"Nothing stands between me and my vacation."

Democrats cave! Democrats cave!

Duh. Well, of course they do. It seems to be what Democrats do best is yield to pressure because they don’t want to look like they’re, uh, uhm…I know, they don’t want to look like they’re standing in the way of Bush & Co.

What mantra do they practice before the mirror each morning?

It’s not my fault! He made me do it!

How were they made to do it?

They wanted their summer vacation.

Just in case you’re still wondering how high the personal sacrifices will go for sake of some ideals.

These are the kind of people who say, “You’re an idealist,” and make it sound like something really dirty and contemptible.

Update: And icky. They make it sound icky, too. And irresponsible. Laughable. And lame. That, too. And childish, as in irresponsibly, stupidly childish. And stupid. As in, “You don’t understand politics. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just bought myself a heaping serving of summer vacation. Get lost, you childish, lame, laughable, annoying, ridiculous idealist.”

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Yes, I do like to have some fun occasionally…

Hello and welcome to any individuals wandering over today from No Impact Man’s site. I see he linked to me today and put up a video of mine with the following comment…

By the way, Idyllopus, a writer who apparently would rather procrastinate by writing mean things about me on her blog than finish her next book (and I mean that in the most understanding way), posted this funny video about making your own reusable cup.

Personally, rather than being qualified as “mean”, I’d have preferred “challenging” and “conscientiously inquiring”. All posts that I’ve made on the subject are tagged “Environmental – Fun With No Impact Man” and are under the same topic in the Categories area.

I’m assuming that many visitors from NIM’s blog are concerned about the environment, so while you are here perhaps you will check out my Remixing the Hanford Declassified Project, a series of digital paintings and essays that begins with…

That the plutonium dropped on Nagasaki was made at Hanford in southeastern Washington State, or that Hanford is said by some to be the most toxic site in the western hemisphere, and one of the most polluted sites in the world, is still, I don’t believe, known by many. One hears a lot about Los Alamos but not so much about Hanford, though leaking tanks have contaminated the groundwater and created a plume that will eventually reach the Columbia River if not contained.

I grew up in Richland, a town that was built by the Manhattan Project to house workers at Hanford and which remains so proud of its heritage that the mascot of the Richland high school is a bomb, the students are known as The Bombers and the emblem of the school is a mushroom cloud.

Just a snippet, to let you know what that’s about, a subject that gets little play in the media. An interesting history is also given by Jim Stoffels in his World Citizens for Peace and The Bomb article. Thought I’d put up a link to that. And a link to Hanford Watch which keeps current news on the clean-up situation.

And if you’re interested in rampant consumerism, you may want to take a look at my book Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World or In Search of the Great Penguin, because a thoughtful (if humorous) examination of the ethos of conspicuous consumption is one of its central pillars. Less a plug than a nod to the fact that conspicuous consumption has long been an interest of mine.

I’d also like to direct you to a post Low-Impact Crusade over at Stone Bridge. A thought-provoking read, and I hope he doesn’t mind my linking to him as he’s not been blogging much lately.

That’s it. Hope you enjoy your visit a bit. I’ve had a good deal of fun making these very low-tech little videos, inspired by NIM, and probably will be doing more of the same (well, I know I will be, I’ve got one in the wings) because they were fun. And I like to have some fun occasionally.

Thanks for the link NIM, I hope that you’ve honestly taken some amusement from these little videos as well.

Hunkered Down

Glorious sand, salt, surf and suntan lotion! Never mind what else went on in the world, Bush went fishing over the weekend and Paris frolicked in Hawaii. And I sat all weekend torturing myself with trying to write (really write) while honking ten tons of blood-laced snot out of my nose (a damn summer cold). I’m at it again today and will hopefully be so for a while.

H.o.p. has been working hard as well. This AM PBS’ four-year-old Caillou was taunting H.o.p. with stories of learning soooo much about the world as he too relevantly took to the seas on a boat where he gleeful ooohed over the kitchen and toilet and how you can carry your house along with you, but H.o.p. was paying no attention, engrossed in building some seriously wonderful models he plans to use for his tries at stop animation, layering clay over aluminum foil armatures.

At some point I actually got up from the keyboard and took a shower and changed my clothes, lay down for a short nap hoping to clear my head some and woke up to find Bush had commuted Libby’s prison sentence because it was too damn harsh.

All I can say is it’s nice to have your friends looking out for you. I”m so inspired, I think I’ll sing Mr. Rogers’ Good Feelings song,

It’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive.
It’s such a happy feeling: You’re growing inside.
And when you wake up ready to say,
“I think I’ll make a snappy new day.”
It’s such a good feeling, a very good feeling,
The feeling you know that we’re friends.


UPDATE: Here it is. The 3rd Street Art Collective’s Statement on Bush’s Commutation of Libby. “Good Feelings” sung by a cold inflicted Mothra. Filmed by H.o.p. (who puts his hand over the lens at one point, no doubt expressing blind justice). A brief opening narration by Marty.

Less than 2 Days (like not 2 days at all, like right now)

Resurrecting an old REAL ID graphic of mine from back in 2005…

Tomorrow’s the deadline for trying to get your Senator to say no to an employment verification system requiring everyone to have a REAL ID for a job. Read more here.

Will it make any difference all those faxes? If it does I swear I’ll try on a daily dose of optimism.

Goofus and Gallant Gordon and Innocent Bystander Talk About The White House's Lack of Luv for Satellites Used For Gathering Data on Global Warming

Innocent Bystander: Help! Will, someone not help us?! The White House has arranged it so we are scaling way back monitoring climate change from space which means a perilous loss of data!

Rick Piltz, director of Climate Science Watch, a watchdog program of the Washington-based Government Accountability Project, called the situation a crisis.

“We’re going to start being blinded in our ability to observe the planet,” said Piltz, whose group provided the AP with the previously undisclosed report. “It’s criminal negligence, and the leaders in the climate science community are ringing the alarm bells on this crisis.”

Whatever will we do?

Sci Trash Goofus Gordon: I may be Sci Trash Goofus Gordon, but even I can hear the bells tolling! Though I’m currently preoccupied looking at ground pictures of the dark side of Britney Spears’ moon. More time for booty watch, I say!

Sci Trash Gallant Gordon: Woe the ignoble press, and cellulite-challenged celebrities. Let us now speed to the tropics with an appropriate cover-up for Ms. Spears lest she take ill from a draft.

So when do we get that hot new Broadway musical where Alec Baldwin and J-Lo somehow represent the new Camelot and George and Laura never waving from its turrets because it’s not that kind of brave new world?

Where’s the picture of the new fucking huge American embassy in Iraq I saw a couple of weeks ago. This isn’t it, or maybe it was. Never mind, the image will have to serve as there seem to be almost no photos of something so big.

Some AP photo

At 104 acres and $592 million dollars, this complex moves a few steps beyond BIG. You’d think they’re trying to outshine y’know, what is it, Iraq’s, what da ya call it, bigness in ancient history, words like monumental come to mind, Mesopotamia, Fertile Crescent, Akkadian, Assyrian, those bad Babylonians. Whatever, I seem to recall reading something about it over the years, a smidgen here and there, and a few pics of the Gate of Ishtar. Anyway, the impression I was given in high school, the few paragraphs we read of it, was that the Fertile Crescent was the seat of ancient civilization out of which the rest of the world poured eventually. Except for American Indians and the Chinese and other people like that, who lived way off the beaten track. But the image I came away with from middle or high school, of the Seat of Civilization (which was quaintly pagan, but big, and gave us farmers and builders and successive empires, but not as big as the Romans ultimately, whom we could better understand as they had a Senate, I think) was that they had big sand colored walls. They liked walls. So did King Arthur, didn’t he? All those castles! Lots of walls. Only those were gray because Europe is misty gray whereas Babylonia was all glaring sun and sandy walls.

Continue reading So when do we get that hot new Broadway musical where Alec Baldwin and J-Lo somehow represent the new Camelot and George and Laura never waving from its turrets because it’s not that kind of brave new world?

Other NOLA pics from Nov 2006, Set of 60 Photos


Went ahead and uploaded around 60 pics from NOLA and the Greater New Orleans Area I took last Nov 2006. Not quality pics by any means but I decided I’d put them up anyway. The most striking thing in them all is the lack of humanity for miles and miles on the east side of the city.

What they lack in quality, most of them make up in size. I posted large versions of them all so close up views of the devastation can be had.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt aren’t in a single one of them. Hear that Google? Not in a single one.


H.o.p. asks, "What are they doing advertising things that hurt the earth at a place that’s supposed to help the earth?"

From when he was knee-high, I’ve been telling H.o.p. about ads. What ads want from you. What they want to sell you. I tell him about the relationship between ads and some of the websites he visits. Like Neopets. I ever remind him that those sites want something from him, which is all the time and interest they can get from him, because they’re full of ads waiting for someone to take notice. Especially with Neopets, we used to go round and round on this. “But it’s free!” And I’d say, yes, their games are free to you to use, but they expect to eventually sell you something. He loves Neopets and has a Neopet that he tends to daily, taking care of it. But I wanted him to know that their website also gets something out of his visits, that they wouldn’t be doing this if they weren’t getting something out of him visiting and taking care of his no-subscription-fee Neopet.

So, my little nine-year-old was sitting at his computer making his CLICK charity rounds.

I hear a gasp.

Continue reading H.o.p. asks, "What are they doing advertising things that hurt the earth at a place that’s supposed to help the earth?"

Having polished off my last chocolate raisin, I will slide back under the desk

Drama kings and queens.

Me (to H.o.p.): Don’t be a Drama King.

H.o.p.: What’s a Drama King.

Me: You know what a Drama King is.

H.o.p.: To be or not to be?

I’m stealing that one.

* * * * * * *

A while back I pretty much stopped writing about politics because, frankly, after reading the news each day I slide under the desk and can only be tempted back out into the light by chocolate raisins, but like you have any right to criticize me for that when Zapatista rebels start writing and selling “Just sex. Pure pornography” novels, self-satisfyingly drawing on pipes during promotional interviews. What the hell that’s about, I don’t know.

But since I stopped writing about politics one had to have known it was only a matter of time before I started blogging about CELEBS!

What broke the dam? Ms. Spears demanding to be let off a plane right before take-off, apparently causing a delay, because she’d realized they didn’t have any leather seats!

Does Ms. Spears never sit in not-leather seats?

My mind looks for reasons behind the obvious. Like maybe the pure porno novel is all secret code. And maybe Ms. Spears is upset because vinyl will leave creases in your skin or something whereas leather won’t? (Did I just make that up or did I read it somewhere many years ago. And yes I realize now it was probably a cloth seat, which gives you an idea of how often I fly, which I don’t, because I hate flying.) Or maybe she’s just another crazy multi-megarich businessperson? When the music she was lip-syncing to started skipping at a “performance” the other night, she did have the presence of mind to keep on dancing rather than leap off the stage onto the sound techs, screaming they were out to get her, so she knows something about how the show must go on.

I never paid too much attention to celebs, but started reading a couple of star-worship sites a few months ago because I wanted to contemplate the why why why of celebrity worship, and have even written a couple of posts on it but never put them up. One thing I’ve noticed is that celebs, like politicians and big business, don’t often apologize for anything. Am I wrong on this? I don’t think they do though.

Seems one thing I have learned too late is never apologize for anything. I should have known better. After all, what was that myth about George Washington never telling a lie about except a nod and a wink as to the clergy of business-money-politics never having to offer an apology for the actions of their beloved hatchets?

So why in the world do I tell H.o.p. things like it’s the big person who knows when to acknowledge when they’ve done a wrong and apologize, and that people will respect you for it?

Ding dong…

The blogs are abuzz with Jerry Falwell’s death.

We decided not to watch the video on the Great Wall of China at Netflix because I read a review by someone who knows better (is from China) and they were lambasting it for misidentifying time periods etc. So we watched a video on Vienna and some art there (what a way with words). Next up, a video on Jason and the Golden Fleece, a favorite myth of H.o.p.’s…

H.o.p. just now glued a paste jewel to the middle of my forehead. Then he belches and remembers he needs to take his vitamins.

What were they drinking?

After Virginia Tech, when I said I needed to teach H.o.p. how to duck and run, I certainly didn’t have anything like this in mind.

Via Raw Story

Faculty fakes gunman attack on crying 6th graders
Published: Monday May 14, 2007

A teacher and assistant principal at a Tennessee elementary school staged a fake gun attack on frightened students during a class trip, sparking outrage among parents, according to a report from CNN’s Newsroom.

According to school board member Lon Nuell, the prank was poorly timed. “Ghost stories are standard, and you scare the kids out of their wits,” said Nuell. “But this was very unfortunate timing, if the timing would ever be good for this sort of thing, this was not it,” referring to the Virginia Tech shootings that killed 33 students and professors in April.

According to one student who participated in the trip, Dalton Brown, the assistant principal instructed the students to get under desks and said that they had a “code red” – reserved for when an individual is in possession of a gun, knife, or bomb. The school later issued a press release classifying the events as a “typical campfire prank.” According to Brown’s mother, the prank crossed the line.

“It’s just appalling that they would classify this as such a thing, because there’s nothing typical about what they did to our children,” said Brown. “The kids were underneath tables crying and praying to God and begging for their lives, thinking that they were gonna die and that they were never going to see their families again.”

Riiiiight. A “typical campfire prank.” What were they drinking when they came up with that explanation?

“Could work.”


P.S. Listened to the video and seems they’re also calling it a “planned” “educational drill”. How “planned” “educational drill” and “typical campfire prank” mesh together, I don’t know. Maybe they just mesh together like “e” is found in both phrases and they could thus meet in a crossword puzzle.

Gee, when I was a kid they would tell us they were mock drills.


Tennessean.com has more details:

A teacher wearing a hooded sweatshirt pulled on a locked door, pretending to be a suspicious subject in the area.

The students were told to lie on the floor or crawl underneath tables and keep quiet. The lights went out, and about 20 kids started to cry, 11-year-old Shay Naylor said. Some held hands and shook.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ ” Shay said Saturday afternoon as she recounted the incident. “At first I thought I was going to die. We flipped out. (A teacher) told us, ‘We just got a call that there’s been a random shooting.’ I was freaked out. I thought it was serious.”


Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip, said the entire scenario lasted about five minutes, after which the teachers gathered the students and explained it was a prank.

“We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation,” he said.

Several parents said they were troubled by the staff’s poor judgment.

“The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them,” said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip.

“This was not a good experience,” said Alisha Graves, whose son attended. “Those kids were crying, and they were terrified.”

Brandy Cole said she found out about the incident shortly after her son returned home from the trip Friday afternoon.

“I was shocked,” said Cole, whose husband, Jimmy, immediately sent an e-mail requesting a meeting with Bartch.

Barbara Corbetta, whose child also went to Fall Creek Falls with the group, said she spoke to several different parents and kept hearing the same details — kids on the floor crying and begging for their lives.

“The circumstance that occurred involved poor judgment,” Stephens said. “My hope is that we can learn from this, and in the end, it will have a positive result of growth for all of us.”

Positive result of growth for ALL.

What? As in, “Kids, don’t follow the example of Assistant Principal, Don Bartch, when you grow up.”

I suppose at Scales Elementary they call that positive growth.

The Price of Today’s Medicine Bag

I wasted my time reading about bags this morning, because I get the Review-a-Day from Powells.com and today’s review was fashion writer Lynn Yaeger, of the Village Voice, on three different books on handbag style.

She writes:

Forty years ago — even 30 — there was no such thing as a “hot” bag. You had something square and black, or brown and squashy, that you carried in the daytime; something smaller and shinier for evening; and maybe something made of velvet or straw if you were a hippie. Now an impressively large number of women, in addition to worrying about how thin they are and whether they can walk a block in the shoes they’re wearing, also feel compelled to spend in the neighborhood of $2,000 on a purse. And it isn’t only wealthy women who are shelling out; middle-class women, working women, even schoolgirls are also deeply conscious of what they are carrying. If a serious bag once signified that you were a grown-up, now the brand name on your bag signifies what kind of grown-up you are.

The article finishes with her account of buying a replica Louis Vuitton bag when the one she had on order didn’t show up, then shoving it to the back of the closet because of her reluctance to carry a second-hand-status bag despite the number of compliments she’d gotten on it.

She’s a little wrong on her history. When I was a kid and moved down South in 1967, I arrived in a place where status was absolutely bespoken by some mahogany brown and tweed style of handbag which was all to do with its NAME which I don’t recollect but it was relatively expensive for the time–and this was in the fifth grade in public school.

Continue reading The Price of Today’s Medicine Bag