Monday, September 29, 2003

Earth orbit and the Milky Way galaxy are synchronous rhythms that sound like Jimi Hendrix if one listens. Yea, it's Sunday and D's just called asking me to come over and hold her hand while she calls her ex-hubby to "beg" for money. It really disgusts me when ex-husbands dissociate themselves from their children after divorce only to hurt their ex-spouse – especially when the bastard's got money oozing from his pores, literally millions of dollars in his bank account. But this SOB is so stingy with his cash, at least when it comes to supporting his daughter and his ex-wife (D) that he felt unfairly put upon when the court ordered him to pay a paltry $750 per month in child support. Child support! What a joke! D spends $750 per month on food and entertainment for her daughter and, though I know that's exorbitant for many single mothers, D feels she cannot deprive her daughter of as normal a life as possible despite the divorce.

Well, that's another story for another time.

I just wanted to put a spot on the old blog site just to keep my fingers nimble and my mind focused.

I'm off to play the shining knight (I hope) and perhaps share a few laughs with my dear lady D.

Here's wishing you a shining light to guide you, a romantic night to hide you, and an exultant flight through life.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Beautiful! Just beautiful! That's my opinion of "Open Range," Kevin Costner's latest flick While not as expansive as "Dances With Wolves," this is a tightly-scripted tale of two cowboys who live by a code – mostly unspoken, as all the 'good' cowboys know – that motivates them to take on a greedy, immoral cattle baron who hates freegrazers, cowboys who drive small herds across the prairies to market, letting the stock graze where it will.

Needless to say, the antagonist wants 'his' land protected from these dusty gypsy types and their paltry herds so that his and only his cattle can benefit from the prairie grasses.

The plot is simplistic and its been used dozens of times but it still holds a certain beauty and complexity by the nature of its characters, and Costner, alongside Robert Duvall as "Boss" Spiers (sp?) turns in a mesmerizing performance. The whole ensemble performs at such a high level of believability it's impossible not to get caught up in the story.

While one can find a few weak spots along the trail, so to speak, they're hardly worth mentioning. The camera work is impeccable; the acting I've already covered; and the pacing is perfect.

Annette Bening stuns with her performance as a spinster whose brother is the only doctor in town and, therefore, a valuable asset to the clashing opponents - the barbed-wire crew versus the freegrazers.

The good versus evil aspect is not as clearcut as most films of the genre portray, meaning Duvall's and Costner's characters are no saints.

But their cause is righteous and their methods are straightforward, as opposed to the slimy, back-shooting style of the bad guys.

This is definitely a winning film worth spending a few bucks to enjoy.

I'm out.

Got a dinner invitation and all I have to do for my supper is read a chapter or two from a book to my D.

Farewell, live long and prosper.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

William Gibson, the progenitor of the term "cyberspace," says the Internet, which was created by the military in concert with the nation's universities as a communications media that could survive a nuclear holocaust, would probably have been deleted, so to speak, had the creators of the World Wide Web foreseen what the Internet would eventually become. Interesting speculation and one, which I for one, rings true.

The Internet will, by its evolution from controlled data streams, originating in and switching between military bunkers and university campus basements, into a private, uncontrolled electronic territory available to the lunatic fringe, the pornographers and the crazy visionaries who stalk the alleyways and gutters of our cities, destroy its creators, according to Gibson. That's a beautiful thought to me.

What is this media to become? What "good" will it serve? What evil will it afford and support? And how do we put the genie back in the bottle?

We don't!

But that's all for the good, I suppose. If God, whatever – the Creator, the unconscious presence of divinity and force that creates and destroys matter, determines that the Internet has a role to play in humankind's existence, then here we are.

Why worry about negative consequences when they're inevitable and the best thing one can do is avoid contributing to the negativity and, otherwise, creating a ray of sunlight through the beam in one's eye.

Why do these lines of code create images, words and thoughts expressed through symbols?

Why not?

What this planet and its inhabitants mean in terms of the universe and its goal for procreation is very little, I'm sure. But it does have a tiny role to play in the big picture, whatever that is, and our experiment in living, our existence as a thinking creatures that create and use metal and change the form of molecules and atoms for our own ends, will add something to the course the unfolding universe takes, albeit minor course changes at best.

The wobbly earth's axis has a purpose beyond our understanding, but to think about it is to imagine the earth flipping over, like a ship awash at sea, spinning out of its orbit 'round the sun and simply drying out in the vacuum of space.

So what? What if it does. What effect can we, the planet's children so to speak, have on such a powerful momentum as that?

Science fiction writers like to imagine human existence going forward no matter what the level of destruction, no matter what the crisis, no matter what the impossible odds may be.

Perhaps this is the role of the science fiction writer, which is to say, one of bringing hope – false or otherwise – to his/her readers. Perhaps. But raising the spectre of apocalyptic events is, in and of itself, a conjuring of destructive forces. And human beings are filled with destructive impulses, no matter their race, creed or color. Religion, spirituality, asceticism, idolatry, witchcraft or any number of other-worldly yearnings can't hold a candle to the human drive toward self-aggrandizement, greed and lust.

How's that grab you? The one true religion is human desire, in all its beautiful, varied, perverse, magical, powerful, magnetic, hypnotic, disgusting, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, iterations.

The reincarnation of Christ from his death on the cross is only a desire for immortality couched in the lovely tale of a viscious-but-loving god whose "only begotten son" (who was Christ's mother? Well, it must have been god creating a male and female 'self' that allowed god to procreate, eh?) took human form to cleanse the world of sin by spilling his blood williingly for the sake of humankind. Wow. What a plotline! No wonder the book took 800 years to write! It took at least that long to polish the plot, flesh out the characters and imagine the possible beginnings, middles and ends, like all written works.

But I digress. When I began I was talking about Gibson (novelist) and his view of the world through weary eyes that long have searched the Internet for answers to unfathomable questions. Gibson, apprently, quite an introvert. And his vision of the world, the many worlds he envisions in the near and far future, conjure a resonance in the imaginations of millions of readers, most of whom, he thinks, don't have a clue what he's talking about. But then, Gibson himself doesn't have clue what he's talking about when he writes. Not my evaluation, but his. "When I write, it's a collaboration between the me who's talking to you now and my subconscious. And I don't have reliable access to my subconscious. The characters, when I'm doing my job well, take over and subvert the plot; they alter the course of the plot without my knowledge and there's nothing I can do but keep writing."

Well, that's life.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

"The passion of hatred, that's what I felt in that room." Those were the words, approximately, spoken by one of the 50 witnesses who attended the execution of Robert Harris, the first prisoner executed in California after a 25-year moratorium on executions.

Somehow those words resonate with truth. The passion of hatred. Some witnesses who spoke on camera during the filming of "Procedure 769" tried to convince themselves that revenge wasn't the reason they were attending the execution.

Harris had murdered two teenage boys in 1976 prior to stealing the one of the boy's car to use as a getaway vehicle after a bank robbery.

It's interesting to me how differently the people who were involved in the execution of Harris viewed the event, and how differently each of the witnesses to the execution perceived their roles, their importance for having attended the event.

Strange film indeed.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Aaargh!! This place is nutz tonight (not unlike most nights). We have people taking football scores and eating pizza and freaks like me writing headlines and polishing copy - and so it goes.

I am fatigued beyond all recognition and my mind has been wandering all evening, so tonight's work has been ragged, to say the least.

BUT, I begin a 4-day R&R period soon as I get out of this place tonight (thank the gods).

Obviously, I'm writing this from work (and this damn F key is sticking so badly I have to pound it with enough force to crack plywood (ouch!) to get a uckin' F to appear.

riday night and I feel (ah, there's an f now ...) like a crispy critter. The Dems now have nine (?) candidates in the running against the Bushmeister which, I believe, weakens their already unlikely chances of beating the incumbent president during a time of war - even if it is a worldwide guerrilla war.

uck this! My ingers are killing me, I've done too much typing tonight, so I'll sign off while I've still got feeling in my hands.

Back at ya.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Feeling like 40 pounds of crap in a 4-pound sack! My physical state is a mess and my mind is befogged and muddled. I hate it when I land on a one-day-off schedule and return to work barely decompressed, which, of course, is the case this week. Because we're shorthanded, a chronic condition at my place of employment, I was enlisted to cover for the boss yesterday. Subsequently, I've had about, oh, let's see, NO SLEEP! And I'm feeling it this afternoon. I have to be at work in about one hour and I'm not sure I can keep my eyes open for the next nine. But what are ya gonna do? Eh?

At any rate, just watched North Carolina Sen. (?) Edwards, a Dem, announce his candidacy for president of the United States on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." Seems an unlikely spot to break the news to the world but, hey, the world's becoming more and more screwy each day so who am I to question the wisdom of his choice?

Ergh! My stomach is bubbling, my head is reeling and my body is numb. Bummer!

And on that note, might I suggest that you read Mark Bowles (sp?) latest article in the The Atlantic Monthly. Bowles, author of "Blackhawk Down," puts the fine art of torture under his literary microscope and he comes up with some startling revelations, to say the least. Or maybe it's just me.

(Deep sigh ...) So Ben and J-Lo have split; the French and Germans are playing hard to get relative to Iraq and the U.N. Security Council's role there; my sense of detachment is troubling at the moment, so I hope it passes quickly; and The History Channel is relating a story about Burma and the Japanese atrocities commited there during WWII.

Clearly, I'm too obscure even to myself to make any sense at all, so I'll just wish you all (and you know who you are) a very happy day and a luxurious night.

Perhaps my wish will boomarang on me – please.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Rats! I just lost my text and I'm too lazy to repeat what might have been jewels of wisdom and grace. C'est la vie'. Well, it's nearly time for the new TV season to begin and, like millions of blubbery Americans, I'm getting ready to spend hours staring at the telly to catch up on my favorite programs.

Of course, there's the best of the best, "The West Wing," the bible for armchair liberals who like to watch actors portraying active Democrats fighting the good fight.

Last season ended with President Bartlett resigning his post to actor John Goodman because his daughter (Barlett's) has been abducted by a shadowy Middle Eastern terror cell and the president's emotional reactions could lead the nation into senseless war with an innocent nation. Hmmm. Sounds vaguely like art imitating life, eh?

Then there's "ER." Last season's cliffhanger left us with Carter on his knees in the dirt with a .45 pressed to his forehead by a bloodthirsty guerilla in a fictitious African nation struggling under the weight of civil war. Oooh!

Then there are the staples (at least for me): "NY Blue," "Alias," "The Practice," the always entertaining "24," which, though ridiculous on its face, is frighteningly realistic in its premise. The closing scene of last season's final episode had the president (he's black - how revolutionary ... yawn) writhing on the ground in agony, poisoned by a pretty Chinese-cum-Asian gun moll. I'm sure Jack's mission will be to fight the terror cell that perpetrated the heinous act and save America again.

My favorite new show is PBS's "Now with Bill Moyers." It's possible the only program on television that offers a range of news pieces that explore the topics thoroughly and fairly – at least as fairly as a program that has Moyers as a host (read: Liberal). The show has consistently provided timely and provocative fodder for the old noodle. If you haven't yet, check it out (Friday night's at 8 p.m. CST).

Shifting gears, I've decided I'm going to try and partition each of my three blogs to reflect the range of my meandering mind. This blog will be dedicated to trivial, social phenomenon and such, while MOBLOG will focus on politics and the world at-large. Rantorama will be a forum for general news bits interlaced with philosophical viewpoints, spiritual enlightment (whatever that is ...), all things peculiar to human endeavor and pratfalls.

Look for these changes as time progresses and drop me a line when I tickle your rage, passion, fantasy or imagination, or just for no reason at all, K?

And while we're on the subject (notice the subtle segue), I'm taking donations for a CD-RW burner. I'm desperate to obtain a burner for my little iMac so I can utilize my Limewire file-sharing app (don't get your dander up, I pay for it and, far as I know, the artists are reimbursed for their product). But I'm empty, somehow, without the ability to burn CDs for my friends. There's so much good music out there if you look hard enough and I want to share some of it with those select few who I find common ground with whom I'd like to cultivate a musical roundtable – fodder for discussions on a lazy Saturday night, as it were.

So come on. You know you can afford it. Hell, if you'd like, just go out and buy me a Mac-compatible burner (external please) and save me the horrific wait. This is important and you'll feel good about yourself for helping one who really, really needs it!

So, it's Sunday, my one day off this week (ugh!), and I'm going to spend it noodling on the Internet, watching the Sunday news features, e.g. Meet the Press, The Week with George Stephanopoulous (sp?), et al.

Beyond that, I'm too broke to contemplate doing anything that takes money to participate so I'll probably watch the clouds float across the sky and enjoy the brief cool-off we're experiencing in the Panhandle.

Actually, the weather has been unusually mild of late. We've had nighttime temperatures dipping into the 60s already, unheard of in the eight years I've inhabited this dusty chunk of earth. Today's high is expected to reach only 69 degrees which, for me, is sublime. But I'm sure we'll return to those oppressively hot days that are the norm here right through October.

And so it goes.

I'm played out for now but I shall return. Meantime, check this out: A mad Englishman's Web site (you'll see what I mean if you check it out).

Here's wishing you a peaceful, sexy Sunday.

Friday, September 12, 2003

"Better run through the jungle!" Another weekend is upon us and I can almost here the pitter-patter of millions of teenagers' hearts accelerating at the imaginary futures that Friday night presents to them.

For myself, it's just another work day and my childhood is long behind me, although I must admit, I do wander among those memories from youth as often as I can.

So here's to the first kiss, the first touch of that private part, the first 'real' love and the first heartache – those experiences that weave a knot between us and makes of life a common experience, shared by most, though certainly not all.

Here's to the survival of democracy and the growth of science, spirit and mind. And here's to you. May your nightmares fade and your dreams, your truly heartfelt dreams, all come true.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Ah, Monday. A day to celebrate doing nothing.

There’s 24 hours of “24” airing on FX. As a child of television, the offspring of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Gabby Hayes and Art Linkletter, I’m in seventh heaven! It’s Labor Day, a day to spend doing nothing except laying on my spongy bed and watching the stories unfold. Sound boring, eh?

Ha! Doing nothing is sometimes the best thing in the world, the most luxuriant, peaceful activity I can think of, especially when I’ve no money and no chores demanding my attention. I can simply kick back and soak up Keifer Sutherland’s magical mystery tour.

So Bush is in Ohio babbling about budget projections, predicting that everyone who’s working will hold on to their job and everyone who’s not working will have an opportunity to get a job. Gee. Sounds good, eh?

But it also sounds like a pipe dream to me. The economy is in the dumper and the outlook for a deep deficit is solidifying, so I’d say the nation is in for decades of financial hardship.

And so it goes. I’ve been thinking about Labor Day and its meaning. A holiday commemorating the daily labor of American workers, a kind of pat on the back from Congress.

But if things unfold the way I think they will, Congress probably will soon consider eliminating such holidays, extending the retirement age to 75, and lower the minimum wage. I think that congressional actions that allow outsourcing jobs to foreign nations is one way to put downward pressure on the American worker to accept lower wages.

And while the cost of living keeps rising, we flunkies in the trenches will find it harder and harder to climb out of the fiscal morass the Bush administration is creating for us, especially those of us who aren’t captains (or queens) of industry, those who haven’t got a marketable ideas, a new, imaginative invention or a solid footing in the service sector, life is looking bleak. Oh, not as bleak as life must appear to our soldiers in Iraq, but bleak nonetheless. To me, it’s hard to avoid concluding that, given U.S. war-costs in Iraq, the fact that Osama bin Laden is still on the loose, and the post-war strategy in Iraq appears to be collapsing, we’re on a very thin limb in a gale-force wind.

I don’t know what the future holds but it’s not too difficult to predict that it ain’t gonna be pretty. We seem to be witnessing the erosion of the American Constitution and the advent of a bloody historical period of violence and instability on a global scale.

That aside, I wish D would call me and invite me to a movie or just to come over and hang out. I miss her and wish we had more time together.

C'est la vie.