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Perhaps The Greatest Thing.

Frost Giant: Barrelbelly
Ever!!

10 Best lines so far;

"My badger's gonna unleash hell on your ass. Badgertastic!"

"Look out! Marshmallows!"

"I haven't put on weight. Your eyes are fat."

"Now fuck off and let me bask in the glory of being me."

"Monkey power! Straight from the jungle."

"You're pretty. pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty.... [long pause] Now fuck off and be pretty somewhere else. I'm bored."

"Hey, don't... don't say anything. Why don't you put it in an email, then I can ignore it at my pleasure. "

"Put it down! Step away from the yam. Step away!"

"Awesome. Teddy bears bungie jumping."

"When did you turn into a bug? Strange."

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2010

Frost Giant: Barrelbelly
Perhaps no other year before or since 1984 has been awaited with such
eager anticipation, and I like to think, with far less apprehension.
-Arthur C. Clark.
Author- "2001 A Space Odyssey,"
Dec 27, 2000

Well, this was to be the year we made contact. Let us hope it becomes, at least, the year in which we come to better understand ourselves.

Happy New Year to All.

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And Many More

Surrender. Now.
Happy Birthday Stef. Good Health, good wishes and more happiness for the next and ever after.  

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Change

Surrender. Now.
 Well, it has been a hectic year. Another year for change with more change waiting in the wings. In line with the philosophy that change is neither bad nor good; It just is, I've been moving more towards an attitude of 'why fight it?'. Change happens. Why not go with it or even promote it with a bit of my own. Maybe try steering it in more positive directions. And so, with a similar window display but some new shelving in back, a little change of name, a new sign out front, and a slight change of address, I've decided to step out into the wide, weird, world of Blogger.  

 

A Relief From Comedy 

 

Not to worry though. I'm still the hard-core pessimist / neo-compsiracy theorist / shin-biting curmudgeon I've always been and probably always will be. Just with a brand new address down the block. Come on in.

 

Comments Welcome.  

 

Paul.

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The Persistence of Absence

WideGlide
 Sudden and complete silence is rarely a good sign. Not even when nobodies really listening.

There's been a lot going on in the, often entertaining, ever-moving, F-Sphere Conversation that I would love to have been able to contribute to. However, Life has all these attention getting ways of letting you know what your priorities need to be. Endings are almost always guaranteed to get your full attention. 

 

About thee weeks ago my older sisters life ended. It wasn't unexpected. She'd been fighting a long and fairly exhausting battle with a rare, not very well understood disease. Like I said, we knew this was coming but that never makes this kind of thing any easier. I didn't when my brother died some 15 years ago from a mysterious disease called HIV that no one had ever heard of when he contracted it 9 years before (thank you Bonzo, for keeping it so well rapt up. Here's hoping that your currently roasting nicely). But sudden loss is no less painful for its unexpected nature. My Old Man was gone two weeks after his, one and only, stroke 4 years ago. We weren't ready when my brother passed, we certainly weren't ready for dad to be gone, and we're not ready for my sister not to be here because it's impossible to be ready for this. So, now it's just me and Mom. 

 

This has all probably hit her the hardest, obviously. A son and and now a daughter? As they say; no one should ever have to face outliving one of their own children and now she's lost two. For her, they may have been more painful, but dads passing really seemed to knock the legs out from under her. He handled the business, the finances, the cars, all the things men from the pre-Mad Men era were expected to take care of while she took care of the house and the children. She's had to learn a lot of things she's never had to even think about before being pressed into taking care of my sister AND herself. Staying with Sis despite her stubborn refusal to move three states away to a house with more than enough room. Where her brother was more than capable of taking care of them both, and his wife was more than willing to help. That Saintly Wife perhaps being patient enough to put up with my sisters often irrational notions about what she wanted and what was best for more than just her. 

 

But Sis was, if not always rational, then exceedingly efficient. So, with her counsel, mom was able to handle much more than I'm sure she ever thought she could. But now she's a little lost. Grateful that I'm here to keep her from catastrophe and secure that she has a place with my wife and I if she wants or needs it, but not sure if she wants to start over someplace new with us or continue here on her own. Something she's never, in her entire life, had to do but something I'm proud to say she's actually considering. This late in a life that's been anything but easy, I believe she wants to see if she can and I'll be damned if I don't make sure she gets the chance to try. 

 

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OpinioNation

Surrender. Now.
 *WARNING* This post refers and links to highly combustible commentary. A thick skin or immediate access to extensive Sanity Watchers reserve points is advised.*WARNING*

 

Just finished reading an excellent guest post in Newsweek's The Human Condition  by Michelle of The Fat Nutritionist. The article is an upbeat and positive narrative of her experience as a fat person finding personal acceptance for herself, within her own body, with tips on how she managed to accomplish what she has thus far (Like Life, it is an ongoing process). She also suggests that it is possible to be fat and healthy at the same time. This suggestion is, apparently, offensively ludicrous to quite a few people as that comments, so far, are pretty vicious.    

 

This is not new. The fact that the post is proceeded by an article which links Newsweek's excellent series on fat-hatred in America might be ironic but it's not really all that surprising. Outside of the fatosphere, this kind of savage rejection of the very idea of healthy fat people occurs so frequently it sometimes reaches the level of background noise. You hear it, your aware of it, but in most respects it just doesn't register. And that, in itself, can be dangerous because it can cause you not to react to it until it spikes or forcibly intrudes on a persons awareness. Emergency Service drivers in NYC are taught to watch for pedestrians as well as traffic when responding to calls because people some times just don't hear the sirens blaring only yards away from them and will often step right out in front of a speeding EMS vehicle. And it's not always because they've got the volume on their iPod maxed out.  

 

Being aware of what's going on out there in the wilds is probably one of the reasons why I often tend to grit my teeth and just wade into comments. Even knowing that it's bound to be unpleasant. Yet sometimes, such as with Michelle's article and Newsweek's series, I have to wonder; are people even reading any of those articles? Or are they just disregarding everything they've just read? I know, the questions have been asked before. At least, half-a-million times by my last count. But that doesn't make them any less relevant or important. I mean, as far as I'm concerned, if the former question holds true then that would make for a lot of really stupid people. However, if it's the latter? Well, then this problem (the prevalence of fat hate / fat phobia) might be a lot more serious then anyone, myself included, wants to admit. It could, very well, mean that the main stream's mandate to 'do something' about fat people obesity, quite possibly something typically hysterical or unreasoned, might not be all that far beyond the pale. If nothing else, this makes a strong argument for Paul Campos assertion of the 'Obesity Crisis' as Moral Panic.

 

Still, this almost rabid denial of fat peoples right to exist in peace might also be little more than an artifact of the interwebs. The apparently irresistible allure of socially irresponsibility while behind the facade of anonymity. Well, even that would make for a pretty poor excuse actually. After all, nothing says more about what a person really thinks than what they say or do from behind the safety of their masks. 

  

 

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Ethical Human Discourse? Maybe next time.

Surrender. Now.
 Loosely (very) related to my last post; So, this PETA thing. Every time I hear about that infamous gaggle of rascally rabbit huggers it brings to mind an incident that occurred a few years ago involving P. Ditty aka; Puff Daddy as, I believe, he was known then (He might be going under D. Putty these days, who knows.). Not one for much artistic talent, far as I'm concerned. But he does have business sense and the innate ability to recognize real talent then, straight-up, rip it off (Frank Sinatra, Led Zeppelin, and The Police for starters), but not much else. 


Still, when he was premiering his new clothing line (almost prerequisite for Rappers these days) and virtually every previewed item of clothing featured some bit of animal fur, it was bound to draw the ire of PETA. They announced their outrage and threatened, show disrupting, demonstrations. Diddy professed naive ignorance, citing the designers artistic whims and apologized profusely, promising that when the show opened, it would run without a single stray hair of fur on any of the items. PETA, mollified, declared it a major victory for the cause and all but made Diddy an honorary member. Now, heres what gave me a whole new respect for Sean Combs intelligence, business acumen, and savvy. 

 

When the show actually did open, every piece was exactly as it had been previewed. Fur and all. PETA, completely unprepared, was nowhere to be found and the show went off without a hitch. No explanation made. None offered. I nearly popped a blood vessel from laughing so hard.        

 

And why shouldn't I? As far as I'm concerned, Diddy's complete disdain for the organization is exactly what's required in any dealings anyone might be so unfortunate as to have with them. They have no respect for 'people' - 

 

 

-what makes them think we should have any respect for them? Which begs the question; What, exactly, is it that they're really trying to do? 

 

Is PETA actually campaigning for the ethical treatment of animals by human beings? Really? Then why are they nearly herniating themselves trying to offend as many humans as they possibly can? I thought the idea was to convince as many people as possible that treating animals ethically is a good thing? Not angering or offending said humans and causing them to hate you. Unless, of course, the entire point of the exercise is, in fact, you. Offense and confrontation? Hate mail as advertisement?  Shock and Ink? These are not the tactics of most social justice movements. But they do work pretty well in terms of self promotion. Ask MeMe Roth. So, I mean, I have to ask; Is PETA really all about the animals? Or are they just out to grab ears and eyeballs like any other media entity? Ehhhh, could be, rabbit. Could be

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WideGlide
 Allow me to introduce our two Canine Criminals.

 

 


 

On top is Shooter. Singularly appropriate since he is, in fact, a Pee Sniper; One shot, one puddle, and relocate. Below is Buddy; Our resident Urban Poop Ninja; Only poops on hard surfaces (driveways, the deck, did I mention our basement is all tile?) and then melts into the darkness. Waiting to strike again. Both are card carrying agents of T.A.R.E.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love both of these little anarchist to pieces. The pee sniping and ninja poop traps? Just little packages of love. Smelly little packages but if they really didn't love us back I'm sure we'd be finding presents on the couch, our pillows, and like that. Really, It's this T.A.R.E thing that can get me going sometimes though. Shooter has, pretty much, given up all but his provisional, Agent of Unexpected Terror, membership. Buddy, on the other hand, appears to be nothing less than a hard-core fundamentalist. 

 

So far the list of casualties include; several pairs of shoes, at least ten books, two home phone headsets and one cell bluetooth, two baseball hats (The sniper went after one of my favs. Got caught in the act and ultimately handed in his active member card after doing a hard bid of two hours in solitary lockdown). There was also three of Mommy's bra's (two of her favs but she's far more lenient than Daddy), at least a half dozen pieces of both Mommy AND Daddies cloths (Shirts, socks, blouses, underwear. Apparently the laundry basket is a soft target) and various & sundry items off the living room table or the kitchen counter (I draw the line at counter / table tops. Teeth marks in the butter? Not ON.) Most of this was perpetrated by Buddy who, I have to admit, has got some severe separation anxiety issues.

We rescued him from the side of a busy road. Less than a year old, no collar, rib-poke skinny, and playing craps with fast moving traffic. It was pretty obvious that whoever had him before had neglected the hell out of him because the only time he chews on what he KNOWS he's NOT supposed to, is when we're not home. But he is getting better. Used to be we couldn't leave the house for 10 minutes without worrying about what we were going to find, utterly annihilated, when we go back. Now we can go a full 8-10 hours, come home, and generally all he or his little brother will have destroyed by then is one of their 3000+ chew toys. Most of the time. There has been some backsliding. I'm gonna miss that TV remote.          

 

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Commonality

WideGlide
 I've been an on-and-off fan of Bobby McFerrin for years. The man has technical chops like nobodies business and his music, like the man, is extremely intelligent If not sometimes a little dry, unlike the man. Sometimes his tunes can get a little saccharine for my tastes but he has got a lot of passion and an infectious sense of fun. There's always something new or something to be learned with his music. Case in point- 

 

 

 

Apparently the pentatonic scale is something that crosses almost every cultural barrier. It's common from Celtic folk music to West African, from Greek traditional to indonesian gamelan. It can be heard in, Hungarian, Chinese, Japanese, and Polish folks music as well as American Blues and Rock. Not so surprising, I guess.  As the saying goes, 'Music is Math' and, in math, an equation is either right or it's wrong, no 'ifs', 'ands' or 'maybes'. Apparently, like math, we GET this scale. Not even speaking the same language, we still know this on some level deeper than speech. A small thing, yes, but it's still pretty, fraking, amazing if you ask me. Mr McFerrin's little demonstration managed to give, at least this cynical rat bastid, a glimmer of the possibility that we can one day understand each other a little better. And it managed to put a smile on my face. No mean feat by any standard. Rock on Bobby, keep pushing those barriers until they all fall down.. 

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Who Wants to Die for Art?!?!

Surrender. Now.
So obesity is, like, the new, edgy, thing these days. We've got all these TV shows and political controversies going on around it . Makes one wonder; Isn't it, like, past time that we heard from the Art World? Well, apparently we didn't wait long enough-

 
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According to Charlotte Kingsnorth the artist who created it,  "At One''  is a 'faux fat obesity chair' and, in the long standing tradition of high art furnishings, it appears to be more of an exercises of form over function. I have no problems there. This is what art often is. However, when form supplants function what a piece is trying to do (be a chair) is supplanted with what a piece is trying to say (?). I don't think I like what this piece is saying. I know I don't like what the artist has to say about it. A "a sofa which has been devoured by its obese occupier”? "the evolution of their bond through time spent sitting together."? Please, patronizing, condescending, disgust is SO  last decade. 

 

 

At first blush the piece has awkwardly, asymmetric, pierced, stretched, bloated, jaundiced, and bruised as it's surface messages and really doesn't get much deeper than that. What I  don't see is any indication of redeeming quality. The chair looks diseased. Which, I suppose, might be what the artists interprets obesity to be. Pretty sad really as this is a fairly common conception. Making the piece fairly common as well. I mean, we're not seeing anything new here. Nothing that hasn't already been said thousands of times, and in hundreds of ways, before ie.; Mark Wentzel's  obese version of a classic Eames chair - 

 

 

-Mo' pie covered this over at Big Fat Deal a while ago and as far as I'm concerned, Wentzel did a much better job. At least his piece looks like it might be comfortable enough to lay on / fall asleep on / has some quality other than repugnance.
 

If anything, 'At One' is appropriately named. It comes at you with it's repellant nature. You almost wouldn't want it to touch you, much less consider the possibility of sitting in it and I suppose that would be the point as well. After all fat is nasty and, by extension, so are fat people. Yet another common meme in the High Art Community. 

 

Ugly Art is not new to the art world. When done well, it can be powerful and even beautiful. However, ugly art that says ugly things? An entirely different story.         

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