I'll come up with something in a minute.

Picture Post #58

For whatever reason, the last photos of the season always take me forever to post.
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March 20, 2012 Posted by | Photo | | Leave a comment

Grandma’s China

Three times this week, under different circumstances, friends have expressed roughly the same worry to me.

“I am afraid I’m going to screw this up.”

And I think they wanted some kind of “It’s okay, you’ll be fine” sort of comment… which proves that they don’t know me very well. Now, granted, one person made the statement on his blog, which means he was innocently casting his worries to the world. He got the same answer as everyone else though.

“You are going to screw up. If you’re really successful at screwing up, you might fail so spectacularly that the fireball of your error can be seen from space.” Not a pleasant thought perhaps, but I don’t do pleasant. I do honest, and I do that well, probably to a fault. I do always give my honest view on something, even if it’s not one you like. I try hard to stay on this side of honest without skirting into the realm of being a dick. There is a huge difference between giving your honest view and being an asshole for the purpose of hurting people. I never want to go into the dickhead area, but I don’t want to lie either. So I try to stay out of the asshole zone. I don’t always make it, but damnit I try. And that’s where the other half of my reply comes in every time.

“But hey, once you’ve had that moment, and the team of researchers is dispatched to the crater, and they find you sitting in it saying that you know what you did wrong, it will never be that bad again. Once you’ve crashed, you’ll know how to avoid it. Once you’ve hit bottom, all you need to do after that is kick, and thrash and head for the surface. After that, it can never hurt you again.”

My grandmother gave us her old china about… let’s say seven years ago. We were still in the condo, so it’s has to be at least five. Seven sounds like a good number. Syd and Holly were both utterly terrified of the plates. I wanted to use them as everyday china, and they both wanted to not have to wash, move, or touch them for fear of breaking one of the plates. They both mentioned at one time or another, their fear of breaking one of the plates and never being forgiven.

Now, grandma’s china was about 900 place setting. Not pieces, SETTINGS! Each setting had a bread plate, a salad plate, a main plate, a secondary plate, a plate that wasn’t quite in the relationship but was totally a FWB, a soup bowl, a finger bowl, a saucer, a tea/coffee cup, a desert bowl, what looked to me like a coaster but was probably a ramekin, a desert plate if you were having something that didn’t go in a bowl, a second main plate in case the first plate got scurvy at the last moment, another bread plate because why not at that point, a Sig Saur automatic pistol with 300 rounds of ammunition because we didn’t fuck around during thanksgiving arguments, another damn bread plate, the holy grail, seven tiny elves to help move the plates, a full set of the 1963 Encyclopedia Britannica and an ash tray because this was before people stopped smoking. EVERY SETTING HAD THESE THINGS! I only exaggerated once in that list, there were only two bread plates.

And these lunatics I lived with were afraid of breaking one damn plate. At one point I dragged them both into the kitchen and asked if they would feel more comfortable if I just broke one. Then it would have happened and they wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. They always declined, but kept worrying. I kept getting just to the edge of tossing one into the air, just to watch it tumble through empty space and smash on the ground. The only thing that stopped me was the thought that I would have to clean the damn thing up.

I believe on the plates did finally break, they must have, but I can’t recall the situation that brought it about. So maybe one didn’t. What I remember very firmly though, was wanting to break one of the damn things, just to show that they could be broken and I wouldn’t be upset. If anything, what was upsetting me was everyone treating the damn things like some damn religious icon from ten thousand years ago. I loved my grandmother, even if she did go a bit mean and weird at the end, but they were just plates and we had more of them than I could fully comprehend wanting to use. Frankly, breaking one or two would have relieved the burden of them.

In the end, it didn’t matter. In the end Holly left, and Syd and I bought new plates to commemorate the event. There are probably other steps between that, I got a pair of swords somewhere along the line. So what the hell right? Yeah, there was a lot of yelling, crying, demands to stop crying, and at some point Fancy ran to the roof and mounted a flag with six circles a triangle and the kanji for village, but then there were swords. The Swords are sort of important. A) Because they’re awesome, and B) Because of what they represent. One day I’ll feel comfortable buying a tanto for the set, and then you’ll know I feel okay again.

The point… if indeed I have one, is that you are going to screw up. You’re going to break grandma’s china, you’re going to fail at cooking Thanksgiving dinner, you are going to screw your kids up, you’re girlfriend is going to dump you for messing around with that chick, and the universe will eventually reach heat death despite all your best planning. You can’t stop this, you can’t prevent it, you can only embrace it. I have very little store in the way of pride, I don’t mind reaching for the bottom just so I can say I know where it is.

But, my dears, my darlings, with very few exceptions, you are permitted a second chance. You can go back and cook another turkey, get a new girlfriend, glue the china, have another kid… whatev. Very few things, in relative terms, are either irreversible or so permanent that you don’t get a second chance. You are almost always given the chance to improve.

I’m fully aware that this is not the reassuring statement that some people would like to have given to them, but I told you that I don’t do that. What I do is give advice like “Kick, thrash, swim, fight.” and sometimes “Hold, fold, walk, run.” if I happen to be on a train to nowhere.

But when was the last time I was on a train to nowhere?

Saturday. It was Saturday.

March 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tired of this Joke: Iron Man!

Look, I drink a lot okay?

And yeah, this is mostly Daddy’s money, but Daddy was a dick.

I’ve got a metal suit, and I try to do what I can, but… you know.

Whatever.

I’m Tony Stark, and I’m the 1%

And drunk!

Lolz!

-_- <– Iron Man!

March 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Counter Point: Clark Kent

I’m not that important, I’m really just a farm boy from Kansas. I was raised by a mom and dad who loved, me, tried to instill in me a sense of what was right and what was wrong. There’s not much that one man can do, but I’ve always tried to do my best.

I started as a street reporter, and I’ve been working my way up since then. I’ve won a couple of awards, but it doesn’t mean much if I can’t help the people around me. I try, but the current situation means that my help has to be other than financial, and that hurts sometimes. But I try to help out, I try to be a part of my community, I try to support whatever causes I can, because I am part of this city.

I’ve written stories on corrupt business men, on tragedies that befell the citizens of this city, on the joys that we’ve all shared. I’ve been a part of this city my entire adult life and I have found it to be a place that accepted me with open arms. I have loved this city, and I think it loves me back to some degree.

We stand as people, we stand together. Each of us looking for truth, or justice, or maybe just dreaming about The American Way… whatever that means. We need to stand together though, those of us who wear a big red cape, and those of us who type quietly, missing all the action again. We’re all in this together, and I’m proud to stand with all the citizens of this great world.

My name is Clark Kent, I am the 99%.

March 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Point: Lex Luthor

What is he? A god? An alien? Some kind of ubermench wrought in a lab that could only be believed in tales of the Third Riech? I’ll tell you what he is, an interfering busy body.

What official power does Superman have? None. He never has to come to court, never has to provide a written report of his actions, never has to do much of anything other than what he chooses to do. He is a self appointed police officer, judge, jury and in some cases, even an executioner, or at least jailor. No one asked him to do this, he just does it because he’s decided that he knows better than anyone else, how the world should be run.

We have no freedom, because a self-anointed god sits in judgment over each and everyone one of us. He uses his great powers not to prevent natural catastrophes, but to fight the stream of super powered gunslingers that he brings to our city just by being here. He uses them to spy on the people of our city, to harass the business owners, to attack anyone who doesn’t fit his personal moral code which is so narrow a laser would have trouble pointing down it without brushing the sides.

And he has those hideaways in freezing climbs, those space prisons where he keeps those he ahs decided can’t stand proper trials, and of course, there is that city he has kept in a bottle for years. Lord only knows what imagined sin the people of that particular Gomorra committed before he shrank them down and made all its citizens prisoners. Superman is not one of you, he is one of them.

Superman is the 1%

I, however, have worked hard for what I have. I was born in the worst slum of Metropolis. My parents were killed when I was still a child, and yet I have worked my way up to become the CEO of one of the largest tech companies in the world. I support charities, have created thousands of new jobs, and I have even bailed out several of my competitors when the crash came and it looked like thousands might suddenly be out of work. I have done everything to keep the fate of mankind, in the hands of mankind.

I promise nothing but hard work, struggle, and the freedom to live without the need for supermen to save us. We can do this together, we can all stand tall.

I am Lex Luthor, and I have crossed from the 99%, to the 1%, but I still remember my roots. I am with you, brothers and sisters, I am with you.

March 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Counterpoint: Bruce Wayne

I am not from the same situation as most of you, but I have had my share of hardships. I was born into the very lap of luxury. The only child of the wealthiest family in the state, and loved by them like no child was ever loved. And then, one day, I watched them die by violence before my very eyes.

Since that day, I have done everything in my power to try and see to it that no other child suffers that fate. I set up The Wayne Foundation to not only help fight crime, but to fight the causes of crime.

We offer grants, scholarships, and low cost loans for our citizens, so that the poorest among us might get ahead. We’ve built build affordable housing and provided it at costs that should mean I get a nice tax break for running non-profit establishments. I keep paying my taxes though, because it’s important to do your part.

I’ve spent millions of the dollars my father made, and I’ll go on spending millions. It might seem reckless, but the world needs the help that a man like me can provide. I’ve done so much for this city, that sometimes it feels like I have no life outside of my personal quest to save it. I don’t mind though, because sometimes I feel like I’ve actually made a difference, and if we all stand together, we might see ourselves through this dark night.

I’m Bruce Wayne. I am part of the 1%, but I stand with the 99%.

March 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Point: Joker

Let me ask you something. What do you call someone who dresses up like a woodland animal and beats the least fortunate among us into a bloody pulp? Would you call him a hero? Would you admire him, because he wanders the streets at night and attacks people who have been beaten so far down that they are forced to steal? Would you look up to a man who nightly endangers a child by dressing him up inn a bright yellow cape and involving that child into regular altercations with dangerous individuals?

Of course not! You would call that man a lunatic, and I know lunacy when it punches me in my pastey white face.

What do we really have here? A man, and it is just one, not rotating group. I can tell you that. Anyway, we have a man who has decided to appoint himself the police for a local area. And yes, occasionally I escape and make things interesting, but what about when I don’t? What does Batman do when there is no Joker to amuse him?

I’ll tell you what he does. He beats up Negroes and Latin Americans when he can’t beat someone “important” enough to be really engaging. He flies around the poorest parts of the city and busies himself with street crime. Only when I start killing people, does this fascist leave off his one man crusade of ethnic cleansing. True, he never directly kills anyone, but he does make sure that the privately run prisons are chock full of minorities, doesn’t he? Unless he doesn’t leave enough evidence, which is quite often, and then it’s just a man in a suit beating up a possibly innocent civilian.

Does he ever go after bankers? The corrupt officials? The contractors who have left Gotham such an ugly city? No, of course not. The people who brought Gotham City to the sorry state it’s in today, who took all the jobs away, who made it hard for a decent man to make a decent living, those… he leaves alone. He’s even seen with some of those prominent citizens.

And do you want to know why? Because he’s one of them. Oh yes, it’s easy to see that only a billionaire would be able to pay for the suits, the cars, the planes, and all those batarangs. You’d have to waste millions on that set up, only a few people could afford to pull it off, and only one or two possess the physic among that group. A plus B people, A plus B. Of course I know, I’ve known for years, but I choose to play the game fair and square.

Yes friends, Batman is not only the 1%, he’s also the weapon of the 1%, trying to keep the other 99% in their place.

My own story is different, I had a wife and we were expecting a child. Until a Waynetech stove exploded and killed them both, that is. Then I was strong armed into committing a crime, because I was poor and had no money. My entire life, what little there was to speak of, was ripped away in a single day. Everything was taken from me, even my face, because of the greed of other men.

When I get out of here again (seriously they have to update their water supply system at some point) I will redouble my campaign and this time I will destroy him, rather than getting distracted or deciding the world is more interesting with him in it. This time, I will stand, shoulder to shoulder, with my oppressed brothers and say “No more!” to the tools of oppression.

I am The Joker, and I am the 99%!

March 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Emerald Partition: Bleach

I was approached by a woman, who stumped me for a second.

“Does this bleach kill germs?” She asked.

Now, of course I know the answer… and that’s what worried me. I mean, do bulls have utters? That stops you for a second, because you think the answer should be obvious, and yet the person asking must have a good reason for asking, right? So for a moment, you end up going “Wait, do bulls have utters?”

“Pardon?” I asked, holding my hand to my ear so as to pretend that I was having a hearing problem.

“This bleach, does it kill germs?” She asked. “I want the kind of bleach that kills germs. I don’t want bleach that doesn’t kill germs.”

Now, most bleaches in the world, being a solution of sodium hypochlorite, do manage to whack a germ or two. It can be pretty nasty stuff, particularly when drunk straight from the bottle. That was what threw me for a moment. All bleach kills germs. She wasn’t finished though.

“I’m cleaning the bathroom today. I want to kill germs. Does this brand kill germs? I don’t want to buy something that doesn’t kill the germs. I wanna kill germs.”

I am not exaggerating, or playing up for comic effect. I am simply reporting, word for word, what this person said to me.

Now, what I said was “Yes, that bleach will kill the germs. Remember to dilute it with water though, or the fumes will be too strong.”

What I thought was “No ma’am, killing germs has been ruled to be cruel by the UN Security council. Bleach is no longer permited to kill germs. These days it just makes bitchy comments about it’s hair and dress sense, in hopes that the germs will get the idea that it’s not wanted and go away on it’s own.”

Buuuuut, I didn’t.

March 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Picture Post #57

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March 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Think about it, this squirrel story could get dark

Think of it! Long, drawn out passages about poor Squirrel Nutkins starving to death, trying to eat tree bark, eventually even going that final step and eating another dead squirrel before giving it up and dying at the foot of the old oak tree.

The rats finding and defiling his body for kicks, while his kids watch.

Some moral crusading Badger trying to use the death of poor Nutkins to argue against the libertarian ways of the forest. That same badger being shot down in the street by the weasels for being a unionizing troublemaker. A poor mouse, being forced to sell her body for acorns, beholden to a frog pimp. If only Nutkins had made it through the winter, none of this need ever happened.

When I tell a story about a squirrel, we don’t end with a party at Christopher Robin’s. A shoot out, maybe.

Yeah, I go places sometimes. Dark places, places where the light never does seem to shine. I live in the naked forest, and I’ve heard all the tales.

March 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment