July 21, 2007

Multi-Tasking Jimbo.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:29 pm

My buddy Mike the computer mavin and savior of my sanity stopped by the House on the Parkway to finish fitting out the Raptor. Yowza! Unlike my steam-driven computer, this one can do lots of things real fast and all at the same time. In short, it can multi-task way better than I can.

Still, I am giving it (and myself) a bit of a trial run. As I am writing this, I am downloading a bunch of CDs to my iPod. All Beatles at the moment. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.

I feel a bit like a supersonic plate spinner.

July 20, 2007

Speaking of “News” …..

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 5:47 pm

The editor(s) of the New York Times “News”paper deemed this bit of bilge sufficiently newsworthy to place it on the front page of its online edition yesterday.

Which candidate do you think the New York Times editor(s) wants to win the presidency? [/rhetorical question]

July 19, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:37 pm


Sit in the middle of your chair! Both feet flat on the floor! Back straight! Turn the paper to the left at an angle! Align your forearm to the bottom of the paper at a right angle! Hold the pen loosely! Loosely, I said! I should be able to sneak up behind you and snatch the pen from your hand! The end of the pen should be pointed over your right shoulder! Your arm should only barely touch the desk! Now, ARM MOVEMENT! Make those ovals! I don’t want to see any wiggling fingers! ARM MOVEMENT!

And so it was, several times per week for me between second and sixth grade** (one decade after the invention of the wheel, as I recall) in penmanship class.

I remember at first thinking that penmanship class would be fun. After all, there were no historical dates to remember and no brain numbing multiplication tables to learn.

It didn’t take long before I realized that it was anything but fun. The only thing I can liken it to was being barked at by a drill sergeant in the Army. “Get those gottdamned feet at a forty-five degree angle! Line those thumbs up with the seams in your trousers, Goat!” Shit like that was penmanship class.

And, on top of everything else, it was really nuts. Even at a snotnosed seven year old I realized how goofy it was to move your entire arm to write letters that were something like 3/8th of an inch tall. Hell, if I have to write letters a foot tall, I’ll use my farookin’ arm.

Oh, and then there were the pens. When I went to grammar school, each student’s desk had in the upper right corner*** an inkwell. Yes, an inkwell. I told you all this happened a long time ago. Each of us was issued a black pen that looked not unlike a stiletto. We were also given a blotter. Yes, a goddamned blotter. None of those newfangled ballpoint pen stuff for the penmanship teacher. As a result, we would have to make a shitload of ovals, blot, then dip the pen back into the inkwell to make more ovals.

As each student’s penmanship became more proficient, he or she was awarded a new color plastic pen. The pens went from black (for beginners), to red, to blue, and to green. When you hit the big time, you were awarded a GOLD pen. By the third or fourth grade, most the girls had graduated up to blue pens. Some even proudly did their arm movement with green pens. The boys tended to come along slower. I think I was a black pen guy for a couple grades.

By the time we reached sixth grade, virtually all the girls and most of the boys were sporting gold pens. I believe that coming out of the fifth grade I was still stumbling along with a blue pen. I so wanted a gold pen. I believe the sixth grade the teacher felt sorry for me and awarded me a green pen at the beginning of the year. I think that I and the class juvenile delinquent (every class had one) were the only two without a gold pen.

Finally, a few days before the end of the year, I was to be awarded with a gold pen (a mercy award, methinks), but the teacher had run out of gold pens, so she apologized and wrapped a flag sticker around the tip of my green pen.

So, there I was finishing sixth grade with my dumbass flag-stickered green pen surrounded by a sea of golds. (The juvenile delinquent stayed back, as I recall). I knew damned well that the only time that I and everyone else in the damned class did the stupid “arm movement” thing was in penmanship class. Surely the teacher must have known that. Green pen with a flag sticker, my ass!

The good news is that, after all the years of Green Pen Humiliation, I’ll bet that I can type way faster than any of those gold pen, phony arm movement, rat bastards.

** In first grade, we didn’t learn penmanship. Rather we learned how to print using pencils that were roughly the diameter of bratwursts. Little hands and big, fat pencils. WTF?

*** Penmanship class was a special nightmare for the poor bastards who were lefties. Everything was backwards (the angle of the paper, the pointing of the pen over the left shoulder, etc.) and seemed to be an annoyance to the penmanship teacher.

July 18, 2007

Explosion in New York City — Local “News”.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:41 pm

I actually had something in mind to write about tonight, but I spent way too much time watching the local NY City television coverage of the explosion in mid-town New York, which spewed steam and debris dozens of stories into the air and scared many folks big time.

It appears from the very confusing television coverage that there may have been one fatality associated with the event, which appears to have been a ruptured steam line, the cause of which remains to be seen.

The thing is that the reporters have so much air time to fill, the viewer winds up with a fact to speculation ratio of about 20 to 1. One reporter “on the scene” stated, “Obviously the injuries are all related to the temperature of the steam,” when, at that point, the nature of the yet-to-be determined number of injuries was not at all clear, and the nature of the yet-to-be-determined number of injuries certainly was not “obvious.”

On one station the “anchor” asked the Con-Ed (Consolidated Edison, the company responsible for NYC’s steam lines) spokesperson, “Do you have any idea when this will be cleared up?”

The Con-Ed guy responded that the workers were still trying to get the matter under control and that there was no way to tell when things would be back to normal. At that point, the genius co-anchor asked, “What about tomorrow’s rush hour? Any idea how this will affect that?” DUH!!

Journalists? Hardly.

I figure I’ll write a bit of what I had intended to write about, save it, and then return to watch more of the local Speculo-News.

July 17, 2007

Maybe I Should Get a Commi$$ion.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:31 pm

As you know, I have written glowingly about the joy of drinking Three Olives Chocolate Vodka (tempered with warnings of the potential dangers associated with drinking this most excellent libation). Similarly, I have written favorably about the taste treat that is Finlandia Mango Vodka.

Well ………

Tonight on my way home from work, I stopped at a nearby liquor store, which is roughly the size of Rhode Island, to pick up some supplies. After scoring a dozen or so bottles of primo wine and a half case of beer and a half case of ale, I headed for the vodka aisle.

Wouldn’t ya know it? The liquor store the size of Rhode Island that stocks damned near every vodka made, had every kind of Three Olives Vodka on the shelf, except for the part of the shelf that was 12 bottles in depth empty. Yep. NO CHOCOLATE! WTF?

OK, I thought, I’ll pick up some Finlandia Mango Vodka – a nice summer treat. Wouldn’t ya know it? The liquor store the size of Rhode Island that stocks damned near every vodka made, had every kind of Finlandia vodka on the shelf, except for the part of the shelf that was 12 bottles in depth empty. Yep. NO MANGO VODKA! WTF?

Permit me to connect the dots.

I’m farookin’ drunk with power.

P.S. I did pick up a bottle of Finlandia Grapefruit Infusion Vodka (as of this writing, it isn’t even listed on the Finlandia Website), which is currently nestled in Mr. Freezer. I’ll let you know how that works out. But, if it turns out that I like it, I’m going to snag the other 11 bottles from the shelf before I write anything.

July 16, 2007

Da Gate.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:43 pm

Yes, there it is — the entrance to The Deck, home of Ken, my friend and bodyguard, and The Deckmistress. It serves as the summer meeting place of the Usual Suspects. The sign goes up on Memorial Day and remains in place until Labor Day.

If you were to walk through the Gate, you’d see that it is where we “swim,” drink a few cocktails, eat too damned much, play horseshoes, talk about virtually everything under the sun, listen to music on the outdoor speakers, argue about the music (its volume or lack thereof, the choice of music, the name of the artist – it’s a regular argue-fest), tease one another unmercifully, laugh constantly, and happily raise hell.

Sometimes, on those, thankfully, rare occasions, when one or more of the Usuals is dealt a bad hand in Life’s Card Game, inside the Gate ceases being a party place and becomes a wellspring of compassion, understanding and genuine empathy.

Obviously, the magic of the place is not the heated pool, the makeshift bar, the horseshoe pits or the Key Westish atmosphere. It’s certainly not what one would call luxurious – not by a long shot.

No, the charm of the place is the peeps. It’s really that simple.

If I could wish you all something beyond good health for yourselves and those you care about, I would wish you an open Gate with good friends on the other side.

July 15, 2007

Gone Swimmin’.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 12:43 pm

It’s 93 degrees, and I am heading over to the Deck for a bit of swimming standing around in the pool, drinking, bullshitting and eating stuff that’s bad for you.

Great to be an American.

July 14, 2007

Notes from the Cockpit.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:55 pm

Yes, peeps, I am strapped into this supersonic unit, which is capable of zipping along at something like Mach 3. I am nowhere near at full throttle, because so many of the controls are so different from the Sopwith Camel I have been flying.

It’s construction too considerably longer than I/we had expected, owing in part to the annoying problems with transferring stuff from the steam-driven unit to this one. Fortunately, my buddy Mike, the Computer Mavin saw to it that the problems, although annoying, were not insurmountable. There is still a bit of data moving to do, as the goal is to duplicate all the stuff from the Sopwith and tuck it safely away in one of nooks and crannies of the Raptor to be available if needed.

We encountered one other slight problem, which was that one of the only two things I purchased without consulting Mike turned out to be wrong. I bought a Logitech keyboard, and it turns out to have the old fashioned roundish plug thing (a technical term), instead of the new kind (another technical term) of plug thing. This means that, until I pick up a new keyboard (with the right shaped plug thing) I will be typing on the laptop itself, which is a challenge for these flying fingers. The good news is that the Logitech mouse I picked out is connected, so I don’t have to use the touch pad thing, which would make me farookin’ crazy,

But, damn, this is one sexy ride. The clarity of the images on the 17” laptop monitor is exceeded only by those on the 19” flat screen. I am taken by how much I have been missing, image wise, for all this time. For instance, Dogette of Two Nervous Dogs, will no longer have to draw brightly colored outlines around images of her dog so that I can distinguish the figure from the ground.

Yo, check this out. I even plugged in my iPod, which I have had for months but have been unable to use with the Sopwith Camel. Of course, I had no idea how to work the thing. I also learned that my e-mails were not escaping Outlook. Oy!
Fortunately, TJ and Mr. Surly came by for a visit, and she got my e-mail straightened out and also gave me a most excellent iPod lesson. Sah-WEET!!!!!

Today, iPodding, tomorrow (figuratively) Podcasting. Hey, it could happen.

July 13, 2007

Out of the Boxes!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:30 am

A while back, I mentioned that I had purchased a kickass computer and lots of other fancy schmancy stuff to hook up to it. All that equipment has been sitting in boxes about six feet to the left of me waiting to be unpacked and unleashed to replace this steam-driven unit I’ve been working with forever.

I buddy of mine, who is an IT mavin, had graciously volunteered to set it all up for me (and thereby preventing my having a nervous breakdown), but the date had to be postponed.

This is to let y’all know that we have rescheduled, and that sometime within the next 24-48 hours, I should be piloting high tech, nuclear powered gadgetry from the House by the Parkway. Of course, what this really means is that I could just as likely fall off the Blogosphere while I figure out how to operate all the complex bells and whistles on the new stuff.

Keep your fingers crossed.

July 12, 2007

Not-So-Sharpe James is Indicted.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:36 pm

Long time Mayor of Newark, Sharpe James (who is currently a sitting State Senator), was indicted today by the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey for various federal offenses. Stripped of detail, the 80 + page indictment (I strongly suggest you read it) charges Mr. James with bilking the City of Newark for thousands of dollars for his personal expenses, including trips to resorts, which he took with one or more of his “companions.”

He also stands accused in of arranging for his favorite “companion” (a failed beauty shop owner barely unable to pay her rent) to buy Newark city property for a song and resell it for a small fortune.

Anyone even remotely familiar with Newark politics knows that this is just the tip of the iceberg (i.e. those things that the U.S. Attorney believes that he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt).

Sadly (and, at the same time, laughably) some Newark residents wish to make this a racial issue, when it is they who were most harmed by James’s alleged corrupt conduct.

The truth is that crooks come in all colors, as is evidenced by the multil-colored human rot in Trenton.

Let’s hope that justice is done.

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