Wednesday, November 30, 2005
But it was the way the clerk at Penn Station gave me the ticket that really had my gorge rising to my eyeballs. He slid the ticket out to me and said "Merry Christmas ticket from the LIRR." Well, I have NEVER been so offended in my life. You see, it's NOT a Merry Christmas ticket. It's a Happy Holidays ticket. How DARE this punk fifty-year-old extend a warm greeting of the seasons to me? Fuck this, I'm going to go have him fired now. That's right, I've declared ALL-OUT WAR ON CHRISTMAS. I am, ladies and gentlemen, American society. Yes, that's right! Fuck you, Christmas.
And fuck Target for, well, something or other. I think they said Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas over their 64 aisles of wreaths, break-dancing Santas, mistletoe belt buckles, holly-themed boxer shorts, antlers for beagles, Jingle M&Ms, candy cane walking sticks, "Tis The Seasonings" gourmet peppercorn mix, Coke-guzzling polar bear ornaments, and Frosty the Snowman line of feminine protection. It really ruins the religious nature of the season to be saying Happy Holidays over all of this disposable consumer shit. Disclaimer: "Oh, and Chanukah too. Hey, that's super."
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Train will be quite late tonight
Wet track at Copiague
Conductor's eyes glaze
You spoke English just before
AND you owe eight bucks
And one that describes Microsoft's policy of XBox purchases for employees:
Shiny grail of hard-core geeks
Mine at retail price
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Irked by a reporter who told him he seemed to be "off his game" at a Beijing
public appearance, President George W. Bush sought to make a hasty exit from a
news conference but was thwarted by locked doors.
The two Statue of Liberty shots are actually the same pic. It was shot with a graduated neutral density filter, making the sky exposure closer to the water. It also darkened the statue itself, which was OK because I was going for silhouette. The second picture was the first one given an auto-contrast and some extra saturation. No unnatural colors were used in the making of these shots.
The panorama was a few shots stitched together, but I'm not happy with it yet. I'm going to put together a couple more to see if I can improve it.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Thanksgiving brings football action, featuring the same yearly story during the halftime news break about a rest home in Mamaroneck who all got food poisoning from yams.
The day after Thanksgiving always features thousands of Santas emerging from a subway stop to take position next to fundraising kettles in the street, like a giant game of "Spot the Pedophile."
Over the past few years, we've added yet another tradition to this list: the "unveiling" of shitty, ironic "holiday" flavors by Jones Soda. WHY does the media continue to report this story year after year? Wow, they made turkey and gravy flavored soda. No one would ever drink THAT! They've made a product that's designed to be given as jokes and perhaps vomited at an office party, and they release it as "new" every year, and in January you can go to the remainders shelf at Target and get it. And every year, some moron covers this as a "lifestyle" story. It's not. No one lives the limited edition salmon-flavored soda lifestyle. It's just some company that can't even figure out how to put proper cherry flavoring in their cherry soda, getting some cheap publicity with the same stunt every year. The only danger is that this will accidentally cause some people to taste the "regular" Jones Soda flavors and realize just how second-rate this stuff is. Coke or Die!
Here are some other flavorful ideas that can get some companies lots of free holiday publicity!
"King Kong Tastes Like Crap M&Ms"
"Jean Nate, Christmas Seven Fishes Scent"
"Anything in egg nog flavor"
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
I hopped on the 4:04 from Penn, one of the lousy new electric trains, and dozed off in a two-seater. By the time we stopped in Amityville, my eye was feeling a bit better. The train dumped most of its passengers at the next three stops, and as we were on the stretch between Lindenhurst and Babylon, I heard some commotion in the vestibule behind me.
A guy who looked like he was straight out of "My Name Is Earl" was arguing with a conductor and swearing loudly. He was pissed that he missed his stop in Lindenhurst or something, so he blamed the ticket taker. The LIRR guy moved on, and then "Earl" started swearing at no one in particular. A woman led her small children away from him because he seemed a bit nuts, one of those guys on the train with a toolbelt and about half his marbles.
As we got closer to Babylon, I got up to get off the train. He was complaining some more to people standing around him, and they were laughing nervously - one of those "don't make eye contact, don't not laugh just a bit" situations. The guy was mad. So mad, in fact, that he was going to show them! He took a hammer out of his tool bag and pretended to smash out the door glass. Then you could see a 5-watt light bulb go on over his head. He took the claw side of his hammer and started scrawling profanities into the glass of the new train car. "FUCK." "SHIT." He was laughing about it because BY GOD he was showing that train car who was boss!
Everyone just sort of stood there not saying anything. He looked at everyone for commiseration, and when his eyes met mine, my mouth opened.
"So now for the next twenty years, we're all going to have to look at profanities you gouged into the window because you were angry?"
Have you ever found yourself suddenly speaking on behalf of about 20 people who wouldn't say anything? "Earl" was taken aback that anyone would challenge him, so he started to puff up and transfer his stupid anger at me. By threatening me if I didn't shut up.
"Seriously, so now people are going to take their kids on the train and the kids are going to have to look at the crap that you just wrote on the window? Why would you do that? What's wrong with you?"
This got "Earl" madder at me. His eyes were starting to bug a bit, and he took the Half-Step Of Menace at me. The one that says "I'm not actually going to take a swing at you, but I could if I wanted to. Because I'm 'Earl.'"
"Where were you raised that you think it's OK to deface a train car like that and take it out on everyone else just because you missed your stop?"
"Earl" glared at me, and defiantly, triumphantly announced "I was raised on Long Island." Then he gave me the "Put YOU down!" glare that is usually only seen in the eyes of my mom's boxers.
I said "Well, most of us were raised on Long Island, and we have enough class not to scratch out train windows because we slept through our stops."
That did it for him. He told me that I'd better shut up NOW if I knew what he meant. I said that no, in fact, I didn't know what he meant, and that for someone who walks around with an American flag hat, he sure doesn't show much respect for his country or his home.
The doors opened in Babylon. I looked around for a conductor to nail "Earl", but there's a special invisible closet where conductors hide at the end of the ride. "Earl" got off the train, proudly repeating the threats against me that hadn't actually gotten me to shut up, and he disappeared down the stairs.
Here's "Earl". Hey scumbag, thanks for scratching up LIRR car 7408.
And here's further resources on LIRR aholes.
Turn your memories into PhotoStamps!
PhotoStamps are a fun and easy way to add a personal touch to everything you send, and they make great gifts too!
Well, I tried this with a picture of my dog, but the stamp wouldn't stop licking itself.
Now it's 2005. When are we going to start seeing the same question asked about Bush and the Iraq war? When will we hear people start to give us the facile, bullshit lectures like "My 14 year old said that it was OK to lie because President Bush did, and what could I say? How could I explain to him that the very important man lied but it was wrong?" When will we be able to find some reassurance in a paragraph like this?
Although adults worry about the effect of the Iraq War scandal on the nation's children, 11- to 17-year-olds say President George W. Bush's behavior has not taught them it is OK to lie or break the law, according to a new CNN poll.
Or does flat-out lying about something as unimportant as a war not spin the right's moral compasses anymore?
So now the question is whether I boycott chicken, for being raw, or Citarella, for not cooking said chicken. And should I even bring up the crabcake I found hidden in my chocolate mousse last week?
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Thursday, November 10, 2005
1. Why is the photo unavailable for #19? Was it camera shy?
2. What's so special about #23?
3. What the HELL is in #34?
4. Is #47 a bread or a London broil?
5. When did "10oz" become an ingredient name for #7?
5. Back to the top now. Why is pesto pasta a special order? Why does it have to be ordered by Wednesday, and for which date? That Friday? The following Monday?
6. Damn, isn't that some nasty looking food? I mean, DAMN.
Is there any reason NOT to be violently ill about this?
This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office, where so many decisions have been made that shaped the history of this Nation. Each time I have done so to discuss with you some matter than I believe affected the national interest.
In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what was best for the Nation. Throughout the long and difficult period of the Iraq War, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me.
In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.
But with the disappearance of that base, I now believe that the constitutional purpose has been served, and there is no longer a need for the process to be prolonged.
I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so. But the interest of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations.
From the discussions I have had with Congressional and other leaders, I have concluded that because of the Iraq War matter I might not have the support of the Congress that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interests of the Nation would require.
I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interest of America first. America needs a full-time President and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad.
To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.
Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Cheney will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.
As I recall the high hopes for America with which we began this second term, I feel a great sadness that I will not be here in this office working on your behalf to achieve those hopes in the next 2 1/2 years. But in turning over direction of the Government to Vice President Cheney, I know, as I told the Nation when I nominated him for that office 10 months ago, that the leadership of America will be in good hands.
In passing this office to the Vice President, I also do so with the profound sense of the weight of responsibility that will fall on his shoulders tomorrow and, therefore, of the understanding, the patience, the cooperation he will need from all Americans.
As he assumes that responsibility, he will deserve the help and the support of all of us. As we look to the future, the first essential is to begin healing the wounds of this Nation, to put the bitterness and divisions of the recent past behind us, and to rediscover those shared ideals that lie at the heart of our strength and unity as a great and as a free people.
By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.
I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interest of the Nation.
To those who have stood with me during these past difficult months, to my family, my friends, to many others who joined in supporting my cause because they believed it was right, I will be eternally grateful for your support.
And to those who have not felt able to give me your support, let me say I leave with no bitterness toward those who have opposed me, because all of us, in the final analysis, have been concerned with the good of the country, however our judgments might differ.
So, let us all now join together in affirming that common commitment and in helping our new President succeed for the benefit of all Americans.
I shall leave this office with regret at not completing my term, but with gratitude for the privilege of serving as your President for the past 5 1/2 years. These years have been a momentous time in the history of our Nation and the world. They have been a time of achievement in which we can all be proud, achievements that represent the shared efforts of the Administration, the Congress, and the people.
But the challenges ahead are equally great, and they, too, will require the support and the efforts of the Congress and the people working in cooperation with the new Administration.
We have not ended America's most illegal war, but in the work of securing a lasting peace in the world, the goals ahead are even more far-reaching and more difficult. We must complete a structure of peace so that it will be said of this generation, our generation of Americans, by the people of all nations, not only that we ended one war but that we prevented future wars.
Now, since I am plagiarizing Nixon's speech, I will skip the stuff about China, the Middle East, and the Soviet Union.
Around the world, in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, in the Middle East, there are millions of people who live in terrible poverty, even starvation. We must keep as our goal turning away from production for war and expanding production for peace so that people everywhere on this earth can at last look forward in their children's time, if not in our own time, to having the necessities for a decent life.
Here in America, we are fortunate that most of our people have not only the blessings of liberty but also the means to live full and good and, by the world's standards, even abundant lives. We must press on, however, toward a goal of not only more and better jobs but of full opportunity for every American and of what we are striving so hard right now to achieve, prosperity without inflation.
For more than a quarter of a century in public life I have shared in the turbulent history of this era. I have fought for what I believed in. I have tried to the best of my ability to discharge those duties and meet those responsibilities that were entrusted to me.
Sometimes I have succeeded and sometimes I have failed, but always I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, "whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievements and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly."
I pledge to you tonight that as long as I have a breath of life in my body, I shall continue in that spirit. I shall continue to work for the great causes to which I have been dedicated throughout my years as a Congressman, a Senator, a Vice President, and President, the cause of peace not just for America but among all nations, prosperity, justice, and opportunity for all of our people.
There is one cause above all to which I have been devoted and to which I shall always be devoted for as long as I live.
When I first took the oath of office as President 5 1/2 years ago, I made this sacred commitment, to "consecrate my office, my energies, and all the wisdom I can summon to the cause of peace among nations."
I have done my very best in all the days since to be true to that pledge. As a result of these efforts, I am confident that the world is a safer place today, not only for the people of America but for the people of all nations, and that all of our children have a better chance than before of living in peace rather than dying in war.
This, more than anything, is what I hoped to achieve when I sought the Presidency. This, more than anything, is what I hope will be my legacy to you, to our country, as I leave the Presidency.
To have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every American. In leaving it, I do so with this prayer: May God's grace be with you in all the days ahead.
Tuesday, November 8, 2005
I was booked to leave SFO on the 1:45 flight today. American also had a noon flight to JFK, so I went to the airport a bit early to try and get on it. I signed up for standby on the earlier plane, went to the gate, and hung out.
The 12 PM flight was extra-full. There were no seats left. Flying standby is interesting on a packed flight. You wait at the gate, watch them call the last few passengers again and again, and if they don't all show up you get a seat. Everyone was showing up. With a dozen or so people still waiting to board, they announced that overhead storage was full and that the remaining bags would be gate-checked. And still they came, filling up every available cranny of the plane.
Finally, it was down to two of us waiting, me and an older woman. A third woman ran up to the counter at 11:50 and tried to get on the flight, but she was told that the flight was booked solid. The gate attendant typed in some more stuff, a long list printed out, and she said "Mr. Trupin? Seat 25A." I had the last seat. Yeah! In your face, older woman.
As I was walking towards the gate, the other woman waiting for standby said to the attendant, "Can I pass a note onto the plane to tell my husband that I can't get on this flight?" My heart sank. I felt like I was breaking up a family, so I turned around and said, "I didn't realize you were traveling with your husband. You should take my seat." She was kind of shocked.
We went back to the check-in desk and explained that I was giving the seat up to the woman. They were kind of shocked. Everyone was all shocked and stuff. She had time to thank me profusely, then run for the plane. I turned back to the desk, and was greeted by three attendants wearing the loose-jawed, "we've never seen someone act compassionately" look. They told me that no one else would've done that. I told them that it wasn't that big a deal, really, because I was confirmed on the flight that left 90 minutes later. We joked around for a minute, and then I asked if there were any upgrades or exit rows available.
The attendant at the keyboard switched to his "we don't usually do this" look, then said, "Actually we do have an exit row seat, row 17. You'll have a lot of room." An hour later, the plane started to board. The gate clerk was working at the ticket machine. I was standing in a crowd, but he pointed at me and said "what group are you with?" I looked down, and I was in Group 6. The last people to board. He waved me forward with his index finger and sent me on with Group 1.
I walked down the aisle of the new 767, and found Row 17. If you've been on one of these planes, this is the single row, consisting of two seats, that's tucked in between business and coach. It's always either empty or the flight attendants are sitting in it. They'd given me both seats. It had a business class seat, with a footrest and a full horizontal recline. When I extended my legs fully, I could rest them on the bulkhead. The two seats had a curtain that I could pull closed, but I didn't push my luck. It was like flying in a cocoon.
During takeoff, the attendants pulled out jump seats in the aisle next to me. I told them about the whole standby story, and they treated me like I was in business class. They actually forced a sandwich on me. I said no but they gave it to me anyway in case I got hungry. The chip box contained something called a "turkey stick," which, thinking back, doesn't strike me as being anatomically correct.
The sandwich offering was ham, cheese, and bacon on a roll that crumbled as you lifted it because they put a tomato slice on the bottom of the ingredient stack. I don't know why they neglected to add the pulled pork and Canadian bacon slice, but I understand that we're having a mild pork shortage right now so I didn't press the issue.
So what have I learned today? Always beg for row 17. Always, ALWAYS treat gate staff like humans. Do things to be nice to others, even when you don't expect anything back from it. And even atheists can benefit from karma, not just guys named Earl.
Monday, November 7, 2005
No one was willing to go to dinner with me (something about a deodorant malfunction), so I went by myself. It was pissing rain, and I had a foolish plan to eat and then walk up to Coit Tower to take some photos. I packed my fabulous travel tripod and my good lens in my TechEd 03 backpack, and grabbed a cab in the pissing rain to the restaurant.
I sat down at my sad little table by myself, and ordered my favorites - the dumplings with sweet and sour sauce, and the beef with green onions and wine sauce. A few minutes after I got there, a family sat down at the next table. They looked a bit touristy. I got my dumplings, did the best I could with them, and then the waitress came by to ask if I was finished. I told her that I was still working on them.
As I spoke, the woman at the next table turned to me, stared at me for a minute like she was about to say something, and said "JOSH??" After a split second pause to put her face back in context, I fainted.
Well, not quite. But through some weird flow of time and space, I was sitting next to Denise Putnam, who had been the admin for the magazines in the early 1990s. They live in New Jersey, but were in SF because the Giants had played the Niners on Sunday. They go on a road trip every year.
This was the second time this has happened to me. The first was when I felt a tap on my shoulder when I was sitting on a plane. My uncle was sitting behind me, traveling back to his home in St. Louis.
Anyway, we had a lovely visit, and then I took them up to Coit Tower in their car! I didn't have to make the dumb-ass walk after all, they were excited to get to a location they hadn't known about, and as the rain abated I got some dramatic photos from the top of Telegraph Hill. (OK, some of them were from back down in Union Square afterwards.)
Sunday, November 6, 2005
SORRY, YOU'RE SITTING TOO FAR BACK SO WE RAN OUT OF OUR SHITTY LITTLE LUNCHES. GUESS YOU DON'T GET TO EAT DURING YOUR SIX HOUR FUCKING CROSS-COUNTRY FLIGHT, SHITHEAD! HA HA FUCK YOU, CUSTOMER.
I had three cookies saved in my bag. I took them out after being denied my meal, and started eating them. The attendant who denied me a sandwich came by and asked if I'd like some milk with them. No, I replied, I want a sandwich. She paused for a moment, then said, "How about some coffee?"
What the FUCKING FUCK is wrong with this airline? I am taking my saved-up miles and selling them. I don't care what I get for them. If anyone can tell me how to get a lousy travel clock for 40,000 miles, please let me know. Thanks.
So fast-forward to this week. Sony has released an audio CD (or CDs) that will actually trash your PC. Without asking permission, it installs something called a rootkit. This is a piece of software that you can’t get off your machine, which doesn’t show up when you look at Task Manager, and which is basically what malicious hackers use to control machines undetected. This rootkit has been found to transmit information back from your machine to Sony servers. Doing this is illegal in many states, and I’m personally not going to purchase any Sony products in protest.
In case you’re keeping track, I’ve compiled a list of Cynicor Boycotts. Please do not patronize these companies, for the reasons listed.
Secretly installs malicious software from audio CDs
Tried to screw me over in small-claims court
Charged me $1200 for a crippling center seat on a flight to Atlanta
Offloads health care costs onto Medicaid. Destroys small business, busts unions. Also, the kind of place where Britney Spears would shop.
Their tall trash bags with cinch strips are often defective; the straps pull right out, and then you have to take the other one and tie it around the top.
Screws around sports programming if it competes with teams they own. Cable providers should not be allowed to own programming as well. Also, their signal goes out when it rains, just like a dish.
No longer lets me upgrade my coach tickets, so I have all these miles I’ll never be able to use. Getting service from them involves vigorously jiggling a handle.
In college, I bought an Aiwa CD player and it didn’t work right. Its head was misaligned, and it would scratch all my CDs. I sent it back twice, and they wouldn’t fix it. I recorded a brand new CD being put in and scratched and sent it to them. They sent back a note: “We think problem is caused by big scratch on CD.”
Tried to force DivX format on people – self-destructing DVDs. Also doesn’t have as good a selection as Best Buy.
Chased me down in their parking lot because their security system was malfunctioning. Its alarm went off each time someone walked through the doors. I took the stuff I’d paid for and kept walking, and they ran me down and grabbed my receipt out of my hand.Note: people have no obligation to present their own belongings to a dumb-ass store employee just because they have a defective security system. Their problem, not mine. The Wiz is out of business now, ha ha.
New York Times
On my last nerve right now, for allowing Judith Miller to help send our country to war against Iraq.
The room I had at the Boston Parker House in 1992 was substandard.
I still don’t know what I bit into in that McNugget. Wasn’t chicken.
Reese’s PB cups
Ate a bag right before I got a stomach virus once. I now boycott them.
NBC on Mondays
I will not watch the morning news on WNBC on Mondays, because they run Fear Factor ads at 6 AM. Who needs that crap?
For destroying an entire season out of greed. And also, the Islanders kinda blow this year.
Thursday, November 3, 2005
Dick Cheney's approval rating, meanwhile, is down to 19%.
And finally, Jon makes a very insightful, salient point today:
And for the record? Josh is right about the administration.
Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Now people know that I view Bush as the worst president ever! Finally, I have a voice!! I just know he's going to resign after seeing this.
Tuesday, November 1, 2005
Friday, November 4, 2005, N.C. Museum of Natural Science, Raleigh, NC
First Friday early show, before screening of "Planet of the Apes"!!!
Friday, November 11, 2005, Manhattan Room, Philly
w/Rifle Nice and Heston Rifle
Saturday, November 12, 2005, Elevens, Northampton, MA
Sunday, November 13, 2005, Pete's Candy Store, Brooklyn, NY
Monday, November 14, 2005, Galaxy Hut, Arlington, VA
w/Federal City Five
Saturday, December 10, 2005, The Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC
a minutemen tribute show