Squirrels on Crack

I KNEW it would happen eventually. And I knew it’d be on a Friday.
The piece I was working on for today got lost on my computer Wednesday night! Arrgh!
Last night, I was up past 11 talking with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Mark; he was the one who turned me on to comic books. 11 p.m. may not be late to you, but 5:20 a.m. comes awfully early several days in a row. Never have I looked forward to the weekend as much as when I’ve been taking Lydia to day care the past six weeks.
Work today will be busy, because 2 of the 4 are out of the office.
Point is:: what I had in mind for today ain’t ready yet.
And given the fact that we’re going out tonight, won’t be ready tonight.
(I mean, I PLAN this stuff? Generally, yes, I have a broad idea, and except for the obits, I might work on pieces in advance in anticipation of crunch times.)

So go read why Evanier pities W. (It explains a LOT about this White House.)

After this:

This is one of those bizarre stories I’d have given to Burgas if he weren’t away this weekend. Go sign his blog, and make the future dictator happy.

My strange friend Dan initially sent out this article, with this commentary:

In these days of corporate propaganda disguised as information, it’s nice to see some good old fashioned yellow journalism made up from thin air. I don’t think that there’s a single sentence in this article that’s true, except, perhaps, the last one. From some rag called The South London Press (England).

Which engendered this rebuttal:

Dan, I’m surprised that you, of all people, aren’t aware of the growing squirrel crack addiction problem right here in Albany’s First Ward. It’s so common that people are now referring to the poor little beasts as scrackers.

and this:

I believe it. How do you know it’s not true?

Forcing Dan to recant:

OK, you’ve got me there. I didn’t bother to check the story because it is so obviously absurd. So I put the keywords “squirrels” and “cocaine” into Google and found that the story appears to have originated with several English tabloids that ran almost identical stories on the same day. However, the story has subsequently taken on a life of its own. The story has caused enough uproar to induce The Guardian to look into it.

I particularly enjoyed this eyewitness description of a squirrel on crack:

“I locked eyes with it and it stared back at me really confidently. It was scavenging and it looked scrawny.”

Funny how this squirrel on crack looks and behaves exactly like a normal squirrel.

In my neighborhood the squirrels huff solvents and fall out of the trees.

Rock Meme-Paul Simon

This guy’s 64th birthday is today, born in 1941. I’ve limited these to solo Paul Simon. He’s done some S&G songs on his solo discs, and they were in play, but not used.

Artist/Band: Paul Simon
Are you male or female: Boy in the Bubble
Describe yourself: Think Too Much
How do some people feel about you: Still Crazy After All These Years
How do you feel about yourself: Something So Right
Describe what you want to be: Spirit Voices
Describe how you live: Some Folks Lives Roll Easy
Describe how you love: How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns
Share a few words of wisdom: One Man’s Ceiling is Another Man’s Floor

Credit card companies are evil


I have this credit card that I never use, but I must have authorized an automatic expenditure for a magazine once upon a time and it hits again for $24. I don’t notice the bill so I don’t pay the bill, get a $39 late fee, which is usury. Make a payment for what I THINK will cover the next payment, but find that was $8 short. So, on October 13, they’re going to charge ne $39 AGAIN for a bill that is $8 short of the minimum payment. So at 10 pm on October 12, I ask to pay from my checking account (it’s a $15 charge, but it’s not $39), and they tell me it won’t be credited until October 13, thus incurring the $39 charge I’m trying to avoid. She says, “There’s nothing I can do.” So, I said, “Never mind. I want to cancel my card.” She says, “You’ll have to call back.” I said, “I don’t WANT to call back, I want to cancel my card!” She talked with her supervisor and discovered, “Why, yes, we CAN post that payment on today’s date.”

I may have mentioned this before, but when you do one of those check transfers that offer you a great rate, credit card companies have been known to change (i.e., hike) the rate on your credit card because of late payments on your mortgage, loans or other credit cards.
Did I mention that credit card companies are evil?

As the credit card company protection bills get passed, including the tougher bankruptcy laws that kick in soon, I gotta wonder: Are they TRYING to put Americans in eternal debt? The notion that all of the indebtedness is merely a function of personal irresponsibility just doesn’t wash with me.

I swear

Since I’ve been answering a lot of questions recently, I’m going to respond to a query someone didn’t exactly pose.

One of the blogger who I’ve linked to, but I’m not remembering who (I’ve narrowed it to four) indicated once that he was afraid that his use of “foul language” might offend my sensibilities. The answer is: context is everything.

When I stepped on a nail 5 years ago, boy did I curse! When I play racquetball and I’m bettered on a shot, I might occasionally say, “You SOB,” but use the actual words those letters represent. (One of my regular opponents is VERY hard on himself, calling himself “You M*****F***ing C***S***ing A******!”) But when he knew kids were around, it was HE who suggested toning down the language.

As a matter of course, I don’t use actual curse words on this blog because I just don’t feel the need. I’m not in the heat of the moment when I type, generally speaking. (And I have a strong edit mode.)

I think my REAL problem with cursing is that it’s done so often that it fails to MEAN anything. I read a few years ago that there was some sociologist who suggested that the culture NEEDS those verbal outlets. But if cursing becomes common everyday language, what the heck do you use when you’re REALLY TICKED OFF?

Many years ago, I was at my house with my then-girlfriend and a number of people from my church choir after rehearsal. I wasn’t feeling all that well, so I was hanging back. One of the choir members told this joke that I found extremely offensive (it made reference to the size of a black man’s penis), but I said nothing, at first. But about an hour later, it was still bugging me, so I told the joke-teller that I was offended by the “humor.” She, to her credit, apologized. But another woman in the group said, “Oh, you just don’t have a sense of humor.” I yelled, “F*** YOU!” And I meant it. I meant the full fury of the curse, however one interprets it. How DARE she demean my feelings like that! So, casual cursing just minimizes the effect of a real good, emotionally-generated invective.
(I’m not suggesting that this was the appropriate response to the situation, or that I would respond similarly now.)

Now, I avoid swearing in front of my daughter, and our next door neighbors, who would embarrass sailors with their verbiage, attempt to tone it down when Lydia is around.

An incident in the bus just this past week: A guy was in the first row on the bus, on a cellphone. I was halfway back. I hear:
“For one thing, there ain’t no ‘us’.
“You have to work that s*** out with your husband.”
I now knew more about this man in two sentences than I really wanted to absorb.
But he kept saying the S word, in every sentence. Yes, it bothered me, because it showed a lack of intelligence, integrity, whatever. However, if my daughter had been on the bus, I’d have asked him to ratchet it down.

So, cursing per se doesn’t bother me. But I believe, as in so many other contexts, less is more.
And telling this story reminded me of something that W said about his Supreme Court nominee that I found disturbing, if I thought it was true, and just foolish, because I don’t think it is true. About Harriet Miers he said, “I’m interested in finding somebody who shares my philosophy today and will have that same philosophy 20 years from now.” He may be lockstep stuck in his philosophy of 20 years ago (which would explain a lot about his poor governing style), but even HE has changed from 30 years ago. I think my philosophy of life has changed over the last 20 years, and will certainly evolve over the next 20. If Harriet Miers is incapable of change, then I don’t want her on the Supreme Court.
In the church, we read the same scripture every three or four years. It’s called a lectionary. Now why read the same text perhaps 20 times in one’s lifetime? Because, as one evolves, one reads it with new eyes. Or is supposed to, anyway.