Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Songs of the Day

Songs that popped up in my head today (in exact order: a couple of days ago, I intentionally decided to try to keep track on a future day; I've been curious about any sort of ongoing mental pattern).

Of the below, I know the Rihanna and McCartney turned up because I was just actively listening to them in the past week. The other three, though, I'd not been thinking about recently at all, nor had any event in my day triggered a corresponding "theme" in a song.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

In the "Get a Life" department

Fucking Loser at Movie All By Himself

...According to witnesses, the depressing loser, who was the youngest person at the matinee screening by a good 30 years, shifted in his seat as the movie began, got comfortable, and began sipping his soft drink and eating his popcorn, later saying that he likes to eat candy first and popcorn second so that the popcorn lasts through most of the film.

The man also took care to shut off his cell phone and place it in the backpack on the seat next to his, which, witnesses confirmed, made it seem as if his backpack was his closest friend.

The sad sack then watched the two-hour action-comedy all by himself, giggling at several Bruce Willis lines, but for the most part staring blankly at the movie screen. When the closing credits began to roll, the man grabbed his backpack and was the first one to leave the theater.

“It was okay,” the man, who has reportedly reached an old enough age where it’s not inconceivable that he’ll be alone all his life, said. “Nothing special.”

At press time, the heartbreaking loser had entered his apartment, sat on his couch, sighed, and turned on his television.

In the "Say It Ain't So" department

No, Vogue girls, NOOOOOOO!

Pretty Ugly: Why Vogue Girls Have Fallen for the Birkenstock

(I don't care how they try to spiff them up: Birkenstocks will always be the most unattractive shoe EVERRRRRRRR! Oh wait: The Teva definitely gives the Birk a run--ooops, I meant "super-comfy shuffling walk"-- for its money...)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"Life is no Nintendo game"

My younger nephew's 8th birthday Saturday. One thing that's always fun about hanging out with both of the nephews (the other is 11) is getting to learn about new music that I normally wouldn't have come across on my own. (It's also cute to see how intense they are about begging their parents to turn the car radio to their favorite stations. Their mom -- my sis-in-law -- is cool about it and goes along with their requests; apparently, though, their dad is a "radio Nazi" and not so amenable!) :)

Today on the way to/from the birthday restaurant: I was, luckily, in the non-Nazi car and got to listen to some of the mom's Shuffle songs that my nephews had helped her pick out. Two that got replayed at least 3 times each, and that I like a lot, were Rihanna/Eminem's 2010 song "Love the Way You Lie" and Drake's 2013 "Started from the Bottom":

I especially liked the Rihanna/Eminem song. And what was even better was hearing my older nephew's explanation of the song's theme for me: "He starts out trying to be nice and apologize, and then ends up getting mad and yelling at her again." (Oh honey... May you stay sweet and find a sweet girl and never know the emotions in this song except intellectually. I wouldn't wish that angst on anyone.)

He also pointed out the "You don't get another chance/Life is no Nintendo game" line. :)


Oh yeah... Also today via the nephews, I got caught up on today's wrestling world, which I hadn't paid attention to since 1980 or so, when my little brother was into it (and I was forced to abdicate the TV to him on Saturday nights for the local TV coverage on Channel 11 in Fort Worth). Back then, it was the von Erich family, Rick Flair, Rowdy Roddy Piper, et al. Today: CM Punk, Big Show, Jack Swagger (all seen weekly on Friday's "Smackdown!" on the SyFy channel)... My now-41-year-old brother and the boys just went to their first WWE wrestling event at Austin's Erwin Center Friday; today my brother proudly reported that he singlehandedly started an audience-wide chant of "OU sucks!" when Jack Swagger (apparently an out-and-proud OU alum) came into the ring! :)

Today the nephews excitedly showed me their 3 brand-new CM Punk, et al, dolls (aka "action figures"): No one could figure out from the doll what Punk had tattooed across his belly: Started with "S-T-R-A..." ("stratosphere"? "Stratocaster"? "strategerie"?) Internet search: "STRAIGHT EDGE."

And, while my nephew informed me that the "CM" in "CM Punk" stood for "Chicago Made," another Internet search tonight revealed that it might also be "Cookie Monster" (childhood nickname), "Chick Magnet," or "Charles Montgomery" (Mr. Burns' of "The Simpsons" first names).

I'm now pretty sure that I know ENTIRELY TOO MUCH about today's wrestlers.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Bay City Rollers "Original Album Classics"

Dammit, I've spent the past few years trying to scrounge up these various BCR albums online; "It's a Game," for example, I just recently spent $12 for! And now, Epic/Sony is releasing ALL of their first 5 albums (including "It's a Game") on one set... I just bought the whole set for a total of $19. (I'm amazed that the Rollers' market value isn't greater. They were so meaningful to me from about '77 to '79 -- my very first music loves.)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

"Quanell X Bores Houstonians with Pointless Protest"

Protesters in Houston were out over the weekend, annoying residents and forcing shops and restaurants to close.

Quanell X (Houston’s own Al Sharpton without the television show, presidential candidate status or following) “organized” the rally. Translation: he found sponsors to pay people to wander around Houston and carry misspelled signs for an hourly wage. Quanell X is perhaps best known for being kicked out of Islam and for his original poetic sentiments: "A cat can give birth to kittens in the oven. That don't make 'em biscuits."

Quanell decided to host his block party in the River Oaks Shopping Center and lead chanting hourly sign carriers down the mean streets of River Oaks – a residential neighborhood roughly equivalent to 90210 Beverly Hills in Los Angeles. His choice of location left many Houstonians scratching their heads. River Oaks is chock full of gluten free, Greek yogurt swilling liberal elites who really think racism is a “bad thing” while sending their kids to elite private schools to avoid Houston’s dirty little public school demographic secret. Quanell X just can’t seem to leave the class warfare alone - rich=bad=racist.

River Oaks residents were not amused. Other than blocking River Oaks residents’ ability to easily go to Starbucks (this shopping center is known for the fact that it has TWO Starbucks right across the street from each other), Quanell X’s protest had little impact because of the low turnout and the fact that a comparably -sized pro Zimmerman group decided to show up and play, too.


- See more at:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Clothes for Creepy-Ass Crackers

I just ordered the below T-shirt:

But hey (Jesus, now I'm even starting to SOUND like Si!): At least it wasn't the T below. (I didn't choose that one because I didn't want people thinking I was into a mutated 4-man version of ZZ Top. Liking ZZ Top would just be weird.)

Monday, July 22, 2013

New Things on this Blog

On the left-hand side of the screen, added a section for "Links That Make Me Happy." (Currently 3 things: The Bloggess, Found Magazine, and Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology.)

When I started this blog 7 years ago, I consciously wanted to avoid a "Links I Like" section because it seemed like everyone just put their friends there. I didn't want any sort of "you like me, and I'll like you" phony-reciprocal thing. But then as years passed, I found MYSELF looking at such links on sites that I enjoyed. I don't want it here to devolve into a big, junky list; hope to keep it to stuff that has actually HELPED me mentally in some way (made me laugh and/or think and/or feel sane when I was feeling crazy and dysfunctional), and that you might also possibly enjoy...

Also, at the end of each post, there are now buttons for sharing via mail, Facebook, Twitter, et al.

(Below: The Bloggess)

One day at a friggin' time!

Good lord, but I've been paralyzed for the past 2 weeks after getting my new computer, for so many reasons.

Even at $1000, even after I'd specifically asked the guy at the store: It turned out not to have a disc player (I'd specifically been buying cheap CDs online in order to transfer them to my new iPod, which now came to a halt); and I'd already registered my iPod with the old computer -- wasn't sure how to get everything over to my new computer); I messed up my access to the Microsoft Office system that I'd paid for by not scratching the card correctly (thus completely obliterating the Key numbers I needed); I had high-paying freelance work offers (which I was desperate for after dropping almost the last of my money on the big-purchase computer item) -- but they required Acrobat Pro, and the folks that I bought the old Pro from just 5 months ago somehow couldn't find the Product Key for me to transfer the permission to the new computer. And, to top it all off, I couldn't seem to figure out how to use the new Windows 8 operating system (touching the screen like mad, but not even getting simple things like copying/pasting to work).

This past weekend things came to a horrible head: I NEEDED to spend time on my new computer, figuring out the Windows 8. I NEEDED to start on some of the freelance stuff, doing what could be done with only the free Reader and not the Pro. But did I? No. I just spent both Saturday and Sunday in bed, completely frozen with fear (depressed about my crappy personal life, but also fearful of all of the new technology-stuff I had to figure out: "I can't do this! I can't do ANYTHING!")...

Today, though, after I got home from my pleasant temp day job, slowly but surely things started to come together -- with a kindly nudge from my long-distance boss who was asking when I was going to start on the work for her. (She had always been super-nice to me ever since I worked in-house for her back up North.) Feeling horribly guilty for delaying her work so long, I made her the promise that I'd do 3 things for her tonight. Which I did. And which got me back on track overall:

I had bought online a cheap Asian plug-in disc player for $16.95 (yelling at myself the whole time for going the cheap route, but since I'd already spent $1000 on the computer, I wasn't about to spend another $100 on a player, when I'd thought the damn computer already had one within!). Testing it for the first time tonight, the cheapo player worked FINE! And a 40-minute CD downloaded in, get this: 6 minutes!! (As opposed to 40-50 minutes on my old, sluggish computer.) And once I plugged my iPod into the new computer tonight, it recognized my playlists, and the new CD I'd just downloaded, just FINE! :)

After taking my messed-up Microsoft Office card back into Best Buy last week, they replaced it without a problem and I finally tonight got it registered on my new computer!

I still haven't been able to access my old Acrobat Pro, but I still have the free trial for the next couple of weeks (thus enabling me to do work), and I found a reputable alternate PDF editor online for only $45 that I'll install once this immediate work is finished.

The trouble I was having with Windows 8 and all the screen-touching (not great when you're on a big screen and not a portable device) was solved by the online purchase of a used mouse for $5! Voila!

What a huge relief all the way around.

Still need to download a simple web editor so I can work on my Joan site from the new computer, but it's all quite doable until I get that figured out; I can actually use all of my old files that have been transferred to my new computer and make any edits on them. If I'm desperate for a brand-new clean page, I can just re-name a page and delete the old stuff, then download on FileZilla per usual.---[NOTE HOURS LATER: I just found my old web editor disc from back in 2003!!!!! With the serial number and product key!!!!! When I inserted the disc and entered the numbers, they all worked...JUST FINE!!!! I still had the disc after 10 years and a whopping 8 MOVES! Austin - NYC (Wash Heights 1, Wash Heights 2) - Jersey (roommate, then my own place) - San Antonio (mom's) - Austin (mom's, then my own apt). I literally KISSED this disc when I found it (well, after I realized it worked!) At this moment represented everything that was GOOD about this world!!]

And in the meantime, until 100% perfect: ALL of my old stuff -- 13 years' worth of stuff from my last 2 computers -- now takes up a miniscule 5 PERCENT of this new computer!! It works like a friggin' breeze! The very first time in 2 weeks I've felt happy about my insanely expensive new purchase, thinking it might actually HELP me in my life. :)


Below is my current Happy Song (downloaded a few minutes ago from my Asian knock-off player to my iPod in mere seconds -- and now I can play back/re-watch here the YouTube video version in mere seconds, as opposed to waiting and waiting and waiting for the old computer to strain and strain to upload...How damn satisfying!)

Happy Birthday, Royal Baby!

From today's UK Daily Mail.

Born at 4:24pm Greenwich (Cancer/Leo cusp).

An astrological side-note:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Anatomy of Part of a Poem

The past couple of days have been desolate. Poured my heart out to someone, got "Get a real life" in return (!). You (or Jodi Arias - ha!) might know how that goes.

I was in drudge mode: "Just get up, go to work, come home. Do what you have to do." Also hadn't written a thing in months.

Thursday (last) night, I'd been, in my mental agitation, dallying with throw-offs like:

Get a room, get a life
Kill with kindness, or use a knife
Take it manly, or on the run
Look out below for Number One.

Went to bed thinking of the above nonsense ditty. Right before my 6:25 alarm, was dreaming of seeing some sort of electronics demonstration in an auditorium. Then the clip of the electronics was to be shown as part of an entire movie that featured it. You could either leave after the demonstration, or stay for the whole film. After seeing the electronics clip, I recognized the film as one I liked and was planning to stay. I was near the back of the auditorium, in a row of only 3 seats. The film was about to start, and I felt 3 quick taps on my shoulder...

6:09, the dream-taps woke me up. I physically turned around in bed to see who was tapping me awake! No one, of course, but I immediately had to jump up and write down, not the goofing-off of the night before but:

The trees of our land have scars
where pioneers nailed their barbed wire.

(I just wrote this down without thinking, but I immediately knew the exact physical image: From age 12 to age 18, I grew up in a rural part of Texas. My family had a few acres of land of our own, but we kids in the neighborhood also often roamed around the surrounding completely wild land. We'd often come across old barbed-wire that former settlers of the land had nailed directly into trees to mark their territory. The settlers were long gone, and their barbed-wire intrusions long rusted and long grown over, sometimes in fantastical elephant-man proportions, by the bark of the trees.)

An hour or so later, as I waited for the bus, another line came to me:

And when the worms have had their way
with flesh and wood alike...

And then 9 or so hours later, once I got home:

The rust still runs through the gnarls and knots of both patience and decay.


I didn't at all feel so sad any more! :) My "having a life" depends a lot more on that imaginary tap on the shoulder than it does on the whims of an even more ephemeral Houston socialite.

I will always have those trees (and that barbed wire).

"Black America's Real Problem Isn't White Racism"

Great -- now I seem to be agreeing with Pat Buchanan! (See my "Zimmerman (Rightly) Not Guilty" post of a couple of days ago.) The below editorial by Buchanan just came out on Yahoo News today; I found the NYC stats particularly interesting:

In the aftermath of the acquittal of George Zimmerman, Eric Holder, Al Sharpton and Ben Jealous of the NAACP are calling on the black community to rise up in national protest.

Yet they know — and Barack Obama, whose silence speaks volumes, knows — nothing is going to happen.

"Stand-Your-Ground" laws in Florida and other states are not going to be repealed. George Zimmerman is not going to be prosecuted for a federal "hate crime" in the death of Trayvon Martin.

The result of all this ginned-up rage that has produced vandalism and violence is simply going to be an ever-deepening racial divide.

Consider the matter of crime and fear of crime.

From listening to cable channels and hearing Holder, Sharpton, Jealous and others, one would think the great threat to black children today emanates from white vigilantes and white cops.

Hence, every black father must have a "conversation" with his son, warning him not to resist or run if pulled over or hassled by a cop.

Make the wrong move, son, and you may be dead is the implication.

But is this the reality in Black America?

When Holder delivered his 2009 "nation-of-cowards" speech blaming racism for racial separation, Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald suggested that our attorney general study his crime statistics.

In New York from January to June 2008, 83 percent of all gun assailants were black, according to witnesses and victims, though blacks were only 24 percent of the population. Blacks and Hispanics together accounted for 98 percent of all gun assailants. Forty-nine of every 50 muggings and murders in the Big Apple were the work of black or Hispanic criminals.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly confirms Mac Donald's facts. Blacks and Hispanics commit 96 percent of all crimes in the city, he says, but only 85 percent of the stop-and-frisks are of blacks and Hispanics.

And these may involve the kind of pat-downs all of us have had at the airport.

Is stop-and-frisk the work of racist cops in New York, where the crime rate has been driven down to levels unseen in decades?

According to Kelly, a majority of his police force, which he has been able to cut from 41,000 officers to 35,000, is now made up of minorities.

But blacks are also, per capita, the principal victims of crime. Would black fathers prefer their sons to grow up in Chicago, rather than low-crime New York City, with its stop-and-frisk policy?

Fernando Mateo, head of the New York taxicab union, urges his drivers to profile blacks and Hispanics for their own safety: "The God's honest truth is that 99 percent of the people that are robbing, stealing, killing these drivers are blacks and Hispanics."

Mateo is what The New York Times would describe as "a black Hispanic" Yet he may be closer to the 'hood than Holder, who says he was stopped by police when running to a movie — in Georgetown.

Which raises a relevant question. Georgetown is an elitist enclave of a national capital that has been ruled by black mayors for half a century. It's never had a white mayor.

Is Holder saying we've got racist cops in the district where Obama carried 86 percent of the white vote and 97 percent of the black vote? And his son should fear the white cops in Washington, D.C.?

What about interracial crime, white-on-black attacks and the reverse?

After researching the FBI numbers for "Suicide of a Superpower," this writer concluded: "An analysis of 'single offender victimization figures' from the FBI for 2007 finds blacks committed 433,934 crimes against whites, eight times the 55,685 whites committed against blacks. Interracial rape is almost exclusively black on white — with 14,000 assaults on white women by African Americans in 2007. Not one case of a white sexual assault on a black female was found in the FBI study."

Though blacks are outnumbered 5-to-1 in the population by whites, they commit eight times as many crimes against whites as the reverse. By those 2007 numbers, a black male was 40 times as likely to assault a white person as the reverse.

If interracial crime is the ugliest manifestation of racism, what does this tell us about where racism really resides — in America?

And if the FBI stats for 2007 represent an average year since the Tawana Brawley rape-hoax of 1987, over one-third of a million white women have been sexually assaulted by black males since 1987 — with no visible protest from the civil rights leadership.

Today, 73 percent of all black kids are born out of wedlock. Growing up, these kids drop out, use drugs, are unemployed, commit crimes and are incarcerated at many times the rate of Asians and whites — or Hispanics, who are taking the jobs that used to go to young black Americans.

Are white vigilantes or white cops really Black America's problem?

Obama seems not to think so. The Rev. Sharpton notwithstanding, he is touting Ray Kelly as a possible chief of homeland security.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at


Thursday, July 18, 2013

I think it's time for a change

There's no need for argument
There's no argument at all
And if you never hear from him
That just means he didn't call
Or vice versa
That depends on wherever you're at
And if you never hear from me
That just means I would rather not...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mercury in Retrograde

My Rob Brezsny Leo horoscope for this week:

Hurry up, please. It's time. No more waffling or procrastinating. You really need to finish up the old business that has dragged on too long. You really should come to definitive decisions about ambiguous situations, even if they show no sign of resolution. As for those nagging questions that have yielded no useful answers: I suggest you replace them with different questions. And how about those connections that have been draining your energy? Re-evaluate whether they are worth trying to fix.


Wow. Exactly.

And speaking of horoscopes: I overheard a couple of girls in my office talking Wednesday:

"WHEN is it going to be OVER?"
"This Saturday. FINALLY! I can't wait. I've been a mess. I can't get anything done."
"Me, too!"
"If you want to know exactly when, there's a website that'll tell you..."

[OK, by now I was just DYING to know what the heck they were talking about!]

"... look up 'Is Mercury in Retrograde.'"

[ME to myself after hurriedly checking out the site: "Ohhhhhh. Ha!" BTW: It ends this Saturday at 2:22pm Eastern.]

Now, I know horoscopes on a basic level, like the characteristics of the signs, what month is what, what rising and moon signs are, etc. But I didn't know anything about what "Mercury being in retrograde" meant. Apparently, it's something like this (from AstrologyZone):

What happens when Mercury retrogrades? You miss appointments, your computer equipment crashes, checks get lost, you find the car you just purchased during Mercury retrograde is a lemon. (Or, you hate your haircut, the lamp you bought shorts out, your sister hates her birthday gift.) There will be countless delays, cancellations and postponements--but know these will benefit you in the long run. Don't fight them, although your frustration level and feeling of restlessness will be hard to cope with at times.

All machinery and things with moving parts--such as computers, VCRs, camera equipment, garbage disposals, and so forth, will reveal any weak links now. It is critical that you back up your data system and be more careful and vigilant than ever. Projects will demand more time and money than anticipated this month.

In matters of the heart, if your boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with you or says something hurtful, take a wait-and-see attitude. Since Mercury rules speech, they may not mean what you think they are saying now. Let them have some space...

When traveling, leave early and allow for extra travel time. Have all bags double-taped closed, count your belongings, double-check addresses and reconfirm appointments. Things get lost when Mercury messes us up. Take NOTHING for granted...

Why would the Universe give us Mercury retrograde? Because to move forward it is sometimes necessary to backtrack and reconfigure our paths in life. It is important to reconsider, repair, reflect, and reconnect. Mercury forces us to slow down and fix what's broken, and in so doing, rethink things. It also gives us time to get to projects we have put on the back-burner.

Some activities are lucky or actually improve when Mercury retrogrades. You are likely to bump into old friends that you haven't seen in years. Adopted children tend to find their birth parents during Mercury retrograde periods, or people locate their long lost siblings. Prosecutors often find clues to crimes that had previously remained unsolved for years. (Although sometimes the reverse is true--there is a greater danger, or example, that police can bungle evidence during a Mercury retrograde period, for clear thinking doesn't come easy for any of us then.) Mail that went astray weeks or even years ago shows up during Mercury retrograde. Some things that were lost reappear.

Now is also a good time to dress old wounds, clean up relationships or to simply bury the hatchet. Some people have great breakthroughs in psychotherapy during a Mercury retrograde period. For salesman, it is a positive time to backtrack over previous contacts rather than call on new ones. It is a perfect time to schedule work on projects that you haven't had time to do and you've let pile up. Bring your resume or portfolio up to date, and clean out your closets. Take time to paint the house. Clear your decks.

Just try not to start new things...


After checking a couple of other sites about "Mercury in Retrograde," I noticed one thing over and over again: Don't make major purchases (computers/electronics specifically mentioned everywhere)! Yeah, well... I didn't KNOW that when I bought my new high-end computer 10 days ago! Which has been a huge ongoing headache!

I bought it primarily for 3 reasons:

(1) So I could do freelance editing faster.
(2) So I could work on my Joan website faster.
(3) So I could burn my CD collection faster.

Well, surprise:

(1) The Adobe Acrobat program for editing that I purchased via download only back in February won't transfer over to the new computer.
(2) My old web editor also won't transfer.
(3) The new computer, despite its glam slimness (my 11-year-old nephew, a real anti-size-queen when it comes to electronics, will be impressed when he sees it) didn't come with a CD/DVD-writer! (Though I specifically ASKED the guy at Best Buy, and he said it did!)

So now I'm scrambling around trying to get stuff done, "toggling" (i.e., plugging and unplugging) between my old computer (which has the programs I need but is tremendously slow) and the new whiz-kid, which is just dying to be put to use...except for its lack of the programs I need and cannot afford to re-buy since I just spent $1000 on the new computer!

I blame some of this on Best Buy. I spent $100 to have their Geek Squad transfer all of my stuff from the old computer to the new. Only, they wouldn't transfer the programs (Acrobat, the web editor, Word/Excel). The last time I had to transfer everything, back in 2009 in NYC, the independent Geek I paid for a couple of hours' work found all of the necessary keys and got EVERYTHING transferred just fine; thus I avoided then all of this ongoing current WORRYING! (I just want to come home and do my stuff, dammit!)


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Zimmerman (Rightly) Not Guilty

When I first heard about George Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin last year -- accompanied by news photos of what appeared to be a cherub-cheeked 12-year-old, and descriptions of Zimmerman as a "racist" and "racial profiler" and "cop wannabe" and a "vigilante" -- I was horrified: What kind of monster shoots an innocent little kid?

But then more precise details started to emerge:

(1) Martin wasn't a little 12-year-old. He was a 5'11" 17-year-old who posed with gang signals on Facebook and who had gotten kicked out of school several times. Up-to-date photos of him showed him looking decidedly like a man, not a little boy.

(2) Zimmerman wasn't a "psycho white vigilante" roaming around with a gun, looking for innocent black kids to shoot. He was an appointed neighborhood watchman. (And he wasn't "white." He was of mixed descent, his mother Peruvian. Other possible indicators that he wasn't racist: He'd tutored black kids and he'd taken a black date to their prom.)

(3) Zimmerman's neighborhood had been subject to a series of burglaries (including one especially notorious home-invasion while a young mom was home) in the months leading up to the shooting. Neighbors, including black neighbors, had identified suspects as "young black males." So when Zimmerman saw a young black male walking around on the premises at night, he wasn't "racially" profiling Martin, he was "criminally" profiling him, based on what he and the neighbors knew about recent past burglary suspects.

(4) When Zimmerman first spotted Martin, a suspicious person in his mind based on past neighborhood activities, he did not immediately confront him. He called 911. Vigilantes don't call 911; people worried about a potential crime call 911. Then, as the tape of his 911 call indicated, Martin started to run as Zimmerman approached him. (Since when do innocent people run? More on that a little further down.)

(5) Also as the 911 call indicated, when Martin started to run, Zimmerman said: "These assholes always get away." "Assholes" isn't a "racist" term. It is, however, a good term for suspected burglars of neighbors. Though the 911 operator told Zimmerman not to follow Martin, Zimmerman did so. He didn't want this "asshole" to get away. (Speaking of racism: Martin's friend Rachel Jeantel, on the phone with him just before he was shot, said on the stand that Martin told her a "creepy-ass cracker" was following him. Zimmerman, on the other hand, only identified the race of who he was following when the 911 operator asked him specifically if the suspect was white, black, or Hispanic.)

(6) When Zimmerman caught up with Martin, there was at first a verbal confrontation (according to neighbors), then a scuffle. Then a shot. When authorities finally arrived, they noted and/or took pictures of the grass on the back of Zimmerman's jacket. And his bloodied nose. And the lacerations on the back of his head. He'd been on his back on the ground, and he'd been punched in the face. If you had a gun in your possession during all of that, how long would you wait to protect yourself with it?

All of the racial elements inserted by both black spokespeople and media outlets like MSNBC are disgusting to me. I hate this kind of constant "crying wolf," the constant weird psychological need of some black people (and their liberal white apologists) to be seen as perpetual victims, regardless of the actual circumstances (witness the mass public cheering by black audiences when OJ Simpson got off decades ago). The description of Trayvon Martin as "a young black boy killed just for being black" that I continue to hear even as I listen to post-verdict results tonight is completely disingenuous and ridiculous. As is the continual claim brought by several commentators (including Geraldo Rivera on Fox last night) that young black men live in fear of being killed by law enforcement, which might be why Martin ran. While they may live in such fear -- I don't deny anyone the right to their own psychology -- I'd suggest that people take a look at the actual statistics: How many young black men were killed by law enforcement last year? Versus, How many young black men were killed by other young black men? In other words: Take some responsibility for your own behavior, as well as your own group-think.

Of COURSE Trayvon Martin had the right to "walk around" without being shot, as does anyone. But George Zimmerman didn't just shoot Martin randomly, while Martin was simply "walking around." Zimmerman was on his back on the ground, being punched in the face by Martin.

As I said above: If you had a gun in your possession while being punched in the face, how long would you wait to protect yourself with it? I think that most people -- of whatever color or gender or creed -- would react in exactly the same way that Zimmerman did.

I think the bigger questions are: Why would Martin take off running? Why would Martin physically attack someone who was asking him what he was doing?

I'm a gay white woman, a former young woman (now 47). I've been stopped and questioned by police on maybe 3 or 4 occasions. One time, I was 20-ish and had driven down to the river with 3 friends at 4am. We were simultaneously drunk and 'shrooming and wading in the shallows (trying to become one with the water) when a cop-car drove up. And yes, we were asked what we were doing there. It was perfectly legal to be on the river-bank, but still... I'm sure we seemed odd being there at that hour. And I still don't see anything odd about the policemen checking up on what we were doing. Needless to say, none of us ran or tackled a police officer. As a result, the police chatted with us for a minute and then left.

In short, plenty of white people are stopped for acting "suspiciously." The issue is usually cleared up quickly; that is, if the person in question doesn't run and/or tackle the questioner.

What, on the other hand, about Martin's background and culture made him think it was OK for him to act in the way he did? THAT is something that the black community is going to have to think about seriously, sans any phony, self-righteous "white people done us wrong" sloganeering, a la Al Sharpton at a recent "Justice for Trayvon" rally at which he proclaimed: "We love our children!" Do you, now? Then why are a whopping 75% of black children born out of wedlock and raised by single mothers? The black male (non)example is the VERY opposite of loving your children, despite all rhetoric to the contrary. (As is this fact published by the FBI: 91% of black homicide victims were killed men. What do white people have to do with those stats?)

It's not 1865. It's not 1965. In 2013: Clean up your own backyard before blaming either "society" or a self-defending neighborhood watchman (or, for that matter, a simpleton like Paula Deen) for your troubles. Trayvon Martin was more a victim of his own "black community" attitudes than he was of a local guy trying to protect his neighborhood and himself.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

"I'm so real! I lived in New York!"

A couple of days ago, I was bitching here about a co-worker one cube over who was constantly loud, constantly on the phone with personal calls, constantly loudly talking about "New York"-this and "New York"-that... Today I got back from lunch and had some work-stuff to seriously think about (i.e., not just dumb make-work stuff). But the chick next door was on the phone talking about her band and her band's website. And she stayed on the phone talking about her band and her band's website for the next 50 minutes. I can see personal calls for 5 or 10 minutes...but nearly an hour? At first I thought maybe she didn't know I had come back from lunch. So I coughed a couple of times, etc. No reaction (like hanging up the phone!). I couldn't concentrate. I went to the bathroom. I went to fill up my water bottle. I went to chat with my boss.

Finally, at the 50-minute mark, I got up and went over to her cube: "Hi...Sorry to interrupt you...I'm having a really hard time concentrating...Could you possibly, maybe, um, talk on your cell outside?" (God, I hate grovelling.)

She immediately hung up and then came over to apologize. Kind of. "I'm so sorry! I'm not used to having you here. When it was just J--- and me, we'd talk all the time. A lot of times, we even play music around here. And no one's ever complained before."

Now, I've been at this place for 3 weeks. And have been around "J" the whole time, 8 hours a day. She's a Young Professional on the make. She's serious about her work. She's quiet. She never "plays music." Nor have I ever heard anyone else in this (professional) office "play music."

But I smiled and nodded and said "thanks for understanding; sorry if I was rude."

A few seconds later, hipster-chick adds: "It's probably because I'm from New York. In New York, things are a lot looser at work."

OH REALLY??????? (Gawd, shades of the overhead ignorant conversation from last week about fireworks on the East River as opposed to the Hudson...) I sprang into action:

"Really? You found things more casual at work in New York? When I worked in New York, I was at Morgan Stanley and a publishing company, and they usually liked things pretty quiet. I wish I'd been in YOUR nicer office! Where did you work there?"

She hemmed-and-hawed and didn't answer directly about what company in New York City would encourage hour-long personal conversations on the job. (I suspect it was probably a bar.)

I am SO glad I had that wide-open chance to let her know that she couldn't play that bullshit "NYC-card" with me (as I'm sure she's done with many other impressionable Austinites who still think NYC -- and thus herself -- must be the height of Cool).

When I got home from work, I looked her name up online, since she'd been going on about her band; found this quote from her: "I really felt like I had this songwriter's soul inside of me -- and New York City was impossible for me to realize that truth...The pace was too fast -- I felt like a 'nobody.' I'm too vain -- I needed to go somewhere where I could create something."

(1) I hate any trendy, shallow reference to one's "truth."
(2) The whole quote is extremely condescending to Austin--implying that she's now a big fish in a small pond and will thus be wildly successful since her "special light" somehow wasn't previously "allowed" to shine in NYC.
(3) It's a common misperception that Austin will charge or re-charge your creative batteries. I've heard the same sentiments from at least 4 different people over the 3 decades that I've lived here. What no non-native realizes: Austin is a supremely LAZY town. "Live and let live." Which is a nice philosophy in general, but not a great CREATIVE philosophy. There's no challenge here. Anybody can be in a band here. Anybody can be written up in the local press here. The REAL challenge is making it in the more honestly critical/cynical NYC.

I also rolled my eyes at a blurb on her own band website that said she "teaches journalism and writes for a human rights group." (Good lord, is there anything more trendy than claiming to "write for a human rights group"?!) She's at a cube next to me doing office work, for pete's sake!

Thursday, July 11, 2013


When I first came to the University of Texas in Austin in 1983 as an 18-year-old freshman, some things that made me feel mentally at home (amidst a huge amount of other things that made me feel completely foreign) were the movie theaters all around me. (If I felt frazzled in real life, I could always go to a movie to escape my self and learn about others in the world...and learn about art and how peaceful beautiful and intelligent things made me feel afterwards.)

Four of the theaters within close walking distance: Downstairs at my very dorm, the Jester theater (where I saw my first movie at college: "The Graduate"). Two blocks up the street, the Dobie theater (where I saw my first Woody Allen movie, "Zelig"). In the center of campus, the Union theater (where I saw my first art film, Fellini's "8-1/2"). And then the Varsity theater, on the "Drag" bordering campus -- I can't remember what I saw there in '83, but I do remember seeing "Betty Blue" there with my mother in '86 while she was in town for a visit...

Not one of these four theaters is still open today, and nothing has replaced them. Where do lonely kids today go for some peace of mind?

New York Times article about the Varsity closing in 1990. (It opened in 1936. The article complains that the Varsity was turned into a Tower Records in '90. Today, the Tower is long-gone and can itself seem almost nostalgic!)

Joan Crawford = darn intense.

"Johnny Guitar," 1954.

I first fell in love with Crawford in 1987 after seeing her in '32's "Rain" and "Grand Hotel," then "Johnny," then 56's "Autumn Leaves." She's just about the only actress who has ever given me goosebumps watching her. (Jessica Lange in "Frances," too, but that was a one-time thing.)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Kind-Hearted Bloggess

The Bloggess is kind-hearted. I am not. I wish I were more-so, but I am not. I'm pretty cold-hearted and judgmental (which works OK in intellectual scenarios but, of course, not in personal ones).

On July 8, The Bloggess (Jenny Lawson) posted this question on her blog:

What do you wish for right this very moment?

I like her blog a lot, but I initially kind of rolled my eyes at this, cynically thinking that people were going to write in with stupid, phony things. There have been 1760 responses as of 9:47pm Central this Wednesday night, and I ended up crying at the heartbreaking honesty of many of the people's posts.

In honor of their honesty, I'll answer honestly here:

I wish that Sandra loved me.
I wish that Sandra didn't love Jim.
I wish that Sandra had a way to support herself.
I wish that I could reconcile my psyche to all of the above and GET ALONG with Sandra and HELP her instead of judging her.

(Oh...and I wish that I had my eyesight pre-2010 back, and that I had a regular job that paid at least $3000 a month.)

Monday, July 08, 2013

The $1000 Puppy

Not at all house-trained yet! AKA: New computer! :)

First one I've purchased brand new, on my own. My first was an HP desktop that I got for Christmas in 2000 from my mother. The second was a Dell laptop sent to me by a fellow Joan Crawford fan in 2009 -- he'd had it since 2006, had it cleaned out, then donated to me because I'd been bemoaning how decrepit my 2000 computer was and how I couldn't afford a new one. This guy saved my Internet life! His donated Dell has been with me through New York and my mom's houses in San Antonio and Austin (with Wi-Fi cadged through neighbors' walls), and then through these past 3 years in my own Austin apartment.

And now, in 2013, with money left over from last year's freelance bonanza: A new HP laptop! Brought on because my cache of money from last year was quickly running out and if I didn't buy a new computer RIGHT NOW, I soon wouldn't be able to at all and I'd be trapped. Also brought on because of my inability to do PDF editing on my old computer because it was so slow -- a freelance job offer for $2000 from last week that I was unable to work on because of my crappy technology. As soon as I failed with that, I immediately got off my ass and went to the closest Best Buy, with profuse apologies to the person who offered me the $2000 job! ("Give me a week, I'll be up to speed! I PROMISE!")

Should have converted to the new computer back in December, when I first realized how I needed it. It's such a CHORE, though... Programs like Adobe Acrobat and my web editor that I bought years earlier aren't so easily transferred. I've got to dig through boxes to come up with "Key" numbers. And if I can't find them, then I have to re-purchase.

Took my old laptop to Best Buy last Friday after the 4th-o-July; bought the new computer. They finished transferring all of my old files to the new computer yesterday, and I picked up today. (A whole 3 nights with no computer! I listened to a lot of music and watched a lot of TV and tried to read some history books about the Justinian era!)

What I'm posting now with: My OLD computer! :) The new one, with its Windows 8 (as opposed to XP) and lack of Adobe Acrobat Pro and my old trusty web editor, remains in the box. It'll take a few more days for me to acclimate/house-train both it and myself. In the meantime, funny how I immediately plugged into my old comfort zone the second I got home this evening.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

My 4th o' July

Last year on this blog I summed up what nothingness had been going on on my 4th-o-Julys for the past several years:

I just re-read that 2012 entry, though, and it (I) didn't mention one important milestone that July 4 represents to me: the last time I had sex.

I won't say what year that past sex was! Suffice to say: a long, long time ago! :) (And, creepily, it was with my first lover. We were attempting to re-connect after a long break. The barbecue and swimming and going-to-see-fireworks I liked. The bad sex, I didn't.)

I do miss having plans to barbecue and swim and see fireworks tomorrow. I always tend to get ticked off with family members on holidays like this. For instance: Shouldn't my mom, as the matriarch of the family, host a barbecue? Or, shouldn't my brother, with his two kids, host one? (My brother's wife has been known to say, "It's all about family.")

Eh. My mother's never hosted a barbecue for the family. My brother and his wife spend barbecue holidays with their friends. (The sister-in-law's "It's all about family" means: "It's all about hanging out with friends who party like we do, and who have kids that our kids can play with while we're partying.")

So why was I expecting anything more than all of the above? :)

I do miss having plans to barbecue and swim and see fireworks tomorrow. (I can't wait until I really DO have my own things to do with my own lover and don't have to even bother about thinking of my crappy birth family and their not-wanting me on such days.)

p.s. To make this holiday even more irritating: In the office I've been working temp in for the past 2 weeks, there's a lesbian hipster-chick who has lived in Berkeley and New York sitting in the next cube over. She's VERY loud (as hipster-chicks from Berkeley/NYC usually are). Today, she was on the phone telling a friend how the best July 4th fireworks are on the East River of NYC. Guess what, Hipster? The fireworks moved to the west side, over the Hudson River, in 2009 (where I saw them from Weehawken)! And have been there ever since! So SHUT the FUCK UP! I also don't want to hear about your non-knowledge of horoscopes -- i.e., Scorpios all being born in October, etc. (What I could tell you about Scorpios!) Good lord, how stupid and annoying.