Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Simon & Garfunkel: Which Was The Stupid One?

I have never been a fan of Simon & Garfunkel. Their brand of painfully mellow, but beautifully written, pop songs is soporific. They are dull (and there is no greater sin than dullness).

When they split, I found Paul Simon's solo pop music to be insipid and unlistenable. I know little to nothing about Garfunkel's post-duo music and/or career.

One made a gazillion more dollars, the other seems to be living quite well on payments for work past.

Nothing about their musical careers point to stupidity.

But, then I find this news story:
Garfunkel busted for marijuana again at Woodstock.

Though I do not personally smoke marijuana, I do not oppose others smoking it, and I think laws banning the distribution and possession of marijuana are draconian. If I am allowed to drink vodka, I should be allowed to smoke marijuana. I think it's bizarre that marijuana possession is a crime. I also think it is stupid to drive a car when you are stoned or drunk.

Art Garfunkel was stopped by the police for driving through a stop-sign. When Garfunkel rolled down the window, the smell of marijuana smoke wafted from the car and a joint sat in the ashtray.

This idiot was driving around, smoking a joint, blowing stop-signs! So he was arrested. And this is the second time in a year! He's friggin' 63 years old! Though I think he should be allowed to smoke marijuana, only a stupid person consumes drugs or booze while actually driving their car.

So, my vote for which of the duo is the stupid one goes to Art Garfunkel, a 63-year-old man who thinks it's OK to smoke marijuana while driving a car.


Dick Mac Recommends:

The Last Words of Dutch Schultz:
A Fiction in the Form of a Film Script

William S. Burroughs

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Vegas Catholics, Baby!

This may come as a surprise to those of you not living in Las Vegas: but there are more Catholic churches than casinos in Vegas. Not surprisingly, some worshippers at Sunday services will give casino chips rather than cash when the basket is passed.

Since they get chips from so many different casinos, the churches have devised a method to process the offerings. The collected chips are sent to a nearby Franciscan Monastery for sorting and then the chips are taken to the casinos of origin and cashed-in.

This is done by a chip monk!

Thanks to Dave for sending this along.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Catholicism for Dummies
John Trigilio

Monday, August 29, 2005

Finally! A Real Use for the SuperDome!

The Saints lost to the Ravens 21-6 on Friday. Has any team ever been less deserving of a home with the word "Super" in its name than the Saints? The New Orleans SuperDome has been the home of the Saints since it opened.

With Hurricane Katrina beating down on New Orleans, officials opened the SuperDome to the City's poor who needed to get out of their homes in the lowest-lying regions of this city that lies below sea-level.

Eight thousand citizens are safe and dry with access to toilets. Officals do not have the air-conditioning running.

The openeing of the Dome to provide some actual use to the city is a wise plan, because these 8,000 citizens would likely be washed downriver without the protection.

Go Saints!

An article about the opening of the Dome to locals in need of shelter.

New Orleans Live Cams.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Down and Out in Paris and London
George Orwell

Friday, August 26, 2005

Jobless Rate At All-Time Low

One of my favorite tricks of the Republicans is the way they have redefined statistics to prove that Reaganomics is working.

The newest information about the jobless rate at an all-time low fails to inform that they now count part-time jobs and jobs providing no benefits as countable jobs. Prior to de-regulation of the American marketplace and the creation of socialism for the super-rich, only full-time jobs with benefits were counted in keeping these statistics. I think the old method is a more accurate reflection of the state of our economy.

The jobless rate is not at an all-time low! The employment situation in the United States is worse than it's ever been! People working full-time jobs are getting no benefits: no health care, no vacation, nothing! People are working forty-plus hours a week and living in poverty.

Each time these statistics are released, you are being told a lie almost as big as the biggest lie.

The Onion offers amusing information about the big lie that might be more accurate than the government's statistics about employment: "U.S. Blowjobless Rate At All-Time High"!

Article at The Onion

Dick Mac Recommends:

Imperial America
Gore Vidal

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Hempfest in Seattle

An older woman smokes a marijuana joint at Hempfest in Seattle, Washington. More than 150,000 people were expected to attend Hempfest at Seattle's Myrtle Edwards Park on Seattle's waterfront 21-22 August 2004. The event is billed as the world's largest drug-policy reform rally.(AFP/Getty Images/Ron Wurzer)

See the original picture and article at Yahoo!

Dick Mac Recommends:

2005 Physicians' Desk Reference
Medical Economics

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Where is the FCC when you need them?

The original purpose of the FCC was to protect the airwaves that are owned by the citizens of the United States. That is, all United States airwaves are owned by the citizenry.

During the Reagan Reaction, the communications industry was deregulated and the job of the FCC became to protect the profits of corporations leasing the airwaves and not the citizens who own the airwaves.

This has led to a federal commission that punishes not just those who interfere with profit-making, but anyone interfering with the theocratic agenda of Washington.

In April, 2004, I wrote about the FCC's immoral campaign against that dullard Howard Stern. I may think he is dull, but I am appalled at his treatment by ClearChannel and the FCC. (Please note that I refer to Stern as a self-declared Republican in that article and many have told me I am wrong about that. I can't be bothered to investigate, but I am willing to be wrong about it.)

If we are going to hold the talent to strict standards of on-air behavior, I think we must hold the corporations to even stricter standards of business behavior.

Cable television service in the United States is an embarrassment. It is grossly over-priced and the technical support is nearly non-existent. I hear horror stories regularly. My personal experience with Cablevision, my current provider, is laughable! The prices are so high and the service so bad that I begged a support person to put me through to her supervisor because she did such a good job! (I see no point of complaining about bad service, because that seems to be Cablevision's business plan so why bother complaining about the obvious!)

I have, however, never had the experience of LaChania Govan, of Illinois. She has been calling Comcast (her cable provider) on a regular basis because the service is so bad.

I guess she got a bit of a reputation at the office, and this month, her bill arrived with her address correctly imprinted, but her name was listed as "Bitch"!

Now, if Howard Stern had been on a Comcast broadcast and called Ms. Govan a bitch, there would have been million-dollar fines and he would have been terminated. Comcast has terminated two employees, but where are the million dollar fines from the FCC?

Is this how the FCC allows Comcast to do business? Does the FCC not hold broadcasters to particular standards of business practice?

This story is amazing and points to the total failure of corporate deregulation: corporations can treat consumers any way they like and there will never be any ramifications!

I still find it hard to believe that American business has gotten so bad, and that American capitalism has been so destroyed.

Here is the original article Mrs. Mac sent me.

Dick Mac Recommends:

George Orwell

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Favorite Painting

Steven Swan by Cheyney Thompson (c.1995)

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Problem Of Pain
by C.S. Lewis

Monday, August 22, 2005

MetroStars 3 - 3 Chivas USA

Took my niece to Giants Stadium last night for a soccer match. What a great game! Action throughout!

Metros scored first on a penalty when Eddie Gaven was taken down in the box and Armado Guevara converted; but Chivas came back very aggressively and scored three goals (two by the always entertaining Juan Francisco Palencia) to leave my Metros languishing down by two goals at the half.

Eddie Gaven took another hit in the penalty area, and Guevara converted for his second goal of the night. In the 94th minute, Youri Djorkaeff passed a set-piece from just outside the box to Guevara on the left who tied the score with an impressive kick, completing his hat-trick!

Armado Guevara

We had a grand time, and it was a very well-played match from start to finish.

Match Report

Dick Mac Recommends:

Playing for Uncle Sam
by David Tossell

Friday, August 19, 2005

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Free Clothes

I have received my fair-share of t-shirts emblazoned with the logos of corporations or their products. Since I'm not much of a t-shirt guy, I wear them only when doing things like painting and housecleaning (so a single logo-ed t-shirt should last the rest of my life). I think of these t-shirts as being free clothes for the middle-class. Corporations hand them out in the workplace regularly.

Last night I attended the Camp Casey candlelight vigil at Rockefeller Center. It was lovely. It was nice to be with so many people who support Cindy Sheehan and her vigil at the home of the current American president.

The location of the vigil made for quite a collection of people. Many, like me, having just left the office, were dressed in business casual attire ranging from khaki to linen. There were those dressed for the theater, and some in religious garb, and some in the unmistakable guise of tourists.

There were police officers in crisp uniforms and blank faces cordoning off the area in their ongoing efforts to "keep the public safe" by making anyone who disagrees with federal policy as uncomfortable as possible.

Then there were those in free clothes. One young man was college-age and wore a grey cotton t-shirt with the logo "citibank@campus" (the .com was suspiciously missing). I thought back to Vietnam protests, gay rights marches and riots, pro-choice rallies, marches on Washington and various state capitols, and the defense of the International Hotel. Though 'free clothes' existed in these days, I can't remember, and certainly can't imagine, that anyone at these events would have worn a shirt from a bank.

When I think about it: most of the problems with wars and money are rooted in the policies of banks and the companies they fund, so advertising their products while protesting war seems odd to me.

Then I saw the 'free clothes' outfit that was most absurd!

A middle-aged man holding a candle was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of a Fox television network. Now, this totally baffles me! How can you advertise a Fox television network and be opposed to the war in Iraq? Fox networks are the champions of the media campaign against Camp Casey, and the primary media supporters of the current American president and the war in Iraq.

I don't get it!

Me? I wore a linen shirt made in Ireland, linen trousers made in Italy, and Prada pumps made by the Devil in Milan.

Maybe I was the one dressed inappropriately!

Some press:

Worker's World

Mother's vigil moving to bigger spot. Ranch neighbor offers land after car runs over anti-war memorial.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Imperial America
Gore Vidal

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Cindy Sheehan and Camp Casey

Cindy Sheehan has set-up camp outside the Crawford, Texas ranch of the current American president in hopes that he will talk to her about the honor of losing her son in Iraq.

Though the current American president and his apologists happily acknowledge her presence and her complaints (a little too happily, if you ask me), the Commander-in-Chief of the American armed forces refuses to meet with her.

Sheehan and her supporters ask most of the same questions as all thinking people. What is honorable about the war in Iraq? If the war is honorable, why haven't the president's military-age children accepted the honor (from which they will profit handsomely when that Iraqi oil begins to flow again) of fighting the war? If the war is honorable, why are there no films of flag-draped coffins coming home (a tradition that became ritualized in World War II) proving to America that their children are not dying secretly or in vain?

Of course, the current Administration is more interested in covering-up their misjudgments and mistakes to discuss morality and nobility. They preach about it, but will not discuss it.

The current American president has a few friends in Crawford, Texas. His neighbor, Larry Mattlage, decided to fire his shotgun in the air. This might actually just be a Sunday morning ritual for Mr. Mattlage; but, I would think firing a shotgun over the ranch of the sitting American president would be a felony and an arrest, trial and incarceration are called-for. Of course, since Mattlage is a supporter of the President,, no charges are pending. I wonder what would happen to a supporter of Cindy Sheehan if he were to fire a shotgun over the president's ranch?

Another supporter of the President, who likely considers himself a Christian but is probably only a corporate fundamentalist of the stripe to make even the Vatican blush, attached chains and pipes to the back of his pick-up truck and drove through that part of Sheehan's vigil site where a "cemetery" of white crosses has been erected. Yes, dear reader, Larry Northern, of Waco, Texas, wants the world to know that Sheehan is not a patriot so he drove his truck through a field of white crosses to make his point. He has been charged with "criminal mischief." If a member of Sheehan's vigil camp drove a pick-up truck through a populated area, what charges do you think would be filed? I bet it would be attempted murder and assault on a police officer. But, since Larry Northern is a "patriot" he was just being mischievous, not menacing!

I have learned recently that these corporate apologists and neocons are not really political or Christian or conservative. They are selfish. They want everything their way and there can be no dissent.

Most importantly, they are dull. When you talk to a republican or a Reagan-democrat, make sure you tell them that they are just plain dull.

Read a Reuters article about the recent incidents at Crawford, Texas, here.

Dick Mac Recommends:

What's the Matter with Kansas?
Thomas Frank

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I have returned to New York and offer you this picture of Times Square while I get settled-in. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Lauren Bacall Rips Tom Cruise

What becomes a legend most? Well, Blackglama furs, of course. In 1967 Lauren Bacall was the first legend to appear in the famous series of magazine advertisements.

Bacall is a legend. Her movies, her political activism, her romances, her parenting, everything about Bacall speaks to dignity and talent.

She doesn't speak-out much these days, but yesterday, the 81-year-old legend said about Tom Cruise: "It's inappropriate and vulgar and absolutely unacceptable to use your private life to sell anything commercially, but I think it's kind of a sickness."

She says more, too! Read it here.

Dick Mac Recommends:

By Myself and Then Some
Lauren Bacall

Monday, August 01, 2005

Saudi Arabia's King Fahd Dead

Crown Prince Abdullah, the king's 81-year-old half brother and the country's de factor ruler, was appointed the new monarch. . . .

Abdullah oversaw the crackdown on Islamic militants after followers of Saudi-born Osama bin Laden launched a wave of attacks, beginning with the May 2003 bombings of Western residential compounds in Riyadh. Abdullah also pushed a campaign against extremist teaching and preaching and introduced the kingdom's first elections ever — municipal polls held in early 2005. . . .

This so-called crackdown on Islamic militants has amounted to nothing more than financed expulsions from Saudi Arabia. The Saudi royal family allows these militants to leave with pockets full of money, there is no crackdown! There are no arrests! The criminals currently committing atrocities around the world are Abdullah's gift to justice and world peace. Abdullah has cracked-down on nobody, he simply expels them from his kingdom and sets them loose on the rest of the world.

America's primary problem is Saudi Arabia and its allies in the United States. With Abdullah at the head of Saudi Arabia, we can expect more crime and terror, and higher oil prices.

Not enough members of the House of Saud can expire quickly enough to make the world a safe place.

Dick Mac Recommends:

House of Bush, House of Saud
Craig Unger