Me and Sarah since July 4

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Wednesday, 15 July 2009

(12:54:30 CDT)

Me and Sarah since July 4

Yesterday was Bastille day. I didn't even crack out the Caress of Steel album. "Bloodstained velvet, dirty lace\ Naked fear on every face\ See them bow their heads to die\ As we would bow as they rode by..." Back when my vision of the French Revolution was influenced by Rush, I was fairly pro-beheading. Now that I have read more well-rounded sources, I am not quite so quick to agree with aforementioned sentiment. That is neither here nor there. What I did listen to was Tom Waits' Franks Wild Years and Lou Reed's Transformer. It made for an interesting day. I have not got a chance to listen to Strange Cousins from the West but I will this afternoon.

The last post about what I have been up to was about July 4th, made on July 5th, ten days ago, and is about to be pushed off the the recent post page of Dickens of a Blog. Time for something of an update. I dropped the whole "month of low-net" because it annoyed me to half-ass it. If I ever repeat it, I will spend a month net-less, instead of a month with only a certain subset of websites allowed, etc. This means, as several have seen, I am back on Facebook and Twitter. Ish. I discovered one thing, and you are welcome to verify or deny as you see fit, but if you get off of said websites for about a week or so, you have to work to get back on. I made the allusion to cigarette smoking to my sister-in-law via e-mail. You have to push to even do it, and once you push hard enough, you find yourself addicted. These are people I love and love talking to, but the sea of minutiae feels like the equivalent of screaming "HEY!" from across the street. You can take 1000-words worth of Tweets and FB-updates, and get a tenth of the content of a single 1000-word blog post from the same friend. I do see their uses more and more, though. There is one type of update where only a few dozen words is necessary for the whole thing, where the content is not sacrificed. Those are fine, but most status updates are piecemeal attempts to capture attention, however briefly, and those I am having trouble getting back into. I probably will, eventually, but I am kind of enjoying the longer word forms.

The most positive output of said week off the net was finding better and bigger news sources. I dropped I know a lot of people who use it as an everyday news-source (along with MSNBC). is written about as crappily as and only occasionally has bias to blame. It is mostly just written to grab attention, the articles it does not merely copy from AP, and its programming is also pretty piss poor, too. If you like the overall "bent" of CNN do yourself a favor and delete the bookmark (toss out the Fox and MSNBC bookmarks, too) and replace it with the New York Times. The stories are longer, better researched, and much better written. When you disagree with them, you at least have meat to disagree with. BBC World News ( and are also excellent, though the latter tends to focus on a couple of longer stories looked at from a few different angles, so you will only get a taste of national news, and the former is not America-centric if that is something you are looking for. News on Africa and Asia is topnotch, mind you. I do not know websites of a more "conservative" bent if you need such a thing, but if you have suggestions then I'll post them. Mind you, I am talking about research and stability over vitriol and attention grabbing (most of the conservative websites cannot drop the snark long enough to report the news, from what I have seen).

In light of this, I am going to be picking up some subcriptions to well respected periodicals in about a month or so, as part of my "semester's spendings". Library Journal, Nature, and New Scientist are likely shoe-ins, with a possible subscription to Economist and Time to round it out.

I have already picked up a subscription to the Huntsville Times and am loving that. If you read HT through, then try the full paper, seriously. Lots of news for the area, some grammar mistakes but the writing is overall good and to the point and surprisingly lacks the snarky bias that bloggers are trying to convince us is unavoidable (sure some bias is always there, but remember when news worked to minimize it, instead of maximize it for profits and anger). Various household tips, questions about local laws answered, straightforward discussions of NASA and local small businesses, and other small tidbits dealing with about an hour radius of Huntsville that you do not get elsewhere, and a lot of the editorials and letters to the editor that get published are kind of worth reading. I'm paying $15 a month (including something like a 20% tip, I just rounded it out) and it is delivered every morning before Sarah wakes up.

Talking about "unavoidable bias", has the Sotomayor case convinced everyone, finally, that politicians no longer give a shit about anyone and have given up pretending they give a damn as opposed to just care about playing at politics? Jeff Sessions has tried to convince us that his racist remarks were "jokes" or "misspeaks" but that Sotomayor's were serious. He chastises her for being political, while his opposition to her is political, and somehow he can be biased but she cannot. Finally, he said that her decisions that were cited as showing her as balanced "did not count, because she was not in the Supreme Court and so they could be overthrown" (paraphrase, but part of his actual speech, not just a surmise on my part)) but her two or three decisions he hates can very well be counted.

Then, on her behalf, she is talking about she didn't really mean this or that, or what she really meant were words that she did not say, or that she was just talking to a particular audience (the latter statement, I think, is largely the answer, she was tailoring her message for a given audience and not expecting it to go national, for better or worse) and how it wasn't her fault that a couple of questionable decisions came up because [insert legalese of choice, here]. Politicians have moved fully into the Daily Show mode of thought. Dig up minor tidbits from someone's past, mock them and attack them for it, and then play it off as "comedy" when it gets "misunderstood".

I think it might be time to not elect anyone in current office. Not that it will fix the slime that has become politics, but screw the current bunch getting paid for it. Oh, OH, and we should put people in jail (or at least dock them their paycheck and benefits) when they do not fulfill campaign promises. Sure, sure, being president or senator or whatever is tough and you have to juggle a lot, but just ignoring things that got you elected strikes me as fraud. Stop promising stuff you cannot deliver. Tough if you guess wrong. I don't care. And any increase power to any branch of the government should have to be lost within two terms, instead of this accumulation system we have. STATES' RIGHTS, BITCHES!

Also, food that looks ten times as good on the box as it does in real life, like Hotpockets and many cereals? We should sue them, too.

To wrap this up. I have been watching a lot of old horror movies. The new horror movies were getting more and more on my nerves. The old classics are fun, sometimes cheesy and sometimes boring, but fun. The Hammer films are awesome, but I think I am just saying that because I have something of a "crush" on Peter Cushing. Not really, but the stuff that he does as Van Helsing (and Frankenstein, and John Banning, etc) are all so awesome. Grand Moff Tarkin, I miss you.

I have also started a quasi-ambitious series of poems, called "The Huntsville Hymns". The first one, "Burning Modernity, or, the five transits out of and within here" got posted lastnight to Dickens of a Blog. A couple of different techniques are at play with them. The lines use a counted syllable method with odd-beats (9 and 7 syllables generally, meant to mimic sort the stop and go cadence of American speech). They rhyme, but not structurally and the rhymes are often buried in the middle of lines (with a lot of rhymes being use of homonyms or homophones and similar). I also play around with "word games" such as breaking a word in the middle to create two new words (cemetaries and semi-tarries) or sounds-kind-of-like moments (seaweed sighed for suicide). Most of the techniques are meant to be really subtle. The concept, by the way, is a series of poems about my time in Huntsville, with each linked to a scene from the Bible. The first one is about Gomorrah. The second is about the Tower of Babel. The she-bear mauling the children will be in there. Not sure what else.

Si Vales, Valeo


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