Let’s be perfectly clear here, I used to HATE the daytime. When you’re a twenty-something misanthrope working retail, daytime blows. Bosses are about, people are about, it gets to be a little much. So you pack your bag up at the end of the day, and when you’re twenty, and .socially inept(see the last post), night time is a great time. Less people around to make you feel like the outcast you already know you are. The people at this time of night are usually more interesting, and just as much an outcast as you.
But being a misanthrope, you head home, unless there’s a RPG/concert/club you’re hanging at. But if you do those things, it’s never on a Friday or Saturday. Those days in the club world are amateur hour,money makers for the club. Too crowded, too full of desperation, and way too many people to notice you’re not the hippest thing in the world. So you sit home alone,only the radio to keep you company, because Bill Clinton killed late night TV in 1993. Don’t think so? He killed the last chance for the Fairness Doctrine to be put into law, kiddies, and oversaw the deregulation of tv that brought us the infomercial.
Also, radio sucked in the midwest by the 90’s. That was, until one night, I discovered the man who is second only to my wife in comforting me on late and lonely nights:Art Bell.
Art Bell’s Show, Coast to Coast AM, was the perfect radio show for the 90’s, and is still somewhat good under the new guy, George Noory. But for a guy reading fantasy and sci-fi or chatting in a chat room at 1 am, he was the perfect soundtrack. Yes, he was into the paranormal and dire future predictions, but he did it with a style and dry humor never matched. Who else had the nerve to have the AntiChrist call line, call in if you’re him? Or call in if you’re from the future.
Best moment ever for Art’s show was one night, during a round of Area 51 call ins. Area 51 is the legendary Nellis Air Force Base, long rumored to be a holding area for crashed UFOs. A caller called in, said he was calling from a phone booth, and couldn’t talk long. Said there were things at Area 51 that made him weep for humanity. He then stopped, and said “Oh God, they’re here”. While Art tried to keep him talking, there was a sudden blood curdling shriek, and Art’s show went off the air. It’s 2 AM and your favorite broadcaster gets cut off, you tend to freak out. Turns out a transformer blew near Art’s uplink for satellite. Never been real sure about the connection, but it was amazing to experience.
Flash forward twelve years or so. I’m a father now, which is to say I haven’t really slept in, in about six years. I figure I get to do that when she graduates high school. Until then, I’ve gone from feedings in the early hours to bad dreams to up before dawn bus driver pick ups. But I still have insomnia. I still love to write in the wee hours when I can, though the morning afters are worse now. But I don’t have Art anymore, not really. And if I’m alone in the house at night,I find I miss the presence of my wife and child. Where the radio once was, the silent presence, the odd rustle of a turning body in bed, these are the noises that give me comfort in my wolf hours. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. And daytime? it’s a good thing now, because that’s when my light of my world is awake. So good bye middle of the night, I’ll see you around, here and there, but I have those who need me elsewhere.
Warning: some of the new planks in the Immanent Party platform may be offensive, or worse yet,funny. Here’s my third attempt at writing this thing
15)All government officials and workers will be subjected to random drug tests. If you can’t drive a car or fly a plane drunk or high,why should you be able to do so to a country?
16)Illegal immigrants from a country in North America, and over 18, will be subjected to democracy and military training and shipped back to their home country. Underage illegals will be handed over to social services. Babies born to illegals will be handed over to social services and their parents deported. Countries whose citizens commit more than 10% of the crime in a city,county or state will be considered to have done an act of war.
19)Babies born in the US to parents with visas or green card, the parents will have 6 months to pass citizenship and ESL classes, or they will be returned to their home country,regardless of political asylum. Second incident illegals will be treated as enemy combatants, and housed according to Geneva convention standards, to those countries who signed the treaty. Otherwise, they will be treated to the standard of their home country.
20) People who commit terrorist acts,such as bombings and massacres will no longer be given asylum, and can be sued and tried for such crimes here.
21) All government licensing and regulations will be in English, period, along will all road signs. Businesses over a certain size and sales volume will be required to have all English signs. My ancestors had to learn the language and assimilate,you do too. Also, radio stations will be subject to one foreign language station, per language, per 100 mile broadcast area.
22) We advocate for all churches to be allowed to act as areas of asylum, but still subject to search and seizure of weaponry and drugs. Churches who are found to hold such will be immediately disassembled and all assets seized.
23)All new house permits will be suspended until livable housing is made for all. Then new houses will be made only on currently vacant land.
24)Slumlords and companies holding vacant land without engaging in reasonable upkeep will have those land seized and turned over for public use.
25)Nuclear reactors will be safe to a 9.0 seismic action or shut down. Towns will allow transport of spent fuel to desert locations or have their power shut off, period. No more NIMBY for nuclear fuel disposal.
26) FEMA is to be disbanded and replaced with something that works, along with the FDA, EPA, and TSA. Like hardcore bands, some acronyms need to go when they start to suck.
27) The Immanent party’s solution to the Mideast problem is to cut off all military aid to Israel until there’s a Palestinian state,and all the settlements are gone,period. All Islamic states will have nuclear weapons placed in their cities, with state leaders getting triggers, that will set off one weapon at random. All disputed religious sites will be razed and turned into parks. If my kids fight over toys too much they get taken away too.
28) We will advocate for our new foreign policy, called the Chicago Way. We will no longer start wars, we will finish them. We also will utilize the tools that organizations use against us. We will also advocate assassination as a tool of spy craft against those states that use it. The gloves are off, terrorists.
29) Sports improvements: No more banning of performance enhancers, now required. Tougher requirements for prevention of head injuries, and salary and ticket price caps.
30)We want a revolution,but we want fun too.
Weekend Assignment #360: Toy Show
Do you have any old toys or dolls from your childhood, either the originals or replacements purchased as an adult? If so, tell us about them.
Extra Credit: Is there a particular toy from your childhood that you especially remember as a favorite?
I don’t have a lot left from my childhood. Having a single father vanish one day, leaving a suicide note and a pile of bills the week after you graduate college, tends to fuck up your childhood keepsakes.Years of couch surfing afterwards don’t help either.
So I only have one toy left from childhood, And it’s not really form childhood, but a reminder of that childhood. It’s a troll, up in my daughter’s closet. He’s grey, furry, has bare arms and legs, and was made by my grandmother. He’s also one of the few things left of one of the best memories of my life.
By the time I came along, my grandparents were retired. Heart attacks had stopped Grandpa, and a broken back had ended my grandmother’s nursing career. My grandmother loved to sew, so when she got bored one day, she started making stuffed animals. She started with teddy bears, but by the end, she was making two foot tall mermaids, Popeye dolls, and dinosaurs
As her only grandson, I got pretty much all of them. My personal favorite was an orange tyrannosaurus she made for me when I was seven. His name was George. The day my grandfather died, I think I came home from school and just sat on the bed, surrounded by a stuffed menagerie, knowing deeply that nothing was ever going to be the same again.Soon after, she stopped sewing. I think a lot of her left with him that day.
My grandparents were the best thing to ever happen to me. They(and my Aunt Rosie) are the only reason I’m not a complete asshat. They took me cross country, took me in for summers, and made sure I had some time where I was a kid during my childhood. My dad was too busy being an emotionally abusive workaholic, and mom was too busy being a bi-polar drug addict to pay too much attention to me as a kid. To this day,I never need to hear “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin, because I’ve fucking lived it.
Sadly, she’s no longer in this world. She died the week before we moved here to North Carolina. Between being in a nursing home and senility, there wasn’t much left of her at that point. She’d endured a broken hip, a scumbag second husband, and all my teenage nihilism . But she got to see me married and raising a family of my own. She and Archie left some big shoes to fill, and I try every day to.
So when I’m feeling lost in this world, I take that troll down. I swear I can smell their house, the scent of oil soap, her Oil of Olay, and Granddad’s talc all mingled together. I can hear the polka music, and them arguing who won this round of 500 rummy. And I listen to my daughter sleep and think, Hey, it’ll be OK.
Extra credit: Best kids toys, other than the ones I mentioned above, were Micronauts, Legos, Dark Tower, Macross model kits, and Star Wars action figures.
WARNING: this post is going to be as whiny and selfish as humanly possible. If that bothers you, quit reading and go find some goth girls in trees to look at.
I was having a crisis today. I’m writing you here because frankly, I don’t think anyone ever reads this thing, and the chances of you ever bothering to do something that changes your world are as remote as Bhopal to Lacrosse,WI. But I’m adressing you because I keep having one thought, over and over again that you’ve never had.
Lots of days, I think I suck as a parent. Fuck that, there are days when I know I suck as a parent. There are days when I look at my girl, and all I can think of are all the bad things I’ve given her. TV, Video games, bad food, ignorance, neurosis, for a start. The fact that the best thing I do for my daughter is take her to the park so she has other kids to play with speaks volumes about my failure as a parent. There are other adults who can sit and play for hours with their kids, without running out of things to do with them. I’m not one of them. At times, I get too self absorbed, and resort to video games or TV as a babysitter, even when I’m home.
In short, I follow the lessons in parenting you and mom instilled in me long ago. Make sure he gets good grades, make sure he’s not dressed in rags, but when it comes to actual love and affection, don’t bother. Plop them in front of a TV set, or send him to his room, so he’ll be out of the way. I work six days a week(just like you used to) and pretty much don’t have a life outside of work(just like you), and there are days when I just want to come home, lock myself in a room, and scream into a pillow for six hours.
Here’s the big difference between me and you dad: I admit I have a problem. So yes, I may not play as much with her, but I do play with her , or try to interact with her every day. Which is something you never bothered with until Mom left. Thank the gods I married a woman who has a clue about child rearing, and a sense of fun. She also has family who understand that, and try to include Aubry in stuff, and make an effort so she has experiences that aren’t tied to a screen. You tried to, dad, but six thousand trips to the lumberyard aren’t going to replace not a single trip to a ball game, or museum, or anything that showed life outside of work and repairing the house. Evne if she didn’t have all that, there’s one thing I do that you could never be bothered to:
I love her.
I get her off to school, I read to her, I tickle her and tease her. I love to listen to her sing along to the radio, she makes up the words if she doesn’t know them. I tell her when she’s wrong, and I praise her every chance I get. I’ve had bad days where I’ve gone off on her, and the look in her eyes from those days crushes me every time I think about it. I make sure the last words she hears every night or when I leave her side are “I love you Aubry”, bcause Gods forbid I get taken out in the night or while I’m away, The last thing she’ll have heard from me is the most important thing any kid can know: That their parent(s) love them.
Pity you couldn’t be bothered, Dad. I fucking hate, hate HATE the song “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin, because frankly, I lived it for my entire childhood. I can’t recall you ever playing with me once. All the games other kids grew up with, like Chutes and Ladders, I played in school. I can’t recall a single thing we did together as a family, except go visit your folks. Well, there was the infamous family vacation in 76, but really, since we only went to the spots you wanted to, how fun was that?
I admit, to your mind, I was a spectacular failure as a child. Needy, sickly , and small. Of course, flowers stunt when you don’t water them, Dad. Aubry’s proof of that. She grows bigger every day, and we feed her love.
I wish I was a better man, Dad. That I didn’t learn all you taught me so well. That I’m so afraid of not having a job that I’ll stay at a crappy one just to survive, and not take a chance on a better one.I try not to discuss my job with Aubry, because really, what six year old needs to hear their father bitch about how much of a career failure he is.
I’m writing this, in part, as a part of a plan to myself to do better this year. Yeah, I’m already not perfect at it, but gods damn it, I’m trying, whihc is, after all, better than you.
Haven’t posted here in ages, wonder if anyone besides the future son-in-law will give a crap. Need to figure out how to post to both this and FB, and make my own damn site. So today is 1/2/12, wonder why no one’s making a big deal out of it. Just as significant as any other date, and looks cooler. I made a personal vow to write at least 500 words a day, and since no one reads this anyway, figured I’d just write here, at least it’s proof I did something worthwhile with part of my day that didn’t involve household tasks or playing video games. I’m hoping to rewire my brain into needing to dothis. WHy do I need to do that? Real Simple:
I’m an addict. I have an addictive personality. I know this, I’ve known it for decades. Now, before you all start quoting the twelve steps to me, do me a favor. Write down the twelve steps, roll them up tight, cover them in lube, and shove them up your ass. They’re useless, absolutely useless, and one of the worst things to ever happen to Western Civilization,next to Don Hewitt,the man who destroyed news reporting.
Now my addiction has never been to drugs, though I did OD once. Can’t really call myself a drug addict though, because being dead once was enough to stop me. Nope, through my life, there has been one addiction, and one addiction alone that’s stood head and shoulders above the rest. Most people would look at me and assume its food, just because I look like a shaved bear most days. Nope it’s this:
Being alone and reading.
I’m addicted to it. I can’t help it. If in my last hours, if I have no family left alive, don’t pray over me. Just put me in an easy chair, pile the latest issues of AP and Decibel next to the chair, hand me a Nick Polotta book, then put in the needle. Chances are I’d die smiling.
I know exactly how I came to be addicted to this. That was the time there was any peace in my house growing up. Other kids can talk about family gathered around the TV at night, or playing games. If you think I know what that’s like, its only because my wife’s shown me how that can be fun the last few years.
You think an addiction like this wouldn’t be so bad, but you’d be wrong. I suffered immensely in social situations for years. It took years of friends and teachers to teach me how to talk to people. And I’m good at it, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes I’ll talk to people way too long, like I’m overcompensating. Perhaps I am. But my happiest childhood memories don’t involve people, they involve being under my bed(it had a raised chest on the side, and I could slip down behind it and make a fort). It was my inner sanctum the first decade or so of my life. There are days when I’m still that kid, alone, listening to his parents scream at each other, waiting for the silence.
So I’ve been watching the news,and frankly, my disgust with my fellow Americans has reached a new height, So many people standing around, watching as a corporate funded plutocracy steals this country right out from under us. I have no interest in the Right Wing of this country. Your Koch Brothers rimming, Goldman Sachs sucking, jackbooted thugs in nice suits serve their corporate masters, while distracting hordes of followers with Sarah Palin,and a complete disrespect for their enemies. I’m done talking to people who have no interest in compromise, only winning. That’s fine, you’ve shown us your hand, now bend over so I can give you ours.
All you Democrats, you can stop laughing now. You’re worse. At least the Republicans told me where they were coming from, and I believed them. The Democrats sold me a very convincing dream, and did with the best drug ever: Hope. And what do I have to show for it?
Frankly, Mr. President, you disgust me. How many times does a guy have to kick you in the nuts before you stop trying to reason with him? You rode into town with our hopes and dreams, and armed with one of the dirtiest players in the game, the Democratic Dick Cheney, Rahm Emanuel. And what did you do with this?
Frankly, President Obama, you became their bitch. You were on your knees more times in the White House than Monica Lewinsky. In your pathetic attempts at reconciliation, you gave away the best shot a new President’s had since Carter.
Sadly, Mr. President, he had a spine. I’d like to know where the fuck yours went. Were you never in fights in school, Obama? If you try and shake hands with someone, and they spit on it, you don’t wipe it off and then get on your knees and ask again. Which is what you have done. Where I come from, you try and reason with someone, and they insult your family, your friends, and your kids(which the Republicans and their fascist girlfriends ,The Teabagger Party have done), you don’t try and reason with them anymore. You smile back sweetly, and kick them right in the nuts. How many more freedoms have to go before you realize they won’t be reasoned with?
But it’s not your fault, really. We’ve gone in the Democrats from Truman and Roosevelt to Kerry(who couldn’t beat BUSH in a debate, how shameful was that?) and your Uncle Tom ass. Yeah , I said it. You are nothing more than a lackey for the billionaires just like the Republicans, just different ones. They are the whores with Gonorrhea, you’re the ones with Syphliis.
So, I’ve decided that this country needs to be taken back. The 10% who own everything need to go down. So I’ve decided to make a new party, because frankly, all the other minority parties suck hard. What’s it called:
The Immanent Party
Catchy, huh? It’s a play on Immanence,the idea that spirit is everywhere. I’m using it to say politics are everywhere, and if you ignore them, they will act on you without your will. But enough of that, without further ado, here are the planks in the Immanent Party platform:
1)Corporations, especially, Insurance companies, have gotten too big, and need to be split up,NOW. The Sherman Act needs to go, replaced with our new bill, the Curtis Act,which says that if you go above 30% of market share, you break into four companies, in 60 days, or face government seizure of all assets. The Curtis act will NOT have an insurance company exemption.
2) Laws and budgets have gotten ridiculously complex, and need to be simplified. The entire tax code needs to go, replaced with 10% income tax, no exemptions for anything. Corporations worth over 10 million will have that applied retroactively for 5 years once the code is enacted. This will also mean no more tax cuts for oil companies, or for companies that send jobs overseas. Forieign investment cna no longer be more than 40% of a company. Any company that closes a plant here and moves it overseas will be charged with economic treason.
3) The Fairness in Broadcasting Act will be put back into place. Along with the Curtis Act, this will mean the end of Mass Media.Also,the fees for broadcast licenses will be dropped greatly, encouraging more media variety
4) All ulitity companies will now have to be partially government owned.
5)All stock, bank and commodity regulations will now go back to the ones in 1930. Commodities Speculation will be tightly regulated, since it causes the rises in prices we’re seeing now in gas and corn.
6)Net Neutrality will be enforced by the FCC, period.
7) Marijuana will be legalized, and treated the same as alcohol, in terms of sale and production. Other drugs will be on prescription basis, regulated.Drinking age will be federal,and knocked down to 18.
8) Creation of a larger civil service to care for the nation’s infrastructure. This will go along with the new requirement for Citizenship: two years civil, or 18 months military service. Citizenship will be required for voting, running for office, property ownership, business ownership,and marriage. Also, the current citizenship exam will be required to be passed to graduate high school.
9) All political campaigns will receive the same amount of money, press time, and staff, variable by level of government, period. Giving money to candidates will be considered treason, period, and tried as such.
10) All school budgets will be awarded on a per student basis, no more, no less.
11) There will be a Equal Employment Act.Discrimination because of color, creed, or gender will result in loss of business license.
12)Gun Dealers will now have to be federally licensed, not state by state. there will be a 3-day wait to buy a gun, and dealers found not complying with proper mental and criminal background checks will lose license permanently.
13)Establishment of a universal health care policy, paid for by all those smaller insurance fees, due to cap limits on how much those companies can charge, and how much hospitals can spend per dollar on bureaucracy.
14) we are not the party of King, we are the party of Malcolm, Debs, and Hightower.
So,anyone like what they hear so far?more tomorrow.
Weekend Assignment #359: Career Day 2
It’s often said that most people will change careers several times over the course of their working lives. If money, age and educational resources were all conducive to your trying another line of work, would you do so? If so, what new career would you choose?
Extra Credit: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Would I keep doing what I’m doing? As much as I enjoy some days, it’s not what I’d prefer to be doing. I can think of dozens of jobs I’d rather be doing. Or not doing ,in the case of my safe deposit job I used to have. If’ I’d been emotionally able to write then, I’d have finished a ten novel series by now.But let’s see, dream jobs, in no particular order:
1) Book/music store owner: Remember all those Media Play stores that sold books, music and movies? I’d love to own one of those, only much cooler and without the corporate whoredom those jobs seem to entail.
2)Cable Phone Support: Free cable and doing nothing to help anyone? Sounds like fun ,and could work on my writing inbetween cals from people looking for the “any” key.
3)Radio Talk Show host: I lied, this should be number one. If I could have any job or career,It would have to be Art Bell, the guy who originated the best late night talk show on radio, Coast to Coast AM. I’d get to stay up all night, make good money, and discuss conspiracy theory, UFOs, ghosts and quantum physics. And people would put me in great commercials. (Go Youtube Art Bell Harris Teeter commercial, and then thank me later)
4) Rock star: I know you said if age wasn’t an issue, but in this case, it would be talent that would needed to be not an issue
5)Rapper: See the talent memo above.
6)Law Enforcement: I think I could do this one easily, with enough time. I love the idea of solving crimes and answering mysteries. Besides my age and physical limits, I really think solving crimes woudl be fun.
7) CIA Analyst: I love arguing politics, and trying to figure out what politicos are up to. I imagine the job is something like that. And I really wouldn’t do well in the field ,though.
8) Game programmer: Just so I could write a version of Mafia Wars that doesn’t rip off their artists.
9) Movie Producer: After seeing Skyline, I feel I’m overqualified in the brains and taste department to do this, but I’d do it just so I could stop garbage like Furry Vengeance and get some Heinlein and Moorcock, not to mention Elfquest, on the screen.
10) Pagan Televangelist: I’ve always wanted to be the first. I’ve done in a LARP , I’d love to try it in real life.