Monthly Archives: January 2006

Feedback time!

Hey…This place has picked up around here in terms of feedback! I’d like to thank everyone who’d taken a few minutes to browse the posts here and even more to those who’ve posted a comment. It’s nice to know someone is enabling my delusions of grandeur! I feel it’s only polite to acknowledge posts in some way but I’m not really sure how to do that yet. But, rest assured, gentle reader that I do read and appreciate the time you take to respond (except you ‘Sauceman’!). Also, even though he can’t read and probably thinks my laptop is ideally shaped to pee on, I’m sure on some level this whole blog thing is feeding Shiloh’s ego more than mine (and for those of you that know me that’s a scary thought). So, keep reading! We’re over 850 hits so far and that’s not too shabby…

How to be hip…

I was checking out one of the Thing a Week podcast and saw a recommendation to this site called “Brad Sucks”. The guy who runs claims to be a “One man band with no fans”. Well, he’s got one now. He’s got a decent amount of his own music available for (free) download and it’s pretty good. Also…check out the band Luce. I’ve only heard one song from them (Buy a Dog – there’s a video to it on their site) but it’s a great catchy pop rock song. Definately worth a listen.

An interesting thing happened on the way to the airport…

knife

I just got back from a long weekend in Florida and I’m tanned and recharged. With all the things you have to do to get ready to travel you’re bound to forget something. I realized just as I was getting in the security check line at Atlantic City International Airport that I too had forgotten something. I was carrying a knife in my wallet. See the attached picture to check out the blade. Now the TSA is quite clear that knives of any sort (except plastic or butter knives) are strictly forbidden.

In fact, they say: “If you bring a prohibited item to the checkpoint, you may be criminally and/or civilly prosecuted or, at the least, asked to rid yourself of the item. A transportation security officer (TSO - formerly a screener) and/or law enforcement officer will make this determination, depending on what the item is and the circumstances. Bringing a prohibited item to a security checkpoint - even accidentally - is illegal.”

So, I had a choice. I could announce that I had this knife and give it up or, I could keep mum and roll the dice. It would be a long shot. After all, these airport screeners have, by this time, gone through extensive training and seen all sorts of knives and other pointy objects. If they caught me I’d have to feign ignorance (actually that’s not too hard) and have to give up my little gadget. I decided to play the odds. I put my wallet in a little basket and saw disappearear into the X-ray machine. I waited for the alarms to go off and the screener to ask me to unpack everything I had and submit to a search only slighlty less invasive than an alien probe. The little basket came through the other side of the X-ray machine and nobody said a peep. Were they testing me? Were swarms of federal agents watching me on closed circuit TV waiting to pounce? Apparently not. In no time I was off to Florida. Knife firmly placed in my wallet. Now, I’ve worked with airport screeners before and they’re people like everyone else, just trying to do the best job they can. Unfortunately, airport security is designed more to make people feel safer than actually make them safer. Any terrorist with half a brain could wreck all sorts of havoc in any airport in this country with little concern that he (or she!) would be caught beforehand.

Watch out…little dog with BIG ego.

Well, for the second time in a little more than a month a picture of Shiloh has been selected as the ‘Picture of the Week’ on the Flickr photo group Note to Dog. It just makes him harder to live with when he gets this sort of recognition.

All Hail….

Ok I know not everyone enjoys political posts but you really should read this. The argument isn’t really that King George is a Stalinist wanna-be, but rather that the unrestricted powers he’s accumulating will greatly serve the guy who is. Remember, this War on Terror is, by definition, endless. That means the restrictions on our liberty is permanent. It also means that virtually any other restriction of our freedoms is a possibility because of the “We’re at war, damnit. We have to do everything possible to win!” argument. Well, I disagree. There’s a statement thrown around a lot and I don’t think people really pay attention to what it means. “Freedom isn’t free.” So, we’ll just have to accept some risk of terrorist attacks in order to maintain those freedoms that our forefathers (and mothers!) worked so hard to achieve over the past two hundred years. If you want 100% security above all else, move to North Korea. As far as I know there’s never been a terrorist attack there. Security isn’t everything. Some things are MUCH more important.

My new gig….

I’m going to be away for a couple of days on a short, mini-vacation to Florida. I’ll be back on Monday and will hopefully have a bunch of new stories for you then. In the meantime, I’m going to go into the archives and post a couple of stories from my ‘best of’ collection (let’s face it though, all of my posts belong in a ‘best of’ collection).

I’ve been listening to a lot of funk music lately and think that maybe I’d like to be in a real cool funk band. I really only see two obstacles: 1) I neither play an instrument or sing and 2) I don’t know any funk bands. But then I got to thinking and it occurred to me that the majority of coolness you derive from being in a band is saying that you’re in a band. So, I could form my own band. Who cares if I never get a gig and never play a note? I’ll always be able to say “Yeah, I’m in a band.” Or “I have to go practice with my band.” That practice may only be me singing in the shower but what the heck.

As a band member, you get all sorts of perks. Other bands let you hang out back stage; you’re entitled to groupies, and you get to act obnoxious in public and everyone thinks it’s really cool.

The only thing I need is a cool name for the band. Now, if it was a metal band I’d pick something rather menacing and sounding slightly subversive like: Degenerate Authority or something like that. But, I’m in the mood to form a funk band so I need something that reflects the style of music. I’m open to ideas but maybe something like ‘The Stringbean Consortium’. Yeahhhhh! Hell yeah! Just imagine this!

Person making small talk: “So, Dean, what do you do?”

Dean: “Oh, I’m the lead singer in a funk band called The Stringbean Consortium.”

Person: “WOW!” (at this point, most conversations in the room stop to listen. Women begin gravitating to me. Guys want to hang out with that ‘cool guy from the band’.)

Person: So where do you play? Can we go see you?

Dean: Uh oh. What do I say now? I know! Most popular bands have a member struggling with some sort of personal crisis. That makes them mysterious and even cooler! “Well, we had to stop playing for awhile because our drummer is trying to kick his habit.”

Person: “Heroin? Coke?”

Dean: “Uh, actually artichokes. He was eating 70 or 80 a day. Totally out of control. We tried to do an intervention but he got violent and knocked out the bass player’s tooth.” (you see, you’re imaginary band member’s habit can’t be anything seriously dangerous or illegal or you run the risk of scaring people off.)

Person: “Artichokes? I didn’t know they were addictive.”

Dean: “Are you kidding? They’re bad news, man. You’ve never seen someone strung out until you’ve seen them strung out on A. That’s what we in the music biz call it.” (At this point, several teenagers scramble home to gorge themselves on artichokes). “Some people don’t even stop there though. There’s this stuff called A+ that the real hard-core users take. They actually cover their Artichokes with this Hollandaise sauce.” (I shudder for effect here.) Those guys just have a death wish.

Anyway, you get the point. Given that this band isn’t going to ever play, feel free to insert yourself in the band as well. It’ll look good on your resumes and give you a good icebreaker at parties.

A modest recommendation

Well, I normally hate to recommend another blog in the thought that you might actually like it better than this one but I really have to point you to Jon Swift’s blog. From what I’ve seen so far it’s a riot. So, once you’ve finished memorizing all of my wonderful writings, hop over there (figuratively, of course) and check it out.

Are ya thirsty?

Here are a couple of articles that may seem unrelated at first. See if you can find the link… The first is an article here that says a just released report has pronounced the army virtually broken due to the war in Iraq. Oh…and by the way, the report was commissioned by the Pentagon so charges that this is all some terrorist loving, commie, liberal, atheist propaganda probably don’t have a lot of basis in fact. Officials responding to the report all say that everything is fine (you better say that if you want to keep your job…anyone remember General Shinseki?) but what do you expect? They’ve all drunk the kool-aid and all that’s left to do is wait for the rapture. The next one here highlights a recent symposium of former EPA chiefs. All six of them (five appointed by Republicans) said that Bush is not doing nearly enough about climate change and other environmental problems. What the heck is this guy waiting for? An engraved invitation from the Four Horsemen? “Hey, as long as it doesn’t cost American jobs and gas is cheap. More Kool-aid please.” Oh…here’s a bonus. It’s from this months Atlantic Monthly. I’m not sure if you can access it but the link to the article is here. I’ve quoted the relevant part of the article here in italics. From the ‘Bush loves the military’ files. Command Sergeant Major Tim Walz is a twenty-four-year veteran of the Army National Guard, now retired but still on active duty when a visit from President George W. Bush shortly before the 2004 election coincided with Walz’s homecoming to Mankato, Minnesota. A high school teacher and football coach, he had left to serve overseas in Operation Enduring Freedom. Southern Minnesota is home to a large Guard contingent that includes Walz’s unit, the First 125th Field Artillery Battalion, so the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are naturally a pressing local concern—particularly to high school students headed into the armed services. The president’s visit struck Walz as a teachable moment, and he and two students boarded a Bush campaign bus that took them to a quarry where the president was to speak. But after they had passed through a metal detector and their tickets and IDs were checked, they were denied admittance and ordered back onto the bus. One of the boys had a John Kerry sticker on his wallet. Indignant, Walz refused. “As a soldier, I told them I had a right to see my commander-in-chief,” the normally jovial forty-one-year-old recently explained to a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party dinner in the small town of Albert Lea, Minnesota. His challenge prompted a KGB-style interrogation that was sadly characteristic of Bush campaign events. Do you support the president? Walz refused to answer. Do you oppose the president? Walz replied that it was no one’s business but his own. (He later learned that his wife was informed that the Secret Service might arrest him.) Walz thought for a moment and asked the Bush staffers if they really wanted to arrest a command sergeant major who’d just returned from fighting the war on terrorism. They did not. Instead Walz was told to behave himself and permitted to attend the speech, albeit under heavy scrutiny. His students were not: they were sent home. Shortly after this Walz retired from the Guard. Then he did something that until recently was highly unusual for a military man. He announced he was running for Congress—as a Democrat. Ah…nothing like a bunch on self-absorbed chickenhawks harassing a war vet and scaring the bejeezus out of his wife. Mmmmm….the more you drink, the more you want.

Warning! Slacker at….er…work?

slacker

A very nice lady at work give me the ‘Slacker Zone’ cone you see in the picture here. I think I was bragging a bit too loud one day about my joy of slacking. Anyway, I figured I’d gather all my various tools of slacking together and present them to you here. There are actually a few more but these are my ‘hall of famers’. These items occupy the majority of my slacking time. You’ll notice that there are, in fact, two Koosh balls. Definately my favorites and I do get a bit frantic when there isn’t one within arms reach while I’m at work. Now that I’ve got the warning cone maybe people will leave me alone so I can get some serious slacking done.

Batdog

batdog

The weather was great this weekend and I decided I had to get Shiloh out and some exercise or he’d go totally bonkers with cabin fever. So, I took him to the local park and he was so thrilled he did his best to become the first flying dog. Check out my other pics of him at my flickr site.