Friday, April 17, 2009

What the Word Needs Now...

It evoked the smell of fresh bread, being part of a grocery store name.
It is the genus that contains the royal root, dye of royalty and ancient sweet, sugar beet.
It is a high energy electron or positron.
It is a high school honor society.
It is speed relative to the speed of light.
It means that it probably won't friggin' work, but don't blame us for not finishing our damned job, we told you it was a Beta.

When did this idea become acceptable? When did taking the trial phase into mainstream society and washing our hands of the repercussions become the norm? I'm guilty, look at my blogs, none of them are finished, I'm too damned busy to pour 100 hours into making this thing look pretty (but ya like that Batek Effect on the tacky title... dontcha? Dontcha wish your title was fly like me.... Jai Ho, bitches)... have you been to my two galleries, Violet's Kitchen, and my deviantArt page? Most of that stuff is starting to show a little technique, but it's far from polished. Why bother, right? Why complete anything? We get credit for inventing, for the thought, for the intention, for the attempt. Other than a tennis stroke, who needs follow through for anything? Oh, wait, have you seen world tennis rankings? Our best guy is behind some dude from Serbia. Serbia? Have you been to Serbia? Isn't that the country Hillary Clinton falsely claimed she was fired on by snipers? Do I need to say anything more?
I mean really, anyone want to take a beta antibiotic? Would you feel comfortable giving your child "Children's Tylenol Cold and Flu: Beta"? No, of course not, that's why God invented macaque monkeys. What if you jumped on your SouthWest flight, and instead of that stupid joke about putting the air mask on children, and people that act like children, tee hee, tee hee, they said "Welcome to the new Boeing 783.... beta." Wouldn't you start screaming about your meds and the box cutter in your pocket to get off? Or ladies, how about getting on the new pill, less acne! Beta. It's unbelievable. Our expectations are so low these days, we don't even expect our newscasters - journalism majors - to know grammar or usage. These wordsmiths have been opening broadcasts with phrases like, "In these uncertain times, America faces..." Excuse me?
These are not uncertain times!
People are certainly broke! You want to know how broke people are? A couple weeks ago, my ex and I were down on fourth street; for those of you who don't know, downtown Austin (which is almost always referred to as "the place where all the shootings and robberies are, but at least we're not as bad as Dallas") has 6th street which has college bars and clubs, 5th street which has all the 30 somethings bars, and 4th which is a little nicer. Anyhoo, we're down at our favorite place (Hollaback Sanchez, greatest bartender in Austin! Seriously, go to Cedar Street Courtyard and try his magic). On our walk out, I stop at one of the fancy, upscale restaurants and check out the menu, which had an entry like this:

Baguette Aoli
Our homemade baguette is split, toasted, and lovingly
smeared with a handcrafted lemon-garlic aoli,
served with watercress and hand sliced pan frites

People. That's a lettuce and mayonaisse sandwich. Let me repeat, we saw an upscale restaurant selling mayonaisse sandwiches! There's nothing uncertain when the societe haute is lowered to mayo sammies team.
If you really want uncertain times, try living with my ex. We were uncertain about what the hell was going on, what was around the corner, when the other would get pissed off. It was kind of like using a Beta, loving all the features of it while never knowing what'll make it crash. The only certain thing was that I loved her. This one was for you kiddo.

I gotta git,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Where we're headed.

When I lived in Berkeley there was a homeless man whose name I believe was Charles. I was scared of this man. He would confront me on the street, accuse me of being a sodomizing police officer that he was going to kill me in righteousness. If I saw him a block away, I would cross but he would see me, walk to the middle of the street, and start yelling, pointing, cussing. He pulled a knife once, waved it. I've been thinking about him lately. We always thought that no matter how violent he was (I was not his only target, and after a few months he came to forget how much he wanted me dead), he was of the most harm to himself. To think of a man that tortured, that angry. To think of his mind grappling with itself, the voice that cries because it can't be heard in it's own mind. To think of the cold, wet nights he spent coming down off whatever he'd taken the day before, shivering in pain begging God to not wake him up when he passed out.
While under reported for obvious reasons, there are usually well over a dozen deaths in Berkeley every year among the homeless. It hit usually in the winter the hardest, when the elderly would die. I'd say it's probably even - the number that get out and the number that die each year. Most are just there, in larger numbers every year, braving the rain, shaking in a torn sleeping bag all night.
The numbers in America are bad right now. I worry for my own future, truth be told. I unwisely left my job a couple months ago and it's fairly obvious that I'm not the only one who needs a new one. But when I read the numbers of those who have lost their job after decades of the same work, when I hear of the 50 year old transistor engineer who stood for hours waiting to get into a job fair, when I see pictures of people loading their truck, it hurts. They don't do well, those. The ones who never spent all night getting high and threatening passerbys. The ones that were decent, if not outright good parents, good employees, good friends. They will not handle well. But we still need a National Endowment for the Arts, a few earmarks - be them for Democratic or Republican districts are more important than that. We still hear that they spend $100 million on a movie in Hollywood as tonight we watch that they will evict 150 people from a tent city by the railroads in San Francisco. A tent city that had a friend of mine in it. I recognized ya Jim, with your head bent down from the camera, smokin' that rollie with the Buccaneers hat. You always said you scanned the crowd shots of those games, to see if you knew anyone on television. I saw you. Good luck my friend.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A soaking

When I was a boy, I used to love to take a bath,
but since I'vebeen able to stand up and take a shower,
Until this moment, I forgot how much I loved to soak.