Friday, July 29, 2011

Oldie, 10/5/08: It's Wabbit season! No, it's Election season!

The other day I sent an e-mail to nearly everyone I know, advising them of the shenanigans in the current election cycle -- polling places being relocated without warning, voters being dropped from the registration rolls, etc.

In my neighborhood, the Urban League has been a familiar presence at our meetings, warning residents of the importance, not only of registering to vote, but of VERIFYING their registration status and polling place. That's what prompted me to send my e-blast, and the responses have been rather interesting.

Oldie, 10/2/08: The Quiet Type

Note:  I originally posted this on my old blog, which I'm in the process of shutting down. I'll be copying and reposting some of my "greatest hits" from 2008-2010.

"Dear Prudence" in Slate Magazine published a letter from a mother who was appalled by the huge trend of texting among teenagers. She said:

What I find amazing is how little actual real-voice conversation goes on between boys and girls. My kids tell me that often it's easier to instant message and/or text than talk to someone "live," especially if the other person is someone whom they normally would feel nervous talking to face-to-face, and in fact may not talk to at all if it weren't for the texting/instant messaging.

Prudie, of course, advised her that all new technologies create a gulf between generations during the time that society is adjusting to them.

The letter reminded me of how the Internet really has changed certain things. Online communication really helps people come out of their shells. 

Oldie 8/11/08: Stop That, Y'all!

About 2 hours ago, Carl and I were sitting down to dinner and became aware of some sounds.

The first sound, the one that never completely stops, is the dog next door (to the north). I think he's half beagle, half Jack Russell, which means he's hyper and excitable and barks all day and most of the night. But it doesn't take much analysis to differentiate between the "I'm bored, somebody pay attention to me" bark and the "Holy Shit! Somebody come take a look at THIS!" bark.

Oldie, 8/2/08: Interesting Quote


Interesting Quote

From Stephen King, in his 1981 non-fiction book Danse Macabre, wherein he assures us that the horror writer is a

"human being, mortal man or woman, just another passenger in the boat, another pilgrim on the way to whatever there is. And we hope that if he sees another pilgrim fall down that he will write about it - but not before he or she has helped the fallen one off (sic) his or her feet, brushed off his or her clothes, and seen if he or she is all right, and able to go on. If such behavior is to be, it cannot be as a result of an intellectual moral stance; it is because there is such a thing as love, merely a practical fact, a practical force in human affairs.

"Morality, is, after all, a codification of those things which the heart understands to be true and those things which the heart understands to be the demands of a life lived among others ... civilization, in a word.

"...If we say that morality proceeds simply from a good heart -- which has little to do with ridiculous posturings and happily-ever-afterings -- and immorality proceeds from a lack of care, from shoddy observation, and from the prostitution of drama or melodrama for some sort of gain, monetary or otherwise, then we may realize that we have arrived at a critical stance which is both workable and humane."

He has a lot more to say in the book, which is his examination of the pop-culture genres of horror, fantasy and sci-fi from 1950 to 1980. Not sure if it's still in print, but used copies can be found in second-hand shops and Ebay.

And I emphasized that little bit in the last paragraph because I could not resist thinking about the actions of certain individuals residing at top levels of our government for the last 7 or 8 years...

Hmm, hmm, hmm.

Oldie, 7/20/08: Women on the street

Note:  I originally posted this on my old blog, which I'm in the process of shutting down. I'll be copying and reposting some of my "greatest hits" from 2008-2010.
This is one of my all-time favorites.


Here in the small city where I live, there are various crime problems. Gangs, drugs and prostitution are the ones people talk about constantly. My work with the neighborhood association brings me into contact with law enforcement and groups that work with law enforcement to minimize the crime stats.

Every city, I think, has a block or two known for the sex trade. Atlanta had "Stewart Avenue," which was renamed "Metropolitan Parkway" in the hopes that somehow a name change would bring about an attitude change. Naturally, it didn't. People make the same jokes about the place for the same reason.

This town has Willow Street. Willow stretches along for 2 miles or so, starting near the access to the interstate and continuing up to about where I live. Willow is home to a lot of poor people. All ethnicities are represented.

Oldie, 6/25/08: 'pologies

...for not posting much recently. There's just not much to complain about.

I'm going out of town for the weekend, and am hoping to run into some psychotic flight attendants, or obnoxious fellow passengers, or maybe even a bumbling terrorist.

Please wish me luck - I really need inspiration.

Oldie, 6/18/08: Anti-Nostalgia

Note:  I originally posted this on my old blog, which I'm in the process of shutting down. I'll be copying and reposting some of my "greatest hits" from 2008-2010.

There's a commercial on the radio for Blue Bell Ice Cream - you've probably heard it - where a man sings soulfully about "our old swimmin' hole" and "Mama called through the porch screen door, would y'all like some home-made ice cream?" etc. 

Oldie, 6/14/08: All the world loves a curmudgeon

From the Sunday New York Times Magazine:

An interview with Gore Vidal.

Best question & answer:
--
Are you a supporter of gay marriage? I know nothing about it. I don’t follow that.
Why doesn’t it interest you? The same reason heterosexual marriage doesn’t seem to interest me.
--
SLAM DUNK!!!
~
[Later - another funny one, this also in the Magazine, the second question in Randy Cohen's The Ethicist]

My son and daughter-in-law belong to a church with different beliefs from mine, and thus my new grandchildren, a few months old, were not going to be baptized. My 1950s Catholic background would not let me sleep, so I snuck them off to the laundry and performed private rites. Do I get eternal reward or damnation? — NAME WITHHELD

Cohen replies:
By convening in the laundry you may have taken too literally the idea of baptism as the washing away of sin. I only hope your “private rites” did not include the spin cycle.

An

Oldie, 6/1/08: "G": It's the new "F"

Note:  I originally posted this on my old blog, which I'm in the process of shutting down. I'll be copying and reposting some of my "greatest hits" from 2008-2010.

I love how people just dismiss the whole notion of "government," turning it into a dirty word.

"Government schools"..."government health"...

Today on a local message board (heavily populated by law-enforcement folks) there was a post about a state-wide Criminal Injury Compensation Fund that is a resource of last resort for victims of crimes who cannot pay for medical care, funeral or burial costs or who are not covered by insurance. Ironically, about 20% of the recipients of the funds have criminal records - but the people who run the fund clarify that the cases in which funds are received are unrelated to the previous cases. So, if you are a convicted felon and have served out your sentence, and then, for example, five years later you are walking down the street and are struck by a hit and run driver and are destitute, you can apply for funds.

First, the local paper runs this silly article, where the facts are spelled out, but the headline is written to make it sound to the casual reader as though convicts are standing with their arms extended through the bars, waiting for a handout. That is not the case at all, and the person who posted it knows that perfectly well ... but the next person, another LE dude, responds with:

Government at work.