Thursday, July 30, 2009

Late Bloomers


I've never seen this before. A couple of more poppies are trying to bloom. This one is deformed. Have to wait to see what the other bloom looks like. We put some compost tea made from my wife's white bread compost on the cut-back poppies last week. Could that have done it? This is very late in the year for poppies to try to bloom in my experience. Art Appraiser's catnip is in the background.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ant Trails

There are dark passages in The Hive I hesitate to visit, corridors I'm almost afraid to go down without a flashlight in one hand and a .45 automatic in the other. I don't know where they lead or what's waiting for me down there.

My grandfather and my father were both cops. I barely remember my grandfather. He was a big Irishman who smoked cigars and threw his blackjack at me when I tried to lift it off his belt. I was six or seven. I gave him a wide berth after that, and he died of a heart attack the next year.

My father and mother were divorced right after I was born. I spent time with him on weekends and vacations in the Summer. He was cynical and suspicious, and I don't remember him ever accepting anything I said at face value. He assumed I was lying. Maybe it was the job made him like that, or maybe he was like that and found the perfect job. I'm sure he was the kind of Southern cop who hated black people, except for the little kids. He thought the kids were "cute."

When I was four or five, my mother and I were walking home one night, and we were attacked. My mother threw me at the attacker, ran to the house and let our dog out. He was a big dog and very protective. They used to have to put him outside if they were thinking of spanking me. When the attacker turned up at the emergency room later, my father and his friends were waiting for him there.

My wife was a mid-career artist when she got the idea it would be interesting to document how institutions imprint themselves on people. She started the project in Seattle and almost joined the Seattle police, but she got a fellowship in Houston and ended up completing the project down there. She went into the Houston Police Academy right before her 35th birthday. She recently gave me permission to talk about that year from my point of view. I didn't experience it myself, though I heard some of it on the police-band radio I kept by my bed, but I have some idea of what women run into in that world. I've heard what it's like to chase a car load of kids across Houston at high speeds -- I actually listened to this one -- and then have to race on foot to get to the kids before the cops in the other cars can beat them up. I know what happens when you turn a fellow officer in for putting his gun to a kid's head. And I have an idea how it feels to go into buildings without being sure your backup will be there if you need it. I know about the three kids and the kitten with diarrhea, cooped up all day, watching television in an apartment on the East side. And I know about the helicopters that circle poor neighborhoods all night, but never go near River Oaks.

I'm sure all that personal history plays into the way I see the Gates, Crowley, Obama flap. But for the life of me, I can't figure out how.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee

I've been re-reading Dee Brown's Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee this week. Brown's great achievement was to envision a history of the West narrated by the Native Americans who were rubbed out by the advance of "Americans" westward. As those of you who love the book as I do know, Brown invites his readers to read the book facing East. When I do that, I immediately lose my sense of being "an American" and see myself as a European, invading and conquering the richest continent on earth. I can't tell you how much I detest seeing myself as a European.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Impulses



From a young designer/musician friend of Subject of Science's. It's pretty amazing that young people are listening to things like this and passing them on. We were at a pool party. I'd been doing my Julia Child imitation and passing on my roast chicken recipe. I mentioned my daughter's music teacher had told her a little exercise she was playing would be exciting when she started "connecting the notes," but he hadn't explained what that meant.

More than a fair trade for a roast chicken recipe.

Much Less Build A Thunderdome

Where are the hybrids going to fight? Where will the Billygator take down the Manskyeddie if not in The Thunderdome. I'm not waiting for an atmosphere.

NASA says they can't keep piddling around and get to Mars, too.

I wish there was a better planet within reach. No wonder the predators come here. We've got the jungles. How can you have an adventure without a jungle, or at least a dense forest? Guess we'll have to go underground on Mars. Middle Mars. Maybe find some of those things wrap you up in their arms and all that's left of you is steaming guts.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Last Venusian

I want some great stories. Anyone voting against great stories is a soulless shit and should be stuck on an ice floe 'til death.

But, if we're gonna go back into space, this time I want those assholes from NASA and their consultants and PR people to all shut the fuck up. Not one word about how we're creating valuable technologies that industry can use. That crap has to be shit-canned.

I want ADVENTURE, goddammit. Big brass-assed stories with thrills, chills, back-stabbing, REAL heroism, white knuckled fear and great big missions to be accomplished on behalf of God and History.

And, frankly, if you fucking Americans aren't gonna get back into the Adventure and Excitement and Big Paul Bunyan kinda thing, then you better just piss off and get out of the way. Because it was the one thing you were good at, and damned if I can think of any others these days.

I want American astronauts who piss tobacco juice into a tin can tied to their leg, who wrangle an extra buxom blonde on-board, who get liquored up and take potshots at the left-over lunar landers, who've got hooks for hands and insist on unscrewing radioactive jars with them, who climb down onto Mars and bust off the ladder behind them so that other prick has to stay in the lander, who secretly bring their own mix tapes and play 'em back to Houston for hours on end while refusing to answer THEIR questions, who make up stories about fighting 3-eyed space Martians, and then laugh at their naivete, while saying nothing - not one word - about the slimy 1-eyed Martian bastards who actually appeared and ate that other guy you never liked much. Or maybe the Russian guy, if it was a joint mission. Yeah, fuckit. Eat him.

I mean, what the hell happened, America? Frat boys got yer tongue? It's like it became all about the money - and nothing about the adventure. When did "live free or die" turn into "park free or pout?"

I wanna see Astronauts with degrees in etymology AND entomology. One-eyed quarterbacks that like to unscramble alien genetic codes. Unhappy kids named Charles from Nebraska who enjoy guns and dislike other species. A super-genius who can't get girls, Siamese attached to a super-duper genius who can. That sort of thing.

America's Martian Adventure.

I'd pay to see that.

quinn the eskimo

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sprite



Now why would this ad be controversial? She didn't swallow.

Damn Right He Did

Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins, who circled the moon alone while Armstrong and Aldrin walked on it, said the moon was not interesting, but Mars is. "Sometimes I think I flew to the wrong place. Mars was always my favorite as a kid and it still is today," Collins said.

The Apollo crew is pitching an expedition to Mars to Obama today.

In the meantime, we have to get past the solar eclipse on Wednesday, and get over the shock of finding out that our wiley old Obamaman isn't doing as well as we thought with the electorate. It's his economy now, his war in Afghanistan, his health insurance reform and his very existence that's being challenged by three old men today. If he can't get it up for Mars, what good is he?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Just Checking

I just want to make sure that no Hive ant was involved in this.

If any of you engaged in this kind of torture, it's the vats for you. Stinging prisoners is against Hive policy and will not be tolerated.

I remember when they used to bury people up to their heads in ant hills. The modern version of that is a couple of fire ants in a motorcycle helmet. My thought is a couple of people from the '68 Nixon campaign must have worked their way up the ladder at the CIA.

Annals Of The Annals

The number of page views at Annals Of The Hive passed 25,000 this week. Since less than 20 people read The Hive regularly, I'd say we need to get out into the real world more. We're spending way too much time around here. Get out. Get some fresh air.

Summer's almost gone.

Conspiracy Theories

NASA admits they lost the video of the first lunar landing. And NASA isn't worried that using a Hollywood-based company to recreate the tapes might fuel the fire of conspiracy theorists who believe the entire lunar program that landed people on the moon six times between 1969 and 1972 was staged on a movie set or secret military base. Might? Well, of course it will. Any fact or coincidence that can be stretched to fit into a conspiracy theory will fuel it.

I thought it would be fun to recall some of the great conspiracy theories of my lifetime.

Pearl Harbor
The Kennedy Assassination
The Lunar Landing
Flouridation
Alien Abductions and Encounters of all kinds, including Venusian infiltrators
9/11, particularly the attack on the Pentagon

It seems to me that all of these conspiracy theories have an element in common. Mistrust of government. They are, essentially, anti-government myths, spawned by people who oppose the administration in power or government in general.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Little Short Of The Plate

I fear we have witnessed a symbolic moment. Obama's first pitch at the Allstar Game last night was a little short of the plate.



It's bound to be compared to Obama's delivery on campaign promises, his stimulus package, health insurance reform and any number of other instances of this President not quite meeting expectations.

Worse, the Obama delivery is already being compared to President Bush's first pitch after 9/11.



Of course, it's hardly fair to compare Obama's athleticism to the chimp-like agility of George W. Bush whose simian reflexes were the hallmark of his Presidency.


Not only that, there are already calls for Hillary to throw out the first ball next year in addition to returning to center stage in foreign policy as soon as her elbow heals.

Finally, I can't resist commenting on President Obama's tennis shoes. Impressive. Here's the brilliant Sidney Poitier in A Raisin In The Sun. It breaks my heart to think about who Obama might have been.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Spooky Politics

When I heard Leon Panetta had canceled a CIA program that hadn’t been briefed to Congress, I assumed the program must have involved torture, renditions, domestic spying or worse.

Turns out the program, hidden from the Congress on Vice President Cheney’s orders, was aimed at finding and killing or capturing al-Qaida leaders at close range rather than targeting them with air strikes.

Now, I have often been critical of Mr. Cheney. I’ve even accused him of not being man enough to waterboard prisoners personally, and I’ve wondered what might have happened if Cheney and Bush had given that a try.

But I can’t fault Cheney for wanting to kill al-Qaida leaders at close range instead of with missiles. While we might avoid American casualties by using missiles, I doubt impersonal and indiscriminate killing does a lot for our reputation in the Muslim world.

I do have two questions, though. Why keep the program secret from Congress?

And why did Panetta kill the program? Why not brief the Congress and go ahead with it?

More Evidence Of Two Americas

The New York Times reports the recession has hit blacks in New York City four times as hard as it has hit whites.

David R. Jones, president and chief executive of the Community Service Society, which lobbies on behalf of low-income workers, said he did not “think this recession has gone out equally.”

Low-wage workers and workers who lack skills are really getting hit hard,” he said. “These are the workers who are sort of fungible. They lose their jobs very quickly, particularly in retail, the people who move boxes and do unskilled work. There are large numbers of African-Americans in that sector.”

Manufacturing, which has shed more jobs than any other sector of the city’s economy, had become a mainstay for black workers, Mr. Jones said. Government jobs had also become a prime source of solid, stable work for many blacks in the city, he added. But lately there have been cutbacks there, too, as falling tax revenue has forced the paring back of budgets.

The Times notes that the jobless figures among blacks became enough of a national issue that at a White House news conference last month, President Obama was asked what he could do to “stop the bloodletting in the black unemployment rate.”

The president said that to help any community, whether it be blacks, Latinos or Asians, he needed to “get the economy as a whole moving.”

“If I don’t do that, then I’m not going to be able to help anybody,” the president added.

That sounds a lot like trickle down economics to me.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I Like To Be In America!

Americans value science and scientists, but only a third of us believe in evolution.  That's consistent with some research President Obama picked up on a few years back and decided to bet his political future on. More Americans believe in angels than believe in evolution.

The Pew Research survey released today found most Americans value the nation's scientific achievements, but not as much as they did a decade ago. That's probably because the scientists are pushing wierd ideas like global warming, stem cell research and childhood vaccinations.

As I recall, there was a study done during the Democratic primary that showed a significant percentage of the Democratic base couldn't find Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran on a map, even if the countries were labeled.  Nobody seems to have bothered to study the Republican base.

That's A Relief

President Obama proudly announces that the world has avoided a financial disaster. I hereby proclaim the salvation of the world economy, and, possibly, the human race, that wiley Obamaman said.

Amazingly, he failed to take credit for the fact that the swine flu has turned out to be less lethal than we feared and that colony collapse disorder, while always imminent, has not devastated The Hive yet. He also neglected to remind us that we weren't hit by an asteroid this year.

Only a matter of time before we find images of the Obamaman in tree trunks, water stains, peeling wallpaper and burned tortillas.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

To Hell With The Internet


Be sure you listen to the audio of Ray Bradbury, telling us what he cares about. This is a man who understands Mars and obviously understands what is important in life.
Not to press the point, but no Internet, no Wiki, no google and no Hive. Haha!



So What?

UNESCO, the UN cultural agency, says the United States damaged the ruins of Babylon during the Iraq occupation.

According to UNESCO, U.S. troops and contractors inflicted considerable damage on the historic site of Babylon, driving heavy machinery over sacred paths, bulldozing hilltops and digging trenches through one of the world' most important archaeological sites.

Sacred paths? Sacred to whom? Ishtar? That has to be the worst movie ever made. Who cares if the paths they moved their dollies over when they filmed it were damaged? And what's so precious about gardens where people got hung? Hell. Nobody I know was hung there. Saddam Hussein wasn't even hung there, even after he screwed up the ruins of Babylon, trying to restore them.

As for that Ishtar Gate, as our readers know, the Iraqis are lucky we didn't just up and haul it back to New York City and put it up where the twin towers used to be.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Honey

The first time I used a GPS system was in an AVIS rental we picked up at the L.A. airport and drove up to Santa Barbara. Had a reasonable female voice. I called her "Honey." The joke wore thin with my wife in a couple of days, but my daughter never got tired of it.

Now, when I'm driving my daughter to swim meets or wherever and she's reading the google directions to me, she does a pretty good job of imitating Honey. Turn left on Shawnee Drive, she says in a slightly robotic voice.

Today she had an interesting idea. What if people gave you samples of their kids voices, and you programmed Honey to sound like the kids? You could have your daughter's or your son's voice giving you directions, keeping you company on your trip away from home. Sort of a personality module downloaded into any Honey. Turn left on Shawnee Drive, Daddy, the little Honey would say.

I like it. Hell, you could even give the personality modules personalities. Instead of just the wife, you could have the nagging wife. How many times do I have to tell you to turn left on Shawnee Drive, Bonehead? Or the husband who refuses to ask for directions. That turn is around here somewhere. Give me a goddam minute, will you? Old guys could ramble. Old ladies could talk about the grandkids between turns.

The possibilities are endless.