Saturday, July 25, 2009

So when does summer come to the North Pole?

We haven't cracked 80 degrees here yet all summer. I knew the summers were mild here, but Jesus Christ...
I had another busy week at the day job, dealing with production headaches while trying to do some honest-to-God journalism.
The publisher and I have been haggling a bit over best editing practices, with him pushing and pushing and me holding to my "you're getting a lot for what the company wants to invest into the product" line. As my dearly-missed Grandpa used to say, "you pay for shit and you get shit." Well, corporate pays for shit and gets back more than it deserves from me...whadyagonnado?
Anyway, I'm on the verge of writing up a feature on the prescription pill problem plaguing the North Pole. It could be an award winner, but I'm almost afraid to write it. I hate not having the time and resources to do things right. This story really requires a few drafts to dial in, but I'm so fed up with 55-60 hour weeks that I don't want to give the company anymore free labor than I have to.
Speaking of prescription pills, I've been increasing my intake recently as the chaotic weather is amplfying with my rheumatiz. I really hope the coming winter isn't as bad as the last one.
It's Hell getting old, kids.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day job

Long week at the day job. I was down a woman and had to do some reporting about our local up-and-coming RoveBot.
To make a long story short, RoveBot is using the anachronistic office he won last year as a platform to chase after bigger and better things; in fact, he announced his candidacy for a state house seat about two weeks after being sworn into his county office.
RoveBot has gotten crossways with the county administrator and commissioners with his management of the office, pretty much using it for political purposes and attacks on his predecessor. I decided to call him on it this week and got the Young Republican playbook thrown at me: obfuscation, half truths, personal attacks, etc.
Now, I'm a big boy and can handle that. God knows I have before. What always bowls me over, however, is that no matter how painstakingly you stick to facts there are always readers who get upset because they are being forced to reassess preconceived notions about a given subject. Some people get angry when confronted with truth. I had people call me and defend RoveBot as "not a politician." Nevermind that he launched another political campaign just weeks after swearing into his first political seat.
I can't help but think how much better this country would be today if adults weren't so threatened by the idea of being wrong about something, or at least willing to admit that the other guy might have a point, too.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


God help me, but I think I'm hooked on Facebook.
I got into it a few months ago primarily to keep tabs on old friends back in Indy. Not that I kept in close contact with them when I was in Indy, but I thought it might be a nice distraction from the day job. I'm too pooped and broke most days to do anything after work, so chatting with old friends on the ol' Mac seemed to make sense.
Well, Facebook has thrust me back into high school mentally. It's as if I haven't done all of the grown livin', lovin' and lyin' in the intervening 25 years. I'm even having the same daydreams I had when I was 17. I'm surprised the whiteheads and stuttering haven't come back yet, to be honest.
I think I know the problem. My relationships with these people, with a few exceptions, never went beyond high school. I was off to IU and bounced around for years after that before resettling in Indy for good about 12 years ago. I have no context for these people outside high school. We, of course, chat about bills, kids, etc., but I guess I assume teenage Mike is imprinted on their brains, because teenaged versions of them are still burned into mine.
Anyway, I don't dread or fear the old days nor do I miss them. High school was tough for me, as I'm guessing it was for them. I had a lot of fun, to be sure, but it was everything I could do to overcome my almost crippling shyness and insecurity. I guess that's what these good people remind me of when I think of them.
Maybe Vonnegut was right? Maybe we never really do graduate high school?
I must do better to know these old friends and acquaintances as the grown ups they have become. I'm sure I'll be glad I did.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Couldn't have said it better myself

As always, the Rude Pundit speaks truth to the retarded:
Over on MSNBC's Morning Starbucks, Mika Brzezinski, who always looks like she's just aching for a spanking, said yesterday that if Palin were a man, we wouldn't be judging her so harshly for resigning. She's wrong on that account, but she's right that we'd treat a man differently. We'd call him a "pussy." (Bonus points: Brzezinski declared that she's not a feminist.)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Common fucking sense

There is an article by Matt Taibbi in the current issue of Rolling Stone that chronicles how the creeps at Goldman Sachs have gamed financial markets for decades. He has been all too predictably attacked for being "slanted."
He defends himself quite reasonably here.
He's right, of course, in positing that the national media is woefully lazy and incompetent in dealing with subjects such as this. Sadly, it has been compromised by the Greek chorus of politicians, PR hacks and mouth breathers who shriek hysterically whenever someone points out how badly fucked our nation's economic policies are.
Yes, they are correct in pointing out that the Soviet model was a failure; they are wrong in saying that regulating markets is tantamount to Stalinism. It's not. Propping up mobsters like Goldman Sachs encourages them to fuck over working and poor people even harder, which is stupid because 99 percent of the country is working and/or poor.
We don't exist to serve the economy and you're not going to be rich someday. The economy exists to serve us and should be run in such a way that benefits you and I more than hedge fund managers and trust fund babies.
I've always assumed that point is too obvious to miss, but I guess my faith in the common sense of the American people was misplaced.
Go figure.

Caribou Barbie

Here's a piece in Vanity Fair that buttresses what I have posted on this blog previously about the soon-to-be-former Governor of Alaska. None of it suprised me, nor should it surprise you.

Happy Birthday, America!

So it is the Fourth of July.
We have been blessed with gorgeous weather here at the North Pole, and the streets of Cheboygan and Indian River were both filled with locals and fudgies rooting on the towns' respective parades.
I, of course, was out taking pictures. You can see a few here.
There was one float that particularly caught my eye, the one I've posted here with the soldiers praying in the Iraqi desert. The folks at the church who built this float are good, sincere Christians who no doubt see the soldiers' plight as much spiritual as it is physical. I won't quibble with them, although I do disagree.
It got me to thinking, however, about how people can see the world in such different terms. No matter how old I get, I never fail to be amazed at how stubbornly some people cling to their repeatedly and thoroughly discredited preconceptions. I tried to understand how the folks at the church could cast our country's Iraq experience in such Crusader-like terms. I'm a smart guy and I couldn't come up with so much as one credible arguement.
I am equally perplexed by the cult of personality surrounding Sarah Palin. She is resigning her seat ahead of what I'm guessing is yet another scandal (she's tried running a state as if it were a grade school PTA and it's blown up in her face....repeatedly). She bullshitted her way through her resignation announcement Friday and what happened? The right wing blogosphere and Fox News hailed the move, ascribing non-existent political acumen to this woman who is clearly unable or unwilling to make even a half-assed attempt at running her state.
I really, really don't understand how any sentient being with any kind of awareness of the world today can take her seriously. Has she ever said anything intelligent, in public at least? If she has, please send me the quote because I can't find it.
I know the public generally is leaving Palin and her ilk behind, but a twit like her having any kind of constituency really bugs me. It's a free country, but why on Earth would you cast your lot with this insincere, addle-minded woman?