Simply Noted

The final bill for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a new Brown University study says, will come to between $3,700,000,000,000 and $4,400,000,000,000 ($3.7 Trillion and $4.4 Trillion), including nation-building efforts; the cost of providing medical care, services and long-term benefits to veterans; and interest on what the U.S. borrowed to fund the wars.

Equalized to Insanity

My daughter is now six and so liking her music and the music she likes is what you hear on KDWB. I know this because she asked me to tune to KDWB in our van on the way home from the cabin, which I did.

Now if you were ever at the Saloon or Gay 90s in the 80s you would believe as I do that much of this KDWB music has got to have been produced by the same dudes who were making all that 180+ BPM super-charged gay disco back then. But they spike the treble weirdly now, apparently to accentuate the teeth-grating auto-tune. After a while I just kind of wanted to punch someone.

But my daughter thinks it’s all cool so I’m prepping myself for music negotiations that will undoubtedly take place in the years to come. How often will Led Zeppelin win out over Lady GaGa?

It is my van.

Warning: might appear insensitive to some

we only hope that the eleven dead human beings don't offend you. Best. Year. EVER!

Transocean, LTD, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded last spring, killing 11 workers and unleashing the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, has awarded its top executives big bonuses for making 2010 the “best year” ever for safety. After disclosing the bonuses, Transocean, which leased the rig to BP and helped supervise the drilling, acknowledged that the reference to its best safety year might appear “insensitive” to some.

reality and self awareness

A couple of experiences that allowed me to be fully aware of myself (but only for a second or two):

One: Guthrie Theater Acting Camp, circa 1978. First day with a bunch of strange, new, much cooler than me kids backstage. The camp “counselor”, also an actor in the Guthrie troupe, puts us all in a big circle and one by one we are to walk directly across the circle “normally”. As you can imagine, that’s impossible. The very fact that this group of young strangers are all watching you makes it absolutely impossible to walk “normally.” I believe I strutted, then sat down red-faced thinking what a lop I was. “Lop” being a strange little term that was popular among my small group of friends back then. It meant 1. uncoordinated; and 2. doofus. More or less.

This is an example as to why “Reality” TV is really the worst name for whatever that is. Anytime a camera (or the eyes of my fellow campers) is trained on you, reality slips right out the back door. Nothing that happens when the subjects know the camera is on can be remotely described as “reality”. It immediately becomes performance, whether we like it or not.

The other time, and this is rather embarrassing, I was standing mostly naked but for a shirt with the full length mirror to my right. I’m not one to stare at myself in the mirror and if you know me by sight, you know why. Pretty much average looking all around. But this one day, I’m standing there and happen to glance over to my own face at the exact same moment I pulled my belt up and it whips me right in my most personal privates, snap! and I saw my own face respond to the searing pain. Interesting, that. Painful, but interesting. I had no idea my face could ever contort in that manner.

Diamonds are a jeweler’s best friend and a bright, shiny light on our collective ignorance

I’m still amazed by this fact that has been known for years and years and years, and yet like teabags to Palin, people continue to beeline for jewelers to purchase diamonds and gift them as if they’re this rare, amazing and precious stone. Rare, they ain’t.

Getting caught up on my Harper’s mags today (I’m just reading the June 2010 issue) and there’s another great article to wit.

DeBeers got us by the stones

The gist: The diamond industry is an artificial, counterfeit and controlled market. The worth of that $2,000 diamond on your finger – in your world – is $2,000 because that’s what you paid. In the real world, it’s almost worthless. That’s because a single, very secretive corporation/organization (or cartel), essentially the DeBeers, control the number of diamonds on the market, and simple supply and demand economics allows them to keep that cost exactly as high as they want it to be. The very well-documented secret is that if all the shiny, sparkly, beautiful, precious diamonds currently gobbed into bags on shelves in great big room-sized DeBeers-controlled vaults around the world were suddenly couriered to the bajillion jewelery shops in all the malls, you could probably get a fistful for a few hundred dollars.

Your diamond is probably worthless, sad to say. But the worst part is that we’re all taken for complete suckers – over and over and over again. I count myself among the sucker population. But I’m done. I’ll never buy another. They’re stones, rocks. The only difference is someone doles them out like candies to the poor kids chasing their limo.

the other shore

Keep a positive attitude even when the little things
manage to rear up and scream into your psyche.
(You let them.) These are small potatoes you
elevate to zeppelin status. Brain boring, bone
gnawing, growling – tiny things. How do they
make you growl, yip, and twitch?

Be good, and proud of it.

Let them take the path of most evil insistence and watch them march slowly and inexorably down into the inferno.

Hail the good, the diligent.
Cross to the other shore
while they run about
on this one.

joe vicodin and the six packs

Lennon and McCartney. Jagger and Richards. Simon and Garfunkle. Things come together and magic happens. Trips are planned, gentle trips, lacking dopey-ness, engaging pharma-groovicals. People have pain they find ways to alleviate – medicate – wait, I have no pain.

But when things come together, and before they fall apart, I have even less pain. One Joe drinks six; this Joe drinks six with Vicky. Sweet girl, fucking nurse, makes everyone feel better. Take that, Foundry Joe. You drink for a living. I think for I remember this poem. Poem? You ask? Maybe, shit, I don’t know. Poemess. Vicodress. Drink and mess. Things fall apart. And I do hate that dude. Mostly. Don’t mock my poem from beneath your internet.

[Musical Interlude: Little Feat: Time Loves a Hero]

On to the poem. Poem? You ask? It’s old. Here goes…

He calls himself
The Eminem of the Internet.
Cocky and sure, he slips out from darkness
to rap someone on the head.

But he’s funny and he knows it,
biting; down the throats of
unsuspecting posters.

He’s street and he knows it,
smart enough
to never stick around long enough
to listen to their cries in the light.
On to the next
punk who decries his comeuppance.

Bang! Shoots anger
from his index finger
the context never lingers,
the contest is over.
I win…

He knows it – he’s right.
Shoots on sight.
The Eminem of the Internet.

His name
is probably
like Barry.

Stop it!!

The term “Prominent anti-gay activist” seems to mean “Actually gay anti-gay activist” these days.

Why does this keep happening? This needs a little more looking into. There is some link to religion certainly. These guys tend to be very, if not balls-out (no pun intended) crazy religious. They go to church and preach the evils of homosexuality from their pulpit, be it there, at work, among friends and so on. But soon – bang! (again, no pun) they’re outed! And usually in some rather unsavory manner. It’s not like we find out they’ve had an ongoing, mutually loving affair with a man, but it’s call-boys, illicit sex in a gay bar bathroom, shit, throw in some crystal meth and bondage!

So, what’s going on? Are they so self-loathing about their feelings that they repress and repress and scream the opposite of their actual feelings? Is it the religion that tells them over and over that their natural feelings are sinful, evil and against their god’s teachings? Certainly, the church is involved. The legions of pedophile priests says volumes about the relationship.

Maybe it’s partly that they spend so much time thinking about gays, first in that very negative light, that eventually they get more used to them, then curious, start experimenting and then, busted and back to wifey (sometimes).

I don’t know, but the truth of the matter is that the more someone talks family values, the less i’d ever trust them to have any contact with mine. And the more someone hates fags (and yes, here it comes) the more I would bet they are beyond curious. It’s a cliche, but it just keeps on proving itself true.

Here’s the best part: “Rekers told the New Times he hired the escort to help carry luggage, not for sexual purposes, and that he only learned his companion was a prostitute midway through the trip.”

Now that’s ballsy.

Hey, Dad. I’m in jail.

It’s going to sound sexist and i don’t apologize for it, but the two mfers who shot and killed the cop yesterday in St. Paul, while being total tools themselves, were obviously failed by their dads. Boys need dads to raise them up right. And when a boy can grow up to think that killing a cop or anyone else  is anything other than appalling and even consider doing it, let alone doing it!, his dad fucking blew it. I honestly think that when a young male – say to 25 – commits a crime like that their biological father should be forced on television answering questions to their own crime of fucking up raising a kid. A little public shame would be great, we might learn something about how not to raise kids, it might have a scared straight effect making other dads pay a little more attention to their boys and so on. I like it.

I’m pissed off also because one of those assholes was sentenced to 10 years for an assault and robbery charge and ended up doing 280 days. My second cousin is doing a full five years for growing marijuana, which is on its way to full-on legalization in some states (sorry, Mexican gangbangers, you’re about to lose your lock in that particular profit center) and happening to have a hunting rifle in the cabin where he was growing. Mandatory minimum. Five years for growing pot. That is one fucked up system and the fact that judges don’t go on strike due to having to impose those mandatory minimums is beyond me. It’s like telling mechanics they have to overhaul the engine if the car comes in three times in a year. Even if it was in for wiper blades, new tires and a detailing.

Yes, i know women raise up good boys alone all the time, so don’t start with me. Go spend more time with your kids and buy some pot from a good local grower. The world will be a better place for it.