Thursday, April 29, 2010

drill this

as the oil washes ashore, there's silence.

not a word is heard from the "drill here, drill now" crowd, petrochemical lapdogs whose teeth drip oil but whose voices have gone quiet.

it wasn't that long ago that they couldn't stop running their mouths...

"offshore oil rigs are perfectly safe and environmentally friendly and if you don't support domestic drilling you're not a real american."

the people spewing big oil lies are predominantly republicans, but even the obama administration recently opened the door to increased drilling off the east coast. that plan has been quietly put on hold.

oil is still pouring into the gulf by the hundreds of thousands of gallons a day. the spill is currently larger than jamaica, and it may be months before the leak is stopped. and yet--somehow--the jackals still insist they should be allowed to keep drilling...

"I would urge that people don't make a long-term policy decision in the midst of an emotional kind of crisis," said Exxon President Lee Raymond.

raymond, it should be noted, is the kind of person who would caution against gun control while the columbine shootings were still going on, and against airport security on 9/11.

are you ready for the images of dead and dying animals covered with oil? the few individuals that will be saved are a sliver of a nanofraction of the number that have already been killed, those that will be killed, and those that will sink beneath the waves and never be seen. and lest we forget, 11 workers were killed when the rig exploded.

the spill is expected to surpass the ecological disaster caused by the exxon valdez. that catastrophe occurred 20 years ago, and it's predicted that it'll be another 10 years before the arctic environment fully recovers.

so, gulf coast, only 30 years to go. yay!

the fishermen whose livelihoods have been wiped out by the spill are now lining up to work for the company whose product is killing the fish and shrimp and crabs in the gulf. is it bad karma to suggest BP's new employees might consider sabotaging the company whenever they get the chance? you know, stealing office supplies, taking long lunch breaks, severing their global communications network?

yes, probably it is. so we'll not suggest it.

instead we'll suggest that exxon and bp and lee raymond and sarah palin and newt gingrich and mary landrieu and all their oil-drenched sycophants go somewhere and drill each other--while the grownups figure out how to undo the damage they're so eager to continue inflicting on the world.

Friday, April 23, 2010

hot fun in the summertime

we're going to a wedding next month.

that's the good news.

the bad news is, it's in arizona.

i hope no one asks to see our papers.

i mean, what if the local constabulary thinks we look like illegal immigrants?


"yes, we read them. which ones do you mean?"

"you're about to experience an arizona saguaro a whole new way, boy. now show me your papers."

"yes, well, see we're not actually carrying any papers. unless you count this copy of the u.s. constitution. perhaps you've heard of it?"

that's not a conversation that would end well for us.

mrs. spaceneedl grew up in arizona. i lived there for three and a half years.

cosmically speaking, we got out just in time. just ahead of the collapse of the rule of law. the principle that says you can only be accosted by law enforcement if there's a reasonable suspicion that you've committed a crime.

a standard slightly above, "you look suspicious, bitch."

the premise that an illegal immigrant just has "a look" about them is a little nebulous, legally. as a source of illegal immigrants, given arizona's proximity to mexico, one might reasonably conclude that most of the offenders would look mexican.

therein lies a problem: in arizona many people look like they might be of latino, hispanic, or other spanish-esque descent. they account for up to a third of the state's population.

will arizona's already-stretched police departments stop and harrass all of them? if not, why not? aside from the fact that state's new "you all look alike to us" law is unenforceable, of course. put another way, if even the anti-immigration loon tom tancredo thinks this measure goes too far, you should conclude it's way, way out there. really.

as an aside, dollar for dollar, no one commits more crime than white folks. the people who threw the global economy into meltdown and liquidated trillions of dollars? overwhelmingly, they were zanetti-suited white boys. why aren't we profiling their ilk? better still, why aren't we putting them to work doing dishes, laying sod and pouring searing-hot tar on the neighbor's roof?

why aren't rednecks carrying signs demanding we raid high-finance workplaces, fence off lower manhattan, or close large bookstore chains?

perhaps arizona doesn't have an illegal immigrant problem. maybe, and i'm just speculating wildly here, arizona (like the rest of the country) has an illegal employer problem. maybe if employers weren't falling over themselves to hire cheap (and desperate) labor, those laborers would stop risking their lives to come here.

but then employers would have to hire americans, and as everyone knows, americans are lazy and don't want to work. so that's out.

arizona's official unemployment rate in march was 9.4% (which means its actual unemployment rate is significantly higher). that's a lot of people who don't want to work. coincidently, houses in the state's major metropolitan areas are so far underwater it may be years before they see sunlight again.

all of which implies that arizona has a lot of problems that have nothing whatsoever to do with illegal immigrants. and yet somehow the state government thought this was an ideal time to make themselves a laughingstock. and to help tourists decide other states might be better destinations for tourism dollars.

it's early yet. the wedding isn't until the end of may. it's possible cooler heads will prevail, and arizonans will decide their new law isn't such a good idea.

if not, we'll still have time to complete crash courses in "anti-constitutional rhetoric for dummies" and "how not to look all illegal-immigranty in arizona".

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

up in the air

the missus isn't wild about air travel.

she doesn't care much for crowded commercial flights. she breaks into a cold sweat at the mere suggestion of turbulence. and she white-knuckles take-offs and landings.

so you can imagine how she feels about float planes.

(hint: not good.)

but sometimes a gal's just gotta get up and go places. like victoria, bc, for example. and while she would've preferred a leisurely drive as prelude to a soothing ferry ride, circumstances sometimes call for speed.

a day trip for job interview, fer example.

thinking it might help to be able to see what was going on, the nice people at kenmore air let her sit next to the pilot. that turned out to be a mixed blessing. the takeoff was no big deal, but the landing...

heading in, the plane passed low over an outcropping of rocks. from the copilot seat, the rocks reportedly looked really big and really close. hopefully they won't make her pay for the ten indentations in the dashboard.

despite it all, the interview went well.

so well that the company invited her for another round of interviews in raleigh, nc.

she won't be driving to that one, either.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

goal oriented

i skipped yoga today.

i planned to make up for it by by going for a run.

right after i put together the portable basketball goal that's been sitting in a box in our garage for, oh, six years.

big mistake.

put it together for the kids, mrs. spaceneedl said. we want them to spend their time outside getting exercise instead of indoors looking at lcd screens, don't we?

well, of course we do. there's no arguing with the perfectly reasonable.

"sure," i said, cheerfully.

big mistake part deux.

my simple plan, so innocent, so unassuming, was stampled by the assemblage of ill-fitting and unrelated parts coiled in that box.

i spent the next four hours reading instructions written by someone to whom english is at best a third language. wrenching together pieces that were lovingly machined by drunken cave sloths on a three-day tequila binge.

"Our presentation in content to the users instruction's is overall and quickly understood. There is reliable and correct that the information is offered in the instruction's and try hard to avoid the artificial error. The mistake that will be found in printing, if causes some careless mistakes, please forgive it."

of course. thanks for the heads-up.

Warning: may contain small parts, which some assembly required. For indoor and outdoor use only.

shut up. seriously.

"Take careful aim at bolts. To start bolt threads, hold bolt firmly in hole and attach after washed nut."

are. you. kiddingme? i just told the missus that i expect to visit the emergency department today.

"Do not have heavy pressure or big striking to such arm bracket."

okay, the arm brackets don't fit, and the holes therein are too small to accommodate the bolts you've provided. i'm literally drilling out the too-small holes with the largest drill bit available at ace hardware.

“Do not subject bolts to over-twisting.”

fuck you. and your stupid twisted bolts.

i skipped yoga. for this.

and the goal is still unachieved. unrealized. unassembled. we're hours away from shooting hoop one. assuming i dedicate half of next weekend to instruction pages 7-12.

generally i like to finish the projects i start. and i wouldn't mind shooting hoops in the spaceneedl driveway.

but right now, sitting here, i'd almost rather put milk and sugar on the remaining pieces and eat them for breakfast. almost.

another glass of wine, and i'll consider it for dessert.

next week: building a 42-foot yacht with MEMS-based solar propulsion. or a small hadron collider. both, if the weather cooperates.

right after yoga.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

things to ponder when you're a pretzel

most of the time at yoga class, i'm in the zone.

which is to say, zoning out. concentrating on staying upright. until someone asks a question or exclaims painfully or tips over.

full disclosure: no one tips over more than moi.

i look forward to these classes every sunday because it's about the only time during the week i'm able to get out of my own head and out of my own way for awhile.

when concentration fails me, and i exit the zone, my mind wanders to some odd and distracting places.

{my knee is numb...i wonder if the feeling will ever come back...i have to pee}

sometimes class runs long. or is particularly arduous, degree-of-difficulty-wise. as noted previously, i'm not particularly pliable. nor am i practiced in the finer, philosophical points of yoga. these factors contribute to additional lapses in focus.

{these women are incredibly flexible...i can totally do this pose...if i dislocate something first}

the instructor, and many of the students, have been practicing a long time. they're annoyingly balanced and limber and strong. me, i'm willing to try really hard. and once in awhile the instructor rewards me with a compliment.

"good,'re less awkward than usual today."

no, she's never really said anything unkind. in fact, she's been nothing but encouraging. she thinks that one day i might reach a state of santi, and get some bhoga from class, if i demonstrate some vidya and don't get all tangled up in granthi.

i think she's right.

{i have no idea what she just said...but she's smiling...quick, nod and smile back}

actually, i am better at this than when i started. i practice some of the poses on the rocker board and the bosu trainer during the week. octogenarians at the ymca regularly compliment me on my balance. i think they must feel sorry for me or something.

{maybe he has some kind of debilitating condition...and at such a young age...poor thing.}

i no longer get as sore in the days following class. i don't fall over quite as often. i stay in the zone a little longer each time. it's a restorative way to start a week that invariably takes a turn for the befeebling.

{that's not a real word...yes but it sounds kinda there any more champagne?}

* * * * *

semi-serious note: not a class goes by that i don't think of my friend kary, who also enjoys yoga. i bet she's pretty good at it, too. she doesn't know it, but she's an inspiration to me, sunday and every other day.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

zombie earl eats tiger's brain

"I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are. And did you learn anything." -- earl woods

"i want to find out who the skanks were. i want to find out if you caught any communicable diseases. and i want you to hold still so i can bury this nine iron in your skull." -- elin woods

tiger woods is back! isn't that great? he's a famous golfer, you know, but he's been away from the game for awhile.

now, just in time for the masters, he's back with a new lease on life, a new escalade, and a new tv spot selling nike. that's nike the lifestyle, we have to assume, given that no products are mentioned.

isn't it a great spot?! tiger just stands there, looking sullen, as his long-dead father quizzes him about something very important. we're not sure what...maybe it's that young tiger swiped some rum from his parents' liquor cabinet. or maybe he blew off putting practice to go on the mike douglas show. or maybe it's that he had sex with an assortment of porn stars, escorts, and his neighbor's daughter.

it's a great spot! on so many levels, not the least of which is that earl woods allegedly was a huge womanizer. that's why having zombie earl crawl out of the grave to lecture tiger, like jacob marley hectoring ebeneezer scrooge, is such a brilliant, ironic ploy by team nike.

watching this spot, who could resist embracing the remorseful, misunderstood eldrick, and then rushing out to purchase an assortment of nike balls and, um, other equipment?

who could resist gluing their eyeballs to the tv set during a week of tradition like no other -- the masters? particularly when billy payne, chairman of augusta national golf club, also is lecturing tiger about the great golfer's alleged moral inadequacies.

augusta national, you know, is legendary for its upstanding tradition of excluding women, blacks, and other undesirables from its ranks. so payne knows of what he speaks when he says tiger is "a disappointment and a disgrace as a man and a role model."

the drama is palpable! can you feel it? and we haven't even talked about the golf yet! tiger is a really, really good golfer. did we mention that? that's why everything he says and does is so important, and why this commercial is so profound and really, really good.

yay, tiger! yay, nike! yay drama, and the 24-hour coverage thereof!

important safety note: watch out for zombie earl! he's eating brains. yours could be next!

Monday, April 05, 2010

why the unexpected is perfectly predictable...

a pebble falling into a pool of stillness produces rings that spread throughout the entire pool. a butterfly fluttering its wings here can produce a typhoon far away.

do you suppose that equilibrium really is the steady state of the universe?

that for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction, bringing everything back into balance?

for every good thing that happens, is something bad required?

is existence itself is a zero-sum game? it would explain much...but what would it mean?

around here it means when you finally pay off a car loan, the transmission of said car falls apart.

and every time you update your kitchen, the electrician makes a mess of your new kitchen floor. and the refrigerator door. and the pantry. and the basement.

finally getting your finances in order? unemployment will make a shambles of that.

is one child seeing the light at school, reversing a long indifference to academics? not to worry, the other one (the one identified as "academically gifted") will cheerfully raise the red flag of "not adequate progress."

are you seeing the not-so-subtle trend here? the pendulum swings one way, then it swings the other. the universe sees you surfing ahead of the wave, arches a cosmic eyebrow, gives you a small, not-unkind smile, and suddenly you're eating sand and picking seaweed out of your ears.

it's not personal, probably. it's not that the universe is conspiring against anyone in particular. it's just karma keeping things real.

for every yin there's a yang. for every zig there's a zag. for every bit of matter there's a bit of antimatter busily canceling it out.

if you can see the harmony in these relationships, and can appreciate their elegant dance, it might be easier to accept the little ups and downs life throws at you. in fact, if you were really, really smart, you might even be able to develop an algorithm that successfully predicts such events ahead of time.

if you had at your disposal the fastest, most powerful computer ever conceived, along with a program capable of reconciling an infinite number of variables and an infinite number of permutations, could be very popular in vegas.

actually, you could be god.

and as god, you could tell people, hey! guess what? you can't say you're "pro-life" and then deprive the living of healthcare. you can't say you're christ-like and then molest the most vulnerable members of your flock. you can't enable consumption of more fossil fuels and creation of more greenhouse gasses and call yourself an environmentalist.

well, you can, but there will be consequences you don't foresee or intend. and it's quite possible you won't like them. i'm just sayin' is all...

people would ignore you, of course. they have little patience for a god that doesn't worship the free market. this may contribute to ongoing imbalance in their steady state. or some cognitive dissonance, at the very least.

there's no telling what it would take to bring these folks back into cosmic symmetry. we'll stipulate that it wouldn't include denying care to sick children, or spending some quality time in an l.a. bondage club.

it's possible the entire purpose of their existence is to serve as a bad example, to be counteracted by folks with the opposite aesthetic.

equipoise. on balance, it's an interesting theory.

* * * * *

update: for every ruined transmission, there's and equal and opposite auto repair. today, out of the blue, the missus noted a direct deposit into our checking account. it was a bonus from her former company, promised prior to her departure but not delivered. the amount was slightly more than the cost to fix the transmission.

unexpected...apparently we need to update our algorithm.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

i think it's supper time...

king crab legs
sauteed bok choy
fettucini primavera (roma tomatoes, arugula, pine nuts, olive oil, salt)
a bottle of very good prosecco

the girlchild and i made the pasta ourselves, from scratch. cranked through a pasta maker the missus and i received as a wedding gift almost 19 years ago. it was still brand new. never used, until now.

pristine cuisine.