Why you should attend your high school reunions

6 12 2017

romy-and-michele

 

Nobody wants to attend high school reunions.  They rank right up there with root canals, lobotomies, and clerking for Roy Moore.

The 10 year comes pretty quick, most people from the last ten years still have some basic contact and its easier to arrange, you have a much better chance of getting people to attend the 10 year than other later years.

The 20 year, 40 year etc people are more eager to attend, they want to see if they outlived those other assholes standing next to the punch bowl.

So when you do attend, you want to come correct. Dress the part, look the part, if you’ve not achieved that lifetime success your destined for, spin it positive:  “Well I’m a 6th year senior at community college because I’ve taken some time off to finish my novel.”

You’ll probably have a rough idea who’s coming to this party a few days in advance, and if your not married yet, fresh divorced, or just 28 and on that constant hunt for something better.  You probably know if your ex is coming, or maybe better, your crush.

crush
/krəSH/

noun   1. deform, pulverize, or force inwards by compressing forcefully.

verb informal  2. a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable or inappropriate.

 

heelsBMW

So be ready for that moment when she arrives in a late model German sedan, steps out in sensible pumps, straight killing it in a business suit, TRY really hard not to act impressed.  This is the girl who was always pretty enough, made excellent grades, and finished well in the top 10 graduates.  You always kept notice for those 4 years, but never really acted on it.  Everyone goes improved cylinder scatter after graduation, and you probably lost track of all those people who weren’t in your direct circle of friends and didn’t linger around your hometown wasting time.  They were out determined to better themselves and actually amount to something. Global purchasers for Fortune 500 companies, upper management, highly skilled power positions.  This chick just usurped every hot cheerleader that you wasted time trying to bang for four years.   And she probably has a bigger office than you do.  See above def 2 of crush if you find yourself emotionally confused.

Say hello, be cordial, lots of stuff will hit you like that hard carb pipe you made in woodshop, the one your friends called the red death.  Lets go through the five stages of OMG she’s hot now grief:

Denial: No way that’s Felicia, she’s had massive work done

Anger: Kicking yourself in the ass because you were chasing some dumb whore who only gave you heartache, and now Devil wears Prada just walked into your reunion, and admittingly you had many chances years ago to ask her out.  You can’t do it now because….thats at least 3ct. of diamonds set on saddle set platinum wedding band, left hand.  Left hand.

Bargaining: Well there’s always  “let me buy you a drink, sit as closely as possible without getting black flagged by everyone else at the party.  Now at this point you have to choose which villain you want to be, turn to page 61 to go for it and disregard that left hand hardware.  Turn to page 41 to be the nice guy only making subtle statements like “remind me again why we never went out”   Footnote: Page 61 ends with an enraged husband tossing you into a pit of deadly snakes.  See crush def 1.

Depression:  This will likely roll into full effect the next day or the Monday after the party.  Bonus points for multi-pronged depression for all the embarrassing stuff you ended up doing at the party, coupled with the regret for not acting on what was ample opportunities to ask out someone who actually much better than most of the people you ever dated. The grass is always greener, don’t take it hard, this is a teachable moment, if you have feelings for someone let them know about it.  The worst they can do is hit you right?

Acceptance: By a certain point in life everyone you ever halfway liked is married to someone.  I don’t believe there is any greater regret than missed opportunities, especially good opportunities with good people.  Most people are always trying to improve themselves, or at least making it look that way.  Deal with it, try not to be a fuck boy the rest of your life, don’t be an asshole, make moves, treat people well and wear sunscreen.

 

 

 

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Before The DARE Program, Kentucky Had Cowboy Louie

20 11 2008

Some of you that attended Kentucky’s county elementary schools might remember a cowboy magician that toured in the 80’s.  His name was Cowboy Louie Mitchell, and he worked at Loretta Lynn’s dude ranch in Tennessee.  The same ranch that hosts the annual motocross championship.  As a fourth grader at Knifley Elementary School this was one of the best entertainment shows we got during the school year.  We had every type of motivational speaker come save us from class.  Folk singers, interpretive dancers, puppet shows, boo these people.  Bring out Cowboy Louie.  This was the era of Nancy Reagan’s war on drugs, and before DARE was created.  Rural students learned about the evils of drugs via Louie’s scary stories.

cowboylouie

Cowboy Louie’s show was a mixture of magic, comedy, and the anti-drug message.  The best part of his traveling road show was the merchandise table, and the signature magic suckers.  These suckers were homemade and hand wrapped in clear cellophane.  They were trapezoid shaped and transparent red.  No doubt 99% sugar, but they were incredibly good.  His anti-drug message was overshadowed by the fact he got us addicted to these red suckers and once we were out, it took a year before we could score more.  The other items on his shwag table were just fluff to accent the suckers.  Louie bucks, which were jumbo thousand dollar bills with his picture, autographed photos, pens, pencils and erasers, all crap, we want the suckers.  I think they were three for a dollar, but if you bought in bulk and hoarded your supply til everyone else was out, you could name your price.

Louie would pull rabbits out of his ten gallon hat, cut an 8th grade girl in half, and make your teacher disappear.  Usually he picked the most attractive teacher from the crowd and dragged her onstage to the excitement of the kids.  If I were to see this now, I’m sure it would look fake, but to a crowd of magic sucker addicted ten year olds, this was better than the Christmas play.  (yes in the 80’s we had Christmas plays)  He would make the kids chant his funny, magic word:  Emo-shimmy-sho-la-di-da.  I don’t know why I remember that, there must be others like me.  I do recall the bus drivers hated Cowboy Louie day.  They got to deliver a busload of screaming kids on a serious sugar high, down the crooked gravel roads of Adair County.

There is sadly no information on the system of tubes about Cowboy Louie.  One old blog claims that he passed away in 2001.  Apparently his daughter became a semi-famous singer from Nashville Tonya Mitchell,  her Wikipedia entry says Louie passed away.  He might not have became famous, but he was a memorable role model to many of Kentucky’s students.  Motivational speakers were usually a get out of class free pass, but Cowboy Louie was fun.  If anybody else remembers this guy, drop a line.  I believe he regularly toured the rural school circuit, my friends from city schools had never heard of him.





A Smoker Looks at 30

17 11 2008

Today’s Courrier Journal has an interesting article on the disappearance of tobacco crops across the state.  The writer interviews a former tobacco farmer and they discuss some of the reasons Kentucky’s tobacco farms are an endangered species.  Our state leads the nation in adult tooth loss and smoking, yet witnesses public outcry at the mention of per pack tax increase.  In the past month, I’ve paid $8.50 in Chicago and $6.80 in DC; Lexington is currently $3.63.  These are the same cigarettes; the difference is the per pack tax.  If the extra revenue went to paying for aging Kentuckian’s oxygen tanks, there would be less backlash.  I wrote an article for a UK class last year that addresses many of the same issues in the CJ story. You can find it below.

Growing up in the tobacco belt, we learned to work in tobacco at a young age.  Tobacco was a common site beside the roads and highways across the state.  It might be pretty to look at growing in the fields, but always looked best in the form of a check once it sold at market.  In the early 80’s my parents bought a small farm in Taylor/Adair county line. It’s also the dividing line to what people refer to as slow time/fast time time zone. It separates 2 school districts, and 2 different utilities companies. Infrastructure is far from ideal to residents of the area, this is the boondocks. Its normal not to have a neighbor within “hollerin distance”. The rural county lifestyle is one all its own. The one thing most everyone has is a little bit of land.

My parents, both being children that grew up on farms; kept with tradition and applied for a tobacco base. We were awarded X amount of pounds of burley tobacco to grow in a calender year. Our tobacco quota was small compared to what full time professional farmers grew. Even though we were weekend warrior tobacco farmers that made it no less a priority when Dad got home from work. My brother and I were expected to help with anything we were told to do. If you want to live in a nice house you better chop weeds and follow the tobacco setter.

When I was in Eighth grade I wanted a four-wheeler like everyone else already had. When I asked my dad he replied “yea get a job and buy one”. So My new job was an acre of the family tobacco base of which I was expected to take care of from start to finish, my own acre. Since this was my crop I got paid for it when it sold in January, expenses would then be deducted by my father. I used his tractor, implements, and fertilize and he would front the bills as we would be doing the rest of the crop alongside mine. Tobacco work became my main source of income. In addition to my acre there was always plenty of work found on local farms, and once people knew you were a good worker there was never a day off. This was good honest work that most anyone with a strong back could earn a living wage. (think Harvey Keitel’s tip speech in Reservoir Dogs) Later as a high school student, cars and car stereo’s became my priority and tobacco paid for it all.

Forward ten years and that lifestyle has been long dead. Small tobacco bases were bought out by the government and most all state tobacco production is done on the large scale. Most of the farmers I used to work for still have portions of their original monster tobacco base, but paltry compared to the old days. They have started becoming income dependent on other types of farming. That attainable income and way of life has died.

Dead like the thousands of Kentuckians killed each year from smoking. Dead like my lungs feel every morning while I cough myself awake. I have been a pack a day smoker since 1997. I’ve also used smokeless tobacco daily for years. I’ve had nicotine poisoning a few times going out to cut tobacco too early in the morning while the dew was still on. The dew on the tobacco leaves is like liquid nicotine, get too much of it on your skin you get REAL sick.

Nicotine poisoning was the worst effect of tobacco I had experienced until I recently realized what a slave I am to the tobacco industry. When I bought cigarettes over food I knew that was the new all-time low in my life. I am a slave to the industry that I thought brought me wealth and opportunity a long time ago. Thank you for Smoking! I never did cash in all that Camel Cash to get that cool pool table. I also never saw myself as a 30 year old smoker.

Kentucky has the highest percentage of adult smokers in the Nation. Our healthcare system is a shambles statewide as a direct result. Cigarettes are way too cheap in any gas station anywhere inside the commonwealth, we need to double tax cigarettes and pay for some much needed healthcare. I know damn well I will smoke less if I have to pay twice as much. Why do we insist on giving our lives so that North Carolina can prosper? They got our tobacco base and we sign our own death warrants. By increasing cigarette tax we could fund expanded health care for children statewide, and stop being first in a category where we’re not proud to be ranked, Smoking.





Fear and Loathing: alive and thriving in Kentucky

7 11 2008

Today was my first functioning day after the painful drive from Washington. Once arriving in Lexington I realized that there were no newspapers here either, and the mood was melancholy. 8 hours before I had been surrounded by the happiest bunch of drunks I have ever seen. I expected nothing positive from our red state, and was a large part of the reason I wanted to go to DC for election night. My Obama high was nowhere near wearing off, but I’d be assaulted by a huge redneck if I didn’t keep it to myself. Up yours red state, there is no way you can take an honest win away from us. I took a lot of shit on Tuesday for even wearing a UK sweatshirt, which had to come off immediately and stored in my backpack unless I wanted to explain myself to every random person on the street who tried to hug me.

random quote from election night:

“I just got felt up by a Dutchman, I guess our standing in the world has improved.  Blog about that Bitch!” S. O’Sullivan

When nurse Lari called me from the hospital halfway through her first shift since our holiday, she said her coworkers were in mourning from the serving McCain received Tuesday night. Talk of the 7th seal had been opened, chickens coming home to roost, rivers of blood, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. A fundamental bunch of extreme right-wing nurses apparently work in the UK hospital, and the majority believes they should bury their paychecks, and hide in a shelter because a “Muslim” is President. All campaign season these same co-workers perpetuated the Obama is a Muslim email, and that his hidden agenda is to feed all the black people welfare so they can mooch off whitey. She claims she bit her lip and kept to herself for the duration of the 12 hour shift, she knows you can’t argue with irrational people.

This shit gets deeper. At the office this morning our UPS driver, Rodney, who happens to be a black man said he had been getting yelled at all day making his stops. He claimed people actually booed him, and some would turn their back and refuse to sign the delivery board. Keep in mind these are the same people he sees every day six days a week. He was accosted by a manager at another small minded business and forced to say he voted for Obama, and that it his win was a serious problem. “Fuck em, they’ll get over it” is all he had to say as we hugged, high-fived, and hollered like it was Tuesday night inside the safe haven of my office. I have long been hiding Obama posters on the backs of interior doors and even offered to donate the entire office to the campaign if they needed the space during the primaries.

Two of my good friends here in Lexington will not return my phone calls, and I’ve known these guys since we were in elementary school. It’s easy to see a person’s true colors when they are pushed into the unknown and are forced to break tradition.

republicans4voldemort :: Fear and Loathing – alive and thriving in Kentucky
But Just when we thought the days of living in fear and fencing ourselves in were over, this ridiculous bunch of assclowns refuse to yield. I bet the Klan must feel really impotent standing on the sidelines of social progress. Backwoods hillbillies is all the rest of the country expects from us, hell, its what were best at.  The uglyness of some of our fellow statesmen is unbelievable, yet completely expected.  We could speculate about the root cause of this disease, but any rational voice would be damned as “crazy secular liberals, just wanna take our guns.”  (please don’t fuck with my guns Barack, old assault rifles are fun to shoot)

Some members of the Kentucky Democratic Party should take a real long look at themselves and come out of the rebublican closet. I heard a quote that some upper level KDP official said he was “forced” to endorse McCain because the DNC didn’t give him anyone worth voting for. I think Howard Dean and the DNC should come down on some of our sheltered elected Democrats like the hand of god. Stir the pot and get the actual progressives in the state party to man-up and start sanctions against the guys hiding under our party banner. What the hell is there to lose? This state votes republican every time and with malice against the national candidate, that’s no party I want to be a part of.

These same gutless suckup state Dems are undoubtedly kissing McConnell’s ass since he won; to get a new project in their county so they can feel like they are “doing the work of their constituents.” You think these assholes would support President Obama? Hell no. Our embarrassing method of conducting state elections focuses on who the better hunter, fisherman, or tractor driver might be. Not who is actually qualified for the job they are seeking. Some, but not all, of our state Democratic Party is an embarrassing bunch of elected dickless wonders. But as the old saying goes-“politics are the damndest in Kentucky.”

moment of zen:

dc-on-election-day-051

An Obama pumpkin smiles after it wins





Helection Daze live from the Chocolate City (with a white center of corruption)

4 11 2008

The morning after:

The first real problems I faced as an E-journalist were the mechanical constraints unique to the job. I have an older laptop that needs wall-power to function, and wifi. I am curently poor, so a Sprint connect card is out of the question.  The only backup connection to the system of tubes is my outdated Blackberry which is worthless to get a blog post up. I did manage to use a friend’s spanking new Blackberry to edit blogs but no practical way to enter new text. To be a part of the celebration or even close by would have required a squatted out a spot to try and hold my ground. There was no real practical way to blog, party, and keep from getting hugged. Facebook has crept to a stop.  It will take the next few days to sort out what really happened and for the magnitude of the win to sink in.  I decided to honk the Honda dead-bird horn at anybody with an Obama sticker.  In 500 miles there were only 5.  3 of them were LL Bean dressed people in Subarus in the mountains of West Va.  The peace sign is back in style.

dc-on-election-day-049

11:00 p.m.

The hippies in the bar stink of patchouli and cloves. The shitters are overflowing, and they are out of Bud, Yeungling, and PBR but everyone is happy. On to the premium import beers- 4 Heinkinans were handed to me inside 10 minutes. This is a completely different environment in the city versus what I witnessed in 2004. Stoned from the win, it feels right. It just feels good to win a good fight. No matter how bad the next few years might prove to be, at least OUR guy won the damn thing.  When Kentucky went red first, I was walking back into Angels and was booed, accosted, and harassed by several people as soon as I walked into the door.  A rumor went around that my date had voted for McCain, turned out to be McConnell but she was forced to explain that story to this liquored-up bunch of Liberals.

dc-on-election-day-027

A 4ft tall Trinidadian just messed up my hair in celebration, this guy is all over the place. Turns out he’s been canvassing central Virginny for Obama for the past six months and he personally feels responsible for the win. Other canvassers and people who worked for the party all claim “they did it” but not in a selfish sense, more like they hug everyone in their path. “100% fivers” is Obama canvasser speak for give me a way up high five. A lot of people in these bars must have worked for the campaign. When the Saints come marching in is being played by a brass band in front of an Ethiopian restaurant, and a girl is dancing on the hood of a DCPD cop car. And the cops have not maced, beat, or put shiny bracelets on her yet.

dc-on-election-day-038

A friend and canvasser from the Shaw neighborhood celebrated all the way home on the sidewalk from 18th street with “100% fivers” stopped and hugged cops, hippies, and other revelers. A car broke down in the U street corridor and several people pushed it uphill 5 blocks to a service station; I doubt this would have happened on any other night.

dc-on-election-day-048

8:00 p.m.

From Tryst in Adams Morgan.  Places with wifi in DC are getting scarce, if you need a power outlet and a spot to sit that is.  The rain outside has pushed people indoors. Fifteen others sit around me with computers; some of them are live blogging.  All the tv’s on the strip are tuned to CNN while Wolf Blitzer speculates on the numbers.

dc-on-election-day-015

The CNN score is currently 77-good guys, and 34 for the Sith.

Faux News claims 81-Dems, 39-gop

Abc news 102 to 34.

The scores are pretty close. The small spike in Faux’s projections are no doubt a direct reflection of their right-wing bias; truth is neither fair nor balanced. No matter how rowdy this neighborhood gets, we all need to keep in mind that it ain’t over til it’s over.

The McConnell race is under close scrutiny by the locals. My proof reader (HA!) Nurse Lari has come under fire for admitting a vote for Mitch.  Everyone knows he’s the only opposition to our potentially filibuster -proof majority in Congress.

More to come.

11:00 a.m.

Pick your poison: Blue Bama Slama, the Barocks, The Chosen One, or maybe a Yes We Can shooter. This is part of tonight’s special drink menu at Angles Bar & Billiards on 18th St. All these drinks are blue in color; special recipes by bartender and bar-rat extraordinaire Sully O’Sullivan. Don’t call the DCPD wagon outside a “Paddy-wagon”, the good Irish take offense. Angles has been traditionally known as a writers bar. Freelance writers, op-ed guys, and a few local sports writers call this place home. If Hemingway and Faulkner were alive, they could bore one another to death while drinking themselves into an illitirated, ignorant, inebriated stupor.

The owner of the bar, Patrick, has great photos of Afghanistan.  He shot them while covering the Soviet invasion from the mountains in the tribal areas. If you get a chance to have a drink with Patrick, ask him about his time in the mountains. He will also explain why he smokes his cigarettes between his ring and middle finger, a trick learned from the Afghans to ward off hunger pangs.

Angles always has better than average election result coverage, highlighted by drinking games. Bingo cards with Bushisms were handed out, and when W said “terror” or “evil” the bar stood up, repeated the word and took a drink. That game got expensive quick.

10:00 a.m.

Blogging from one of the hundred Starbucks in DC. No free net access; forced to buy day pass and give up fake info to prevent the corp. from knowing which of their overpriced menu items I prefer. They do have the awesome sausage/egg/cheese buns in the mid-atlantic region that we don’t have in Lexington. I would sign a petition to get those into the bluegrass market.





Dear Mr. Obama

30 10 2008

Hello, my name is redacted.

I have been a fan of yours since you were the junior Senator from Illinois.  I’m a Washingtonian originally from Kentucky.  When I moved to the district in 2004 I rented a flat at the Meridian on Mass avenue, one of the original two new highrises built in the chinatown/gallery place redevelopment.  Residents were buzzing around telling one another that Barack Obama got an apartment upstairs, and we were very proud.  The Meridian had its share of other celebrities, the Wizards team doctor, Shamiqua Holtzclaw, and a couple rappers nobody really heard of; but day the white knight of the Democratic party moved in upstairs, we were in the tank.

We didn’t really see you much because you guys were currently getting served by the republicans on the hill.  Nsa wiretaps, gitmo, cia leaks, they were running away with the country in the name of national security.  The golden days of Bill were gone and Washington was sad and locked down tight.  Barriers of all sorts went around all kinds of buildings, it seemed like any office that was property of the people was off limits via armed guards and blast walls.  Security is undoubetly important, but it almost gave the appearance of marshal law.  We assumed the Bush family would be in for two terms since they had that really effective nationalist approach of keeping people scared.  Kerry was no candidate, and Edwards is an ambulance chaser.

On election night 2004 my friends and I were at the 9:30 club at the Rock the Vote party.  The crowd was full of ambitious progressive young dems hoping to get the worst president ever out of office.  Big tubs of campaign on ice were waiting in the hallway for the moment Ohio would turn blue on the bigscreen.  We fell silent around 2 am when it turned solid red.  A few people actually cried.  It was a tough loss to take, and going home felt like the walk of shame.  Loud republican motorcades were all over the city late that night and It was hard to sleep.

Over the course of the next few days the buzz was that you were suiting up to run in the primary next time around, and that gave us hope.  Hope that somebody would fix the mess and vacate bush policy.  Hope the next president would actually be “OF” the people and “FOR” the people.  Not a rich businessman or a chump that married any heiress.  We wanted a guy who went to the gym at Wash Sports Center Chinatown, and ran his ass off on those stair climbing machines.  If I had went to the gym more often instead of watching daily show reruns I could have worked out with Barack Obama.  You really did a good job of acting normal despite everybody in the gym is looking at you.  No SS troops to keep people from saying hello, when people approached you always said “hello.”  That’s one of the reasons I’m such a fan, you always spoke to me and one once loaned me a quarter at the Gatorade machine because I was short.  Definitely in the tank.

I stopped going to that gym but have told the story many times.  Currently I am a student at the University of Kentucky, I had to leave Washington for a couple years but am moving back when I graduate.  I know most people are having a hard time finding work due to the current economic situation, but if Washington is under democratic control things will improve. I would like to do PR for candidates, maybe become someones press secretary.  Perhaps you could direct me to someone that needs help and actually pays.

You have a big week ahead of you.  You have ran a very honest and sincere campaign and have done a better than average job of explaining what the plan is.  People follow you when you talk, perhaps its the law prof in you, but it works.  This morning on the way to class some people found a chickenshit redneck display of social ignorance, it was a dummy with an Obama mask hanging from a tree.  The school president got all hot and bothered over it and is offering a personal apology to you and your family.  He would really like to tell you in person if the situation warranted.  Frankly I think a speaking engagement at the university would be a wise idea, you haven’t came to Kentucky a single time since you announced your run.  I understand our 8 votes usually turn red weeks before a presidential election, but this place is greatly misunderstood and we have lots of swing voters.  Our voters will vote for a yellow dog democrat if you prop him up, just not usually for a presidential election.  However it could still earn you an extra slate of voters, and send a big “F-you” to the morons that hung up the dummy.

I wish you luck and pray for a fair election.  Please repair the extensive damage done in the past eight years.  You do realize you will have two wars, possible cold war, deficit, bad economy, and shitty traffic around the beltway to deal with before your term would even start.  Don’t forget you are the white knight, and we have very high hopes.  Madeye Moody says “Constant Vigilance” and thats good advice for anybody.  If you win it will show real progress in America, the kind that makes us proud to be Americans again.

Come to Kentucky, I owe you a quarter

Redacted





Kentucky Powerboaters countdown til spring

30 01 2015

 

As of today, we have 51 days until spring. That’s D-day for a lot of us.  Not that it even means we can head back to the lakes because there will still be a snow day, severe thunderstorms and frost;  but to keep our sanity this arbitrary countdown means the best part of Kentucky will be coming back to life, trees and grass waking up and starting to turn green.  That smell of spring with pollen and you notice the bugs are back on the grill of your truck.  Soon the roar of thru-hull exhausts will roar to life with a cloud of sweet smelling white smoke followed by the first wake thrown by huge cleaver props.  The girls in huge sunglasses unload cart loads of designer bags as unique to each individual as the bikinis they wear below those cotton cover-up dresses.  You’ll hear the radio static on channel 14, 18, or 6, whatever frequency your home port uses.  The water taxi drivers ram the docks and grumble a “damnit”  because reverse on those Honda outboards isn’t just quite right yet on the first weekend of spring.  They’ll get it worked out before Memorial Day weekend and the real crowds invade, as of right now everyone is just as happy to be back on the lake.  Yea so what if the deep emerald green water is 54 degrees in the sunshine, we’re going skiing and water temp be damned, hey your only in the water for a minute anyway right? All the more incentive to not fall.

state dock

You know you have the fever if you find yourself making plans for the big holiday weekends while listening to snow reports on the radio, when your boat is in dry storage or under cover for at least another 3 months.  “We’re gonna do this”, “and were gonna go here for poker run weekend”.  “Lets trailer down to Nashville for the 4th of July fireworks and travel down river to lock-in at Old Hickory lake and spend a day or two”. Will those trailer tires make that kind of long  high speed trip?  What year did I replace those anyway?  Did I repack the bearings last time or did my dad?  If I install a power inverter on the stereo batteries I can run a electric space heater under the dash.  Better yet, If I finally pay for that marine AC unit I’ve been watching on Ebay for six months, we would have year round heat and air.  How many more blue LED lights can I install inside the cockpit, or below waterline?  Will the neighbors remember how drunk (I, she, brother in law) got during Raft Up and showed their ass?  Is that other boat identical to mine still slower than me? Or did he pull those engines and drop in something nasty just to smoke me on the main lake? What did we leave in the fridge? I guarantee the milk is bad by now.

 

snow dock

Or maybe your boat hunting right now in the winter months because prices are low and you have the “one foot syndrome” wishing you had purchased just a little more length when you bought your current boat.  So and So down on N dock has the same color scheme and engine that I do but his is the 30′ not the 27′ like mine.  Few places in America can you actually watch our economy work in real time, buying selling, and trading between friends and complete strangers.  This is what we do, we are boat people, the kind of guy who would buy less truck to be able to finance more boat.  The kind who will help tow in a stranded boater back to the dock and refuse any kind of payment, that same kind of guy who is going home from work this afternoon and will be out in the garage polishing fiberglass;  and plans family vacations around accessible boat ramps.

No matter how extravagant or old and cheap your boat might be the one thing they all have in common is that when your at the helm running wfo on a perfect day, right before sunset, and you look over to port and there sits some pretty someone smiling back at you, all is right with the world.  That’s why we do this, at that moment you are captain, you are in charge of everything in your world.  When you get back to work on Monday and have bosses screaming at you, customers being awful, maybe your worried your job could be replaced by new technology, this things you have no control over.  But when your on your boat, you are king of the world.





Hey look, an asshole!, or hey look at that guy in the Hummer H2

23 05 2009

The Hummer, the iconic SUV that has now synonymous with the downfall of General Motors is reaching the end of its trek.  How the public came to see this frankencar built on the Tahoe frame as a car driven by right wing gun nuts and assholes across the nation is quite a story.  I have something to say about how I was introduced to the Hummer H2 and after falling in love with its design and look, now feel like I had an affair with a salvaged-title shitbox for a week.  I will admit that for a month or so, I wanted an H2 because their popularity was soaring and the Eco-green backlash had not gathered steam.  This was before gas was $4.59 in Maryland and $4.29 in Virginia, in fact no one even suggested that gas prices would soon reach record highs.

Hummer dealerships were popping up across the country, usually integrated into an anchor luxury dealership such as Cadillac, but sometimes Chevrolet dealerships, GM wanted to assign as much prestige to its new badge to appeal to the discerning customer.  One who didn’t want to choose between a Tahoe or Yukon because peasants could afford those, no the H2 even got diehard Ford customers to cross over.  If you could afford it, pulling up in one of the early H2’s was met with as much gawking and head-turning appeal as a Ferrari in rural Appalatchia.  The majority of the first production runs was the currently fading Yellow.  Yellow H2’s were the only Hummers you saw, until the even uglier Sand-beige metallic’s announced their arrival on the front lines of local dealerships.  The cool colors came out after the guys who paid 5-10k over sticker to get first shot at ownership were wanting to trade in their 2004’s to get a Red, Black, Blue or White model and unload the ugly yellow or beige.

The one right thing GM did to load their pockets was to have a stipulation in a Hummer Dealerships contract, its simply stated that if you want to sell and service new Hummers, you must build a dedicated Hummer dealership adjacent to your current Cadilliac or other GM showroom by January of 2007.  While these things were being sold and pre-loaded with up to 20k worth of accesories (real profit) dealership owners were jumping on board and spending millions to build the factory approved new car showrooms, the sybollic arch of white over a plate glass fascia that now sit empty across the country.

One example of Hummer=fail, and a keen deal for the win can be seen on Rt. 7 in Tyson’s Corner Virginia, one of the worst congested strips of four lanes in the country is home to over 16 new car dealerships, dubbed dealership row.  Dealership row is where Washington’s elite comes to purchase the latest and greatest vehicles, often above MSRP sticker price.  At the end of this strip was home of Moore Cadillac/Hummer, it had been there since the early 80’s Mr. Moore whom had done very well in this unique market area selling Cadillacs to diplomats, ambassadors, and normal customers alike.  Moore was a fine dealership and had earned a loyal customer base, and employed several people with well paying jobs.  Moore was one of the first big Hummer dealers in the Mid-Atlantic region, many salespeople got wealthy in a short couple years with H2’s and the flagship H1.  Moore spent some 15 million dollars on a new parking structure and another few million on a stand alone Hummer showroom.  Right as the gas crisis hit and sales plummeted, Mr. Moore accepted an $80 million dollar offer for his land for the future Tyson’s Corner Metro station.  What luck, the irony of a former Hummer dealership getting bulldozed to make way for mass transit is humorous at least, but taking the money and getting out of that terrible GM contract is a blessing in disguise.

Other less fortunate Washington area Hummer dealerships fell victim to the record gas prices and then the exodus of consumer credit on new vehicle purchases.  This was right after the rucus over the 12 mpg that the H2 gets on the highway, and advertisements around Washington were sprayed with graffiti proclaiming “real men die in their Hummers” in response to hundreds of soldiers in Iraq getting killed in H1’s by roadside bombs.  Suddenly the 7 bar Hummer grill was not so stylish to be seen behind anymore.  In some suburbs there were a few Hummers vandalized by so called “eco-terrorists” who think all Hummers should be crushed.  I will even admit that when I see someone driving an H2 I feel like “damn that guy has no idea how frowned upon those trucks are”.  H1’s are rarely sighted but when they are many are covered in mud as they should be, the ultimate offroad machine (sorry jeep guys, but you know its true).

The point of this Hummer story is that its perhaps one of the clearest examples of how GM has been shooting itself in the foot for the past 3 decades.  They spend too much building a niche product that has a VERY limited lifespan and saleability, and soak their dealers to aquire the product.  They build too many, and flood the market driving down the inflated sticker prices, and then are forced to unload the backstock with employee purchase programs making less than $500 dollars a car (again the dealer suffers).  So if you the angry consumer wonder why you are being forced into imports as GM begs for money to pay its pensions and other past screwups, remember they brought this ENTIRELEY on themselves.  Sweep the leg, no mercy.





Limits to Growth In Rural Kentucky

16 03 2009


If one chose to write about the quality of life in Appalachia and the many externalities that work together in a cyclical fashion that reinforces this often substandard condition of living one would amass a database of testimony and haunting stories of hardship. In fact hardship and hard living is the one thing a great number of Kentuckians are born into. In a land of beautiful wilderness that has been isolated by its own construction exists a proud people, of which little was known about until policy makers of the 50’s and 60’s decided to improve their living conditions. The rural country people have such an attachment to their county and immediate geographical vicinity that an outsider might be confused by and often described “clannish” nature of the local people. This clannish nature could be viewed very differently depending on the agenda of the outsider. A popular view expressed in Uneven Ground by Dr. Ronald Eller is that “poverty problems in my community were the result of cultural deficiencies, antiquated values, and low expectations”. This is perhaps the most popular ideology that has been the focus of social workers and politicians alike, and after decades of attempted fixes from government programs there has been little change. Anyone studying the region’s lack of modernity will be bombarded with images of a shoeless people that industrialization forgot about. In fact many stereotypes exist because they contain some iota of truth, but why the punch lines have not changed in half a century is the real problem we face. The impoverished children in late night infomercials could just as easily be found in Appalachia, the “other America”. To better understand what causes this geographically isolated phenomenon we must look at the geography of Appalachia itself. The isolation of the region’s semi-agrarian society in the early days of statehood was one of self sustainment. People grew what they needed, and were sustenance farmers. This was before the predominant idea of the consumerist society became the type a model of the American Dream. People lived off the land in a simple way of life. To call this a lesser way of life would question our own views of what quality of life really means and proves the definition of the American dream is not universal.

There are 120 counties in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, numerous considering the state is 26th in geographical size. In the 19th century the idea was that a county resident could make the horseback journey from their home to the county seat, and no more than a day’s ride from one county seat to the next. This construction of local government could likewise enable anyone with significant authority to create their own county and appoint themselves to a position of local power. The concentration of local power might be the single biggest obstacle to modernization of the state and has helped retard development and subsequently placed power of the many into the hands of a select few. Many people got very wealthy at the expense of their poor neighbors in the past century. The geographical isolation of the Appalachian region of Kentucky has long been its Achilles heel to future growth and development. Most development funding the region has received in past decades has consisted of getting roads into isolated, steep sided hamlets. The underlying purpose of the roads of course was to get the mineral resources out of isolation and onto train cars to be sold far away from the mountains where it was mined. This process continues today, and there are many people with vested interests that have kept the coal moving for generations. Poor people would sell mineral rights for virtually nothing to the coal companies who mined their property out from underneath them. The rich coal seams below the poor people was the only concern for the local elites and those who had access to this resource built empires on the backs of their neighbors. An important theme of Dr. Eller’s book highlights the exploitation of the people of Appalachia for their natural resources. The Local government enabled the local business interests of those who helped finance the campaigns of people they want in a position to help them continue their crusade for coal, and didn’t even pay the miners in fungible money. This is the beginning of our problem-the cyclical poverty of a rich land inhabited by poor people.

This condition continues to exist, even facilitated, by a close knit local government and its desire to maintain its old fashioned control of local politics and public policy. We will label development as our condition to be modeled in the archetype of Limits to Growth as outlined in Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline. We can deconstruct the Limits to Growth model and by attempting to understand the design and how it exposes the contrapositive, pushback nature of a slowing action on a growing action. In its simplest form it could be compared to the yen and yang, or for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The action, our growing action, would be government funded programs and the flow of capital into the region for the past several years and why poverty still exists regardless of the influx of capital. The counteracting or slowing action to the invested money is the incomplete or incompetent infrastructure that disseminates the money to various social programs that are handpicked by local elites and elected officials. When money is available in small towns and rural areas, those who dispense the funds and the old fashioned infrastructure becomes a burden to positive social progress. This slowing action is not immediately visible to those waiting for change to occur, there is a delay from the time that capital is invested until it is spent, and there is very little change. This delay makes the pushback of the slowing action less visible to concerned policy makers who keep injecting funds for decades and still witness the public outcry that nothing is being done speed development in Appalachia. Figure 1a shows the original model of the Limits to Growth, figure 2a is the same model with our condition (lack of development) inserted. This archetype is the simplest in structure of the nine types outlined in The Fifth Discipline. Although simplistic in design, it answers some key questions to a huge problem that many argue over the remedy. The carrot of the model is the pushback cycle, any change someone has ever wanted to make has been met with some level of resistance, be it social, financial, or logistical. When one attempts to bring about change to a region known for staying the same the pushback will occur on many levels. In figure 2b our inserted variables into the archetype expose the developmental problems that have kept Appalachia in a perpetual cycle of dependence on federal program dollars, and why we fail to reach the desired goal.

The diagram 2b is our hypothetical model of appropriations of federal dollars and its flawed design and implementation. Simply throwing money at a problem only compounds the problem. The Limits to Growth model 2b the applied influx of federal aid to the Commonwealth on the left side Growing Action, with questionable or limited results Is influenced by the limiting condition on the right side of local interest and local corruption. The limiting condition shown on the right side of the diagram is the externality that causes a slowing action which counterbalances the desired growth effect. For every amount of invested money, on the left side, there is an established hierarchy in the region that gets to decide where this money is spent. This is the pushback of social development. The same institutions and people in local government award contracts to their constituents that might happen to own a paving company. There is a X amount of money needed to build a road and only a select few to do the job. In the newspapers it might look promising that a new road is being built, but the area might really need a new library. The company X who has always built the roads in the region has a vested interest in keeping contracts for new construction, and is also a big contributor to the local elected official who awards the development money. This is an example of the pushback effect of government dollars coming into an area for one purpose, but being spent in a manner that will never achieve the desired goal.

In 2b the condition in the center of the model is labeled Development; the intended growing action is the government funds granted to answer the public’s cries for assistance. On the right side of the model is the slowing action, or the problem that is limiting growth; in this model it’s the misappropriation of funds and incompetent infrastructure. Due to the limiting of the leverage point which is the local corruption. This negative leverage point slows the entire model for government financial assistance. This balanced cyclical construction of the Limits to Growth model can be affected by either side of the model. Any increase of government investment on the left side, is pushed back by the slowing action on the right side. The model is balanced by either side, the harder you work on one side, the harder the other side pushes back. This dependent nature that limits growth in the model nurtures a type of hollow infrastructure than is incompetent to invest government appropriations to get a positive effect from the monies coming into the area. The way to offset the slowing condition is to apply leverage to the Limiting Condition. The leverage point or Limiting Condition is where you put some action and get large results after identifying the problem that is causing the slowing action. Leverage the limiting condition theoretically brings even small change which will bring larger benefits to Slowing Action, by retarding its rate of interference to the desired Growing Action. The Limiting Condition might be the elimination of local corruption and better oversight by federal agencies. The Limiting Condition can halt the Slowing Action enough so that the Growing Action could build momentum like the snowball in the diagram and gain momentum to reach the desired condition. One example of this Limiting Condition that was quickly struck down was the appointment of Sergeant Shriver in the early years of the war on poverty that helped create small organizations to deal with the situation, and they operated autonomously and without intervention by the local governments in the counties. According to Eller, this understandably angered local officials who had no say where this free money was going and was quickly handed over to local jurisdiction.

Everyone in most any administration have an idea of what they think a solution to the poverty problem should be. Since the War on Poverty launched in the 1960’s there has been an influx of improvement dollars to improve lives by bringing jobs and education to impoverished people. Where these dollars are used is one of the agents of the model of the limit of growth theory. They might produce obvious short term results like electricity and expansion of public utilities to rural areas, or schools and municipal buildings to bring opportunity to future generations. The latest trend has been to build large spec buildings in deprived counties and offer tax based incentives to manufacturers to locate their factory in this location which offers low to medium skilled employment pool. These attempts have been futile towards the goal of socioeconomic improvement into the region that seems to reject all attempts at improving the lives of Appalachians.

What we think is best for poverty riddled areas of Kentucky is false. The way we have approached the problem for the past several decades is wrong. The real function of a system archetype is to expose irregularities by mini-mapping the condition we wish to better understand. The archetype is our tool to analyze why past attempts of various government funded programs have not reached fruition. All previous attempts by policy makers pumping infrastructure money into the growing action is counterbalanced by the established local interests that become the slowing action. The only realistic solution is to put weight on the limiting condition, which would theoretically halt the slowing action long enough for the growing action to gain momentum and snowball towards the promise of prosperity.

2,122 words

Figure 1a: The Limits to Growth Archetype

The Limits to Growth Model

limitstochange.gif

Figure 2b: The Pushback Effect

Development Corruption& special interest

Government Program Money incomplete infrastructure and misuse of funds





DRM encourages software piracy

1 03 2009

Below is a cut/paste post from EA games user forums.  Its found under technical help which has received 800,000+ views since it was written.  It speaks volumes for the problems pc gamers face just when buying a new game.  Gamers, real gamers (consoles are for kids), typically face a mountain of problems getting the latest titles to start/run properly.  Driver conflicts, bugs and glitches have often made us reinstall an entire operating system to get a damn game to work.  I have been searching forums to find a fix for Crysis which is preventing me from completing the game because of repetitive crashing.  The antipiracy software (punkbuster,gamespy,VAC, and countless other bullshit ip/serial key loggers) that get installed when you load your new game is often the reason you cant play your new game to fruition. The packaged anti-cheat software is usually outdated by the game’s ship date, and almost always has conflicts with other software on your rig.  Problems ALWAYS occur with every new PC game released, some companies are better than others at getting updates and patches released asap.  If I buy an Xbox 360 game and load it up, it almost never has the fatal glitches and bugs that the PC version has.  Of course you sacrifice playability, speed, and frame rates by stepping down to a console, so we are forced to wait for  patches.  While I was digging for a patch tonight for my legitimate copy of Crysis I found this:

FYI: Warhead is the latest Crysis installment from EA games, EA has the WORST support and help of any of the major game companies.  And since EA keeps buying up every independent software companies, problems with new games are on the rise.  Its usually in the best interest of your personal sanity to wait a month until the developer has created the first round of updates.

Give me a reason not to pirate Warhead, since I bought it and it won’t run.

Here is the game, sitting on my desk. Staring at me, mocking me. Electronic Arts’ ridiculous and completely pointless use of DRM in Crysis Warhead is preventing me from playing the game I purchased.

Why do I know it’s the DRM? Because the exact same problem happens with my ALSO LEGITIMATELY PURCHASED Spore installation, and we (the users) have determined that it’s a DRM issue. This is further supported by the only possible solution to the problem yet offered by EA customer support – the uninstallation of the game, creation of a new administrator account, and the reinstallation within the new account. This doesn’t work, by the way.

What happens is this : The game doesn’t run. It installed fine, without any issues at all. When I double click on the desktop/start menu short cut, nothing happens. All that results is that crysis_activation.exe sits in the background in the task manager and runs indefinitely, eating up CPU cycles until I forcibly end the task tree.

This exact some problem occurs in Spore. Some people have been able to get around it by running the executable from the Spore root directly directly, or by simply replacing the Spore exe with a cracked version to get around the DRM. Of course, this isn’t a viable option in Warhead since apparently, crysis_activation.exe doesn’t exist

So, since I don’t expect EA to help me with this issue, I’m wondering/hoping that other people have encountered the same issue and might know how to fix it.

See, running the game off the copy I bought would be unless the desktop/start menu shortcuts are run. great, but if I don’t find a solution to this problem that is effecting BOTH my recent EA purchases, I see absolutely no reason to continue supporting this god damn company by actually buying their games when I could just get them for free and not have to worry about any of this DRM nonsense at the same time.

Message was edited by: Atheist_*** (Spore)


Of course this was edited by the thought police division of Electronic Arts, here was the reply to the above:

Go ahead and pirate it

DRM is a disease and BitTorrent is the cure

Search for it on ISOhunt. com and sort by the most seeders
the top 3 hits are working virus free copies.

Crysis Wars has also been released as a standalone copy
by PROCYON. It’s about 5.5GB’s….. works only on LAN though.

The more money EA loses as a result of DRM protesters the better.

So to all the software companies I’ve given thousands of dollars to over the past 20 years, drop the background bullshit that slows our fps, and causes frequent crashes.  We have legitimate serial numbers for our games and should not suffer the consequences of your virtual spyware that runs on our machines and essentially waits for us to do something illegal so you can revoke our serials and ban us from your servers.  Quit punishing your true customers.





Finding an apartment in DC

16 02 2009

I once had an apartment salesman show me a nicer place in cleveland park area and his sales pitch in the kitchen was “the designers are so attentive to detail that all the bolts and knobs in the apartment are all turned to the 6’olock and 12’oclock positions”.

Get the fuck outta here.  Look dude, if you wanna blow smoke up some yuppie from Bethesdas ass be my guest.  But the ocd approach has no effect on me.  In fact, I know that ALL the knobs can’t be set exactly, they loosen up over time.  Just like the sales tactics in the office since 50 people a day are no longer beating on the door for appointments.





Michael Phelps-just a NORML guy

4 02 2009

Phelps, your friends are weak dude.  Whomever sold you out for a few thousand bucks to a rag mag is no real friend. You have just learned the hard way that drugs and cameras don’t mix.  You have to assume that everyone with a phone is a photographer and that there are hidden security cameras in every corner, waiting to knock you off the highest pedestal in the athletic world.  I am taking a chance with my own reputation even commenting on the situation, but I speak for those who are not offended by your latest screw up.  As terrible as this is going to be for you over the next few weeks (think sponsor money gone) you might have said more in that one picture than the thousand words you stumbled all over on your SNL appearance.  Proof that recreational smokers are not all unemployed bums living in their mother’s basement.   All the public service announcements about pot smokers never becoming successful have been debunked.  The new poster boy for recreational smokers everywhere is the most successful Olympic athlete EVER.  Zig-Zag is on line one.

For those of us who pay attention, we can spot a smoker on another continent.  The big indicator for myself was the media constantly saying:  “He listens to a rapper they call Little Wayne on his Ipod right up to the minute he gets ready to swim”.  Um, yea.  Stoner.  That Weezy album, The Carter III contains Wayne’s ten minute tirade about the decriminalization of marijuana laws.  In fact, Wayne is so stoned on that album the pro-toke overtone becomes monotonous by the end of the CD.  This seemed to fly right over the heads of every Olympic pundit for two weeks, but you have officially ended any speculation.  Square white people have never really understood their children.  They try, but they are so disconnected by the generation gap that the best they can come up with is “he must have had a momentary lapse in reasoning”.  I’ll say.  Before you hold a press conference and issue your second mea culpa think about what you really want to say.  Do you follow the script to satisfy the sponsors, or do you get real and tell the world to chill out?  I’m going to assume you’ll have to speak out against the evils of the herb and make a huge donation to DARE along with many hours of community outreach to youths with drug problems.  At least you get to keep the medals.  I know you’ve been underwater for the past several years but you have got to be careful, the DUI a few years ago brought enough negative attention to your alter boy status.  Enjoy your time in the off season but you should be uber-paranoid about whom you chill with, remember almost anyone has a price.

So the real question is: Is this a defeat for Phelps and his straight edge sponsers, or the gold medal for recreational marijuana smokers worldwide?