit the food came out and after we corrected the waitress’ error and swapped plates, we tucked in. (Waitress also might not any longer be the preferred nomenclature, but that’s what she called herself. If you haven’t had the misfortune to sup at this place, I guess you’ll have to take my word for it - no one will ever use the words cosmopolitan or sophisticated to describe any aspect of this establishment.)

Amy pronounced her Mediterranean skillet - with hash browns, onion, green pepper, feta, gyro meat, and two eggs on top - delightful. My country fried steak came with two eggs and hash browns - and both came with either toast or pancakes. Since the word pancake is in the name of the place, I figured I would go with the pancakes. (This was not Amy’s first time, and she didn’t even hesitate before saying pancakes.) Nothing on my plate was exactly bad, but neither was it impressive. You can get the exact same meal, though it will taste infinitely better, at Cracker Barrel - and you’ll still be able to enjoy your meal surrounded by Republicans.

There’s a little bit of everything on the menu - from breakfast items to sandwiches and burgers to salads to Italian food and stir-fry...even crèpes (but that’s worrisome because one of the choices is peach and cottage cheese - and someone needs to pass a law stipulating that cottage cheese is never never never an acceptable substitution for ricotta, not in any dish, for any reason). You can even get Freedom toast. Yes...Freedom toast. Remember when the retarded hillbillies started calling French fries “Freedom fries” after the whole 9/11 thing? Well, they’ve still got ‘em at the ol’ Blueberry Hill Pancake House. The Freedom toast, of course, is just French toast renamed by retards.

Now, having said that - and laying aside the hillbilly naming conventions - the pancakes are pretty good. They’re big and thick and fluffy, with a hint of sweet vanilla flavor. You couldn’t pay me to eat stir-fry or a reuben at a place like this; and even though I normally support the indie places passionately, that faux patriotic bullshit turns my stomach. A return trip? Unlikely - even though it is a mom-and-pop and not a chain. I’m not sure how I could possibly rationalize ever spending any more of my money on the kinds of mental furballs who still use the word freedom in place of the word French.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Bill Maher travels all over creation - so to speak - in order to confront the faithful with cherry-picked contradictions to the answers they give to his loaded questions about what they believe. His own religious upbringing is muddled - Catholic father and Jewish mother - and he has come to conclude that religion is dangerous. In a sense, he’s right; but he misses, somewhat surprisingly, an important secondary point - which is that conservative thinking is also dangerous. At least, the two have the potential to be quite dangerous - just on their own. Combine them, and the result is a toxic stew of abdicated reason and mental decomposition that, in its very worst extremities, leads people to learn to fly straight so that they can park airplanes in skyscrapers.

He also misses - or chooses to ignore, which is probably closer to the truth - the point that religion does do some very fine things - though I strongly believe that this doing of fine things is directly proportional to how liberal a particular church or congregation is. That’s mostly a supposition based on my belief that little to no good comes from conservative thinking and politics - but it would take some pretty persuasive evidence to convince me otherwise.

But anyway...we’re talking about Bill Maher and his religion polemic. It’s heavy-handed and one-sided, brooks virtually no argument, and ends with several minutes of oddly incongruous anti-hellfire-and-brimstone hellfire and brimstone. And yet...I liked it. But then again, I don’t believe in god and I don’t go to church - and that’s pretty much the target demographic here. I liked the movie, but it was not completely satisfying. Maher seems genuinely interested in why believers believe what they believe, but seems so stuck on what he finds ridiculous about religion that he winds up making fun of the people he talks to rather than having serious discussions with them - a would-be investigative reporter who can’t quite transcend his comedic roots.

See, I don’t think religion is ridiculous. I think its applications can be ridiculous (paging the Saudis) and that some of its most ardent adherents are completely around the bend (paging Rod Parsley, and other such mental furballs) - but not that religion, in and of itself, is ridiculous. (Well...okay, Leviticus is ridiculous.) Treating it as such is unfair and, ultimately, not nearly interesting enough nor satisfying enough - but right up to the last three or four minutes, it’s pretty freaking funny.