Wednesday, July 27, 2011

sick of it all

The Washington Circus is so damn distressing that I can't deal with it anymore.

The 2010 voters sure picked a crop of outstanding citizens to represent us. The only satisfaction I am getting, and it's minimal, is knowing that the Chamber of Commerce plutocrats who pushed the Baggers on us are now watching uncomfortably, as the idiots pursue their uncompromising idiot dreams, which are now counter to the interests of the Big Boys.

Time will tell whether Obama has been truly suckered or is truly a Machiavellian genius.

Time will tell whether the barely-paying-attention voters will blame the disruptions on the Baggers or the Black Guy. I am beginning to sense a shift in the Media Guys narrative, who are just loving the 'Civil War in the GOP' angle.

Bah! It's just another symptom of a crumbling Empire, where, once again, the Super Rich have overplayed their hand. Happens again and again.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

delayed gratification

As an after-thought, we planted some teeny garlic starts last Fall. Haven't done anything with that patch except some casual weeding and pinching off flowering tops a few weeks ago.

Dug 'em up this morning - will let them dry out a bit then braid them. Then, we shall see how they taste!

Friday, July 15, 2011

the Netflix price-hike

It's a no-brainer for me. We sometimes keep our one-DVD-at-a-time for weeks before watching it, and I have found MANY gems (umm, and a few duds) streaming on-line. We will be cancelling the DVD service.

But, I don't get it, from Netflix's perspective. By maintaining both distribution methods, they are not saving money. The cost of supporting the aquisition, storage, and distribution of physical media is not going to be reduced - as long as they still have customers paying for that service, they need to maintain the entire infrastructure.

A few months ago, KPOJ was playing frequent (!) commercials inviting entrepeneurs to get in on the DVD-rental-kiosk franchise business and I scoffed, thinking that that was already a business that had peaked. Now I'm not so sure.

Do they really think that most subscribers will elect the hybrid option, in THIS economy? I have to believe that most will choose one method or the other, reducing Netflix's monthly take by $2 per subscriber. Great business plan. What am I missing, business school graduates?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

why the American republic failed

We never voiced discomfort when the News Media collectively decided that any knowledge or mention of History was now considered irrelevant.

Instead, we permitted Media to get away with (out of laziness, or fear of antagonizing Corporations?) speaking only of today's or this week's controversies, with a total absence of what a little historical reflection might add to the presented picture.

That is why I am awake at 4 AM today.

I woke up at 3 worrying about a purely domestic issue relating to freshly-painted closet doors (don't get me started), and found myself plugged into NPR Morning Edition for an hour.

They reported on the 'impasse' between the President (more about him later) and that consistently-infuriating Mitch McConnel (don't get me started) and then actually mentioned statements by several members of the consistently-infuriating Republican presidential challengers, mostly along the lines of 'no new taxes'.

There, for a brief, crystalline moment in time, was the opening for a voice to quickly remind us of the devastating Bush Tax cuts for the rich, two VERY expensive wars of our (well, the Republicans') choice, the horrendously-expensive Medicare Part D (GOP written), and other major Corporate concessions/malfeasance, all of which brought us to our current National Debt situation.

But, no. Instead, NPR devoted a healthy (sic) segment to a review of the offerings on the new Oprah network, from a male perspective.

So, I ask, if historical perspective is banned from the media, what's the point of pretending that this Republic is possible to salvage? Without an audible voice to put the daily bloviating into context, we are doomed, and the Bachmanns win.

Obama, I like you and so wanted you to succeed. But you caved when we would have supported you standing firm against the Greed (single payer, repeal of Bush tax cuts, Afghanistan, etc.), and you were silent when you should have gently, firmly reminded Us that the Republican economic philosophy of 1980 was the beginning of the End of the America we thought we posessed.

I don't think I will be able to go back to sleep.

Gore Vidal's term for us is totally apt: the United States of Amnesia.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

help me, please

I am behind the times, in the cell-phone world.

My current phone, an HTC Tilt 2, runs Windows Mobile 6.5, and I bought it used for $60 (craigslist) after my prior Tilt was stolen, in Costa Rica last December. I do NOT have a data-plan, and am grand-fathered in at AT&T so that I am not required to have it.

I am quite happy with it, but it's been a little flaky lately, so I am looking to replace it.

I use WiFi to sync my Web calendar and Web email with the phone's calendar and mail clients, and browse the Web with a very lean, free, WAP-compatible browser (UCWeb). I don't really feel deprived, not having always-on Internet - WiFi only works generally fine for me.

It's got Word and Excel, which I use.

I don't use it to listen to music (have a teeny, dedicated MP3 player, that also has an FM radio).

I don't use the camera, since the camera stinks and I have a nice camera.

I have a free eBook reader (Freda) and have loaded several books on the microSD, which is very convenient. Therefore, I don't need a dedicated eReader (although I am very intrigued by the Nook Color).

I have resisted buying into iPhone world, mostly because I feel the need to deprive Steve Jobs of the satisfaction.

Here are the features I want in a phone:

* Sync my calendar
* browse the web
* read eBooks
* Google Maps
* word and excel, or equivalent
* calculator, notepad
* standard Phone stuff

Here's what I don't need:

* Twitter, Facebook, and myspace integration.
* GPS navigation
* fancy games
* movies

I am looking at Windows 7 phones, and Android phones. Anyone have any suggestions?

Monday, July 04, 2011

the relative importance of having been Ernest

Thankfully, the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Hemingway's suicide is over, and, despite the general admission that the man wrote English prose in a notable manner (i.e. using only one-syllable words), can we please acknowledge that he was a nasty bully, who demeaned his many women, and aggressively terrorized poor Scott Fitzgerald?

A little Hemingway goes a long way. The novels are mostly ultimately laughable, but, I must admit, the short stories are frequently stunning.

I never want to meet Robert Jordan again, but will continue to say hello to Jay Gatsby every few years. Also, I have no need to attend a bull-fight.

Friday, July 01, 2011

laugh at your own risk

A friend (you know who you are) forwarded me an email from, inviting me to respond to a poll whose questions were so skewed to be anti-Obama that is was (almost) laughable.

Now I am on Newsmax's email list, and just got the first one, entitled: 'Bachmann Lived on a Kibbutz, Staunchly Pro-Israel', and contains this sentence: "Today, Bachmann is a member of Christians United for Israel and one of Israel’s strongest supporters in Congress."

This woman, unlike Newt and Sarah, has a team behind her that is highly focused. She is not going away, and ridicule, no matter how richly deserved, will not decrease the effectiveness of the campaign that will continue to propel her to the front of the (dismal) pack.

We must be very careful here, although, to give you an idea of Newsmax's audience's concerns, here are the links that accompanied the email:

Vinegar Secrets: Heal the Heart, Brain

Doctor Cures Arthritis With Antibiotics and 3 Nutrients

Reverse Type 2 Diabetes. New Strategies Show How.

A Tiny Bit of B12 May Cure Your Brain, Heart Ailments

I get the feeling that many Newsmax/Backmann supporters are on Medicare.