Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Inda Gude Ol Sommer Stein

Today's title refers to a line I heard on a show called "I've Got A Secret", hosted by one Gary Moore (Thomas Garrison Morfit) which aired on CBS-TV from 1833 until 1902. What can I tell you? It's a slow news day and my mind wanders easily these days.

But it also refers to the fact that it is summertime and I have more photos of the Fabulous Jersey Shore to post. So let's get cracking:

Here's one of the boardwalk attractions. I forget what they call it, but they strap you into a cage attached to two counterweighted cables and then launch you, straight up about 200', after which you bounce up and down, up and down, until you upchuck all the delicious Philly cheesesteaks, South Street pizza and 2 and a half pounds of pink spun sugar you scarfed down before plunking down your ten bucks to ride this sadistic monstrosity.

Looks like fun, huh?

Next up we have food.

and more food:

and touring beautiful Cape May:

And, finally, no trip to the Jersey shore would be complete without losing your shirt at some cockamamie game of chance.

Maybe more tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wildwood Nights!

Here's the view of the ocean from the boardwalk. Note the half-mile hike to the water line. And that sand is not loose (actually a good thing). It's more like tightly packed wet cement. Do not attempt to cross it on a hot summer's day in bare feet. You'll wish you were dead before you're halfway to the ocean.

On the right is a piece of the 2-mile long boardwalk. Note the two "concrete runways" that run parallel to each other, with yellow outside warning stripes, the entire length of the boardwalk. You need to stay on your toes on this boardwalk. The next picture will show you why.

You and your friends will be strolling, casually, down the boardwalk when all of a sudden this pre-recorded PRONUNCIAMENTO will blare out from behind you


Thus scaring the crap out of you and your associates. After the first few times you do get used to it and learn a) not to walk along on the cement portion of the boardwalk where the tram car runs and b) to stand to the side and watch OTHER tourists get the crap scared out of them!

By the way, the Tramcar is a real bargain at two bucks a pop after you've spent hours schlepping up and down the boardwalk on a steamy July afternoon.

But here's the real reason one comes to Wildwood, New Jersey. It's a town out of time. It's permanently locked in the year 1959. All the drive-in joints and motels look like something out of "American Graffiti" with "space-age" designs and doo-wop motifs.

And the locals revel in it. So do the tourists.

Biggest surprise of the trip (aside from how things have changed since, oh, 1964) were the bajillions of French-Canadians who obviously have chosen the south Jersey Shore as their summer residence ("chez ete"). I heard more bad French than I did bad English last week.

And speaking of bad English, here's how we old poops whiled away our evenings, playing cutthroat games of Scrabble.

Here's a close-up of the same board:

My so-called friends are the types of people who spend the winter memorizing all the words that begin with "Q" and don't require a "U."

The bastards.

Enough for today. More photos tomorrow. If you're real nice.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm a Dope.

Yes, I was down the (Jersey) shore all last week and had a swell time.

Yes, I took pictures.

Yes, I uploaded them to my pc at home.

Yes, I created a slide show in PDF format which I sent to my friends who were down the shore with me.

Yes, I forgot to forward the individual pictures to me at my office email address.

Yes, I'll post some pictures ... tomorrow.

Oh, and I attended 12-Step meetings from Cape May to Avalon. It's a wonder those people manage to stay sober (just kidding -- we alkies always think that people elsewhere are clueless about recovery).

So, stay tuned.

More will be revealed.



It would be a cold day in hell before I attended something called "ComicCon" or something like that in San Diego (or anywhere else, for that matter). Even so, the event is, apparently, not without it's charms.

To wit: Click HERE (warning: NSFW bespandexed nutsack on display).

Friday, July 18, 2008

We're Off!

It's been a busy week. Much too busy to have written about it until now.

Come to think of it, though, there's no time now, either.

Tomorrow morning my friends and I are off to the South Jersey Shore, to the Doo-Wop Capital of the world, Wildwood, NJ.

I had the day off to prepare and to see the nutritionist one more time before my surgery and my opthalmologist as a follow-up to my eyelid surgery in May.

There were also quick trips to Barnes & Noble to buy a new road map atlas of NJ and some magazines, and to Shop-Rite to pick up farm fresh herbs because there are no farms near Wildwood, New Jersey, here in the Garden State, where the corn is as high as an elephants eye these days.

Nor do they sell toilet paper, kleenex, toothpaste or deodorant there, either. So, of course, I must pack all of those things.

Am I crazy? YOU BET!

This is my favorite part of any vacation. Making myself nuts in advance of it. I'm actually fun to watch.

While I'm gone please try to behave yourselves, don't let the world blow up, and, if possible, kill a homophobe for Christ!

Nobody deserves it more.

I'll see you in a week and, MORE IMPORTANTLY, you will see ME in a week because I have my phabulous new digital camera with the 1gig memory card capable of holding 399 pictures.

Love to you all...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Brush Up Yer Resumes

Okay boys and girls, it's time to start brushin' up yer resumes. Soon (and sooner than you think, although not nearly soon enough) there'll be a new administration in Washington, D.C., and you know what that means...

A whole passle of new Republican Congresscritters are gonna be a-comin' to town and there's nothing they need more than a bunch of overqualified, Type-A, alcoholic, closeted, self-loathing, queer as a three-dollar bill office staffers, who can type a hundred words a minute with no errors and who have heard of this "interwebs" thing.

You'll be in rehab in no time as you drink and drug yourselves into nightly oblivion, unaware of and/or in denial about the gnawing cancer of self-loathing that's eating you alive as you slavishly serve the fag-bashing hypocrites who walked into office ON YOUR BACKS!

Like John McCain. He's against gay marriage and gay adoptions. Like where does he get off talking about marriage? Didn't he dump wife number 1 as soon as she became an inconvenient (and incapacitated) truth for the beer heiress he's married to now?

I may be wrong.

But never mind that, we're talking JOBS here.

Perhaps the only jobs remaining in America, come next January 20th, no matter who wins.

If Barack keeps his focus on one thing, and one thing only, he'll have a hard time losing in November.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Like Sands through the Hourglass....

I wish I had something refreshing or exciting to say, but I don't. In fact either I've achieved nirvana and am in a constant state of serene bliss or, more likely, I've finally reached the age of being a boring-assed old fart.

And to be honest, I'll take either.

I often think that I've already had 2 or 3 lifetimes worth of excitement, glamour and sophistication.

I also often think that I've already had all the hurt and drama I can (or want to) handle.

These days I'm happy to get together with old friends to share a week at the beach, lots of yuks and belly laughs, cutthroat games of Scrabble or Hearts, good homecooked meals, days on the beach acting like 12 year olds or nights on the boardwalk doing exactly the same thing.

So I should be delirious the week after next, when a bunch of us head down to the south Jersey Shore, to the beach town of Wildwood aka the "Irish Riviera", which I haven't been to since I was 14 years old. I can't wait to go back. I've changed a lot over the years. So has Wildwood.

In honor of the occasion I've broken down and bought a new digital camera (a Nikon S550) with which I hope to take tons of photos to post, since I can't possibly send all of you boxes of Salt Water Taffy from the New Jersey Shore!

The emails are flying back and forth between the housemates regarding who's bringing what, especially the really import stuff, like this:

Because this is what the beach looks like on a hot, July afternoon.

or else this:

I can't wait until next weekend.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

REVISED: Down with Tyranny Tuesday

This is a redacted version of yesterday's post.

Aside from the fact that I had the most meaningful conversation with my Dad last night that I have ever had with him, there's nothing much to report on the home front. Except that I'm mighty grateful to have been sober long enough for our relationship to have evolved into something I've spent a lifetime wishing we had.

It's a beautiful thing.

Moving right along, it has come to my attention that King George V made a speech on the 4th of July and, apparently, some people actually listened to it. Enough, in fact, to know that he deliberately misquoted Thomas Jefferson by excising a reference to the populace throwing off the tyranny of "monkish" mindlessness, etc., etc.

Apparently KGV has a problem getting behind the idea of the people throwing off anything. Such as tyranny. Especially his.

Here are some other spiffy quotes from Thos. Jefferson, chief author of the Declaration of Independence and fierce opponent of mindless obeisance to tyrants on the subject of religion.

"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity."
-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

"But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own."
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814

Mitt Romney did some fudge-packing over the weekend.


John McCain's minions of evil ejected a little old lady librarian from some get-together in Denver because she had a sign saying that "McCain=Bush." My question, posed elsewhere, is don't the Republicans like Bush anymore?

(The following is a video of the action that ensued, plus some commentary from MSNBC):

Note that the 12'9" cops fairly loom over the little old lady.


And, finally, there's this. Apparently there really is such a thing. In Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Which may explain a lot of Bill Clinton's hard-coding.

(NOTE: This, apparently, was an elaborately staged gag by Sascha Baron Cohen for some upcoming movie of his... still, I think it's funny enough to leave it.)


Have a great Tuesday. And don't forget to call the folks. You never know how much longer you'll have 'em.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Hooray for the Red, White & Blue.

Did you all have a wonderful 4th? I went to see "Hancock", which I liked. It was rainy, hot and humid here in the east so I found ways to spend time indoors.

On Saturday I drove to downstate Delaware to visit my folks who are old and not doing so well. I'm glad I went. Dad is in physical rehab so I took my stepmom out for dinner. She was craving Chinese buffet, so we had Chinese buffet. She was sad to see me leave. Dad looked very frail. Much frailer than I'd like him to be. But God doesn't solicit my opinions, thank goodness, otherwise the universe would've been blown to smithereens eons ago. I felt very mortal when I left them late that afternoon.

I drove straight up to Wilmington and then took I-95 to the grand bypass around Philadelplhia known, locally, as "the Blue Route." It swings you west and north of the city until it connects with the PA Turnpike. I was heading towards Doylestown, and a 12-Step meeting I really like (LGBT). I hadn't been there in a couple of months due to gas prices (it's about a 90 mile roundtrip which, I know, is a spin around the block for Californians, but it's real distance to us wimpy Easterners.)

Sunday I slept in until 7:00 a.m., made a real breakfast, watched Sunday Morning and went to the movies again, to see "Wanted" with Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and James McAvoy. I liked it, too.

Then I was the guest speaker at a 12-Step meeting devoted exclusively to the 2nd Step of Recovery ("Came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.") It's a tricky step. Note that it says it could restore me, not that it WOULD restore me to sanity. I didn't exactly ace it, but I spoke from the heart which is all one can expect. I think my mind is still on my aging and frail parents. And the few remaining brain cells I didn't kill with booze and drugs are, from time to time, waving "bye-bye" to each other.

It wasn't much of a holiday weekend. I did get to see some of the fireworks from the Esplanade in Boston on TV. Craig Ferguson, who hosts the show after Letterman, was hosting and he announced that he'd recently become an American citizen. I thought that was nice.

At this point I'd like to say something snide and snotty about the passing of Jesse Helms but, you know what? Why bother. Wherever he went, let him be. He, like Bush, is no longer worth any effort from those they are leaving behind.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

IRAQ! Brought to you tonight by....

At last someone has grown balls enough to parody what's REALLY going on here in America -- the commercialization of death, war and patriotism.

The Onion (which apparently has enormous resources) has done a bang-up job of visciously satirizing the totally commercial nature of our current wars; wars of Big Business, unlike World War II, in which there were clearly good guys (us) and bad guys (our now and forever eternal enemies, the Japs and Krauts).

These days, what passes for a "just war" is more like "Iraq - Sponsored by KKR, Halliburton and those wonderful folks who brought you five buck a gallon gasoline, ExxonMobilChevronSunocoGettyBPCitGo!"

Here's one dead soldier's life being honored by Home Depot. Remember, this is totally satire. The dead soldier is a fictional character and the people in this spot are all actors.

Home Depot Honors Fallen Soldiers With Great Prices On Tools

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

We are this close

to becoming a Christian theocracy.

The RRR has been waging this "cultural war" against the left for decades now, based primarily on a few wedge issues such as abortion, women's rights (in general), immigration, gay rights and the whole idea of the "nanny state" vs. the "corporate welfare" state.

The left has, traditionally, not stooped to the level of the right in pandering to the baser fears of the ultra-religionists (and I'm sure that the right would counter that they have not stooped to the level of pandering to the cock-sucking baby-aborters, either).

Political discourse is at an all time low thanks to us creating generations of distrustful, sarcastic, snarky, pot-shotting, zinger-flinging, Swift-Boating, general all-round snowball throwing, accompanied by taunts of "NEENER, NEENER, NEENER!", voters. Thank you, Richard Milhouse Nixon - you slimy, conniving, red-baiting, anti-semitic, racist, fucking dirtbag - may God rest your soul.

In short, the fault, Dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but within ourselves, to quote some old Brit.

Having said, what's my point? The Political Right moved the Religious Right into the White House. Only they weren't "just" the Religious Right. They were THEIR Religious Right. The Right Religious Right. The Religious Right who think and act and speak like Republicans, because they ARE Republicans.

Now Barack has proposed doing the same. At first I was appalled... until I realized that it wasn't "exactly" the same. If the other side can pack the Faith-Based Initiative office with RRR Christians, why can't Barack pack the office with moderate to lefty Christians, instead? People more like me. People with affiliations such as the United Church of Christ? Or the Metropolitan Community Churches? Or the Unitarian Universalist Churches?

Now these are churches I can live with!

Yeah, I know. It's a slippery slope he's proposing to march down. But he didn't invent the slope. And nobody can blame us for simply acknowledging that the rules of the game have changed -- re-written against the clear will of the Founders by the party of Lincoln, who'd probably shit himself if he knew what his Grand Old Party had gotten up to in the last 50 years.

But I'm willing to let Barack take a shot at it. Especially if it means we have a better shot at winning the Presidency in the fall.

After all, why in the hell should the Republicans own all the Christians? Why can't we own some of them, too?