Sunday, October 28, 2012

Happy Hallowe'en, Frankenstorm!

I just wanted to take a second to jot down an entry here while I'm still able to do so!  I live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and if you aren't sure where that is, just go on to the Weather Channel, look at Hurricane Sandy's projected landfall tomorrow and follow the line of the path to the first city it hits.

That's me.

We got a robo-call from the power company earlier this evening warning us that we may be without power for a week or more.  My wife and I have been trying to have a whole-home generator installed for some weeks, but because of a whole bunch of unnecessary-in-my-humble-opinion red tape, we're still waiting for the gas company and their HVAC division to get their proverbial act together...and we will have no power for this crisis.  Like most of us, we depend on electricity for most of our house.  I can do without computers or entertainment or light for a week, but I hate the thought of all of the food we're going to lose.  And I hate even more the thought of doing without heat until such time as the United States removes its head from its posterior and leaves the 19th Century for the 21st and stops stringing its power wires on poles!  Put the bloody things underground like most of the rest of the civilized world, won't you?  This isn't the bloody Wild West, after all.

Temperatures are expected to run in the 40s F.  It's going to be damned cold in here if it goes on for the week they're warning me about.

And since the storm is about 700 miles across and is moving at about 10-12 miles per hour, we can expect this nonsense to last for days.  I can't wait until tomorrow when we have to try to walk the poor dog in winds of 40 mph while eight to ten inches of rain are dumping down simultaneously.  Oh, wait.  Yes, I can.

My telephone, internet and entertainment are provided by a fibre-optic system which has a battery backup for power failures that will last us about eight hours.  After that, I will no longer have access to my land line.  We will have to run out to the car to charge up our cell phones, but at least we will have those.

So, if ten days or so pass, and this blog has not been updated, well, it's been swell, folks.  My sincere thanks to the over 5,000 visitors who have dropped by over the past couple of years.  I wish more of you had left comments or votes, but just the fact that you were here means more to me than I can properly express.  I hope the experts are wrong, I hope the storm moves more quickly and with less power than predicted, and I hope that I still have power, and enough food, and a roof on my home.  And I hope the same for everyone else in this historic "perfect" storm's path.  May all of us be safe, be well, and most of all, be a little lucky.

Monday, October 22, 2012


I actually do try not to get overly political in this blog.  I named it after a fictional planet in a comic book universe because once upon a time I had planned to use this forum to talk about funny books and action figures.  Instead I found myself diverting down staggeringly different paths, as everything from trivialities like getting a dog to serious issues involving my health found their ways onto this little soapbox of mine.  Now I find myself hitting politics once again.

But I have to.  Because this election is killing me.

I love my President, and I plan to vote for his second term.  I dislike his major competitor intensely, and I freely admit that as an atheist, or more properly, as an antitheist, I find the Governor's religious beliefs troubling as best.  The more I learn about his faith, the more it feels and sounds like something that was made up by a science fiction writer.  Planet Kolob?  Seriously?  That's just looney.  And I'm supposed to put his finger on the Big Red Button because he believes that he knows how to create jobs?  He also happens to believe that God hangs out on an alien planet!  Is this real life, or Star Trek V?  Not that I have a whole lot of respect for Mr. Obama caving in to pressure from the great unwashed middle when he started to wear his flag lapel pin and end every speech with, "God bless you, and God bless the United States of America."  I personally think that Mr. Obama is, like me, primarily a humanist who believes strongly that religion has no place in government, and vice versa, but he's having about as much success with that as Teddy Roosevelt did when he tried to get "In God We Trust" taken off our currency.

Worst of all, though, is how both of them -- and sorry, Mr. Obama, but it's true -- both of them don't answer the questions so much as they work their way around to hitting the same talking points over and over and over and over again.  If Romney talks about how he knows how to create jobs, or Obama talks about Romney's budget math not working, I'm going to scream.  Really.  The same bloody phraseology over and over.

Candidates, it's maddening.  And it's not fooling anybody.

Tonight's debate was supposed to be about foreign policy.  But it sure didn't take long to get back to the same old talking points, Governor Romney's from Fox News and Roger Ailes, and President Obama's from the DNC.  The ship has sailed on all of those sound bites, gentlemen, so put them on the shelf with those binders full of women and start answering our bloody questions!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Where the hell did my lovely wife put my binder full of women???

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Honestly, as an old hippie, one who lived through the Viet Nam troubles, and who even spent a little time in jail for protesting that war, I thought I had seen America at its most divisive.  That it could never possibly be as divided as it was between the "Hell, no, we won't go" anti-war Americans and the "America, love it or leave it" Americans.  Never did I think that things would ever be as bad again as they were, say, during the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention.

Boy, was I wrong.

I am getting really sick of the politicians (and let's face facts, most of them are Republicans, and in the interests of full disclosure, I am a liberal who usually votes Democrat) who keep saying that they need to be elected because "we need to take America back."

From whom?

Who's got it?  When did they come in and take it away from "us?"  Did it happen when we were asleep?

You know, I do believe that these inflammatory idiots are talking about ME.

Well, I hate to break it to you, buddies, but I'm an American, too.  Just because I disagree with you does not make me treasonous, or any less of a patriotic American than you are.  Now listen to this next bit, because it's important: I'M JUST AS AMERICAN AS YOU ARE.  The fact that I have a different vision for where our country should be going does not make me evil.  It just means we don't agree on everything.  OK, we don't agree on LOTS of things.  But in the past, even in the Viet Nam protest past, the "other side" was never vilified like it is now.  We disagreed right up until the election, and then we rolled up our sleeves and all got to work behind the winner.  We did it with Ike, with JFK, and even, God help us, with Nixon.  But we did it.

America was founded by, and upon, dissent.  By white landed males who disagreed with the idea of a king who was granted his power by divine right from God Himself.  They set up an admittedly faulty system that put more power into the hands of more people, but it didn't address slavery, commerce, or a whole bunch of other issues.  But it DID guarantee more personal freedoms than any previous society or system ever had.  It's still the best damned thing that human beings have come up with so far.

So believing in ANY of the following does not make me a traitor to our country, only perhaps to your vision of it.  With which the government has guaranteed my right to disagree.

• I believe it's important to share resources that protect our poorest and weakest from falling into lives of poverty and degradation by implementing social programs that feed, clothe and educate them.

• I believe that every woman has the right to control what happens to her body, without exception.

• I believe that every human being in this country has the right to health care, and that it ought to be paid for by the government, just like it is in other first world nations like Canada, Britain, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, etc., etc., etc.  And I say this as a person who has been chronically ill for 48 years and who has seen others get rich on treatments and remedies that have failed to improve my life.  Health for profit does not work.  Sorry if you own shares in an insurance company, but there it is.

• I don't trust the rich 1% to do right by me.  I think their real attitude towards me is what Mitt Romney was filmed saying, namely that because I live on my social security now -- a fund into which I paid plenty when I was working despite ill health -- I am now some kind of bum who feels he is entitled to wheedling a pittance of a living out of their pockets.  Social Security and Medicare are NOT entitlements.  We paid into them our whole working lives and we're just taking OUR money back, not taking YOUR money from YOU.  Stop slapping the "entitlement" label on anything you don't like as though it were a "Poison" label.

• I think it's GREAT that the government supports things like the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  It's always the first thing that conservatives want to cut, and I suspect it's because a literate, educated middle class scares the bejeezus out of them.  That funding amounts to 0.12% of the budget.  Cutting that funding gains us almost nothing in balancing the budget, but we get it back four-fold in pre-school education benefits.  And it's good for our collective souls.  (You hear that, conservatives?  Yes, I just called you "soulless!")

The real list of differences is far, far longer, but you get the idea.  So stop calling me a traitor, stop throwing stumbling blocks into my path to the polls, and stop using that bloody divisive language before another public figure -- or any figure -- has to take a bullet for it.

The only thing you need to "take back" is your mean-spirited language.  America?  It's just fine, right where it is.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Short Random Bursts

• The movie The Avengers has been out on DVD for a week now.  What the hell are you waiting for?  Go buy a blu-ray player that can handle 3-D and pick up the deluxe 4-disc set.  Now.  Go on.  Go.

• More violence in my church's second neighborhood this week.  Now we have a couple of teens shooting at random cars.  No reason.  No drug-related, no gang-related, just the good clean fun of pumping bullets into random vehicles as they make their way down the street.  Harrisburg police maybe caught the right kids.  Maybe not.

• Some days I feel like all I do is walk a dog I don't want and go to a church in which I no longer believe.  The higher principles of Unitarian-Universalissm?  You bet.  The way Harrisburg puts them into practice?  Not so much.  And I truly, honestly believe that they put their -- OUR -- congregation in danger every single week.  Every.  Single.  Week.  When the other shoe drops, it's going to be a disaster.  You read it here first.  (Well, probably third.)

• I was reading some late work by Douglas Adams of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame in which he describes his personal beliefs as, not atheism, but antitheism.  Not only did Adams not believe in a god, he actively opposed belief in any god.  Christopher Hitchens says it more eloquently than I could:  "I'm not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful."  Yes, this, please.

• In the same vein, Douglas Adams again:  "The rights of an individual to practice their taith ends where the rights of another to not be encroached upon begin."  I have never understood why this is so difficult for humanity at large to put into practice; that most societies actually find it easier to kill those who disagree with them than to allow them to live in peace.  If you believe strongly in something, like, say, marriage being only between a man and a woman, then live your life that way.  Only marry the opposite sex.  Knock yourself out.  Conversely, if you find something hateful, or repugnant to your god, then by all means don't do it.  Don't have abortions, don't have sex except for procreation, don't use your left hand for anything that doesn't please your deity or deities.  Go nuts.  But leave me the hell alone.