Monday, December 29, 2008

Surreal Reality

So, the talking head on CBS News, last night, reported that CBS News named Hank Paulson as their pick for Businessman of the Year. Huh? Did I miss something?

Isn’t that a little (well, okay, a lot) like naming General Motors as the Automaker of the Year, or George DUHbya (yes, it’s spelled with a capital DUH) Bush as Humanitarian of the Year, or Bernard Madoff as Citizen of the Year, or Jayant Patel as Doctor of the Year, or, come to think of it, CBS News as News Broadcaster of the Year?

The mainstream media appears to be stuck on stupid, so there’s little wonder that MSM gets a bad rap from almost everyone outside the mainstream.

And I seem to be trapped in an Orwellian fantasy world—part Alice’s Wonderland, part Oz, part Brave New World, part 1984—that gets more surreal by the day. Or is it, as I’ve lately come to suspect, that I’m trapped in an unfinished and unaired Twilight Zone episode, forever consigned to this fate because no one has sense enough to call it a wrap?

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Dr. Mr. StrangeDerangedlove: Or, How I Learned to Hate Santa and Love the Grinch is how I originally wanted to title this piece, but Blogger limitations forbade me from formatting it that way, so I had to come up with a new title. Crap! pretty much sums up how I feel about the whole situation.

If you’re thinking that I’m about to take a dump on Christmas, bingo, you just won a prize for prescience. I’ll tell you what your prize is in a minute.

As for understanding why I hate loathe Santa, you have to understand what it’s like to watch, over ten days, a 40-acre old-growth-and-mature-second-growth forest felled and fed into the maw of a chipper in order to make way for a Christmas-tree farm. That I played a part in all of that destruction (I drove one of four chip trucks that hauled wood chips from the chipper to the paper mill) only deepens my resolve to disavow Christmas and all its traditions, including Santa. There is no redemption, otherwise.

Then there’s the diesel fuel consumed to deliver Christmas trees to distant cities, and the gigawatts of electric power consumed to keep the Christmas lights lit for a month, and the rolling brownouts caused by entire neighborhoods dedicated to decorative displays of Christmas lights solely for the amusement of motorists who have nothing better to do than drive around gawking at Christmas lights—more wasted fuel, and more carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.

And let’s not forget about the environmental destruction and all the resources that are wasted in the making and disposition of all those crappy gifts that change hands during the Christmas season. More than 90% of all this stuff will end up in a recycling center or a landfill within six months, so why bother?

By not giving material gifts of questionable value, I give the most valuable gifts of all—cleaner air and water, less pollution, a safer, more enjoyable environment. These are the gifts I willingly give to everyone, including those prescient people who won a prize for intuiting that I was about to take a dump on Christmas.

“But Christmas is for the children . . .”

Oh, Bullshit! Christmas is Christianity’s gift to capitalism, to corporatocracy, commerce and consumerism. Bah! Humbug! To my way of thinking, Christmas is not worth destroying the planet for. It’s time to dispense with old, wasteful traditions and establish new, less wasteful ones.

Harry Kwanukkahmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Excuses, Excuses

By now you've probably noticed that it's been a few days since I posted my last entry to this blog. You're probably also thinking that the last thing I needed was another blog I couldn't keep up with. But, hey, procrastination is my modus operandi, and I've got other excuses reasons, if you need them.

Take the weather, for instance. Today is Portland’s fourth or possibly fifth consecutive snow day, and the accumulation is now six to eight inches deep. It’s rare that snow gets this deep in Portland, rarer still that it lasts this long.

But it’s not the snow, per se, that’s cause for concern, it’s the disruption to my daily routine that interferes with my writing and causes me so much angst. Snow piled high atop a car parked out front and tree branches sagging under the weight of accumulated ice and snow obstruct my view of yonder pond, putting a serious crimp in my wildlife-watching activities, which I then compensate for by watching stupid humans doing stupid human tricks in the snow, an activity far less interesting but vastly more entertaining—and more time consuming—than watching wildlife. (How’s that for a run-on sentence?)

The food situation is another cause of worry; I haven’t been grocery shopping in almost two weeks. No, I’m not in danger of going hungry anytime soon, but I am starting to run out of things I like to eat, which means that until the snow goes away, I’ll be preparing meals out of things I’m not particularly fond of. Meaning, of course, practically everything in my emergency food supply. I can’t begin to tell you how much I’m looking forward to meals consisting of a split-pea soup appetizer, followed by an entrĂ©e of beans and a plate of ungarnished pasta for dessert. And, because I ate my last two slices of bread for lunch today, I see lots of Bisquick biscuits in my immediate future. Still, it’s marginally better than eating out of a dumpster.

Then there’s the matter of staying warm. Doubling up on my coffee and tea intake seems to help, but eventually every visit to the coffee pot necessitates a visit to that other pot—a further erosion of writing time.

My final—and perhaps favorite—excuse reason for low writing output is the fairly large number of other people’s blogs that I read on a daily basis. That I’m sometimes compelled to leave snarky comments on these other blogs also eats into the time I have available for writing for Frieddogleg and Petey’s Pipeline.

But, not to worry. As soon as I find the time, I’m going to study the situation to find out how I can better manage my time so that I have more time to write.

That’s when you should begin to worry.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Non-news is No News

It’s interesting—but not surprising—that media reporters and pundits are doing everything in their power to conflate President-elect Obama’s ties to Illinois with complicity in Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s corruption scandal. Sorry, guys! No matter how much you want it to be true, it’s not true; no matter how much you torture logic, it’s never gonna be true. Read my lips: Obama had nothing to do with it. There’s no smoking gun. Not one scintilla of evidence of wrongdoing on Obama’s part. Get over it and move on.

The truth doesn’t seem to mean much, these days, thanks mostly to Repugthuglicans who think that stretching the truth so that it resembles a size-12 girdle that’s been used to constrain a size-56 tummy is an acceptable way of preserving the status quo. However, that’s not to say that they’re the only ones guilty of prevarication. I suspect that if telling lies were punishable by imprisonment, there wouldn’t be enough free people in media and government combined to populate a basketball team.

No one with at least five functioning brain cells thinks that torturing POWs is a good idea, and most people oppose torture for any reason. But few people understand that logic is a POW, too (albeit more of a political prisoner held captive in the media’s war on critical thinking), and that it’s time to call for an end to the torture of it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Oh, the Iron Knee

Every day brings more bad news about the economy: financial meltdown of this, financial bailout for that, more home mortgages foreclosed, more homeless people looking for shelter, more jobless people looking for work, more working people struggling to keep a roof over their head and food on the table. At some point this whole situation is going to turn downright ugly, and it’s going to get worse—a lot worse—before it starts to get better. The real suffering has yet to begin.

The story of how the U.S. went from being the world’s leading creditor nation to the world’s biggest debtor nation is long and complicated, but once this tragic tale is told and the truth emerges a frightening reality takes shape. From that reality we can draw only one of two possible conclusions. Either the bastards who led us into this financial disaster are mind-numbingly stupid, or they’re the brilliant engineers of a successful scheme to loot the nation’s wealth.

Because no one could be this utterly, insanely stupid unless they majored in Stupidity in college and got a degree in it (Joe E. Half-case, STD?), I’m betting what little money I have left on the latter.

One thing you can’t argue against is that a few evidently privileged people are plundering the mine and giving the rest of us the shaft.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Giving credit where credit is . . . overextended?

Right out of the gate I want to express my sincere thanks to the other guys; if they hadn't thought of their name first, I never would have thought of this one. Certainly not in the timeframe of this millennium, probably not in the timeframe of the next several millennia, maybe not even within my own lifetime. And I really don't care if I am the bastard puppy.

But I want to make myself clear on a couple of points. This blog is not intended to be a rip-off of firedoglake, nor is it intended to be a parody of it. Firedoglake treats serious matters seriously, and frieddogleg treats whatever matters it cares to address with all the humor it can squeeze out of the warped reality it so generously lampoons.

For what it's worth, this is the place where I'll . . .. Oh, hell, it's late and I'm missing out on my sleep deprivation. I'll be back tomorrow.