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Comments

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College Textbook Affordability Act

sm62704 Re:Typical. (11 comments)

Sorry for the rant, mcgrew

Hell, I agree with you. I've been out of college since 1979 but every now and then I'll enroll in a class or two here in Springfield just for the hell of it.

about 6 years ago
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Robots Are Net's Future, Says Vint Cerf

sm62704 Re:Has to be said (118 comments)

No, they're not your overlords. You control them. Except for one part of the world --

In Soviet Russia, robots control YOU!

about 6 years ago
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Blu-ray Gone In Five Years, Samsung Claims

sm62704 Re:Article summary: Guy smoking crack. (554 comments)

Hey, this is the entertainment industry we're talking about. You know, the same people who think that workable DRM isn't a pipe dream?

You know why Hollywood movies cost millions upon millions of dollars to make while Star Wreck: In The Pirkinning cost a few grand? Why RIAA CDs cost $20-$30 while indie CDs cost $5-$10? It's because cocaine is damned expensive, makes you greedy and sociopathic, gives you a sense of entitlemant, makes you stupid, and makes you think it makes you smart.

about 6 years ago
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WCG Tournament Director Admits Drugs In E-Sports

sm62704 Re:To What End? (448 comments)

While I think illicit drugs should definitely be banned

Why?

I think drugs should be outlawed

Why?

about 6 years ago
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Capturing 3D Surfaces Simply With a Flash Camera

sm62704 Re:Article has a minor gaffe (131 comments)

No, with flash (light source coming from the camera) shows the colors without shadows; i.e. without color perspective. Without flash (light source at an angle to the model/subject) shows the deeper parts in shadow (known to us former art students as "color perspective").

You could actually fo this with two flashes, provided one was on the camera and one to the side. The fact that it flashes has nothing to do with it, it has to do with the angle of the light sources.

about 6 years ago
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"War On Terror" Board Game Confiscated In UK

sm62704 Re:Police thugs (598 comments)

I refrain from a rant, but the more police I meet, the more I hate the police.

I don't. Refrain, I mean; here's my rant from January- Police State: In USSA, cops hassle YOU! The police ought to serve a good purpose, protecting us from robbers, thieves, rapists, murderers, etc. But all too often the police themselves are the villians. The last link is about a cop here in central Illinois who was charged with 49 felonies including one count of obstructing justice, three counts of criminal sexual abuse, seven counts of criminal sexual assault, seven counts of armed violence, 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, and 21 counts of official misconduct. He plead guilty to TWO MISDEMEANORS and got off. Anybody else would have been behind bars for the rest of their lives.

more than 6 years ago
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Towards an Exercise Pill

sm62704 Re:Wow! (362 comments)

I found a photograph of one of the mice used in this study.

more than 6 years ago
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Apparent Suicide In Anthrax Case

sm62704 Oh, the irony (339 comments)

A suicidal man getting the death penalty. If I rob a bank will they give me double the amount of the cash I steal?

When I die it will likely be a horrible death, like most people - cancer, heart disease, accident, violence, falling down in a nursing home, alzheimers, etc.

But a murderer gets euthanized, like a beloved pet is put down.

I want murderers to spend the rest of their lives horribly and end horribly, like most of us non criminals. I don't mind my tax money going to incarceration of violent people, but I do mind my government murdering in my name. We should join the civilized world and stop executing people.

more than 6 years ago
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WB Took Pains To "Delay" Pirating of Dark Knight

sm62704 Re:well... (642 comments)

"They" are business people, and probably negligent in their jobs if they didn't focus on box-office sales as a metric

No, "they" are thieves who are out to con you out of your hard earned money, no better than someone who "seals" your driveway with black paint, or a "drug dealer" who sells oregano.

If they were truly buisinesspeople they would make the best product possible and sell it on their merits, like businesspeople used to do. There have always been thieves in the business world, but it seems that these days thieves vastly outnumber the honest businesspeople.

Dislcaimer - I haven't seen the movie. Maybe it is a good movie, but if these people are worried that it sucks and want to keep its percieved suckage out of your mind, the people who are selling it (not necessarily the people who made it) are thieves, not honest businessmen.

When did stealing from your customers become ethical and normal, anyway?

more than 6 years ago
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Apollo 14 Moonwalker Claims Aliens Exist

sm62704 Re:Dementia (1268 comments)

He's my dad's age. My dad shows no sign whatever of mental unfitness. Neither does my drinking buddy Ralph, who's 86.

If he were thirty you would probably blame drugs.

more than 6 years ago
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The Ideal, Non-Proprietary Cloud

sm62704 Blogosphere weather (93 comments)

Today's forecaset: cloudy. This afternoon, continued cloudy with occasional periods of distributed computing.

Tonight: Dark, with periods of light toward morning.

Tomorrow: Ignorant, with occasional words coined by the ignorant used by the knowledgable. May be occasional clouds in the afternoon. In case of tornado, stay in your basement.

more than 6 years ago
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Do Not Call Registry Gets Glowing Reviews

sm62704 Re:Don't get me wrong... (276 comments)

You have freedom of speech, not freedom to bother me. "Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins".

Your freedom of speech does not extend to standing on the sidewalk outside my residence with a bullhorn. My right to ignore you supercedes your right to speak.

more than 6 years ago
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Who is Winning the Web Talent War

sm62704 Re:glassdoor.com (287 comments)

There SHOULD be a "glass ceiling" for Marketing and Sales guys

I vote "third ark".

more than 6 years ago
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Least Favorite Industry To Deal With?

sm62704 Re:Shouting (470 comments)

Try and remember that at the other end of the phone there is a real live person that wants to do good things and doesn't like being shouted at.

No, I refuse to do that. She is the face of the faceless corporation, and she has been hired (indirectly) by the soulless moneygrubber who is its soul.

It is her job to absorb my vitriol. If she doesn't like it she should find some other asshat to work for. Fuck her, fuck the CEO, fuck the company, fuck all of them. She should take my vitriol and deliver it to whoever needs vitriol.

It's her JOB.

more than 6 years ago
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New FISA Bill Would Grant Telcoms Immunity; Vote Is Tomorrow

sm62704 Re:Amongst all this...the question remains... (496 comments)

the actual discussion should be covering calls between an American citizen and someone on a watch list who NEEDS his calls tapped

If someone NEEDS his calls tapped, law enforcement can get a warrant. That's how it's supposed to work here.

Stop fearing the terrorists; they want you to be afraid, but they're toothless. Bush's senseless war in Iraq has killed more Amerricans than all the terrorists this century. Meanwile ten times as many people die every year on American highways. IMO anybody who drives an SUV needs to be on a watch list and have his phone tapped; (s)he's far more of a danger to me than any Muslim terrorist.

And some of that "homeland security" money needs to go to guard rails!

more than 6 years ago
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Windows 7 Won't Have Compact "MinWin" Kernel

sm62704 Re:Cookie at the end of the page - very fitting (580 comments)

The current fortune cookie ("User hostile.") at the end of the page is somehow very fitting.

Offtopic? Look, Steve, stop wasting your mod points and go throw a chair. That comment hit the nail right on the head. What are you Microsoft shills worried about? I find all Microsoft programs to be user-hostile, especially the OSes.

Moving stuff that you knew where it was to somewhere you have to hunt for it, as Microsoft does with every new program and operating system, is as hostile as you can get. It's not just hostile, it's downright mean.

The incredibly long number you have to type in when you install a Microsoft OS (XP, Vista, presumably 7) is hostile. Having to activate is hostile. To demand that I trust you without your trusting me is hostile, would you put up with that from a human being?

The allow/disallow I keep reading about in Vista sounds hostile as all getout. Maybe they're reducing the user-hostility by ridding Windows 7 of it? I doubt that.

Why does Microsoft seemingly hate its customers? It is user-hostile as a company and as such can't possibly write non-user-hostile OSes or programs.

If I see that comment when I metamoderate, whoever modded it won't be getting any more mod points. The same goes for whoever modded a href="http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=565875&cid=23568891">this comment offftopic as well. Are there any mods today that don't work for Microsoft? This is just too obvious.

more than 6 years ago
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New Linux Distribution — Exherbo, Announced

sm62704 From TFA (322 comments)

OK, I Want to Try Exherbo
No you don't.

Yes I Do
OK, maybe you do, but we don't particularly want you to try it because we don't want to deal with you whining when you find that absolutely nothing works. Exherbo isn't in a fit state for users. We might get there one day, but it's not a priority. Right now, all we care about is getting it into a fit state for a small number of developers.

We don't provide packages for lots of things you consider critical.

A lot of the packages we do provide don't work.

A lot of the packages that worked five minutes ago all just broke because we just decided to redesign several large features.

We don't provide support.

We don't provide install media.

We don't provide a usable init system.

Really, all we provide is a few things that the few people working on all this find useful for themselves. When we have something for anyone else, we'll let you know.


OK, I don't need to try it. However, I'm curious about one thing:

Former Gentoo developer Bryan Østergaard recently announced a new linux distribution aptly named Exherbo
OK, wikipedia has no clue what an "Exherbo" is. What is an "Exherbo" and why is it such an apt name? I don't speak Klingon, are there any Klingons here that can explain this to me?

From TFA I would guess that "Exherbo" means "fuck you" in Swahili?

more than 6 years ago
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sm62704 "support FOSS application"????? ( comments)

"Continuing its strategy to fight against FOSS application on the Windows platform, Microsoft mailed the Blender developers asking how they could help improve the user experience on Windows so they could laugh at it. Groklaw puts it in perspective using Steve Ballmer's own words."

There, fixed it for you. Microsoft doesn't want "open sores" (as microsoft shills used to call it), which Ballmer once likened to cancer, on their operating system.

If they could make Windows so it only ran Microsoft programs without losing any Windows sales, they would.

-mcgrew

more than 6 years ago

Submissions

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Paraplegics take first steps with robotic legs

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  about 6 years ago

sm62704 writes "New Scientist says that a robotic exoskeleton for paraplegics has been invented.

The device, called ReWalk, is the brainchild of engineer Amit Goffer, founder of Argo Medical Technologies, based in Israel. paralysed himself, he can't use his own device, since you need crutches with it and he lacks arm strength.

There is a video at NS of a man using this device. You will be assimilated! Resistance is futile! When the time comes you will beg to join us cyborgs."
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'spaghetti monster' powered by magnetic fields

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  about 6 years ago

sm62704 writes "New Scientist has an article up titled Galactic 'spaghetti monster' powered by magnetic fields. From the article:

Long-lived magnetic fields are sustaining a mammoth network of spaghetti-like gas filaments around a black hole, a new study suggests. Previously, it was not clear what prevented the delicate filaments from being destroyed by competing gravitational forces.

The black hole lies at the heart of a large galaxy known as NGC 1275, which itself lies near the centre of a cluster of galaxies called Perseus.

As the black hole sucks in gas from its surroundings, it powers jets of matter that produce bubbles of energetic particles in the surrounding cluster gas. As these bubbles grow and rise, cooled gas from NGC 1275's core gets drawn into long tendrils in their wake, like the strings that trail behind balloons.

New Scientist has a Hubble photo of the "spagetti monster" in the article."

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FEMA hacked

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  about 6 years ago

sm62704 writes "The AP is reporting that the Department of Homeland Security's FEMA was hacked over the weekend. The hacker maed $12,000 worth of phone calls to the middle east.

Feel safer now?"
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"Gay gene" found

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 writes "New Scientist (and probably others) is repoorting that the perplexing question of how an anti-evolutionary trait like homosexuality and bisexuality can persist.

It turns out that the "gay gene" is on the X chromosome, of which females have two and males have one.

Andrea Camperio Ciani and colleagues at the University of Padua, Italy, showed that the female relatives of homosexual men tend to have more children, suggesting that genes on the X chromosome are responsible. Now the team have shown that the same is true for bisexuality.
<snip>
"The answer is remarkably simple: the same gene that causes men to like men also causes women to like men, and as a result to have more children."

The article has details about the research itself."

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'Beer goggles' are real - it's official

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 writes "New Scientist reports on a new study that shows that people do become more attractive when you are drinking.

In 2003, psychologists at the University of Glasgow, UK, published a study in which they asked heterosexual students in campus bars and cafés whether they had been drinking, and then got them to rate photos of people for attractiveness. While the results supported the beer goggles theory, another explanation is that regular drinkers tend to have personality traits that mean they find people more attractive, whether or not they are under the influence of alcohol at the time.

To resolve the issue, a team of researchers led by Marcus Munafò at the University of Bristol in the UK conducted a controlled experiment. They randomly assigned 84 heterosexal students to consume either a non-alcoholic lime-flavoured drink or an alcoholic beverage with a similar flavour. The exact amount of alcohol varied according to the individual but was designed to have an effect equivalent to someone weighing 70 kilograms drinking 250 millitres of wine — enough to make some students tipsy. After 15 minutes, the students were shown pictures of people their own age, from both sexes.

Both men and women who had consumed alcohol rated the faces as being more attractive than did the controls (Alcohol and Alcoholism, DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agn065).

So guys, if you're ugly, get her drunk!"

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Booted from black hat conference for hacking

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 (957197) writes "The AP is reporting that three French hackers have been ejected from the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas for hacking.

The French journalists captured what they claimed were usernames and passwords of reporters from at least two media outlets — eWeek and CNET News. The eWeek reporter told organizers his login credentials looked like they were legitimate, while the CNET information appeared to be bogus.

The story doesn't say if they surrendered their credentials. But if they got caught, well, they weren't very good, were they?"

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Flying jet backpack a reality

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 (957197) writes "The New York Times (among others) is reporting that the jet backpack has become a reality. The inventor claims they will be on the market next year.

Buck Rogers and James Bond used jetpacks, and since the 1960s, several real jetpack designs have been built from metal, plastic and propellant. None has flown more than a minute. Mr. Martin's machines can run for 30 minutes.

At $100,000 each I won't be able to afford one. Darn it!"

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Playstation 2 component incites African war

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 (957197) writes "Yahoo Games is asking "Has the video game industry dug up its very own blood diamond?" However, the problem isn't just games or Sony as the article's headline suggests, it affects almost all consumer electronics and IT gear, as well as other uses such as aviation.

According to a report by activist site "Toward Freedom", for the past decade the search for a rare metal necessary in the manufacturing of Sony's Playstation 2 game console has fueled a brutal conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The material is coltan, which is refined into Tantalum, used in capacitors and resistors. Wikipedia says

Tantalum is also used to produce a variety of alloys that have high melting points, are strong and have good ductility. Alloyed with other metals, it is also used in making carbide tools for metalworking equipment and in the production of superalloys for jet engine components, chemical process equipment, nuclear reactors, and missile parts.

"
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NASCAR in the sky

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 (957197) writes "New Scientist is reporting that John Carmak's firm, Armadillo Aerospace, is racing a rocket propelled airplane against XCOR Aerospace of Mojave, California's rocket plane.

The Rocket Racing League is born! That is, if Carmak gets his flight permit from the Federal Aviation Administration in time.

The Rocket Racing League was founded Granger Whitelaw, an Indy 500 car race team owner, and X-Prize Foundation chairman Peter Diamandis."
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Batman beats women

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 writes "On the heels of yesterday's Batman discussion, the AP is reporting (via Yahoo news) that Batman star Christian Bale was arrested Tuesday for assaulting his sister and mother.

A police spokesman did not mention him by name but said "A 34-year-old man attended a central London police station this morning by appointment and was arrested in connection with an allegation of assault." He is reportedly still in jail."
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Pacemakers can be hacked

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 (957197) writes "The Chicago Tribune is reporting that researchers at University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Washington have demonstrated that "an implantable defibrillator could be altered remotely to deliver a dangerous shock or withhold a potentially lifesaving one. The group presented its findings at a recent symposium on security and privacy in Oakland."

The article quotes Dr. William Maisel, a Harvard cardiologist, as saying "This is not an important risk for patients right now. We just want the industry to be thoughtful about where we as a society are going with these devices."

The researchers urge the industry to pay more attention to security. The newspaper says "The group suggests various strategies, including making implants better able to recognize unauthorized signals and capable of alerting patients to unwanted interference.""
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EBay scores victory in Internet trademark case

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 (957197) writes "Reuters is reporting (via Yahoo news) that EBay has beat Tiffany jewelry in court in a "knockout" decision.

All of Tiffany's trademark infringement claims against eBay were rejected — a knockout blow to the four-year-old lawsuit that had been closely watched by Internet companies as well as luxury goods makers seeking to stop the sale of counterfeit products online.

Tiffany & Co had alleged that eBay turned a blind eye to the sale of fake Tiffany silver jewelry on its site. EBay had countered that it was not in a position to determine which goods were knock-offs of the prestigious New York brand and had said the jeweler did not adequately participate in eBay's programs that help brand owners prevent fraud.

The judge, in a 66-page decision following a non-jury trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan last November, said he was "not unsympathetic" to Tiffany and others who have invested in building their brands only to see them exploited on the Web. But he said the law was clearly on eBay's side.

"
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Congress to grill tech giants on privacy policies

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 (mcgrew) writes "The AP says that Microsoft, Google, and Facebook executives will be "grilled" about online privacy today. However —

the company likely to get the most scrutiny is a small Silicon Valley startup called NebuAd Inc.

NebuAd has drawn fierce criticism from privacy advocates in recent weeks for working with Internet service providers to track the online behavior of their customers and then serve up targeted banner ads based on that behavior.

According to Ari Schwartz, vice president of the Center for Democracy & Technology, a civil liberties group, NebuAd's business model raises many of the same concerns as an earlier generation of "adware" companies. Those companies developed software programs that — when downloaded to a computer — could track where a user went on the Internet and mine that information to deliver customized online ads. Several NebuAd executives in fact were once employed by Gator Corp., an adware company that later renamed itself Claria Corp.

"
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Astronomy collides with mathematics

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 writes "New scientist is reporting that

A gravitational lens can do more than reveal details of the distant universe. In an unexpected collision of astrophysics and algebra, it seems that this cosmic mirage can also be used to peer into the heart of pure mathematics.
It goes on to describe the numbers. However, I found this quote form the scientist involved to be at least as fascinating of the explanation of gravity lenses:

Rhie no longer works in academia, having run out of funding. "I didn't even bother to submit my papers to journals because I had been so much harassed by the referees [of earlier papers]," she told New Scientist. "I was new to gravitational lensing at that time. What I said and the way I said it must have been unfamiliar to the gravitational lensing experts."
"
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'Legal Weed' is just beer, but Feds want to censor

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 (957197) writes "The LA Times is running the story of a brewer in Weed, California who makes Weed beer. The bottlecaps say "A friend in Weed is a friend indeed. Try Lagal Weed."

The feds are not amused.The bureau's bureaucrats have told Dillmann he needs to stop using the "Try Legal Weed" bottle caps. If he doesn't, he could risk fines or sanctions. His worst fear: being forced out of business.

"This is ludicrous, bizarre, like meeting Big Brother face-to-face," he grumbled recently. "Forget freedom of speech and the 1st Amendment. They are the regulatory gods, a judge and jury all rolled into one. This is a life-or-death issue for my business.""
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Cutting-edge medicine, Civil War style

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 writes "The Illinois Times is running an interesting story about a new book, The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine By Glenna Schroeder. From the article:

"A lot of the guys who were doctors during the Civil War were pretty cutting-edge," she says; many were medical-school professors or were supervised by them. "These were guys who knew their stuff. . . . Some of the treatments they used aren't necessarily that far off [from what we'd use today]."

For example, contradicting our modern perception, anesthesia was used amply and effectively. "Doctors would give [soldiers] just enough anesthesia so they weren't feeling pain but not enough that they were completely relaxed, so they would thrash and moan and people would have to hold them down," Schroeder-Lein says. "It would look like they were having their amputation without anesthesia, but in fact they woke up not remembering anything."
"He's dead, Jim.""
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Congressman says "Second Life" is a threat

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 (mcgrew) writes "The Chicago Tribune says (bugmenot required; here are more sources for the story)

With nearly 13 million online users, the rapidly expanding virtual world Second Life is a risk for children, who could be sexually exploited, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said Monday. Kirk sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission requesting a consumer-alert warning about its dangers.
This despite the fact that "Kirk said he knew of no cases in which children were targeted by sexual predators on Second Life". Anybody got a cluebat for this guy?"
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EPA administrator forced out for doing her job

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 writes "I read in the Chicago tribune (bugmenot required) today that

On Thursday, following months of internal bickering over Mary Gade's interactions with Dow, the administration forced her to quit as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Midwest office, based in Chicago.

Gade told the Tribune she resigned after two aides to national EPA administrator Stephen Johnson took away her powers as regional administrator and told her to quit or be fired by June 1.
DOW Chemical is behind her ouster, according to the tribune.

Many local residents see Dow as a lifeline in region plagued by plant closings and layoffs. But all along the two wide streams that cut through this old industrial town, signs warn people to keep off dioxin-contaminated riverbanks and to avoid eating fish pulled from the fast-moving waters. Officials have taken the swings down in one riverside park to discourage kids from playing there. Men in rubber boots and thick gloves occasionally knock on doors, asking residents whether they can dig up a little soil in the yard.
Google news points me to some other newspapers that may or may not require registration (or bugmenot)."
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Inventor of LSD dead at age 102

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 writes "From WikiNews:

Albert Hofmann, a scientist who discovered and created the drug Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in 1938, has died today at the age 102.

StopTheDrugWar.com reports that Hofmann's [sic] died of a heart attack in his house located in Basel, Switzerland.

After discovering LSD, he set it aside for five years, until April 16, 1943, when Hofmann decided to take another look at it. While re-synthesizing the LSD, he accidentally consumed a small sample and serendipitously discovered its powerful effects. Three days later, on April 19, Hofmann deliberately consumed 250 micrograms of LSD before his bicycle ride home.

He is now known as the first person to experience a 'trip' from taking it. Since then, LSD aficionados around the world unofficially proclaimed April 19, 1943 as Bicycle Day. Despite that, Hofmann denounced the illegal use of the drug which became popular in the 1960's. He was also said to be disappointed that further research was not conducted on it at the time.
The item covers other of the doctor's achievements as well. Dr. Hoffman was not covered in the Slashdot "favorite doctor" poll."
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Simple 'superlens' sharpens focusing power

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sm62704 (mcgrew) writes "Anthony Grbic, Lei Jiang and Roberto Merlin at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor have developed a "superlens" that can focus ten times more sharply than a conventional lens, without the use of hard to manufacture metamaterials.

No matter how powerful a conventional lens, it cannot focus light down to more than about half its wavelength, the "diffraction limit". This limits the amount of data that can be stored on a CD, and the size of features on computer chips.
The new process uses capacitors to interact directly with electromagnetic waves, focusing 20 times smaller than the wavelength. There is more information at New Scientist and Thaindian News."

Journals

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Attention Freaks and Fans

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  about 6 years ago

I've managed to get the password to my old "mcgrew" account, so I won't be using this one any more. Its first journal will reference and link this account.

If you are on my "fans" list, I'll be adding you to the "friends" list of the mcgrew account. Please be patient; I'm doing it alphabetically, and by hand, and slashdot only lets me do so many at a time. If you are onn my "freaks" list you'll just have to add "mcgrew" to your "foes" list; I am not going to have "foes" in that account, either.

The mcgrew journals will be more rationally listed under the old mcgrew account. The first one is Under the rainbow.

So, I made a move on Charlie, and, well, let's just say that I'm not very good at seduction. By "not very good" I mean I suck at it badly. I doubt I've ever seduced a woman in my life; every one I had, they had their eye on me first. Maybe that's the way it works, I don't know.

She was gentle in her rejection.

Well almost; there is Eye muss bee knew hear pretty much saying what I'm saying here (-1, redundant). As that account started out with neutral karma, having not been used since January 2000, and this account has excellent karma, nobody can accuse me of being a karma whore! I've never worried about karma before and I don't intend to start now.

I'll see you at the new; er, I mean "old" account!

And again, a big thank you to samzepus!

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College Textbook Affordability Act

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  about 6 years ago

I ran across an item in the local paper today that I think will interest young slashdotters who haven't yet finished with college. My US Senator, Dick Durbin, has authored the "College Textbook Affordability Act".

The paper says major provisions of the act were "included in the higher education reauthorization signed into law on Aug. 14."

The textbook provision doesn't take effect until July 1, 2010, creating a waiting period he said textbook publishers pushed hard to get. But he urged students, faculty and administrators to work now to minimize costs of needed books.

The law will require publishers to provide in writing to professors the price of books, and also information on other formats in which the material may be available. Publishers also will be required to offer for sale some products that are now bundled -- such as a book, workbook and computer disk -- separately.

"Imagine," Durbin said, "these are professors picking books that they don't have to pay for.
They're picking them for someone else to pay for, and I hope that they'll start putting themselves in the shoes of the students when they start thinking about that cost."

UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen said "I've heard from students who ... have to avoid the courses that they need for their major because they can't afford the books that semester." Ashley Rook, 22, a Chicago native and political science graduate student who is president of the Student Government Association at UIS said "I've heard from students who avoid buying the books altogether because they simply can't afford them, so they try to get by in class" through borrowing and other means.

"It really diminishes the quality of their education," she said.

Chris Barron, spokesman for Dr. Steve Sauerberg of Willowbrook, Durbin's GOP opponent in the Nov. 4 election, belittled Durbin's press event.

"If this is what Senator Durbin, the second-ranking member of the United States Senate, is bragging about -- about getting legislation passed that will improve the situation (concerning) college textbooks in 2010, it speaks volumes about what he's actually been able (to accomplish) during his quarter century in Washington," Barron said.

Durbin is one of the few politicians I actually vote for, as opposed to holding my nose and voting for the lesser of two "weevils". He voted against bankrupcy deform, for instance (as did my other Senator, Barack Obama).

Once when I was in school, I had one class where I had to buy a book my professor authored. Some people really have gall!

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The Rollercycle

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  about 6 years ago

Springfield, home of Ward 2 alderman Gail Simpson, is a wierd town. Its newspaper has some wierd stories, like Man robbed of cold 12-pack of beer.

But there is a very geekworthy item in today's paper: 'Green' invention just needs attention.

A Springfield artist and inventor named Frank Pierce has come up with a contraption that looks like a cross between two bicycles and a pair of roller skates.

If you have spent much time on the north end of Springfield lately, you might have seen Pierce on his Rollercycle. Using the same leg motion as a skater uses, Pierce tools around the streets on wheels at speeds up to 20-25 miles an hour. He does attract attention.

"I almost cause accidents because people are looking," he says. "People want to know about it, where to buy it ...

"During the motorcycle races (at the state fairgrounds), I put them on and went past that tavern, Knuckleheads. The motorcycle riders were all out there watching. They started clapping at me, so I cruised up there. It got a lot of attention from them."

<snip>

Here's how it works: Riders strap a wheel onto each leg. In the current design, people slip into one of their shoes already attached. The next model will let them take their shoes with them when they're done.

The tires are 20-inch, high-performance models. That, Pierce says, gives his invention an advantage over rollerblades. His tires can roll over grass and brick streets.

With the tires strapped onto your legs, you simply skate. When you want to stop, press down on your heel and that engages the brakes. The stability of Pierce's invention is so good that users can stand motionless and not topple over.

There's more at the link, as well as a photo of Pierce wearing his invention.

I want a pair!

In other news, Vulcan illogically caught fire and burned.

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Psycho Man Slayers

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  about 6 years ago

Previously: Amy Again

I was up at the crack of dawn Saturday morning, damn it. One reason I hate that goddamned alarm clock is that it has gotten me up every day, Monday through Friday, for the last twenty years and now I'm up early on the weekends, too, even though the alarm's not set.

I should find a girlfriend named "Dawn". Then getting up at the crack of Dawn wouldn't bother me so much.

I drank my coffee as Charlie slept on the couch. She'd gone to the races the previous night. Amy had disappeared, I heard she was back with her boyfriend. Nothing unusual there; I didn't expect her to stay around long. I moved Charlie's feet out of the way and sat down to read for a while. "Aurthur Phillip Dent? You're a... wait a minute, I've done you before, haven't I?"

I drove to McDonald's for a bag of nearfood, ate it, moved Charlie's feet again and turned on the VCR, and watched Wagon's East, John Candy's last movie. I'm surprised this isn't a geek classic, as it is a cross between Saturday Night Live and Star Trek Voyager -- at least, half the actors in it are from those two shows. And William Sanderson, from Blade Runner, is in it, too.

The phone rang; it was Linda. "Whatcha doin'?"

"Watching a movie, what's up?"

"Want some breakfast?" hell yes I wanted some breakfast! I was a Hobbit this morning; I'd had breakfast at six thirty and was having it again at ten. But Linda's one hell of a cook and I won't turn down a chance to eat anything she cooks. I had the second breakfast with Linda and Tami, who was very ill as she'd had way, way too much to drink the previous night. They regaled me with tales of their (especially Tami's) drunkenness, and I promised to buy Tami some beer. Pitchers at the Blue Grouch are only $3.50 on Saturdays; Linda had other plans.

While we were at the Grouch, Amy called; she was headed home (my home). We finished the pitcher, I took Tami to Ralph's, and went home to meet Amy.

The girls do NOT get along these days. Charlie and Amy are good friends, and Linda and Tami seem to be; but since Charlie got thrown out of Ralph's she is bitter enemies with Tami and Linda, who blames Charlie for getting her boyfriend, who is Charlie's brother, put back in prison. If you're new to these journals, Charlie's brother was imprisoned for Grand Thieft Auto because he's stupid and loves cars, and was on parole when he got put back in for parole violation for being at Ralph's. Linda's on parole, too, she on a non-violent drug posession charge. I'm not really sure what it is between Tami and Amy; somehow I think Amy got jealous of Tami back when Tami was living with me.

Amy missed me and said she was homesick while living at her BF's. Stark raving loonie tunes, I tell ya. "I love you!" she said to me, into her boyfriend's phone, in front of her boyfriend, who is a pretty big guy. Fucking woman had told him I'd had a crush on her! WTF was that all about anyway?

His truck was at my house when I got home, and she got out of it and came in, with him burning rubber as he left. She wanted me to take her to Farley's, the sleaziest bar in this cartoon city, and then to get her stuff from her (allegedly) ex-boyfriend's, who had raised a stink about the ten bucks while I, only a friend, had loaned her a bunch of money that she still owed months later.

She was crying inconsolably.

I got the feeling that if she wasn't on the rag I'd have gotten lucky. The three of us went to Farley's, and I bought a pitcher. We talked for a while, Charlie went outside to smoke, and Amy spied Roger, her old boyfriend from before the guy she's with (was with?) now.

I decided I didn't want to drink by myself in this sleazy dive, told Amy I was leaving, and left. Charlie was by my car smoking, and went with me. She went to the races, and I went to the Blue grouch. Linda and Tami were there, I drank too much, and didn't remember going home.

Sunday I got up about six thirty and discovered the floor was clean. Charlie had obviously gotten the cleaning bug while I slept, or had made a mess and hurredly cleaned it up. I drank my coffee, and trudged to the Blue Grouch to retrieve my car, relieved that I hadn't driven it home.

As I walked, Tami called, worried that I had driven.

Amy called from Roger's wanting a ride. When I picked her up she had a hickey on her neck. Charlie was gone when we got back to my house. We drove to Amy's so-called "ex" BF's to get her things. My car has a huge trunk, I could fit a half-dozen dead hookers in it. Or a dozen skinny little crack whores.

Then we drove to my daughter Leila's trailer for some drugs.

When Evil-X left my daughters and me for another man, the three of us were prescribed antidepressants. We've been off of them for a long time, but my packrat daughter had kept the Zoloft she'd been prescribed. She gave us half a dozen bottles. Amy was so happy she almost gave ME a hickey! She hadn't had her Zoloft in weeks and was suicidal; I guess I saved a woman's life.

Am I dumb or what?

We unpacked her stuff, and I dropped her at her girlfriend's house, who she hadn't seen in a while. Charlie was gone to the races again, and I sat home and drank on my porch swing.

Amy woke me up in the middle of the night, gave me a hug, and told me she was back with her boyfriend. Again.

The next morning Charlie was in a foul mood. It was her turn to start her period. She'd not been able to sleep and had spent the night cleaning house, and spent the morning bitching at me. Somehow it was MY fault she'd been thrown out of Ralph's. I felt like throwing her out myself, but she went to sleep on the couch about ten. Five minutes into an episode of STNG I had on tape, the phone rang.

Damn, it was the MPAA calling to arrest me for copyright violation.

Nope, it was Linda.

I feel like I have four girlfriends, or two girlfriends and two wives, none of whom will put out. Prak would laugh harder at me than at Aurthur, I'm sure.

(If you don't know who Prak is, you really need to get out less often)

I went over visiting again, and they fed me beer and a delicious hamburger and some cole slaw. But before that, as I was ringing the doorbell, my phone rang. Charlie had left her purse in the guy's trunk, and he was at my house with it and she wasn't waking up and he was leaving it on the porch. He didn't seem too happy about it; I think they were supposed to go to the races again.

I drove back and put her purse inside and went back to Ralph's.

When I got back home after visiting Linda and Tami, who had been in bathing suits sunning in the back yard (God but Linda's gained some weight), Charlie wanted to borrow my car. I said Ok, she said she'd be an hour.

Two hours later I started to worry. Two hours after that I was sure I'd be walking to work; either she'd wrapped it around a tree and was in the hospital, or had gotten busted for a traffic ticket and gone to jail like happened last year.

Yeah, she'd spent a week in jail for driving on an expired license; well, actually she'd been broke, sentenced to community service since she hadn't had any money, done half of it, and her mom came down with cancer and she kind of forgot about the community service. She'd asked a cop where she could find a pay phone and he'd arrested her.

She finally got home and I calmly told her I wasn't letting her borrow the car any more, and she went off on me.

Tired of the bitching, I told her to get the fuck out of my house. She refused. I called the cops and asked them to "please get this woman the hell out of my house!"

By the time they came, she'd apologized. But she's on thin ice with me; I'd hate to throw her in the street but I'm not going to take any more of her hormonally fueled abuse. I keep wondering what evolutionary advantage there is to PMS? It seems a cave man would have just broken the bitch's neck and had done with her.

Next: Under the rainbow

(The title of this journal is named after some ladies who used to kick my ass when I played Quake online with them, the Psycho Men Slayer Clan. I guess this journal is dedicated to all the world's misandrists.)

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Amy again

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  about 6 years ago

Previously: A drunken mess

Charlie's boss hasn't been back, so instead of construction work she's been cleaning houses. She paid back the last twenty bucks she owed me this morning.

Yesterday evening we watched movies as we've been boredly doing the last week, and her ride dropped off a joint for me when he picked her up to take her to yet another filthy house in the ghetto to clean. I lit it (the doob, not the filthy ghetto house) and started the movie back up.

"Excuse me, but he explicitly asked for a nigger. To tell a family secret, my grandmother was Dutch!"

----RING----

"Hello?"

It was Amy's boyfriend. "Hey, just a heads up, Amy's going to be showing up at your house."

*Sigh.* More trouble. "Thanks for the heads up, man."

"No problem, bye".

"Bye."

-click-

"...and tell him I said 'OWW!'"

----RING----

"Hello?"

"Hi, It's Amy, I'm over at Alan's and I'm walking to your house."

"What?"

"He beat the hell out of me, Alan saw the whole thing, it freaked Alan out, he didn't know what to do. I'm walking down eighth street."

I told her I'd meet her halfway, and hung up.

I hit "stop" and walked out to meet Amy. I walked her back home, turned Blazing Saddles back on, and sat on the couch with her.

Poor Amy. Her BF was almost broke; he had ten bucks left. She'd asked for whiskey money, and specifically told him that her alcohol addiction was getting the best of her, that she had the shakes and was seeing snakes. So he went ahead and stupidly gave her the ten dollars for food!

Of course she spent it on whiskey. I hugged her and tried unsuccessfully to dry her tears.

He called later and asked if he could drop her things off at my house. I said it was OK.

Damn it.

I let her cry on my shoulder until I had to go to bed, and left her on the couch.

No way in hell would I give an alcoholic my last ten dollars when I knew she wanted a drink! Amy's BF isn't the sharpest knofe in the drawer by any means.

She and Charlie woke me up talking loudly in the dining room. I put on my robe and went in; Charlie had a forty two ounce beer and Amy had a pint of Jim Beam. Charlie poured me a beer and Amy poured me a shot.

It seems I now have two crazy women living with me. Well, at least I got rid of Tami...

And I'm sure Amy will be gone in a day or two. I need to get her drugs; she's been prescribed Zoloft, and she hasn't had any for two weeks.

And she's on her period; PMS has hold of her as well.

*sigh*

Next: Psycho Man Slayers

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In the news: Chicago Tribune

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  about 6 years ago

Democrats
What is wrong with these people? Our next President will be either a doddering old fool or a young idiot.

WGN Radio up in Chicago apparently has a right wing wacko that is trying to swiftboat Obama. Now, if I were Obama I'd ignore the dufus.

But since I'm not Obama, the dufus isn't being ignored. The Chicago Tribune, which owns WGN, reports that the Obama campaign is trying to get the wacko fired.

"Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse," the note said.

"It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our public airwaves," the note continued. "At the very least, they should offer sane, honest rebuttal to every one of Kurtz's lies."

Zack Christenson, executive producer of "Extension 720 with Milt Rosenburg," said the response was strong.

"I would say this is the biggest response we've ever got from a campaign or a candidate," he said. "This is really unprecedented with the show, the way that people are flooding the calls and our email boxes."

Christenson said the Obama campaign was asked to have someone appear on the show and the headquarters declined the request.

Barack, meet Barbara.

The show's producer said the calls dropped off after the show's first hour. He did not have a count of calls, but said it was "non-stop."

Obama's campaign has launched similar offensives against stations that have run campaign ads that it did not like.

A pox on both their houses! I'm voting for a third party loser, to hell with the Corporate Republicrats.

Republicans
Speaking of corporations, corporations would rather kill babies than lose profits. I'm not talking about fetuses; I'm talking about breathing, shitting, crying infants. If you own stock in Simplicity, you are a baby killer.

Both deaths involved the Simplicity 4-in-1 Winnie the Pooh bassinet. But many other Simplicity 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 models share the same design. Last year, Simplicity recalled more than 1 million cribs in the wake of a Tribune investigation that showed the commission waited years to warn consumers about the cribs' flaws, despite babies' deaths. The bassinets were not included in that recall.

Simplicity Inc. ran into financial trouble after the crib recall. SFCA Inc., a unit of Blackstreet Capital Partners, acquired the assets of Simplicity Inc. in a foreclosure sale in May. An SFCA executive declined to comment Wednesday.

I'm interested to hear what the anarchist "buyer beware" trolls have to say about this.

Commission spokeswoman Julie Vallese said the agency did not recall the bassinet last fall because "the investigation of a baby's death in October 2007 remains open because there are still questions surrounding the circumstances of that baby's death."

But McDonald County Coroner B.J. Goodwin III said there was no doubt the death was an accident. "It was clear-cut," he said. "We all felt it was the crib that caused the passing."

"It wasn't like we felt the parents were negligent," Goodwin added. "The home was clean. The baby was well-cared for."

Goodwin said he ordered an autopsy and, in the end, ruled the death an accident. If anyone thought otherwise, he said, "I would have been notified."

He said he found the bassinet extremely unsafe. "I felt it should never have been allowed on the market. I hate that another child passed because of this problem.," he said.

Jeff Slaton, attorney for the Simon family, which has filed a wrongful-death suit against Simplicity and Wal-Mart, said, "I'm at a loss on why it took so long" for the safety commission to act.

Libertarians
Not a word in the paper about these folks, although I guess the preceeding one about the Republicans qualifies. Their candidate, Bob Barr, was a Republican when he was in the Georgia legislature. And they are against government protecting you from the corporations.
Greenies
Not a word about them.
Constitutioners
Ditto.

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Hoover for President!

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  about 6 years ago

I saw a sig today that said something to the effect of "Bush is the Republicans' Jimmy Carter". I never thought I'd ever see a worse President than Carter, but Bush proved me wrong. But he's not Carter, he's Coolige.

I fear that whichever of the two candidates I'll be voting against this November wins, our next President will be Herbert Hoover, because those who refuse to study history are indeed destined to repeat it.

Our leaders haven't been paying attention. None of them. Not our political leaders, business leaders, religious leaders, not any of them. We are led by the clueless.

That link is to an online copy of a history book I was assigned in an undergraduate general studies history class. As my late Grandmother, who was a young woman in the roaring twenties said, Hoover didn't cause the depression, Coolige did.

She also said that the roaring twenties didn't roar for anyone she know. The rich were doing fantastic, but the ordinary working class stiff did badly.

The nation at war had formed the habit of summary action, and it was not soon unlearned. The circumstances and available methods had changed, that was all. Employers who had watched with resentment the rising scale of wages paid to labor, under the encouragement of a government that wanted no disaffection in the ranks of the workers, now felt that their chance had come. The Germans were beaten; the next thing to do was to teach labor a lesson. Labor agitators were a ;; bunch of Bolsheviks, anyhow, and it was about time that a man had a chance to make a decent profit in his business.

Chapter III: Teh Terrorists. Oh wait, it's the "red menace", my bad.

Chapter IV talks about the new technologies everyone was going nuts over, which reminds me of today with the internet and P2P:

That winter, however-the winter of 1921-22-it came with a rush. Soon everybody was talking, not about wireless telephony, but about radio. A San Francisco paper described the discovery that millions were making: "There is radio music in the air, every night, everywhere. Anybody can hear it at home on a receiving set, which any boy can put up in an hour." In February President Harding had an outfit installed in his study, and the Dixmoor Golf Club announced that it would install a "telephone" to enable golfers to hear church services. In April, passengers on a Lackawanna train heard a radio concert, and Lieutenant Maynard broke all records for modernizing Christianity by broadcasting an Easter sermon from an airplane. Newspapers brought out radio sections and thousands of hitherto utterly unmechanical people puzzled over articles about regenerative circuits, sodion tubes, Grimes reflex circuits, crystal detectors, and neutrodynes. In the Ziegfeld "Follies of 1922" the popularity of "My Rambler Rose" was rivaled by that of a song about a man who hoped his love might hear him as she was "listening on the radio." And every other man you met on the street buttonholed you to tell you how he had sat up until two o'clock the night before, with earphones clamped to his head, and had actually heard Havana! How could one bother about the Red Menace if one was facing such momentous questions as how to construct a loop aerial?

Then, it seems, as now, nerds (although the term "nerd" was not to be coined for decades) were cool, even though "cool" wasn't to be coined for a long time either.

Then, unlike now, a "geek" was someone who swallowed live animals.

The book doesn't mention it (at least I don't remember the book mentioning it), but the recording labels were as scared of radio then as they are of the internet and P2P today.

Chapter V is "The Revolution in Manners and Morals", but it would paint the picture of any generation.

The dresses that the girls-and for that matter most of the older women-were wearing seemed alarming enough. In July, 1920, a fashion-writer reported in the New York Times that "the American woman . . . has lifted her skirts far beyond any modest limitation," which was another way of saying that the hem was now all of nine inches above the ground. It was freely predicted that skirts would come down again in the winter of 1920-21, but instead they climbed a few scandalous inches farther. The flappers wore thin dresses, short-sleeved and occasionally (in the evening) sleeveless; some of the wilder young things rolled their stockings below their knees, revealing to the shocked eyes of virtue a fleeting glance of shin-bones and knee-cap; and many of them were visibly using cosmetics. "The intoxication of rouge," earnestly explained Dorothy Speare in Dancers in the Dark, "is an insidious vintage known to more girls than mere man can ever believe." Useless for frantic parents to insist that no lady did such things; the answer was that the daughters of ladies were doing it, and even retouching their masterpieces in public. Some of them, furthermore, were abandoning their corsets. "The men won't dance with you if you wear a corset," they were quoted as saying.

My dad, who was born in 1931, informs me that in the twenties, as now, women (including his aunts) wore tattoos; the folks his parents' age all had them.

Not content with example and reproof, legislators in several states introduced bills to reform feminine dress once and for all. The New York American reported in 1921 that a bill was pending in Utah providing fine and imprisonment for those who wore on the streets "skirts higher than three inches above the ankle."

Not unlike now, is it? BTW, when in history have we gotten our sense of style from prisoners?

VI. Harding and the Scandals
VII. Coolidge Prosperity
IX. The revolt of the highbrows: When, however, the middle-class majority turned from persecuting political radicals to regulating personal conduct, they met with bitter opposition not only from the bright young college graduate but from the whole of a newly class-conscious group. The intellectuals of the country -the "civilized minority," as the American Mercury liked to call them-rose in loud and bitter revolt.

X. The Drug Wars -- but then, the banned drug was alcohol, with the same high prices to society as the modern day prohibition.

XI. The Real Estate Boom

Steadily, during that feverish summer and autumn of 1925, the hatching of new plans for vast developments continued. A great many of them, apparently, were intended to be occupied by what the advertisers of Miami Beach called "America's wealthiest sportsmen, devotees of yachting and the other expensive sports," and the advertisers of Boca Raton called "the world of international wealth that dominates finance and industry . . . that sets fashions . . . the world of large affairs, smart society and leisured ease." Few of those in the land-rush seemed to question whether there would be enough devotees of yachting and men and women of leisured ease to go round.

Everywhere vast new hotels, apartment houses, casinos were being projected. At the height of the fury of building a visitor to West Palm Beach noticed a large vacant lot almost completely covered with bath- tubs. The tubs had apparently been there some time; the crates which surrounded them were well weathered. The lot, he was informed, was to be the site of "One of the most magnificent apartment buildings in the South"-but the freight embargo had held up the contractor's building material and only the bathtubs had arrived! Throughout Florida re- sounded the slogans and hyperboles of boundless confidence. The advertising columns shrieked with them, those swollen advertising columns which enabled the Miami Daily News, one day in the summer of 1925, to print an issue of 504 pages, the largest in newspaper history, and enabled the Miami Herald to carry a larger volume of advertising in 1925 than any paper anywhere had ever before carried in a year. Miami was not only "The Wonder City," it was also "The Fair White Goddess of Cities," "The World's Playground," and "The City Invincible." Fort Lauderdale became "The Tropical Wonderland," Orlando "The City Beautiful," and Sanford "The City Substantial."

<snip>

By 1927, according to Homer B. Vanderblue, most of the elaborate real-estate offices on Flagler Street in Miami were either closed or practically empty; the Davis Islands project, "bankrupt and unfinished," had been taken over by a syndicate organized by Stone & Webster; and many Florida cities, including Miami, were having difficulty collecting their taxes. By 1928 Henry S. Villard, writing in The Nation, thus described the approach to Miami by road: "Dead subdivisions line the highway, their pompous names half-obliterated on crumbling stucco gates. Lonely white-way lights stand guard over miles of cement side- walks, where grass and palmetto take the place of homes that were to be .... Whole sections of outlying subdivisions are composed of unoccupied houses, past which one speeds on broad thoroughfares as if traversing a city in the grip of death." In 1928 there were thirty-one bank failures in Florida; in 1929 there were fifty-seven; in both of these years the liabilities of the failed banks reached greater totals than were recorded for any other state in the Union

XII. The Big Bull Market

ONE DAY IN FEBRUARY, 1928, an investor asked an astute banker about the wisdom of buying common stocks. The banker shook his head. "Stocks look dangerously high to me," he said. "This bull market has been going on for a long time, and although prices have slipped a bit recently, they might easily slip a good deal more. Business is none too good. Of course if you buy the right stock you'll probably be all right in the long run and you may even make a profit. But if I were you I'd wait awhile and see what happens."

The book, as I said, is available completely online; just click the link at the beginning of this article, hosted by a university in Virginia. You can buy a dead tree version, too; Google tells me Amazon will sell you a copy. I still have the paperback copy I bought form the school bookstore in 1977.

This nonfiction history book is scarier than Stephen King's fiction.

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Stupid Secret Security Service

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  about 6 years ago

It was a peaceful, pleasant weekend. I discovered an error in my bank balance which made me too broke to do any drinking.

Shit.

I pulled weeds and watched movies with Charlie, instead. She hadn't seen LOTR or read the books, and my daughter had bought copies of the extended versions of the movies for me. Charlie and I watched them all, and a few other movies, too.

Others in Springfield didn't have such a pleasant weekend, as Obama was in town.

The ones who went to the Old State Capitol Plaza to hear our Senator and possible next President speak were the unfortunate ones, because the Secret Service banned water bottles "because they were concerned the bottles could be used as "projectiles" and thrown at Obama, Biden and other dignitaries on stage".

Your tax dollars at work - paying cowards who would rather have people sent to the hospital rather than risk a plastic bottle full of water being thrown at them. Fifteen people left the venue in ambulances. I'm sure that if it had been McCain or Bob Barr (if he is in fact protected by the Secret Service at all) the insane stupidity would have been the same. From the local paper:

Springfield Police Deputy Chief Clay Dowis said the number of people passing out from the heat was a great concern for police. Many officers found themselves helping heat-weary people to the perimeter to cool off.

A Springfield police officer carried the sick toddler out of the plaza to get the child help for apparent heat-related illness. They helped numerous other people out to find shade and tried to get water to others.

"An awful lot of my policemen took off their policemen hats and put on their paramedics hats," Dowis said.

Secret Service agents did not allow water bottles into the staging area because they were concerned the bottles could be used as "projectiles" and thrown at Obama, Biden and other dignitaries on stage.

A public works truck was set up at the public entrance at Seventh and Washington streets to collect water bottles because agents manning the security checkpoint there were making people abandon their bottles.

Apparently, no other arrangements had been made for getting water to the crowd.

No water could be found inside the perimeter of the Old State Capitol, and few crowd members were willing to leave to go search for a cool drink.

Many of them had been waiting six to nine hours to see Obama and were unwilling to give up their viewing spots.

Police arranged for a fire hydrant at Sixth and Washington to be opened up so people could catch some of the gushing water to cool themselves off with. Many people were wetting paper towels at the portable sinks near the portable toilets and using the towels to cool down their heads and necks.

Downtown Springfield Inc. had three tables around the plaza area where they were selling water for $2. They poured cold bottled water into paper Pepsi cups to satisfy the Secret Service agents.

It was unclear Saturday why no arrangements had been+ made to make free water accessible to the thousands of visitors who crammed into the plaza area for the announcement.

St. John's Hospital spokesman Brian Reardon said about 12 people were treated there for heat stroke or heat exhaustion. A nursing supervisor at Memorial Medical Center said five people were treated also.

It's Illinois in August and people aren't allowed water. Did this type of irresponsible insanity happen at Presidential candidate speeches before 9-11? When will "my" (actually the corporations') government's disregard for the health and safety of the populace for the benefit of the elite end?

This just makes me sick. Nobody got heat exhaustion or heat stroke in the Shire at Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday party!

Update (today)

I've often said that Pat Robertson has converted more Christians to athiesm than all the athiests at slashdot combined. Likewise, Jesse Jackson should STFU if he wants Obama to be President or he'll wind up converting Obama supporters to supporting someone else. From POLITICO via Yahoo's News (News for yahoos, stiffs that mutter:)

"Barack Obama has the capacity to hit," Jackson said a breakfast panel just before the opening of the Democratic National Convention. "But he is in the situation where he can't hit back, which Jackie Robinson could not do. ... He had to be able to run the bases, even though the crowd was jeering the first African-American on the field."

I suspect that Jesse Jackson is smoking crack, or some cracker whacked him upside the head, because my developmentally disabled daughter is smarter than that. Nobody but NOBODY has jeered Jackson for being a black man playing a white man's sport (in this case the sport being politics).

Jessie Jackson is a racist, and if Obama wants to win he should disassociate himself from this mean spirited, racist asswipe.

Here's a clue, kiddies: Anybody of any color who obsesses about race is a racist.

Jackson, son of the civil rights leader, said Obama is in the same situation: "He has to keep smiling, because no one wants an angry African-American man in the White House."

First, we don't want an African-American in the white house, we want an American and we don't give a rat's ass what color or ethnicity he is. Well, nobody but racists, anyway. We give a rat's ass about whether or not the man can do the job. Sadly, IMO, none of the five candidates are fit for the office.

Second, we don't want an angy man of ANY ethnicity in the white house. Jesus Christ, the man has his finger on the nuclear trigger, for God's sake!

Jesse, put that crack pipe and Black Panther book down and actually READ that bible you carry around. Your racist rhetoric is tiresome; Jesus would not like your attitude, Reverend.

Update 8/27/8
The SJR says that "Springfield authorities now estimate 150 people were treated for heat-related illnesses after crowding onto the plaza to watch Obama and his putative Democratic running mate, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, in near-90-degree weather Saturday afternoon."

Mayor Tim Davlin, a Democrat, on Tuesday urged people not to "dwell on the negatives" of the event.

"I hate for the local press to make this such a negative thing," he said.

Davlin said people in the crowd were there "on their own free will, and they could have walked away, and I think what they decided was they'd rather take the heat than lose their position and being able to see something really historical happen."

Oops, that wikipedia entry is on Mayor Quimby. Here is Mayor Dav... hey, it's the same guy!

'nother update
It seems Wikipedia has an article about Springfield's Mayor (the 3d cartoon ciity, not the 2d one). There's a picture of him there from Saturday's... hey, isn't that Mr. Burns in the crowd? Have a close look at that photo and you'll see quite a few cartoon characters.

Update 8/28/8
There's a picture of the real Mr. Burns in today's paper.

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Three ships hijacked by copyright infringers off Somalia

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  about 6 years ago

Thu Aug 21, 11:59 AM ET

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Three movies -- German, Iranian and Japanese -- were hijacked by copyright infringers off the Somali coast Thursday in an unprecedented series of attacks, a Music And Film Industry Association of America watchdog said.

The incidents brought to six the number of films menaced in the Gulf of Aden in the past month, said Noel Choong, head of the Kuala Lumpur-based International Movie Bureau's (IMB) copyright infringement Reporting Centre.

A German-operated film, flying the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, was the last to be targeted, at 0945 GMT, while the Iranian and Japanese clunkers were hijacked earlier in the day between 0200 GMT and 0300 GMT.

Choong said the attacks took place very near to each other, but he was not able to say whether the same group was responsible.

"Whether it's a different group of copyright infringers, we can't tell until an investigation is carried out. We have sent out an urgent warning to all ships travelling through the Gulf of Aden," he told AFP.

"We want to pressure the United Nations and the international community to do something about it, to take steps to stop this menace," said Choong.

"Without UN intervention, we can't do anything because Somalia has no balls."

The waters off Somalia and Nigeria are the most infringer-infested in the world, with the IMB reporting 24 attacks in Somalia and 18 in Nigeria between April and June this year.

Of the 24 Somali attacks, 19 occurred in the Gulf of Aden off the country's north coast.

On Tuesday, a Malaysian-registered porno flick laden with palm oil and heading from Indonesia to the Dutch port of Rotterdam was also seized by copyright infringers.

Last week, a Thai western was hijacked and a week before that, a Singapore-flagged chick flick was attacked by copyright infringers who photoshopped a rocket-propelled grenade that landed on the movie but did not explode.

On July 20, copyright infringers seized the Stella Maris, a Japanese-owned bulk duplication center, and demanded a ransom from the owners.

Source: Yahoo! news

Plagairism or parody? You decide!

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A Drunken Mess

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Previously: Star and Wars

It was a nice weekend and a pleasant week. With Tami gone, the place hasn't stayed as clean, but my wallet has stayed fuller, and the toilet paper seems to last forever. My good fortune does, alas, make for boring (or nonexistant) journals.

"Can I crash at your place for a few days?"

So much for the pleasant solitude and boring journals. Ralph had gone back to the hospital, back in intensive care, and Tami, Charlie, and Linda had been fighting - again. Charlie and Linda were best of friends before Tami showed up there.

"Sure, Charlie," I sighed. "But you can't live here, OK?" Linda'd had Ralph's daughter kick Charlie out, and Charlie had just been laid off, so Charlie wasn't exactly having a good time with life right now. I was pretty sure Tami was behind it, as things had been fine until she'd moved in there.

For those of you new to these journals, Charlie's a blonde girl with blue eyes.

Charlie's been a pretty good guest - far better than Tami, who had acted as if she was my lover, only without the sex. Tami had complained of my house rules, and I complained that she didn't seem to understand the difference between having a friend crash at your place and sharing a home with your lover.

Charlie and I had been drinking buddies for quite some time, and did a little drinking during the week. I bought; since she's been laid off she owes me a bit of cash. But then again, Ralph has owed me more, and for longer.

Star called, so I made a date for Thursday. Kay called Thursday wanting me to take her out again, and I told her I'd take her out Friday because I had a date with Star Thursday. I'd taken her to eat at the Chinese restaraunt last weekend.

But I'd forgotten that Charlie and I had seen that there was a band playing at JW's Friday and made plans. Damn. Charlie was great about it, even staying away so I could be with Star, despite the fact that Charlie really dislikes hookers.

I stopped by JW's looking for Mike, my old nerd friend, so I could pay him the fifteen bucks I owe him. He wasn't there.

Mike never showed up, but as I was sipping, Linda called. "There's a band playing Saturday at the Blue Grouch," she informed me.

"Cool", I said, "there's one at JW's tomorrow night." I told her I'd see her at the bar Saturday.

"So," she asked, "what are you doing tonight?"

"I'm picking Star up after she calls," I said.

"You really like her, don't you?"

"I like her cunt," I said. We talked a minute and hung up, and Star called.

I loaned her an extra twenty bucks when I dropped her off, and she said she'd pay me Saturday. I drove home and walked up to Felber's before going back home to bed.

I kept getting woke up all night. The cat that hasn't been fixed was howling all night long, and Charlie, who I'd given a key to, had staggered in late and loud. I wondered if I would be able to stay awake long enough to see the band -- I hadn't heard any live music in quite some time.

After work the next day I went home and changed shirts. "Want to drink a little beer?" I asked Charlie.

"I can't; I have another house to clean. Can you give me a ride?"

So we drove to Ralph's for her rug shampooer, then to a dope dealer's house. Yes, dope dealers get their rugs shampooed; selling drugs is a lucrative business. Most of the pimps and dope dealers here drive refurbished and modified classic cars with fancy paint jobs. If you're in Springfield and see cars with cartoon characters painted on them, those are drug dealers and pimps. Of course, this is Springfield; the Springfield with an Alderman Simpson.

I dropped Charlie and her shampooer off and went to Felber's.

I sat down next to Jan and her boyfriend, whose name I can never remember. I got a pitcher and shared it with them. Felber's was having a drawing at eight o'clock, with a cash prize, and you had to be there to win. I had a pretty good time talking with Jan and her old man. Charlie called wanting a ride home -- until she heard me talk. She got dropped off there and told me I wasn't driving home.

"I wasn't planning to. You took too long and I drank too much."

"Can I use your car to get my shampooer?" It wouldn't fit in the trunk of the car she was dropped off in; it was a little subcompact, mine has a huge trunk. I could fit a half dozen dead hookers in it. A dozen if they were skinny little crackwhores.

"Sure," I said, "but you can drive me home, too. That is, assuming you don't get shitfaced yourself.

After the drawing I staggered down to JW's, completely forgetting to call Charlie for a ride. I bought a pitcher, drank half of it, and staggered on home, too drunk and tired to stay for the band.

I woke up early Saturday morning. Charlie had come home quietly and was asleep on the couch. I drank coffee, then drove to the bank and took fifty dollars out. I'd actually gotten home the previous night with money left! But the car was almost empty.

The phone rang as I was driving; it was Star, wanting a ride. Cool, I wanted my twenty bucks and I wanted some reefer, and she could give up some pussy, too. I drove to meet her at a convienience store, as she wasn't at home. The store was close, though. As I was driving there Tami called, wanting me to meet her at the Blue Grouch. I told her I would when Star was done with me. No sooner than I hung up and Brian called.

"Hey, man, you been staying clean?" I asked. Brian is a hard core needle junkie. He had been wealthy at one time, but now is dirt poor, unable to hold a job for long, and lost his rental properties and everything else thanks to the cocaine and heroin. He's forty, but looks more like sixty, bald on the top and front with a short gray fringe and wrinkled face. He's been in prison before.

"No, that's why I'm calling. I'm going into a two year treatment program Monday morning and I wanted to get drunk with you first."

I told him I'd pick him up, and Star was waiting at the store for me. "Can my friend ride along?" she asked.

"Who's your friend?" I asked suspiciously. "Her name is Margaret," she said.

This was odd in two respects. One was that as far as I remember, I've only known one Margaret, who everyone called Meg, the most beautiful drinking buddy I ever had. We would talk and laugh for hours; she was a bit eccentric, but then I'm not exactly normal either. She was a businesswoman who had owned some commercial property. The only thing I didn't like about Meg was that she was too damned good looking. No matter where we went, men swarmed around her like flies around a dumpster. It got so we would only drink at George Rank's, where everyone knew us, and when it closed down for good last February from the smoking ban we did our drinking at her giant house.

She moved to Florida a month or so ago, and here I was meeting a new Margaret.

The other odd thing was, if she was with Star she was almost certainly a whore, and the whores all have nicknames; Laurie (the girl who stole my car) had been known as "Peps" in Springfield, and "Odie" in Bloomington.

Margaret was a young black woman with a pretty face and a nice figure, and they wanted another twenty bucks. This would have been quite a discount indeed, even considering that Star owed me twenty; a "double date" is usually damned expensive, especially with a combination like the black Margaret and the red haired blue eyed Star. This should have set off red flags, but I get real stupid around pretty young women who let me put body parts in them.

When we were done, I went to the Grouch to meet Tami and Brian. I ordered a pitcher, opened my wallet to pay - and it was empty. "God damned whores!" I exclaimed. "God damned motherfucking worthless bitches! Fucking cunts!!"

"What's wrong?" Tami and Brian asked in unison.

"My fucking money is gone!"

"Huh?"

"Damn, when one of 'em was sucking my dick the other one must have got in my wallet!"

Brian paid for the pitcher, and when it was done Tami left and Brian and I went to Felber's, where I could cash a check. We drank a pitcher there and went to the grocery store, where Brian bought a bunch of food, a half gallon of Evan Williams, and a thirty pack of Busch. He wasn't kidding when he said we were going to drink!

"Have you seen Amy lately?" he asked. "A few weeks ago," I said. "She dropped by for some of her things when she got out of rehab." Amy drinks way too much. She had lived with me for quite a few months last year after her previous boyfriend had thrown her out; she's my ex-girlfriend's ex-husband's daughter.

Brian had been in rehab at the same time as Amy. I'd told her that Alcoholics Anonymous would do her better; I've known quite a few drunks who had stayed sober thanks to them, but never anyone who had stayed sober after going through Triangle. The state and its budget problems has the newspapers crying about its loss, but from people I talk to it's a scam; nobody ever stays off drugs and alcohol after going through it. Hell, most of Farley's patrons have gone through Triangle multiple times.

What the whores had stolen from me Brian more than made up in food and drink, which we off at my house. On the way Linda called, and said she and Tami were at the Grouch. It, too is staggering distance from my house, but I wasn't drunk (yet) and we drove there.

The band was pretty good. Linda was all over Brian, who seemed to be annoyed by her attention. If I didn't know about the heroin I'd have thought he was gay - one of heroin's effects is loss of libido. Here the guy has absolutely nothing going for him, doesn't have any interest in sex, yet he's a chick magnet. Still, loser at love that I am I wouldn't trade places with him for anything -- I've seen him go through withdrawal, and it's not a pretty sight. If they want to keep kids off dope they ought to show commercials with junkies that have no dope.

After the second pitcher I figured I'd better go home while I could still drive. He and the girls stayed. Amy called; here Brian and I had been talking about her and she and her boyfriend were coming over.

When they got there, I rolled a joint and smoked it with her boyfriend while we had a beer.

She'd lost her taxi driving job, which is what made her go into Triangle, which she'd gone through three times last year. She had a new job, I forget where but it doesn't involve driving.

The phone rang -- it was Brian. "Man, I'm in trouble, you gotta get here before the cops show up!" Amy drove my car while I sat in the passenger seat, her man in the back. I was far too drunk to drive, and she'd only had half a beer.

"So what happened, man?" I asked when he got into the car.

"Oh man, I decked this guy."

"What?" Amy said.

"Yeah, well, I was walking out getting ready to walk on over here, and I said 'hi' to this girl, and her boyfriend went off. Him and his buddy had their fists up and they were going to kick my ass and I didn't like that idea at all, so I popped the guy three times and he went down. His buddy didn't want to fight after that!"

Brian broke out the whiskey, and I don't remember Amy leaving, nor do I remember going to bed.

When I woke up, Charlie was asleep on the couch, still wearing the same jeans and halter top she'd had on the previous morning, and Brian was passed out on the floor. He woke up as I was drinking coffee, saw Charlie, and did a double take. "Wow!" he said, "Where'd she come from?"

"Oh, that's Charlie," I said. "She's been crashing here the past few days."

"Man," he said, "I'd like to curl up with that!"

"Not a good idea, man. Not if you like your face."

"Huh?"

"She'll rearrainge it for you. She's one tough broad."

Charlie doesn't look muscular but she is fit from doing construction work, probably the reason she's got such a nice body (even if her titties aren't very big). "I ain't no powder puff girl", she's fond of saying.

"Oh man, look at that ass! Jesus Christ what a nice ass!"

"Um," I said, "she's probably awake."

She rolled over, legs spread. "Oh shit!" Brian said, "I've gotta eat her pussy before I leave."

"Man," I said, "you like to live dangerous, don't you?"

"I need a cigarette," he said. We went for cigarettes, even though I don't smoke them. Charlie was awake when we got back, and I introduced them.

"Man," she told Brian, "you ought to thank Steve for warning you, I'da busted you up!"

He looked at me. I said "I saw her almost tear an ex-marine's head off once."

"You mean Lance?" she said.

"Yeah, that's the time" I said. "I couldn't pull her off of him, she let go when she realised Ralph's shit was going to get broken." The incident had happened in Ralph's kitchen; I'd been outside when the commotion had started, and ran in when Linda yelled to me to help.

Brian told Charlie about the whores ripping me off. "Goddamn it, Steve, how many times do I have to tell you about those fucking bitches? God damn it, they do the same fucking thing to Ralph. God DAMN it!"

We made a makeshift barbecue pit out of some bricks and a rack out of the oven, and cooked some steaks. I heated up vegetables in the microwave.

We ate and drank and drank and ate, and Brian's friend picked him up Monday morning to take him to the bus station for his trip up north.

"Dude," Charlie said after he left, "your fucking house is TRASHED! I don't think I like your friend."

I left for work.

Next: Amy Again

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Limerics

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I met a mod today
He had something to say.
"I can't," he said,
"Or I'll be dead -
They'll take my points away!"

There once was a girl on slashdot
Who said that she was hot
The guys all drooled
But they were fooled
She was only somebody's bot

I made a joke one day-
With words I like to play
But what was real frightful
they modded "insightful"
"Oh well," I thought, "Okaaaay...."

The topic once was boats, see?
And other things that floats me
But some ugly troll
and his big jelly roll
posted a picture of

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The war on some drugs

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I was looking through the list of people who have put me on their "friends" list for journals to read, and ran across this short one.

I'd jotted a thing down in notepad a couple of weeks ago and let it unfinished, I guess now is the time to post it.

An American Pastime: Smoking Pot
Time Magazine (Via Yahoo News) has an interesting story about the noble weed.

The Netherlands, with its permissive marijuana laws, may be known as the cannabis capital of the world. But a survey published this month in PLoS Medicine, a journal of the Public Library of Science, suggests that the Dutch don't actually experiment with pot as much as one would expect. Despite tougher drug policies in this country, Americans were twice as likely to have tried marijuana than the Dutch, according to the survey. In fact, Americans were more likely to have tried marijuana or cocaine than people in any of the 16 other countries, including France, Spain, South Africa, Mexico and Colombia, that the survey covered.

Like alcohol prohibition was, our newer drug laws are counterproductive. As regular "mcgrew journal" readers know, My friend Linda spent time at Dwight, a hardass Illinois prison, for breaking our insane drug laws. She wasn't a dealer, she was a simple non-violent user. My friend Mike's brother spent five years in a federal prison for loaning money to a drug dealer; "Conspiracy to distribute".

Meanwhile an asshole I know and dislike, Lance Carter, breaks into a man's house and tries to kill him with a large butcher knife and gets only two weeks in the Sangamon County Jail.

Anti-drinking and anti-drug advocates will tell you that the statistics show that the repeal of prohibition nearly doubled alcohol use in this country, but my late grandmother said otherwise. It wasn't the repeal of prohibition that caused the doubling of alcohol use, it was prohibition itself.

The subject came up when my dad had mentioned my pot farm; at the time I was growing it in my basement. She said during prohibition my grandfather had a beermaking kit in his barn. Sadly, I never had the chance to learn how to make beer from my Grandpa, because he suffered a horrible accident on the job working at Purina, because the Purina corporation was too cheap to put doors on an elevator. Grandpa went four stories down an elevator shaft carrying two hundred-pound sacks of livestock feed when I was only seven.

Before prohibition, she told me, women didn't drink - not openly, any way. Women who did drink did so secretly, at home. Salloons were men's places, where the only women were prostitutes, dancers, strippers, and other entertainers. Prohibition changed all that when they closed down the salloons. The new drinkers were the half of the population that didn't drink before - women.

My dad tells me his aunts had tattoos. What was old is new again.

During prohibition there was the "speakeasy", and it was decidedly not men-only. Illinois has instituted a tobacco prohibition of sorts; smoking in a public indoor place is strictly prohibited. Nevertheless I know of two bars here in the Capital city where you can smoke; they have lawyers for that sort of thing.

The law is a huge hypocracy. You have the legal, highly addictive drug tobacco which kills nearly all of its users. Quitting cigarettes was the hardest thing I've ever done. In Thailand when I was there in the Air Force in 1973-1974, some airmen got to that country who hadn't smoked before. They got addicted to both Kool cigarettes and heroin; the heroin was over 99% pure and they would dip their cigarettes in the heroin and smoke it. I met some of these fellows after returning to the US. Not a single one of the guys I met later were still on heroin, but every single one still smoked Kools.

Contrast that to marijuana, which has never killed anyone and is non-addictive, yet you can go to prison for it. I've been smoking pot since 1971, but haven't had any in a month or so (can't afford it right now). No problem.

One night the police were searching my neighborhood for a fugitive, and one passed very close by my basement window with a police dog. I freaked, pulled up all the plants, smoked them, and never grew pot again.

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Star and Wars

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

previously: I need to stop drinking

Baby, time meant nothing, anything seemed real
Yeah, you could kiss like fire and you made me feel
Like every word you said was meant to be
No, it couldnt have been that easy to forget about me

Even the losers get lucky sometimes
Even the losers keep a little bit of pride
They get lucky sometimes

-Tom Petty

Nothing cheers an old man up like sex with a pretty young lady half his age.

"Hey Steve, can you give me a ride?"

"Sure, Charlie, let me finish this beer and I'll be right over." I didn't know how badly the girls were feuding. Taking care of Ralph was taking its toll on all three of them. I need Charlie to drive for me this Friday; Doctor Odin's going to dialate my eyes and I won't be able to see well enough to drive home.

Taking care of Ralph is a full time job now; he's not healed from his abdominal surgery yet and is pretty much a complete bedridden invalid. And it's a job the three of them are being paid for; Ralph's daughter is paying them to nurse him back to health.

I finished the beer and picked her up, and drove to the house she was cleaning. She presently came out with her rug shampooer and a bag of garbage. "Dude's in jail, man!"

"Damn", I said, "You can't catch a break, can you? How'd you get in?"

"His family was there. It'll be forever before I get paid."

"He didn't bail out?"

"Ten thousand bucks to spring him!"

Wow.

I took her home and went back to the bar. Halfway through the beer and the phone rang again. "Can you come get me?" It was Tami, and she was crying. She wasn't used to that kind of stress; she'd thought taking care of me after my vitrectomy was hard. "That was NOTHING" she said. And Linda was gone and Charlie had been in the bathroom since I dropped her off.

As far as I was concerned, Tami could go fuck herself, but I worried about Ralph. So I drove back over there. I didn't want any of the three of them walking away from him. If that happened, his daughters would have him put in a nursing home and the old man would die.

I didn't want my friend to die.

Charlie came out and the two women argued about who was doing the most for Ralph and who was slacking off, and I could see that all of them were way over their heads with this. Charlie said she'd left some beer at a friend's house, could I give her a ride?

I told her sure, but Tami needed to get away, too, and it was her turn.

I gave Charlie the ride, and after Linda called her she didn't want to come back. She'd have her friend give her the ride. Tami had called Linda on the bar she was in's phone and demanded that she come back, Linda gave Charlie hell for being gone, which was totally counterproductive becaise Charlie isn't good at taking orders.

I went back to Ralph's. Tami had calmed down, Linda had gone again. I sat there visiting Ralph and watching Tami care for him, chatting with Tami.

I left when Linda got back, nearly my bed time. Tami thanked me for being there for her. I held my tongue and went home.

The next day I woke up with the blues, in the middle of a dream about sex with the fat middle aged Tami. Damned alarm clock! I couldn't figure out what it was that had started attracting me to the damned woman, unless it was just having her live with me for those sexless months. Forbidden fruit.

At work Tami called to thank me again for being there for her, and to chat. Damn it, why won't the woman leave me alone? I'd asked her to stay away from me, to give me time to heal. No such luck. "Can you pick me up to get a few things from your house?" she asked. "Sure", I sighed. Most of her belongings, including her late mother's ashes, were in my basement. "Give me a call." I had the blues even worse.

After work as I was getting ready to heat up some leftover pizza after changing my shirt and bringing up the trash can from the alley and taking out the trash and all the other mundane things one has to do, the phone rang. It was Annie's boyfriend, asking if she was there. "No, I haven't seen her" I said. I told him I'd have her call if I did.

No sooner than I hung it up and it rang again. It was Tami, wanting me to come get her so she could pick up some things. I told her I'd be over shortly.

As I was driving off it rang again. Damn cell phones! They're both a blessing and a curse.

"Hi, how ya doin?"

"Hi, not bad, who's this?"

"It's Star. Whatcha doin'? I was wondering if I could come hang out for a while."

I was going to get laid! I had no idea who this woman was but I had the blues, and she was the one who was going to get me out of my blue mood.

"I have to give a ride to a friend, can you call me back in about half an hour?"

"Sure."

I knocked on Ralph's back door. Ralph was inside giving Charlie a hard time. Tami came out smiling, and got in the car. "Linda wanted me to ask you if you could buy some beer for Ralph. They have thirty packs of Miller at Shop & Save for ten bucks."

"Um, I can't, I'm meeting someone in half an hour."

She was quiet for a minute and started talking about the night I took Linda to D'Arcy's Pint. Why was this woman so intent on turning my blues into a full blown clinical depression? "There was no reason for Linda to tell me about your looking for dick and no reason for you to bring it up now. Don't you have any idea how it makes me feel? Don't you even care?"

"Everything makes you feel bad," she said. I lashed out. "I don't want to hear about your trolling the bars looking for dick, you worthless cunt. You talk bad about my hooker friends, at least when they go out whoring they get more than a fucking beer." We pulled up in front of the house, she got the things she wanted and walked home; like her walking home was hurting me or something. The stupid bitch.

I opened a beer, thought about the leftover pizza, and decided that the worthless fatassed cunt had ruined my appetite. I took the beer out on the porch, sat on the swing, and started drinking it. Before it was empty the phone rang again. It was Star. She wanted me to pick her up at a certain convenience store in the middle of town. "I'll be there in ten minutes" I said, drank the last drink of the beer, locked the house and left.

The phone rang - it was Charlie, asking if I could get beer for Ralph. Damn it, these women were NOT going to let me enjoy myself! "I'm sorry," I said, "But I'm on my way to pick up a young lady."

I heard her bitching to someone there before she hung up: "I guess pussy's more important than Ralph."

When I saw Star, I recognized her. She wasn't the madam I'd met a year earlier after all, but a young redhead I'd met in a bar a few months back. I'd been drinking with one of my hooker friends, I don't remember who (I'd been drunk), and had been introduced to her. The first thing she had done on meeting me was solicit.

"Honey," I had said, "You're gorgeous. But you're so young. I'd feel like a pedophile if I had sex with you!"

She reminded me of that. I probably blushed. "You don't look quite so young today," I said. "When I met you, you looked like a teenager!"

"Probably because I haven't slept for the last two days."

Jesus! The woman hadn't slept for two days, had no makeup on, and was still georgeous! She had no need for makeup, not even lipstick. She had the reddest lips I'd ever seen.

I kissed them. Half an hour later I discovered her breasts were just as beautiful; hers was only the second pair of pink nipples I'd ever seen.

When we were done I gave her an extra ten bucks along with the twenty I'd promised, slipping it into her pants pocket, and took her back to where I'd picked her up, making her promise to call me in a couple of days. As I was driving her back, Annie's boyfriend called again looking for her.

"Havn't seen her. Um, I'm with a young lady right now..."

"Oh, sorry, man..."

"That's OK, I'm on my way to take her home now." I stopped for a beer for Ralph on the way to take Star home. Linda was taking care of him by herself, Tami and Charlie had gone to the Blue Grouch and Linda was none too happy about it. I told her I couldn't stay, as I had a young lady in the car.

After I dropped Star off I went to Felber's with huge smile on my face. The place was pretty busy. I sat down next to Brenda, one of the regulars. Brenda's no beauty by any stretch of the imagination. If she was sitting next to the singer Tom Petty, you would probably think they were brother and sister, even twins.

She was having as bad a day as I'd had before my encounter with Star. "Where's your old man?" I asked.

"That goddamn cocksucker," she said. He'd slapped her the previous night.

She'd slapped him first. Women!

Men are taught as young boys that you don't hit a girl; but they should be taught that you don't hit anybody. And damn it, you parents ought to teach your young girls not to hit anybody, either.

Fifteen minutes later I had her laughing, out of her bad mood. Ten minutes after that the phone rang. It was Annie, and she needed a drink. Apparently Brenda wasn't the only one feuding with her old man.

"I'll be right back" I told Brenda, and bought her a beer.

I had a good time at the bar, and took Annie back where I'd picked her up after Brenda left. I went home to bed, still smiling.

next: A Drunken Mess

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A "tart" rebuttal

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I laughed out loud at the AP headline: "Paris Hilton issues tart rebuttal to McCain ad"

TART rebuttal! Ok, I like puns, so sue me.

Paris Hilton, the blonde, doe-eyed celebrity thrust into the presidential campaign in an ad by Republican candidate John McCain, issued a tart rebuttal Tuesday... in a scantily clad, tongue-in-cheek kind of way

It continues

"Hey America, I'm Paris Hilton and I'm a celebrity, too. Only I'm not from the olden days and I'm not promising change like that other guy. I'm just hot," Hilton said, speaking as she reclined in a pool chair in a revealing bathing suit and a pair of pumps "But then that wrinkly, white-haired guy used me in his campaign ad, which I guess means I'm running for president. So thanks for the endorsement white-haired dude."

"I want America to know that I'm, like, totally ready to lead," she said.

Depends on where she wants to lead me. Gees, though, even Annie is too high maintenence for me. No way I could afford Paris.

McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said Hilton appears to support his candidate's "all of the above" energy solution.

"Paris Hilton might not be as big a celebrity as Barack Obama, but she obviously has a better energy plan," Bounds said.

Well, I know where I'd like to drill. Er, excuse me, that was uncalled for.

Hilton's mother, who with her husband donated $4,600 to McCain's campaign earlier in the year, has said McCain's ad is "a complete waste of the country's time and attention

Well, if Paris Hilton's rich snob momma said that, maybe I should vote for McCain?

Isn't Paris Hilton's dad a wrinkly white haired dude, too? Nah, he's rich; probably has dye and botox.

My 86 year old friend Ralph will surely vote for Hilton; a few months ago he showed me a Playboy with a picture of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and some other bimbo showing their shaved beavers while getting out of fancy cars. Those wrinkly old white haired dudes like Ralph know what's important!

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I need to stop drinking

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

previously: Bars and Star

Ralph had gotten out of the hospital, and his daughters had forbidden visitors. They were paying Charlie, Linda, and Tami to take care of him. I was a bit sad that I couldn't visit the old guy; I was afraid I'd never see him alive again, let alone drink with him. And his daughter wasn't the least bit nice, talking about all the people who had been taking advantage of him, as if I was one of them. The old bastards owes ME money, for chrissakes! I wondered how my old friend could have raised his daughters to be such bitches.

Annie showed up again a couple days later. She'd only stayed home at her boyfriend's for a day, she said, and they fought and she left. She'd been in town a few days, and tomorrow was her birthday.

She conceded that right before her birthday was a stupid time to leave. And she had left her antidepressants home and was suicidal. Another stupid thing!

"That's not the worst, though," she said. "I called him drunk the other night and told him if he didn't come get me I was going to go find me some dick."

I took her to the drug store and paid for her presecription, and told her "happy birthday". Then I took her to Top Cat's for dinner, and Felbers for drinks. She spent the night.

The next day our friend Sam called up. It's funny, but I never knew a single girl with a "guys name" (except for the androgynous names, like "Pat") and now I know two, Charlie and Samantha. Charlie doesn't like Sam any more than she likes Annie; women generally don't like prostitutes for some strange reason. Maybe it's because they know deep down in their hearts that all women are whores, one way or another, and the pros make them realise that fact.

Sam had some pot, and I had some beer, and although Annie generally doesn't smoke pot we got her loaded. Wasted. Absolutely trashed! I put on the "My Name Is Earl" DVD and played the episode "Our Cops is on", and Annie had tears streaming down her face she was laughing so hard. Sam just got goofy.

The two of them drifted down the street, and I went to pick up Linda, who I'd promised to take to D'Arcy's. And then Tami stabbed me through the heart with Linda's tongue. I'm not sure if Linda meant to hurt; she denied the intent. But hurt she did; painfully and cruelly.

"So anyway, Tami and me were at the Blue Grouch last night and this guy's flirting with her, and then stopped flirting with her and started flirting with me but I didn't like the guy. I didn't want nothin' to do with him. So the asshole calls me up the next day" (not mentioning how he got her number, one of the two women must have given it to him) "...and I told him I wasn't interested.

"So Tami says 'call him back! I'm horny' and he didn't want nothin' to do with her!

"What's wrong?"

Women are evil. I didn't take her to the bar as I'd planned; I just took her home, castigating her. "For god's sake, woman, you know that bothers me. I can't even hire a hooker I'm such a fucking loser, a fat ugly bitch that can't get laid herself doesn't even want me!"

"You want to get laid?" she said. "I'll fuck you."

I wasn't in the mood. I took her home to Ralph's. Later that night Tami called, drunk, tring to regale me with tales of...

She regaled me not; I hung up on her. Several times. The woman had broken my heart, and all of these asshole bitches seemed to delight in my pain. Some friends they were.

The next day was Sunday, and I finally got around to opening up the two computers. The one I'd gotten from Tami was hacked decidedly amateurishly, as the hard drive was just laying there, unsecured. It looked like the drive bay had been removed from the Dell entirely.

I decided that swapping power supplies would wait another day, and removed the drives from my computer to put in the older box - and discovered that the Dell had a power defecit of its own. There was only one one power plug for a drive! I'll have to stop by Radio Shack or somewhere and get a drive power splitter, or just hack one out of the dead power supply from the home brewed box.

Charlie called, I had promised her ice cream the day before. I went by Ralphs and took her to Dairy Queen. Then we went to my house and drank beer.

I got decidedly drunk, dropped her off at another friend of hers who had some medical thing or other they needed fro Ralph, and went home.

Kay called, and I picked her up.

I think I'll stop drinking, because my memory of the rest of the evening is hazy. I remember sitting on the porch swing cuddling. If I committed adultery, I don't remember it.

I'll have to ask her.

next: Star and Wars

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Bars and Star

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Previously: Drought's End

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make" -the Beatles

Afterwards we sat on the porch swing, cuddling and talking. I hadn't had such a nice evening in a long, long time. Finally she announced that she had to be going; she needed to make some money.

"I thought you said you stopped selling it?" I asked.

"I don't have anywhere to go, and besides, I really miss it. I'll call you tomorrow, maybe."

"Ok". I kissed her, and she was gone, walking down the street.

The next morning as I was watching The Rookie, the doorbell rang. Figuring it was probably Snakelady, I opened the door.

It was Annie's boyfriend, who I'd only met once. He looked mad, and I didn't give him a chance to talk. "She ain't here, man", I said. "She took off early last night." He walked back to his car, shoulders slumped dejectedly. I felt sorry for the poor fool, and relieved he didn't want to kick my ass; he's a big guy and probably wouldn't have had much trouble doing so.

Only a fool falls in love with a woman he pays for sex.

I finished watching the movie. "You know what a real criminal is? A real criminal is somebody who would deface a work of art like this with a color like that!"

I decided to go to JWs for a beer. An old friend I'd known since the kids were small was there, a fellow nerd. We talked about women and computers for a while, and went out to the beer garden. He had some skunk, he said. It wasn't very skunky but it was some pretty good weed. This was indeed a nice weekend!

My phone rang. It was a girl named Star, wanting to take me out to eat.

I didn't know anybody named Star.

I told my nerd buddy "I have to stop drinking so much. I just got asked out by some girl named 'Star' and can't remember anybody with that name for the life of me." The name, for some reason, put visions of red hair in my head, but I couldn't place her.

He left, and I had a final beer and left as well. As I walked out the door, Linda called wanting to shoot some pool. I drove over to get her. "You mind if Tami comes along?" she asked.

Sigh. "I guess not. I'm not paying her way, though." Third wheel Tami gabbered on about the guys buying her drinks the night before, annoying the hell out of me. Linda kicked my ass at pool twice, and I took them home. "Isn't it my turn to go to D'Arcy's with you?" Linda sked as she got out.

Sigh. I'd taken Charlie there twice; the first time it had been too crowded to get a table and we'd just had a car bomb, the IRA terrorist drink, and gone to Top Cat's to eat. I'd taken Tami to D'Arcy's twice when she was living with me. "I guess. But Tami ain't goin'!"

Charlie walked around the corner; she was there and said she wanted a ride to work. "You got that money you owe me?" I asked.

No, her boss was on vacation, she said. "This is that house I was cleaning." She would get paid for that one when the job was done. But nobody was there, so we went to the Blue Grouch and I bought her a beer.

"Do you know anybody named Star?" I asked. I figured Star was most likely a hooker, and if so Charlie had most likely run her off from Ralph's, as she and Linda always tried to do when a whore came by. That was one thing the three of them had in common - a dislike of prostitutes. Fat old Tami hated them because her young alien husband was always breaking her heart hiring them instead of giving her any sex, and Linda and Charlie didn't hate them, but they didn't like them scamming poor old Ralph out of his money as hookers are wont to do.

"I think she's friends with Kay," Charlie said. "Young blonde girl..."

I remembered a blonde that Kay had brought by over a year ago, a very good looking blond in her twenties, thin with large hooters. They had wanted to use my house as a whorehouse and I'd turned them down, and they left mad. The girl that had come with kay had a drug problem; she was a heroin whore.

Halfway through the second beer Charlie's phone rang; it was the guy with the house, he was coming to the Grouch to get her.

I got to bed early that night. And remembered who Star was - I think. Not the blond, but a redhead close to my age Julia had brought by a year earlier. She was a madam; a female pimp, with her own escort service.

I fell asleep with a smile on my face. I wonder if she'll call again?

Next: Bars and Star

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Drought's End

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Previously: "Lucy Furr" Burns in Hell

I look at the world and I notice it's turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps

-George Harrison

In Soviet Russia, whores pay YOU!

As I write this, I have a smile on my face and a song in my heart. There's nothing like getting laid after an extended period of celibacy to cheer up a man with the blues. Especially after getting an apology and money from her.

It had been so long I'd forgotten how good sex felt. And the sweet lies she told me as we laid there afterwards were almost as nice, saying she'd often fantasized about sex with me when she was fucking her boyfriend, and how much she'd missed my dick! Yeah, she was full of shit, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

I wasn't in such a good mood Saturday. I wasn't in a bad mood - not when I got up, anyway. My old friend Ralph, the WWII Navy veteran who introduced me to a lot of the whores I've become friends with, had gotten out of Intensive Care last week, and I'd been able to see him for the first time, dropping by the hospital on the way home from work. A sick friend's recovery always cheers one up.

As I was drinking my coffee, I noticed that the floor was getting pretty dirty. It hasn't been swept since I threw Tami out. Maybe I'll do it tonight. I hadn't picked up my guitar in a longer time than I'd picked up my broom; it was dusty as well. Surely I'd gotten rusty. I tuned the old thing and noted that I should probably replace its strings; it was hard to get into tune.

I was happy to see that the rust hadn't attacked my fingers too badly, but the door that attacked my hand the previous week still had it a little sore, so I didn't play very long. I put a load of laundry in the machine instead, and drove out for some McNearFood, going through the drive through and taking it back home. I noted with delight that since Tami was gone, the food, gasoline, toilet paper, beer, and money were lasting a hell of a lot longer.

After breakfast I called Linda. "I'm going to go up and visit Ralph", I told her. "You guys want to go along?"

"Sure," she said, "but wait until after eleven, he has his therapy and they don't like him talking during it." Ralph's in the hospital for an appendectomy, but he also has asbestosis from years of being an inside wireman, an electrician. Back in his day, houses were full of asbestos. It kept them from burning down so quickly, but people didn't know how deadly the material was.

I went to the bank, checked my balance and cashed a check, then to the Magic Comb for a haircut. Hair freshly shorn I drove to Ralph's to pick up Linda, Charlie and Tami. Nobody was home.

I called Linda. "We're taking a walk", she said. She told me where they were, and I picked them up and we headed to the hospital.

"Where's Charlie?" I asked. They didn't know; she'd been gone a few days. Tami was badly hung over. They regaled me wath tales of their previous night's drinking, and guys hitting on them, and...

And I got the blues. I'd spent the previous night alone with strangers, sipping my beer in misery. "I'd really appreciate it," I said, "if you guys would change the subject. I really don't want to hear about it."

Tami went off. "It's always about you, isn't it?" She got louder and we got into a screaming match. Pretty soon the two of them were on my ass, and as we pulled into the hospital I'd had enough. "Fuck you two goddamned heartless selfish bitches," I said. "You can fucking walk home. Tell Ralph I'll come up to see him later," and drove off. I could see Tami jumping up and down like a five year old and screaming at me - what, I couldn't hear, because the windows were up and I'd cranked the stereo.

I went to Felber's and got a beer. Halfway through the mug Danny walked in. He's an old friend, Tami's son's father. I'd met her through him. At one point he'd apologized for introducing me to "the fucking cunt," as he put it.

"Hey, old man," I said, despite the fact that he's ten years my junior. "Still on the wagon?"

"Yeah, I'm doing good," he said. "I saw your car and thought I'd come in and say 'hi'". I bought him a Mountain Dew - the soda, not the illegal southern drink. We chatted for a while, and the girl Tami calls "Snake" walked in. Snake is the whore I call "Bighead" in these journals, and her hair was longer making her head look bigger than ever. If it was possible she'd lost even more weight. She really is a cartoonish character.

She was on my shit list, but as as I was so pissed off at Tami and Tami hated her so much, I was friendly. I told her I'd thrown Tami out and to give me a call. "I lost your number", she said. I borrowed an ink pen from the bartender and wrote my number down, but I wasn't sure if I got it right. "That's ok," she said, "I know where you live!"

She took her forty ounce beer and walked off, Danny left and pedaled to his AA meeting, I finished my beer and decided to go see Ralph. It was an hour later, surely the two female fucktards had gone by now.

As I was walking through the lobby to the elevators, they walked towards me. "He's asleep," they said, calmed down and out of bitch mode. I gave them a ride home and went home myself, and put Unforgiven in the VCR.

Halfway through the movie my phone rang. It was "Annie". You've heard of crack whores, and maybe met some? Well, Annie is a whiskey whore.

I hadn't seen Annie in months. She had been on my shit list, too, having ripped me off for twenty bucks the last time I'd seen her. My shit list had gotten so big I needed a mainframe to keep it straight.

She'd found some fool to be her boyfriend, one of her clients. She'd moved in with him shortly before swindling me out of the twenty bucks. I'd been madder at myself than at her; I'm number one on my own shit list.

With most whores, you'd best not pay them first or they'll wind up with your money and you still won't get laid. Get the goods up front. But I'd known Annie for a long time, and always been able to trust her. At least, until she got the boyfriend, when she'd hightailed it off with my money.

She was sorry for ripping me off, and had the twenty she owed me. And she and her boyfriend were fighting over drugs and whiskey. He bitched at her for drinking so much, and she bitched at him for his drugs. Not pot; Annie smoked a joint herself now and then, but the boyfriend was into harder drugs. She said if I'd come get her she'd pay me the twenty she owed me and we could have a few drinks.

I picked her up across town, and she'd lost weight - quite a bit of weight. I've called her "Big Fat Annie" in these journals before, but she wasn't so fat now. The boyfriend called my phone twice, and I just handed it to her. She'd argue with him some and hang up. She gave the twenty back and apologized again. We went to felber's for a beer.

"I missed you," she said. "I haven't been getting along with my boyfriend at all."

"Well," I said, "at least you're getting laid. I haven't"

"No, I haven't," she said. "We've been fighting, we haven't hardly done anything but fight. Want to go back to your place?"

We did.

Next: Bars and Star

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Ran Dumb Comments

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Entropy ensures that life, the universe and everything is empty.

If you punched "42" in the snack machine at work you got Nacho Doritos. Then you got the Ranch Doritos. Now that slot is empty. So's my stomach.

Today's "normal" mcgrew journal was in a comment in the Batman story, The Batman Journal. I wouldn't have posted it as a journal, and in fact wasn't going to post the "paxil diary type" journal at all today and maybe even this week (unless something interesting happens, like I get laid), but I had to. I mean, how can someone living in a cartoon city not comment in a slashdot topic about a cartoon?

Smurf, the grouchy blue guy, is in it, as are a couple of felons. As I wanted it to be SFW there is no mention of the hookers.

One commenter in that thread referenced a story for the Sunday Times by someone named Jeff Dawson. I know a Jeff Dawson, but it's a different guy. He was accused of being a troll, so I came to his defense, only to have some AC respond "seek psychaitric help". Probably circletimessquare, back in the K5 days I was always telling him to take his meds.

Last week someone with a smaller six digit UID than me dissed me for the huge size of my tool; er, ID. What he doesn't know is that I have a five digit ID, but unfortunately I lost the password to it long ago (the last comment I made under that ID was Friday January 14 2000, @05:07PM, and indeed I mostly lurked back then. I had my Springfield Fragfest Quake site and was active on Planet Crap, where the likes of George Broussard and Tim Sweeney posted regularly. I was also still married and taking care of my daughters, who my ex mostly neglected, so I didn't have a lot of time for slashdot, getting fragged and running a web site and working for a living and raising a family and all.

The kids and I had lots of fun shooting at each other. Both of them are still heavily into electronic games, and Patty even manages a GameStop.

Want to know why Tim Sweeney is so afraid of piracy? Because when he was in college, he was a pirate. Thieves expect to be stolen from, copyright infringers expect their copyrighte to be infringed, honest people expect honesty and violent people expect to get the shit kicked out of them.

But Having only posted four comments at slashdot, I bought a house and was without internet access for several months, and got a new provider and new email address and lost my slashdot password.

If anybody knows how to get my old user name back (which is the same as my meatspace name), I'd like to know how.

I see that my old nemesis Pete Jongular is no longer an admin at K5. I'd go back there, but I lost that password too.

When I was metamoderating today, once again I metamoderated a comment that my own comment was the parent to. It was modded "informative" and I metamodded it as "fair".

Thought for the day: Love is not only blind, but deaf and tasteless. It does, however, smell.

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"Lucy Furr" Burns in Hell

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Previously:
Fireworks
Fireworks Continued
On The Rebound
The Sky is Crying

Moms complain about how hard life is, and the kids just don't understand. Creature comfort goals, they only numb my soul and make it hard for me to see. My thoughts all seem to stray, to places far away. I need a change of scenery.
-Boyce and Hart, Pleasant Valley Sunday

It's been peaceful and pleasant this week. My case of the blues lifted fairly quickly; the fact that about everyone I know is having a far harder time of things than I am makes my blues quite different, Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I've been worrying about and feeling sorry for my friends.

Well, mashing my hand in the door Monday morning as I was leaving for work wasn't pleasant. My Mondays are like Aurthur Dent's Thursdays, I can't seem to get the hang of them. And I think I was a little hung over Monday.

I retrieved my car's left front wheel and its new used tire, and it sat in my trunk for a few days, as my hand hurt too much to change it. I finally had Charlie change it for me in exchange for buying her a pack of cigarettes. She owes me a bunch of money.

As I was at work the phone rang - it was Charlie, who was having a bad day. It was the first anniversary of her mother's death. Her mom was a year older than me, and died of lung cancer. Charlie's mom was bald from chemo when I met her, and I attended her funeral. It was one of the very few times I ever saw Charlie in a dress.

She'd been waiting for a paycheck, and her boss had been avoiding her. I think she's been fired. So she was at the Blue Grouch, and I told her I'd bring her some McFatsfood and loan her some (more) beer money.

Tami was there, which ironically made me happy, as she was the best person to be with Charlie on that day. Her mom died a few months before Charlie's mom.

Tami was red as a beet. The blonde dumbass had been swimming with Linda the day before, and had fallen asleep in the sun. She and Charlie were pretty drunk. I left Charlie her near-food, and loaned her the beer and cigarette money, and the money for the broken window, and then went back to work.

The phone rang all afternoon. Around two Linda called and asked if I would take Tami to the hospital and Linda to JW's after work to shoot some pool. I said yes to both; Tami was really sunburned. As hurt as I was and angry at her as I was, she was in obvious pain, even drunk. And the fool had been in the beer garden with Charlie, since you can't smoke in a bar in Illinois and Charlie smokes those damned things that killed her mom. They'll probably kill me, too, even though I haven't been a butthead since 1999.

I stopped by Ralph's to pick up Linda and Tami, and Tami said she'd used an aloe plant Ralph had and didn't need to go to the hospital after all. "I know you hate me and never want to see me again," she said, "but could I talk to you for five minutes? Alone? Please?"

I reluctantly agreed, told Linda I'd be back, and went to the Grouch with Tami. I've mentioned before that this is a cartoon city; the Blue Grouch is owned by a guy named "Smurf".

"You win! I really really miss my best friend", Tami said, crying. "I'll give you what you want."

I don't believe it; I think she's trying to scam me again. "I need some time away from you," I told her. "I need time to heal. We'll be friends again but I've made up my mind that the 'home for wayward women' is closed for good. I'm not going to let anybody not related to me stay there any more unless it's a girlfriend in a monogamous relationship. I get too attached and wind up hurt. It happened with you, and with Amy, and even with Linda and Charlie."

Both Linda and Charlie had spent a week or two at my place last summer. Ralph had kicked Charlie out, before Linda moved in with him, to make room for "Samantha" and "Mary", a couple of prostitutes. The eighty six year old WWII veteran is the guy who introduced me to most of the whores I know, including "Kay" and "Annie". I consider Ralph to be one of my best friends.

Charlie had moved in with Lance, and that only lasted one night. Lance is a violent wierdo, an ex-marine with a foot fetish who likes to wear women's panties, and he's in love with Charlie, and stalked her most of last summer. I let Charlie move in with me. Two weeks later she got herself arrested for a traffic ticket. She'd not had any money and was sentenced to community service a year earlier for driving with an expired license, and halfway through the community service her mom had been diagnosed with cancer and Charlie forgot about the community service. There had been a warrant for her arrest, and one night I was drinking with Linda and Amy (this was before Linda's stint in Dwight) and Charlie didn't come home.

Linda got a frantic call from Ralph; Charlie was in jail and he didn't know why. Visiting Charlie in jail a couple of days later I learned she had asked a policeman where she could find a pay phone, and he asked her for ID, saw that there was a warrant and hauled her in.

She moved in with another guy after she got out of jail a week later. Apparently she, too, felt that we were getting too close, as the last thing we had done together was cuddle on the couch watching a movie. Later the hardass Charlie told me "God damn it, I hate you, Steve. You turn me into a powder puff girl and I swore I'd never be like that!"

Linda moved in with me when Charlie went to jail, then with Ralph after Ralph's whores, one of whom was a reformed junkie, had gone on a "double date" and left the old man alone. Charlie moved back in with Ralph after the guy she was staying with threw her out.

To a hooker, a "double date" is when you pay to have two women at once. It's very lucrative for the prostitutes, each of whom get paid two or three times what they normally would. I never saw the sense of it; I only have one dick, why would I need two women?

Wow, I really digressed this time, didn't I? All this happened over a year ago. But as I said, I told Tami she wasn't moving back in, took her back to Ralph's. Ralph's in the hospital in intensive care, his appendix had burst.

Linda and I went to JW's to shoot some pool, and Charlie called Linda wanting some help. There was a slumlord that wanted to hire someone to clean out a house he had evicted some poor children and their poor parents from, for cash money. Linda said "yeah ok but I'm shooting some pool right now."

Charlie showed up with Tami, and I gave the two of them the ride to the Ghetto. It turned out to be right next toor to where the DEA and the FBI and the local cops had violated our Constitutional rights last summer! The slumlord was who Linda and Charlie were visiting at the time; apparently they had done some cleaning work for him then, and they were there to get paid for it.

Linda wound up breaking an electric meter while removing a screen door. I wound up back at my house drinking with Tami. Too drunk to take her back to Ralph's, I let her crash for the night.

The next day after I got off work her sunburn had her in extreme pain. She was crying from the pain, and Solarcaine and naproxin wasn't helping, so I took her to the hospital.

She has second degree burns over a very large part of her body. The doctor told her he didn't know how she'd gone so long without visiting the hospital, and gave her a shot of morphine. She was stoned to the gills from the shot when I got her, and I paid the pharmacist for her prescription for demerol and let her crash again at my house that night.

I shot pool again with Linda last night. She had gotten to visit her infant, and had pictures. I swear, if babies weren't so cute the human race would have gone extinct a hundred thousand years ago. Linda's going to talk to Ralph's daughter to see if I can visit him, and she and I are going to the movies tonight.

I miss the old bastard. We're good friends; we drink together, and loan each other money when needed. I'm afraid I'll never get to see him again. Ralph's the oldest person I know, although far from the wisest. He's even a bigger fool when it comes to women than I am.

Sidestory: The Batman Journal
(a slashdot comment)
Next: Drought's End

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The Sky is Crying

sm62704 sm62704 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Previously:
Fireworks
Fireworks Continued
On The Rebound

"The sky is crying, look at the tears rolling down the street. Ive been looking for my baby and I wonder where can she be?" -Elmore James

I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but my date with Kathy is off. Friday night one of Jim's friends told her that all I wanted from her was sex, and she believed it.

I guess that's a good thing, because she has to be incredibly stupid to believe that. If all I wanted was sex I could get a hooker for less than the price of dinner at D'arcy's. Stupid woman.

It was sort of the last straw, though. I gave my car key to the bartender and got shitfaced drunk, and sat there and cried like a little girl.

The next morning the bar was supposed to open at 8:30. As I was drinking my coffee and waiting for it to open so I could retrieve my key, the phone rang. It was "Kay", one of my hooker friends, and a damned good looking one too, who I hadn't seen in months. She desperately needed a ride.

"Kay" is married to a local politician, a fellow I never met. More stupidity; prostitution should be legal and adultery should be against the law. Serves the bastard right, dumbass damned politicians. I told her my car was at Felber's and it would take a few minutes to retrieve it, and started walking. There were puddles everywhere.

Mike, who owns the place with his wife and daughter, was just opening up when I got there. "Came for you keys?"

"Yep. I'd stick around and talk, but there's another woman that's going to use me. I'll be back later."

"OK, I'll see you."

It rained off and on most of the day.

I drove out to where my friend said she needed a ride from. From what she had told me before (and of course I've only heard one side of the story), her lawyer-politician husband was verbally and physically abusive. They had been separated at one point, and he had gotten custody of their infant when she had taken him to a neighbor's house to use the phone, and the neighbor turned out to be a drug dealer who was arrested the next day. She claims she didn't know the woman dealt dope, but at any rate the authorities, at her husband's behest, took the child.

The two of them later got back together. She'd said she didn't really want to be with the man any more, but she couldn't stand the thought of being away from her child, and feared for the baby's safety at her husband's hands.

She was visibly shaken, and crying. I gave her a hug, and gentleman that I am opened her car door for her. "I lost my baby," she said.

"What?"

"My husband got arrested last night. He hit me and somebody saw it and the cops took him to jail and they took away my baby!"

Anywhere but this crooked town and a politician's arrest for hitting a woman would be in all the papers. But in Illinois where they say "vote early, vote often" and dead people vote, there was nothing about it in the paper this morning. It's likely that her husband paid off the witnesses and that the police swept it under the rug as well, but I don't know.

Linda called. "Where are you?"

"I'm giving a ride to a friend. What's up?"

"I got a ride so I'm at your house, I need to get some of Tami's things for her." She had another errand to attend to and said she'd be by later. I told her to call and make sure I was home.

"I didn't think you'd be gone so early", she said.

"Kay" gave me gas money and we went to my house and drank some coffee while she called around trying to find a place to stay. My "home for wayward women" is closed, and I woudn't want a hooker living with me anyway; I'd likely get in trouble with the law myself, and get my house taken away.

As we drank our coffee, Linda showed up and gathered the things Tami needed. She said she'd call me when she got home.

"Kay" found a freind to stay with, who drove up in front of the house. "Kay" Kissed me and left.

Poor girl. It seems that loser that I am, everbody I know is even worse off.

My daughter had bought me a copy of Passion of the Christ, Definitive Edition (also known as "The Jesus Chainsaw Massace"), so I decided to watch it. When the movie was over I read a litte Restaraunt At The End of the Universe a while, and decided to call Linda to see if she'd forgotten about me and my towels.

She didn't answer the phone. So I called Charlie. She didn't answer, either. But Charlie called back a minute later and said she'd be home in an hour and would call me.

It was quite a bit less than half an hour, because I drove through McDonalds for a burger and fries and salad, and before the burger and fries were done she called again. "I'm here, come on over". I put the salad in the fridge, bagged up the towels and drove over there.

Charlie was livid. "I can't get in the god damned house! That motherfucking bitch!"

"What?"

"Linda's parole officer came the other day and dumped out my purse, and didn't put the keys back in. Now that cocksucking Linda won't answer the fucking phone!"

"Well, hell." I said. "She's not answering when I call either. Let's go get a beer until we can get hold of her."

"I'm gonna kick that bitch's ass!" she said.

Beer at the Blue Grouch is only $3.50 a pitcher on Saturdays, so we went there and I bought us a pitcher. It started raining, hard, thunder rolling and lightning flashing.

Cowboy was there, and asked if I knew Shannon. No, I said. "Shes a lot lizard up on the north end of town. Died last week from a drug overdose. I figured you probably knew her."

Cowboy is a roofer who used to be a trucker. A "lot lizard" is what the truckers call prostitutes, and he knows I know a few.

One of Tami's alien husband's girlfriends had been named Shannon; once Tami had cried on my shoulder about her. She'd found a message on her husband's cell phone from her. I wondered if it was the same girl.

My phone rang - it was Brian, fresh out of rehab and still off the heroin. At least life's not kicking one person I know's ass.

As I was on the phone with him, Charlie's phone rang. A string of obscenities erupted, so I knew Linda had finally returned her call.

"That bitch won't even come over and let me in and it's pouring down rain!" she exclaimed. We finished our beer and she said she wanted to break into the house, so we went back. Charlie broke a back window to get in. I washed my towels and put them in the dryer, and we went back to the Grouch.

"You ought to tell Tami's husband about Brandon", she said.

"I'm not going to do that. Even if I was a vengeful sort I wouldn't. There's collateral damage."

"I would."

"I know you would!"

Her phone rang; someone needed a favor and was picking her up there. She'd call when they were done. I drove to Felber's and handed my key to the bartender and got another pitcher; I was pretty sure I was already pretty close to .08.

Charlie called, I told her I was too drunk to drive and would get the towels the next day. "Tami was in the background when I talked to Linda saying 'fuck Charlie'. So that bitch is on the street; I ain't lettin' her back in the house again."

Sunday morning as I was walking back to retrieve my car, Charlie called. "Can you come over?" she asked. "Sure", I said, "when I get to Felber's and get my car back."

When I got there she was working in the garden, just finishing up. Ralph's little dog was there happily wagging his tail. We all went inside and watched What Women Want. And I had an epiphany. Women get what they want from me, so they don't have to give anything back. That's why assholes get the women and nice guys don't.

When the movie was over we went to a Chinese restaraunt. She bought.

I still have a dinner date at D'arcy's, but now it's with Charlie. But damn it, I'm sick of chasing women. It's not a romantic date; I owe her for the Chinese.

Next: "Lucy Furr" Burns in Hell

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