Saturday, January 28, 2006

Be carefull what you ask for........

I honestly think Dubya needs a lesson in basic democracy 101. It's a hard lesson even we here at home seem to have to learn about every four years. In a democracy, people run for office, promising what they will do once there, and the guy with the best story gets the most votes. Now, the best story means different things to different people, which is why there was such a shock when more people bought Dubya's story than Kerry's this last election. As a story, it might not make alot of sense to people with a certain understanding of what the truth really is, but if you are outnumbered by enough people who disagree with you, you are shit out of luck as far as seeing your candidate elected.

Now, Dubya wanted to see "freedom" and "democracy" spread throughout the Middle East, and got the ball rolling with a nice little war. And, as expected, Iraqi's are voting along party lines, just like we do here in the good old USA. However, unlike us, the losers over there don't take losing anywhere near as graciously, and as they always have, if they don't get their way via the ballot box, they try and get it via the gun, the bomb, and any other method that intimidates the opposition. Nice try, Dubya. Did you honestly think it would be that easy?

And now the Palestinians have decided that HAMAS has the better story in the gaza strip. Imagine that. HAMAS has been the major thorn in the side of the Israelis and the west, and have been very successful with their social programs aimed at gaining favor with the masses. All the old regime did was make corruption a household word, never getting anywhere with the goal of a free and independent Palestinian homeland. Well, HAMAS put it's money where it's mouth was, and it is actually no surprise that a majority of Palestinians decided maybe someone else should take a shot at lifting them out of their misery. They really don't care that the Israeli's and the West have promised they will never work with a government that pledges to wipe Israel off the map, since that has been a muslim sentiment in general since the beginning, and denouncing terrorism while not being able to control it made any real chance of success a no-win situation for Arafat and his corrupt minions anyway.

Surprised, Dubya? Did you think that because your patriotic, God-fearing constituents happened to outnumber the other guy's patriotic, God-fearing voters, that your place in history was a given? Did you honestly think that just because people in other countries get to vote for their leaders that they would naturally always make the right choice? Oh.........stupid me.........of COURSE you believed that! Just like you believed that the Iraqi people would all joyously embrace the American Occupation, showering our troops with rose petals and celebrating you as the great liberator! Just like you believe that cutting taxes on the rich and sticking it to the poor is the Christian thing to do.

Revolutions and military coups rarely lead to freedom, yet democratic elections, even the one's mostly fair and honest, can sometimes open the door to oppression. You simply ask the electorate, "What kind of system do you want to live under?" and they answer you. Amazingly, they sometimes choose the way most likely to strip them of their freedoms and their future right to choose. Russia is a classic example of a country so broken, so dysfunctional, that it's citizens, having gotten a taste of what capitalistic freedom is all about, have begun to change their minds about living in a society where it's every man for himself, allowing Putin to slowly put the screws to their new democracy and gently pull them back into a new style of Soviet style dictatorship. So what if freedom of the press is a threat to the state? No news is good news.

So, you see, George, democracy is not a state of being, it is a means to an end. And it's strange that you don't know that, although I suspect you do. Look at what you've been trying to do to our own democracy. The Patriot Act. Violations of privacy with nary a hint of judicial overview. Shape-shifting the war powers act to mean anything George wants it to. Calling anyone you suspect to be a terrorist an "enemy combatant", which you claim gives you the right to ignore the the very basis of our judicial system by denying them any rights whatsoever, not even charging them with a crime, torturing them, and locking them up indefinitely. Will there come a time when we might expect to receive better treatment from our enemies than our own government?

Yes, George, you asked for it, and you got it. Democracy in action. The plain ugly truth, this idea of people not acting according to your assumptions. And what will you do when the government of a nation hostile to us is elected overwhelmingly by it's citizens based on a promise to stand up to us? Will you insist that the bombs you drop on them is not meant for them put only for their leaders? Will you invade yet another nation in the name of freedom and democracy, only this time put in some fine print stating that they can elect anyone they want to, as long as they are approved by us? Well, Dubya, thanks to you, people are going to elect the bad guys if for no reason other than to spite us, even if they have to cut off their own noses to do it. Thank you for teaching them the lessons of democracy so well. We'll remember you always for it.

Another member of the family heads to Summerland.

It started a few days ago as a little rough running when the car was first started, which would smooth on out. Every engine has a rough moment, no big deal. Then it happened again, a little bit rougher and not going away. I pop the hood, fiddle with some sparkplug lines, and it smoothes out. OK. Then last night, whatever was attempting to give way, gave way. This was after work, and I had made it to Walmart without to much trouble, but then It starts up really rough, and a very sharp and loud, although perfectly rhythmic, tapping accompanies the engine sounds. Uh-oh! No amount of fiddling with the spark plug lines changes anything. Oh hell. On what felt like the missing horsepower of at least one cylinder, I make it across the road to the Ford repair place I have frequented before, which is closed this late at night, and head into the nearby Blockbuster video store to call the wife, who is thankfully already home with the newer vehicle.

This morning I head back and ask the guy at the desk if he could just listen to the engine and verify my fear that something major just happened to the car, major as in the cost of fixing it was probably going to exceed the value of the vehicle itself. He listened, opened up the oil cap and nodded his head, being able to see that the valve thingy right beneath the cap wasn't moving like it should. Yep. The old Ford Escort wagon, circa 1995, affectionately referred to as the "goatmobile", with more than 123,000 miles on her, had suffered a major mechanical stroke, and would not recover without some major high-tech intervention.

So, all I could do was once again call upon the services of Scott's Affordable Towing, upon whom I have relied upon countless times to haul my automotive fatalities around town, to come and take her back home, where she now sits until we can decide what to do with the carcass. What really galls me is that the day before I had just fed her gas tank 25 bucks worth of gas, which I will probably have to attempt to siphon back out, which if memory serves me right, will be an extremely ill-tasting experience. I never fail to get a mouthful of 87 octane trying to syphon gas.

So here we are back to relying on one car to get both of us to our respective jobs at differing times which is always a logistical nightmare. And the job that the goatmobile did with such aplomb, hauling garbage to the dump, large objects that don't fit in trunks well, and even animals such as goats, is now going to have to somehow be taken on by the Focus, which being a four door sedan, is not really cut out to do. Not to mention the smell that the one job can leave behind.

Things have really gotten tight for us in the finance department, so just strolling out and getting another car is a dicey proposition. I'm sure it could be done, with all these dealers practically guaranteeing that all you need is a pulse and say $99 and you get a car, but then the monthly payments have to be made, and that's the crux of the matter. Being less than brilliant with our finances and credit in the past has put us where we are today, along with those occasional disasters that eat money and paychecks that have not kept up with inflation, so to take on more obligations is not the smartest thing to do. So, looks like we are faced with a stretch of automotive roulette. I pray this Focus of ours is even half as stout as the goatmobile proved to be. She served us well, and I will not fault her the well deserved rest she so ably earned.

However, I will not throw in the wrench just yet. If this malfunction is purely mechanical in nature, and replacement parts can be had, with a determined and carefully approached dismantling of the top of this engine I might luck out and be able to access the offending piece of metal and somehow replace it. You mechanics out there might be chuckling at this idea, but what the hell, I don't have alot to lose. If nothing else, I get to see what the upper innards of a four cylinder fuel injected engine looks like. I do realize that the if the breakage occurred beneath the cylinder head, I'm probably screwed, because I am not equipped to break down an engine to that degree. But who knows, I have pulled off minor mechanical miracles in the past, without any prior knowledge of what the hell I was doing beforehand. Cross your fingers for me, guys.

So here's yet another adventure in the lives of lower-middle class America, those hardy souls caught between poverty and adequacy. If there's a silver lining to be found in this thunderstorm, it's that today I have something to post on a blog that is always struggling to remain on the favorites list of fine readers the world over. Well, a corner of the world, anyway.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Cold dead fingers........

They will take away my right to defend myself from the violence that surrounds me in a society gone mad when they pry that mechanism from my cold, dead hands.

I am a human being, and as a human being, I am in reality not much more than an animal with a hyped up ability to be violent, and creatively so, thanks to my sentience. I can get angry, and that anger can be expressed violently if I do not maintain control. So, I am the only attempting to face life in a realistic fashion when I state that as long as civilians in this country have access, much less a right to, weapons designed to do just one thing, kill, then I will arm myself in such a fashion as not to be totally defenseless. So why in the same breath do I also say that the National Rifle Association is the real cancer eating this country from within?

I would not in the least object to the average citizen being denied a handgun. I would love to see hunters limited to owning one rifle designed specifically for hunting. If you honestly think you need an assault weapon with a thirty round clip to hunt deer, then you honestly can't call yourself a hunter. You are nothing but a trigger happy idiot who is out to blow something away, not engaging in the time honored give and take between hunter and prey, taking from nature to sustain yourself.

The problem with these viewpoints I express above is that America is far from a truly civilized society. From day one we have moved Westward from Plymouth Rock with guns in our hands, using them against the residents, the wildlife, and each other as we clawed and scrapped and claimed our individual chunks of the American dream. As hard as we worked to establish the rule of law, we worked equally hard to get what we wanted one way or another. Between two raw citizens on the streets of Laredo who knew damn well that justice was anything but blind, it usually boiled down to who was faster and more accurate with a pistol rather than who was right. That mentality lives with us today, on the meanstreets of everytown USA. Today the left wing elitists would have us believe that disarming every law abiding citizen would cure our murder rate, yet they can't explain how they'd keep these weapons out of the hands of criminals, who usually could care less about law in general. Since we have numerous weapons manufacturers churning out every kind of handgun imaginable, needing to push inventory, those guns get into SOMEone's hands one way or another. Law abiding citizens go to legitimate gun shops and purchase these things, sometimes having to register them or somehow be held accountable for their use. Felons simply go to the guy who buys them in bulk at gun shows to pass along to them for a healthy mark-up, no questions asked.
Now tell me, if someone finds their way into your home with nefarious purposes in mind, is officer friendly going to magically appear between you and this bad guy or guys and protect you? Of course not. They will respond to 911 and appear on the scene AFTER the damage has been done, which may include your murder. If you are on equal terms with this invader firepower wise, you have at least the home court advantage, and at least a good chance of surviving the encounter.

Well, you say, Canada doesn't have these problems. That's true, and there are plenty of reasons for this. For one thing, Canadians don't have this social sense of paranoia that we American's nurture so well. Canadians do not have a God given right to bear AK-47's or saturday night specials. Canadians in general do not even have a need to lock their doors at night. Canadians do not have a gun lobby insuring that criminals have every loophole imaginable in order to acquire their weaponry. This is not to say that Canada does not have crime. But compare the statistics and you can see that our violent crime is well fed.

Put the National Rifle Association out of it's misery. Arm the police and the military. Return weapons manufacturers to their rightful purpose, to provide the tools that law enforcement and the military need, not pour these tools of murder and mayhem out on the mean streets of America. Protect the rights of genuine hunters to own hunting rifles and shotguns. Then, and only then will I give up my humble little handgun. But I WILL keep a louisville slugger handy, and I'll still have the home court advantage.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


The ability to sleep till the sun was at perigee was a blessing of my youth. Weekends in those days were those bonus days at the end of a five day work week that you looked forward to. And working only eight hours in one day, coupled with 340% more energy than I can lay claim to nowadays, meant one was not dog tired as he punched the time clock, and the day was still relatively young.

Fast forward quite a number of years. I now find myself employed where 12 hour shifts are the industry standard, which makes for a much shorter work week, but also, coupled with 350% less energy than I had those many years ago, makes for a much more draining work day. Now when I swipe that badge thru the reader, the legs are hurting, I'm hungry, and the day is shot for all practical purposes. Going home, getting a shower, slapping on some smell-good and heading out to party the night away is a laughable proposition.

Instead, if I'm lucky, the wife wasn't working that day, or had gotten off work much earlier than me, and has dinner and a fresh cup of coffee waiting for me when I drag my sore old ass up the steps and into my double wide. If not, I'll be nuking some lean cuisine in the microwave. I'll eat my meal and prepare a nice hot bath, not so much for cleanliness as to treat my sore muscles. The rest of the night will be devoted to checking e-mail, separating the junk mail from the real, trying to catch up on blogs, maybe posting to my own, and watching whatever favorite TV shows might be on that night. Then, come 11 PM, we retire to the waterbed and snuggle for the perfunctory 5 minutes before claiming our territory on our respective sides for the night. If I'm off the next day, I don't worry about the alarm, although I know that I'll wake up anyway far sooner than I would want to thanks to a thoroughly screwed up biological clock, which has been trained to prepare my brain to awaken when the clock, set at 6 AM, goes off. I do not use the snooze alarm. I shut it off and get up, because I have a short time budgeted to getting ready for work and getting out the door, otherwise I wouldn't even get the lousy 6 hours I might get to sleep.

When life becomes rote, you begin to question where and why you're where you are. You know damn well how you got here, and know that second-guessing yourself isn't going to change your reality. You arrived here through fate, a series of unfortunate events, or just plain luck. I say luck in my case because in so many ways I made out like gangbusters. Meeting and marrying my wife set in motion a series of events that either denied me many opportunities, or saved me from a far worse fate than whatever I may feel I may be suffering now. There's no real way to judge what might have been, even knowing the kinds of directions you think you might have taken given other choices. I did not marry this woman because it was something required of me by a higher power. I HAD to marry this woman because once I was in her clutches any other choice would have seemed insane. I hope like hell that in the end she feels the same way.

In many ways I feel trapped in a world of my own making. This is the fodder of fantasies, the middle aged crazies, the convertible with the bleach blonde bimbo in the passenger seat, but I can assure you that is a picture I honestly can't conjure up in my mind. The fantasies that my mind cooks up may involve a solar powered cabin in an unspoiled woods somewhere far from the hustle and hostility of American life, but my wife is there with me. When two become one, you can't separate your better half from any dream you might care to dream. I can't consider that anything other than a good thing.

I know that somewhere in the back of my wife's wish list is a husband that was a better provider, more energy for mad, passionate love, and who didn't have to be invited into the back forty for a day of good hard work. I have an equally wistful wish list of my own, so I guess that makes us even. I suppose if two lovers were completely happy with each other, utter boredom would doom such a perfect union in short order. I think we stare at each other on occasion with a look that says "If you think you'd really be happier, then feel free; go for it. You have to ask yourself just one question.......are you feeling lucky? Well, ARE you punk?" We never ask that out-loud, because we both know the answer. We both feel damn lucky to have found each other, all things considered.

I've been alone. I've been totally on my own with no one else to count on. I could have chosen to view my singularity as freedom. I choose instead to think of it as misery. I didn't do alone very well. Of course, I didn't do my first marriage very well either, but that was another story. It didn't cure me of seeking meaningful companionship again, despite the chance I'd end up right back in a new form of married misery. But, I got lucky, and after 13 years I still think I made the right choice. I met the right woman, who made that choice the right one. So, I have her to thank for not making me regret it. I can only hope that goes both ways.

When you sit down, stare at the screen, and just start typing, this is what you end up with. Maybe it's not grade-A blogger material, but it's what you get tonight. Stay tuned for tomorrows exciting episode, when THE Michael sits down and actually thinks about what he types, winning a pulitzer in the his dreams.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cry HAVOK, and let slip the tags.........

This is just a catch-up post, so scroll down one to witness my triumphant return to my regularly scheduled musing. If Tim can do this, so can I........

I was tagged by Paul the other day with another one of those damn lists. I'm only doing this because Paul, by virtue of tagging me, asked me to. So, here goes another total waste of bandwidth........

1. 4 jobs I've had.

Titless WAVE who drove nuclear submarines (otherwise known as a Personnelman)
Black & White Darkroom technician
Nurses aid, to name the longest held occupations.

2. 4 Movies I would see over and over again.

The Postman
The Secretary

3. 4 Places I've lived.

Fairbanks, Alaska
Newport News, Virginia
Houston, Texas
Somewhere in Mississippi no one ever heard of.

4. 4 Favorite TV shows.

Star Trek (Next generation)
The Twilight Zone (the original)

5. 4 Places I've been on Vacation.

Cherokee, North Carolina
Hawaii (a working vacation, courtesy of the US Navy Reserves)
Denali National Park
Lisbon, Portugal (does liberty count?)

6. 4 Favorite Foods.

Ice cream, the more decadent the flavor, the better

7. 4 Places I'd rather be.

Anywhere away from concrete.
Anywhere I can see the stars (ALL the stars)
Anywhere devoid of Republicans, Conservatives, Christians, or Skinheads.

8. 4 Sites I visit.

Buffalos Path
I Have Two Belly Buttons
The Alley Notebooks

(and yes, guys, I have a much larger list than that)

9. 4 Other Bloggers I'd wish this upon.

The Buffalo
Lights-in-the-Wake (anything to get him back online)
Cherish (just cause she thinks I don't pay attention to her)

10. 4 Things I'd rather do than answer tags.


So many blogs, so little time.......

No, I did not fall off the face of the Earth. Yes, I have been delinquent in my promise to post like there's no tomorrow. But I'm still here, and trying like crazy to catch up on my posting. I managed to whip out a discussion over in Summerland, the new blog I just started, so stroll on over and see if you'd like to throw in your own 37 cents worth.
I should have known SOMEbody was going to assume that comic picture I threw in on my last post concerning my new eye-wear was of myself. Pah-LEEZE! If I really looked like that I can assure you there's no way in hell I'd reveal myself to the world. If you missed it, there IS a pic of me and the wife back in the archives, if you really need to see what THE Michael and his better half looks like. I ain't telling you where, tho, since I sort of snuck it in. How I managed to upload it to Blogger without taking down the whole system is beyond me........hehe.
Shandi, I just wanted to let you know just how much I enjoyed your posts about you and teri's adventures on the high seas. I really enjoyed it. Buffalo, you are really showing off your talent lately with those stories, old chum. Must be practicing for that epic novel you're preparing to write on walk-about. Tim, most men don't have that "time of the month", but you had me thinking there for awhile that you were having one. It sure made for some great posts, tho! grin. Gina....I loved your last one, but you're acting like me....STOP IT! Post, my dear, get off your sweet ass and post! And yes, that's an order! (Sheepish grin). And kel, I just got your comment about your return to us, that is. Welcome BACK! Cherish, you do some fine work, hun, I never regret coming to visit. And Morningstar......ah........OUCH!
And now some updates: I still hate George Bush, Republicans, fundamentalists of any stripe, my job, bills, septic tanks, and the way I've been getting these flashes of nausea trying to get used to these no-line bifocals. I finally figured out how to fax something from my computer. Now all I need is an email telling me they got it. For all I know I faxed something to timbuktu. Oh, and I am proud to announce that I am no longer merely a CERTIFIED health care worker, nosiree, I am LICENSED! Yep, now I have the honor and privilege, along with the prestige, of paying the state money I don't have to keep my job, and all without one cent in added compensation! Isn't that friggin WONDERFUL? sigh.......
We just shot several million dollars worth of probe at pluto. I hope they score a direct hit. Yep, several million dollars so that a bunch of scientists can stare at a monitor seven years from now and say "ahhhhh-yep, that there's a nice little piece of round rock, alright....ahhhh-yep!" Only I hope they installed a flashlight on that piece of shit......I hear it's rather dark out there on the edge of the solar system. Oh, and that probe that just came back from collecting dust from the tail of that comet? They discovered the origin of life.........dust mites.
Well, I'm gonna wrap this up so that the NSA can intercept it, review it, tag it, file it, investigate it, and bring me up on charges. If you don't see another post for awhile, you'll know what happened. I just hope I get a cell in a nice northern country. I've been to gitmo, and I wasn't impressed.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I CAN SEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just returned from Sears with my new pair of eyes and I'm as happy as an escaped clam at a clam-bake! I'm wearing those no-line bifocals for the first time and they ARE a little strange, but overall I am very pleased. And, I can actually see this monitor without having to tilt my head back like a pez dispenser in order to focus. The optical dude even adjusted the frames damn near perfectly the first time, they feel so comfortable. There IS one tiny caveat, that being that I have to turn my head to focus on distance items, rather than glance sideways at them, but that's no big neck actually swivels, if you can believe that.

Having come to realize that I am now a citizen of an eclectic little electronic village, I have the perfect opportunity to create my own little place where I don't have to Muse Madly or with Melancholy in order to explore some areas of human interaction that can stir up some strong emotions. So, I did just that. I call it Summerland, named after the Wiccan idea of where your soul goes once you pass beyond this mortal coil. You won't find this place on any map, and you won't need a map to find it. It's a place where you can suggest things without getting hung on a cross for doing so, even if it's your belief that someone who got hung on a cross deserves to be worshiped. You can even discuss the joys of praying to a deity that resembles an elephant head stuck on a sumo wrestler, as long as that joy is real and you think you can somehow pass that joy along to others. There won't be any self-righteous people there informing you of your sad fate in hell for your beliefs, because I will have directed them down the hall to the broom closet where I have a satan bobble head for them to play with. This place will in no way detract from my management of that blog we have all come to know and love, MM&M, but it will free up some space for other such discussions as sex, politics, the environment, and why Elvis Presley may very well rival Jesus Christ in his stubborn refusal to die.

But please, have no fear, I will continue to rant and rave and otherwise contribute wisdom not found anywhere else in the known universe, so do not run off patronizing some other blog for fear this space will start collected dust. Matter of fact, thanks to the all encompassing coverage these three blogs will provide you, you can delete 98% of all your other blogs and STILL know everything you need to know about everything. I must, however, insist that you retain the links to anybody who has ever commented on this blog, for such people are wise, intelligent, sexy, mature, funny, tolerant, and even look good in paisley print. Even the Buffalo, who was man enough to admit to the world that he went to beauty school, but will, hopefully, never admit to having worn pink. There ARE lines which just cannot be crossed.

Oh, and damn if I don't LOOK good, too! hehe.

Something New

I have been fiddling with a new blog, and it is now ready for launch. Stop over and visit sometime. It's called "Welcome to Summerland". I think you might enjoy it, especially if you like to get deep and existential. You might even get to meet old BOB himself, ya never know.......

As for moi, I'm headed out to pick up my third and fourth eyeballs. Wish me luck. I'll report back if I can see my keyboard.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Damage Control Party to the Bridge........

There comes a time in a bloggers' tenure when he realizes just how mediocre his postings have become and takes note of said occurrence with enough alarm to wish to rectify the situation. The fact that my musings may have been somewhat lacking in quality all this time has always been a constant concern, but one I deliberately choose not to deal with in order to avoid discouragement altogether. It's a strategy that has worked well so far, thanks to my uncanny ability to harness my delusions for the benefit of all mankind. OK, fine, then for the benefit of ONE mankind.

Tomorrow I get to go pick up my new glasses, the ones the optometrist has promised will allow me to see straight through women's, wait, that was the promise that ad in the back of the comic book forward to now......has promised will allow me to focus just beyond arms-length without having to crane my neck up into bifocal range, which is supposed to be reserved for close focus work, like reading. These also include those cool magnetic clip-on sunglasses which I will lose in short order, but will enjoy immensely while I have them. This will all conspire to improve my mood considerably, which last night one of my concerned fans pointed out sounded "bitchy". Hun, I love you dearly, but THE Michael does not get bitchy. Tired, annoyed, disgruntled, irritated at life in general, and septic tanks and electric bills specifically, and feeling oppressed by "the man", but no, hun, never "bitchy".

I digress. I do not have a coherent plan to correct the mediocrity of this blog, but I am working diligently on crafting one, either that, or throwing together a blueprint so convoluted, so complicated, so unfathomable yet plausible that you will all at least THINK that I have succeeded in doing so.

So, I will leave you will this exciting episode of MM&M and observe the shallow end of the gene pool do their Jerry Springer guest impressions for Simon, Paula, and Randy. Thank Bob at least 1% of this crowd actually CAN sing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Blame this post on American Idol.......

I've dragged my sorry ass home from another 12 hours of joyous employment (sarcasm), been met by my loving wife with fresh coffee and a fine meal (pure heaven) and am now attempting to craft a coherent post for this fine (HA!) blog known throughout the civilized world (you're kidding me, right?) as MM&(last but not least) M. This will be extremely difficult as I am tired (want some cheese with that whine?) and American Idol is playing in the background (oh stop it, it sure beats homeless people trying to steal your newspaper blanket). I can, and I will do this. Whether or not I should be doing this remains to be seen.

I am so glad I was too old never to have tried out for American Idol. Last time I heard my own voice, it took shock treatments to bring me out of my walking coma.
Well, that was my SPEAKING voice. People actually clapped and cheered (and somehow missed hitting me with the gunfire) when I did my stint at karaoke at the world famous (what famous?) Attitudes, now defunct and razed to make room for a Rooms-to-Go furniture store. I swear that did not occur due to my singing. Why those people thought I could sing is beyond me. Go figure.

I love my new Ipod Shuffle, but it makes my breaks at work go by much to fast. I can't listen to it WHILE I'm working because it would drown out the sound of me being oppressed, and they can't have that.

I just got my W-2 form from work. If you notice my blog originating in some country like Belize or Nepal sometime around May, you'll know how the numbers added up.

I just glanced up and spied the late Mysty's portrait, and a streak of sadness touched my soul. All this over a goat.........

I've been weaning myself off the sangria and onto screwdrivers. I have been suffering far few headaches as a result, plus, there's been an added bonus of a bottle of vodka lasting far longer than the usual huge bottle of vino.

The wife has been in alot more pain lately. I've told her it might be a good idea to craft some pain-relieving spells. Since this isn't a more progressive state I can't suggest we plow up the back 40 and plant medicinal marijuana.

My new eyeglasses haven't come in yet. The wife's has. I'm being oppressed.

OK, considering everything, I stood and delivered a post that rivals anything Buffalo, Tim, LIghts, gina, cherish, the bobsy twins, OR wonder could ever have produced under the same circumstances. I also am having a fantastic sale on historic bridges this week, with an extra 25% off to my blogging friends.

Good Night and Blessed Be.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


As I go from boil to simmer concerning my last run in with things I'd rather not happen to me, I now focus on the wife's latest antics. One half of the twins and her husband are in the process of trying to move into a new house now being built. The wife, the ever supportive and cheerleading witch that she is, decided to appeal to the Goddess to smooth their way into their new digs, thus a new Full-Moon ceremony was held in their favor.

Aside from the fact that it was colder than a witches' tit outside last night (actually, MY witches' tit is quiet warm, tyvm), there was a wicked wind blowing that would have snuffed out any candle lit for a ceremony had it been conducted in the shade garden as usual, so after consulting the "Official Wiccan Rule Book", hehe, I guess, the wife decided it would do just fine to hold the ceremony here in the castle. We used our couch table for the alter, placed the candles at the appropriate corners according to the compass points, and performed our ceremony "skyclad". Now, for those of you ignorant of these terms, "skyclad" is another word for buck naked, which is the preferred method of worship for many Wiccans as it keeps a minimum of interference between one's self and the essence of the gods and goddesses. We'd perform these ceremonies outside the same way, except we don't have a privacy fence and do not wish to offend the christian sensibilities of our neighbors, which is to say we're not ready to invite the sheriff's department over.

Well, the wife performed her stuff with aplomb, and afterwards, as we sat within the safety of the circle in our living/slash/den area, sharing some wine, we noticed that a candle just happened to be in perfect alignment with a crystal earth globe in such a way, but ALSO aligned with exactly where the moon was rising and where my wife was sitting, such so that a perfect little "moon" appeared in the globe. I knew why this was happening, at least the scientific "light refraction within a spherical glass object" explanation, but I had to admit that the occurrence of just the right conditions at just the right time for this ceremony was a spooky, and nice little accident. She just accepts it for the truth as she understands it.....the Goddess assuring her that her plea was heard.

Based on our previous experience with magik, it will not surprise me in the least when Heather and Steve move into their new home. If it DOESN'T happen, well, I for one am not going to buy the "it was never meant to be" cop-out, but one can always fall back on the "we somehow didn't do the rite right" explanation. I personally will always rely on what Bob told me, that it's all good, for one reason or another. If I was sitting in a gulag somewhere awaiting execution for saying the wrong thing, the last thing I'd want to hear someone tell me is that "it's all good", but I think I could forgive myself for thinking so in those circumstances. Bob understands that and isn't going to subtract brownie points from one's Karma, so in that sense it IS a good thing.

Which brings me to the concept of just "How" one asks for things. I think maybe we should have just flat out asked that this damn septic system get pumped out one way or another, not just asking for the money to do so, which is going to have to be used for all these new unexpected expenses that have been visited upon us. Picture me slapping my forehead, going "Duh!"

Lights, I miss you, guy. I keep going back to see if you've relented and posted something, and I come away just a tiny bit sadder not seeing anything new.

The bobsy twins are in party mood on the high seas, and their nightly reports are hilarious. I hate them. hehe.

And of course, the Buffalo produced another gem concerning what one should do with a Friday night. I hope he choose wisely.

Morningstar, of course, described her life in "chilling detail" which has a way of getting my sick attention.

And that's what's going on at Pendragon Hold. Please, try not to laugh to hard.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Report from the bottom of the food chain.

As you should all know well by now, this is pretty much an "all-purpose" blog. Within the pages of this fine publication you will find philosophy, dementia, anger, lust, indignation (righteous or not), examination, and my own personal history as it occurs. The reporting of events within the narrow confines of my life is probably the least relevant of all one must endure to enjoy this blog, but tonight I think maybe this episode, based on real life events, might very well rival anything I have inflicted upon you in return for your loyalty and understanding. The steam valve is erupting, my friends, I suggest you duck and cover!

Back in 1993 I ended up, by virtue of a ridiculously easy test that I completed within the span of minutes, and aced by the way, with a piece of paper that "certified" me as a bonifide Nursing Assistant, blessed by the powers that be with the trust to bathe, feed, and otherwise care for in a myriad number of ways the elderly left to die in nursing homes. At the time it was only a step along the way to becoming a fully licensed nurse, which, alas, was not to be, for complicated reasons I don't have time to relate tonight. As it was, I remained a mere CNA, although by virtue of employment by a hospital I was elevated to the heady position of PCT, which stands for Patient Care Technician, a title which certainly makes one feel better about themselves, being referred to as a "technician", rather than a mere aid. I must admit that during my tenure I have been provided with a much more expansive set of capabilities, caring for critically ill patients suffering acute illness, but in return for this knowledge I actually get paid LESS than a CNA with comparable experience, although I do not think I would trade my work day with a nursing home aid due to the added physical stress they endure attempting to take care of the elderly population, which I did do during the first year of my experience with said certificate, and do not wish to return to.

And so, for the next ten years, I became (at the peril of sounding rather arrogant for one occupying such a lowly position) possibly the best PCT this hospital has seen, determined that if this was what I was going to be doing, then I was going to make a science of it. I refined the art of the bed bath, speeding up the procedure yet making it more effective and comfortable for the patient. I have named this "The Michael Method" and have trained countless nurses in it's nuances. I also developed patient transfer procedures which save time and effort, and again, lend less discomfort to the patient, and those procedures have become policy in the unit. I know where EVERYTHING is in the department, how to make all the machines work (the super-double-secret repair method of plugging the offending machine in or pushing the hidden "On" button are some of my mysterious secrets I guard jealously), and many a nurse that has any history with me has breathed a sigh of relief to see that I was working with them that day. What I have just said of course sounds like self-agrandization; I prefer to think of it as mere fact. And so, as reward for all these efforts over the years I have been awarded a few cents in "merit" raises each year that have fallen far behind inflation, effectively leaving me making less money in purchasing power than when I first started. Of course, on top of that, my insurance deductions have also ballooned outrageously, leaving my net pay a mere shadow of the gross. Such are the rewards of the working man.

As a man working in basically a woman's world, I have had the additional challenge of dealing with personalities that can test one's ability not to bring their favorite firearm to work and go hunting. Aside from the fact that each of these girls has that period once a month that makes them turn into some kind of banshee from hell, women have a different approach to conflict resolution than men do. First off, they take double secret offense at something you do and say and let it simmer awhile, usually about two weeks. THEN they storm off to the powers that be, who are also women, to put to rights said offense, which by then, the "perpetrator", having not realized any offense was made to begin with, has forgotten whatever was going on way back when said offense was claimed to have occurred. And there we are, having no clue as how to respond to something we didn't even know happened. Now, to you, my dear lady readers, you may seem inclined to believe that you personally would never handle things in such a fashion, but then again, who knows how many times you were involved in exactly that kind of behavior yet never realized it? Well, men tend to approach conflict in an immediate and direct way, dealing with it face to face, getting it over with one way or another, and moving on. We are not equipped to deal with it in the other fashion, and become rather paranoid trying to detect the next hidden explosion going on under their noses which might show up weeks later to bite them in the ass. Add THAT to the value-detracted joys of my profession.

Then, after all these years, as if my employers joyously happened across yet ANOTHER way to disrespect me as a human being, they nail me with a real dinger. I was scrolling thru my e-mail at work and came across a note from the night charge nurse reminding the nurses to be sure to get their license renewal paperwork in on time, and oh, by the way, aids now have to have their certification renewed also.


So, I ask around......what's this about AIDS having to have their certifications renewed? No one knows, not the guy aid who's been there even longer than me, not my day charge nurse......all news to them. Well, she goes digging and comes back with an amazing story. But allow me to plug in some quick background here. Back in '93 when I first got my certificate, that was understood to be the end of it. Once certified, always certified. Well, in the smoke filled back rooms of the state legislature this last year, it seems that in order to protect the public from renegade criminal abusive killer nursing aids, the State of Florida decided that we had to fork over $25 every two years to renew our licenses (OH, yes, they elevated us to the lofty position of being LICENSED now), and to have a certain amount of educational credits acquired every year. This was not something that was advertised very heavily in the new media, and I do watch the local news often enough. Since I have moved something like 5 or 6 times since I first got that certificate, of course I never received anything in the mail from the State informing me of these new requirements. However, you would think that a facility that requires it's employees to keep on top of their job training requirements in a timely manner would also just happen to mention to same employees that their certifications needed to be maintained. Well, All the new aids that have been hired recently knew of all this, but human resources never saw fit to make sure that our department was made aware of it. So of course, we first hear about it several days AFTER the deadline to have our renewals completed! If I was the only aid to have been caught up in this web of cluelessness, I'm sure my manager would have gladly sent my butt home and told me I could work again when I had my license, but apparently it caught enough departments and their aids by surprise that it would have impacted too much of the workforce, so they begrudgingly gave us another month to catch up. However, they are not inclined to reimburse us for the extra $20 the State is making us pay for being late, a total of $45!

To say the least, I imagine you can plainly see the steam issuing from my ears as I type this tirade. There is one thing that matters most to a person that has more value than money, and that is respect. The "oh-well, it's your responsibility, not ours" attitude that my bosses take in this matter is truly a demonstration of their total lack of respect for us as employees. We apparently are so easily replaceable, so much cannon fodder, in their "health care team" that any negative financial impact that their own failures in responsibility may cause us do not warrant any petty consideration on their part. Even if I had gotten no more than an apology, it would have gone a long way in the respect department. For those of you wondering why I would make so much noise over a mere $45, I would like to point out that $45 as a percentage of my earnings is actually pretty large when measured against that of a nurse, who makes up to 3 times the amount hourly that I do. Pain is relative, my friends, and to me, this is relatively painful. Well, now I have to prove every two years to the state that I haven't lost so many brain cells that I can't keep performing my job, which was never rocket science to begin with. My value as a person that helps people overcome severe illness stems more from my experience and self-taught expertise than it does any formal training I have or will expect to receive.

The above "money sucking monster" I have described above pales in comparison to the unfathomably large electric bill I just received, which is only adding to my stress level. Our income isn't exactly fixed, but it is pretty much an immovable object against which unstoppable forces always seem be colliding with. Those poor seniors and others on truly fixed incomes, I can empathize with. I sometimes am tempted to try out another profession altogether, but you always start at the bottom when you do, usually quite a bit less than the pittance I have managed to get to so far, so that wouldn't solve much. And besides, this is the first job I've had that didn't start heading south as soon as I got involved with it. It's a good thing that machinists in general everywhere are not aware that my involvement with THAT profession was probably responsible for all the layoffs, at least of the ones paying a good wage. Such a curse to bare, indeed.

Now you have reached the portion of this post where you decide exactly how you should respond to it, if you are inclined to. Please, do not pity me. I still have a roof over my head. And please, do not laugh and inform me how petty my problems are.....I know that already. However, if this resonates with any of your own experiences, feel free to share. LIstening to YOUR stories might distract me from this one, and boy do I ever need a distraction right now.

If ever I needed the reassuring weight of Bob's hand on my shoulder, this is the time. it is...........thanks guy..........

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Tonight's Gauntlet Run.........

On a having worked night, I face a certain difficulty posting. My difficulty involves a spouse that does not understand nor appreciate my need to blog, her desire that I pay more attention to her than a stupid computer, and the limited time I have between getting home somewhere around 7:30 at night and time to hit the sack, with so much occupying that time such as favorite TV shows, my bath, dinner, helping clean up things, etc........ So, if what I manage to post seems lame, blame the gauntlet I had to run to even get something resembling a post onto this blog.
Include in all this the time I take to visit my favorite blogs and read them. Wonders blog was truly worth the time I took to visit it. So were most of the others. The tricky thing about commenting to blogs I'd rather not be observed visiting in the first place is that one, I had to speed read it, and two, just doing that was pushing it so commenting to it is going one step to far without the wife looking over my shoulder and wondering what kind of crap I've been reading. Please do not think that this in any way devalues "that particular kind of blog" that I enjoy so much yet cannot advertise my enjoyment at the risk of misunderstanding. Spouses that love you can suffer from equal amounts of insecurity and I see no need to encourage such feelings, however unfounded they may be.
Ok, let me get this posted so that you have SOMEthing to read before I pay dearly for having done so. Sometimes there's a certain kind of thrill to this blogging thing that I truly wish I didn't have to experience.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Before you go.........

With a stupid evening gossip show blaring in the background, I'm trying to craft a half-assed decent post. One thing that springs to mind I should report is having fallen victim to that age old scourge of computer writers since they paired a CRT with a keyboard, the "forgot to save and there it went" virus. All fifty million words of the next exciting episode of "Adventures". No tears were shed in the production and subsequent loss of said episode, but if I'd been a masochist I'd have been in for a night of self-flagellation, I can tell you that!
There HAS been another virus running amok, one that threatens the very fabric of our tiny little universe comprised of a diverse mix of personalities, one created by doubt, boredom, circumstance, introspection, fear, or any number of reasons that might prompt one to discontinue or sharply curtail their blogs. I find this troubling, for I have always thought that for once, I had stumbled across a hobby, a passion, a calling, whatever you wish to call it, that is anything but a FAD, but an exercise in expression that rivals the obsession of religion. I can easily picture myself doing this, as long as I have the means and the physical and mental health, for the rest of my life. It fits easily into that category of things that just ARE, such as working for a living, eating, fornicating,'s not something reserved for a certain era of your life, such as dating and going to dances or bars. It has never been something I've had to COMMIT to, like an exercise program, for it has come as natural to me as breathing......and you look forward to nothing else in life like a good breath if you ever find yourself short of it. I know I cannot expect everybody to share this same comfort, but from what I have read from all of you is that what you have written means something to you in one way or another, and has had an effect of some sort on those who shared it.
I think we can all admit to some extent to having painted pretty pictures of ourselves, our lives, our personas, which is only natural, but what we can't floss over is what comes thru between the lines. I will choose Buffalo as an example only because it gives me a chance to jerk HIS chain, which I am sure he will accept good-naturedly, AFTER he tracks me down and kicks my ass, which I am willing to chance in an effort to make this point. The man, as a person, is far worse, yet far better, if you can understand what I am trying to say, than even he would desire to describe himself. But, regardless of his intent, the one thing that comes thru loud and clear BETWEEN the lines is that he is human, that he has a unique voice, and that he has great value, which those who personally know him can probably attest.
He, as will I, will both wrestle with ourselves when it comes to judging what kind of people we TRULY are, but we ARE who we are, and when it gets right down to it, you either take us or leave us. But I can promise you this, you will NOT leave either one of us, or any of you other good people, without having been influenced, for better or for worse. And THAT, as Buffalo would say, is a might fine thing.
Our faux President, Dubya, has been saying things that make me wish to Bob I could just walk up to him and bitch-slap the ignoramus, not to be violent or anything, but just to make a point in the only language the idiot probably understands. He is making "shut up and quit being derogatory" statements that send a chill up and down my spine. He is making suggestions that people who disagree with him and/or his policies lend aid and comfort to the enemy. BULLSHIT! Show me Osama Ben Ladin and I know a few ladies I would love to introduce him to, and they ain't virgins. I KNOW who the friggin enemy is, Dubya, only you have a hard time separating them from us. I do know that your born again ass would love nothing more than to see me disappear into some post soviet era secret gulag just so you can continue to send this country and everything it ever stood for down the river, after your friends get their cut of it, of course. So, you keep up your assaults on our constitution and one day you and your so called "political party" might end up with your own damn insurgency on your hands.

So sayeth THE Michael, Lord and Master of Pendragon Hold, owner of goats, veteran of a very cold war, and press agent for Bob, a presence whom by any other name, would never smell as sweet......

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Much Ado about.........ah..........

I have been feverishly working on the next installment of "Adventures" and it's really proven to be a challenge, as I decided to turn the heat up in this episode, and I'm trying to do so in a manner befitting the dignity of the characters, which isn't easy considering that I'm required to chuck any idea of dignity right out of the window to make it work. Oh, well, maybe it will slake some of the thirst I think the audience of that blog has for a bit more heat then has been the case with M.B. and company. It's just hard sometimes coming up with that blend of what I know and what I have to imagine when it comes to making a scenario somewhat plausible. One thing you have to understand about my Alter Ego is that he operates in a world far removed from the reality of his muse, yet strives not to exist so far outside the ID that he becomes someone else entirely. MB operates strictly from his own world view, one that may seem foreign to those who live the lifestyle 24/7 where reality takes a big bite out of our asses, with his own quirks, fears, preferences, and limits, which threaten to paint him as a persona that couldn't possibly exist. Well, he can, and does exist, at least in the mind of one who must enjoy the realities, fears, triumphs and tribulations of a life he couldn't and wouldn't trade in for anything. So, hopefully, in whatever capacity you enjoy the hyjinks of these characters, they in their own and perhaps over the top way fulfill a need, and in the end, that is what matters most to this muse.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Angry Young Men in Wheelchairs

I rent movies from Netflix, and manage to come across some very good indie films that I might not otherwise tend to see. Tonight the wife and I watched "Murderball", a documentary about paraplegic wheelchair rugby players. Now, biped rugby is bad enough; I tried out a practice once a few years back when I was in alot better shape than I am now and I ended up puking on the sidelines just from the drills. If I'd made it to a full fledged skirmish I'm sure those bastards would have killed me. But let me tell you, these guys who play it in wheelchairs make it look like Conan the Barbarian meets Mad Max the Road Warrior. They play in armored wheelchairs because the only way to tackle someone going for the goal is to just slam into them, hopefully flipping them over. Upper body strength is everything, because being able to get from zero to five as fast as possible is a real plus. The human male, paralyzed or not, still pumps out the testosterone, and these guys sure know how to harness it.

They examine numerous personalities, and one thing is clearly apparent.....if you were an asshole before the accident, you are pretty much capable of remaining one afterwards. Whatever their baseline personalities were, these men have had to deal with brutal assaults on their psyches, having to go thru the steps of denial, withdrawal, despair, anger, sorrow, and coming to terms with their new realities and having to learn to live with them. These new forms of extreme sports have been instrumental in returning to these broken souls a sense of purpose and belonging, in many ways making some of them better than they were when once whole and "perfect". Life goes on, might as well live it, and maybe kick a little ass while you're doing it.

I highly recommend you rent this movie. There's a rivalry between team USA and team Canada that rivals any in the NFL. There are players whom you will like or hate, regardless of the chairs. You will discover that yes, a guy in a wheelchair can get laid. And you will get to see the transformation of a young man, who gets to sit in a murderball chair for the first time and the effect his has on his whole outlook.

This isn't reality TV, my friends, no, this is REALITY.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Effect of Octagonal Binge Swarms on Trans-dimensional Pink Photons

Now that I've gotten your attention with utter gibberish, here's some more.......

I'm going to post something tonight if it kills me. Let's see what spews forth from my evil little mind......hehehehehe

I've noticed that some or our bloggers have managed to get some pretty nice artwork into the title section of their blog. What Buffalo just did to his was awesome! I finally managed to get a pic into my profile, and that felt like I had just barely passed an exam in advanced physics. Me so smart......sigh. If anyone would like to walk me thru the wherefores and howto's of slipping in artwork, I would surely love to listen. I might even fathom what your trying to tell me. Hmmmmm.....I there an "Idiots Guide to Blogger"?

There is one girl whom I have followed for awhile since I stumbled upon blogs, who has finally just came out and said in plain english that I am a jerk. I would love to spend this whole blog explaining why I think she thinks I'm a jerk, but then I'd be dissing her in return and I see no real sense in that. The comments section of our blogs could turn into episodes of Jerry Springer if we all ran with such stuff, and I truly think that's rather juvenile, and nothing makes me drop a blog faster than seeing the author and commenters getting into a catfight. I won't be dragged into it. Hell, maybe to a few others I AM a jerk, but hey, whatever floats their boat, I know who and what I am and am rather comfortable with it. I know the way I word a comment can sometimes inadvertently pull someone's chain, but I think anyone who truly knew me would know that would never be my intention. Hell, Buffalo's been jerking MY chain since I met the dude, and I have always given him the benefit of the doubt, because I think you all know as well as I do that old Buf is one hell of a guy, however ornery he likes to paint himself sometimes. End of rant.

The above is what you get when you're just making it up as you go along with utterly no premeditation.

Kelbabe has informed us she is dropping out of blogging altogether, to, I believe she says, to just get on with life and enjoy it. BRAVO! I suppose you could compare this little addiction of ours to such things as video gaming, chatting, and all those time stealing little things that steal the minutes from our lives. Hell, I say go for it, if your life is indeed that rich. I just hope like hell that our friend WONDER keeps taking the time to keep us all abreast of the wonder of HIS life, because whether or not we think our own lives are full enough, there's always room for more, especially as seen thru the hearts and minds of strangers who never remain that way for long.

It froze here last night and will do it again tonight. And all without a nice blanket of snow to at least make it pretty. Oh, well, that's "sunny Florida" for ya!

I do want to apologize to a few people on my list whom I visit on a regular basis yet do not seem to leave a comment as often as I should. Sometimes I am so utterly content just to have read what you wrote that nothing I could say about it would add to what you've already said. Other times, an attempt to relate might come across the wrong way, and that wouldn't be a good thing. I just want you to know if you have felt slighted in any way that I'm sorry. If I am on the same page as the writer, of COURSE I might add a comment a mile long, that's only natural, but please don't assume that if my comment is short and sweet that it was meant to measure you against anyone. We are each unique and special and will be responded to differently, depending on the things we post about.

And besides, you gave me a rather large paragraph of inspiration.....grin.

The Buffalo is going on walk-about. Well, ride-about, actually, but it's the same thing. There comes a time in one's life when you just HAVE to give into that imprisoned wanderlust, regardless of risk and practicality, for the alternative is a slow death by "what-ifs". I envy him. And I'm sure as hell gonna water down the rum before he stops by and starts drinking with me. That beast of his would not be kind to me or my humble doublewide. Besides, anyone who could claim he drank THAT legend under the table would be set for life.......hehe.

Well, I've gone and wasted another five minutes of your precious time (make that maybe 45 seconds for you speed readers), so I will end this post before more damage is done. I"m sorry for not pointing out my twist on whatever injustice befell the world today, but I can't be expected to define ALL the worlds' ills ALL the time.

But I try.......boy do I try.........

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Michael II (the sequal)

Between work and not being able to get to the Imac to type like a madman, it seems I have been out of circulation long enough to actually illicit some concern from my loyal readers. I apologize for "missing time" and will now attempt to make up for all that missing madness by producing some musings that are lean on melancholy. Here goes nuttin...........

My last post left the mistaken impression that I actually think my life is miserable. Nothing could be further from the truth and I realize that the title of that post might have contributed to the misunderstanding. Actually, I just thought it was a catchy addition to the standard phrase "first day of the rest of your life". My life is not miserable. It's not perfect, but who's life is? Don't answer that, I don't want to know.....hehe. Yes, there are many aspects of my life that could stand improvement, but standing here on the cliff, I can see what's down below if I lose my balance, and until that happens, things could be alot worse than they are. So, I apologize if I made it sound as though I was complaining. I may bitch and moan, but complaining? NEVER!

I watched a woman last night, in her grief and anger, actually dare say that because the miscommunication concerning the condition of the trapped miners robbed these good christian folk of their miracle, that they might be tempted to think there really IS no God. Well, sister, I am truly sorry for your loss, but you can't have it both ways. They say that God answers all prayers, but that sometimes the answer isn't the one you wanted. They say that the Lord works in mysterious ways. They say alot of things, dear woman, but the fact remains that people die, especially in situations just waiting to kill them. If you insist on turning your righteous indignation on someone, try turning it on the owners of the mine, who have been sited repeatedly for safety violations, instead of bitching at a God you think wasn't being nice. Then perhaps you people will not lose more lives to the God of greed and indifference. I just wish Bob would show up at YOUR walmart and have a nice sit down with YOU. (That episode is in the archives for those of you not knowing what I'm talking about) Then perhaps you would be able to see tragedy for what it really is.

MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) - Nazir Ahmed appears calm and unrepentant as he recounts how he slit the throats of his three young daughters and their 25-year-old stepsister to salvage his family's "honor" - a crime that shocked Pakistan.

The 40-year-old laborer, speaking to The Associated Press in police detention as he was being shifted to prison, confessed to just one regret - that he didn't murder the stepsister's alleged lover, too.

Hundreds of girls and women are murdered by male relatives each year in this conservative Islamic nation, and rights groups said Wednesday such "honor killings" will only stop when authorities get serious about punishing perpetrators.

The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that in more than half of such cases that make it to court, most end with cash settlements paid by relatives to the victims' families, although under a law passed last year, the minimum penalty is 10 years, the maximum death by hanging.

Ahmed's killing spree - witnessed by his wife Rehmat Bibi as she cradled their 3-month-old baby son - happened Friday night at their home in the cotton-growing village of Gago Mandi in eastern Punjab province.

It is the latest of more than 260 such honor killings documented by the rights commission, mostly from media reports, during the first 11 months of 2005.

Bibi recounted how she was woken by a shriek as Ahmed put his hand to the mouth of his stepdaughter Muqadas and cut her throat with a machete. Bibi looked helplessly on from the corner of the room as he then killed the three girls - Bano, 8, Sumaira, 7, and Humaira, 4 - pausing between the slayings to brandish the bloodstained knife at his wife, warning her not to intervene or raise alarm.

"I was shivering with fear. I did not know how to save my daughters," Bibi, sobbing, told AP by phone from the village. "I begged my husband to spare my daughters but he said, 'If you make a noise, I will kill you.'"

"The whole night the bodies of my daughters lay in front of me," she said.

The next morning, Ahmed was arrested.

Speaking to AP in the back of police pickup truck late Tuesday as he was shifted to a prison in the city of Multan, Ahmed showed no contrition. Appearing disheveled but composed, he said he killed Muqadas because she had committed adultery, and his daughters because he didn't want them to do the same when they grew up.

He said he bought a butcher's knife and a machete after midday prayers on Friday and hid them in the house where he carried out the killings.

"I thought the younger girls would do what their eldest sister had done, so they should be eliminated," he said, his hands cuffed, his face unshaven. "We are poor people and we have nothing else to protect but our honor."

Despite Ahmed's contention that Muqadas had committed adultery - a claim made by her husband - the rights commission reported that according to local people, Muqadas had fled her husband because he had abused her and forced her to work in a brick-making factory.

Police have said they do not know the identity or whereabouts of Muqadas' alleged lover.

Muqadas was Bibi's daughter by her first marriage to Ahmed's brother, who died 14 years ago. Ahmed married his brother's widow, as is customary under Islamic tradition.

"Women are treated as property and those committing crimes against them do not get punished," said the rights commission's director, Kamla Hyat. "The steps taken by our government have made no real difference."

Activists accuse President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, a self-styled moderate Muslim, of reluctance to reform outdated Islamized laws that make it difficult to secure convictions in rape, acid attacks and other cases of violence against women. They say police are often reluctant to prosecute, regarding such crimes as family disputes.

Statistics on honor killings are confused and imprecise, but figures from the rights commission's Web site and its officials show a marked reduction in cases this year: 267 in the first 11 months of 2005, compared with 579 during all of 2004. The Ministry of Women's Development said it had no reliable figures.

Ijaz Elahi, the ministry's joint secretary, said the violence was decreasing and that increasing numbers of victims were reporting incidents to police or the media. Laws, including one passed last year to beef up penalties for honor killings, had been toughened, she said.

Police in Multan said they would complete their investigation into Ahmed's case in the next two weeks and that he faces the death sentence if he is convicted for the killings and terrorizing his neighborhood.

Ahmed, who did not resist arrest, was unrepentant.

"I told the police that I am an honorable father and I slaughtered my dishonored daughter and the three other girls," he said. "I wish that I get a chance to eliminate the boy she ran away with and set his home on fire.

I was reading a heart-breaking post from Alley concerning the hijacking of her Mother's heart, mind, and soul by Jesus, and it reminded me of the above news item concerning the power of belief. Those of you out there not to particularly concerned about the beliefs of your good Christian neighbors should take note that the above is just how bad things can get when an invisible man guides your actions. The next time someone wants to discuss the love of God with you, I suggest you make them read the above story, throwing in a few historical accounts of the inquisition and the salem witch trials when they protest that christians don't act like those islamic heathens. If you personally believe in a loving God, more power to you. I personally respect your right to believe anything you wish. I also expect the same from you. And this I promise you. I will never condemn you to ANY kind of hell for believing what you do, for I am a mere mortal being, and I do not have the gall to suggest that I am tight with any superior being who will punish you for not believing what I do. And I also promise you this. You will NOT lead ME meekly to an oven, you will NOT light a pyre under MY ass, and I will NOT turn my cheek while you attack me with a bible, a koran, or any other "good" book. Don't believe me? Bring it on!

My own household has been invaded by mysticism. My wife has embraced the ideals of Wicca and may very well be able to claim the title of witch eventually, and no, I do not mean that in a bad way. I personally consider myself lucky. It could very well have been Jesus that invaded my happy home, and that would have destroyed everything I hold dear. I have not chosen to embrace this religion, at least not as yet, but I am more than happy to support my wife in her exploration, for I could think of far worse things for her to embrace. If nothing else, Wicca is pure and primal, benign and compassionate in it's teachings, and I can find no fault with it. So, you will see many references to this pleasant little madness that has crept in on my life, and hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I think I will. As long as Bob doesn't take me aside again and point out to me the error of my thinking, life should be good at Pendragon Hold.

I want to thank my readers for their concern, it's nice to be missed. But if you really want to come down on someone concerning their posting habits, I suggest you get onto Lights-in-the-Wake concerning his decision to cut back on his excellent blog. Let's all let our brother-in-blogging know that not every post has to be a masterpiece, not every post has to be profound. MM&M is living proof of that. Let him know that there is no pressure, no expectations, no demands by us, his readers, that he always be brilliant, which he has ably proven he is just being who he is. Just let him know we appreciate his work to such a degree that we will not riot in the streets, nor think ill of him if he skips a few days of posting. And last but not least, remind him of section 338, paragraph b, line 45, of the agreement, which clearly states that once you're a blogger, you are ALWAYS a blogger, especially with THIS motley crew, who will always love him, regardless.

OK, so I lied about the Meloncholy, but this IS MM&M, so what did you expect? hehe

And that's all I have to rant about today. Be well.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

This is the first post of the rest of my miserable life......

The wife and I slept thru the entrance of the New Year. Well, she did at least, she was bushed from having had to work yesterday. The insane cacophony of fireworks, sounding like downtown Bagdad, made me get back up again till the din died down. Boy, it's rough when you haven't slept since last year........
Today we are doing fifteen things at once. I'm trying my hand at burning a nice wiccan pattern into the spell book I made the wife. If I slip, I hope there aren't dire magikal consequences. While listening to "This American Life" and "A Prairie Home Companion", we vacuum, clean, dust, and try and recover from the mess the dog, the wife and her crafts, and visiting family left in their wake. I had to drag the recovered hospital mattress back into the other bedroom, the mattress upon whom countless people drew their last breath, but I've neglected to mention that fact to whoever gets to sleep on it. Hey, it's a damn sight more comfortable than the floor, so get over it! hehe

Ok, lessee, a number of crickets have been dumped into Sandy's tank, where they will be stalked in cat fashion and provide the leopard Gecko his sustenance, so that's taken care of. Started to water the shade garden, so of course now the clouds are moving in, hopefully prepared to dump a better grade of H2O on Pendragon Hold. The wife has packed away all the yule decorations, and of course has to replace it with other stuff. I gotta go burn some back later.....

Time to change burner tips, which includes a cool down period. The washer on spin cycle is shaking the whole house. Who says our friends on the West Coast have to have all the fun? There is a smelly swamp building in the back yard due to the septic tank overflow problem. Good Bob, I hope I can glean that couple of hundred out of next paycheck to get that damn thing pumped. For some reason I am picturing Tim-Elvis's wife telling him, "But honey, pink is the new guy color these days!" Let's see if he ends up wearing that jumpsuit she's making him since she snuck a glance at my predictions post.

I've been to Walmart at least three times now with my new Ipod shuffle hanging around my neck, listening to tunes as I pick up the things you can only find at Walmart now unless you want to drive all the way to Target and pay a couple of cents more for everything. It strikes me that I'm the only one wearing any kind of portable music player period. Hmmmm. I wish I was closer to Target. I love my Ipod. I love my daughter who gave it to me. I love the logitech speakers I got with the other twin's gift card. Damn speakers are LOUD for their size. I love her too.

That tool should be cool enough to switch out the tips back.......

Don't you guys buy this propaganda that it's the male that makes the mess. I just vacuumed this floor and there's little stuff appearing everywhere! And I didn't put them there! Grrrrrrrr!

My son-in-law, Steven, was reading this cool book entitled "Wiccan for Males". The thrust of the book is to remind women and men practitioners alike that Wicca is not an empowered lesbian girl's club with men appearing only as cameos. Nature is a balance of Masculine and Feminine, Ying and Yang, LIght and Dark, and one is not much good without the other. Yes, it appears that Wicca does attract females in greater numbers, but I can easily understand why, since most other religions tend to place women in a subservient, second class position.And men, well, being the tough, macho bastards that we tend to be, probably shy away from getting involved in something perceived to be weird, tree-hugging, and touchy feely. Hey, be the bad asses all you want, guys, but Wicca pays homage to the power and strength that our masculine energies contribute to the world, so you need not be afraid of it. Anyway, what really interested me was a brief history of Wicca and Paganism that the author explored in the beginning of the book. Did you know that the term "hics", which we intermingle with "rednecks" and other derogatory terms for people lacking any sophistication whatsoever, was derived from an early term, "icans", which was used to refer to simple country folk with less than open minds? Well, way way back in the day, when just about everybody was a pagan, celebrating the change of the seasons, planting, harvest, all those things which bonded them with nature, and all their associated Gods and Goddesses, most of these folk were working to hard and living to hard to be all that concerned with strange, idiotic ideas like monotheism, which the jews had embraced, but weren't out in force burning people who didn't buy into it. Then came Christianity, and all bets were off. The Christians initially concentrated their conversion efforts in the cities and larger towns, where they had a more concentrated audience and a higher level of education, and we all know that people who think they are smarter tend to embrace things that truly smart people would laugh at. Country folk weren't all that smart in THOSE ways, and weren't the least bit bothered by it, so they were not as susceptible to prostelizing by the Christians. Matter of fact, they were SO resistant to it that when the Christians had finally established their power base in the cities, the turned their attentions on these "icans" who needed to be saved despite themselves, and did it with such savagery it could have made a savior cry. Those are remembered as "the burning times". So remember, my friends, when you hear the word "pagan", try not to have that knee-jerk thought that it sounds like someone who is barbarous, bloodthirsty, or some other negative connotation. It wasn't the pagans who behaved like barbarians. And being a "hic" means that maybe one is smart in ways that matter.

This woodburning isn't as easy as it looks. I'm just burning over a pattern laid down with carbon paper, and it's painstaking and quite apparent that I am in serious need of practice. I'm not a natural talent, it seems.

All my subby friends were sort of taken aback that I did not make predictions personally tailored to them. Well, girls, think about it. Did you really WANT me to? Wink, wink.

The house is starting to look a whole lot better. The chicken breast is marinating in sweet hickory smoke barbecue sauce for the grill......the INDOOR grill, that is, but it's still pretty damn good. Yes, my wife cooks, but somehow she always manages to do it with my able assistance. Perhaps she gets wet watching me impale the breast with the fork for the marinade to soak into, such a manly, animal act. One way or another, she gets me away from this post every five minutes or so to do this or that. I love it when my wife is off the same day as me, I really, really do.

So, there you have it, my hodgepodge New Years Day post, circa 2006. I still don't have my personal helicopter parked in the driveway, or a jet pack, or a Dick Tracy Wristwatch, or a household robotic butler, The future never got here. Mars is still out there thumbing it's nose at us, and I don't think we're really going to get a man there, and besides, we'd simply find a way to ruin it if we did. Just imagine beer cans on the red planet.

I hope all you guys, subbies included, had a really great New Years. To me, it was just another day in the life of THE Michael, and that's alright by me.