Tuesday, May 30, 2006

November non-prognostications.

I am seeing a number of sources implying or outright saying that the Dems look poised to do a major number on the Republicans this November. Even some Republican pollsters and pundits seem to be saying this. The House, I appear to be getting from all of this, is ready to go Dem, and there is a possibility that the Senate might go as well, even though there are only something like 14 seats up for election this time around.

Well, I hope so. I hope the Dems don’t get overconfident. Lord knows how that could happen, since it appears they have an ingrown inferiority complex about winning elections. But maybe there is enough of a groundswell to throw the rascals out (somewhat like a reversal of the Newt Gingrich, Contract With America revolution). I hope it is enough to offset any voting machine fraud that might be out there. I know that there appears to be a whole lot of Republicans running scared right now. And I LOVE the plan from the Rove The Genius. Tell everyone that the economy is going great, even though it really might not be evident to, oh, 95% of the population. Totally ignore Iraq (or have the Preznit make some half assed lame apology for maybe saying the wrong thing, but nothing about actual actions that have caused untold death and destruction). Totally ignore the fact that the one person we absolutely know was behind the attacks of 9/11 is still free and taunting us via monthly video appearances. And then throw in a little boogieman in the form of Democratic control of committees. Oh, the calamity! Democrats might actually INVESTIGATE things that have happened in the last 6 years. We surely can’t have that happen, can we?

Yep, that’s a winning plan if I have ever heard one.

Actually, I have sort of a guilty wish. I sort of wish there would be some massive voter fraud occur, something so big that no one could ignore it. Something like having 100,000 votes go for the Republican candidate and only 2000 for the Democrat, and there is only something like 65,000 registers voters in that precinct. Like I said, something so big that it would be impossible for anyone with any sort of a conscience at all to ignore.

Diebold would be history, and their CEO would follow the CEO of Enron to the hoosegow.

Like I said, guilty wish. That probably wouldn’t be in the country’s best interest, but boy, it sure would be entertaining to watch.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Saturday morning, Memorial Day weekend thoughts.

It’s raining again outside. That’s one of the hazards of living in the Pacific Northwest. Spring is usually about three stretches of good weather, surrounded by gloom, overcast, mist, and rain. You must be able to fit in your activities, such as mowing lawns, whenever the chance presents itself. You may not get another one for several weeks.

There are many stories in the papers and on the web this weekend about how the American public doesn’t even really understand this particular holiday. There have been some efforts to get the public to slow down and think about the sacrifices military people have made over the years. Whether or not they were involved in truly great causes, or colossal mistakes, is irrelevant. These people were willing to sacrifice what other people think of as a “normal” life. Their motivations are all over the board, ranging from defenders of American principles (and I am not saying that ironically right now) to lack of any other career options and maybe gathering up a little money to pay for college. But once they are in the military, their individual motivations are irrelevant. They are there to do their job, which is, in essence, to do what their superiors tell them to do.

This is a difficult post for me to write. My own feelings about the military are extremely mixed. When looked at from a distance, the military deserves all the support and good will we can provide them. I think that the young men and women who were in the military during World War II were indeed the “Greatest Generation”. What they did was awesome in scope, in bravery, in just about any measurement you can think of.

However, when you start looking at things a bit closer, I get some very, very uneasy feelings. For one, I feel distinctly uncomfortable when talking directly with a hard-core military person. I can tell they just think differently than I do. They view most of the things that I hold in high regard with distain if not outright hostility. That’s the impression that I always get. Individuals in the military think they are above us “ordinary people”. I suppose that is drilled into them from Day One.

I once saw a program on the Discovery Channel, or the History Channel, I don’t remember now. It was about basic training for the Marines. I forgot the name of the camp now. It’s in Georgia, I believe. I was truly appalled when I saw what was being drilled into the raw recruits. They were being brainwashed. They were better than everyone. They were defending their “little Shelias” back home. That’s how they view their wives and girlfriends. Little Shelias. And they were taught that killing was not only something that would have to be done on occasion, it was a good thing. Basic training was breaking down all the social conventions that our society normally tries to build up in young people.

I am also very wary of the concept, “obey orders from your superiors without thinking.” I abhor that kind of principle. We are all thinking, rational creatures. I would never accept a job in the private sector that would require me to unthinkingly follow the orders of my boss and never raise an objection. But that is what the military demands of its’ people. Of course, I understand the reason behind it. When in the heat of a battle, you cannot stand to have your people stand up and say, “Well, wait a second. I have a question.” That won’t do. You need to have military units you can trust to do whatever it is they are called upon. I truly do understand that. But I think, at an individual level, this takes quite a lot of humanity out of a person. And the military does not want to recognize that aspect.

Being in the military changes a person. I have seen it. Many times, it is for the good. The military teaches discipline. It teaches honor. But returning from very stressful situations, like Iraq and Afghanistan, and Vietnam before them, can really break a person. The mental illness of many returning soldiers is going untreated because the military does not want to really acknowledge that such problems exist. Then it becomes a matter of that person not cutting it, not making the grade. They were somehow deficient. It’s their problem, not being in the military in that position.

I, for one, cannot imagine what it is like for 18 to 24 year olds, people who are still only finding out who they are as people, to be put into a situation where dying is a constant threat, where you are seeing your buddies being blown to bits in front of your eyes or picked off by a sniper while just walking down the street. That would affect me, very drastically. How they cope, I don’t know. I guess it is the same as always. You have to cope, so you do, somehow.

But constant pressure such as this cannot be good for a person. And given the manipulations to a person’s character that go on during a their indoctrination, it is not surprising to me that bad things occasionally happen. The latest incident, if it can be called that, from Haditha, Iraq is proof to me that people are not the robots the military wants or needs. How is it humanly possible, given the ideals that our country supposedly holds in high esteem, that a unit of Marines can go out and slaughter a bunch of innocent Iraqi civilians, in cold blood, in retaliation for one of their men being killed? How? It seems like the brass in the Pentagon is essentially saying the initial reports have been confirmed. These people went out on a 3 to 5 hour killing rampage, where they broke into houses, rounded people up, and shot men, women, and children that were not threatening them. How could they possibly think that they were doing Justice? It was revenge, pure and simple. It didn’t matter to them that these were the people they were supposed to be defending. We “liberated” these people from an evil, despotic leader who used killing and torture wantonly and indiscriminately. Now we are doing the same thing. What could they possibly been thinking? The answer is that they weren’t. Their basic indoctrination of killing, strength, and “defending your tribe” took over. There was no thinking involved. There couldn’t have been.

Without knowing all the facts about this incident, which I am sure we will never do, I am trying to withhold my judgment about these people. It’s pretty difficult, though. I am more upset about the situation that they were put in that contributed to their mental state that would allow them to participate in such brutality. What the hell are we doing over there, anyway? No weapons of mass destruction have been found. And our secondary reason for going in was that Saddam was an evil nasty man, and the people of that country deserve better. No doubt that was true. But all these actions, from this to Abu Graib to the mistaken bombing of a wedding party and then covering it up, just invalidate any justification we have in being there. What is our mission? I can’t tell.

The point of this post is not to condemn anyone, other than our leaders who put us in this gawdawful situation. I still think all individuals, past and present, in the military deserve our respect. But they are not above the law; they are not above having their actions questioned.

We should remember those who gave so much, and continue to do so in this present day, to the service of our country. Stop for a moment of reflection before you go on that trip to the mall on Monday. Light a candle. Attend a public service. Go to church. But while remembering their sacrifices, perhaps we should whisper a little prayer for their collective souls as well.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Hey, Enron's Lay and Skilling Found Guilty!

Perhaps justice can still prevail in the current "free-for-all" business environment here in the U.S. Great news indeed. I hope they both end up having to do extensive jail time, instead of drawing out everything with appeals.

I would hope that what remains of Enron will see the sense of dropping the current lawsuit against my local Public Utilities Department. The compliant is that my PUD unilaterally cancelled all the contracts they signed with Enron to provide us with electricity after we all found out, in some very dramatic ways, that they were actively manipulating the energy markets. And it certainly wasn’t for the good of the consumer. How they could possibly continue with such a lawsuit and keep a straight face is beyond me.

I can’t even begin to come up with enough nasty adjectives for these goons that gloated about “stealing money from Grandma”.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I'm Only Sleeping

I think somebody switched worlds while I was sleeping.

Weren’t people gong out of their way to be kinder to each other not very long ago? Or maybe it wasn’t kindness — maybe it was when somebody said what we all needed was to go out and buy something. I’m pretty sure it all had something to do Sept. 11 — you know, the day that we’re told changed everything.

My mind’s not what it used to be, God wot, but I think that some things did change. For instance, I seem to recall that back in 2000, if you asked someone in a cineplex not to talk on the cell phone during Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, you’d probably get a sheepish nod and compliance.

Make that request today and you’re lucky to be ignored.

No need to belabor the hyper-aggressive driving — second graders who spit out “You suck!” and “Eat me!” like spent bubblegum — the as-soon-as-I-get-mine-maybe-I’ll-think-about-you ethos — the strange lack of eye contact that makes your average-sized crowd look like the zombie casting call for Dawn of the Dead IV: Latex Allergies.

After all, it’s pretty small potatoes in a world where lifetime savings and pension funds are treated like so many nickels and dimes in your pockets, Don Skilling, Don Lay.

Funny. If I were some self-styled terrorist who wanted to disrupt a country’s functionality at the most fundamental (get it? Fundamental?) level, I’d try to create conditions where people deliberately isolated themselves from the possibility of pain, of tough questions and hard choices, of empathy with people outside their Verizon Circle of Friends. I’d encourage that country’s citizens to put themselves at the center of the universe. I’d denigrate the old and open temples to the Next Big Thing. Most of all, I’d work to keep them from connecting with each other on a meaningful level — because then they might discover commonalities and start — you know — getting all kum-by-yah with each other, maybe even start re-defining their friends and enemies.

Like I said, somebody pulled a switch — but then, it was my right to sleep!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hypocrisy really burns my gut.

I wish I could write really insightful posts regarding the current political landscape. For anyone who might stumble across this blog but have somehow not managed to come across the really good liberal blogs out there, go check out Firedoglake, DailyKos, Taylor Marsh, The Next Hurrah, Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo, etc. and then start following the links those sites provide.

Back to this post. I won’t try to outdo those posters, who obviously do a much better job than I. But I would like to voice my intense displeasure about the hypocritical statements being made and postures taken. The latest manufactured uproar is about Jean Rohe’s commencement speech at the New School in New York City, and how she preemptively and summarily handed John McCain his butt before he even had a chance to make his speech.

I won’t go into the pro’s and con’s of McCain’s position on anything here. I used to rather like him, as I thought he was a straight shooter and could be trusted even though I didn’t agree with him on some specific issues. I have since proven to be very wrong. But what I am writing about here is the response of the wingnut empire to Rohe’s rather extraordinary speech, and her even more extraordinary response to a Rotwieller attack by McCain’s surrogate. What a courageous and outstanding individual she must be. The short version of the wingnut outrage goes something like, “How DARE she speak out against McCain! He’s a war hero! He was in a POW camp! How uncouth liberals are! No manners! They will probably never win another election ever again with that kind of behavior!”

Yeah. So, do they not remember certain recent historical events, such as the sliming of John Kerry’s war record? Kerry fought in Vietnam when his country called on him, and was decorated for his actions. Bush, on the other hand, can’t even prove that he actually performed his requirements in the Guard. Max Cleland is a triple amputee who lost his limbs in Vietnam when he threw himself on a live grenade to save his buddies. But that didn’t stop the Republicans, with help from the national GOP, imply that he didn’t really deserve his purple heart and that he even somehow was himself responsible for his condition. John Murtha, ditto. John Murtha has been a right-of-center Democrat his entire career and a true supporter and friend of the military. Because Murtha came out and said what he and many in the Pentagon are thinking and feeling about how this administration is totally screwing up in how the war in Iraq is being fought and those colossal screw-ups are affecting the military preparedness of this country, it’s time to break out the character assassination machinery again. Jean Schmitt (R-OH) got up in the House of Representatives and accused Murtha of being a coward. The rightwing blogs are not even being that polite. I saw one that said that Murtha should be stripped of his position in the House, frog marched out the door, and then arrested.

So, what exactly is it again that we are complaining about, hmmmm? It’s uncivil and uncouth to preemptively challenge someone who is speaking at a college’s commencement but is using the event as a campaign event, but it is perfectly acceptable to participate in character assassination against people who really should be heroes in the eye’s of this country?

Man, hypocrisy really pisses me off.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Roger Corman Rules!

As in, Roger Corman Rule # 3: Movies must contain at least four sequences of the actors/actresses walking hurriedly from one point to another. When included in the final editing of the film, these can account for up to 10 valuable minutes of run time.

I almost titled this post, “My Admiration for Roger Corman is Unbounded!” I thought that might be just a bit over the top, so I compromised. Actually, I rather enjoy Corman’s body of work, even though most of the films he and his family (e.g., his brother) are associated with are pretty awful. However, what I find interesting is that the awfulness of his films are different in flavor from the works of, say, Ed Wood.

Now, no one will seriously debate the point that Wood’s films are not awful. In fact, they take awfulness to a new level. When viewed from a distance, I would say the awfulness of some of Corman’s films like “It Conquered The World” rival the awfulness of Wood’s films like “Plan 9”, other than Corman had better actors involved in his films. What I find different is that Corman is and never has been under any delusions about his films. He knows that a lot of them are really bad. Wood, on the other hand, I think really believed that he was making movie magic. In an angora sweater…. (Never one to pull my punches just because it might constitute a cheap shot, especially when the recipient is deceased.) All Corman was doing was making as many films as possible with the expressed purpose of making money on each and every one of them. Sir Roger likes to brag that, sure his movies are bad, but he never lost money on any one of them.

I recently watched one of Corman’s finest efforts, “Attack of the Crab Monsters”. Boy. Awful does not begin to describe it. Scientists land on some remote, uninhabited atoll in the South Pacific. They immediately establish their residence in what looks very much like a Motel 6, complete with Starving Artist paintings above the bed. But the idea behind this plot is what is so fascinating. The “monsters” of this film are mutated giant crabs, who are super-intelligent but go around roaring like an alpha lion getting his tail twisted. They apparently eat the humans they catch, and then can telepathically project their victims voices to the really gullible survivors. Oh, and these crabs have stolen a bunch of dynamite and are systematically blowing up the island into little bits, such that at the end of the film, there is only a little rocky ledge remaining. Russell Johnson (a.k.a., The Professor) electrocutes the remaining monster (off-screen, as it would have been, no doubt, a prohibitively expensive process shot that would have put the entire picture over budget) by pulling down a radio transmitter antenna on the beast. Where the power came from for this monster electrocution, I don’t know, since as mentioned previously, the rest of the island is under water.

So, who comes up with a plot like this? Three people sitting around on Roger’s veranda, after four pitchers of martinis, go, “Wait, wait a schec! I got a better one! The crabs can read minds! Yeah! Tha’s just brilliant!” Insane. Yet, he apparently made money off of this effort, and that is all he was ever intending to do. You can’t fault him on that.

One indication I have about what he thinks of his films, and other films of the genre, (besides the interviews he has given) is when he hosted AMC’s MonsterFest a few years back. They put together an hour long little spoof of the genre called “Roger Corman’s The Phantom Eye” that was actually extremely funny, with Corman himself cast as the villain of the piece, appropriately named “Dr. Gorman”.

But I do really like a number of his films, and two in particular. Both are very tongue-in-cheek. The first is the well known “Little Shop of Horrors”, with Jack Nicholson just getting his start. The other is a lesser known work called “Creature from the Haunted Sea”. I find this one absolutely hysterical, and would highly recommend it. As one commenter in the Internet Movie Database said of this film, “It makes ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ look like a major studio release.”

Renzo Capetto aka Capo Rosetto aka Ratto Pazetti, aka Zeppo Staccato, aka Shirley Lamour: [narrating] “It was dusk. I could tell 'cause the sun was going down.”

Sympathy for the Blogger

For my first attempted flight into the blogosphere, I thought I might offer a question about the blog/vlog phenomenon in general: What does it mean? I mean, why are people who normally couldn’t be bothered to write a thank-you note to the grandma who sent $100 in the birthday card suddenly finding all this time to either publicly chronicle, with imagined drama, the routines of their mundane lives or else offering their half-informed, largely gut-level opinions on momentous events that pundits will still be analyzing two decades in the future?

(And of course since I’ve tossed my own hat [souvenir, 1996 Columbus Floral Show] into the blogging ring, I’ve forfeited any right be taken seriously on this matter, but I knew the job was dangerous when I took it.)

If Willy Loman had “lived” in the age of the Internet, would he have been such a loser? Or would he have posted his angst on a blog — “Finding Diamonds,” maybe — and become a celebrity?

Nah — people today would pay him as much serious attention (that is, none) as his own kids did. Why? Partly because he ended up too befuddled about his place in the world to become a famous blogger — the most avidly read blogs are all about certitude if not certainty — but mainly because blogging is interactive only the way that tossing a message in a bottle onto the wide blue sea is interactive. The vast majority of blogs go unread — which is probably just as well, given how many of them are unreadable.

OK, now that I’ve successfully alienated not only any stray reader but quite possibly my fellow Barking Rabbit (just stirring the pot, zeppo!), I’ll get to my point: people blog out of same reason that Willy Loman dreamed — because “Attention must be paid!’ and so few are listening. As the art of conversation atrophies, blogs proliferate. Blogs aren’t conversation, per se; they’re attempts to be heard, regain some control of a world that seems to chortle at anyone who’s not the CEO, COO or CFO of a major international corporation — before puttin’ the boot in.

And I empathize. It sucks to feel powerless.

I just wonder — shades of David Brin’s EARTH — if blogs will ever become more than personal therapy (watch for more of mine in that vein once I get this subject out of my system) and will make the difference that non-electronically connected people have made in the past.

In other words, will all the disparate, largely solitary bloggers tap their way into becoming a community that can kick some serious ass? It’s early days, so let’s stay optimistic — blog on.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Some scary stuff.

How this country, and the rest of the world, for that matter, will react when our relatively easy and cheap energy sources dry up has been on my mind for a while. Admittedly, I was more worried about the consequences of global warming, but I always had in the back of my mind that we would run out of energy before we could do really, really serious damage (like another Permian Extinction event) to the earth. But I never really thought it through. Apparently, others have.


This post by James Kunstler lays down in pretty harsh details about what is going to happen to our lifestyle and our "imagined wealth". He makes a very good point that when you remove the contributions to the economy associated with building houses and the infrastructure required to support all these massive suburban settlements, the only thing this country has left is cutting hair and open heart surgery. That's a little extreme, but the point is well taken. Our country does not have a national industrial base anymore on which we depend, and if we did, it would take that cheap energy to run it.

This article predicts a move back to a more localized agrarian society, where we just can't afford densely populated cities and miles and miles of suburbs that don't contribute anything. Interestly, he never says anything about when this all might occur. Personally, I had been hoping that things would rather hold together in their present state of affairs at least until I hit retirement age. Pretty selfish, I know. At this point, given the willful ignorance of our "leaders" and a huge percentage of the population, I don't think there is much else to be done but hold on during the ride down.

I should stick to posts about music and movies. What the future probably has in mind for us is actually very depressing to think about.

Friday, May 19, 2006

So, George Bush is a liberal, huh?

There are a number of websites from the Right Blogsphere that have decided that they don’t really like George Bush and his cronies. (Sorry, no links. Not going to link to them, nope.) When everything was going good for them, we stomped all over a foreign country with a military about 1/200 the size of ours, we felt oh-so-much-better about ourselves. We were telling the French to go f**k themselves on a weekly basis and the whole world seemed to be our back yard, to do with what we pleased.

Well, now that we have decided the war isn’t actually going that great, and Bush’s poll numbers in the toilet, the unber-Conservatives have decided that Bush really isn’t on their team after all. He sure isn’t coming out with a plan to deport 11 million illegal workers in this country, and perhaps all that noise about banning gay marriage was so much hoo-haa. So, what do they label him as? A liberal! The wingnuts can’t even come up with a different name for someone they disagree with.

The population of “liberals” is sure getting pretty large, lately.

Musical Musings

A musically related post and the subsequent discussion at Crooks and Liars the other day got me thinking. I also want to try to have some posts related to something other than politics, which has really gotten me frazzled these days.

All right, I am mostly a product of the 70’s and 80’s. I was pretty young going through the 60’s, so although I am very familiar with bands like Cream, the Buffalo Springfield, the Yardbyrds, Jimi Hendrix, etc., they didn’t make that much of an impact on me. I certainly liked some of the music. My older brother was playing it all the time, so I heard quite a lot of it. Probably my favorite performers of the 60’s were Simon and Garfunkel. But it wasn’t until the 70’s happened that music really started having an impact. I am not sure I can explain what that means, really.

I imagine this is true for a lot of people. Music has a direct tie-in with the emotions you felt at the time you were really “into” that music. The two become inseparable. Certain music, for me, calls up the emotions of breaking up with a girlfriend, or moving away from a high school in the middle of the year. I have read that the sense of smell is the one sense that is intensely tied to emotions. I suppose that is true. Maybe that’s why perfumes work the say they do. But I still say that I can get more emotional reverberations by listening to Paul Simon’s “One Trick Pony” album than I do by smelling chopped celery. Maybe I just never had my heart ripped out and stomped on repeatedly while eating chopped celery….

What I am listening to these days? I’m in sort of a retro mood. Actually, contrary to popular belief, the 70’s actually put out a lot over very good music. Some of it sounds dated now, but from a cutting edge perspective, very hot stuff. Not all music back then was the Bee Gees sounding like someone had a firm grasp on their collective cojones. No, there was some very good, progressive music that came from that era.

I am currently listening to groups like Yes, Renaissance, Led Zepplin, Gentle Giant, etc. Yes’s album “Tales from Topographic Oceans” is really a masterpiece. They rather destroyed the whole concept of “verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-closing”. I can’t really fathom someone sitting down and actually writing that. And the band Renaissance is still very astounding to me. I don’t think their music sounds at all dated, unless it is the Rickenbacker bass. No one uses a Rickenbacker these days. But several of their albums are so musically interesting and well put together. Their one album “Scheherazade and other stories” really deserves a listen. It’s too bad that, except for old farts like myself who were into them in their heyday, even remember there was a band by that name.

On the other hand, I suppose I am just like my parents were, thinking that music of their era was still “hip”. I’m actually surprised that Tom Jones is still popular. I would have thought his fans all died several years ago.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Advertising absurdities, Part 1

The title of this post is either, best case, unnecessarily redundant, or worst case, a damning statement against how our throwaway culture is manipulated by advertising. Television advertising is particularly unattractive. Advertising and the suggestions they foist on the consumer pubic really borders on the ridiculous. And what makes this even more annoying to me is that it obviously works, since advertisers continue to do more of the same.

I am particularly annoyed by the constant “innovations” of disposable products like toothbrushes and shaving apparatus. High volume, low cost items. You can make a mint on manufacturing such items. But in today’s market, holding your own isn’t good enough, not by a long shot. A company must continually grow and expand it’s earnings, or else be labeled “underperforming” (i.e., a “dog”) by the rapacious entities of Wall Street, whoever they are. (Hint: Do you own any stock? Do you expect maximum returns on your investments or else you will sell the stock?)

So, back to razors. Companies like Schick have apparently decided that “Wall Street” demands that they improve their product line about once every year. Selling the same old low-end stuff year after year just won’t cut it. You may retain your customer loyalty, but that’s old hat these days. So, what can you possibly do to a very simplistic apparatus designed to cut whiskers? From a technical standpoint, there is not much. But from a marketing perspective, hey, you are only limited by your own imagination about what the gullible public might buy!

So, I was maybe ready to buy the bit about two blades maybe giving a closer shave than just one. Maybe. Just. And O.K., maybe the “lubricant strip” might make things a bit more comfortable. Knowing how irritating I find shaving is, I might actually check this one out. But truly, does anyone actually believe that three blades is better than two? Or four better than three? Or now, FIVE?! Truly, that is astounding that anyone would actually try this. I remember a skit on Saturday Night Live back in the 70’s or early 80’s when the two blade razor came out. They made a great joke about a BRAND NEW razor that had three blades! The innovation was astounding! And they even used those cartoon graphics showing how the blades would cut the whisker off before it had a chance to “snap back”. Ah, satire. The problem with satire, of course, is that is has the unfortunate tendency to become reality. What was worthy of a very sarcastic joke is now pure marketing genius.

Five blades in one razor. Actually, it is six, because the newest “Fusion” razor contains not just five blades in the main shaving head, but another one on the other side, so you can flip it over for “precision shaving”. Which is just what we had before the “Blade Wars” started. Does anyone actually believe that this innovation actually gives you a closer shave? I think this is reaching the point of the old Groucho line, “If I get any closer a shave, I’ll be into my sub-dermis layer!”

Another neat trick is just pure packaging. Making everything look like a race car is a good bet these days, with the rising popularity of NASCAR. Yep, my razor is bright red, has racing stripes, and really cool looking aerodynamic curves. Lightly balanced, makes corners on a dime, probably can go from a standing start to 80 mph in a flash. That MUST equate to giving a comfortable shave, right?

I wish people would start revolting at the check out counter and stop buying these items that now cost about five times as much as they should, but don’t really give you much else to speak of.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

“Angry Democrats” and other projections.

It’s really an interesting phenomena. Republicans routinely attribute Democrats, liberals, and anyone else they don’t particularly like (i.e., anyone other than themselves) with motives, actions, and thoughts for which they, themselves, are particularly well known. And no one in the mainstream pretends to notice. Amazing what people can ignore these days.

Take for example, how “angry” Democrats seem to be. How unseemly that all is. Boy, you sure wouldn’t want to elect someone to office as angry as that, would you? And no one ever points out to those involved The Mighty Wurlitzer that anger is what makes the Red State world go round. Jeez, of COURSE we are angry. After getting beat up for the last 15 years, starting in high doses during the Newt Gingrich-inspired “Contract With America” years, liberals have been accused of being every dirty thing imaginable. Listen to any of the talk radio out there on the airwaves, with the exception of Air America, and you will see that the entire concept depends solely on how upset Limbaugh, Savage, etc. can make their audience. Anger, bordering on hatred, is what fuels their passion. So, what do they accuse the Democrats of? Being too angry, of course.

How about “stealing elections”? I have gotten a laugh out of this one, although it isn’t really funny in any sense of the word except for maybe “tragically ironic”. After the debacle of Florida of 2000 (where I am sure I don’t need to remind anyone of Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush, the Supremes voting along party lines, massive voter “manipulation, etc.) and Ohio 2004, any close election now sparks cries of “Democrats are trying to steal the election!” The race for governor in Washington State in 2004 was the closest gubernatorial race in the history or the U.S. It resulted in three recounts, each “winning margin” was closer than the last. The Republican candidate was originally declared the winner, but a mandatory recount was required because of the small margin. The Republican also won the first recount. At this point, again because of the very small winning percentage, the law states that the losing party may ask for another recount, as long as they pay for it. Which was done. At this point, the Democrat candidate won. All very legal. Except for cries of fraud from the other side. Not to say there weren’t irregularities on both sides. There were. But after what happened in Florida, you would think that Republicans would be very hesitant to raise any awareness of possible stolen elections. Nope, it never occurred to them. Because, given the circumstances, stealing an election would be exactly what they would do! Therefore, if they lost on the second recount, it was obviously because the Democrats stole it.

It seems to me that anything the current crop of Republicans can imagine themselves doing, no doubt their opponents would do. And since Democrats are obviously much less truthful and trustworthy, they must have done it (whatever “it” is for that particular situation) FIRST. I just don’t think that they have a concept that people might actually play by the rules. Rules other than “do whatever it takes to win, at all costs”, that is.

Projection, it is, then. Whatever the Republican talking points for that day are regarding of how to smear your opponent, you can most likely be assured that they have engaged in the very same activity at some point in time, or at least thought that it was a pretty neat idea.