July 3rd, 2011

Peter G

The March Of Time

Well, Friday was officially my birthday.  I am now 40 years old.  Hmm...I wonder if I'm old now?

It's strange.  I don't usually celebrate my birthday.  To me, it is literally just another day.  Never saw the point in making a big deal out of it.

After this weekend, I'm not so sure anymore.

I'm talking with my teacher, and she wanted me to come by and at least say hi on my birthday.  I figure, fine, and we can go and grab something for dinner at one of our favorite haunts like Portillo's or something.  Nice, simple, and subtle.

Well, she was having none of that.  I show up Friday afternoon, and she has her family there, she's cooking hot dogs and brats and Italian sausage on the grill, and has a cake waiting for me.

I start feeling guilty.  I am NOT used to being made a big deal of.  I tell her this is too much and she shouldn't be doing all this.  I might as well have been talking to a brick wall.  Her family she's staying with knows me and they all come out and wish me Happy Birthday, including the Munchkin.  I'm doing my best to keep up, not an easy thing when you haven't done any actual birthday celebrating since you were probably in your teens.  They have a 360 and a ton of Rock Band content and made me promise, once we eat, to jam with them.

The food was great.  I mean, it's always great, but being with those close to you always makes it better (there's a reason I hang with mornblade  so much).  Some of them are asking me about how things have been, what I'm planning next.  I tell them a little about the next Hannah Singer book, and they all want to know when it will be out.  The Munchkin recently got a Rainbow Dash figure and is proudly showing it off to me.  She's occasionally doing things to pull a little focus to herself, get a little attention.  I look at my teacher, smirk, and say, "Kids."  She just nods her head.

Dinner under wraps, we head inside for Rock Band.  Everyone knows I do the drums.  I take my place, reminding myself to hold the sticks in the new grip I've been experimenting with in hopes of keeping my thumbs from blistering.  I was also wondering how long I would last, given that I hadn't done anything drum related in almost two months thanks to mandatory overtime.  Not only are their no blisters, but my arms did not get tired.  I must have played for, like, six hours, and no ill effects.  In fact, my right leg that I use for the bass pedal was starting to get tired, but my arm felt just fine (when I first started, I actually inflamed my right arm and had to take aspirin for the first time in years to get the swelling down).  The Munchkin in particular had a blast.  No one activated the mic, but she didn't know that.  She's holding the mic, "singing" and dancing around like Beck on a coffee buzz.  Many pictures were taken as the "band" played and people called out their favorites from the set list.  I got to choose the first song.  I wanted something to warm up with that would also go over with the crowd.  Looking over the list, I find one song that I KNOW gets the crowd up and moving -- "Fat Bottom Girls" by Queen, my second favorite song by them and, as any DJ will attest, gets things moving (the kids there are three and younger, so they don't know what the words really mean.  Trust me, I wouldn't have done anything inappropriate).  No one there other than the guitarist was really all that familiar with the song.  By the end, they were fans, and the Munchkin had more fun than Freddie Mercury.

I don't know how long it took (all I remember was we had just finished "In Too Deep" by Sum 41), but I remembered we still had cake to get to.  So the band takes five.  My teacher pulls out the cake.  It's decorated with Ariel, The Little Mermaid.  One of the guys says, "Mermaids?  Are you sure you should have gotten mermaids?"  My teacher and the Munchkin's mom just look at him and nod their heads.  I make my wish, and we all tuck in.

After that, we go back to playing.  The sugar is kicking in for the Munchkin, and she's back to her stuff as everyone continues to have fun, including a couple holding their cell phones up and waving them around.  When my leg starts feeling it, I check the time.



We do a couple more (no one wanted the fun to end, not even me), but the kids need to go to bed and so do I.  Everyone is hugging me or shaking my hand and wishing me the best.  The longest, best hug comes from my teacher, telling me that I'm on my way and this year is when everything changes for me.  I think about how I've actually celebrated my birthday for the first time in decades, and I remember she's never wrong.

Maybe I should do this more often.

Shooting Fish In A Barrel

Michele Bahmann wants to be our President.

She has officially declared herself running for the R's nomination.

Those of you who think I'm going to goof on her for confusing John Wayne with John Wayne Gacy, sorry, no.  Everyone else is already doing that (when the press starts picking on you instead of Sarah Palin, you're doing it wrong).  Besides, that's kid's stuff.  Once again, everyone is going after very simple mistakes instead of the important stuff.  Someone needs to get to the meat and potatoes of why Bachmann is a very very bad choice.

That's my job.  You might want to shield yourselves with your dessert menus.  This is going to get messy.

Let's start with Big Government and Big Spending.  Those are Bad Things.  No one likes the government interfering in their business, and no one likes being taxed into oblivion to support a bunch of pork barrel projects.  And Slick Shelley, as several of us pundits are starting to call her, is stumping long and hard about how those things need to be stopped.  Uh, huh.  Let's turn the mic over to the LA Times:

"The Minnesota Republican and her family have benefited personally from government aid, an examination of her record and finances shows. A counseling clinic run by her husband has received nearly $30,000 from the state of Minnesota in the last five years, money that in part came from the federal government. A family farm in Wisconsin (actually, it's owned by her father-in-law.  --G), in which the congresswoman is a partner, received nearly $260,000 in federal farm subsidies.

And she has sought to keep federal money flowing to her constituents. After publicly criticizing the Obama administration’s stimulus program, Bachmann requested stimulus funds to support projects in her district. Although she has been a fierce critic of earmarks — calling them “part of the root problem with Washington’s spending addiction” — the congresswoman nonetheless argued recently that transportation projects should not be considered congressional pork."

But wait!  There's more!

"Publicly, Bachmann has objected strongly to federal farm payments. When she voted against the 2008 farm bill, a $307-billion package that would govern federal agriculture policy for five years, Bachmann declared that it was “loaded with unbelievably outrageous pork and subsidies for agricultural business and ethanol growers.” She was one of two nays cast by Minnesota’s eight-member delegation.

Just a year later, however, Bachmann wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, praising the federal government for helping prop up the prices of pig products and dairy by directly buying the commodities, a move that benefited her constituents.  “I would encourage you to take any additional steps necessary to prevent further deterioration of these critical industries, such as making additional commodity purchases,” she wrote on Oct. 5, 2009. The Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau obtained the letter through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The USDA that year had stepped up its purchase of pork and dairy products for use in school lunches and other government food programs, seeking to stabilize prices in the then-flagging industries (God bless the Free Market! -- G).  While not technically a subsidy, commodity purchase programs are “a deliberate effort of the government to prop up these industries,” said David DeGennaro, legislative analyst for the Environmental Working Group."

Slick Shelley, on Good Morning America, said of John Quincy Adams, "He was a very young boy when he was with his father serving essentially as his father's secretary. He tirelessly worked throughout his life to make sure that we did in fact one day eradicate slavery."  Where do I even begin with this?  Quince was not a Founding father.  He was only 9 when the Declaration Of Independence was signed.  And as far as ending slavery, Quince privately called slavery "a great and foul stain", but he sidestepped the issue as President and did nothing.  Notice the word "privately" in that previous sentence.

What else?  How about the gas crisis?  That's a working class folks issue, surely she can mine some gold from that, right?  "One. That's the number of new drilling permits under the Obama administration since they came into office."  Now, ignoring the fact that increasing the oil supply will NOT affect the price of gas (how many times am I going to have to explain this?  Jesus!), this is just plain wrong.  Before the Gulf oil spill, Obama approved more than 200 new drilling permits.  Afterwards?  Since the new safety standards were enacted, 60 new permits have been issued, and with the moratorium that ended on deep water drilling in October, nine new permits for that were issued.

Slick Shelley on Obama's involvement in the NATO air strikes on Libya -- "Overnight we are hearing that potentially 10 to 30,000 people could have been killed in the strike."  She could potentially argue the bit over drilling was being misinformed, but this is just an outright, bald faced lie.  Those numbers come from the US ambassador to Libya, and he was pegging the numbers of ALL deaths, including from Ghaddafi's crackdowns.  There is no way one single air strike can kill 10K to 30K people.

Welcome to the Presidential race, Michele Bachmann.  Remember, people like me are watching you.
Peter G

And Now, A Long Distance Dedication To Balloonhat

balloonhat  and I both shook our heads at the redesign of Harley Quinn that DC is working on.  For those who don't remember, here it is:

Remember the guys on Cafe Press who did that DC Comics "WTF" T-shirt?  They have another design that I think balloonhat might be interested in.  Balloonhat, this one's on me....

They have lots of shirts goofing on DC, so hurry before they get C&D'ed.
Peter G

You Know...This Could Work....

I have on Fermatta the script for the Green Lantern movie written by Robert Schimmel.  Yes, the guy behind The Ambiguously Gay Duo, TV Funhouse, and (unfortunately) Triumph The Insult Comic Dog.  Schimmel was commission to write a script that never got beyond the first draft stage.  Any good?  Don't know, just started reading it (nothing like a little light reading in the john, you know?).  It plays mostly as a comedy -- Schimmel said he wrote it with Jack Black in mind to play the lead, so I have a good idea how this would have played out.  Would it have been better than the Green Lantern movie we just got?  I'll give you my opinion later on.

Until then, here's another gag in a similar vein.

I could totally see this being more fun than the movie out right now.