Thursday, January 31, 2008

Up Helly Aa

(No Helly, this has nothing to do with you...)

Fire, apparently is the key ingredient. Throw in some vikings, swords, booze and a burning long boat, and you, my friend, have yourself one hell of a festival. A fucking VIKING festival, alive and well in the 21st century.

Does "Up-Helly-Aa" celebrate culture? Sure! Does it create a mid-winter vacation destination in the Shetland islands?? You bet!

Dose it kick ass to to dress in furs, get drunk and burn shit up?? HELL YA!!

And that, it appears, is the point.

Now certainly, the festival is a celebration of an ancient and influential culture. But even if it were nothing more than a collective excuse to get rowdy, that would be OK too. Bon Fire carousing is an inherent part of the human experience, one that is not exercised nearly often enough in these over-sanitzed over-safe times.

But folks like fire. They need it. That is why good clean law-abiding folk in Oregon wander to Washingtion in July to buy rediculously-illegal fireworks to take home. It is why the ancient Druids had Beltane. It is why 40,000 people brave the Nevada desert every Summer for Burningman.

There are too many rules, too many customs, too many manners. There are too many restrictions, obligations and limitations. Sometimes, sometimes, we just need to wear primitive clothes (or maybe no clothes at all) and drink, smoke or eat whatever it takes to free ourselves from our inhibitions and anxieties. Sometimes we need to swing our blood-stained viking war hammer at the moon, or stomp around the bon fire with stag antlers on our heads. Sometimes we need to feel the searing heat and stand too close to the all-consuming combustion. Sometimes, we just need to let it go, let it all go.

(Thanks to Fred for cluing me into the Up-Helly-Aa festival...)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Die Freundliche Himmel

German travel agency, Ossi Urlaub, has announced that it is booking an all-nude charter flight from the German town of Erfurt to the popular Baltic Sea resort of Usedom.

55 seats are available. Each ticket runs the approximate Euro equivalent of $735 (US). (I suppose this means a long line for the lavatory with 26 couples and one polyamorous threesome queuing down the aisle waiting to join the mile-high club...)

This, of course, piqued my prurient interest. However, while I momentarily considered chartering a similar G&T Lounge all-nude flight to Vegas, the horror of reality has dashed my dreams.

First, I would worry about turbulence. Bouncy aircraft would lead to jiggling. Lots of it, and probably not of the pleasant variety. Which leads to seat belts, which would chafe, I suppose, were one not wearing pants.

Second, there are many of you that I really don't want to see naked.

Which leads to my third point. On most flights, when I fly alone, I usually get seated next to the only other large man on the plane. So, on the all-nude G&T flight, I would very likely get sat next to Tom and/or Inog, and really, um, no offense, but no. No. No No. (Mitch maybe, or Dr. B., but I digress...)

Fourth, there are some of you who would be very popular on an all-nude G&T flight. You know who you are. And really, it should be all about me. I don't want to share the spotlight, so go put some clothes on, goddamnit!

Alas, the dream of an all-nude G&T charter flight was but a flicker of hope, momentary, ethereal, but not meant to last. The Germans though, they really know how to put their dreams into motion. Take Farfegnugen for instance, or Lebensraum. Now there's a German idea that really took off...

From the "Things You Will Never Know" File

Sniff hard.

Go ahead, take a whiff

Inhale deeply. What do you smell? What odor is streaming into your nasal cavity, triggering your mighty array of olfactory neural receptors.

Go ahead. What do you smell?

You may smell many things, depending on who you are or where you are, the possibilities are endless.

Well, not exactly endless. I mean, there is one thing you will never smell, and NO, I'm not talking about Christina Ricci's beaver. (Although, I'm certain it smells of sunshine and strawberries...)

No, I'm talking about the inside of your own nose. You will never smell it. You will never in life identify an odor as the stink of your own sinuses. Sorry. Won't happen. Can't happen. It's just not gonna happen.

I suppose there are other things you will never do either, like calculate Pi or find true happiness, but really, the nose thing is the biggie.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Newton: That Unlucky Bugger

Sir Isaac Newton:

-Legendary genius and father of modern Physics
-Devoted religious philosopher
-Rumored "man's man" (so to speak...)

Whichever, though, he was unlucky to be sure. To draw inspiration for his foundation-rattling discovery of gravitational acceleration from having been bonked by an apple... It's just embarrassing.

(OK, sure, so common historical speculation has rationalized away the apple-noggin incident, for the literary purposes of this post, we shall all agree to assume the apocryphal tale to be true.)

And so he was, lying in the shade of that fruit tree one warm summer afternoon. The soft warm breeze blowing in from the channel, across the rural pasture. The leaves rustle and the branch sways, breaking apart the last brittle fibers of the straining stem.

And at once, the apple does something odd. The Apple, which had been supported above the ground, motionless (but for the breeze), with no visible force acting upon it, begins to accelerate from zero. It transitions from non-motion to motion in a very direct vector toward our young philosopher's head.

Whereas, he may or may not have been daydreaming about the fine tanned hide of his saucy stable boy. Regardless, his attention is immediately drawn to the apple and the sore spot on the top of his head.

Now, he had already been working on a few other ideas, which may also apply. Well, Three ideas to be specific. Three general laws of the universe:

1. A physical body will remain at rest, or continue to move at a constant velocity, unless an external net force acts upon it.

2. The net force on a body is equal to its mass multiplied by its acceleration.

3. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

And so, he surmised, since the apple accelerated, as everything else seemed to, toward the ground, there must be a force at work. That force, of course, being gravity.

And the point?

Well, this all came up rather suddenly today as I read of t an Army spy satellite, about the size of a U-Haul truck, which has run out of juice. Its orbit is decaying and the good folks at the pentagon have no way to steer it.

Soooo.....

It's coming back home. Earth that is. Terra firma. Newton's invisible force is acting upon the slab of space junk, and soon, it will make a nose dive toward the ground. And THAT has lead the Army to issue a notice of concern.

I mean sure, the Earth is a relatively big place. There is plenty of open ground and even more open water. But with 8 billion tail-less tree monkeys in pantsuits wandering around, there is always a possibility.

And just how freakin unlucky would that person have to be?? After all, Newton had only to deal with the aftermath of falling fruit. But someone, somewhere, who is currently alive today may very well be dead in just a few weeks because a veritable spy bus is about to fall from the sky.

Of course, that might lead to a lawsuit.
Hmm.. Maybe we should add "Falling Satellites" to our phone book ad.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Egg

"The secret ingredient is mayonnaise," he said.
"Holy Christ! Why??" I cringed in return.

My newly-acquainted roommate dumped the dollop of white sandwich spread into the mix and started to stir with simple rhythm. The lumpy oily mayo dissolved smoothly into the sticky protein suspension of the egg yolks, as the whisk scuffed-scuffed-scuffed the bottom of the bowl.

The pan was hot and slick with sausage grease. The egg batter bubbled and sizzled as the globular proteins quickly broke down. Little nibblets of crispy sausage bits pocked the smooth gelatinous egg skin.

Breakfast was on.

So, mayonnaise or no, the meal was great. The sausage was good. The eggs were just fine.

Funny though, I'd never considered adding mayo to my scramble, but apparently it was his family recipe. My family's recipe was more simple; a little milk with a dash of salt and pepper.

I mean, it's just scrambled eggs. It's about as simple as food gets. However, everyone seems to have their own way about it.

Overdone, underdone, fluffy, sticky, Tabasco, ketchup, basil, cream...

I like mine on the done-side, a little black pepper and a shot of Frank's Redhot. I'll also take some cheese on top if you've got it. Although if you make them for me, I'll eat them your way...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Block Break

It is no secret, judging from the past week's posts (or lack thereof) that I have a block. I've got nothing. The well is dry, the tide is out, the mojo is low.

So, time for a break.



Don't worry, nothing is wrong. I'll be back next week.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday Morning Motivation

Happy Monday!
Up and at 'em!
Carpe Diem...







Saturday, January 12, 2008

Weekend Observations.

1) My friends are old. Very old.

2) Plaintiff's lawyers are short. Very short. Almost Hobbit like.

3) Cheap scotch does not taste any better after a bottle of cheap wine.

4) A three-year-old girl can vomit twice her own body mass.

5) Christmas lights come down faster than they go up.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Two First Names

Ron Paul

Republican. Libertarian. Medical Doctor. Crank.

I'm supposed to vote for him. All of the candidate surveys that I've taken tell me so. He and I, with our anti-government, social liberalism and fiscal conservatism, apparently see eye-to-eye on most issues, though not all.

Problem is, he has two first names. How can I vote for a man with two first names??

Second problem is, I'm a registered (R) in Oregon. (For now anyway) By the time the Oregon (R) primary rolls around, Dr. Paul will be long gone from the ballot. Let's just say his single-digit returns are not going to pull him through Super Tuesday.

So what's left? Not much. Watered-down socialists on the left. Bible-thumping bigots on the right.

I dunno? Giuliani? Maybe?

McCain? Eh...

Can't figure it out for yourself? Click on the compass for help:

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Think Big

The girl's nightly bedtime ritual consists of potty, PJs, three books, teeth brushing, a song and a cup of fresh water.

The books vary, favorites coming and going. Tonight, however, the first book was Dora's Bedtime Adventure. (Not exactly Dostoevsky...)

At one point in the story, Dora and her pals lay in the lush green tropical grass and make wishes upon the Wishing Star. They wish for nice things like a warm blanket, hot chocolate and hugs.

The girl was following closely along, and, as Dora tends to be an interactive exercise, I asked her, "So, if you got to make a wish upon the Wishing Star, what would you ask for?"

Her response, without hesitating, "A planet."

Hmm... well OK.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sunshine and Bunnies

In some small measure of repentance for yesterday's affront to morality, I offer this token: today, we talk about sunshine and bunnies.

Sunshine. Warm, golden rays of happiness falling serenely to Earth, feeding the leafy green trees, and giving light to the day.

Well, maybe not "Warm," per se, more like "Hot" really. And it doesn't really fall to Earth, does it? No, it really blasts away at the earth, eroding our delicate protective atmosphere with solar wind, ultra violet rays and Gama radiation!

And while the leafy green trees are happy, the Polar Bears aren't. I mean, really hasn't there been enough global warming? So, all of the ice melts, the seas rise and the lowlands flood, causing massive global devastation and death, hurray for the big old ball of burning fucking gas in the sky!

Not to mention how easily my sensitive Irish skin burns and blisters under the sun's angry onslaught. And my eyes! The sun is blinding with its pulsating fury...

And of course it is scheduled to explode and destroy us all in 5 billion years.

OK. OK. OK... Forget the sun.

Bunnies. Let's talk about bunnies.

Happy cuddly furry bunnies. With the big floppy ears. With the twitchy, uneasy nose, twitching... twitching... Overgrown whiskers also twitching... unsteady... jumpy... skittish... unpredictable...

And the giant razor-sharp teeth... Chomping. Biting. Gnawing, with the crushing power of an iron bolt cutter!

Jesus Christ! Forget it. I'm going back to the poop licking.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Most Horrible Thing I've Seen

At the bottom of this post is a link to the most horrible thing I've seen.

And that, my friends, is saying a lot.

I have a job in which I see horrible things every day. Photos, videos, police reports and medical records containing the most-foul images and descriptions you can imagine. I worked with Carl for a time, who had a special savant-like gift for finding "things" on the Internet, and who also liked to share those things.

I used to play Internet games with Mitch, long before the days of censorship or regulation. We would race to see who could find the worst abominations.

And yet, somehow, the link at the bottom of this post is worse than any of them.

I'm not going to tell you who showed me the Most Horrible Thing. I will say, though, that the person also showed it to their mother. Fortunately, they did not show it to my mother.

BEFORE WE GET TO IT

I would first like to post a couple of videos which ONLY show the reactions of other people who are watching the video. This is NOT the ACTUAL video itself. These are merely the reaction shots.







So, now, surely you must be curious. Perhaps you have an idea what it's all about. Perhaps you have no clue.

But the question is, are you going to watch it?

I mean, I'm going to give you the link. All you have to do is click on it. But what will that act say about you? (what does it say about me??)

Frankly, if you buy into any one of the many quaint-but-antiquated concepts of morality, this video falls squarely into the definition of "immoral."

Even if you are 100% amoral, Satan-like, lacking any shred of conscience, even you will feel dirty after watching this.

If you do click on the link, don't even think about doing it at work. Even if you work alone, from home, in your own house, don't. Don't watch it in front of your kids. Don't watch it in front of anyone about whose opinion you care. Don't watch it while eating, pregnant, or recovering from stomach surgery. Don't watch it if you believe in Jesus or Allah. If you believe in Buddha, it's probably OK. (He's less judgemental.) Oh hell, just Don't watch it.

You have been warned. (Oh, and don't get lulled by the kissing...)

If you feel you must, click here to see: The Most Horrible Thing I've Ever Seen.

(Addendum: I just went back and looked again. Really, this is Too Horrible. Please, resist the temptation, DON'T CLICK THE LINK!!)

OK, whether you watched it or chose to avoid it, here is a special bonus reaction video featuring your favorite Muppet...

Glasses

So much for paying extra for glasses...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Two Seasons

California, I like to say, has two seasons: January and Summer.

And though it is January, I am still hot. It never cools down here. I am in a constant sweat. I mean, how do you people do it?? How do you not go mad with the heat?? I've only been here four days...

Thanks to Dave and Mrs. Dave for almost hosting on New Years Eve. I hope Mrs. Dave feels better!

Thanks to Mitch and Mrs. Mitch for actually hosting. (and for the lovely cigar)

Thanks to Tom and Mrs. Tom for coming to the BBQ. It was fun to have you here, except for the big wet kiss from Tom. Seriously. Yuck.

Thanks to Dr. B for lunch.

OK, now I'm going to go sit on the back porch and cool off.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

resolution

Well, now it is new years. A time for reflection. A time for Change.

I am now 37. Substantially well into my adulthood, and I should be prepared to embrace a greater degree of responsibility. Greater maturity. After all, I am father of two. I have a family, a wife and a home. I have a career and, hopefully soon, a piece of a practice.

However, in all reality, I really like to drink. I like to stay up late. I like to look at porn. I like red meat, strong coffee and cheese. I like to drive fast, play poker, and spend money.

I love to play with Legos. I like to build model rockets. I like to blow shit up.
I am fascinated by toy trains, telescopes and boobs.

I am likely to throw chocolate balls out my 7th-story window; I fantasize about driving into oncoming traffic.

Sure, I could change. I could resolve to be something or someone else, but why? I am who I am, and I like who I am. Hopefully, you like who I am too. If not, you could resolve to get over it...