Friday, March 28, 2008
I'm in Superior Wisconsin, and I can't get back to Duluth Minnesota where I live.
Now, normally, everywhere I've chosen to live, I always live within walking distance of work and walking distance of everywhere I go on a regular basis. That's the way I chose it to be; I don't drive, so I walk, and I'm fine with that.
But I'm in the Twin Ports, where I grew up, and after 7 pm, you can't get from one of the Twin Ports to the other of the Twin Ports without giving someone $20 or so.
I don't have $20.
And I'm in Superior Wisconsin, and I live in Duluth Minnesota, and I'm stuck.
My life is now controlled, and is usually controlled, by folks I have to give a significant amount of money. I don't have a problem with them making a living, some of my best friends are cabdrivers.
But with all the talk about he unity between these two different communities, I can't get from one to the other without $20 or so.
I am certainly not complaining about cabdrivers. When I have to call a cab, I call a cab, when I can afford one. But I sure as hell shouldn't have to pay to get from one half of a community to the other half, unless I'm willing to tolerate a highschool-kid curfew.
And I can't afford to pay for a cab, because I work in the Twin Ports. And the only jobs that pay a decent amount of money, require mostly not being in the Twin Ports. Even the jobs you find in the Twin Ports involve getting on a boat and going down the great lakes for a few months.
I have absolutely no problem with working hard in return for a working-hard sort of paycheck. Can't get that here.
I want my life back. I don't make a lot of money, but I don't want to make a lot of money, and I don't want to need a great amount of money. I just want to regain control of my own life. Like what I had in had in southeast Michigan. I want to work, and make a decent (as compared to pathetic) amount of money, some of that American dream crap they promised us, and be able to live the American dream, even if I'm not a Republican. I am more than happy to walk home. And now, I can't just decide to walk home.
I just want to be able to go and live my (largely karaoke-driven) life, without having my own personal economy destroyed every time I try to do so. I don't need a wonderful place to live, I don't even need to live in Superior. I just need to be able to get from one half of the so-called community to the other half, without having to be treated like some teenage kid. And in Duluth, of course, I'm also treated like I'm not grown-up enough to choose whether I smoke or not.
The PTB can fix it, and they haven't.
I know they aren't providing and will never provide decent and decent-paying jobs in the Duluth MN-Superior WI area. The city councils of both, in fact, have achieved a remarkable level of skill in destroying existing businesses to create new environments that no existing businesses can afford to use, and for which they have found no new tenants who can afford to hire people who are willing to work hard.
I am perfectly willing to accept a crappy job, par for the course in Duluth-Superior. But when I accept damn-all money for pay, I expect at least that's in exchange for living in a place where I can have some fun and enjoy my life.
Or you could create an environment where there are jobs where I can work hard, in exchange for getting working-hard money, which I will spend in the community, so we can have more working-hard jobs.
I'm not asking for much. I'm just asking for my life back.
Monday, March 24, 2008
A while back, I started wondering why they call them mullets. After
several Google searches, I found no actual explanation as to why they're
called that. That bugs me. It also bugs me, that people hate mullets,
without really knowing why.
I think people hate mullets, not because of how they look, not because of
any ugliness associated with that hair style, but because they're
associated with a particular sort of people that folks don't want to have
Nobody wants to like working people who aren't obeisant. Nobody wants to
acknowledge a connection to the middle class, or even acknowledge their
existence when not in their "Stepin Fetchit" mode. Successful people are
rich people, and as long as you don't act like middle class working folks,
you don't have to acknowledge that's who you are and how you want to be.
Mullets are style of hair one wears when one works for a living, doesn't
mind longer hair, and doesn't feel too compelled to fit the standard model
of upstanding individuals. In other words, people like me.
Used to be the Love Generation. Now it's the Working Generation. Go
"Almost cut my hair, just the other day,
It was gettin' kinda long, I coulda said that it just wasn't my way,
But I didn't, and I wonder why, I keep lettin' my Freak Flag fly....
But I feel like I owe it to someone."
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Jared fella who lost 240 pounds, and kept it off for 10 years. I'm
watching this, while finishing off my bag of chocolate eggs, and starting
in on my bag of jelly beans.
Congrats and all to Jared. But does this count as irony, er what?
Friday, March 21, 2008
I've been struggling along, doing what I do, for more than a year. And
I've managed, and somehow, some people like listening, God love ya.
But it's hard to sustain. And it's hard to come up with content that will
inspire larger-scale interest out of what remains of my braincells after
too many years of cigarettes and beer.
Beyond content, though, I really need to refresh my point of view. For
too long, I've been on my own. I don't mind that. But I don't exactly
love it, either. Often I can't make sense of what I see of other folks
behavior. And often someone else might be able to say, "Oh, that's just
about this stuff," or "They're trying to tell you that..." or "It really
has nothing to do with you.
Also, I really haven't done very well at staying informed as to what's
happening out in the Real World. That's a problem as to new content, and
making sense of the current content. I'm not running out of topics to
talk about on the show, I have millions of topics. I just don't know what
I think I explained rather well in my last show what characteristics a
woman would need to be able to survive me, much less manage a real
relationship. I think some of those same characteristics would be needed
by my co-host. A sense of humor, and the ability to figure out mine.
Nearly infinite patience. The skills to explain other folks to me, even
when it seems like stuff that shouldn't need explaining. The obvious
stuff is what I have the hardest time with.
Writing skills, to be able to contribute worthwhile content. Reading and
reviewing skills, to help make sense of my content. A savvy perception of
the state of the world, what seems to be happening now, and what's liable
to come next.
I'm not easy to understand or to talk to. And no one much is easy for me
to understand or talk to. But if there is someone like that, I gotta find
And if this talented and supportive individual also turned out to be an
attractive female, well, what'd be wrong with that? ;-)
I may be old, but I ain't quite dead yet.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Again it's about teaching. This time, it's more focused on the students
than the teacher, them learning about themselves and what they can do
In particular, watching the segment at the end and the big marching band
competition, I remembered watching a similar competition with my Dad, a
very long time ago. My Dad served in World War II, as I've mentioned,
having started out in the Minnesota National Guard before the war, in the
communications section. After the war, he also was a drum major for the
marching band made up of veterans. I remember seeing him in several
parades, and I remember playing as a kid with his drum major's special
baton, with this little flashlight thing in the end, for marching at
So Dad was looking forward to watching the marching band competition, and
I looked forward to watching it with him.
It was awful.
Dad didn't like it, because this was all the college marching bands, and
they didn't do things in the more traditional way he'd done. Military
marching is a very different thing than the synchronized dancing bands the
colleges do for halftime. The music was the new stuff us Young People
listened to, not real marches, and he didn't like that either. He was
deeply disappointed. This was something he knew well, and they spoiled it
For me, well, I like a well-done marching band at halftime of a game.
Once. It's very impressive. Twice, well, that was okay. Three times, oh
my God, not again. And there must have been a dozen bands. And that
Young People's Music was being played by marching bands, for Pete's sake.
Over and over and over again. It all blended together in my mind. But
neither Dad nor I was willing to quit -- we both had something we weren't
willing to give up on.
So it's a good memory. I miss my Dad, he died when I was 19 or so. I
often wish I could get his take on things that are happening in my life
now. I think a lot of this stuff would have been recognizeable to him.
And maybe he could have made sense of stuff I just don't get.
I was actually in band in Junior High. I started out first trombone,
ended up fifth trombone, with my friend Greg Gumm taking the first chair,
and deservedly so. I really sucked at trombone. Didn't practice enough,
and when I did practice, I really didn't Get the instrument. But that was
something my Dad wanted me to do and do well at.
I think my Dad would have liked the movie, "Drumline." Dr. Lee is an old-
school sort of conductor, though not of the sort of music my Dad would
have liked. And dang those strung drums, that deep rhythm that in a live
performance rattles your bones and makes your feet bounce. That's what
it's supposed to sound like.
Getting older sucks. Don't much approve of the alternative, though.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
and repeatedly debunked. I'm fine with that, they looked, they didn't
find any evidence, so that ain't it.
I was just listening to "The Naked Scientists" podcast, talking about the
effects of smoking and exposure to smokers pre- and post-natally. Fairly
well proven to increase birth defects and learning disabilities. And, of
course, those of us in the "Autism Epidemic" part of the Baby Boom were
frequently exposed to second-hand smoke as babies, and third-hand smoke as
fetuses. Certainly I was; my Dad, a WWII veteran, was also a very heavy
smoker, a much heavier smoker even than me.
Have there been any significant studies as to causality between tobacco
smoke exposure and Autism Spectrum Disorders? It seems like a likely
suspect, and I'd be surprised if there -aren't- any such studies.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
pieces to interject into the program, and I wanted to organize things a
bit better. So I went with "Part 1, Part 2" and so on.
It's a bit Paul Harvey, granted, nothing wrong with Paul Harvey, at least
as a broadcaster. I think, too, it'd make it easier to assemble the
Shownotes -- I'm thinking in future, I should use the Part titles as
dividers for the shownotes. Gives a better indication of how things break
down, and makes sure I remember to give credit where credit is due.
By the way, we've achieved a new high in subscribers. There are now 36
regular listeners! I'm thrilled, and thank you all for listening. Now I
gotta come up with what I'm going to say next.
I'm sorely tempted, on the one hand, to tell more stories. But on the
other hand, the absolute best response I got on the stories was "well, if
you really feel you must do the storytelling thing, go ahead." It'd be,
at worst, good practice for me for recording audiobooks someday. But on
the other hand, if people hate it -- maybe I should stop doing it?
FWIW, each of those shows is tagged as "story," so I'd imagine there's
some way to ignore those particular episodes.
Friday, March 7, 2008
I spend my whole day struggling to maintain my Stepin Fetchit NT persona,
so I can keep my job and keep getting paid. And even though I hate every
moment, I still gotta Be Nice and kiss ass to keep the dead presidents
It can be done, lots of us do it. But it's a constant effort, and it's
exhausting. At the end of the day, I don't even want to have to stick two
words together, not even a sentence, just a two word grunt. That's too
And I go out, and I sing karaoke, because I love to sing. And I'm willing
to devote the spare change I have left to that, because it's imortant to
me. Even that is a constant effort at showtime levels -- I still have to
pretend to socialize, but it's water-off-a-duck's-back socializing. If I
get it wrong, no one will care.
Except the women. Always the women.
I haven't gone blind at my advanced age. I still see and recognize
beautiful women. But I have very little to offer at my best. And ninety
percent of my best is already used up when I get out the door at work.
And then I have to figure out how to be that clever and articulate guy I
actually am, but I can't be, because I have nothing left to perform that
So, since I'm struggling along with a nickel's worth of socializing
energy, all I have left, and when it's most important to ME and I'm not
being a piece of meat for my employers -- I can't impress the womenfolk.
So I end up empty, worn out, angry and alone.
And absolutely none of those women I meet face to face will ever read
Welcome to my world. Here's your accordion.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
a product (apparently) of Anheiser-Busch. Not as agressively Lager as
some of the lagers out there. I drink Budweiser usually (they have it on
tap at Champs). Landshark has a bit more flavor, but it doesn't say I'm A
Lager Damnit And If You Were As Smart As You Think You Are, You Would Love
I hate that. That's why I never go to microbreweries. Ever get stuck at
a party at a microbrewery, and the only beer you can get is the artsy-
fartsy crap the local idiots produce for their friends to ooh and ah over?
Happened to me once, at a political event. Had to be nice about it,
though -- it was a post-election party after my own City Council campaign.
But I digress.
Anyway, if they give me money, what, I'm gonna complain? Ain't doing it
yet, though. Website is http://landsharklager.com.
Not much there yet --
apparently a very new product, certainly a very new website. Not very
well designed, but they didn't ask me, for some odd reason.
Claims origins in southern Florida (hi, guys!) but I'd like to know some
more product history before I'd vouch for that. But hey, with as much
beer as I drink in a week, I should darn near own the company.
It's pretty good, considering. It Doesn't Suck. Think that comment will
help my sponsorship chances? <grin>
Film at 11.
hate to call them that, they don't deserve it, they don't even care if
somebody dies without hanging their crotch out in front of the paparazzi
cameras, if they weren't arrested for drugs, or alcohol, or whatever. If
they weren't in the tabloids, they don't exist. Most of them can't spell
the full name of the state they were born in, and they have no idea where
that state's name came from. How many had to die so they can be pathetic,
druling idiots with the right to vote.
Hell, let's elect the communists, they never gave a crap who voted for
what. They'll fit right in. Hell, they'd do better than the usual band
of idiots, who also don't give a crap, but demand money to demonstrate
respect for the fact they don't give a crap if most of us live or die.
Proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm Meat.
And you gotta respect them, because they're the Powers That Be.
God Bless America. "Nothing beside remains. Boundless and bare, the lone
and level sands stretch far away."
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
create an account in Switzerland or the Bahamas or somewhere....
BTW, it's my Regular Email Account I use essentially everywhere I don't
create a special account, so that might have been snatched from
Yahoogroups, or all the content Google stole from Yahoogroups. WTF, it
was gonna be a secret -now-?
I'll tell my spamcatcher this is Crap, but it'll just say it smells like
the rest of the sewage I receive, so..
Besides, it's a Secured business sugestion, so it must really be okay,
------- Forwarded message follows -------
Spamwall: Passed through antiSPAM test by SpamHalter 4.3.0 on
Spamwall: probability - 0.0%
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2008 19:52:49 -0800
From: "Mr Alexander A.Flockhart" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Reply me
I am Mr. Alexander .A. Flockhart Executive Director and Chief Financial
Officer of the Hang Seng Bank Ltd.I have a Secured business suggestion
Before the U.S and Iraqi war our client Col. Hosam Hassan who was with
the Iraqi forces and also business man made a numbered fixed deposit
for 18 calendar months, with a value of Thirty million United State
Dollars only in my branch. Upon maturity several notices was sent to
even during the war early this year. Again after the war another
notification was sent and still no response came from him. We later
that Col. Hosam Hassan along with his wife and only daughter had been
killed during the war in a bomb blast that hit their home.What bothers me
most is that according to the laws of my country at the expiration 4
the funds will revert to the ownership of the Hong Kong Government if
nobody applies to claim the funds.
Against this backdrop, my suggestion to you is that I will like you as
a foreigner to stand as the next of kin to Col. Hosam Hassan so that you
will be able to receive his funds.I have contacted an attorney that will
prepare the necessary document that will back you up as the next of kin
Col.Hosam Hassan.There is no risk involved at all in the matter as we are
going to adopt a legalized method and the attorney will prepare all the
Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning
this issue.Once the funds have been transferred to your nominated bank
account we shall share in the ratio of 60% for me, 40% for you, Should
be interested please send me information,s below,
1. Full names and Age
2. Private phone number
3. Current residential address.
And finally after that I shall provide you with more details on this
transaction. Your earliest response to this letter will be highly
Most folks who see this might well say, "Who the heck is Gary Gygax?"
Gary did paperwork of various sorts for an insurance company. And I'm
sure you're perfectly fine with not caring with happens to some clerk in
an insurance company.
But Gary also had a hobby, playing games, with rules, with miniature
soldiers. Simulating battles, simulating entire wars. Sometimes
simulating wars between figures that never existed, as far as you know.
This can really be kinda fun, and I gather You Young People sometimes play
games that involve simulated figures on computer screens. And how those
characters behave is driven often by some of the same statistics Gary and
his playmates used to figure out with pencil and paper, and sometimes by
Naturally, when one is really involved in such games, one identifies with
one or more of those little fictional characters. So you want to
interject your own personality into those characters -- but without doing
more than the character is capable of. Now, one way to limit how much one
can actually do is by creating numeric scales indicating how much such a
character can, or cannot, do.
Gary, playing with his friends with little non-environmentally friendly
lead figures, found a practical way to do that. A practical way for one
person to pretend for a moment, that they are that magical figure, or
sword wielder, or elf, or dwarf, or mere human. He even came up with this
little book, that explained how to it for yourself, with your own friends.
Roll a few dice, so it's not just about you deciding you have super-powers
over every aspect of your life. You have strengths, you have weaknesses,
all over a bell-curve sort of scale, based on 3 six-sided dice. There was
Miniature gaming, then there was Fantasy Miniature gaming with all sorts
of odd characters in the game. Then there was Fantasy Roll-playing
Gary's idea. Mostly.
Once you have that idea, and once you play a bit and find out just how
much fun it is to be someone else for a little while, you never, ever go
back. So more and more people played more and more games, and trying to
recapture the Magic of what he'd created, used his rules. So he created a
company to give those rules in a consistent format to all of us. Tactical
Studies Rules, or TSR. And the game, eventually, was called "Dungeons and
Dragons," or simply D&D.
D&D was tremendously successful, and more people got involved, and the
company got bigger, and naturally, more folks got involved. And
eventually, the company TSR got overwhelmed by Orcs and demons who were
obsessed with numbers, we call them "accountants" and "bean counters."
And they ended up owning the company. And D&D became a trademark.
And lots of people made lots of money on games on the Interweb pretending
to have something to do with the real joy of playing make-believe with
your friends, and charging large amounts of dollars for the privilege of
playing in their little plastic playhouses.
And Gary Gygax took his ball, and went home, and created Something More
Fun. And if you look really carefully, you can go and find it, too.
Google Is Your Friend. Just wear your foil hat.
We miss you, Gary. I miss you. And, when I can, I still play make-
Rest in Peace. But I'd bet you can probably still get a game together up
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
fellow from UWS will be heading off to China for some Choir thing, and
somehow I suckered, er, convinced him into possibly sending us some audio
files and/or emails, and I'll do what I can to make them part of the
podcast and/or blog.
So, this will be kinda cool, huh?
Monday, March 3, 2008
I'm going to try to record all the people who impact my life through the
week -- oh, damn, that would make things really extreme -- I'm going to
record everyone I consider part of my life. One Week. It's Monday now,
and my show usually goes up on Sunday. So for the next week, I'll record
folks. Saturday, I'll edit. Sunday, it's up, whatever it turns out to
CNET's podcast, "Buzz Out Loud," mentioned an LA Times article suggesting
what I think is a wonderful idea. The Intellectual Property Tax!
Their theory (or the theory of the article) is that, if IP owners want the
full protections provided to Real Property, they should be subject to the
same taxes as Real Property. The whole idea for the Special Relationship
for IP was that it would be protected sufficiently so that the inventors
would make enough money to incent inventers, but would not interfere with
the future use to promote the progress of science and useful arts. But
that ain't happening, because if someone invents new IP content, they are
protected for a couple hundred years after the death of the inventor.
Kinda defeats the future use of that IP, now doesn't it.
So put me down for the Intellectual Property Tax. Except...
Wouldn't that mean that only rich folks could protect their intellectual
Yeah, that's a deal-breaker.
So how about a decending scale of fees, versus time? But that still means
that a Poor Guy doesn't have much protection at all.
So, "Buzz Out Loud," and Los Angeles Times, you kinda miss the mark.
Maybe a bell-curve would work. Original invention, free. Build up till X
date, and you have to pay the taxes up to that date, decreasing after that
Except, if there's a tax and you're rich, you're protected. If there's a
tax and you're poor, somebody else owns what you created.
Not gonna work. Nice idea, though. Seems like it ought work. Kinda like
legislation to ban flag-burning, or the three-strikes laws.
50 of the "Grizzly's Growls" podcast. But it seems as if there's no
particular reason to do that.
There are billions and billions of people who do regular-plain-ordinary
podcasts. There are merely billions doing tech podcasts, and those are
the ones folks listen to -- since the people who know how the hell to
listen to podcasts, listen to tech podcasts, since you have to be a techie
to figure out how to listen.
Out of those billions, most are for younger people, much focused on
technology and alcohol, or technology and sex, or technology AND sex, or
technoloy and sex and alcohol, or drinking alcohol while using technology
Anyway, all about the younger folk. I ain't younger folk. Seems like
most of my listeners are in Florida. You do the math. I could be wrong
about this. But if most of my listeners were in San Francisco, what would
Luckily, San Francisco is only my -second- largest listener group. No
wait, let me check -- yeah, I made that up.
I, of course, am waiting breathlessly for my little card for my membership
to AARP to come in the mail. They will, of course, demand money. Which I
will probably give them. Though, any organization that would have me as a
Anyway, since most of the Internet and most of Web 2.0, is about rants on
various mostly political topics, and since I am much better at ranting on
the Blog, that's liable to be a more effective venue. In fact, it seems
as if I get a lot more interest from my pseudo-political whining on the
Blog, than I do for my at least inoffensive and fairly calming speech on
Perhaps I need to make my podcast a lot more offensive and irate. Perhaps
I, too, need to focus on the younger audience.
So, more beer, and more cussing, and more nudity.
Okay, maybe not more nudity. I was told just the other day Back Hair is a
Bad Thing. So, just the cussing and beer. That seems fair.
Questions? Comments? Gagging?
Saturday, March 1, 2008
the Grizzly's Growls podcast. But of course, I'm pretty much broke once
again, after a full week of too much bar-hopping and kareoke, so I really
shouldn't, should I? Except it's more or less a once in a life thing, so
I really should, shouldn't I?
Or maybe I'll win the Powerball tonight, and I can do Episode 50 tomorrow
or next week, since I'll be independently wealthy and not have to go to
Yeah, that's a plan. In any case, a temporary cash-flow problem precludes
my going to Androy tonight. I think, anyway.