Monday, May 22, 2017

Double O No.

Too late, Bond remembered selecting his corkscrew watch
instead of his laser watch that morning.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

There was be blood.

I gave blood again. Must be a mania.


Just a pint. What the hell, the skeeters have already gotten about half that much off me.

As regular readers may recall, I am willing to give blood because it's a charitable act that doesn't cost this skinflint a nickel. In fact, they give you free cookies. Lorna Doones. Oreos. Oh, yeah.

This time I agreed to go when a friend asked me. It was a blood drive organized in memory of a young man who died in a car crash. Under the circumstances it was something I would normally want to do, but maybe wouldn't have signed up for, just in case. Something might come up. You know how it is.

I'm like a lot of people when I'm asked to do something.


I went through with it, even though I have a lot of work to do (thus all the retreads this past week from the old blog) (probably next week too). In fact, we had a power outage Friday that helped me get my work done not at all. It was the opposite of helpful. It cost me a couple of hours. So I was behind in my work. Still, when I say I'm going to do something I always aim to do it.

When I got to the blood drive yesterday they had brought in a couple of bloodmobiles, cramped buses that seat five bleeders at a time. It started to rain, so I got to sit in the rain while I waited to be called aboard. There were two intake rooms in the back of the bus, smaller than any bathroom you've ever been in. I was examined (blood pressure, iron test, paperwork, etc., all above board) by a phlebotomist who was a big guy like me; if someone had opened the door we'd have tumbled out like the end of the cabin scene in A Night at the Opera

The staff was good and the procedure easy. I'm glad I can do something like this, especially as a lot of people cannot these days. I'm not talking about rampant blood diseases or hepatitis. New York Blood Center says you cannot donate for a year if you got any piercings or tattoos (unless the tattoo was applied in New Jersey -- I guess they have higher standards in Jersey tattoo parlors). As we know, kids today, in addition to getting on my lawn, are all out there piercing and tattooing themselves all the time, until they all look like psychedelic porcupines. They'll never be able to donate blood. But I can.

If you can, consider looking for a blood drive in your area. Nice ol' ladies, including a grandma friend of mine who is fighting cancer, may need some of that blood. This is one charity that cannot spoil the recipients or be skimmed by fund-raisers. There's no substitute for human blood. Think about it.

I'm not asking you to make an appointment. I'll leave it up to you. I don't want to hear your scream when donation day arrives.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Commencement.

Greetings, graduates! I am very honored to be here to speak to you on the momentous occasion of your graduation from Hard Knox University. Give yourselves a big cheer! Or just groan and mumble.



You should be very proud of yourselves. As we know, the school of Hard Knox is the toughest school around. How tough?
  • The school colors are black and blue.
  • The bullying program is: Any kid not being bullied enough will get bullied by the school nurse.
  • It has the only university cafeteria with a "kill your own" lobster tank.
  • The lunch special? Nails.
  • "Schoolbook" means the character who has the latest odds at Aqueduct.
  • The mascot is a rabid wolverine. An actual rabid wolverine.
  • The playground is covered with broken glass---on purpose.
  • The student adviser is a guy named Knuckles with a two-by-four, whose advice is always "Man up, crybaby."
That's how tough.

As I look out over your bruised and surly faces, I am reminded of some other great Americans to graduate from the school of Hard Knox rather than from some sissy college. Jack Dempsey. Thomas Edison. Alvin York. Ty Cobb. Carbine Williams. Audie Murphy. Hulk Hogan. Liberace. I could stand here for hours and hours naming famous alumni, and you'd be tough enough to take it. Even though it's a hundred degrees today and your robes are made of sheer poreless plastic that must make you feel like a Thanksgiving turkey in a Reynolds oven bag. But I won't.

Yes, the school of Hard Knox turns out men and women, not boys and girls. Fighters and scrappers, not whiners and weasels. Metal, not marshmallow. Oftentimes when I am in a jam, I think back to what we always said in my undergrad days: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Unless it cripples you, debilitates you, or otherwise leaves you unable to function." And then I remember how we got so tough---by not quoting stupid ideas from failed philosophies at one another.

So, in closing, I would like to thank you for having me, but I'm sure you didn't want me here today. Because we're so tough at HKU that we only do things we hate. Now set your black eyes on the future and limp toward it, assured that however miserable life will get, and it will, that as a graduate of the school of Hard Knox you can take it. And dish it out, too.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Meme Fridays!

We're taking it easy this morning with a fresh batch of photos for you to laugh at, pass around, or completely ignore.

Old school



For your friend who wonders what the world owes him, or for the person
making a commotion over, well, nothing

They call him Ferocious B

Now you know

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Googthink.

I am risking my blog here, as it is hosted by Google, but Google has done something that the phrase "chilling effect" was designed to describe.

Here's a mandatory alert:


And do I need to say it? Language alert.

Maybe you saw this Tuesday:

"See how machine learning is helping us tackle gender bias in movies." I thought this had to be one of their jolly April 1 gags, running a little late, but no, Googs is serious. Why is this terrifying to a people brought up in a society where free speech is not just an enshrined right, but one granted by our Creator? Let's see.

--The fact that Google whipped up a Bias Nanny algorithm tells me that they feel we cannot be trusted to recognize bias on our own. In other words, like the poisonous snowflake culture in our universities, Google thinks we're too dumb to know bias and hatred when we see it. So they will help us be better. That's even assuming that the damn thing works, despite the fact that it's predicated on what has to be opinion; there's no mathematical "science" that can prove bias in film, hard as people keep trying. Why would filmmakers not fight back against this? A statement like "Your film shows female characters 16.56% less than males, with passive dialogue 36.98% more often than males..." Etc. etc. data data data. As a director, screenwriter, are you going to let Google tell you your artistry must be "adjusted" to be in line with proper thinking?

--And that's the point: Google is here to turn our badthink into goodthink. You dopes in the audience, you dummies making movies! How dare you sit there and think your movie is not full of gender bias? (Next up: race bias, Islamic bias, LGBTQRSTU bias....) We can scientifically prove that you, director, are a chauvinist pig, and we can make sure the whole world knows it. Guess what that'll do to your career? Guess what'll happen when our search engines show your home address...?

--I say, so what if there is bias in some movies? There's probably biases all over the place in every work of art. SO WHAT? We're free to think as we like, are we not? Uh, no, actually, you're not anymore... the reason we need this is to teach you not to think bad, otherwise the machines will correct you -- movies now, books later, online conversation next, actual conversation next...

--What's the endgame in all this, Googs? It's a rabbit hole with no bottom. Now University of Michigan students are feeling oppressed by fucking wood paneling. So you add that to your little algorithm and now every film that shows wood paneling is a nightmare of oppression. Then what? "Vinyl flooring is an affront to my people!" Well, the victim has absolute moral authority to dictate the terms, right? But where does it end? (Hint: Hell.)

--Well, fuck your machines, Google, and to hell with your newthink. If I wanted to play in that sandbox of insanity I'd go back to school. I say our right to think and speak as we want is granted to us by our Creator, not you, not the government, not even by others who might be offended, and by fighting against that right you are acting as an enemy of freedom and the God who created it. You know what that makes you?

People who hadn't noticed when you quietly dropped your "don't be evil" motto, presumably in exchange for an "evil is okay" one, might start to notice when you start policing them. Stop "training" us, Google. You can have all the money in the world, but it's still above your pay grade.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Friends!

[Another rerun from the old, nonworking Web site....]

Have you ever noticed (wow, look who's the new Andy Rooney) that kids' TV shows and books and songs and crap are all focused on the importance of friends? It's been starting to bug me lately.

There are reasons for all that friend stuff, of course. Sharing and cooperation do not come naturally to small children, who are just as likely to whack each other with hard toys as play together. (Maybe more so.) And if you have a hit show or movie, you want to sell them more than just Cookie Monster dolls. You want them buying Ernie, Bert, Elmo, Oscar, the big yellow loser, Telly, Kermit, Bob, Guy Smiley, Mr. Hooper, whatever. Lightning is nothing on his own; you have to have Mater, Sarge, Fillmore, Luigi, Flo, Ramone, Sally, Red, blah blah blah, the whole damn town. (And when you're telling the story it's vital to note that the hero's friends just happen to be exceptionally good at whatever they do--Guido's the world's fastest forklift, for example--or at least are able to hold their own in the big fight, like Pumbaa.) You need friends!


Friendly friends!


So it's nice to teach children to get along with others, but it would be nice to teach them that they can and ought to be able to stand on their own two feet as well. However, since our education system still takes a dim view of loners, I suppose that's not going to change. 

So to cash in on the current zeitgeist, I've composed the lyrics to a song that I think could be used in schools everywhere, or perhaps as the theme song for a great kids' show about a bunch of individuals with distinct personality quirks who have to do everything together.

Friends!
You gotta have friends
Friends to the end
Around the bend
You’ll never mend
Without friends.

On your own
You’ll never handle it alone
You’re useless you see
To any degree
That’s why you nee
d your friends.

[Chorus!]
If you’re not cooperatin’
You want to be an individualist
You’ll see it’s just exasperatin’
And then you’ll really get pist

Friends!
Nothing matters without friends
Nothing's fun without a group
Not even a poop
You must have a troop
Of friends!


You can write me in care of the site for information on how to send me my royalties. I'll handle the music myself; I never collaborate.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Feather your nest.

Two outdoor phenomena this weekend of note: My wife groomed the dogs on the porch, and once again a robin is building a nest under the deck. There may be a connection here.

Tralfaz, the large dog, is very hairy but has settled into more refined, mature hairiness. Nipper, the little guy, is just a fuzzbomb every day. It's the softest, sweetest hair and it is all over the house. If you come over and it's in your lasagna, trust me when I say we did everything to prevent that but it happens anyway. It's a force of nature.

Therefore, on Sunday it seemed to my wise Mrs. that it would be a good idea to give him (both of them, but mainly him) the Furminator treatment outside, where his tufts of hair could go wafting away and not clog up the vacuum cleaner brush for a change. And so she did, and a fine job of it she made, too.

When I was coming up the path later, I saw these tumbleweeds of puppy fur on the grass in front of the porch, and my first thought was What kind of weed is that? even though I knew what she'd been doing. It just made for a lot of ground cover.

How does this relate to Mrs. Robin in the back? As you know, birds will use a lot of found objects in their nest building. She used a big string of polypropylene twine as part of her nest, and it dangles down like a bell pull.


I suggested to my wife that the bird might be smart to use some of Nipper's puppy fuzz to make for a soft, warm egg-hatching environment.

Mrs. Key then wrote the dialogue for this endorsement:

NIPPER™ brand fuzz hatches eggs 43.7 % faster than other nest stuff!*
*Based on actual studies of actual birds by bird scientists.

Nipper would be thrilled to know he had helped foster new baby birds. He tries to catch and eat any birds he sees on the lawn. Hasn't caught one yet, fortunately.