Archive for the 'Random Shots' Category

21
Oct
08

always free cheddar in a mousetrap….

Just a little something I found amusing……..

I’d sell your heart to the junkman baby
For a buck, for a buck
If you’re looking for someone
To pull you out of that ditch
You’re out of luck, you’re out of luck

The ship is sinking
The ship is sinking
The ship is sinking
There’s leak, there’s leak,
In the boiler room
The poor, the lame, the blind
Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves, and lawyers

God’s away, God’s away,
God’s away on Business. Business.
God’s away, God’s away,
God’s away on Business. Business.

Digging up the dead with
A shovel and a pick
It’s a job, it’s a job
Bloody moon rising with
A plague and a flood
Join the mob, join the mob
It’s all over, it’s all over, it’s all over
There’s a leak, there’s a leak,
In the boiler room
The poor, the lame, the blind
Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves, and lawyers
God’s away, God’s away, God’s away
On Business. Business.
God’s away, God’s away,
On Business. Business.

[Instrumental Break]

Goddamn there’s always such
A big temptation
To be good, To be good
There’s always free cheddar in
A mousetrap, baby
It’s a deal, it’s a deal
God’s away, God’s away, God’s away
On Business. Business.
God’s away, God’s away, God’s away
On Business. Business.
I narrow my eyes like a coin slot baby,
Let her ring, let her ring
God’s away, God’s away,
God’s away on Business.
Business…

–Tom Waits
from the album “Blood Money” (2002)

11
Sep
08

The Dog Ate My Homework

I just wanted to say, yes, I have noticed the comments that have been left on my last two posts. I had every intention of responding to all of them tonight, but…………………the Red Sox and Rays played into the fourteenth inning, it is now past midnight, and I have to get up in the morning to go to an appointment with {shudder} my dentist.

Worst of all, the Red Sox lost. I stayed up all night just to watch Mike Timlin cough it up in the top of the fourteenth. So now I’m tired AND in a bad mood.

But I do wish to say a sincere “thank you” to everyone who took the time to read those posts and leave a comment.  The good news is that tomorrow is my day off, so with any luck I’ll be all caught up with the comments by then.

-Smith

30
Aug
08

They’re coming to take me away, ha! ha!

In a way, I hate to follow up something comparatively thoughtful like the poem in my last post with something as inane as this. In fact, I hadn’t really planned on posting anything tonight.

But since someone who shall remain nameless (yeah, right) has threatened to throw a temper tantrum if I don’t, here you go.

Be careful what you wish for………👿

In a really perverse, twisted kind of way, though, this post is kind of an appropriate follow up to the previous one.

-smith 😈

22
Jul
08

Yet Another Rant

More things that puzzle, perplex, and just plain piss me off.

In yet another sad and infuriating case of political correctness trumping over literacy, Dallas County Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield was ordered by a judge to apologize for calling the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments a “black hole”. It seems the judge doesn’t realize “black hole” is a scientific term for a well documented natural phenomenon. My question is: how did this moron ever get to be a judge?

As if I needed another reason not to vote for Barrack Obama, there’s this little beauty: “I don’t understand when people say ‘We want English only’. Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English–they’ll learn English–you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish!” I have some news for the good Senator. First of all, most public school curricula require taking at least a few years of a foreign language. If you go to any government buildings, and most shopping malls, all the signs are printed in English and Spanish anyway. But more importantly, last time I checked, this is an English speaking nation. English is our lingua franca. Anyone who doesn’t understand that a language is an important part of a country’s national identity simply isn’t qualified to be the leader of that country.

On a similar note, here in loony Massachusetts, the MIRA (Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy) recently was on Beacon Hill, advocating full “civil and human rights of all illegal immigrants”, according to a column Michael Graham wrote in the Jewish World Review. Evidently these people either have poor grasp of the English language, or the law, or both. Let me help by giving the definition of illegal: “forbidden by law or statute.” Hard to understand? Too ambiguous? I don’t think so. Furthermore, here in Massachusetts, illegal immigrants can recieve free medical care, access to our public schools, subsidized housing, and, by the way, jobs that pay a lot more than they’d earn back home. More than one Massachusetts town, Cambridge to name just one, has declared itself a “safe haven” for illegal immigrants, vowing to not cooperate with federal authorities. Do you know what this is called in most countries? Treason. And what’s truly bizarre about this is that if I light up my cigar in a Cambridge restaurant, I become a criminal, and rest assured, that law is vigorously enforced. I guess some criminals are better than others.

In two separate article today, I read how the Catholic church is threatening to excommunicate a splinter group that has ordained three women priests. Also, the Anglican church has forbidden an openly gay bishop from attending the Lambert conference. Now, certainly people can disagree as to the various merits of each position, but it seems to me that, in an age when these churches are losing members in droves (at least in this country) things like this demonstrate that organized religion seems more committed to its own destruction than all the Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers in the world combined.

Speaking of religious lunacy, in another dismaying example of Europe allowing itself to be bullied by religious fanatics, Great Britain’s Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, said he was willing to see Sharia law operate in the country, so long as it did not conflict with the laws of England and Wales, or lead to the imposition of severe physical punishments. My question is: how are they going to do this? Sharia law is particularly harsh, including such punishments as flogging, stoning, the cutting off of hands or death. This is a steep, slippery slope that the UK finds itself on. If Muslims are allowed to be a law unto themselves, why not Jews, Christians, and Buddhists? All these groups have their own religious laws. But I have this quaint belief that those laws should be subordinate to the laws of the nation. To have it any other way is to invite sure and certain chaos. Now I realize that Great Britain has never codified separation of church and state in the way the United States has, but isn’t this going a little too far?

Proving yet again that brainpower is not exactly a hallmark of the dysfunctional Spears family, 17 year old Jamie Lynn Spears tells “OK!” magazine that being an unwed teenage mother is “the best feeling in the world”. Nice going, Jamie. That’s JUST the message teenage girls need to hear. I’m sure those girls in Gloucester who all got pregnant, allegedly as the result of a pact, will be thrilled to hear you’re having “so much fun.” Naturally, feminists and leftists breathlessly huff about the need for more sex education and teen accessible birth control, and perhaps they have a point (teenagers are having sex, whether we like it or not) but in addition to those things, how about instilling in teenagers more discipline, and a stronger sense of (gasp!) responsibility?

Sure, she may have the money to live in a fantasy world, but most teenage girls don’t, and their lives are irretrievably ruined when they get pregnant. They don’t realize the high cost of getting themselves out of the trouble that emulating your–and your sister’s–behavior will land them in. Babies cost money. So does detox. So does a divorce. If Jamie Lynn Spears wants to throw away her teenage years and have a baby, that’s her business. I just wish she’d keep her big mouth shut about it.

Speaking of which, you all have no doubt heard about Alex Rodriguez’s dalliance with Massachusetts hair dresser and former stripper Candice Houlihan. Now I’m not a prude. I realize people cheat on their spouses all the time. But what I find disturbing is Houlihan’s callous way of completely disassociating herself from any responsibility for her actions. “I know how it feels to be cheated on, it sucks,” she grouses. “But a couple of drinks later, I didn’t notice all that much.” Of course, it was the bartender’s fault! Now she’s all bent out of shape at the negative publicity she’s getting. “He’s the one who had the pregnant wife at home”, she huffed to the Boston Herald. You’re right, honey, A-Rod is an asshole, too. But you’re just as guilty here. You’re the one who screwed a married guy, remember? And you’re the one who went public about it. So shut your mouth and enjoy your fifteen minutes of fame. It’s sure to be the last you’ll ever have.

And so the insanity just keeps piling higher and higher. Until next time….

-smith

15
May
08

Drawn to art

There are three things I have always wanted to do before I die: skydive (at least) once, learn to play Brahms on the piano, and learn to paint. Having recently turned 46, I’m at a stage in my life where I realize that the ride is half over, so if I’m going to do any of these things, it had better be soon.

It is highly unlikely that I will be able to do all three. While I don’t think there’s anyone who loves music more than I, and even pride myself on a rather extensive knowledge of classical music, I have found, through hard experience, that I have no musical talent whatsoever. Frankly, I have a better chance of meeting Brahms than ever playing his music. Some of us are just born to listen.

I intend to take up skydiving just as soon as I can get over my fear of flying. I do fly, when I have to, but I loath the experience. In fact, it’s my very hatred of airplanes that makes me think I can do this: I hate them so much I honestly think I’ll jump out of one just to get away from it.

But for the moment, I’ve decided to try my hand at the third, somewhat more realistic goal: learning to paint.

A good friend of mine introduced me to Edwina, a 70 something art teacher from England. Edwina is, to put it mildly, a hoot. Barely five feet in height, she has so much energy she simply dominates the room with her presence. And she talks exactly like one would expect a 70 year old English art teacher to talk. Combine the voices of Queen Elizabeth and Alfred Hitchcock, and you’ve pretty much got the idea.

Edwina suggested that I start off a little more modestly, using soft pencils, so I could see if I had any aptitude for this before I invested in oil paints, which can be pretty pricey. A $20 investment got me 3 soft lead pencils, an eraser, an easel, and a sketch pad, and I was ready to add second rate artist to second rate poet on my resume of dubious accomplishments.

My first attempt was not what one might describe as an unqualified artistic triumph. If you click the pictures, you’ll get a better view:

Edwina was not impressed. “Oh, NO!” she rebuked me, clearly horrified that she had allowed such an imbecile into her midst. “Young man, you’ve got it all WRONG! You’ve got to go for the SHAPE of the thing! Don’t worry about the details! It’s the SHAPE that matters most at this stage!”

Oh, ok.

I made a few more attempts at the pipe. I could tell that Edwina was finding it something of a challenge to come up with anything positive to say about my efforts. “Ummm, that’s…..a little better.”

As the evening progressed, so did I. After several more attempts, I finally managed to come up with something that looked kinda sorta like a pipe:

Finally by the end of the evening, I actually got Edwina to say, “Now young man, THAT’S more like it! Maybe you have some hidden talent after all!” Yeah, she really talks this way.

And I finally finished up with this:

No, I don’t think I represent much of a threat to the legacies of Mssr’s. Monet and Renoir. But it was fun, and gratifying to learn that after only two hours I could create something with my own hands that somewhat resembled the object I was trying to draw. I needed this.

Now, where’s that parachute?

-Smith

11
Apr
08

sometimes, you just want a cigar

One of the advantages of working at a smokeshop is that I get to smoke on the job.

I don’t often show my ugly mug on this blog, but a friend recently snapped this pic of your humble scribe doing one of the things he loves most, so here you go.

I love smoking, I love tobacco, and I personally don’t give a rat’s ass who knows it. Personally I’m getting a little fed up with being vilified by society for indulging in one of life’s great pleasures, a pleasure, I would add, that is, at least for the moment, still completely legal.

The cigar, for the curious, is a “Rocky Patel”, a Honduran cigar with a Sumatra seed, Ecuadorian sun grown wrapper. To put it simply, it is an exquisite cigar

A few random thoughts on smoking here:

Many people (non-smokers, naturally) paint the pipe, cigars, and cigarettes with the same black brush. This is utter rubbish. Comparing cigars to cigarettes is like comparing McEwan’s Scotch Ale or Sam Smith’s Taddy Porter or Old Peculiar Yorkshire Ale to Bud Light.

One drinks a good stout or ale for the flavor. The idea is to taste and enjoy the subtleties and complexities of the brew. The alcohol content, while significant, is of secondary import. But let’s be honest here: no one drinks Bud Light because it tastes good. The only reason to drink this misbegotten beverage is because you want to get drunk and it does the job, quickly and efficiently.

By the same token, no one smokes cigarettes because they taste good. The only reason to smoke a cigarette is to get that six-second-lung-to-brain nicotine hit that a cigarette provides. And just as one might drink Old Peculiar or Sam Smith’s because one appreciates the exquisite flavor of these brews, so one smokes a fine cigar (or pipe tobacco, for that matter) for the flavor. The idea is to taste the tobacco, as the leaves from various subtropical countries combine to form a complex panoply of flavors which intrigue and delight the palate.

I find it astounding that the anti-smoking zealots claim to be doing this “for the children”. Ah, yes, it’s always for the children, isn’t it? Has anyone bothered to take a gander at what the “children” are getting up to these days? Teenagers are binge drinking (usually Bud Light, not Old Peculiar), driving cars after binge drinking, using hard core drugs like cocaine and heroin, indulging in unprotected sex, and posting naked pictures of themselves on the internet. I guess this is okay, because-thank God-THEY’RE SMOKE FREE KIDS!!!! Where the hell are all the public service announcements aimed at discouraging this sort of behavior that can irretrievably alter-or end-their lives in an instant?

Actually, this isn’t even true. The smokeshop where I work is within walking distance of several colleges. Out of curiosity, I recently asked one of them why he had started smoking. I pointed out to him that he was too young to have ever seen a cigarette add on TV. In fact, the only information concerning cigarettes available to him from the electronic media (which is where teens get 99% of their information) was all NEGATIVE. Since this kid was old enough to understand the English language, he has been bombarded with nothing but adds telling him not smoke. So why does he? His answer was simple and to the point: “Everyone was telling me not to do it, so that just made me more determined to try it.” Ah, from the mouths of babes….

Here in Massachusetts, our feckless governor, Deval Patrick, recently held a press conference to announce that there would be no broad-based taxes. The people of Massachusetts, he said, were already paying enough, between soaring gas prices and an already hefty tax burden (they don’t call it “Taxachusetts” for nothing, kids.) Okay, I thought to myself, I can get behind this. For once I thought I found myself agreeing with a Liberal, until I got to the last paragraph of the newspaper story. There it was revealed that Patrick intends to raise the cigarette tax by a dollar a pack. Evidently the cigarette tax does not fall into the category of “broad based tax”.

The truth, of course, is that tobacco taxes are the favorite method of politicians who are too cowardly to implement an increase in the gas tax, or alcohol tax, or any sort of tax that might actually get them booted out of office by an incensed and already overburdened electorate. Tobacco taxes are safe because they only affect a now politically impotent minority, and besides, it’s “for the children.” I find it supremely ironic that Liberal Democrats, who are supposed to be the party of compassion and the common man have no problem resorting to this most regressive of taxes when it suits their purposes.

Unlike cigarettes, cigars are not physically addictive. You don’t “Jones” for a cigar the way you do for a cigarette. This is because you don’t inhale cigars. As mentioned before, the idea is to taste the tobacco, and to this end one simply “sips” the tobacco into the mouth, lets it linger there for a moment or two, and then exhales it. While a small amount of nicotine does enter the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth, it is not in sufficient quantities to create a physical addiction. Rather, it is a gradual and relaxing process, which is why smoking a pipe or cigar is such an effective way to relax.

Which, now that I think about it, is what I need to do right now.

-Smith

28
Jan
08

Cleaning up some odds and ends…

It has been pointed out to me that the link to Joe Fitzgerald’s column in my “Real Meaning of Christmas” post no longer works. Since the column is the whole point of the post, this obviously presented a problem. Because I feel so strongly that Joe’s message is an important one, not just during Christmas, but–perhaps especially–throughout the rest of the year, I have removed the broken link and simply inserted the entire text of the column. The column originally appeared in the Boston Herald. Sorry it took so long to fix this.

Speaking of Christmas posts, I have to admit I was rather surprised at the lack of response to my Christmas Eve post.  I would have thought that a crucified Santa would have provoked a few more people, even if it was just to tell me what a blasphemous bastard I am.

Also, as I am just now pulling out of yet another extended period of blogslackery, many comments which were kindly left by readers have gone unanswered. While there were personal reasons as to why I let things slide around here, I wish to apologize (yet again) for my inattentiveness. For those of you who actually give a shit what I have to say, all comments have now been replied to.

-Smith




taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood" ~ Dr. John H. Watson ************************
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