Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Follow the money!!!

Once again, Bush/Cheney and their cronies are using fear to take the country for, literally, all it is worth. This entire Wall Street bailout plan is nothing more than yet another ploy to divert as much money as possible from the middle and working classes to the rich friends of the Bush administration. Bush and Cheney will be leaving office soon (if we're lucky) and they want to clean out the treasury on their way out. Look at absolutely everything that Bush has done during his reign. In every single instance, every single instance, the end result has been to take tax payers' money and put it into the pockets of a) a Bush or Cheney family member, b) a Bush or Cheney family friend, c) a Bush or Cheney business associate or d) a contributor to the Bush/Cheney campaigns. Now they want to take everything that's left. If it destroys the middle and working classes in the process, that only leaves them with more power. What could be the harm in that?

Before you call me a conspiracy theorist, take a look at the facts, (yes, facts - those liberal-leaning pieces of information that cannot be disputed) and remember, any time two or more people meet in secret in order to further their own aims at the expense of others while ignoring laws, rules or plain old right and wrong, it is a conspiracy, plain and simple. It happens all the time in the workplace, business, politics, families, you name it. The right has tried, quite successfully, to equate the phrase "conspiracy theorist" with "wacko," just as they are now trying to equate "community organizer" with, I don't know - terrorist or communist or something along those lines. Even so-called progressives have bought into it; they are scared to suggest that anything could be a conspiracy for fear of being labeled "wackos."

Let's play Follow the Money™!

Fact: Look at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bush/Cheney regime lied about the reasons for going to war. Haliburton (Cheney's former employer) and the Carlyle Group (Papa Bush is a bigwig in this one) have made billions on the wars. Coincidence? No, I don't think so.

Follow the money!

Fact: The "No Child Left Behind" Act. Millions of dollars spent in school districts across the country on mandatory testing, yet little or no federal support to finance it. Who pays? Taxpayers. Who profits? The McGraw family of McGraw Hill fame, who sell the tests, which are required by law, to the schools for multiple millions of dollars each year, and just happen to be close friends with the Bush family. Coincidence? No, I don't think so.

Follow the money!

Fact: Remember the whole terrorist scare with the duct tape? At the time, I joked to friends and family "Who makes duct tape and is friends with the Bushes?" It turns out that what I said as a joke ended up not being funny at all. The largest seller of duct tape in the country turned out to be a mega-contributor to the Bush/Cheney campaign coffers. Coincidence? No, I don't think so.

Follow the money!

Fact: The recent crackdown on illegal immigrants is putting more and more people in prisons built with the specific purpose of incarcerating "illegals." Millions of dollars are paid by the, you guessed it, taxpayers. Who's on the receiving end? Dick Cheney's son-in-law just happens to be a mover and shaker in the business of imprisoning "illegals." Coincidence? No, I don't think so.

Follow the Money!

With the proposed bailout, CEOs of "failed" banks and corporations will continue to draw huge salaries while the US Treasury pays for their greed and their criminal behavior. Mel, Floyd and Mr. Smartypants called it "privatized profit with socialized risk." Where will all the money come from? Ultimately, you and me. Who will benefit? Rich friends of the Bush/Cheney administration. These are people who, in a just society, would be tried and imprisoned (and, as Ralph Nader said in a recent speech, if you put all these rich people in prison, an added bonus would be an improvement in prison conditions), not rewarded with more of our money. Bush wants us to throw money at them. Why? Because if we don't "bad things will happen. Be scared and do what I say!" Is it any surprise that this financial crisis should occur so close to when they leave office? Coincidence? No I don't think so.

Follow the Money! Unfortunately, this could go on and on.

Read what Michael Moore has to say on the matter. He sums it up pretty well. "Oh, no! He's a conspiracy theorist!" But, remember, just because it's a conspiracy doesn't mean it can't be true. When that kind of money is involved, it would be naïve to assume that people with that kind of power and influence aren't conspiring. If you were George Bush or Dick "Dick" Cheney and thought you could get away with legally making off with $700,000,000,000 for you and your buddies, what would you do? Give me .0001% (one ten thousandth of one percent) of that and I'd feel rich beyond my wildest dreams. Not rich enough to forget how many houses I owned, but I could easily pay off my house and buy two or three more. Remember, you have to be a power-hungry, greedy bastard with no shame to think like Bush or Cheney. They don't think like normal people. In fact, they aren't normal people and they don't care at all about normal people. They think of themselves as royalty. They believe they are who and where they are because they deserve it and the purpose of the middle and working classes is to make money for them, god's chosen. As they see it, if the masses suffer as a result, even if they die as a result, that's only what the masses deserve and just as god wills it.

How McCain is stealing the election.

It doesn't matter how stupid Sarah Palin is. It doesn't matter how well Obama does in the debates. It doesn't even seem like it's going to matter if Obama gets more votes than McCain. Thanks to Carl Rove and his "Rovebots," as Greg Palast calls them, McCain is almost certainly going to "win" the upcoming election. Why is the national media not reporting on this? Why isn't it on the front page of every newspaper in the country? Why is it not the top story on television and radio news? People need to know about this. Maybe it isn't too late, but if people don't start screaming about it, I fear nothing will stop McCain from being "our" next president.

Here's just one example: In Middleton, Wisconsin, a town just outside of Madison, the McCain campaign is mailing absentee ballot request forms to registered Democrats. Golly, that's awfully civic-minded of them. Or is it? The only problem is, the envelopes that they are including for use in requesting the aforementioned absentee ballots are addressed to the city clerk in Madison, not Middleton, and Middleton voters are not eligible to vote in Madison. I've heard this from more than one source, and it doesn't stop there. These sorts of shenanigans are taking place all across the country and no one is talking about it! Read more about it here, watch the following video of Greg Palast (sorry, it's kind of long, and the thread wanders a bit, but it's important), then call your representative, senator, and local papers. I find it to be pretty frightening.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Brain to Nowhere

Luminiferous Ether posted about the Grand Opening ceremony for our new community center. It was a really fun event with music from numerous local musicians. It's not easy to get six different groups on and off the stage quickly, but thanks, to the organizational efforts of the fabulous Lynette, who also played in one of the groups, it went incredibly smoothly. Ken Lonnquist and his group, Kenland, played a little number that I'd like to share here. In this video, Ken sings and plays guitar and the amazing Dave Adler is on piano. I've had the pleasure of playing with both of them at one time or another. Great guys. I'm afraid I can't identify the other guests in the video. Enjoy Brain to Nowhere.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Return of the Son of Shameless Self-Promotion

Just in case any one out there is interested and able, The Motor Primitives will be playing a happy-hour show at The High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI, this Tuesday, 9/23/08. We'll be hitting the stage at about 6:00 pm. We'll be followed by The Apologists. It should be a good time, so come on down! Cover charge is only $4!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sorry, stupid, stupid, stupid...

I'd like to apologize for all the politically oriented posts recently. I guess I've been getting a little carried away. Now, all of a sudden, I realized that I never got around to posting about the recent CD released by The Motor Primitives, the rock band with whom I play! What is wrong with me?


The Motor Primitives have a (sort of) new CD out! It's called Classified. You should but it! Really! It rocks! If you don't believe me, ask Dr. Monkey von Monkerstein, creator of the blog Monkey Muck. Read Dr. Monkey's review here. Buy it here..., wait a minute..., I just realized I never set up Blogger to give people a way to contact me. I guess I have to figure out how to fix that. In the mean time, if you want to buy the newish CD by The Motor Primitives, you'll have to contact someone by getting the email address off of this link or leaving me a comment. Be forewarned that Classified is not available through CD Baby, as the first two CDs are. It's necessary to purchase it directly through the band or a band member. $10 (includes shipping) should cover it in the US. Maybe more overseas, but this isn't really a money making operation at this point in time. Make us an offer. Unless it seems like you're being a jerk (recommendation: don't ask for a CD with a message like this: "I think John McCain is god and I want to buy your CD for ¢30 even though I could afford to pay a lot more, but I'm a Rich Bastard who wants to take advantage of you"), we'll probably send you a CD even if we lose money on it. Thanks, and rock on!

Very interesting...

As Ms. Geranium (a.k.a. Luminiferous Ether) mentioned in her latest post, we spent the weekend at a camp outside of scenic Richland Center, WI. It was nothing short of glorious, but you can read about that aspect of the trip here. What I would like to mention is the drive to and from Richland Center. I believe we saw upwards of ten Obama/Biden signs on the drive. We saw only one (that is correct, one, (1), uno, a single, solitary) McCain sign. Now, I have to point out that the road from Madison to Richland Center doesn't go through the absolute heart of rural Wisconsin. It passes through a few towns that might be considered "ex-hippy" or bedroom communities. Nonetheless, this is still rural Wisconsin: mostly white, agricultural communities. This turn of events represents a striking difference from other election years. Keep in mind that this area was hit quite hard by floods earlier in the year and they have gotten very little help from FEMA. I hope that what we saw indicates that "America's Heartland" has had enough of the Bush/McCain philosophy of government. I suppose only time will tell.

Divisive vs. Verbage

McCain's supporters are saying Obama is an elitist because he's smart. They use as an example the way he pronounces the word "divisive." Look in the dictionary. Although the way Obama pronounces "divisive" is not the first pronunciation listed in my copy of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (Tenth Edition), it is accepted as correct. When Sarah Palin said "verbage," she was, according to my copy of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (Tenth Edition), either mispronouncing the word "verbiage" or she was using a word that does not exist. I think that makes her stupid. An idiot. Otnay ootay ightbray.

Imagine this scene: You're standing in the voting booth. There's a candidate (A) who is accused of being an elitist because he's smart. There is another candidate (B) who doesn't know how many houses he owns and, due to his medical history, has a 30% chance of dying before he completes his first term. (B)'s running mate, who has a 30% chance of becoming president if (B) wins, probably wouldn't get the same answer twice if you asked her to add two and two. She thinks Jesus rode a dinosaur! Let's see... eenie meenie minie moe...

Friday, September 19, 2008


On Wednesday and Thursday nights I had the pleasure of hearing and dancing to the group Kabile (from the village of Kabile in Thrace, Bulgaria) who are in town as part of Madison's World Music Festival. There is nothing quite like the experience of having musicians of this caliber playing for a large audience of dancers. The fine people who put on the festival do a fantastic job and bring some incredible groups to town every year. I know, we're talking (shudder) both folk music and folk dance, but don't knock it until you've tried it, I say. It was a transcendent experience. Kabile's tour schedule can be found here. I highly recommend going to hear them if they come anywhere near you. Tell them Ed, the lame tambura (pronounced "tom boo RAH", and roll that "R" sort of like you would en español) player in Madison, WI, sent you. If you're lucky, there will be some people knowledgeable in Bulgarian dance to lead you through the basics. Dance if you are able, but don't forget to listen. You will have fun whether you dance or not, I guarantee it. Here's the best thing I was able to find on the YouTubes. No video, just music.

Let's talk about "verbage"

In printed transcripts of an interview with Sarah Palin by Sean Hannity, who was basically feeding her lines, Palin is quoted as saying "It was an unfair attack on the verbiage that Senator McCain chose to use." All the news stories are printing it that way, but if you listen to the interview, she clearly said "verbage," not "verbiage." And she said "verbage" not once, but twice. Let's think about that for a moment.

Here's what the dictionary has to say:

verbiage |ˈvərbē-ij|
speech or writing that uses too many words or excessively technical expressions.

There is no such word as "verbage," though.

In essence, Palin said that Obama had unfairly attacked the (speech or writing that uses too many words or excessively technical expressions) of John McCain. So Ms. Palin obviously doesn't even know the meaning of the word, much less how to pronounce it correctly, but that isn't going to stop her from using it anyway. While she thought she was criticizing Obama, she was actually unwittingly insulting her boss, John McCain. And we're supposed to believe that this... this... this mean-spirited MORON is qualified to be vice-president?

If any Republicans or McCain supporters are reading this, please, don't attack my verbage.

Watch this, if you don't believe me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


When writing that last post, for some reason I had Fannie Mac in my head when I knew perfectly well that the correct name is Fannie Mae. With that in mind, aside from the fact that using the correct names renders the title of the post, well..., umm..., let's just say at least a little nonsensical, I stand by the rest of the post even though my momentary (?) loss of brain function compromises it just a tiny bit. It's my story and I'm stickin' to it. Really, the only difference between the correct name and the one I used is a wee little line on one wee little letter. It could happen to anybody, right? Am I a moron, or what? (You really don't need to answer that last question. It's better if I don't know. I've always wondered, though [Warning! Tangent Alert!] - how does a person know if he or she is a moron? Presumably, a moron isn't smart enough to tell the difference between stupid and smart. John McCain seems to believe he's not only smart, but entitled to his wealth* while people who work way harder than he has in at least a couple of decades deserve to be poor. It seems clear to me he's both not very intelligent and not entitled to his wealth, but he's too stupid to believe otherwise. [I'm not even going to begin to go into the sanity thing. At least, not right now.] That concept has bothered me for quite some time.)

* Okay, I know he was a prisoner of war. I heard that somewhere. Once. Or maybe twice. As such, I think he ought to have received combat pay for the entire time he was imprisoned as well as all the medical care and benefits any other veteran is entitled to. Dang! He and his party have been eliminating those benefits! Sorry, John, but you get no sympathy from me. Being a prisoner of war should give you some privileges, but it doesn't give you a free pass to be a total dick. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bailing out the Macs

Note (added 9/17/08): See post entitled "Doh!" above.

Since the announcement of the federal bailout of Fannie Mac and Freddie Mac, I'm a little surprised that the Republicans aren't screaming about how it's not in keeping with a "Free Market." I guess federal bailouts are okay when rich people make mistakes, but when the working classes are seeing record numbers of foreclosures, we can't bail them out. Ask John "I Don't Know How Many Houses I Own" McCain. Yes, I've heard all the arguments about how, if the Macs go under, it will be devastating to the economy, etc, etc, blah, blah, woof, woof. Still seems to me that it's yet another case of redistributing the wealth from the poor to the rich via our tax system. When it comes right down to it, you know that no matter how bad the economy gets, the Rich Bastards will be just fine. The middle and working classes will bear the brunt of it. After all, isn't that their raison d'être, to keep our rich people rich, no matter what the cost?

Last Friday I was listening to one of my favorite local radio programs, Mel and Floyd (I prefer to call them The Giggle Guys, because of the nice alliteration as well as the fact that pretty much what they do is read the news and giggle while they point out the absurdities in the week's stories while James Brown plays in the background), and they summed up the whole situation pretty well. They called it "privatized profit with socialized risk." Yep. Can't allow those Rich Bastards to lose money. That would be downright un-American. If we don't give them even more of our money, the Community Organizers have already won.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New blog friend

I mentioned one of Singing Bear's blogs in this post, but I would like to take a moment to formally introduce any readers of this blog who are not already familiar with it to Singing Bear's blog, Action-Time-Vision, a must for any music lovers. Pop on over and enjoy.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Today is the first anniversary of my father's death. I miss him.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Time for some music

I just discovered Singing Bear's blog, Action-Time-Vision, and all you music lovers out there might want to take a peek. While perusing the aforementioned blog, I was reminded of old Genesis (you know, back when Peter Gabriel was still in the group) for about the third time in the last month (one time at The Pagan Sphinx, once at Action-Time-Vision, and ... I can't remember where else). In my teens and early twenties they were one of my favorites. Here's the first song I ever heard by them, The Musical Box from the album Nursery Cryme. I remember first hearing it and being blown away. Superb musicianship along with a large helping of creativity and sonic coolness, plus bizarre and sometimes disturbing lyrics. Note that guitarist Steve Hackett occasionally uses both hands to fret the notes (actually, he fretted with the pick in his right hand and the fingers of his left hand). This video was made years before Eddie Van Halen allegedly invented the technique. Enjoy.

Pet Peeve Alert!!! One thing I can't stand about most music videos. Let's say the guitar player is playing something cool. So what does the camera do? Zooms in on the singer banging on a tambourine, of course. Or they show the guitarist's right hand when it's the left hand that's doing the interesting bit. Drives me crazy.

Additional thought added on 9/14/08: Many of the "Prog Rock" groups of that era have been criticized for being overly pretentious, among other things. While I think that is true in varying degrees for different bands, I always thought of Gabriel-era Genesis as being sort of Punk/Prog. There is an edge to much of their material that sets them apart from many of the others. Their playing was also very musical, rather than an attempt to show off how complicated and technically skilled they were. As an example, Steve Hackett's guitar solos were usually actual melodies rather than "diddley diddley diddley WHEEE". Hackett, keyboardist/guitarist Tony Banks and bassist/guitarist Michael Rutherford worked very well together in an orchestral sense. It was sometimes difficult to figure out who was doing what; often, some combination of Hackett, Banks and Rutherford would play in unison or harmony creating a massive sound; sometimes a melodic passage would begin with one person and shift to another in the middle. Banks liked to use guitar effects (distortion, phase shifting, delay, etc.) on his keyboards while playing a part that complimented the guitar, while Hackett would use effects on his guitar (volume pedal with distortion, phasing shifting and delay) that made it sound somewhat keyboard-like. A very unusual way of playing together, particularly for the time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I got home today to find this truck parked on the strip of flowers Ms. Geranium plants next to the sidewalk every year. (I'm such a nice guy, I even blacked out his license plate to protect his privacy.)

When the dude returned to his truck, I approached him and pointed out that he had parked on our flowers. He wasn't very pleasant about it. In fact, he was downright nasty. If he had parked on them accidentally and apologized, I could have accepted that. People make mistakes. It turns out he saw them and just didn't care. So I called Charter and complained. It took about twenty minutes to navigate through their SVMS (Stupid Voice Mail System™) and speak to a human being. I had to pretend I was interested in switching to Charter before I could get anywhere. Somehow, I got the feeling they would rather not speak to their customers. Oh, I guess I'm not one of their customers. Whatever. I suspect those SVMSs are intended to make you give up, but I persisted and I'm sure that guy will never park on someone's flowers ever again. Yeah, right. I fully expect to get a brick through my window now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Second Biggest Scandal in Green Bay™

I suppose everyone, whether they like it or not, is aware of the scandal in Green Bay over the Brett Favre trade. Not to take anything away from Aaron Rodgers, Favre's replacement, but it was a bad move on the part of the Packers, in my opinion. At best, they handled the situation poorly. At worst, they were sleezy and disingenuous. The fact that the Packers hired former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer before negotiations began, in fact, before it was announced that Favre wanted to come back, to be their spokesperson for the duration, is a clear indication that they knew they were behaving badly and dishonestly and needed help spinning it. But that's the Biggest Scandal in Green Bay™ and not what I want to write about at this time.

The Second Biggest Scandal in Green Bay™ is . . . (drum roll, please) . . . PartyHouses™! Yes, you read that correctly, PartyHouses™. It seems that Rich Bastards have figured out that there is a residential neighborhood right across Lombardi Avenue from Lambeau Field, and they could buy those houses, renovate them and rent them out for Big Bucks on game days. The Rich Bastards, or the highest bidders, can have their own private "Tailgate Parties" without being forced to mingle with the riffraff, zip over to the stadium for the game (or stay at the PartyHouse™ and watch it on the new big-screen TVs that are being installed) and zip back for more bacchanalian excess. Now, that may not sound like too big a deal, but let's examine the situation a little more closely.

First, the neighborhood is zoned residential, not commercial. The houses in question are supposed to be occupied by the primary resident, whether it be an owner or a renter. Renting them by the day, weekend, week or month is in strict violation of the zoning, but Money always seems to get its way, particularly when any opposition is, well, Not Money.

Second, it's a pretty quiet neighborhood, and these PartyHouses™ are expected to be jam-packed with people who want to PARTY! The new owners are almost all from out-of-town or out-of-state, and you can be sure they don't give a rat's left butt-cheek about the residents of the neighborhood. They just see it as an opportunity to make a bundle of easy cash. Who's going to be responsible for the behavior of the Partyers? Who will pay for the damage the Drunken Cretins inflict on the neighborhood?

Third, all the houses in the neighborhood are one-story ranches. All of them. Up until now, that is. The houses that are being turned into PartyHouses™ are often having a second story added on to them. Is there any value to the view (of Lambeau Field) that people used to have before it was blocked by the PartyHouses™? Did anyone consult with the people who actually live in the neighborhood before adding the extra stories to these houses? Does anyone care that they are now completely out-of-scale with the rest of the neighborhood?

During our recent visit to my sister in Green Bay, we walked the three blocks (it was a difficult trek, but no amount of hardship is too great to bring this important information to you, dear reader) to get a look and a few photos.

This is a typical house on Shadow Lane. Note the glorious view.

Here's one of the PartyHouses™ as seen from Shadow Lane. You used to be able to see Lambeau Field from this vantage point. Note the out-of-state plates on the big honkin' SUVs parked in front and in the driveway (click on the photo if'n you want to enbiggen it).

Here's the same PartyHouse™ as seen from the other side (across Lombardi Avenue in the Lambeau Field parking lot). Note the size of the house immediately to the left.

Here's another. This one doesn't have the second story (yet), but look at that cute deck they put on top of the garage for your partying pleasure.

Yet another, as seen from Lombardi Avenue, with the second story again.

Here's one of those drunken fans I was telling you about, doing what drunken fans love to do most. Right on your lawn. Eeewwww!

As long as I'm at it, let's enjoy some more sights from
the Holy Land, Lambeau Field.


The Fan Code of Conduct.
Nice, isn't it?

Vince Lombardi, facing the PartyHouses™.
"This is definitely not my father's NFL!"

Curly Lambeau, pointing at the PartyHouses™.
"Get those things out of my sight! Now! I mean it! That will be 20 laps!"

So, that's it. The Second Biggest Scandal in Green Bay™. Aren't you glad you read this blog?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cute puppy photos

I don't know why, but I just haven't had the energy to post anything lately. I haven't had the energy for much, actually. As a result, the pictures I'm putting up here are a couple of weeks old. Sorry about that.

I think it was the second weekend of August that Ms. Geranium, Sparkly Seacow and I went up to Green Bay, WI to visit my sister. They have a new puppy (not the Shithz Poo I posted about recently) and we wanted to see it while it was still small and cute. The dog's name is Roxy and she's a black lab. Ms. Geranium took some of these photos, but I'm not sure which.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Amy Goodman Arrested at RNC

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! was arrested and charged with "obstruction" yesterday in Saint Paul. Two other Democracy Now! journalists, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar, were also arrested and charged with "suspicion of felony riot." Kouddous and Salazar were both injured during the arrest. All three have since been released but still face charges. Can you say police intimidation? Read more about it here.