Thursday, September 26, 2002

"We are not as holy as you are,
But we are not as cruel."
- - - Tom Rapp (Pearls Before Swine)
Some stuff I've read lately:

Penny Arcade:
"Of course, you needn't concern yourself overmuch with Victory. My probability algorithm, made with Science, calculates your chances of victory to be very, very near Zero."

Fragments From Floyd:
"Know the difference between a large pizza and a writer?"
"A large pizza can feed a family of four."

And a couple more until I get around to expanding my links section at left:

Shadow Of The Hegemon
"A liberal response to the dominance of conservative rhetoric online." If that's what floats yer boat.

Sweat Flavored Gummi
Rebecca is an amusing and profane young writer. Not a Guaranteed Interesting Read but an often amusing slice of somebody else's life for when you feel like you don't have one of your own...
I'm having some second thoughts about this Toogood nonsense, having read a little about the Irish Traveller Drift, Grift, Scam & Scram lifestyle. But my disdain for the mother and the suspicion that the kid was maybe hit because she somehow blew the "return stolen merchandise for cash" scam doesn't really impact on what I wrote below very much. For the record, I suspect that she loves her kids and is raising them to a life of petty theft and small time fraud. I doubt that sentencing her to Counseling would improve matters much, but I anticipate considerable Outrage that she's not Locked Up when all is said and done.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

So at the moment I'm reading Nick Hornby's new novel, How To Be Good. It's pretty enjoyable, though in contrast to High Fidelity and About A Boy, the main character is female and I'm not sure how convincing his female first-person voice is. I'll have to get Lora's opinion when I finish the book. I'd compare it to the way many female cartoonists don't draw men convincingly. Not that Mort Walker captures female attributes in a realistic manner, but somehow the guys in Cathy (and several other strips I can't think of at the moment) always come off looking effeminate. They probably spend too much time drawing their hair and eyes and stuff.

But, getting back to the book, it's a trifle disturbing because the main character is a Doctor and she's been married to her glum, crabby and overweight husband David for 20 years and they're bored and dissatisfied with their lives and stuff. If I thought this was a Birthday Present With A Message, I'd be worried. But now I'm getting towards the middle of the book and bizarre and funny stuff is starting to happen. I don't see John Cusack or Hugh Grant in this movie, though. Maybe James Lileks. Or Sid Smith. Heck, if there was more physical comedy in it, maybe I could play David. But it'll probably star Meg Ryan (unless there's another actress who can play early 40's attractively...), which means Tom Hanks or Michael Keaton would play my role. Heh heh.

Yesterday I came across a slightly interesting article Nick Hornby wrote last year about the state of popular music as reflected in the best seller chart. "I decided ... that my own lack of familiarity with what people are actually buying in bulk was far too shaming, and so I sat down and listened to the ten best-selling albums in the United States according to the July 28, 2001, issue of Billboard." Yow, talk about suffering for your art...
This woman in Indiana who got caught on security camera hitting her child? I think I'm more sympathetic to her case than anyone I've read or heard so far...

I'll start with a modified Sam Kinison line: I don't condone child abuse. I understand it...

Okay, if you think that's Not Funny you might as well skip the rest of this. To start with, the girl was not injured. Period. No bruises. No blood. No concussion, Some white bread young doctor watching a video in front of TV news cameras saying "Oh my God, we need to get that little girl to an emergency room," is not sufficient cause to demonize a mother of three.

Okay, so I'm a troglodyte who doesn't believe that Spanking Equals Abuse. I also don't think that video shows very much of what I've heard described. "She was grabbed by her hair and punched in the face more than 12 times" is not supported by the view I've seen of the mother leaning into the back of the vehicle, her white trash blond ponytail bouncing up and down as she lays down the law to her kid. She was clearly angry, but to say she was Out Of Control overstates the case.

Part of getting a kid's attention sometimes involves exaggerating parental response. The Child Rearing Specialists nowadays say that you shouldn't even Yell at your kids, much less Strike them. Mrs. Toogood is even parroting the party line (on the advice of her attorney, I have no doubt). "Nobody has a right to strike their child. I shouldn't have did it." Hard to disagree with the second statement, in retrospect (we even get to feel smugly superior to her uneducated way with the English language), but does she really believe the first? Do you? I don't.

Most of us were raised with the concept that parents did indeed have that right and it would be exercised if behavior strayed excessively from accepted norms. We're not talking about wife beaters here, okay? We're talking about normal American families. I've seen loud angry parents manhandling children in stores before. It's not pretty, but I know why it happens. Changing a whiny defiant kid into a scared crying kid isn't necessarily a big improvement, but maybe it's just a step in an ongoing educational process. Any honest parent will admit that they've had moments that they're glad were not captured on videotape. There's no potential "Caught On Tape: Woman Assaults Child - Police Searching For Mother" moment in your past? Are you sure? How about your Mother's?

"A doctor who viewed the tape said the girl needs treatment." Hmmm, now that they've examined her, what kind of "treatment" have they prescribed? Separation from her family, that's what. Well, at least it makes the TV news audience feel better.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Today would have been my dad's 88th birthday. Clarence was born in 1914 and died in 1980. He was called "Bob" by everybody, a nickname that evidently came from being called "baby" with a German accent. (I don't know why his brother Albert was called Kelly.) The youngest of 17 children. One of his siblings, my Aunt Margaret, is still alive.
Mike Myers and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band were on Letterman last night, but I couldn't get interested in staying awake to watch it. I must be getting old. OTOH, I couldn't get interested in finding a relatively blank VHS to tape it on, either, so perhaps it's merely apathy unrelated to my advancing years. And I've been getting out of the house at 6:30 all week to get Sarah to marching band practice at school. Oh well, a shortage of sleep is not a particular problem right now anyway. I don't actually have any problems right now apart from a lack of important things to complain about. Maybe I should pretend to work a little harder. Well, as rabbitblog points out, "...starting a blog is about as clear a cry for help as there is, huh?"

Thursday, September 19, 2002

For $15,000, these guys will make any car go 140 mph

The "future plans" paragraph at the end is thought provoking... "We want to drop a Greyhound bus from a C5A," says Gasson. "We'll fill the bus with 40 or so skydivers, and they'll climb out on the way down." This sounds like a lawyer joke waiting to happen. Or perhaps a Palestinian mass-transit plan to be considered?
- - - Thanks to Murphy C. Overdot
Why did the baby cross the road?
It was stapled to the chicken.
- - - Thanks, Sarah!

29 years ago, Gram Parsons died at the age of 26... Meter your dosage carefully, folks!

Paul Z reminds us, "If you can't be good, be careful." I think my dad used to say that.

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

So, my birthday was almost a week ago and I've been wasting time elsewhere and not getting around to blogging since who cares anyway.

This year's gala Birthday weekend included a nice dinner, a little cake and some thoughtful gifts. Nick Hornby's new novel, How To Be Good, The First 28 Years of Monty Python's Flying Circus, Jorma Kaukonen's new CD and a big box of old time radio cassettes from the in-laws. Oh, and a nice sweater thing from Lora's aunt which won't be worn until the weather gets quite a bit colder. I was born in 1955, if you're wondering. "If I'd known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself."

We also emptied and cleaned the "bag of water" pool in the back yard Sunday while the Packers put in their usual lackluster dome performance down in New Orleans. One of those 16 foot by 30" deep vinyl pools with the inflated rim. We made pretty good use of it this summer, but the algae took over when somebody turned off the filter for 10 days while we were in California, so it's been kinda icky the last month or so.

There's another big lack of links today, but one news item seem worth mentioning. Warren Zevon has terminal lung cancer. Bummer. What I've heard of his recent CD's is real good. "My Shit's Fucked Up" is as close to a Theme Song as I've adopted this year...

Some people say, "The glass is half empty."
Some people say, "The glass is half full."
Some people say "Why is my glass half empty, while his is half full?"
- - - Thanks to Haym Hirsh via

Paraphrasing Herbert Kornfeld: "Keepin' it real, representin' to tha fullest in tha cube crib 40/5.."

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

One year ago this morning, I was a little late to work, which, by itself is not very unusual.

My car radio was tuned to Classic Hits WKLH on that Tuesday morning, and the discussion between Dave, Carole and KB concerned why baseballs carry farther when the humidity is high. Seems a little counter-intuitive, doesn't it? Lotsa water in the air, it feels "sticky" and "heavy" ... ? But there's more homers hit in Miller Park when the roof is closed and the humidity climbs... What's up with that?

Knowing a little about the subject, I picked up my then-new cell phone and dialed 414-799-1965. I was rather suprised to hear the phone ringing. (It's one of the most popular radio stations in Milwaukee, and the line is usually busy, especially if you're trying to win a contest or something.) Soon, I was even more surprised to find myself on the air, explaining that water vapor is a gas, not little tiny globules of liquid water, which would be fog or something. And it's a lighter gas than air! Water's molecular weight is approximately 18 - 1 proton in each hydrogen atom plus 8 protons and 8 neutrons in the oxygen atom. Now, "air" is mostly Nitrogen and Oxygen. Each of these molecules consists of two atoms, so the molecular weights of Nitrogen and Oxygen gas are 28 and 32 respectively. Therefore, adding water vapor to this Nitrogen-Oxygen mixture actually reduces its density.

Of course, having this leftover knowledge from high school chemistry at the tip of my tongue makes me Albert Einstein or something compared to Morning Show Radio Personalities. But my elation was short-lived, as some breaking news came over the wire a few minutes before 8 AM CDT... That month's fifteen seconds of fame disappeared like... Like... Like some really insubstantial Thing that all of a sudden isn't there anymore just when you're trying to get a good look at it. What was that? Was it something?

The rest of my day was much like everybody else's, and I don't feel the need to document what I remember about it right here right now. Several months later I saw an old friend, Debbie, who said she heard me on the radio a while ago. Yes, I remember the date... 9/11/01

Friday, September 06, 2002

Okay, so what's the Blogosphere Food Chain look like and where do I, Hazy Dave, fit in? Well, I'm nowhere and that's fine. This may have already been the subject of an article in Time, so consider this redundant, if you like.

The Top Rank must include Heavy Political Blogs like Instapundit and Vodkapundit and Demosthenes. (I gotta convert all these to links when I have a chance, since the blogosphere, if it's about anything, is about linkage.) Warbloggers and Libertarian NeoCons and BleedingHeartLiberals and so on. I have no aspirrations of emulating these guys. Many of them are Law Talking Guys and Professional Writers and Tenured Faculty Members so I'm nowhere near their league even if I was ten times more Political Science and Government Policy Minded than I am.

In a League Of His Own as far as I know, is James Lileks, who apparently writes a feature / humor / lifestyle column for the Minneapolis Star Tribune a few times a week. Man, this needs a lot of editing. That's a bad description of The Backfence, but I wasn't a Journalism major either. Somewhere between Garrison Keillor and Dave Barry, I suppose. Anyway, his daily online companion addendum to the Column is called the Bleat. Every now and then, something triggers a Screed. Flotsam Cove is a good place to while away a few hours. What can I say, he writes interestingly about things I can relate to (music, kids, work, beer) and I wish he lived next door.

For some reason, there seem to be a lot of bloggers in Cleveland. Linkage! People who knew each other, or just gregarious types who found each other and started pulling in satellites? Who knows. Some bloggers are better, more interesting or more tittilating writers than others. This narrative is losing steam. I'm trying to work ex-Suck Filler writer Polly Ester's rabbitblog and UpYours into this, but it's gonna take some editing later. I don't know if that's in the spirit of blogging or not. I guess when you have no readers you can make your own rules...

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Cross-posted from Rainy Day Music PsychoBabylon:

Thank You For Slowing Down

That's what the lawn signs say in my neighborhood, the ones that don't exhort me to vote next week. A good thought, now that the kids are back in school, just as it is in the Spring, when the kids are out of school.

The little red "x" you may see attached to this message comes courtesy of, which has noticed that I'm using their free bandwidth to put little tiny pictures here and there on the internet instead of slavishly adhering to their TOS and only linking great big photos to Auction Sites. So it goes.

I therefore find that ezboard, my eBay page and maybe some other places I've placed links feature little red x's instead of the graphic bemusement I selected with your mind in mind. This is slightly disappointing. But it's been close to 2 years since I've auctioned anything anyway. Still, when I get around to it I have a small pile or two of junque to peddle, so perhaps I should try to reactivate the account and more closely adhere to the Terms Of Service.

My Angelfire Home Page, which is very difficult or perhaps even impossible to find if you don't know where to look, is unaffected by this change, but they, like Yahoo, seem very efficient about preventing remote linkage of any kind.

The absence of even a whole megabyte of internet connected storage space is also expected to affect my nebulous plans to transform my infant blog (also difficult or impossible to find without detailed directions) into a Harvey Pekar / R. Crumb inspired webcomic. So it goes again. The "To Blog Or Not To Blog" question has not yet been definitively answered anyhow. Semi-anonymous posting of semi-personal thoughts seems therapeutic, but I've never been Catholic and I don't think that Confession is necessarily a Good Idea in all cases. Hmm. If I have nothing to Sell and I'm not Looking To Buy, who is my Audience, and how much do I want them to Know? Which begs the question of why I should be weblogging at blogspot anyway, when I have places like psychobabylon and eBay MB to scribble what passes for my thoughts and witticisms with the knowledge that somebody else will read them? Talking to myself is more fun with an audience, I guess. At least the chance for dialogue exists. Or maybe I should recognize the intellectual pack rat desire to collect my own thoughts and put them in a box in the basement.

Have I recommended Wigu (When I Grow Up) to you guys yet? It's my favorite webcomic right now, even better than Shaw Island, which hasn't had the hamsters in a storyline for a while.

Well, like I say every day, I have some work I should be doing... This post was going to be a Top Ten List, but I forget what the Subject was going to be. Albums, probably, but I'm not inspired for that little intellectual exercise right now. Movies either.

A possible future newspaper headline keeps running through my mind. Local Man Found Walking Railroad Tracks In His Underwear. "They're new underwear and I really like them," he explained. "The weather was perfect." Oh well, time for my depressinginspirational tagline, lifted from a comic strip I found somewhere...

"So, The way I see it, we have a choice. We can either A: Live our lives passionately, move forward without fear, seize the moment, grasp opportunity, follow our hearts, consider time a fleeting treasure, breathe the air, love and be alive; or B: Live passionless, stagnant, unfulfilled, cheap, pathetic, trivial, useless, passive, demoralizing parodies of nothingness."

"How long do we have to decide?"
"What was the first choice again?"

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

What? Nobody posted anything here since last month? Oh well.

In today's news, Boomspeed cancelled my free account for using their bandwidth to link to little photos for chat areas instead of linking to big photos for auctions, as specified in the TOS. I thought I might slip under their radar with my little bit of larceny... But I guess I'm just the kind of fish they're trying to catch. Except that I don't wanna bite on $2 a month (the first month's free) to host my little stoopid pictures. The upshot is that there will be a distinct lack of graphics here for the foreseeable future.

And now the Labor Day Weekend is well over, and I should do some work...