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For Thanksgiving this year, The Wife, The Boy, the dog, and I piled into our jalopy and headed out for the wilds of East Mesa, AZ, to visit the in-laws and up the old cholesterol level by a baker's dozen points.

This is not about the holiday experience. Unless there are stories fraught with mayhem and violence and hurt feelings, a family holiday is an experience that stays within the family. Nobody wants to hear or will understand about aunts and uncles; however, I will pause to reflect on the now firsthand knowledge that a trailer park without a broken water main is much nicer than a trailer park with a broken water main.

But I digress...

We left Thanksgiving morning to do the 110 mile drive, taking the back way from Tucson to Phoenix, up the 77 to Oracle Junction and then onto the 79 past the Tom Mix Memorial (pour some of my 40 ouncer on the ground in memory of my dead, drunken, cowboy homie) and by Jan Brewer's vision of our fine state's economic future: the prison complexes in Florence.

Just before hitting the Oracle Junction I rounded a corner to see one of Arizona's finest sitting in a black-and-white with a radar gun out as a prelude to the flashing light sin my rear view mirror a half mile later. Pah!

The Highway Patrol guy came over to The wife's side of the car, which confused me for a sec. I rolled down the window, and The Wife smiled and greeted him with, "I guess it IS safer on this side of the car, isn't it?"

"I pulled you over because you were speeding and going 73 in a 55 zone," he informed me.

"You mean HE was speeding," The Wife said grinning and pointing at me.

"Actually, no," I said, "I maintain she was also speeding. Everyone in this car was going 73. I, however, was driving."

We did the back and forth with the officer. We had no proof of insurance (must be in the other car), but he ventured that because it was a new car, he was going to make the assumption we were insured. As a balding, middle-aged white guy wearing slacks and a corduroy jacket in a newer car and accompanied my my also-Caucasian wife and child, I suppose this technically qualifies racial and/or socio-economic profiling, but I'll take it. Officer was also slightly nonplussed at the fact there were no keys in the ignition until I explained it was a keyless system controlled by a proximity RFID chip. "In theory it's supposed to shut down the engine in a half mile if you get carjacked. Assuming you didn't leave the keys in the car. Which I would."

Long story short, he gave me a bit of a break and didn't give me a $300 speeding ticket. "It's Thanksgiving. I'm not going to write up a speeding violation. Instead I am citing you for 'Waste of a Finite Resource'."

Err... okay.

So I got a ticket for wasting gasoline. More succinctly, this is what I was ticketed for:

E. If a person is found responsible for violating subsection D of this
section and the speed at which the defendant is alleged to have driven as
provided in section 28-707, subsection A is sixty-five miles per hour or
less, or if the court finds that the defendant violated subsection D of this
section and that the speed at which the defendant drove was not in excess of
sixty-five miles per hour, the offense is designated as the waste of a finite
resource currently in short supply and is a civil traffic violation

I'd rather get that $70 slap on the wrist than have a chunk of Christmas present money go out the window. Still, I can't help but to ruminate on this violation. I understand its intention is probably to give officers a way to fine someone without ruining their day, Fine. What I find interesting is that the law even exists in the first place. In Arizona.

For the uninitiated, Arizona laws are passed in the state legislature by a majority vote. The majority of our state legislators are from Maricopa County, the most populous part of the state. Maricopa county is home to Phoenix, Chandler, and Mesa -- cities with the social conscience of Ayn Rand who spawn politicians who think the most productive solution to our current spate of social and economic problems is to run on platforms that vilify brown people or promote the carrying of firearms in kindergartens or draft legislation to require public office holders to by white Protestant men. The rest of the state has essentially zero voice in setting state law.

Our state legislature is rather dickish.

As you can imagine, seeing a law that goes against pretty much every right-wing tenet was an eye-opener. It recognizes that fossil fuel is a finite resource?!? Blasphemous! It has the audacity to use the power of BIG GUBBERMINT to fine one for waste? didn't George W. Bush deem consumerism as a patriotic duty? And I seem to recall Tea Party darlings' mantra that God® would supply Man with an unlimited bounty of sweet, sweet petroleum manna.

A part of me is tempted to bring this travesty of a law to the attention of the media. Once the Joe Arpaio crowd in Chandler get wind of it, there is no way it can stand.

Calling NRA Types

My throngs of adoring internet fan [sic] knows I have little to no patience for political posturing. This modicum of posturing is lessened when combined with abject hypocrisy. And in this spirit I come to you today.

See, there's this thing. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (a combination that should not, by all that is sane, be combined under the same roof) had this lil' ole' program that kinda sorta (pun not intended) "backfired." The program was stupidly named Operation Fast and Furious, a name based on one of the most gawdawful movie franchises to ever waste film.

The idea was that the BATF would sell weapons to known gun runners. Said gun runners would smuggle these to Mexico. Mexico at this time has pretty strict anti-gun laws. Guns are a highly regulated commodity there.

Of course this operation went tragically wrong, and a bunch of weapons that were sold to known buyers were somehow "lost." Making this worse is that some of these weapons made it into the hands of some pretty awful human beings who used them to, among other things, kill a US Border Patrol Agent.

The whole situation was a clusterfuck on many levels. That is not what makes me angry and sputtering. What does is that this stupid, abortion of a law enforcement operation has been seized upon by uber right wing folks who are convinced that this idiotic operation was ostensibly somehow approved by Obama and is, therefore, a reflection of his ineptness and possible grounds for impeachment and drawing and quartering and yadda yadda.

Being a Godless Freedom-Hating Lie-brul®, I suppose I should be outraged and disgusted by this stupid screwup. And, really, I am! But I can't reconcile the idiocy of this operation against the baldfaced hypocrisy of the folks criticizing it. To wit, the people most vocal about the lack of tracking these weapons that were lost and then used in crimes are the same asshats who gnash their teeth and pull their hair every time the BATF wants to do something sane like, say, require that someone buying a RPG at a gun show in Yuma have to show a valid ID with the same tired refrain taht "It VI-LATZ AWR GAWD GIBBEN SECUND AMENDMENT RITES!!!"

I like guns! they are nifty machines that are fun to shoot. As a Godless Freedom-Hating Lie-brul® I endorse personal freedoms as to the extent they do not impede upon the freedoms of others (Cue Rush Limbaugh's tiny brain implofding at the concept of "A Lie-brul whut likes guns?!?").

So, really, NRA types... care to comment on your position on Operation Fast and Furious? What's it going to be? We track guns and you bitch about it? Or we don't track guns and you bitch about it?


I am opting to share some verse written by The Boy. It is about horses.

I know alot of horses that na,
There alwase alwase alwase gray,
They alwase alwase eat hay.
I know a lot of horses that na,
I wach them all day
I know a lot of horses that na.
So when you hear me say...
I know a lot of horses that na,
just walk away.


The Boy - He Has Some Science to Share

This morning at 7 a.m., The Boy was wide awake in his room, clad in boxer briefs and using a scientific device called a Stellarscope. Said Stellarscope looks and functions much like a kaleidoscope except that when you point it at a light source and look into it, you see a projection of the constellations of the Northern or Southern Hemispheres -- practical and fascinating, mind-building scientific data instead of colorful hippie fluff

The Boy took his time looking into it, and using the foundations of the scientific method that The Wife and I have been trying to instill in him, was making notes and observations which he later refined.

"I was studying. Studying the stars," The Boy informs me. The Boy came up with the following, which I am obligated to share with you, my special Internet friend:


The equation is "Y does not equal M 2+5.7 approximately C.3 star + Big Dipper over Milky Way approximately M C.5 = 7 times 9 approximately = 22." The Wife kindly included the slope-intercept formula Y=Mx+b to help him better arrive at his conclusion.

That was dandy of her...

193% Style, Baby...

Another early morning at the gym in my vain attempt to see the right-hand side of 50 (The Comet®, folks... it's coming next year... seriously). As much as I hate working out the place I go to rocks on a lot of levels, the least of which is that I can run on the treadmill and then, if I so choose to do so, can use the phone in the gym to order an omelet with extra cheese and ham and sausage and bacon that will be waiting poolside for me once I've finished the weight lifting silliness and showered. I can do the same thing in the afternoon with a bacon cheeseburger and a pitcher of martinis to wash it down with.

My gym is also wonderfully cool because it caters to a mostly older crowd. Unlike an exercise meat market, the clientele is mainly families and old geezers. I can be driven to inspiration by the fact that I am usually the youngest and the most in-shape person there. The healthy and exuberant glow of muscled twentysomethings can cart their taut frames elsewhere, thankyouverymuch.

During this morning's cough-sweat-groanfest I was privileged to see an older guy — I want to say he was in his mid to late 60s — walking on the treadmill and later lifting ten-pound weights. Good for him for staying in shape. I feel it my duty to share with you, my most special Internet buddy, what he was wearing.

Get this for a WORKOUT outfit...
  • Buster Brown brand sneakers.

  • Black socks pulled all the way up

  • Plaid golf shorts

  • A white undershirt

  • A button-down, short-sleeve dress shirt tucked into his shorts.

  • Best of all, he was wearing a belt.

Lady Gaga my ass... This guy should be America's new fashion maven.

I am Doomed. Freaking Doomed.

I was reading The Boy the next in the Harry Potter books and the description of Harry being given "a formidable look by an old woman" came up. I'm just the narrator, so I read it as written.

"What's 'formidable'?" He asks.

"Well. If something's formidable, it's kind of scary and intimidating. But if someone gives you a 'formidable' look, it's kind of threatening and scary but just between you and that person."

"Oh. Like when we're in a fancy place and you look at me because I'm not on best behavior?"

For crap's sake. He's SIX! There, right there, is why I plan on having a minor stroke or Robo-tripping away 30 or so IQ points by the time he's a teenager.


Awwwww.... Crap.

Here's the thing. Got The Wife a Kindle for Mothers' Day. Two observations:

1. The apostrophe in the holiday. Pisses me off to no end. The various cards to various women in my life who have children. I do not begrudge them their day and, in fact, welcome it. What I am furious about is the discrepancies between the obvious possessive in the holiday. For the record, Hallmark writers, it's MOTHERS' Day./ The apostrophe goes after "Mothers" to indicate the day belongs to all mothers. I have seen it in greeting cards as "Mother's Day" and "Mothers Day." I spit on the illiterate hacks. This has nothing to do with anything save for me once again vomiting my id on the interwebs.

2. Goddamn it to hell. I do NOT want a book reader. I am happy The Wife is happy with hers. She deserves a hella lot more than a techno-toy, and I'm not fishing for compliments. What I am floored by is that I am very much a purist when it comes to books. I loves me paper. I heretofore had no desire for an e-reader. But on a whim, I looked up one of my favorite obscure writers and found that I could get a volume of his only book of poetry on the confounded machine for $0.99.

Know how often I have lusted after that holy grail of a book? Countless times. And do you know how much it would cost me to buy a printed copy of it? I shudder, my dear Internet friend, and wish I could say I was making this up. I just want to READ the damn thing, but the cheapest print copy I have ever seen was about $2,000.00.

I hate technology. Hate it...

An Open Letter to Teh Interwebs

Dear Targeted Advertising:

Re: this latest observation -- fuck you.


- Josh

The Beat... It Goes On...

Yesterday at work I made the mistake of mentioning to a guy I work with that, "I run on the treadmill exactly as fast as the song 'Cool Places' by The Sparks." This led to a discussion about musical cadence and exercise. And then from somewhere in the back of my head I recalled some piece of software that I saw somewhere at some time some place that can be used to group one's music catalog according to the beats per minute. It might have been associated with the Music Genome Project. Or not...

So my question to you, my special Internet buddypal, is for you to help me recall what the hell I was thinking about. Does such a piece of software exist? Where is it?


The 1%ers

My pal Howard pointed me to an opinion piece written by Roger Ebert that discusses The One-Percenters, that is the 1% of the population who earn 40% of the nation's income.

Outrage at the lack of social justice aside, I noticed this bit from the article:

"...One of the challenges facing the One-Percenters these days is finding ways to spend their money. Private residences grow as large as hotels, and are fitted out with the amenities of luxury resorts. Fleets of cars and private airplanes are at their owners' disposal. At work, they sink absurd mountains of money into show-off corporate headquarters that have less to do with work than with a pissing contest among rival executives. Private toilets grow as large as small condos, outfitted with Italian marbles and rare antiques..."

I have my own small solution to helping spend some of their money: salad bars

I have long been bored by the flaunting of wealth via the traditional trappings we are expected to associate with it: luxury cars, rare works of art, jewelry of large carats, promiscuous Kardashians. Quite the opposite, to me the apex of ostentatious displays of opulence is the salad bar.

I have mentioned this to my many friend [sic] in passing and will again opine this belief here. Want to use your possessions to invoke a jaw-dropping, jealous reaction from me? Then you're going to have your own salad bar. In your own house.

More than that, that salad bar will be freshly stocked on a 24-7 basis. This will involve maintaining a staff of 9 people, 8 of whom will be used to staff three 8-hour shifts. The 9th person will man a large metal bowl at the end of the salad bar. The person's only job will be to toss the salad(*) I have put together, as dressing tossed into a salad rather than just spooned on top of it is a basic human right. The plates will always be properly chilled. There will be multiple types of olives. Iceberg lettuce shall have no place on the salad bar. There will be the option of Green Goddess dressing. You better damn believe the chrome and stainless steel will be polished to a high shine. Being a private, fully-staffed salad bar, there will be no need for a sneeze guard as "that's what I pay my salad bar staff for."

See, the thing is that I love a good salad. Having a salad is not limited to a meal accompaniment, nor is it any more or less appropriate to have a salad at certain times of the day vs. others. Watching the news at 7 a.m. and thinking that "Damn. A salad with some cubed avocado and pickled beets would really hit the spot right now" is one thing. Being able to fulfill that craving... that right there is my champagne wish and caviar dream.

(*) Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know: "toss my salad." Hyuck hyuck hyuck... Got it.