Its Beginning To Look A Lot Like....

...a new Christmas album!!!

Hey. Well, its been since August since I posted, so says Blogger. So here I am again.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I began to realize that it won't be Christmas until I hit everyone with the NEW Christmas album.

Last year, I posted a link for everyone to download their own, but this year, I plan to send it out, via mail. Why via mail? Because it's kind of a special album for me this year. There have been lots of changes in my life and I thought I would take the album back to its roots, if it ever had any.

I haven't decided whether or not I will make this a double album yet, but I know that I want it to remain eclectic and fun. And I promise to make it playable for all ages. I think in the last few years I've added some tracks that have been, shall we say, strange.

So, if you want one, time for you to give up your address. If you know my email or have any way to get in touch with me, send me your physical address and you'll find a nice surprise come the first week of December.

I'll be back with more post very soon.


I Want To Believe

I guess I've always had a vivid imagination. The kind that tends to run away with me when I give something a little too much room to get a good stride.

I'd left the subject of 9/11 behind me. I've watched all the movies, read all the materials and jumped to all the same conclusions. It all seemed so plausible. I mean, how can so many people make the same wrong conclusions, right?

But I left it all behind after I read a column in the New York Times that said we should let 9/11 go. That it was over. That we should mourn no more.

I think we were all New Yorkers that day. Maybe those New Yorkers who were there that day disagree, but it hurt the same way watching it on T.V. that it did standing in the shadows of those two big monuments to American freedom and ingenuity. It all hurt the same. I was angry for a long time. I cried a lot. I wanted to find answers. All I found were more questions.

Countless shows and articles and movies worked only to keep the fire lit in my belly about 9/11.

Sometimes, I really do believe what the 9/11 Commission report found. I believe it was a group of highly organized terrorist with a grudge to bear on America. I believe that because we grew too confident in our industrial and military might, we grew blind to the aggression that our American egos had stoked abroad. I believe that we're not as smart as we once thought we were and that we're not the only ones willing to do what it takes to make a point.

I want to believe.
I want to believe that our government didn't have anything to do with it.
I want to believe that we were attacked because we are arrogant, fat, unethical.
I want to believe.
But I can't. I can't wrap my head around those concepts.

What do I do? What do we all do?



I've been away for a while now. Lots has happened. LOTS.

Stay tuned for more.


Hang Low

I was just reading about how the Florida senate is in the midst of passing a law that would effectively prohibit teens in school from wearing their pants down around their crotch. For a second, I thought, "Hell yeah!" Then I back tracked.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I can't stand that shit. I absolutely hate it. Get a fucking belt! Or pants that fit. What's the point of constantly having to A) pull your pants up to your crotch or B) have to keep your hand on the front of your pants to keep them up?

I'm not saying that I'm the model of ultimate fashion. I dress like a fucking slob and I know it. And I'm sure lots of people see me, especially those who see me day in and day out, and say, "Christ, look at the fat guy. Doesn't he own anything other than Levi's or black t-shirts? Get a real wardrobe, you dumbass!" And I'm sure the kids who are wearing those baggy ass pants say the same thing I'd say to someone who said that to me. "Fuck off, I'll wear what I wanna wear."

I like to rant and rave. A lot. Probably more than I should. Especially about shit like this. I mean, it's not my life they're leading out there. Its their lives. And if they wanna walk around looking like morons, like me, they can do it till the cows come home. And as long as they choose to do it, I'll keep railing against them.

Sure, I can justify my fashion atrocities. I can justify them all day long. I tell people one thing all the time when they ask me about my black shirts and blue jeans. I tell them about how Albert Einstein had the exact same pair of clothes for each day of the week and told people that he did so because it was one less thing he had to think about each day. Then I found this:

I heard that Albert Einstein wore the exact same thing every day. Is that true?

Another story about Einstein that is highly exaggerated but has some basis in reality concerns his clothing. Many say that Einstein wore the same thing every day and had a closet full of the exact same suit, shirts, ties, and shoes. This isn't true, especially when Einstein's second wife, Elsa, was alive. Elsa took a firm hand when it came to her husband's appearance, and pictures of the two of them touring everything from Japan to the American Southwest show Einstein in beautiful silk vests, and dapper neckwear -- as well as in a kimono and an American Indian headdress. But after Elsa passed away and Einstein spent his last 20 years as a professor emeritus at Princeton, his clothing did become more, er, irregular. He openly disliked wearing a suit and while already legendary for often going sockless, now he wore sandals. Perhaps the most common pictures of Einstein from that time show him happily shuffling around his Princeton study wearing a big gray sweatshirt. Luckily for Einstein, his life coincided with the invention of the cotton sweatshirt -- for he was enamored of the soft warm comfortable garment.

So that shoots my rationale in the foot. Lops it right off, actually. I guess I do it because I'm lazy. I like black. I like Levi's. I'm a creature of fucking habit. I own slacks and nice shirts. I use to wear them often. Now, if I do, people wonder if I've just been to church or why I'm so "dressed up". Regardless, it's how I enjoy dressing. I've been in a funk for sometime. I think that's part of it too. There's a lot of things I could say to justify it. But at the end of the day, if this is what I want to do, that's what I'll do.

So back to the saggy pants. I could see, simply by watching a lot of these kids walk around with their underwear hanging out, that, while it seems like a cool fashion statement, it is just irrational. I mean, if your wallet is in your back pocket and your back pocket is down near your calves, what the fuck is that? And how are girls going to say, "Damn, look at him. I can see most of his underwear. That's hot?" But then I'm not their age anymore and I have absolutely no clue what girls that age think. I've even heard that they make pants with the underwear attached and set above the pants, so's to save the user the trouble of having to pull them down. Can you believe that?

I guess this rant boils down to one thing: there are things that the government can tell us we should do and the things they have no right to enforce. Personal freedoms. Our right of expression. Yeah, that's traveling on the razor's edge. I mean, we get into all kinds of messes when we take that stance. But in an age where our government is dawning the mask of "Big Brother" and we are constantly in jeopardy of losing our personal freedoms for the sake of some bureaucrat or some conservatives' ideal of what is good and right, what are we to do?

Leave the kids alone. Just like they left us alone. And how they left our parents alone. Once we start to cross that line, to infringe on a freedom as basic as what we're allowed to wear, the only place we have to go is to that place that, as Americans, we've railed against our whole lives.


C Is for Cookie

Waiting on my pages today, I find myself on one of my favorite sites, Neatorama, and discover one of my favorite childhood characters, Cookie Monster. And he's being interviewed on NPR.

Cookie Monster "In Character" Make sure you watch the video interview!

I don't know what it is about that Muppet, but he still makes me laugh. I recall so many wonderful days laughing my ass off in front of the televsion when I was a kid. Something about him still manages to tickle my inner child. I loved being a kid.

If you ever watched Sesame Street, you know what I'm talking about. As I read the posting, this made me smile:

"It was later, on a Muppet game show, that the cookie-fixated creature we know emerged, Oz says. The winning contestant was offered the chance to choose a prize: a vacation, a new house, $10,000 cash, or a cookie. He chose the cookie — and the Cookie Monster was born.

"As opposed to many of us who need many things to try and make us happy, he only needs one thing, and that's a cookie," Oz says. "That is his one obsession, and he's insatiable."

Mmmm, cookie.



No, this won't be a blog about John Woo's 1997 adventure flick starring John Travolta and Nick Cage.

It's going to be about the events of the last few days in 2007.

I was running late for work last Sunday. When I drove up to the office, I was looking for a parking space nearest the employee entrance. Figured it would save some time. I found a space across the street from the building, nearest the press. Its just a skip and a jump to the entrance. No money in the meters on Sundays! Woo Hoo!

Later that night I returned to find that some had smashed out my passenger's side window and RIPPED out the dashboard portion of my truck to relieve me of my car stereo.

The newspaper office, it seems, borders on a rough side of town. A side of town that is conveniently near an area where homeless people and naredowells typically tend to hang out. And as it happens, there's also a bit of a rough neighborhood on the other side of I-37, which also runs near our office. Given that information, we tend to experience a lot of break-ins year round.

I'd never been broken into. I've only heard it happen to dozens of people around the building. The circumstances steaming from the fact that we don't really have a single, monitored company lot. We're forced to park in these pay lots that are scattered all over the place. Only on weekends to do have the availability of parking in a single lot which is monitored by the company security officers. They do a good job and are always around to lend a hand, but their reach only extends so far.

I had parked next to a building, where at night, it gets a little dark. And I should have known better. I've been nervous about parking ANYWHERE other than the company lot on weekends, Hell, any day. But given that I was running late, I figured I'd keep the car close. Apparently, it wasn't close enough.

The thieves bashed out the passenger's side window, spilling glass all over the front seat and the foot well. They tried to use part of a Philips head screw driver (just the shaft, sans the handle) to unscrew the plate that covers the radio and also houses the air conditioner controls, the cigarette lighter and the air vents. When it proved to be too much work, they just jammed the screwdriver into the first available opening and RIPPED OUT the covering to access the stereo. Chunks of it remain, along with the screws they could have easily removed to access it. Having done that they CAREFULLY removed my stereo, making sure to keep all the necessary wires in tact.

I'm only speculating, mind you, since all I found upon inspection was the ripped out dash, the partial screw driver and the mounds of glass. Here's a photo of what I found.

The aftermath.

Our security personnel were as helpful as they could be given that it didn't happen on company property. They even took pictures for me so I could have for insurance purposes. The police showed up and took my report too. They told me I could call the CSI's to come and dust for finger prints, but that it would take about 2 hours or so for them to arrive. Probably shorthanded, I imagine. And really, what kind of manpower are they going to employ for a stolen car stereo?

I should mention one thing that's going to make me look like a fucking idiot. My car stereo was the kind that has one of those removable face plates that render the stereo useless when not attached. Did I remove it that night? No. Had I previously? Yes. Have I been eating paint chips and did they cause me to have a momentary lapse of reason for me to have left it on? Its possible. Of the hundred or so times that I've parked in different areas near the building, I always knew I was taking a risk by not removing it. And given the randomness of the act, I guess I also got a little complacent, thinking it might never happen to me. But it did.

I also knew that by not parking in the company lot, which is available to regular employees ONLY on weekends, I would be at greater risk of having something like this happen to me.

And being that this is I Rant Therefore I Rave, I shall now up the rant.

I shouldn't have to say it, but I'm pissed. Really pissed. For a couple of reasons.

For starters, I'm a little strapped for cash right now. So there's absolutely no way that I'm going to spend the over $200 it's going to take to have someone come out and replace it. More like over $300. I don't want to have to put the trash bag over the door and duct tape it. I'm just not going to. Not just because it's ghetto, but because I won't be able to see out of it and it's going to make that incessant flapping noise when I drive. So I'll just layer on the jackets, put on the gloves and go about my business. Until it rains. Christ.

What really gets my goat is the police presence down here is just a fucking joke. How so, do you ask? Well, let's try this. Several weeks back, I'm coming to work and I park at a meter. It was 10 minutes till 6 pm, the cut off for all meters downtown. After 6 pm, parking is free. My guess is that there are these roving bands of meter maids who have nothing better to do than to hand out citations for something as petty as 10 MINUTES. By the time I remembered that I hadn't put money in the meter, I returned to my car to find A CITATION had been neatly placed under my windshield wiper. Yet as soon as 6 pm rolls around, the police presence grinds to a nearly silent halt. I say nearly silent because if it weren't for the fact that we're about two blocks from the Alamo, we probably wouldn't see them at all. And they guard the Alamo like someone was going to run off with it.

That being said, if they guard that fucking landmark so freaking well, couldn't they send a little help our way to curb the constant rash of break-ins? And if they're going to be as tyrannical about parking meters, shouldn't that reflect itself in making sure that the people who PAY TAXES into law enforcement and city affairs get some justice when some idiots like the ones who have broken into our cars do so?

I'm not counting on ever seeing my stereo again and, frankly, on anyone ever being caught for that same crime. In fact, I'd be surprised if anything is done to curb the break-ins. Just this morning I saw another pile of broken glass in the pay parking lot I stashed the car in. There are piles of glass all over the place, in and around the areas by the office.

I think I have to take my case to a higher authority. Maybe the publisher of the paper or some city official. Someone has to do something.


A new year

Well, here we are in 2008. Wow. 2008. Two more years and we'll be in Arthur C. Clarke's 2010: The Year We Make Contact, sans all the advanced technology and communication with an extra terrestrial intelligence.

Still, I think 2008 is going to be a great year. I can feel it in my bones. Now, don't get me wrong. Its going to be filled with plenty of challenges and, sometimes, strife. What makes a difference is how you deal with it all. I spent a lot of time last year not dealing with challenges in the right manner. I'm getting to old to continually dodge shit. I can be a kid at heart and an adult in mind, right?

I hope 2008 is ready for me.


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