Bush-whacked or “the Choices and Decisions of the Bush Republican”

I can support education and the arts or cut funding to higher education.

I can support any loving union between human beings or promote hatred and bigotry.

I can support the middle class worker and small business or support cheaper labor and higher corporate returns in an effort to keep the poor eternally ignorant and thankful for the cheap prices they pay on imported goods made in sweat-shops and on chicken farms.

I can support religious freedom or enforce narrow-minded secular seclusionism in order to make heaven a less unpleasant place for me and mine.

I can look to our nation’s security or grandstand and bully though force while stripping resources from our northeastern ports, storm ravaged Gulf states and crime-ridden inner cities to help defray the cost of a war begun and extended in the name of a lie.

I can work to address our country’s issues or divert attention by keeping the spotlight on problems abroad in an effort to scare people into thinking that they shouldn’t think about how many symptoms are starting to point to a nation in trouble.

I can help to revitalize our economy or provide tax cuts to the wealthiest citizens in the nation who will invest their money on interests outside of the United States.

I can work to integrate immigrants into our nation so that they are more productive and less likely to circumvent the established system or I can persecute any foreigners with the exception of wealthy oil tycoons from questionable lineages.

 As a republican who voted for Bush, I am a bigot who chooses to support ignorance while saving a few dollars by shopping at Wal-Mart where unions are forbidden and women are second-class citizens.  I believe in a white heaven free from homosexuals and most minorities and I watched the Giants and Yankees kick ass while men, women and children were shot and raped in Iraq.  I look at the national debt as a badge of honor that justifies high oil prices while keeping it fashionable to buy and fuel behemoth SUVs and eight-cylinder sports cars.  I am padding my retirement fund while anchoring the majority of america to a debt of staggering proportions in order to help pay for my second apartment in Manhattan.  I choose to harass and exclude foreigners while complaining about how slow they are to clear my plates or bring me fresh water.

 The world hates americans, because Republicans pretend to be americans and end up giving us a bad name while most Democrats don’t have the guts to do more than shrug their shoulders or whine a bit before watching American Idol or Project Runway.

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Beating About the “Bush” or “By George I’m on to Something!”

According to recent polls, President Bush’s approval ratings are at an all time high.  The war in Iraq is going so well we are reducing the age for the draft to 16, and we have an extended tour of the Middle East all lined up for the next five years.  Mandatory tickets for the tour go on sale at your local gas stations, and if you are lucky enough to be in the military you may get front row seats!

Yes, the war on drugs, literacy, freedom of speech, gay marriages, pro-choice, terrorism, anti-capitalism and democracy-hating-heathens continues to trip the light fantastic overseas.  Who can forget hearing our latest boy-band, the Patriots, singing the lyrics “We’ve got an armored convoy, rockin’ through the n-BOOOOOOOM!”  to the accompaniment of One-Armed Johnee and the Screaming Shiites playing their steel drums fashioned out of empty, upended oil drums.

I am supporting the efforts here at home by getting a second tax-exempt H2 for my driveway so that I can expand my collection of humorous “Support our Troops/Find a Cure/God Bless America” ribbon magnets.  And for the record, my ribbons are put together in Chile and only the magnet shapes and colored laminates are made in China.

Yessiree, the true patriot doesn’t need to affect change.  We just need to wave flags and tell leftist pacifistic pansy communists to “Love it or Leave it!” since America can now claim the title of “The Worlds Largest Supplier of Scrap Metal” thanks to President (and Most Exalted Potentate of Wisdom) Bush.  Money is meant to be spent right?  I actually saw  a bumper sticker on Air Force One that read “I’m Spending my Country’s  Inheritance!” 

I’d love to stay and chat some more, but I am donating my collection of Chinese assault rifles to the border patrol in Texas.  I heard someone in Washington talking about the Beaners taking all of our best dishwashing, crop-picking and roofing jobs and figured I’d do my part to keep them from rising above their station as third-class citizens in our third-world country.

 Good night and God Bless!

Musical Creations and Garage Band Tomfoolery

In one of my earlier posts I mentioned that my company had bought me a new MacBook Pro for my design work.  What I did not realize was how much fun awaited me with the Garage Band interface.

For the last month or two I have been writing songs on Garage Band and have uploaded several to a Switchpod hosting account. 

My Switchpod Podcasting Page

At one point I was averaging a song a day, but am now too busy at work, at home doing home repairs and keeping up with my external clients.  I am looking forward to getting back to writing more entertaining melodies when things calm down a bit.  The names of the songs and the descriptions might not make sense unless you are either inside my head or are a member of my immediate family.

Here to There

It seems that when I am travelling from one place to another, I am forced to share my existence and presence on Earth with a multitude of poorly schooled, semi-conscious drivers who are barely able to navigate the complex arrangement of gas, brake, and steering wheel needed to operate their motor vehicles.  Often, it is during my commute that I focus on some aspect of the curse of the “every other driver is a moron” syndrome that affects me behind the wheel.

I cannot shake the sneaking suspicion that starting my car broadcasts a signal that can be picked up by only the most unskilled and annoying drivers in a relative area that surrounds and follows me as I drive like a personal tractor beam.  When I say annoying, I really mean displaying traits and behaviors that depending on my mood and frame of mind cause me to narrow my eyes in extreme displeasure and utter my current favorite obscenity under my breath.

Oddly, there are certain vehicles that annoy me on sight.  Modified Coups that have huge mufflers and nuttly looking spoilers are near the top of the list.  Monte Carlos of any age seem to grate on my nerves as well, though there is a story behind that one…  Any large, luxury SUV also seems to bother me quite a bit since it falls into that oil dependency/gas price/Iraqi War/current (and despised) US president umbrella.  I have a strange dislike for Harley Davidson motorcycles ever since one struck and killed Peggy Sue.

 I have to admit that it is nice being as perfect as I am on the road.  I should be the envy of other drivers, except they are all too busy talking on their non-hands-free cell phones and trying to look stylish or cool to notice my close proximity.  Philistines.

High Spirited – A Previous Life Revisited

SCENE I:  THE SUN RISES BUT REFUSES TO SHINE
 
 For some the harsh light of truth resembles the molar rattling impact of a sharp blow to the head.  Sometimes this can be viewed as a merciful assault on one’s sense of being.  Unfortunately, for some, the icy waters of reality lap gently at the decaying structures in which we have housed our existence, with only the occasional swell of realistic insight breaking upon our shores.  While grounding ones life in self-serving moralizations and skewed logic makes for a never-ending kaleidoscope of invigorating, if momentary, bouts with self-actualization, it inevitably leads to chronic depressive behavior and often near imperturbable gloominess.  It is only during the fleeting moments when there exists an unshakeable belief in a better life, whether wholly fabricated out of rough canvas or grounded in a solid foundation of illusion, that the time spent living a ghostly ephemeral life is as close as one can come to happiness.  But then again who’s to know the truth when reality is individual in every respect.

 When you have examined the time as it appears on three different clocks under one roof for a few unremarkable years, and still you have trouble ascertaining which is correct, you may concede that you have worn out your welcome.  Is it really almost nine a.m., just past nine, or closer to ten after?  Daily these questions plague you, if only momentarily, only to recede into the erratic tides of your memory to slowly circumnavigate your brain for another twenty-four hours.  Through the haze of lingering apprehension you slowly make your way to the front of the establishment in which you work in order to look upon the fair kingdom which you are a part of, not as a member of the elite nobility, but rather as an inconsequential servant who sometimes fancies himself a king but more often than not lives as best as he can day to day within his many limitations as a part-time court jester.

 “Are you open yet?”  comes the plaintive wail from the other side of the doors as you are confronted by a russet faced shambling apparition.  Your well-trained manners, cultivated after years of dealing with similar situations, are immediately on hand.  But only for a brief moment…  Then without pause you come to the conclusion that the first clock was the correct one and that you now have the chance to flex the few muscles remaining in your tired frame.  Taking perverse joy in a situation such as this may seem unwarranted to the uninitiated, but liquor store clerks are a breed apart from the rest of humanity for often they lack anything remotely resembling sympathy or good will toward all people.

 “It’s not nine yet.  We’ll be open in five minutes.”

 This is not what the individual on the other side of the locked doors wants to hear and he makes it evident by launching into an argument that is either well rehearsed and carefully planned or fueled by the ravaging effects alcohol deprivation.

 “Fer Christ’s sake, I only want a pint!  Come on, it’s after nine, look at my watch, it says it’s after nine!  I’m in a hurry!”  He obviously fails to notice that you have already turned your back to the glass and are ignoring his pleas, which initially gain in volume before winding down to a low pitched muttering.  He seats himself outside on a bench, returning to peer into the window every fifteen seconds either in an effort to speed up the opening of the doors through his conspicuous presence, or in earnest hope of finding the gates to his liquor induced brief forays into some kind of eighty-proof heaven opened to him.  You eventually tire of the game, turning on the lights and opening the door in a manner suggestive of magnanimous condescension slightly tinged with feigned guilt.

 Thus begins this day, like many days long past and prophetically akin to many future days yet to come, but nevertheless vainly and fervently hoped against.  Unconsciously you often wonder, as you do now, what brought you to such a low state.  The answers are as simple to divine as the meaning of life itself, and although the questions pile up with each passing experience heaped upon your overflowing plate by the uncompromising whims of fickle fate, the drive to derive some meaning in all of this remains attached to your shoulders like some spindly spider monkey clinging to the highest boughs of the tallest tree deep in some remote jungle wilderness of your psyche.

The Newest Addition to our Family

JessieWe would like to welcome Jessie to our home.  A three-year-old White German Shepherd who stopped getting along with her previous owner’s cat after two years has come to stay with us as a permanent family member.  Gretchen, who has been out of sorts and occasionally mopey since the untimely death of her sister Peggy Sue, is thrilled at having Jessie here with us.

GretchenWe agree with Gretchen and feel that Jessie is quite special.  Join us in welcoming Jessie to Twelve Oaks.

Web 2.0 – My Interpretation of the SLA Pre-Conference with Greg Merkle

Web 2.0 and the Information Professional

On 11 June, Greg Merkle, the Associate Vice President of Product Design at Factiva, ran an SLA 2006 pre-conference workshop titled “Web 2.0 and the Information Professional”.  The sold-out event took a fascinating stroll through the chaotic elements of a self-evolving web landscape focusing on several key attributes separating Web 2.0 from the comparatively sedate world of the pre 2.0 universe.

Greg states in his own blog that “The paradox is that what Web 2.0 represents is in fact governed by the Web 2.0 Meme–by <everyone from> idealists to sensationalist marketeers and all who fall in between.”  If statements like this leave you feeling confused, you are not alone.  Several of the attendees came into the arena unprepared for the sometimes contradictory symptoms embodied by the viral shifts in behaviors, activities and components at the heart of hydra that is Web 2.0.  The information super-highway has been replaced by a strong and shifting current of thoughts, ideas and applications that have the ability to mutate and self-deregulate faster than ever imaginable.

At the core of the discussion were the 2.0 characteristics of extreme trust, collaboration and sharing, the instant gratification of plentiful rich software-like user experiences and the exploitation of standards based RSS and AJAX.  The power and freedom afforded by this shift in thought output has put the individual in a position to create, publish and disseminate information without the need for webmaster status, a large budget, societal permission or, in some cases, conscience.

The buzzwords and net darlings of yesteryear have been temporarily neutralized in favor of concepts like blogging, wikis, SEO, tagging and syndication.  Once upon a time, a web destination was judged by its “stickiness”.  This meant that a site made you want to stay or return at a later date because of its look, feel, and ability to elicit a creator’s desired behavior from participants.  Now though, the goal is to have users pull your information directly to themselves and their own environments through RSS feeds and visualization clouds.  It is not “Who wants to come to my party?” as much as “Who is quoting me and using my concepts to illustrate a point at many parties?”  Now the collective collaborators’ presence can be felt without the need to put in a personal public appearance.  All we need to do is focus, point and make sure people follow the direction of our gaze.  Instinctively, many will also look in the same direction and a few may even attempt a closer look.  That what makes Web 2.0 both incredible and frightening.

Hearken back to Jean Shepherd and the “I, Libertine” joke where he and his WOR late night listeners decided to play a prank on the New York Times best-seller list.  He suggested that they go to bookstores around the city and start asking for a book that didn’t exist, by a fictitious author.  The final outcome was “I, Libertine” being mentioned in literary circles the world over and its eventual presence on numerous best-seller lists.  Welcome to Web 2.0 and the power of the publisher whoever he or she may be.

During the 3-hour workshop, Greg took the group on a tour of several environments where the 2.0 personality was strong and obvious.  From Mashups and Eurekster Swicki to Rollyo, the group was not only able to see examples on the web; they were also responsible for generating a Wiki from a single directed thread that included input from several of those present.  Indeed, they became a part of the Web 2.0 stream of consciousness while participating in the pre-conference workshop.
The event ended with many participants enthusiastically engaging in their own Web 2.0 investigations using several of the sites, engines and environments suggested by Greg in his presentation.  While the discussions and engaging activities surrounding this pre-conference were in part the result of a collective direction initiated by Greg, the event unfolded as it should have keeping in mind the main ideas behind the overriding topic.  Web 2.0 is not Microsoft, Yahoo, Google or Mac.  It is you, and me and what we make of it all across the strands of the Web.