Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hooligan Circus Political Technique

When Tommy Fitzgerald offered to buy me a drink for the 21st birthday I had several months ago, I did not know what to think. “Your 21st birthday should last all year, am I right?” he said with an enthusiasm bordering on spooky self-regard. Some friends had warned me that Tommy was a fat, two-faced liar. From what I had heard, he was a schemer of schemes and not to be trusted. But in my admittedly limited interactions with Tommy, I had found him fairly forthright and even amusing to be around. As he explained to me how to rent a car before turning 25, I thought I would let him buy me a drink after I finished my second beer of the evening. How often do you get to hang out in a cool Ethiopian restaurant-bar with a group of friends you see none too frequently?

Sipping my Whiskey Sour as the somewhat slapdash and informal program started, I thought to ask Tommy about whether he would be voting for Maggie in a couple of weeks as I planned to do. I actually can’t remember if I thought about this before the emcees brought up the Roy vs. Maggie race. I do remember thinking about how the closest behavior to the deceptive bastard I had been told existed that I had experienced firsthand came in the minutes after both Tommy and I had lost the elector election coming in seventh and eighth place out of a field of six. Tommy told me he would call me the next day to talk about how to get myself appointed to the elector position (don’t the losers always get appointed?). But he did not. Of course, now we were both appointed electors and as far as I know he could have very well been involved in making sure that happened.

When I finally leaned over to him to whisper incautiously my question about Maggie, he turned to me with that grin of his and snapped, “What’s my last name?” At first I thought he was teasing me and I responded louder than I should have: “Fitzgerald!” And then, after a pause, “Oh,” I thought and said at the same time. Roy Fitzgerald. Maggie Pierce versus Roy Fitzgerald. “I’m his son, Tommy Fitzgerald,” he explained to my imbalanced embarrassment. I started to apologize without saying sorry and he stopped me by saying, “I love Maggie, she’s great.” I had seen them hug jovially just moments earlier but I continued nonetheless and he stopped me again by laughing without seeming to smile. “Tommy Fitzgerald is Roy’s son but I’m not that Tommy Fitzgerald. We have the same name though, it’s pretty funny.”

I found out that Tommy’s father, Jim Fitzgerald, is the fire commissioner for the city. Apparently he was not Roy Fitzgerald and that same evening I found out I was not allowed to vote for Maggie and against Roy until I was “released” to do so. I stumbled outside in a muddled temper. In the orange and gloomy dusk I felt I could have signed my life away to the IRS or some other heartless agency, and I probably did. I needed to get my ID card back, as I had left it up one town to the north. Mostly, I experienced a matchless remorse for the modestly nightmarish scheming world I could never really understand. It had been too long since I arrived, and it was not nearly long enough until I will depart.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Customer Review: HP7-P2

I watched HP7-P2 a couple months ago and can't begin to tell you all how pleased I was with this wonderful product. It really does live up to its billing. And everything it does is so intuitive. The evil wizard Voldemort is a joy to watch and all of the product's many special effects function flawlessly. Helen Bonham Carter is fabulous and it never gets jammed or feeds more than one piece of paper at a time. I had occasion to give Hermione a real "trial by fire." The unit does not come with a manual explaining who all the characters are and what they are doing (that sucks). But it's on the provided CD. I like a paper copy of an operating manual so I printed out all 212 pages Hermioned in "Horcrux" quality. I was expecting the print quality to be so-so at best for this setting but was amazed at how good it looked. And the Hermione worked flawlessly, printing out all 212 pages on 106 pages of paper.

Now for a couple of nitpick negatives. The movie product is not the quietest in operation so don't expect to be watching it at 2:00AM without waking the neighbors. Not at least unless you enjoy getting yelled at. And the narrative is a little buggy. We had to uninstall and reinstall it twice before it made any sense dramatically to people who haven't read the book. That's about all I can think of to criticize so far.

The movie product is very attractive and a lot shorter and less bloated than the Academy-Award winning LOTR-P3. And the illumination for the LCD panel is a very attractive pure white rather than that drab 'sort-of-green' that you sometimes see on LCD's.

Amazing, just amazing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Father Malkin is neither Filipino nor a bay laurel,
but is actually the hated visitor to the local school.
When he comes around, all the teachers sit in their desks
and can only remember what they’re supposed to be doing.
Their leisure is eaten away without even a clear idea of what the time is.
That is disruptive.
"     " is why the father is not the son.
"     " is why the father connects with
the jewel and the spike.

The father always uses the tools at his disposal
He likes a bigger screen to keep all our seaweed
He likes two loves at once.
He likes the fun of contradiction.
He likes to make sure he’s alive.
He hates oxygen but loves air.
He jumps for joy whenever a snake bites the children.
But he always protects the boys down the street
from their parents’ unwilling unrewarding unaccepting
This is the true nature of protection.

When you can make choices that limit what others seek
to put forward as rules before you,
there is enough protection to go around for both the him and the her.
He doesn’t care whether she knows it’s protection.
She doesn’t know
"whether or not there are enough numbers in the day"
for it to be clear for tomorrow.
That is the problem that she has with the future.
But he doesn’t want to know about it.
He just wants to jump up and down while singing old pub tunes.
But he likes when he hears unusual noises.
And unusual noises come often when she makes no escape.

She repeats the same words over and over again
but Father Malkin can’t hear.
He’s outside of her and he can’t be there over and over again.
And outside of the him and the her and Father Malkin and children and boys is the police officer and the librarian.
The librarian beats the police officer in the head.
The librarian is at her dresser and she puts on new clothes
because there is political blood all over the old ones.
No one addresses the fact that the blood is too orange to be natural.
We only have pyramid schemes to blame.

(guitar chords, attempted distractions , and fondled flutes were all incorrect answers)

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Making Movie History"

River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild WestRiver of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West by Rebecca Solnit
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Solnit is a remarkable prose stylist, and her examination of the brave new world of abstractions and representations born in California's violent industrializing Gilded Age past works marvelously. I will even defend her occasionally tendency to wind off into tangled thickets of near schizoid conspiracism about the connections between the various phenomena she investigates with the careful eye of a social historian. Sometimes wild theorizing about the bigger picture is exactly what the doctor ordered.