366 days ago, over 4,000 zombies - I mean, people - visited the submarine. 1 day ago, only 1,700 showed up. What explains the difference? Perhaps it is the powerful anti-People field I have developed as a natural defense against Stupidity. But, hey, the fewer, the merrier.

"Expert" financial analysts on the evening news crack me up. "Well, we've seen an incredible rebound in consumer confidence in the past two days, thanks to strong retail sales. It looks like the cheaper Multi-Marts are going to attract more business than the expensive department stores this year. People sure are responding to those early holiday discounts. Oh, and did I mention that the sky is blue and white?"

Meanwhile, He-Who-Was-Not-Elected sneaks in another slash at the federal payroll. By this point, I'm just kind of sad. It's like watching a bomb explode in super slo-mo, and I'm one of it's many victims; powerless to stop it, yet doomed to be a witness. I hope for a brighter future.


Does anyone doubt that our world is unmaking itself? In the Neilsons last week, ABC's travesty "The Bachelor" came in at #3 on the list, while the critically acclaimed, beloved-by-all-who-think-and-watch-TV "West Wing" got in at #15. The previous week was a slightly better story, with each show coming in at #11 and #12, respectively.

I celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday of mourning as well as gratitude. We obtained our bounty through coersion, theft, and outright genocide, and while there's not a day that goes by I'm not thankful for growing up in America, we should take time today to fess up to how this country truly came to be. I mourn for the First Americans who lost their lives and their homes to our own mindless expansionism. I hope that someday I'm in a position to truly make a difference for these people that we've forced into poverty, and if that time comes, then I will be thankful.


Yay Harry Potter! This one's much better than the first, although the final scene made no sense. It's also pretty intense for those younger types, I don't know that I'd take my 8 year-old to see it. Although there was a toddler in the theater with us that was left to roam around he aisles during the film, for his parents seemed blithely unconcerned for his whereabouts. I was fairly put off by that.

So the enlightened legislators of our state have decided that Patriotism should be mandatory, and have therefore decreed that all children in the state school system shall be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, regardless of personal or religious beliefs. This strikes me as an exercize of power for it's own sake, with no real benefit to the citizenry.

Also, I ask why any person with a brain would think it necessary to make something like a tax cut permanent. Everyone, particularly law makers, should understand that economic conditions change as swiftly and as constantly as the weather, and what sounds like a good measure one year may have drastically different consequences for the next. Again, it seems that the Administration is merely flexing it's political muscle, quite apart from the fact that this tax cut package was a disaster to begin with. It's a way of saying, "Look how powerful we are! Whee!"


All law enforcement officials and Federal legislators/judges should have the words "Truth, Justice, Peace" tattooed on their bodies somewhere, just as a reminder of what they're supposed to be doing.

That Bush, boy oh golly. He's pissing people off left and right, and my friends and I agree that if this continues, and the Dems offer up a real candidate, then He-Who-Was-Not-Elected will not be re-un-elected in 2004. We can only hope.


Setting: John Miller. ABC's "20/20". Barbra Walters answering e-mail in front of an iMac.

This scene made me happy. No, a better word would be jubilant. There it was, shiny metal arm suspending a display of pure marble white with an Apple stamped on it's backside. Barbra goes on to introduce some report she's coming up with for next weeks installment, something rediculous about how silly people are about being oblivious to warning lables. Oh, wait, it was Toxic Mold, I remember now. Sometimes, house mold gets ugly, then it gets toxic, and then it kills anyone who doesn't use disinfectant on their kitchen floors.

John Miller responds with a perfectly wooden, inflection-free, "Wow. That certainly got my attention."

Sometimes, this kind of banal stupidity is just painful to witness. It's like watching someone stick their ankle into their mouth and choke.

On a happier note, it snowed today. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.


I used to think that my friend Wonko was truly crazy, because once he told me that it's too much of a pain in the ass to have to eat. Anything. At the time, my organs were all functioning properly, so I said, "No way, man, there's nothing like the satisfaction you get from a full belly. I love eating."

Then, my organs quit working properly. My diet has been severely restricted (the two staples, coffee and pizza, are big no-no's), I've lost weight that I didn't have to loose in the first place, and we don't even know what's wrong yet. I now rather resent the idea that my body needs constant feeding, especially since it has to be some slight variant of the same mush I've been forced to subsist on for the past month. I mean, honestly, doesn't it just take up huge chunks of your day? The concept of eating itself is not abhorrent to me, indeed, prior to this malady I heartily enjoyed sitting down to a good meal. I just don't think it should be mandatory, that's all.


I'm almost encouraged. I whine a lot about the general stupidity of the human race, but tonight, it was as though the universe took a smart pill. The Daily Show was brilliant, with Mr. Colbert's analysis of why the Democratic party has failed in it's opposition of the GOP, and Jon Stewart interviewed a young man from Tennessee, Rep. Harold Ford (D). He was concise, intelligent, charismatic, and he clearly cared about the state of the Dems as the Opposition party. This is a name to watch, and I desperately hope that he can maintain this level of honesty and dignity through all the political Nastiness to come.


The first permanent link has been placed in the left hand column (hopefully). I happened upon this by pure chance, and I'm extremely glad I did. I have yet to monitor them for any length of time, but it appears that the good people at Spinsanity.org are actually serious about what they do. Essentially, they take a good hard look at all the political rhetoric that's clogging our airwaves and newspapers, and expose the logical fallicies and partisan spin behind it. They're equally critical of Dems, Liberals, the GOP and arch-Conservatives, but to be fair, the truth is that they're hard on anybody who uses spin tactics to lower the intellectual threshold of the discourse in our nation which passes for "serious debate."

Feed Your Brain. Do some reading at their site, and start thinking for yourself.


On ABC News this evening, they had a report on how acrimonious feelings towards others can contribute more to poor health than a penchant for donuts and milkshakes. (Aside: Peter Jennings should be made Ruler of the Known Universe. He is Benevolent and Wise and would bring an end to hate and suffering. End aside.) I was going to use this space to rant again about how stupid people are, but I guess I need to concentrate more on the good than the bad if I don't want a heart attack. One of the questions on a stress test they featured was, "Are you frequently disappointed in the behavior of others?" I'd say it's more like constantly.

If you're just not smart, then hey, I'm incredibly dense sometimes too. That's okay. It's the _willful_ ingorance that gets to me, because there's no reason for it other than the fact that almost everyone is too lazy to use or improve the contents of their minds in any fashion. Tell me I'm wrong. Please. I want to be wrong.


Holy Fuck.

I keep some older issues of Time magazine by the head, for reading material. So this is from an older issue, but still, it deserves comment:
"'All the people who were in the family [health insurance policy] catgory screamed miserably: "I wouldn't have had all these children if I knew you were going to cut our family allowance!"'"

Holy Fuck.

Something's terribly wrong with this picture, that a parent is even capable of thinking of their offspring as an expense instead of a human being. They are stating, if not explicitly, that their children are no more than _lifestlye accessories_, to be indulged in only when you can get good insurance coverage on them. "If I had known that you were going to cut our family allowance, I wouldn't have started spitting out babies like a factory." "If I'd known I was going to get drunk, I wouldn't have had so many beers." "If I'd known I was going to lose my money, I wouldn't have fallen for that pyramid scam."

Holy Fuck.

These are the prisoners to the allmighty urge to Hump, the breeders of our race, good for nothing but expanding the gene pool. This quote makes me despise the Great Unwashed Masses even more. Am I being an eletist snob? No, I merely have respect for human life, as this person manifestly does not. To paraphrase our most popular angry white boy, "Apparently, they 'ain't parents." These are exactly the kind of people who should not be reproducing.
"Throw away your television..."

Poor Tak. She and her hubby have this gorgeous new house that's three stories + basement + two car garage. It's massive, and the interior is pretty much the same as my Mustang's was when I bought her, all torn up. It will take weeks of solid work to get the bedroom, bath, and living space cleaned up and organized. I repeat, it's _massive_. I will never understand why some people want such tremendous spaces for themselves when the only family they have to share it with is a pair of cats.

But I shouldn't bash someone else's dream. My own ultimate home would be some kind of small decomissioned warship that's been sitting in ordinary for years and years. Although, the Mustang has been quite a job to work on, and she's still got a long way to go... I guess I'm just some sort of pathetic romantic when it comes to fixing up rusted old junk.

To each, his own. Yeah.


What a wasted day. Working on a submarine is cool and all that, but sometimes the people you have to deal with just suck the life out of you. The Stupid Quote of the Day: when someone walked into the crew's dining area, or "mess," they proclaimed confidently, "Wow, this must be the nice place!"

Conversations between the people that work there and the guests run, inevitably, along the same lines every single damned time. If you're in the torpedo room, sitting next to a torpedo, they point at it and ask you "Is this a missle?" It takes every ounce of self control I have to not respond, "Yes, that's why it has propellers." If you're in the crew's mess, it's "Oh, is this where all the guys ate?" Again, I want so badly to say, "No, the tables and benches are exclusively for playing checkers. They ate in their bunks." If you're in one of the engine bays, it's "Are these coffins or something?" If it's the stern room, they point at all the lockers and ask, "Are these lockers?" Or "Is this the morgue?"

For general understanding, I work on board a WWII-era fleet submarine on display in, well, Anywhere U.S.A. You start your tour in the front, and walk back through the ship to the exit. The stairs you use to exit look exactly like the ones you use to enter, and the door at the top of the stairs sports a big red sign that says EXIT. I can't count the number of people who have walked up to me, pointed up the stairs, and asked, "Is that where we go out?" Or entered the last room, and turned right around, telling their children that they have to go back to the front to leave.

I've lost so much faith in humanity that it depresses me. Every once in a while, a child or even a parent will display some genuine interest or spark of intelect, but in 99% of the cases, they come, they see, and they leave without learning one damned thing about the remarkable men who served their country and won their freedom aboard our boat.

Enough bitching. Tak told me to watch South Park this evening, and so I shall.


"Dear Samurai,

I am the manager of bill and exchange at the foreign remittance
of our bank.Before i wrote you,i prayed to god to reveal to me an
honest and
reliable person whom i can work with to achieve this deal of my life.i
believe it is you."

The poor punctuation and capitalization, not to mention the fact that my real first name, obviously, is not Samurai, indicate that this message was written by a very stupid person who hoped another very stupid person would read it. I'd like to find the person responsible someday, so I can slap him upside his (or, I guess, her) thick skull. Perhaps that's a tad bit too much to ask of the universe at this point, though.

In an act of unapologetic consumption, I drove to the mall yesterday and bought "By The Way," the latest from a certain breed of Peppers. There's not much out-and-out Rock, which means that they've probably matured as a band or whatever, but there's enough there that I really dig. "Dosed" I think is the strongest song on the CD that I've found so far, but I have to listen to these things for weeks before I really get a feel for all the songs on their own.

So tired... ugh.


So I fall for a Dutch auction on eBay that's selling a trio of TiBooks, the 800 mhz model (this is before the new 1 ghz models were released). It's also a pre-sale, which means it could take anywhere up to 30 days for the thing to actually ship once you've won the auction. I got mine for roughly $2,500, which is not a bad deal at all. So, 30 days pass, and the seller is either unable or unwilling to tell me when my laptop will actually ship. 37 days pass, still no sign, and still no cooperation from the seller, despite the fact that I left a "good faith" Positive in his feedback profile (I've learned my lesson, thank you). So I ask for a refund.

It's now two weeks since then, 44 days since the moment I won the auction - which was paid in full immediately, BTW - and still no refund. I've half a mind to just cancel the payment, but then I won't be able to use that credit card to buy a new TiBook right off Apple's web site. Arg! sums it up. Reccommendations?


I logged onto the internet this evening with no clear idea of what I wanted to do while I was online. I needed no new files, hadn't any fresh e-mail to check, no pressing unread articles. It just seemed like the thing to do, as natural as, I don't know, grabbing a bag of pretzles. I have fallen deeply in love with Chimera, which so far outperforms every other browser I've ever had. Perhaps I just wanted to find an excuse to use it.

A handful of things in the paper this morning grabbed my attention, most notably this news about how the Democrats continue to roll over on this Homeland Security deal. I quote from David Firestone and Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times: "The agreement gives the Bush administration a free hand to jettison civil service rules in promoting and firing workers in the new agency, and allows the president to exempt unionized workers from collective-bargaining agreements in the name of national security." Sweet Jeebus, what's this man really after? The only thing the Dems managed to get in there is a caveat that the collective bargaining exemption must be renewed every four years. Any Democrat worthy of being elected to the presidency would have to let that exemption slide right on into oblivion.

The second bit of political polemic comes from Bob Herbert, again of the NY Times: "Over the next couple of years as many as three (or more) Supreme Court vacancies could open... Bush has made it clear that he favors justices in the mode of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. With two more justices like that, progressive government would be caught in the devastating trap of a right-wing assault from all sides - the White House, the Congress and the courts, with the Treasury drained of all money for new initiatives." (Thanks to tax cuts).

Doesn't anyone else see what's going on? The most blatant, un-democratic power grab in recent memory, by a party with no ambitions but saving money by cutting taxes and programs, fighting a suicidally unpopular war, and removing the US from any international treaty which pretends to make life better for millions of poor people around the globe. As far as I'm concerned, Americans didn't vote for this agenda (not with a 32% turnout rate), the GOP just has the loudest voices.
Watched "Jackass" tonight with Tak, a not-so-hideous coworker buddy of mine. Without revealing too much, I can safely say that it is a movie about a bunch of remarkably stupid guys doing amusingly stupid things to each other. It speaks firmly to the three year-old in all of us, the one that still wants to make a cape from a bedsheet and leap off the roof to see if we can fly. Next film to feed the child with: "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." Next film to await with baited Gawd-I-Hope-It's-Good breath: "Shanghai Knights." Next film to rip into confetti with my bare hands: "Extreme Something Something," the one where some snowboarders foil some international terrorist plot to do something gruesome to someone.


I propose a new department within the government, a Department of Human Decency. The DHD would be responsible for distributing the new Common Sense License, which would be required for appearing, at any time and in any circumstance, in public. The CSL could be attained through passing a Common Sense Test, or by graduating from a 40 hour class. Either way, the requirements for setting foot in public areas would be:
1. A person must bathe at least once every 48 hours, using real soap and shampoo (unless they have no hair, in which case the shampoo requirement could be waved).
2. A person must brush their teeth and/or use mouthwash at least twice every 24 hours.
3. No man or woman will be allowed to use and then exit a public restroom without washing their hands with soap and hot water.
4. No man or woman will be allowed to abuse, verbally or physically, theirs or any other child.
5. In order to qualify for a CSL, one must provide documented proof that they participate in some form of voluntary or community recycling program, if such is available in their area of residence.
6. If any CSL holder is caught dropping litter on the ground, their license shall be immediately forfeit. If they drop it within clear view of a trash can, there shall be a $50 fine as well.
7. No man or woman will be allowed to use profanity (fuck, shit, bitch, hell, etc.) in the presence of any child 16 years of age or younger.
8. All holders of a CSL will be required to vote in state and national elections.

Common sense, as we are so fond of saying is no longer common but indecently rare. The number of people I deal with in my line of work that violate at least one of the above rules (and, on occasion, all of them within five minutes) is far too high, and it has become apparent that people no longer feel responsible for themselves. It might seem a bit extreme to try and legislate something like bathing, but until we get this down pat for a few generations, it's the only way to make sure everyone does it.


I've made several attempts at some sort of journal in the past, most recently with a small home made site that was broken up when Apple started charging for it's .Mac services. Time will tell if any of this will actually stick.

A journey through idiocy, indeed. It seems that no matter what sort of job or career one might carve out in this world for oneself, one will always, always, always have to deal with a depressingly large number of idiots. Whether you deal directly with the public, as I do, or only with a handful of co-workers and managers, idiots seem to be an all-pervasive force of nature, as constant as the tides.

I personally think that my head is rather large, but I suppose that sort of thing is entirely subjective.