Copyright Infringement is Your Best Entertainment Value

July 25, 2007

negativlandcopyrightinfringement.jpg(image from the website of that notorious culture-jamming band, Negativland.)

Now that I have your attention with that mildly transgressive idea, I don’t have much to tell you.

A whole lotta stuff in my life is heating up right now (plus I’m becoming a lazy blogger), so the postings during the summer are going to be few and far between.

I state this only in a desperate bid to ward off any thoughts by my regular readers and blogroll buddies (all three of them), to keep me on the radar and on their blogrolls.

Quick stuff and random thoughts:

** This is how an excellent music blog, Electric Mud handled its summer blogging status: He simply posts, “Closed for the Summer.” I won’t go that far, but it’s pretty close to what I’m doing here.

general_patton.jpg ** I remember my parents taking the family to the George S. Patton Museum in Fort Knox, Ky. back in the late ’60s. In those days the museum was in an unglamorous, almost barracks-like warehouse-type building painted a faint green. On the walls above the windows (which were open during the summer; no air-conditioned comfort back then) were painted large scenes of Huey helicopters in action, tilted downward and ready to swoop on the Red enemy (and whomever or whatever else was in the way). Accompanying these images was some kind of banner or tagline that in my fading memory read something like: “The machines that are winning the war.”

It was as ludicrous then as it is now.

scotts-classic-mower.jpg ** Just bought myself a Scotts Classic non-gasoline, non-electric, good ol’-fashioned human-powered lawn mower. They’re officially known as “reel” mowers, but most people I know refer to them as “push” mowers, which doesn’t quite work ’cause even most gas mowers need pushing. I haven’t had time to do the whole yard with it, but a test run on a patch of grass was successful, Anyway, I remember my grandparents having their own version of this, a rusty old hulk hanging in the garage, unused for years. By then they had succumbed to the temptations of the infernal gas-powered machine…

…the machines that are winning the war on weeds and grass.

It was as ludicrous then as it is now.

tomatoes-1-month_0730-11pct.jpg ** After a scary June in which my first batches of tomatoes rotted on the vine and I had to throw out at least two dozen, the veggies have since come in mostly unscathed, starting around July 4 and since then I haven’t had to buy a tomato, and probably won’t have to until September or so. I have 20+ various tomato plants this year, the most I’ve ever planted, including yellow/orange varieties and cherry tomatoes.

tomato-plate_1001-12pct.jpgI used no chemicals at all, the garden is wholly organic, except for the fluoridated & chlorinated tap water I reluctantly had to use for watering due to the sparseness of rain this summer ’round these parts.

That’s led to some good healthy snackin’–and a fresh tomato with dinner every night.

I’m also harvesting the hottest jalapeno peppers I’ve ever tasted…

white-castle-demo1005-13pct.jpg** What you’re seeing here is a very rare occurrence: the demolition of a White Castle restaurant. This is the one that until last week stood at what is now the corner of Westport Road and Hurstbourne Lane. (A new store opened a few yards away; see my previous posting about that…).

white-castle-demo1007-14pct.jpg

I happened to be biking by when the demolition exposed the wall insulation. It’s amazing how many interesting things you can capture when biking around freely and armed with a digicam.

I know when I was driving a car, having the time or inclination to do something like this (when getting through the green light was the most important thing in the world) would not have been possible. The blinders are off…

I leave you with this shot taken from the parking lot of the Kroger at approximately the same location a few weeks ago (July 7, 2007):

parkinglot-2-7-7-07.jpg

Enjoy the summer.

-EG


Would you rather work or play paintball?

July 5, 2007

I’m calling the lady who answers the phone in our office a secretary whether it’s politically correct to do so or not…
Anyway, the secretary walks from office to office here at my place of employment taking a survey and bearing a pad in her bony hands, stops at my door and says in her shrill Cleveland accent: “At the office retreat would you rather work or do paintball?”
paintball-01-50pct.jpgNot being a fan of fantasy violence, per se, but being even less a fan of work, I responded without hesitation: “Paintball…I guess.”

(BTW, this guy in the pic ain’t me.)

Hey, who knows, this aiming-and-firing- a-weapon thing could be a survival skill that might come in handy when the United States collapses into anarchy in the near future due to continued conservative fiscal and social irresponsibility.
This paintball thing comes at an interesting convergence of stuff that’s been a happenin’ lately to moi.
Last week at Goodwill I spied quite by accident and on a whim scarfed up a spanking new copy of the “U.S. Army Survival Guide” (2002 edition) for 50 cents. I mean, knowing how to dig a vole trap or assemble and tie off a tourniquet made from saplings and torn cloth or recognizing edible/inedible plants and dangerous snakes or how to keep a life raft afloat in stormy water could be useful knowledge, wot?
Over the weekend, for some inexplicable reason I had a hankerin’ to play a good ole Playstation first-person shooter, Star Wars Battlefront, which I used to be pretty good at and found out that I still was pretty good at—even though the virtual reality constant motion made me nauseous after a few hours.
My next brush with entertainment violence came in the past few days, as I had a jones to catch up on some obvious hit movies that I had missed, but which have conveniently been laying in a pile in the basement in my middle son’s DVD collection. This haul included Master and Commander, Hotel Rwanda and Gladiator. Lots of Russell Crowe being manly and commanding and warrior-like in a couple of those.
Oh, and a revisitation of Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine was in order, too. Oddly, on this viewing, I found myself more sympathetic to the viewpoint of the militia types in the movie, though not so much for Terry Nichols.
All pumped up from that lot, I went to my sister’s house yesterday for her annual Fourth of July illegal fireworks fun. Lots of rockets and ‘plosions in the driveway and throughout the surrounding neighborhood. We ‘Murkins loves our ‘plosions. The boys found some plastic toy soldiers and lit firecrackers under them and the limbs went a flyin.’ Perhaps for obvious reasons (eg., the state of things) I found this distasteful.
But, the coup de grace, my friends, I found out that my sister owns a paintball gun!
Here was my chance to get a leg up on the office competition. I’d get some experience firing this baby so when retreat time came, I blow away my fellow co-workers—or at least splay them with multicolored painterly marksmanship. Encouraging office workers to shoot one another … sounds like responsible management 101 to somebody I guess.
With all this smorgasbord of mayhem from which to choose, no wonder three parts ignorance and 1 part adrenaline constantly leads us into, well, what it leads us into…
God bless Amurka!
Evan G


Seymour Hersh Does it Again

June 18, 2007

Another superb job from Seymour Hersh: The General’s Report exposes what Rummy knew, and when he knew it—or more precisely, what he chose not to know—about the Iraqi prisoner abuse/torture… And how one real patriot, General Antonio Taguba, became another casualty of Bush’s assault on our military, and on the Truth.

Read it, or be like Rummy and continue to be in denial…


War No More

February 16, 2007

bushwarhead.jpeg

[I posted this in early 2007 in the hopes that our derelict Congress would finally do its job of checking and balancing, but a year and a half after the great Democratic sweep they having proven so wimpy and impotent that they’ve managed the amazing feat of garnering themselves even lower approval ratings than Bush himself. I repost this article in memory of my former optimism. -EG]

“The time has passed for accepting this administration’s assurances at face value. The human cost of its repeated assurances is too great.”
(-Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.)

Scratching their underarms, stretching and yawning, and batting their sleep-laden eyelids, our hibernating legislators are emerging from their caves to behold with a double-take the wrecked landscape—the result of six years of blissful somnolent denial, of handing the unchecked reins of government to a cultic, fanatical cabal then turning over to snore and get another 400 winks.

Yes, finally, maybe, the Congressional Iraq War debate is a sign that our absentee representatives have checked the alarm clock, seen that the time is way past for them to get up, brush their teeth and hair, dress the part and then hurry up and race to work to get busy and do their jobs, part of which is to check and challenge and, yes, even deny and disallow the extreme inclinations that obsess and self-delude the out-of-touch royals holed up in their fantasy palace of Versailles.

The sacrifice of those delusions is never borne by their well-heeled, secluded, blanket-wrapped originators; only by those easily persuaded or in denial themselves. Now that in our vengeful fury tens of thousands more have died and been injured than in the 9/11 attacks—very few of whom were actual terrorists and none of whom were the original 9/11 terrorists and most of whom have been our soldiers, innocent civilians and people who have since converted to insurgency as the result of our occupation—it is finally time to say enough is enough.

Saddam is dead. The weapons of mass destruction are elsewhere. They are wherever the old Soviet stockpiles are ending up, not in Iraq. Mission Accomplished. We’ve stirred the hornet’s nest; we whipped up this civil war. The glue that kept tribalism at bay, however heinous, is dissolved. We’re traipsing around lumpenly, fighting the wrong enemy in the wrong place, and leaving a mess—one that won’t be cleaned up or cleared up or organized any better or any more efficiently than the derelict and mishandled response to Hurricane Katrina. There are those who say we have to stay and finish what we started. At least they have one thing right, we started it. Neither Osama nor his minions were in Iraq, now they are. The Project for a New American Century couches its realpolitik in grand words, just like Bush. The subtext of the Project’s idealism becomes clear in action: to wage perpetual war. With living wage jobs shipping offshore, war keeps the remaining American business interests fat. It’s quite elegant in a way, send a taxpayer-funded war machine into a country, destroy it, then send more taxpayer dollars into the coffers of the privatized profiteers to “rebuild.” But when is the rebuilding done? When does the broken iraq_war_money.jpgseive that is this gravytrain end? It’s kind circular in a way. My American dollar goes from my wallet into the wallets of Cheney’s pals, ensuring the widening income gap and prepping us all to accept the lower New World Order wagescales. Iraq is the place—appropriately enough, the front—where this money exchange takes place. Like a Mafia money laundering scheme, more money goes in than seems to come out. It has been well known for several years (if you’ve paid any attention to the rightly skeptical alternative media) that $9-plus billion of your taxes have disappeared, unaccounted for, into the nebulous morass that comes with shady bribes and payoffs, no-bid contracts and unaudited overcharges. Only now is some of this actually being addressed.

So congratulations Congress. You’ve finally taken some wobbling, timid steps up to the plate. So hit a good one and bring all the runners in, and bring our young men and women home.

-Evan