Saturday, January 31, 2015

Inauspicious Beginnings

My day started inauspiciously today- after working until 4AM in frigid temperatures with brutal wind chills, I slept for three hours. I woke up at 7:47AM to get ready to head to midtown Manhattan for my volunteer gig and immediately put on the local "all-news (except when the Yankees are playing)" station for their once-every-ten-minutes traffic and weather report. This being the New York metropolitan area, the traffic report also covers the transit system, should there be a problem. This morning, there was a particularly dire report, for me... the 1 Train southbound service was suspended because of police activity at the 238th St station, which happens to be my stop. Damn... When the all-clear was given about an hour later, I headed down to my typical parking spot.

When I got to the elevated tracks, I couldn't help but see the gray "Medical Examiner" minivan parked under the el. Yeah, not a good sign. I ascended the stairs and got a glimpse of a bright blue bag on a gurney, and a couple of technicians with "CORONER" appliqu├ęd on the back. Well, I couldn't complain, being on the outside of the bag, though the person in the bag was beyond complaining.

The ride to Manhattan was uneventful, though the train was a bit more crowded than usual, due to the earlier delays. The classes were awesome- the kids were especially funny today. I had one very small girl, trying to bear walk under me while we were doing this exercise, and if there's something on this planet cuter than 4 to 7 year-olds sumo wrestling, I don't know what it is... even kittens would be jealous. One of our students, a tiny slip of a thing with a blonde page-boy haircut and a black eye that her younger sister had given her during some at-home roughhousing, was particularly good today, beating opponents larger than herself using techniques we'd taught her. She finally met her match fighting a sweet, mild-mannered girl about fifty percent larger than her... oh, well. You can tell which kids have siblings, they tend to be the tough ones... I can see this particular girl's trajectory- black eye by six, black belt by sixteen.

After the program, I headed up to work and had an inauspicious beginning to my workday... some jackass was walking on the frozen surface of the on-site body of water. I yelled at the guy, "GET OFF OF THE ICE! AND FOR GOOD MEASURE, GET OFF OF THE PROPERTY!"

I had been inconvenienced by one corpse already that day... I sure as hell didn't need to be inconvenienced by another.

UPDATE: Earlier, I was combing the internet for this story, but it hadn't been published... the deceased was twenty-two years old. DAMN

Friday, January 30, 2015

Jack London Story Weather

Oof, tonight the temperatures are supposed to hit ten degrees Fahrenheit (about -12 Celsius), with serious wind chills. It's not quite as bad as something out of a Jack London short story, but it's unpleasant. Before heading to work, I went to the shop where I usually buy workclothes and picked up a pair of flannel-lined jeans. Yeah, it's that bad, ordinary dungarees just won't cut it on a night like this. When I go out on my regular inspection tours, I'm dressed in full-on snow-ninja fashion- can't have too much exposed skin on a night like this. I also prophylactically slathered my hands and face with Queen Helene cocoa butter lotion before heading to work, and have a small tube of a store-brand moisturizer in my bag to touch up the hands and the spot between my eyes before heading out on the periodic walkabout.

One of my co-workers brought Fred and Ginger home with him for the weekend, because it's supposed to be pretty brutal weather-wise for the next couple of days. I'm going to miss the cats, I was planning on stuffing Ginger in my pants and Fred under my shirt to keep us all warm.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Keep Xenu Out of Our Schools

A recent local scandal concerns a Church of Scientology backed group running anti-drug programs in the NYC public school system. The Foundation for a Drug Free World is promulgating myths about drugs that make Reefer Madness seem tame by comparison:

The real danger of a Scientologist-run anti-drug program in the schools is Scientology's hostility to psychiatry- a Scientology affiliated anti-drug program could conceivably present a message that all drugs, even those in the pharmacopeia are bad. If they are allowed to promulgate this message, how soon before they busted out the E-meters in the classroom?

The irony of this Scientology-backed anti-drug program is that it coincides with increasing interest in marijuana legalization. Maybe the city should put together a comprehensive drug education program similar to successful sex education programs- teach about the risks and responsibilities attendant to behaviors, and emphasize that certain behaviors are best indulged in when one is mature enough to handle them.

Keep the religious nuts out of our drug education as well as our sex education... there's no need for Satan or Thetans in our public schools.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Always Liked These Guys, Now I Like Them Even More

I have been a fan of the Dropkick Murphys since day one... the band carries on the fine tradition of Celtic punk started by the Pogues, one of my favorite bands. It seems like conservatives have lost their shit regarding the Dropkick Murphys because the band expressed its displeasure at Scott Walker using a song of theirs without permission, as Republicans often do, despite their expressed respect for property rights. Scott Walker's use of the band's music is especially galling because the band has always supported unions, even featuring the union anthem Which Side Are You On? on their album Sing Loud, Sing Proud. How could the band tolerate the anti-union, anti-worker Walker?

One of my favorite numbers by the band is their high-energy take on one of my favorite songs, Pete St John's "transportation ballad" The Fields of Athenry:

Longtime readers will recall my utter disgust with John McCain when he took a hardline anti-immigration stance in his latest (and hopefully last) Senate reelection campaign... at a pro-immigration reform rally in 2006, we serenaded that nasty old coot with a heartfelt a cappella rendition of The Fields of Athenry. Screw Walker, screw McCain, screw the entire GOP.

How about another video? The Rocky Road to Dublin is another of my favorite trad songs:

The song has traditionally been sung at breakneck pace- it was punk back in the 19th century.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

'Snow Biggie

The Northeastern U.S. Is experiencing the tail end of a winter storm that was supposed to dump "the most snow seen since the Pleistocene" on the region. Luckily for me, the storm veered about forty miles east of it's projected path and has been dumping anywhere from 18 to 24 inches of snow on Long Island and Eastern Connecticut.

I opened up the front door at 8AM to find a coating of about four inches on the ground, with a minuscule amount of flurries falling. I was able to shovel the sidewalk in front of my place and my neighbor's place, and my neighbor's driveway, in less than an hour. I cleaned off my car and was back inside by 9, even allowing for a rap session with the neighbors.

I'm not complaining- while the local travel bans have been lifted, the roads are still a mess, and less than ten miles east of here, there's a foot of snow on the ground. This storm was no biggie for me, but there are plenty of people still suffering through it. Stay safe, people!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Disarraybian Peninsula

Last week was a crazy week for the Arabian Peninsula- Saudi Arabia, which has been building a wall on its northern border to keep out the ISIS menace it helped to create, just lost its aged, repellent king only to replace him with his aged, repellent brother. Meanwhile, Shiite rebels have overrun Yemen's capital.

It looks like the Arabian Peninsula is facing big problems. I can't shed any tears, though, as the place is a hotbed of Islamic Sunni fundamentalism, and the wellspring of Wahhabist terrorism throughout the world. Vixen Strangely has put up an appropriate obit for the royal shit, a great antidote to the fawning panegyrics to the bloodstained tyrant. Meanwhile, the Shiites running amok in Sana'a could present a counterbalance to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, perhaps the most significant balance of terror since the original Star Trek aired.

The Arabian Peninsula is in disarray, but perhaps the reality of the sectarian war finally coming to bite its inhabitants in the ass is the best thing to happen to the Islamic world since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. It took the horrific violence of the Thirty Years War to end the religious wars on the European mainland and usher in a more secular culture... let's hope the current sectarian strife in the heart of the Middle East will weed out the fundamentalists on both sides of the Sunni/Shiite divide and allow a more pluralistic society to take hold.

I'm not holding my breath, though...

Meanwhile, I wonder if one of the reasons for the Saudis flooding the oil market is to gain an influx of cash in order for the royal family to make a mad dash to safety in exile.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

GOPer Eels

I typically leave it to the professionals to mock Sarah Palin (even if it means they break their resolutions). The big leaguers can mock her idiotic Iowa speech. I just want to parse one part of it:

“It is good that we have a deep bench and its primary competition that will surface the candidate who’s up to the task and unify and this person has to because knowing what the media will do throughout all of 2016 to all of us it’s going to take more than a village to beat Hillary.”

Regarding that deep bench, this is all I have to say:

The GOP has a deep bench,
It's deeper than an ocean trench.
I'd rather vote for gulper eels,
Than racist old GOP heels.

Yes folks, rather than see any of the GOP 2016 contenders win the presidential election, I'd rather be led by this charming beast:

Just look at those eyes... more soulful than Newt's or Jeb's.