30 December 2013

C is for Cookie

Looks about right. Could maybe use some Kermit.

Your Brain on Porn



This has been mostly videos lately.
What, you wanted words? Enh, even I get tired of my own words sometimes. Shocking, I know.

29 December 2013

Think Critically


You can find your own way to the rebuttal if you care.

These kinds of 'debates' are sort of like 'debating' the theory of evolution. There is no point. That's the great thing about science: it's true whether you believe it or not. A man in the sky that wants to give you sex advice? Puh-leeze.

26 December 2013

Cute



Luis Suarez is a fantastic footballer. He's done enough awful, stupid things on a football pitch (biting people, making racist remarks) to be accurately described as an awful person. He's a hero in the Kop though, so you get this video. I had no idea his English was so poor. Doesn't seem to be affecting his play.

For more goodness, here's Finn interviewing Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard. Not sure why these softball questions to superstars are more entertaining than boilerplate bullshit from a talking head but here we are. Maybe it's his scrawny little kid legs sticking out of his full kit contrasted with Gerrard's, uhh, tree trunks? What are those? It looks like he could squat a dump truck. Jesus.


22 December 2013

Feel All the Feels



I wish I could see for miles, miles, miles.

Thought this song had been featured on the blog already but I can't find it. It's been in heavy rotation around here lately.

Vernon himself says:

"Holocene is a bar in Portland, Ore., but it's also the name of a geologic era, an epoch if you will. It's a good example of how all the songs are all meant to come together as this idea that places are times and people are places and times are... people? [Laughs.] They can all be different and the same at the same time. Most of our lives feel like these epochs. That's kind of what that song's about. "Once I knew I was not magnificent." Our lives feel like these epochs, but really we are dust in the wind. But I think there's a significance in that insignificance that I was trying to look at in that song."

19 December 2013

Studio Pets

Says what it does, does what it says.

A surprising number of cats. It makes sense because if you're at work you prefer something that doesn't require much attention and can look after itself. That includes your pets and co-workers.

Hat tip to slobscot for the link.

17 December 2013

Level 40

This was on Alligator Sunglasses. I am reposting it here for posterity. And laughs. Apparently this is part II. I need to get caught up with part I.

Sleeping looks exactly right. FIST PUMP.

Takes One to Know One

The blogspace is a big fan of redheads.
Full Disclosure: My hair is brown now but my beard is auburn, and my hair was much more red when I was younger. I also have the accompanying fair skin and freckles; my English buddy calls me a 'closet ginger'.

Favorite ginger joke from the internet:
Person A: I always thought the Harry Potter books were unrealistic.
Person B: Why?
Person A: Because the ginger had more than one friend.

Slate explores the anomaly of redheaded women being portrayed as sexy, and men as freakish. Weird but true: a woman can be more attractive because she's got red hair, a man is attractive in spite of it. I don't know that I've ever met a girl that preferred redheads. (If you're out there, get in touch with me.) "Tall, dark and handsome" is more typical.

A photographer is out to change that. I'm unconvinced. The models are undeniably handsome, but is it the hair? The same photos taken in black and white would almost certainly be more compelling. It doesn't make a convincing case.

Tom Robbins (also a ginger) should have the last word (from a 1998 GQ essay):

************************
Ode To Redheads


How are we to explain the power these daughters of ancient Henna have over us bemused sons of Eros?

Red hair is a woman's game. The harsh truth is, most red-haired men look like blonds who've spoiled from lack of refrigeration. They look like brown-haired men who've been composted. Yet that same pigmentation that on a man can resemble leaf mold or junk yard rust, a woman wears like a tiara of rubies.

Not only are female redheads frequently lovely but theirs is a loveliness that suggests both lust and danger, pleasure and violence, and is, therefore, to the male of the species virtually irresistible. Red O red were the tresses of the original femme fatale. Of course, much of the "fatale" associated with redheads is illusory, a stereotypical projection on the part of sexually neurotic men. Plenty of redheads are as demure as rosebuds and as sweet as strawberry pie. However, the mere fact that they are perceived to be stormy, if not malicious, grants them a certain license and a certain power. It's as if bitchiness is their birthright. By virtue of their coloration, they possess an innate permit to be terrible and lascivious, which, even if never exercised, sets them apart from the remainder of womankind, who have traditionally been expected to be mild and pure.

Now that women are demolishing those old misogynistic expectations, will redheads lose their special magic, will Pippi Longstocking come to be regarded as just one of the girls? Hardly. To believe that blondes and brunettes are simply redheads in repressive drag is to believe that UFOs are kiddie balloons. All redheads, you see, are mutants.

Whether they spring from genes disarranged by earthly forces or are "planted" here by overlords from outer space is a matter for scholarly debate. It's enough for us to recognize that redheads are abnormal beings, bioelectrically connected to realms of strange power, rage, risk and ecstasy.

What is your mission among us, you daughters of ancient Henna, you agents of the harvest moon? Are those star maps that your freckles replicate? How do you explain the fact that you live longer than the average human? Where did you get such sensitive skin? And why are your curls the same shade as heartbreak?

 Alas, inquiry is futile: Either they don't know or they won't say -- and who has the nerve to pressure a redhead? We may never learn their origin or meaning, but it probably doesn't matter. We will go on leaping out of our frying pans into their fire, grateful for the opportunity to be titillated by their vengeful fury, real or imagined, and to occasionally test our erotic mettle in the legendary inferno of their passion.

Redheaded women! Those blood oranges! Those cherry bombs! Those celestial shrews and queens of copper! May they never cease to stain our white-bread lives with super-natural catsup.

15 December 2013

Thanksgiving Foods, Ranked


This isn't late. I wanted to give the People an opportunity to move past their Thxgiving experience and reflect.

Delicious items on your thanksgiving table, ranked:

1. Pumpkin pie, FIRST ABOVE ALL, FOREVER
2. Dressing with sausage and turkey giblets, cooked outside of the bird (hence: 'dressing' and not 'stuffing'). If you omit the giblets and sausage it will lack savory and body. Don't do that.
3. (tie) Sweet Potatoes in any form, but especially baked spicy with cream OR baked with butter. There must be butter.

3. (tie) Cranberry sauce, homemade
5. Gravy
6. Turkey, dark meat
7. Homemade corn bread
8.  Green bean casserole
9. Rolls
10. Salad
11. Boring ass mashed potatoes
12. Cranberry sauce from a can
13. Any type of seasonal roasted vegetable
14. A generous serving of disappointment and rejection
11. Turkey, white meat


13 December 2013

Play Them In Order



If you have a soundcloud account (it's free!) you can collect / organize whatever sounds you're into - provided they're on soundcloud. Or you can pay for an account and post your own sounds.

I listen to it pretty much all my waking hours, so I'm getting my money's worth. This list is the slow jams I have downloaded / worn out on repeat in the past 3-ish months, all aggregated (favorite word alert!) into one playlist. Enjoy. Or not. Whatever.

12 December 2013

Hot Jam: Spirit Bird by Xavier Rudd (Lexer Remix)



I can't explain why I like this song as much as I do but here we are.

I can't explain a lot of things. Like why I ate so much orange chicken for dinner. Big plate of deep fried chicken bits with sweet sauce? Why not? More accurately, why not aside from the fact that it's a big plate of deep fried chicken bits with sweet sauce on top? It would have been better if they served it between two Belgian waffles like a sandwich. Aww yeah that would be gooood. I'll try and make that happen next time. (Burp.) 

Great song, free download.

Science Ruins Everything

This was on Alligator Sunglasses. It's funny because it's true, although I'd say that Science has been ruining everything since way before 1543. One man's opinion.

11 December 2013

Never Not Funny: The Short Tie (Revisited)

This photo was on the blog already. Just over two years ago now, if memory serves.

This is me doing Big Cheese's tie for his wedding ceremony, and I'm asking him how short it should be. It's one of my favorite jokes. Oh you want it here? No probs, got you covered.

The too-short tie always kills, and I love the picture because it was great to share a laugh during a busy moment.

These Go to Eleven



Friend of the blog got a new Gibson SG. I guess next year's model is robotic-tuning only or some such and he wanted to get one before that was mandatory. Whatever. Point is, fantastic guitar. Fortunately his amps go to 11.

Space and Time

//Ed. This is an old post I wrote on 11 July 2013. Found it in the archives, decided to run it now instead of spike it. //

Lately I've been thinking a lot about space. Physical space, as when you physically move stuff around to make room in your house / car / yacht / dirigible / whatever. Temporal space, as when you make time for someone or something. And emotional space, as when I carve out room in my cold, dead heart to make an investment in someone or something.

We lost Reese six months ago today. My relationship officially ended at the same time, but really it disintegrated in conjunction with Reese's health. It's hard to feel love when your heart is broken, and my then-girlfriends heart was (and probably is) broken.

So what about space? I did what I could to fill the physical space that Reese and her mom used to take in my life. I made an effort to do the same with my time, and that has been moderately successful. The emotional space is something else.

When you make room for someone in your emotional life it's not so easy to fill it up when they leave. Any efforts to quickly replace the joy you once felt will surely fail. Instead the rest of your emotional life fills in slowly from the edges, bit by bit. The new normal is you, but with some emotional holes to fill. Not like potholes, more like open pit mines.

I gather that eventually it doesn't hurt as much, and you don't feel the absence so severely. I will revisit the topic again in January and let you know. For now I'll say I still miss them, every day. 

09 December 2013

Photo Retrospective: Montmartre

Bumped into the old blog photo archive quite by accident (great googly-moogly stores them conveniently in one place) and browsed some pics that I hadn't seen in a while. No idea why I published this one but it was taken in a Paris restaurant 10 or 12 years ago. That was an eventful evening, which ended up with me and Jeffy spending the night out with some friends of friends in Paris, mainly in Montmartre.

Thierry (pictured at right, in the background, tan track jacket) smoked hand-rolled cigarettes. I don't, as a rule, smoke anything. Nor drink wine. Nor spend my free evenings in Parisian restaurants eating the most French thing on the menu* (duck, in this case). When in Rome, etc and so forth.

Tourists take an infinite number of pictures of the Louvre and Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame and that's great, if that's what Paris looks like to you. To me it looks like a snapshot of a long, late, hilarious night out with some lovely people.

See you out there.




* Unfortunately, not a euphemism.

05 December 2013

Tis the Season: Baseball is Lame but the BBWAAAAAA are the Lamest

It's that time of year again. No, not the one where you exchange gifts and get a day or two off work. The one where I get bent out of shape about the hypocritical Basebal Hall of 'Fame' voting. 'Fame' in air quotes since they didn't bother to elect anyone alive last year, even though there were plenty of worthy candidates.

Here's a link to this year's list

I don't have the energy to rehash the merits of the candidates and their reasons for inclusion or exclusion. It's right there for you to read.

If you want to delude yourself that some players don't belong because they 'used drugs', because you live in a world where there's a meaningful distinction between taking, say, amphetamines to play better (Hi Willie Mays!) or painkillers to play (Hi, everyone who ever played organized sports at any level, anywhere!) and taking drugs such as steroids to enhance your recovery/performance then by all means: don't vote for them. Related: you are stupid.

04 December 2013

Pi Chart - Roll Your Own

Cribbed this from Deadspin.

Seasonal pies, and when you should make them, all in one not-very-handy infographic. With recipes!

Here at GJAW we highly recommend you use your own recipe, preferably from a cookbook or website that doesn't have the words 'Light' or 'Paleo' or some similar bullshit. If you're not sure just ask me and I'll hook you up with something from one of my books or the recipe box.*

Pro tip: start your search at Cooks Illustrated. They don't compromise flavor for expediency, but they do make an effort to streamline or simplify the process where possible. It's an excellent benchmark for good to great, depending on how well you execute. If their recipes seem like a lot of work (and some are, admittedly, a pain in the ass), then try something that suits your commitment level. You will not be disappointed.

Use large washers (washed and dried) for pie weights, and for the love of all that is holy make the crust with butter like a proper American. I don't believe in Jesus Christ but I will invoke his name if I see pie crust made with shortening.

Thanks for reading.
 

* An actual thing, which my grandfather made in the 1960s(?). My mom gave it to me.

02 December 2013

Life Goals

This was on Alligator Sunglasses and flagged as a third-grader's To Do list.
Pure truth to power.

01 December 2013

I Forget the Things I Should Remember and Remember the Things I Should Forget


Awesome? Not really.



Special big shout out and thanks to Anonymous, Sweet Katie and Big Cheese for your kind comments on the Thursday post. Sometimes the content here is just a spur of the moment spitball of whatever catches my attention, like when I eat an entire bag of Mint Milano cookies in one sitting and then feel vaguely unsettled in my guts. And sometimes the content kicks around for a while and I feel strongly about it. That post was the latter so I was touched by your responses.

Thanks for visiting. 

30 November 2013

I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOU TO OPERATE


How to make a proper bootleg, in 3 not-so-easy steps:

1. Keep the best part of the original. That's usually the hook or, in this case, the legendary, unmistakable, world-beating vocal. You don't know what song this is if you're hearing it for the first time in a mix, and you hear a muffled "oooohhh" and you say, wait, was that?? Could it be? Nahhh. And then as soon as you hear 'BaaaaaayyyyyyyyBEEEE' BOOM YOUR FUCKING HEAD EXPLODES.

2. Put some bounce in it.

3. Crush.

Throw this on and let it wash over you. I dare you not to dance. Every time you play this jam somebody gets pregnant. Could be me. I don't even know.

My neighbors hate me right now. Do I turn it down? Close the window?
WRONG ANSWER. I TURN IT UP.

Because I'M HOT JUST LIKE AN OVEN, I NEED SOME LOVIN'.

Free download too. You're welcome.  

28 November 2013

Throwback Thursday: Both Hands by Ani DiFranco (from Living in Clip)



Moved Throwback Tuesday back a couple days this week. This is the live version of Both Hands, from the album Living in Clip. I'm completely disinterested in the rest of the record; this is the only song that I liked. Interestingly it's also the only song on the album where the guitar part had to be re-recorded. It was just too blown out in the original version, so she cut it again. It was recorded in Buffalo, NY and the orchestral arrangement is Doc Severinsen, of Tonight Show fame. 

If memory serves Big Cheese shared this jam with me in 1998. (Related: I am old.) I was still in college, working two jobs, one of which was parking cars on Thanksgiving night and again Thanksgiving day, and Friday on top of that. He drove down to hang out with me for one night so I wouldn't have to spend the time alone. Drove home the next day. It was a great kindness, one of many. The night ended with me listening to this song really loud on repeat. I was still drinking a lot then so it's all a bit fuzzy. (To be fair, that statement is roughly applicable to 1992-2002.) 

Years later, when Big Cheese asked me to teach a yoga class during his wedding weekend, this was one of the first songs I put on the playlist. It was great then and it's great now.

I hope you have a good thanksgiving: do the things you like to do with people you like to do them with.
See you out there.
-case-

27 November 2013

The Times Goes Long: Two Gunshots on a Summer Night

This story does not have a happy ending.

http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2013/two-gunshots/

I like the part where the guy who shot and killed his girlfriend gets a standing ovation. Seriously, that's a thing that happened.

Second favorite part is where the megalomaniac Sheriff says that it 'always was a suicide, and will always be a suicide.' It really sets a tone for the investigation.


25 November 2013

The Business of Doing Harm: Defense Spending Accountability


The next time you hear a politician talk about 'accountability' and how social programs encourage laziness ask them what we should do about the defense budget. Defense spending is (unfortunately) a great example of what happens when you give someone a virtually unlimited amount of money and don't ask how it gets spent.

The obvious difference between social welfare and defense spending (aside from how much more money gets spent on defense, like 10-100x more)  is that in defense spending THEY work for YOU, so giving you that information is part of their job. Or, it is supposed to be. The Pentagon cannot even get their own employees to do the most basic of jobs: tell me where the money went. They cannot do that in part because it's just so much fucking money; they literally cannot keep track of it all. Which is amazing, if you think about it.

As a result we don't even know how wasteful it is. This is a national embarrassment, and everyone involved should be ashamed, and then they should get fired, and someone that can do the job should be brought in. That means thousands of people would get kicked off the government payroll. That will never happen, which is why this problem is intractable:

In its investigation, Reuters has found that the Pentagon is largely incapable of keeping track of its vast stores of weapons, ammunition and other supplies; thus it continues to spend money on new supplies it doesn’t need and on storing others long out of date. It has amassed a backlog of more than half a trillion dollars in unaudited contracts with outside vendors; how much of that money paid for actual goods and services delivered isn’t known. And it repeatedly falls prey to fraud and theft that can go undiscovered for years, often eventually detected by external law enforcement agencies.
 ...
Because of its persistent inability to tally its accounts, the Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments. That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China’s economic output last year.

15 years, $8.5 trillion, and we don't have a balance sheet that shows where it went. None is forthcoming. Social welfare is not the problem. Unfettered defense spending is the problem.

So Much Neville

I Love this Photo Way Too Much
I'm not a big HP fan but this was too good to pass up.

Neville's role in the story has become something of a Cause among the fans. The central plot revolves around Harry but the supporting characters play pivotal roles, Neville chief among them. I wouldn't be surprised to see Rowling revisit the universe with Neville as a central character. That's a book I would buy.

24 November 2013

Feel Free to Indulge Your Whimsy

One of the benefits(?) of living alone is that you can do whatever you like with your stuff. So if you want to put something together that has some small parts and you need a countertop in a well lit space then you can do what serves you the best. Which is how I came to assemble a lower for an AR15 on my bathroom countertop. It's a pretty good workspace, all things considered.

Remember to close the drain. Anything that falls into the sink may be lost forever.

One drawback is that if you're missing a part, such as a trigger disconnector spring, then you have to either put it away unfinished (awful) or leave it out until you get the part (less awful, but not ideal).

Sooo that's why I had a pile of parts on my countertop for a couple days. Just FYI. 

23 November 2013

22 November 2013

Yoga and Branding: Chip Wilson and Lululemon Summarized

New Republic explains Lululemon and Chip Wilson, and it is on point.

Excerpt:
In fact, Lululemon has been so successful because, not in spite of, its founder’s combination of woo-woo New Age-iness with a sharply competitive spirit. It’s the same approach many American women (and men) bring to buying organic, to drinking fresh-pressed juice, and yes, to yoga. There is a boom market in ostentatious wellness these days, one that is underpinned by the same synthesis of seemingly opposite impulses—to achieve, and to bliss out—that drives Wilson. His customers are much more like him than many would care to admit. If you seek spiritual enlightenment through yoga and fasting, go to India or the 1960s. If you want to have the best-looking ass in line at Starbucks, try Lululemon’s free Saturday class and a pair of $82 Wunder Unders.
///
Word. 

The short version is yes, the pants are flattering and comfortable, but their real triumph is selling the 'lifestyle'. You're not just buying pants (or tops, or jackets, etc.), you're buying something that will enable you to become the type of person that buys those pants.

The men's clothing line is hit or miss. The sweatshirts are great but pricey. The t-shirts are flattering but smell bad because of the synthetic fabrics. The 'silverscent' workout tops are good but at $50 or more it's a big spend. They may/do help prevent embarrassing situations, and that's hard to evaluate in pure economic terms.


21 November 2013

Hot Jamz: Presence ft. Angel Taylor by Paris Blohm (Original Mix)



Got this in heavy rotation right now. It is labeled Progressive House, but it sounds like Trance to me. That break and build that starts at 1:50? Verrrrrry trance-y. No matter. Turn it up and dance like you mean it.

Free download, which is rad2themax.

This from the soundcloud page:

"My sister, Chloe Blohm, passed away in 2011. She inspired hundreds of people with her art, and her uplifting and loving personality even while facing her crippling disease, muscular distrophy. This song is dedicated to her because her 'Presence' is still here, pushing me and the ones who had the pleasure of knowing her. She did more than most able-bodied people ever even thought of doing. She leaves on the light, when the world goes dark. This song is a tribute to her."

20 November 2013

Bigger than Life: American Museum of Natural History

BEST. EXHIBIT. EVAR.
Visiting the American Museum of Natural History is awesome. Like, awe-inspiring. It's impossible to take it all in, so you kind of wander around, get overwhelmed. It's hard to wrap your head around the scale of it. And I mean all of it: the size of the museum itself, the vast number of exhibits, the absurd size of the exhibits themselves. So much good stuff. They have a 1:1 scale blue whale, for starters. But that's not the highlight.

The highlight is the paleontology exhibits. Dinosaurs and pre-historic animals of all sorts. It's the best. Seriously, the best. Room after room ("hall" in the museum parlance) of mind-blowing fossils, big and small. If you didn't have a fossil record and invented some of these creatures you would never believe they were real.

Anyway, my shit camera phone is supposedly a good camera but there's only so much a tiny lens can do. It's not good for taking great pictures but that doesn't matter. You can get a glimpse of the awesome in my weak photo. It's good enough, because no camera is going to do the place justice.

19 November 2013

9/11 Memorial


Visited the 9/11 Memorial when I was in NYC. It's an arresting scene, and beautifully lit at night. This picture was taken in the crisp November late afternoon, so the sun wasn't all the way down but it was dark enough for the lights to show. Someone had placed a rose in the '.' in the middle initial for one John M. Pocher. My picture doesn't really do it justice; it was beautiful.

14 November 2013

Portraiture

It's a Perfect Likeness
I want to capture all the details of my trip to NYC before they become muddy and indistinct. Like your drawers. HONK!

While waiting for my friends to catch up with me I took a time out on the front steps of the American Museum of Natural History. Saw a lovely bronze statue of a horse's ass and it reminded me of Ze Newbs, a fact that I was able to share with him immediately via the miracle of modern technology. Cameraphones: bringing people together.

JCVD + Volvo Trucks = Awesome



This is blowing up the internet. I watched it 10 times and it only got better. Instant classic.

According to the short article I read he did this in one take. Because of course he did. Special bonus for the Enya song, which is - and I don't want to understate this - FUCKING FANTASTIC*. Might be a Throwback Tuesday Enya song at some point. Or not. That is some deep water.



* Video goodness is inversely proportional to the song, so best bet is to throw that in another tab and let it wash over you in the background.

12 November 2013

Talk Yourself into It

Courtesy Big Cheese we get an interesting bit of science suggesting that you can talk yourself into improving your workout performance.

Makes sense. If you can talk yourself into something you can talk yourself out of it.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/06/keep-repeating-this-workout-feels-good/?_r=3

The weights aren't going to lift themselves.

Serve me some Cheese: Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus (J-Kraken and Cinto Bootleg)



I've been wearing this remix out since it landed on Soundcloud (FREE DOWNLOAD, BITCHES) and it's getting more traction now but still hasn't blown up like I would expect. Don't judge. Good hook, danceable. They took the best part of a song and bootlegged a hot jam. Forget that Miley Cyrus is inescapable and ridiculous and tell me that hook isn't sweet, sweet sugar. No? Whatever I can't hear you the music is too loud.

Fun Surprises

Never Bet Against a Sicilian when Death is On the Line
Went to NYC for the weekend. Full report on some of the cool shit later, but the special unexpected* highlight was bumping into Wallace Shawn (Vezzini, on the left). If you think I didn't get excited then you don't know me at all.

Didn't stop him - he was entering a building as I was exiting, it was late, everyone in my group had had a couple drinks, etc, etc. But I have a corroborating witness. After Shawn walked past me I looked at my friend and he said, "That was him." And then I got super pumped to the max. Couldn't help it.

Dude looks pretty much the same. Bit heavier. Otherwise, same guy. He's looked middle-aged since he was young, I guess. 

More highlights as I clean the photos out of the phone.


* Maybe unexpected isn't the right word. There must be some other word that conveys an even greater unlikelihood. It's on the top of my tongue...

06 November 2013

Get Your Dance On: Vogait feat. Beth Green - Supernova


Busy several days ahead. In the absence of any good posts, here's a good song. Yay.
Free download, too. That's a sweet deal right there.

I got this in heavy rotation. Decent hook, superb vocal. 

04 November 2013

Get that Away from Me

Haven't done anything with cats in this space for a while. This animated GIF wins at the internet.

01 November 2013

Keep Calm and Carry On, origin, explained



This is a charming video of a charming story.
That bookstore looks like a place I would visit and never leave. Special shout out to Sweet Katie because she will love it too.

Other places I would live, if they let me (in no particular order):
- American Museum of Natural History (NYC)
- New York Public Library, main branch, in the stacks
- California Academy of Sciences (SF)
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- National Gallery (London)
- Tate Modern (London)

27 October 2013

T-Reese


Heavy-hearted for Halloween this year. It was Reese's favorite holiday by far.

She had a lot of costumes from which to choose. She looooooooooved trick or treating so much. Every time someone came to the door she would get sooooo excited, pick up a toy to share. Then she would leave it by the door in her excitement. We knew how many groups had stopped by because we could count the pile of toys by the door.

This is what I wrote for Halloween last year:

She was a dinosaur for Halloween. Puppy loves Halloween because so many happy kids come to the door. She wants to greet everyone with love but sometimes she knocks the toddlers over so it was my job to make sure that doesn't happen. I did really well. Except for that one kid. Oh well. He got an extra candy bar. And he should know better than to try and wrestle a dinosaur. 

-------
By the time The Girl and I split up the woman I fell in love with was long gone. The reverse was probably true for her. I don't miss that and neither does she. But I miss Reese terribly. Every day.
She was the best.

Enjoy your Halloween. Give your pups a hug.

25 October 2013

I-give-up Phone

Custom Graphics!
:: deep breath ::
I ordered an iphone. 

I loathe touchscreens on phones. Long-time readers know I've been pushing that rock up a hill since 2007. So what changed? How could the universe re-align in such a strange and mysterious way?

In no particular order:
- It is available on my preferred carrier (Verizon)
- Battery life is improved over earlier iterations. Almost all facets of the phone are substantially improved over earlier versions. It still isn't all that great to talk on. But...
- I don't talk on my phone any more. Seriously: it's a txt device. I could almost get a pager / data relay and do away with the voice stuff completely.
- 70's phone I have now is barely hanging on. Buttons are worn out, battery barely lasts a day. This from a phone with a battery life so good that I thought the battery indicator was broken when I first got it. I guess that's what 4+ years of charging cycles will do.
- Sometimes when I receive messages from people it crashes 70's phone. That was fine when I had a girlfriend who never bothered with that stuff but the wider world seems to have embraced the concept and I'm missing content. Dealbreaker.
- Being the last holdout is quaint but at some point it's time to let go. If you can't beat them, join them. If I felt there were a better option I would get that instead. But I don't.

So here we are. Phone should arrive some time early November. Can't wait to msg everybody. Yayyy!

Like my friend said, welcome to 2008!

Special Eighth Anniversary Edition Retrospective

Embrace the Yoga
I thought that 25 October was the official launch but a quick browse of the archives says that I'm actually a day late. Weird.

Planned to mark the occasion with a thoughtful retrospective at the highs and lows of the past 8 years. Then I realized I didn't have the energy, and also it would have sucked. More interesting: some photos from that trip I took to Costa Rica. And I'm actually in them, which is unusual.

The circle photo is from the last day. That was where we had all our classes - it was a cool place to practice.




Going for a Walk

24 October 2013

Dessert Pies, Ranked

Deadspin has a spinoff called Foodspin, where(in) they deliver food-related articles, commentary, and rankings. I take issue with their selections and created my own. Theirs are further down, if you are curious/bored.

So, my rankings: 
  1. Pumpkin
  2. Pear - As made using the recipe for pear pie from the Silver Palate Cookbook. So good. And surprisingly easy. I have never made it for a social gathering because it's cheating.
  3. Apple - benefits from a homemade crust since it's got a covering.
  4. Mixed berry
  5. Cherry
  6. Strawberry Rhubarb
  7. Peach*
  8. Pecan - Grandfather had a recipe for this that produced a pie that weighed in excess of 8 pounds. I think if you made it today Michael Bloomberg would try and legislate the portion size. It was great.
  9. Rhubarb
  10. Key lime**
  11. Lemon meringue
  12. Banana Cream
  13. Coconut cream
  14. Mississippi mud
  15. A baked crust filled with rocks and sadness
  16. Cheesecake
*Peach would be higher if cobbler counted as pie. Alas, it does not. In my rankings it would immediately vault to number 2. Nothing can touch pumpkin.

** I'm not sure that Key Lime and the cream pies (Banana, Chocolate, Coconut, etc) should be on the list. They are puddings dumped into a crust. Whatever.


The Foodspin rankings:

1. Cherry
2. Pumpkin
3. Apple
4. Mixed berry
5. Key lime
6. Cheesecake
7. Peach*
8. Chocolate cream
9. Sweet potato
T-10. Banana cream
T-10. Coconut cream
12. Lemon meringue
13. Shoofly
14. Strawberry rhubarb
15. Rhubarb
16. Mississippi mud
17. Mincemeat
18. Being hit by a car
19. Pecan
*Peach would be higher if cobbler counted as pie. Alas, it does not.

22 October 2013

Throwback Tuesday (early): Half a World Away by REM



I love this song.

It came out in 1991. I listened to it on repeat in my cousin's grey 1985 Honda Accord because he was cool and let me borrow it. The CD was mine. The audio fidelity from those speakers turned up to MAX was shit. (I would know.) A brief browse of the internet indicates that I'm not alone; quite a lot of people have a history with this song.

True story: when I got to college in Fall of 1992 I had a huge crush on a girl that lived downstairs. She was impossibly gorgeous and smart and funny. Wasn't able to manufacture a reason to talk to her but one day I was walking past her room and this song was playing. I stopped and said, wow I really like this music, is it yours? Turns out it she really liked it too. I didn't say anything to her for another month, but I found out later that she liked me and played it over and over again in the hopes that I would hear it and stop to introduce myself. How great is that? Pretty great.

Ended up dating her for a bit, and although it ended badly (as relationships between two tempestuous 18 year old's tend to do), it was awesome.

20 October 2013

Life is Uncertain - Eat a Cookie

The Best
Yeah I repeat myself, but whatever. It is.

This week marks the 8 year anniversary of when I first kicked off this blog. It used to be called something else, but eventually it became GJAW. I got the name from a guy I used to work with back in the day. He would use the expression sarcastically at any time during the week. You kind of had to be there, but I promise it was funny.

So that's 8 years, around 1480 posts (so far), some unquantifiable number of curse words used, knowledge dropped, and time spent. This week I'll take a trip down memory lane and post some of my favorite topics. Or at least the favorites that I remember. Or whatever I can find that still seems somewhat funny after several years.

Cookie Monster is always appropriate. Always.

Special shoutout to Sweet Katie, a long-time Cookie Monster devotee.

Thanks for reading. 

18 October 2013

Hangover Bear

No particular reason for Hangover Bear except that I wanted to get that boob off the top of the page. This photo is way better.

16 October 2013

Bow Ties: Underrated

^^^^^^^ Guess who doesn't like having their picture taken? ^^^^^^^^^
If you wondered what I looked like with a more-stupid-than-usual-chewing-on-an-ice-cube (really that's what I was doing) smirk on my face: now you know. Glad we cleared that up.

Could be worse. Special credit goes to the guy at the wedding that tightened up the knot in my bow tie. It made all the difference. And also to the photographer, for doing what good photographers do. 


15 October 2013

Throwback Tuesday*: Only You by Yaz(oo)


* One in an occasional, irregular series.

Lately this has turned into a random music blog with occasional essays about this or that. I've been hearing a lot of sharable music lately. I promise to post another bitchy essay sooner than later.

Most of what I've been posting is fairly new. This song is the opposite of new. Without this brilliant early 80's synth-pop there is no Hold on We're Going Home by Drake. Listen to them back to back and enjoy the overlap. Throwback Tuesday!

14 October 2013

Let's Take This a Different Direction: Kite String Tangle covers Tennis Court by Lorde


Not really a fan of Lorde, but I think this cover is great. Also: another free download! Put this in a playlist and surprise yourself with your musical taste. No one else is going to spin it for you.

12 October 2013

Love Hard when there is Love to be Had: Congrats Mr. and Mrz. Ze Newbs

Lovely Venue, Wonderful People
A couple-odd weeks ago I attended / participated in Ze Newbs wedding. It was lovely. The people were super nice, got to catch up with some family I hadn't seen in a while, and I got to sport my summer formal wear.

My wedding experience was somewhat unique because Ze Newbs invited me to do a reading for him at the ceremony (bride had a friend of hers do a reading as well).

// Some backstory:

Ze Newbs and I go way, way back. Like 20+ years. I met him through Spud when they were still in high school. (Spud is awesome, btw - Hi Spud!), but we didn't become closer friends until after he had graduated from college. Anyway, we kept in touch over the years and visited now and again, usually with great fanfare. And by 'great fanfare' I mean that we occasionally drank to excess. And by 'occasionally' I mean 'always'. Yay for hangovers!

Not for nothing, but Ze Newbs znapped the current profile pic that I use here on the blogspace. It was on a train from Seville to Madrid. Because we went to Barcelona to have dinner, mixed in some other parts of Spain while we were there.

I hadn't had a chance to visit with the new Mrs. Ze Newbs since they got back together after not dating for several years. When they got engaged I called Ze Newbs and communicated how thrilled I was for him, because I always loved the future/current Mrz. Ze Newbs. She is a fantastic, joyful person and I was so happy that they had decided to spend their lives together. At the time things were difficult for me, and I hadn't seen or talked to anyone for a long while. Ze Newbs and I caught up like we always did, and he was himself, because he always is. That was late last year or thereabouts.

End backstory. //

Fast forward months and months to a couple weeks before the wedding, and Ze Newbs invited me to do the reading. I found the prospect intimidating but considered it a great honor so I accepted. Mainly I didn't want to screw it up. Public speaking is not easy for me, and the material was dense.

When he sent me the material he wrote, "the poem captures the impact of (future/current Mrz. Ze Newbs) joy, spirit and positivity on my life... It was important for me to have someone read it that sees those same things in her." I read the first sentence aloud during the ceremony to preface the reading because I thought it was beautiful.

I didn't read the second sentence because a) it wasn't germane to the ceremony itself and also b) I would have burst into tears, because it meant a lot to me to hear that from him. It means a lot to me now. 

So: the reading. I printed a cheat sheet, broke the poem into manageable sentences with pauses in places that seemed to make good sense. I practiced it over and over again to try and find a good rhythm and inflection. I worked on a cadence that seemed to suit the structure. In short I worked very hard to do it right, to do my friend's request justice. It really, really stressed me out.

It went well. As far as I know I managed to do it without skipping any words and I know I didn't stutter or repeat any lines. I got a lot of compliments and kind words from the peeps but the most important thing, and the thing I'll never forget as long as I live, was when Ze Newbs walked up to me afterwards to give me a big hug and said, "That was perfect, man. Thank you so much. You nailed it. I knew you would." Well, I'm glad HE knew, because I wasn't so sure.

I am deeply grateful to have friends that trust me with that kind of responsibility, and immensely proud that it was a success. And also there was a wedding and a big party, and that went well, too.

Congrats to Mr. and Mrz. Ze Newbs. I love you both.



//Thanks for reading.

11 October 2013

Live and in Person: Who Invited the Bro?; also: The People Have Spoken

Visited with my friend Sam Outlaw yesterday when he played a fun, entertaining show at Memphis Costa Mesa (that statement makes sense, I promise). I looked for a youtube of him playing but everything posted didn't really capture the goodness. Go here and try some of the jamz on your own. My favorites from that list are Say it to Me and It Might Kill Me. Which is a lot of 'me', but that's country music for you.

Sam's Instagram looks like a hipster commercial so the show was pretty much a hipster commercial come to life, but without the absurdly hot girls. (Sam tells me that I have to come to LA for that. I'm not sold.) So the crowd featured some good people watching: lots of plaid / facial hair / 'edgy' tattoos, and some impressively ugly unflattering clothes. I was the only bro in attendance. The kids probably thought my t-shirt was two sizes too small, which: fair point. Great show either way.


-----
The People Have Spoken!

In my Costa Rica Yoga Retreat post "anonymous" (you know who you are) says:
"Wait, you aren't gay?"

No.

And Sweet Katie shares:
"Jeff remembers going to a gay bar in college and being so disappointed he didn't get picked up on. You aren't gay, but you're pretty cute CCF : )"

That is funny and also very kind. One unexpected thing about going to a gay bar is that the service (not a euphemism) is AMAZING. Those guys are on top of it (not a euphemism). You get anywhere near the bar and the bartenders will look right past the stack of girls in front of you and inquire about your availability drink order. So... unusual.

And in my post of that superb Smallpools remix by Chainsmokers, another (different) anonymous says:
"fuck and yes"

That's what I'm saying. That remix is the boss. And it's free???!??! So good. When I used to play records consecutively I'd have to pay $10 plus shipping for something like that. Now the kids can download at no charge. This is the golden age of electronic music.

Thanks for reading. I'll do that post on Ze Newbs nuptials today or this weekend. I'm hoping to mix in some pictures but that stuff takes months to process. I could have taken some of my own but I was too busy stressing out looking good.

04 October 2013

Truth

Let's do this!

Thanks for stopping by.

Pictures are Overrated - Yoga Retreat in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Not Me, but Similar
Before I get you caught up on that awesome wedding I went to, here's a photo I didn't take of a place I sped past at high speed. I remember much of the Costa Rican countryside as a beautiful green blur, preferably with the rear tires on my ATV spinning in the mud. Pura vida!

I was in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica for a week and did not take a single picture. I forgot my camera, didn't bring my phone, and wasn't about to drag out my ipad to capture the 'moment'. I promise it was beautiful, and I'll post a few of my fellow travelers pics as they are shared.

If you're a straight guy then it's not a yoga retreat, it is Fantasy Camp.  It's basically you on vacation with a bunch of fit women. There were a couple guys on the trip, but none my age that were single. Even if most of them are married and/or not cute it's still weird being the only single dude. The only person that ended up hitting on me was the gay guy, which was funny. I gave him credit for optimism, since I didn't think I was putting out a sexually ambiguous vibe. Sexy: yes. Ambiguous: Not so much.

Spent my free time between yoga classes either at the beach, in the ocean, in the pool, or doing any of the myriad activities available to the tourist in Costa Rica. Those are mainly accessible via driver (pffffft), guided ATV tour (meh) or solo ATV (awwww yeeaaahhhhhhhhh!!). So I flew solo, rode all around, went on nature hikes, went to further beaches, ripped around in the mud and tried not to crash the ATV, ziplined, toured, jumped into waterfalls, hiked rivers, swam in rivers, lunched, etc and so forth. Good times.

The yoga was great too. Learned new things, made new friends. Overall it was an excellent trip. Coming back to the real world was an adjustment, even though I wasn't gone very long and my regular work/life is pretty good. Looking forward to the next one.
See you out there.

Repeat Offender: Smallpools - Dreaming (The Chainsmokers Remix)

What it is, people.


Free download on the soundcloud page. That's what I'm talking about.

Work of Art

At the local mexican restaurant where I occasionally get involved with delicious chicken fajitas, they have a vending machine that sells a variety of fake mustache:

Good Value for a Quarter

Someone (not me) decided to upgrade(?) one of their many kitschy decorative wall hangings:

Like them on Yelp!

Well played, sir. Well played.

01 October 2013

The Light in Me Sees and Respects the Light In You

Look Closely in Front of My Left Hand
Was digging through the archives for a moto photo and bumped into this.
I always mounted the bike from the left side and had a set of stickers made to remind myself to remain calm and respectful while on the track. But also to go fast. Hence:

NAMASTE,
BITCHES

27 September 2013

Circle of Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife



What did I say about universe being a cruel and unforgiving place? I'm pretty sure I mentioned it.

In the superb book The Devil's Teeth the author tells a great (true) story about ah elementary school class in the SF bay area that participated in nurturing an injured baby seal back to full health. Yay for learning! After rehab they released the seal into the wild near the Farallon Islands so it could be with others of its ilk. You know what else lives, laughs, and loves near the Farallons? Things that eat seals, esp. White sharks.*

So they boated these third graders out to the Farallons and released the cute critter back into the wild. Parents and children were smiling and waving and snapping photos and watching it swim away and then this happened. As life lessons go it doesn't get much better.

Bonus circle of life: Golden eagle killing a sika deer. The universe is cruel and unforgiving, but also terrifying. And awe inspiring.


* Only plebs call them 'Great White sharks'.  

25 September 2013

Oh you wanted another slow jam? Hold On, We're Going Home by Drake feat. Majid Jordan



This is from genre-bending R ampersand B / rap artist Drake's new album. Which is funny because it's pure synth-pop. And it's fantastic.

Put it on repeat! 

24 September 2013

Musical Interlude



Apparently vocal Deep House is my new thing. Who knew?
This mix is in heavy rotation right now. It's flat in spots but it's got some good jamz. No tracklist though. Setback.

Is that Nickelback autotuned? And is it... catchy? Dear lord. I don't even know myself any more.

If you're of a mind you can get these mixes and whatever else on my soundcloud page: 
https://soundcloud.com/sweetmeatball

I wanted to use the name Meatball but it was taken. So I used a photo of Reese because I used to call her a meatball and she was the sweetest, and she loved to dance. So: SweetMeatball.

22 September 2013

14 days, 8 flights, 6 drives, 2 trips, 1 hangover

I've been out of town.
Big wedding (and some big responsibility for yours truly, well handled if I say so myself - and I do - more on that later) for Ze Newbs and Mrs. Ze Newbs, followed by a short turnaround and a launch to Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. A fun, surprisingly emotional journey, if you're asking.

After the wedding I spent a week at Pranamar for a yoga retreat, which is really just shorthand for a Costa Rican vacation that includes yoga. My vacation also included quite a lot else, so more on that later too.

To summarize, in the past week I have styled my hair with some combination of the following every day:
  1. Fresh water (river)
  2. Fresh water (shower) 
  3. Fresh water (pool)
  4. Fresh water (rain)
  5. Salt water (Pacific ocean)
  6. Sunscreen
  7. Bug spray (surprisingly effective as a styling product)
  8. Wind
  9. ATV helmet
  10. Sweat
  11. Hat
  12. Sun
Awesome. 

Big congrats to the Ze Newbs's. I'll have a rundown of that and also my trip in a day or two.

12 September 2013

This Dude is Cool as F*ck

Dead serious. This dude is the boss.
That's BMX pro Tyrone Williams on one of the Citi bikes you can rent in local metro areas.


Benghazi Hypocrisy

I'd pay a lot more attention to the people braying about Obama and Benghazi if the same people had made some kind of noise when G.W. Bush was invading a sovereign nation on false pretenses, then making a mess of the entire project. Gross negligence in command? Definitely.

Anyone who didn't protest the Iraq war and GW's fraud but whines about Benghazi needs to put a sock in it. You forfeited the right to protest when you let GW wipe his ass with the constitution for 8 years in the name of 'terror'. Idiots.

11 September 2013

Rick Rescorla

Rick Rescorla died exactly 12 years ago today.

Mr. Rescorla showed courage in the face of adversity. The word hero gets thrown around way too much. It is an apt description in this case.

There are tends of thousands of 9/11 tributes. This is the one I come back to. 



Copied the images and text from Badass of the Week, so you should go there for more information and sweet profiles. This isn't plagiarism, because I don't claim that these words belong to me. Instead it's a blatant copyright violation, but I'm not running any advertisements and won't publish it for money, so hopefully he doesn't mind too much. I copied it not because I think it will generate tons of traffic in my little corner of the blogspace, but because I feel strongly about it.

Visit Badass of the Week every Friday for an awesome new profile.



"My God, it was like Little Big Horn.  We were all cowering in the bottom of our foxholes, expecting to get overrun.  Rescorla gave us courage to face the coming dawn.  He looked me in the eye and said, 'When the sun comes up, we're gonna kick some ass.'"


From both a military and a civilian capacity, it's hard to argue with the statement that Rick Rescorla is one of the greatest heroes in modern American history.  This is pretty damn impressive, especially considering that he was British and everything.

Cyril Richard Rescorla was born in Cornwall, on the southwest tip of England, in 1939.  A rugby star and high school shot put champion growing up, it soon became apparent that the whole book-learning thing really wasn't as appealing to young Rick as a good old-fashioned ass-whipping was.  So as soon as this adventure-hungry athlete turned 16 he quit school, joined the British military, and dedicated the majority of his life to pummeling the ever-loving cock-and-balls off of Communist douchebags wherever he could find them.
Rescorla's first deployment in Her Majesty's Service was as a Military Intelligence officer on the island of Cyprus, where he spent the period from 1957 to 1960 digging up intel on Communist activities and doing a bunch of other presumably-badass clandestine shit that I wasn't able to dig much info up about.  After that ended, he transferred to British Rhodesia in 1960, where he spent the next three years running through the bush with an assault rifle battling Communists in Angola and Zimbabwe as a member of the British South African Police.  Serving as a military policeman in a brutal conflict between British-backed South African security forces and Soviet-sponsored Commie pinko bastards, Rescorla proved himself a capable warrior, a natural leader, and a hardcore battering ram of a human being, and he gained valuable combat experience putting his spit-shined shoes and an Enfield rifle straight up the asses of anyone who didn't think that Karl Marx was a fucking jackass in the first place.


After transferring out of Rhodesia in 1963, Rick Rescorla suddenly found himself in something of a dilemma:  He'd run out of asses to kick.  This was only a temporary problem, however, because even though there was a short lull in the seemingly-never-ending British blood feud with the forces of Marxism, (according to him, Britain was simply "fresh out of wars to fight"), Rick Rescorla went out and did the rational thing, which was of course to move to the United States and enlist in the American army so that he could fucking ship out to Southeast Asia and fight in the goddamned Vietnam War.
Now think about this shit for a second.  Vietnam is one of the most horrifically brutal conflicts the United States has ever been involved in.  Thousands of good men died in the blood-soaked jungles of 'Nam, battling a cunning enemy in miserable conditions in a conflict that was largely unsupported by civilians on the home front.  Many people in the States – actual native-born Americans – were burning their draft cards and bras and a bunch of other random flammable shit and then running away to Canada to listen to Hippie music just so that they could avoid having to go over there and get their balls blown off by bouncing betty mines, yet here Rick Rescorla was, voluntarily transferring his national allegiance solely for the purposes of serving as an infantry officer in a war where the average life expectancy for a new Lieutenant on combat patrol was about 16 minutes.


Rescorla was on the ground at the very beginning of the Vietnam Shitstorm, and as a platoon leader in the 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Division, he ended up participating in the first major American battle in 'Nam – the bloody Battle of Ia Drang in November of 1965.  While serving in the same Regiment that used to belong to George Armstrong Custer (and the same Division as the fictional Colonel Kilgore from Apocalypse Now), Rescorla found himself in a desperate position, fighting over a small chunk of ground about 10 miles from the Cambodian Border.  The 2nd Battalion of the 7th Cav had been manning a defensive line when suddenly, in the middle of the night, they found themselves face-to-face with three full regiments of crack North Vietnamese Army soldiers.  The NVA troops launched a massive assault at the entire battalion line, badly mauling C Company over the course of the evening.  Rescorla was in B Company, which had managed to hold the line despite being badly outnumbered, but now he and his already-exhausted soldiers were called over to reinforce the weakened position once held by C Company.

Now, Rick Rescorla was a lifelong soldier, and while many of his men were seeing their first live-fire combat action and were dangerously close to losing their shit, this guy was already an old pro, and he knew how to handle frightened soldiers.  Belting out traditional Cornish folk songs in his mighty British accent, Rescorla personally got out there to dig foxholes, clear the brush to establish firing lanes, and reinforced the defensive perimeter like he was out pulling fucking dandelions from his garden back home.  His men were encouraged by the sight, and that night, when the 100 men of B Company were bum-rush attacked by over 2,000 NVA soldiers, Rescorla kept singing, inspiring his exhausted men to hold off four separate large-scale assaults between 4 and 6am.  Then, as if beating down a 20-to-1 onslaught of AK-47 wielding hardened troops wasn't enough, once the sun came up Rick Rescorla, who by this point was Jack Bauer-ing it on 48 hours of non-stop fighting without sleep, personally rallied his men led a goddamned bayonet charge that drove off the last remnants of the enemy troops.  Calling out orders like he was fucking Wellington at Waterloo, this guy kept his men in formation to "charge bayonets", and, after the attack drove the enemy out of the position, he went on to single-handedly wipe out a machine gun nest with a grenade in just for good measure (chucking grenades, incidentally, isn't much different than hefting a shot put).


The image of Rescorla advancing with bayonet was used as the cover
of We Were Soldiers Once.. And Young

But staring down three Regiments with a single Company and killing over 200 of the enemy while losing just 6 men wounded from his own unit wasn't the only fighting Rescorla would see during Ia Drang.  As he and his worn-out troops were being evacuated from their positions by helicopter, riding off into the sunset like the end of Contra, Rescorla got the word that the main body of the battalion was being hit hard by a night attack ambush.  This guy wasn't about to let that shit go down – he ordered his chopper pilot to get right into the middle of the clusterfuck and drop him off so he could commence shit-kicking immediately.

The pilot circled around, Rescorla and the men in his bird jumped the 10 feet to the ground amid a swirling cross-fire of machine gun and mortar fire, and ten minutes later the British-American Lieutenant was seen casually sauntering up to the American foxholes holding an M79 Grenade Launcher in one hand and an M-16 assault rifle in the other.  From what I understand, this is a man who loved the smell of napalm in the morning.


Rescorla fought off the attack, then captured a French bugle from a dead NVA officer.
He didn't officially become a U.S. citizen until 2 years after the battle.

According to Hal Moore, the Vietnam vet author of We Were Soldiers, Rescorla was, "the greatest platoon commander I have ever seen," but it was the crazy stories about this guy that really made him a semi-mythical entity among the American troops.  I mean, the fucking guy's call sign was "Hard Corps One-Six," for crying out loud.  This is a man who would be out there running laps barefoot every morning, and allegedly the soles of his feet were so toughened up from this regimen that he could put a campfire out by stepping on it.  There are stories of him walking into an NVA foxhole, seeing a bunch of enemy officers, and calmly saying, "Oh, pardon me," before smoking the room with machine gun fire.  Another tale has some Private flipping out Vincent D'Onofrio style and pulling a .45 on his commanding officer, and Rescorla (who was sharpening his Bowie knife at the time) just got up, walked right over to the guy, and just said, "Put.  The gun.  Down."  The dude did, and Rescorla went back to sharpening his knife.

After serving as a platoon leader, Rescorla became a recon scout for the battalion.  Basically, him and three other dudes would run around the wilderness scouting ahead, looking for ambushes, minefields, and other horrible shit, and then if they didn't accidentally fall into the trap they'd come back and report.  This wasn't easy (duh), but Rescorla was so good at it that he ended up teaching classes in reconnaissance and guerilla warfare at Fort Benning.  Also, he survived the war, which should also give you an indication of how hardcore this dude was.

"I knew him as a hundred-and-eighty-pound, six-foot-one piece of human machinery that would not quit, that did not know defeat, that would not back off one inch.  In the middle of the greatest battle of Vietnam, he was singing to the troops, saying we’re going to rip them a new asshole, when everyone else was worrying about dying."

Hard Corps One-Six left 'Nam with a Silver Star and a Bronze Star, got a law degree in Oklahoma, taught Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina, and retired from the Army reserve in 1990 with the rank of Colonel.  He later got a job as director of security for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, where he was tasked with ensuring employee safety for one of the world's largest financial institutions.

Rick Rescorla died almost exactly 10 years ago today.  He was at his post on the 44th floor of World Trade Center Tower 1 on September 11, 2001, when a psychotic madman flew a passenger airliner into the building.  When the Port Authority came over the loudspeaker in the building and ordered everyone inside to stay put, Rescorla muttered "Bugger that Blimy Poppycock" (or something equally British) under his breath, and flipped his brain right back into Commanding Officer mode.  It wasn't his first time dealing with a terrorist attack on his place of employment – in 1993, when a truck bomb went off in the basement of the Tower, Rescorla had evacuated his offices, helping everyone out until he was the last man to leave the building – and he wasn't taking any chances this time either.  He grabbed a bullhorn and personally ran up and down the 22 floors that encompassed Morgan Stanley Dean Witter headquarters, quickly and calmly getting everyone out of their cubes and down the stairs.  Rushing up and down the building despite the fact that he was 62 years old and dying from terminal bone marrow cancer, Rescorla didn't even consider slowing down until all 2,700 of his co-workers were safely out of the burning building.  When he saw how terrified the men and women he worked with were, he went back to his old standby of singing British folk songs to try and cheer them up.

He was last seen on the tenth floor of the World Trade Center, headed up.  Of the 2,700 people he had been charged with protecting, all but 6 survived the terrorist attack.

10 September 2013

WMDumb

The POTUS painted himself into a corner with some inane rhetoric about the use of chemical weapons in Syria constituting a 'red line'. Whatever that means.

The Oatmeal summarizes the hypocrisy very concisely. You can kill 100,000 people with bullets but as soon as you gas 1400 it's a big deal. The US should keep their nose out of Syria. Traditionally my foreign policy strategy has been described as 'isolationist'. I prefer 'TS-YOYO', which stands for "Tough Shit - You're on Your Own".

I don't care how many Syrians are affected / displaced / inconvenienced / killed. Also, unlike most Syrians, I'm a taxpaying registered voter in the United States. If you care deeply about the plight of the Syrians you should go there and help them unfuck themselves in person. Good luck with that. Don't do it through the broader aegis of the insatiable US Military Industrial complex. (We already prop up plenty of other countries, such as Israel, which gets support all out of proportion to its strategic value because American Jews as a group are consistent voters.)

America has no business getting involved in a conflict that has nothing to do with them. Sure there are 'moral implications', but if you feel strongly then you should get directly involved on the ground, not make our armed forces do the heavy lifting because you're too cowardly and/or lazy. If you want to protect the 'innocent' by all means: go and do. I wish you the best. There's a strong chance you will get killed or worse, but you're committed to the cause, right? No? Oh. Then why are you asking the military to do your dirty work?

We are not the world's moral enforcement arm. Setting aside my personal TS-YOYO views on the plight of individual Syrians, there is no evidence that any type of intervention in Syria will achieve a specific strategic aim, even in best case scenarios. There is no exit strategy that leaves Syria better off that does not cost an absurd amount of money and take an indefinite amount of time.

How about we recoup some of the trillions of dollars we sharted away in Iraq before we pitch in on a civil war in another shitburger country? Do you know how many roads you can build with two trillion dollars? How many people you can put to work? How much stuff you can build? How much training you can do? How many weapons you can build? How much health care you can provide? How many people you can educate? How many lives you can improve on a day to day basis? 

Blowing shit up is expensive and the long-term ROI is terrible. It's like feeding money into a wood chipper. Eventually you run out of money and you're left with a big mess to clean up. You can do this in the name of nation building or 'humanitarianism' or whatever other fabricated excuse you want to use but it's all the same thing: bullshit.

Enough.

Get that Money

Bands Make Her (?) Dance
Regular visitors know how much we (majestic plural) love sloths around here.

We (maj. pl.) are not alone, and some clever wag decided to paint a masterpiece of a sloth on a stirpper pole. Awwwww, yeahhhhh. You can buy your own print, but I think the magic belongs in the digital universe.

Advantage: Internet

09 September 2013

Feeling Blue

AWKWARRRRRRD
We love our naturalism jokes in this corner of the blogspace.

More Audio Goodness - La Mer


This song was featured at the end of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. (Great movie, btw.)
Anyway, I thought it was fun. Julio Iglesias, singing in the French, because of course. Plus: a horn section.

I guess you can download this version for free if you look around. I'm too lazy.
Some readers will recognize another version of this tune from a very popular video game. Crossover appeal! I'm enjoying this 70's arrangement, although the organ and synths (strings?) feel dated the vocal is strong.

07 September 2013

Life's Rich Pageant


Because: Darth Vader
Because: Bagpipes
Because: Flames
Because: The Internet
Because: America

:: bows head in reverence ::

06 September 2013

The People Have Spoken and They Declare for Hot Jams



Big Cheese comments on that mix embedded in previous post below from WORLD FAMOUS DJ TIESTO:

simply world class, truly exceptional. I actually hate the first track [ed: Destiny's Child - Say My Name (Cyril Hahn remix)] cuz its so good I cant get it out of my head. I have listened to this at least 15 times through. 

Agreed. It's one of those things that if someone told you how great it was you wouldn't believe it. But: here it is, and damn. Plus that first track is the hot jam. HOT LIKE FIRE. So good. Am I supposed to dance? Sing along? Makes me want to dance but slow, with intensity, like I mean it.

As usual I'm the last one to hear it (2.4 million plays on soundcloud, 4.7 million on youtube), but I figure to add another 200 or so all on my own. Can't stop won't stop.

Jesus how long has it been?


Well it's been quite a while. I don't have anything good to share at the moment, but should have some moderately fun content in the next couple weeks. Moderately fun. Let's make sure we manage expectations.

That goofy looking head in the photo is WORLD FAMOUS DJ TIESTO. Set is the full mix that includes the deep house track I posted earlier. As a rule deep house is shite but this mix is very listenable. Probably the deep house die hards hate it, which is why I like it so much. Enjoy at your leisure. 

30 August 2013

It is Ever Thus

Which is your favorite? I am split between the Thing from Ethnic Food Aisle that May Not be Food and The Lone Pickle. I'm pretty sure I've tossed out The Lone Pickle from every fridge when I have moved house.

Thanks Alligator Sunglasses for putting this in wider distribution.

In cable internet billing news: they raised my rate so I decided to call them and figure out how to get it back to normal levels. After 15 minutes on hold (why make it easy to complain? that would be stupid) the first person I spoke with couldn't help me. No problem, I asked to speak to the next-level person. At which point they hung up on me. I love cable.

29 August 2013

C is for Cookie



You know what's hot? Hot jamz. Deep house sucks except when it doesn't. Why hasn't anyone played this in one of my yoga classes yet? Come on, yoga instructor people!

It's possible they haven't played it because of the usual instructors I see in a given week one uses music only sparingly and another adds new songs to the playlist only under duress. And anything that makes his rotation that was released after Y2K is usually not good. He needs to stick with the classics. That leaves one guy, so I'll have to mention it to him. Note to self.

Anyway, hot deep house jam! There were a few identical versions of this mix on youtube and if you didn't know in advance that I would pick the one with the hot ginger then you don't know me at all. Like, not even kind of.

Title unrelated, except that I just ate too many Mother's Taffy cookies and now I feel sick. It's a weakness.