The Last Thing the Internet Needs Now


Gee, Ya Think?!?!?!
December 2, 2008, 1:01 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Via cnn.com, in so many words: Voters picked Obama because of me.

He can’t leave soon enough, and that’s all I’m gonna say. I’ll let the link speak for itself, I are teh sleepy.

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Sunday Evening Random Missed Information

Good read here (WaPo) and here (The Disenchanted Forest) on Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana), the dreamy dream boy of Republicans looking for the anti-Obama for 2012. Hmmmm … I can’t help but think of “New Coke” for some reason here.

————————

Guess the Thunder have to start a new streak now. Meanwhile, how much weight can Barack Obama throw around to get his desired eight-team college football playoff? Look, I don’t like the Longhorns either, but I don’t blame Longhorns fans one bit for feeling like they’ve been prison-raped by the BCS.

Was it because Oklahoma earned style points for scoring 60+ its last few games, while this weekend Texas Tech had to struggle for a comeback win against unranked Baylor(!) and Texas throttled an incredibly weak (and unranked) Texas A&M team the day after Thanksgiving? Does this explain it? Please? Hey, if I get kicked off of Blog Oklahoma for being unpatriotic or something, fine, but I’m not going to be one saying, “Yay, the Sooners are on the way to the Big 12 Championship Game (again)” without calling out the fact there’s gotta be a better way to settle the college football postseason.



Bedlam Day Mindless Babble
November 29, 2008, 5:06 am
Filed under: Daily life | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Maybe I’ll still be awake when Chris, Kirk and Coach hit the teevee box at 9 a.m. Central if I keep writing, even if it’s a bunch of crap.

Orange Things That Are Teh Suck: Highway barrier cones, pylons, any kind of safety/construction area stuff, convict jumpsuits, part of the Thunder’s color scheme.

Orange Things That Are Teh Smoove: Oranges (I’m drinking OJ right now), Halloweeny stuff. OSU orange is Halloweeny, so that’s not really offensive to me, because although I don’t really like OSU, I love Halloween. Virginia Tech orange and Syracuse orange are eye-pleasing; Tennessee orange is way too bright and headache inducing (it’s also probably more yellow than orange, regardless it still makes my head hurt); Texas orange looks like runny diarrhea feces.

• I know these things exist so they cannot be a figment of my imagination. I am looking for a flat cast iron griddle that covers two burners. Thrift stores, garage/estate sales, antique shops and other “getting places” have all come up empty for this quest. My grandma had one when I was a child. I really, really want one. I love grilled onion burgers — I always buy the stupid frozen patties, boxed in sixes, that already have garlic in them (that is if I don’t press them myself with, um, stuff). The burgers get topped with grilled onions (duh), Swiss or provolone (or both), more grilled onions, and mustard (plain old French’s) on a toasted hogie (no seeds) or otherwise regular hamburger bun (also no seeds). This just really doesn’t work for me in a 12″ cast iron skillet. I want to be able to spread out and do everything at once (this is gonna be an exercise in futility but anybody that can lead me to one, leave a comment — sorry you have to log in first, I don’t mind eating Spam, it’s quite good actually, but I don’t want to read it and it will be deleted, thanks).

• A friend of mine who is an expert thrifter advised me once that I should never go thrifting with an object particularly in mind because I’m never going to find it. Someday when I am just idle and have disposable income (ha ha) and I do decide to hit the Salvation Army and otherwise with a vengeance, I’ll keep my friend’s counsel under advisement. But right now I’m just damned impatient. If I have to go anywhere where some amount of money will be extricated from my pocketbook, I’m more objective-oriented: I go in, I go straight to it, I get it, I pay for it, I get the hell out. I am really not fun to shop with, actually. It is a complete waste of my time to dawdle in any store, whether it’s Target, or Dillard’s, or Ross or TJ Maxx, looking at crap I won’t be caught dead in or otherwise owning, nor care to pay the price for, even if severely discounted.

• I hate Wal Mart but it’s a necessary evil. It’s usually the only thing open in the middle of the night when I tend to be out doing stuff. I have never had a harrowing Wal Mart experience like this thankfully (but I wouldn’t rule it out one of these days). The worst thing I’ve seen in either of the Norman Wal Marts are guys my age who still look and dress like it’s 1983 (and I don’t mean because they have A Flock of Seagulls hair. I kind of wish that was the case, though). Which brings me to their marketing of AC/DC.

A long damn time ago, before Wal Mart became the monster that it is, I remember Wal Mart (and KMart too) being discount retailers that would not carry albums that had one of those Parental Advisory stickers on them, when this was a new thing (ah, the mid-1980s, thanks PMRC), and Wal Mart being a place at one time that had AC/DC on some kind of morality blacklist because of the content of their music. Seems ironic today that the mammoth, monopolistic Wal Mart is now whoring AC/DC (Black Ice is only available at Wal Mart, Sam’s Club and the band’s official website). Hmmm …

Okay, sorry, I’m not an AC/DC fan. They’re fine in small doses, but after a while it’s the same crap over and over again. And let’s not forget the AC/DC link with the Oklahoma City Thunder, although I think Hinder has recorded another version of “Thunderstruck,” as if AC/DC’s version was damaged goods or something. Or maybe because it needed the homegrown OKC Hinder treatment (meh). At least it sounds like Hinder, or some other purveyor of generic rock crap.

One more thing and I’ll quit bashing AC/DC: I confess, I went to a couple of Hornets games while they were here (both times I went to see the visiting team, the Portland Trail Blazers. I actually like them, and this was before they got the services of Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden. In fact I think the only guys left on the roster now that were on the team during the 2005-06 season were Joel Przybilla, Travis Outlaw, Steve Blake and Martell Webster).

But anyway, I know I heard AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” being played to some dance routine by the Hornets’ dance group at one of the games, whoever they were … so the NBA prides itself on its family atmosphere crapola and they’re doing a routine to a song that couldn’t be more obviously about sex if the guy singing the song was naked from the waist down with a huge throbbing John Holmes erection. I’m not crying foul because I’m some kind of moralistic scold or anything, I’m crying foul because it’s another example of how the left hand of the NBA doesn’t seem to know what the right hand is doing and therefore experiences waning credibility as a legitimate sports league.

To me it goes right along with the Tim Donaghy scandal, the whole Seattle/Oklahoma City thing, my own belief that the postseason is rigged by design to showcase the ultra-mega-superstar players in high-major media markets as if its going to boost the sagging TV ratings for the Playoffs/Finals (good luck with that, although those figures end in the year 2007), and blah blah blah to infinity. And now there’s a new wrinkle: Lousy attendance, although that could be a byproduct of the ongoing economic crisis/recession.

• I will no longer recognize marriage. Money excerpt right here:

That’s what’s so great about America. As a Constitutionally secular nation, or at least in reality a vaguely pluralistic nation, we can all have our own spiritual take on what marriage is. What’s troublesome is when one group’s spiritual beliefs deny the cultural and legal rights of another.

But, back to the point. They say their beliefs don’t recognize my marriage, I say my beliefs don’t recognize theirs. Simple. It may seem petty, and obviously the legal part of the cultural/legal/spiritual trilogy is flip-floppy, but it may be the cultural part that really matters.

And I think on that serious note I’ll shut up for now.



So, How’s That “Big League City” Stuff Going For You?
November 28, 2008, 7:23 pm
Filed under: Sports | Tags: , , ,

They’re 1-15 (as of this writing, November 28), with a 13-game losing streak. Their new fans have actually booed them. At this moment they appear to be the laughingstock of the association that brings us Not Basketball Anymore. How do you like them apples, Oklahoma City? So far every time the Thunder (!) gets mentioned on ESPN, they’re being shown getting humiliated, pwned, insert your favorite negative adjective here, whether its by the lowly LA Clippers (one of the worst teams in the Western Conference) or the contending Cleveland Cavaliers (a game in which LeBron James was only needed for about 17 minutes). And given the circumstances of how the team wound up in Oklahoma City, it isn’t like the Thunder are going to be lovable losers like the Cubbies (or even pathetic losers like the NFL’s Detroit Lions). Was this what everybody had in mind when they wanted to do this to raise Oklahoma City’s profile beyond it being that city with the tornadoes?

And not surprisingly, this is music to the ears of embittered Seattle Supersonics fans (and some of us Oklahomans who didn’t like the idea of taking Seattle’s 41-year old NBA franchise, moving it to a significantly smaller media market and rebranding it in horrifically bad fashion). Can you blame them? There is a lot of blame to go around in the saga of the final days of the Seattle Supersonics, but not everybody in Oklahoma wanted a bunch of big money men to up and buy the Sonics and exploit what had become a toxic political situation to their advantage — which is what they did, plain and simple. The ones who REALLY got screwed in this deal — as always — are the FANS in Seattle.

I don’t blame Seattle fans for being bitter, nor do I blame them for laughing at Oklahoma City at damn near every turn (provided they understand that not all Oklahomans wanted this, and some Oklahomans are Blue instead of brainwashed), and nor do I blame them for the thoroughly hateful feelings they have for Clay Bennett and the ownership group, and for NBA Commissioner David Stern — a man who has been wearing out his welcome as the head of the league for some time now. In a time of economic downturn I can’t help but feel a little bit of glee at watching very rich men start feeling the pinch in their wallets.

Between Oklahoma being The Reddest State in the Union and the home of The Worst Team in the NBA, what’s a filthy dirty liberal that loves sports to do? Even the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Washington Wizards, at 2-11 and also playing under an interim head coach, are slightly more fortunate. The only difference between DC and Oklahoma City is that everybody knows what place you’re talking about when you say “DC.” When you say “Oklahoma City,” people still go “huh?” And hey, gotta rub salt in the wounds of the McCain/Palin groupies one more time: DC is Barack Obama‘s future residence. Suck it Pubs.

But maybe the ownership group realizes (if they are in this for the long haul and this really isn’t just a plaything they can use to curry favor from the rest of the state and to just hear “OKC” on ESPN every night, regardless of context), they have to actually make it successful on the court in order to breed success off the court. They fired head coach PJ Carlesimo (a somewhat overdue move) after the first game of a home-and-home against the New Orleans Hornets (the team Oklahoma City put up and fell in love with for two seasons following Katrina), and did so under a midnight cloak before flying to New Orleans for the second game of the home-and-home. Oh yeah, and that Friday night game was a nationally televised beatdown of the highest order. I’m not sure the Thunder will have an opportunity to be nationally televised the rest of the season (while NBA broadcast schedules can change over the course of a season, it doesn’t happen that much).

To be fair, it’s still too early to assess what kind of impact interim head coach Scott Brooks will have on this team. To his credit, he’s younger than Carlesimo, maybe this is just me but players seem to relate better to guys who actually PLAYED in the NBA as Brooks did (as opposed to Carlesimo, who hasn’t suited up for a game since 1971 at Fordham). There has been some positive reax/speculation about Brooks moving Kevin Durant back to his natural position (small forward), but it’s still a little too early to see what difference that’ll make. Desmond Mason has yet to play a game with Brooks running the show (sprained elbow — he is coming off the bench tonight versus Minnesota). Little things like that may make a difference at the season wears on.

Thre is still a lot of season left. We’ll see.

(Before I actually hit the PUBLISH button, I might mention that at halftime, the Thunder are leading the Timberwolves 48-44. Minnesota is the only team the Thunder have beaten this season. So perhaps they’ll be 2-15 by the end of tonight. Doesn’t change the fact there’s still a lot of work to do in OKC).



Whatsamatta With Oklahoma, Take 1,659,134
November 28, 2008, 12:48 pm
Filed under: Oklahoma | Tags: , ,

GREAT piece in the Oklahoma Daily (OU paper, duh). It starts with the columnist telling us about her high school teacher and goes from there.

The school board tried to get her fired. As did local churches, including mine.

And as did the principal.

In 2005, he asked her to sign the memo. It listed several points she must agree to, including:

“Understand that you work in a conservative community.”

“Stay on topic; be cautious with politics and sexual orientation situations with students.”

“Be careful with liberal and religious view points.”

And, the one that made me cry, “Remember who you work for and [the fact that] consistently being outside the box and parent complaints could cost you your teaching position.”

I suddnely realized I had been brought up in a community that forbids original thought.

I realized I had bought into the lie that it is a sin open your mind and just listen to what people who disagree with you say.

I realized my small community was a microcosm of the state of Oklahoma and that, as long as I stay here, the fact that I am a moderate who sympathizes with some — though definitely not all — liberal viewpoints will cause others to question my Christianity, my judgment and my intelligence.

I’m not gonna spoil the rest, but just go read it. If you read ONE thing this holiday weekend, between stuffing your face with leftovers and watching football, read this one. It’s a very heartfelt and sincere slice of what many Oklahomans are going through right now.




Moral Struggle Is Teh Suck
November 16, 2008, 8:39 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags:

(Uptighty ones: If you’re bothered by curse words, this contains some. You were warned in advance so don’t get all up in my face about it. Kthxbai).

Much has been written about Oklahoma’s sharp right turn in Election ’08, including by me, that the number-crunching and the whys and hows don’t really need to be reexamined. Yes, I live in a state that is out of step with the nation as never before. Yes, despite that HUGE negative, I generally like it here.

I have begun to feel a pull to pack up (despite how broke I am) and wish and hope that I can gain something like political asylum in a state like Oregon or Maryland or any other state that went Blue on November 4. I am still pretty heartsick that my state — a place that I love, despite the warts and boils — where I’ve lived for the biggest chunk of my 42 years is going to continue to be the object of ridicule, and all of us Oklahomans will be judged by the standard that we’re all ignorant religious nuts who are intolerant of diversity, unwilling to try new things, and deeply scared of change.

How do I tell people outside of our borders, “We’re not all like that!”

For instance, I have to share this great state with the likes of this individual, whose letter to the editor was published in Friday’s editions of The Oklahoman (I’ve redacted his name and didn’t post a link on purpose):

While watching the coverage of the presidential election returns, I was proud to be an Oklahoman. Our state was one of the first to turn red and thereby reject the extreme liberal policies and socialistic direction our nation seems to be taking. I never thought I’d live to see the day in which we would elect to the highest office in the land a man whose character resume has so many holes in it. Oklahoma, by a 2-to-1 margin, saw through the smokescreen of the national media and said no thanks.

“Character holes … ” ummm … let me guess, you’ve bought into the whole “Obama’s a Muslim and he associates with terrorists and he’s actually the Antichrist” bit, right?

I never thought I’d live to see the day that people who still think it’s perfectly okay to judge/demean/abuse a man because of the color of his skin or his origins would still be taken seriously enough to have their blather published in a newspaper. But wait, this *is* The Oklahoman. They’re still paying Jenni Carlson to write blather on the sports page.

Gov. Brad Henry was in Chicago celebrating with the crowd. Could there be any clearer picture as to how out of step he is with this great state? In two years when his term is finally over, and if he tries to advance his political career, I hope we will remember his true colors.

Did Brad Henry kick your puppy or something? “Extreme liberal policies” and “socialistic direction” and “Brad Henry” go together like milk and drain cleaner. There are people on my end of the political spectrum who think Henry’s a DINO. At best he’s a moderate. Either way, Oklahoma has seen some forward movement under Henry. But oh, wait, Oklahomans are afraid of forward movement.

Anyway, what was wrong with Henry being in Chicago celebrating with the President-Elect? Unlike a number of Oklahomans, Henry sees that the direction the nation has been going in for the last several years has been the wrong direction, and Henry endorsed who he thought was the right man. I’m personally convinced the only reason Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Oklahoma Democratic Primary on Super Tuesday was because she’d be easier to beat were she to win the nomination because she (and her husband) had already been demonized by the right-wing hatemongers and otherwise freaks and she’d be an easier target than the then-relatively unknown skinny kid with the funny name from Chicago by way of Hawaii. It would have been like shooting fish in a barrel.

A number of Oklahomans happen to agree with Governor Henry. We’re sorry that our group gets out-shouted by your group because the Most Powerful Newspaper in Oklahoma *drowns* everyone else out. I’ve wasted my time writing letters to the editor to The Oklahoman before. Even though I don’t cuss in them and use perfect English and make my points squarely (unlike here), I’ve gotten responses like “we regret we cannot publish your letter” and once I got one back that said, “Your letter is inappropriate for publication” (that was at least 11 years ago, but I’ve NEVER forgotten that. It’s actually one of the primary reasons I have something against The Oklahoman. I kind of *have* to read it, but I approach reading it as “trying to understand my enemy”).

————————

This doesn’t have anything to do with the above, but to me it’s a microcosm of why I am the way I am. I am reminded of this encounter with the watchmen where I worked when I was about 17 or so.

He and his watchman buddy — one was about to get off, the other one was coming on — were sitting around the breakroom of where I worked at the time — a fleet facility where I was a maintenance helper or something, I don’t remember it was a bullshite high school job, but it beat working at Burger King and it was an okay way to kill three or four hours after school and make a few bucks.

There was a TV in the break room and they were watching the evening news and chatting it up. I was across the room waiting for a ride home and minding my own business, but I listened to their conversation:

“Look, now we’re gonna have N%$$#@ Day …” (this was around the time the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday was declared). “Why the hell do we have to have this?”

His buddy: “Because a bunch of uppity (that word again) pissed and moaned about it for so long they gave in.”

I sat alone with my crossword puzzle and seethed, and stayed out of their conversation. I wasn’t in the mood to tangle with a pair of fat, late-middle-aged (actually I vaguely remember both being over 60) rednecks with small arms at their side. I was tired, I didn’t want to talk to anybody I just wanted to go home. But listening was fascinating. It moved tangentially from blacks to women to that then-new disease that was affecting gay men and back to blacks and what a mess this world was I think we’re going to be here to see Armageddon and blah blah blah.

Then one of them looked at me and asked, “What do you think of (that word again) Day?”

I just looked up from my puzzle and said, “Whatever. I don’t have a problem with it.”

Redneck #1 — “You’ve got some learning to do, missy. You don’t mind having a national holiday for a (that word again).”

Me — “My mom’s boyfriend uses that word all the time and Mom and I hate it, and I wish you’d lay off.”

Redneck #2 — “Boyfriend? Is your mom a slut or something? What about your real dad?”

Me — “None of your fuckin’ business.”

Redneck #1 backed off and started trying to engage me in chatter about my studies and crap. I ignored him. I heard a honk outside and it was my ride. I grabbed my stuff and headed to the door.

Redneck #1 showed me out with the benediction, “See you in church on Sunday.”

All these years later I regret not saying what I really wanted to say to these men. Which should have been: “You mean you’re okay with murdering people because they were different from you and they wanted to fight for justice to be on an equal footing with everybody else? You’re okay with crap like separate bathrooms and water fountains and all that? You were okay with the fact that for roughly 200 years those words in the Declaration of Independence about all men being created equal was just hollow bullshite? You are really okay with that?

“By the way, does your wife like it when you hit her?”

“And you have the gall to admonish me to go to church.” (at the time, I actually did. I no longer have anything to do with religion of any kind).

I think deep in the recesses of my memory that’s the reason I feel compelled to stay in Oklahoma and work to debunk stereotypes and maybe one day (it’ll probably be after I’m dead, though), Oklahoma won’t be a joke to the other 49 states.

I just love it when Billy Bob Redneck comes up with “We don’t care what the rest of the country thinks … ” but hello, it kind of does matter if we want to attract more business and industry and high-tech jobs here, and make people want to move here (heh good luck with that in a recession/depression, thanks Bush!) and it kind of does matter what the outside thinks at a time when Oklahoma is just dying to raise its profile to the rest of the nation (this whole NBA thing is NOT a positive step in that direction, but that’s for another post upcoming). Billy Bob, what the rest of the country thinks DOES matter. And right now what the rest of the nation thinks of Oklahoma isn’t … that great — unless you’re a college football analyst. Those guys freakin’ LOVE us right now.

I know that if I left and tried to seek some kind of “political asylum” in the two states of my choice (Oregon or Maryland), that would make me something I really don’t want to be: A chicken. I am fearful of a lot of things: Losing my mind, losing my health, losing my friends (and I’ve lost plenty for various reasons including the Unavoidable One), losing my wallet even though it isn’t like I ever have money anymore … but I really don’t want to be perceived as a coward because I up and left Oklahoma because I was tired of working for change against a hateful and backwards political climate that seems increasingly driven by demagogues. I won’t go away from here until I’m dead, and I hope that I leave Oklahoma a better place than it was when I got here.

But it’s still tempting. Real tempting. Then I look at my bank account and look at the complete piece of crap outside my window that may once have been my vehicle and know that well, that’s not possible.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, I guess.

*sigh*



Trust Me, I’m Going Somewhere With This
November 16, 2008, 6:02 am
Filed under: Media | Tags: ,

When I was in junior high school (which would have been roughly between 1979 and 1981, but I don’t actually remember which year it was within those), some of my classmates got religion all at the same time and affirmed their new faith by burning all their Led Zeppelin, Queen and Styx albums because if you played them backwards, they were telling you to worship Satan! I guess they went to see the same traveling preacher at some weird church in town and, um, were moved. It creeped me out how it all happened simultaneously.

I remember kids that were stoners on Friday and by Monday they were all looking like they scrubbed themselves with SOS pads and dressed neater than usual and telling me that rock music was evil and I was going to hell and I needed to burn all my record albums too (of course, some of these kids laughed at my musical tastes at the time). I’m not saying my junior high school became like the Village of the Damned or anything with a bunch of pretty blond boys and girls running around with weird eyes, but there were a good 3 or 4 classmates that bought into it, and everybody noticed it, including teachers.

But let’s examine this whole playing albums backwards thing. You made what is presumably a lifetime commitment to something (or more like, you’re now committed to making a pest out of yourself to people who have religious beliefs that are different from yours and really don’t want to hear your sales pitch for freaky-deaky fundie black helicopter end-times paranoia) but you did it on the basis of hearing what you think or were led to believe were satanic messages on record albums when they were played for you *backwards.* The way they weren’t intended to be listened to.

By that logic should we play commercials backwards? Newscasts? Campaign speeches? I bet that would have been real interesting in this most recent election cycle, and there’s plenty of room for each side to spin what the other is saying to suit what they’re selling. And we think the only thing we would have learned from that is that Sarah Palin has an annoying whiny voice whether you listen to her talk forwards or backwards.

OTOH, could this have been used to convince the “Obama is a Muslim in cahoots with terrorists” crowd otherwise if we played his speeches backwards? Let’s face it, the “OIAMICWT” crowd won’t take Obama’s own word for it no matter how much that myth has been debunked over and over and over again. Or, would playing John McCain’s speeches backwards have convinced people he wasn’t really a Bush-bot? Hard to say, it would have depended on who was doing the spinning.

That’s all academic now — Barack Obama will take office on January 20 thanks to rational Americans (including myself) who were fed up with the other side, Oklahoma’s 7 electoral votes be damned.

Almost 30 years later this still kind of blows my mind. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to make a major change in your life, whether it’s adopting a religious faith or a new diet or whatever. But if the reasons are grounded in reality and the result of something that would normally happen, then good for you. For example, I had a health issue a couple of years ago that forced me to cut certain things out of my diet (nuts, beans, corn, seeds). It’s hard to deal with but I have to deal with it so I had to make the change if I don’t want to, basically, have my intestine explode one day and kill me or something (I admit a weakness for Reese’s peanut butter cups. Smooth peanut butter — or the stuff they put in Reese’s peanut butter cups — I was told was OK. I guess it’s OK, I’m not dead yet. But the crunchy stuff? No way). But in the case of my diet there were real, SERIOUS reasons behind making a major life change. Changing your life based on playing music albums backwards … ummmm, not the same thing!

I wonder what happened to those kids. I wound up in high school with some of them and haven’t seen any of them in at least 23 or 24 years.