Acting Up

My musings, thoughts, rants, and discoveries. - Scott Maddock

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Location: Redmond, Washington, U.S. Inc. (Formerly U.S.A.)

Back to Blogging

I haven't blogged here since 2012. Why am I making a stab at it again?

I realized two things about social media I wanted to get away from. First was that I was often using it as a journal, which is boring and maybe TMI for those platforms. Secondly I was using it too much for my taste, so that I felt like a tool for marketers rather than using social media as a tool for my ends.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Insane At Any Speed

When did Nader become irrelevant? I nearly voted for him in 2000, until I watched him speaking and the red face and flying spittle was too reminiscent of the sad mental patients I had to roll up to the fifth floor when I worked at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. How do you define something like that? There was something in the eyes, the flushed appearance, the strange movements, and the oral spray hurling itself towards the audience. I can't be specific, but the sum of the parts resonated with gurneys and four point locking leather restraints.

His position that corporations run America also resonates with me. I've railed on that numerous times here as Dictators Incorporated have become more and more brazen in twisting the once lofty ideals of this country to vehicles for their personal enrichment and coronations. Paris Hilton. Donald Trump. Bill Gates. Paul Allen. Dick Cheney. Nicole... The list goes on. American royalty, who even when they bestow alms tarnish the charity by attaching strings to favor their pet philosophies.

I agree wholeheartedly with his disgust, but not his denial of culpability. He made the election close enough that Diebold, Jeb, and the Supreme Court could override both the popular and electoral votes in 2000. He probably believes that level corruption is the norm in our once great land more than I do, but refuses to acknowledge that he was used by them. Instead he says there is no difference between the parties. Democrats are political cowards, the republicans use and encourage mob cowardice to serve their ends. The semantic difference may be small, but the reality is not. Ask nearly 4,000 dead American servicemen. Ask a million dead Iraqis.

Nader can play semantics all he wants. I don't blame him for the deaths -- that blame is for the cowards in the white house and the bigger cowards who support them because they aren't strong-minded enough to develop their own opinions. He was a mere tool, a spoiler, and if he is too proud and blind to acknowledge the fact I can't take him seriously when he talks about it.

Despite the flying spittle and unbalanced denial of reponsibility for installing dubya I like what he had to say in his candidacy announcement. I'm reminded of one of the stories our preacher told when I was a kid and didn't view the church as a betrayal of the words they claimed to cherish. A man gets a flat tire, a blow out, and has to stop immediately. He's not happy being outside an insane asylum, and hurries through the tire change. Jacks up the car, removes the lug nuts, carefully puts them in the hubcap, pulls of the flat, pulls the spare, puts it in place and turns to discover at some point he'd klicked or stepped on the hubcap. There was no sign of the lug nuts. The shoulder was muddy and the ditch even worse. They were totally lost. Be curses.

"Lost your lug nuts?" calls a voice from a window in the institutional building.

He looks up to see a patient in a white hospital gown. He'd rather not say anything to a crazy person, even less so at this unpleasant moment in time. "Yes!"

"Well, take one off of each of the other wheels. You could drive a very long way with three lug nuts, and the next town with an auto parts store is only few miles down the road."

The man is a little taken aback. He'd tried to ignore the crazy person, but it was the simplest solution to a sticky problem. "Thank you," he calls back. "How did you ... know?"

"I'm insane, not stupid."

I like that story here for several reasons. I like what Nader has to say. I despise what he's done lately to the point where he doesn't seem to always be be connected to reality. Sanity and good ideas are not the same thing, and this reminds me of the fact. Politicians aren't the only ones who conflate unrelated issues. For me the difference is the corrupt ones do it intentionally.

Friday, February 22, 2008


The Supreme Court has decided the corporate state bureaucracy trumps all American citizens. Telcoms and the state can't be touched because we can't identify the harm done by their domestic wiretapping and because of that we can't have access to the records showing what harm is being done and because we can't yet identify the harm... Hello, Joseph Heller, does that leave tooth marks on your tail? Is that what you meant by Catch 22? I recently had another letter printed in the Seattle Times, which I written before scotus decided to once more honor the Bush Doctrine over the constitution.

Meanwhile the New York Times prints a titillating story of hubris about McCain who has made too much of his alleged lack of lobbyist ties. Of course, like the comics are sure to note there couldn't have been any romance because it would have been a heterosexual relationship between adults. I can't think of a republican sex scandal doesn't involve homosexuality and/or statutory rape, can you? Now whispers of his ties with one of Russia's reputedly dodgy billionaires. Of course that begs the question, which billionaire in the world is not dodgy?

The right wing bobble-heads are now feigning indignation that McCain is being undercut by the liberals. I'd ask them, why now? It's too early to be effective for the general election. It's too late be effective for the nomination race -- and he is the biggest danger in the general election for the democrats of all the lightweights out there this year. However, it is a good time to start getting the drones started buzzing. There is another possibility that fits with the timing as well, but let's come back to that.

The far right wing is deeply disappointed, fractured, and feeling betrayed. There's the fiscal betrayal, with dubya breaking Reagan's all time American record for ballooning the deficit and national debt. There's the ideological betrayals, like David Kuo who became disillusioned at the same time it came out the administration was referring the the evangelicals as comical dupes. Affirmative action hasn't been rolled back like some hoped -- for that small but strategically important neo-con demographic, only a return to slavery and public lynchings would do that.

The different far right sects will be hard to reunite for another generation. So, is the sudden indignation an act? Or is it real, and a precursor for nominating someone else? McCain would have to be smeared as only the GOP machine is willing and able to do. Either way the scary liberals will be blamed, with the demon seed media personified in the New York Times receiving the blame for those who resent the ultimate disposition of McCain. McCain is kept as the candidate -- the NYT covered up the (make-believe) scandal to get him nominated, so we're stuck with him. Or, McCain is booted because the NYT led the way in demonizing him. Either way the conservative power-brokers and think tanks see a big win. I suspect they haven't made a conscious decision on which tack to take, as they now have the luxury of letting it play out a bit. We only have to forget one thing for their strategies to work. Judith Miller.

Monday, February 18, 2008

More Hum

Funny. My post around Clemens (sounds like a clinging vine), got me thinking about sports. I've always been a casual fan. When someone accuses me of being a fair weather fan my eyes go glassy. In the "Of course, but I'm talking to an idiot" way. Teams change players more often than dubya' changes socks. Where's the loyalty? It's like modern corporations with no more pensions or job security because faceless stockholders are more important getting all upset because employees aren't as loyal as they were when treated as humans.

So, I'm a casual fan. I go to a game once in a while for the fun of it, and could care less about memorizing records or standings. It's fun to listen to someone with that knowledge, so I have no spur to prick my interest in memorizing them. I got to think of professional athletes, and how some people gravitate towards those with a reputation for being unsportsmanlike. Clemens is baseball's current poster boy, as was Cobb a while back. My uncle had a reputation in racing of making Andretti appear to be a squeaky clean sportsman beyond approach, rather than the dangerous dirty trickster reputation he had without someone like Uncle Spence on the track. It's an attitude where winning is more important than the rules everyone agrees to follow. Then, I asked myself if admiring clean players was really more admirable, and why?

It is as easy as it is insincere to simply write off my lack of appreciation for people like Clemens to the same thing which makes me detest other liars and bullies, like our White House. Call in the real world bogey boys and the original thought is lost. Instead I'll challenge myself. How about the fact that I enjoy action movies and relate and enjoy characters like Bob Lee Swagger in Shooter. He plays outside the rules, ruthlessly. There is a definite line of demarcation in my mind involving power, corruption, and fighting for justice. It makes for a good story, but not something I'd do in real life. I cheered at the veepee character played by Ned Beatty getting blown away, while I wouldn't condone it in real life. There's an interesting philosophical thought.

Back to sports. Where do we draw the line of demarcation? It's entertainment, but what kind of entertainment? A place for heroes, or a place for plotters, liars and cheats of the sort which give reality tv it's seedy reputation and popularity? Should we look to Roger Clemens as a role model? Geesh that's like my other uncle who looked up to Robert Duvall's consigliore character in the Godfather as his real life role model. What do you tell your kid? I want you to pitch like Clemens, bat like A-Rod, run like OJ, just don't act like them. A pretty warped message. I don't think I'll figure it out here, and anyone who claims to is just saying they've found some comfy blinders.

I think I need to come to terms with sports as entertainment. I don't have much problem with separating actors' lives from their roles, while others extend their hate to the projects those actors are cast in. So every time I find professional athletics to be shallow and compromised, I'll have to remind myself that is the same silliness I see from others who hate movies or plays because of specific players.

I've got a nasty head cold going, and that is my excuse for being unclear. Now I need a more inclusive excuse. I sure hope this is the worst part of the cold. Unless I wake up mostly recovered, I'll stay home tomorrow. I hate doing it, but with various work and rehearsal things coming up I don't want to be a drag in the coming days.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Whore Hum

One of the gifts of my first stepmother was giving me an appreciation of baseball. She not only got me interested in baseball, by going to watch the triple A team in Tacoma and going to see the major league games in Seattle, she gave me an enjoyment of the game. I still enjoy going to see a game. Traffic got to the point where I don't get out to Tacoma often, it's been several years. The strikes and threatened strikes reduced my attendance to major league games to less than 10% of what it was. I really enjoyed watching players develop, even to my untrained eye. A-Rod in the minors was beautiful to watch, but once he established himself in the majors that extra effort to excel and apparent love of the game was no longer visible. He became as exciting to watch as a Metro bus. Others who were diehard fans of the team still got excited, but I was a fan of the beauty and art of the game. Of course the drunken tailgate fans wouldn't be completely off base to say that's just cause I was an amateur fan.

Still, it was obvious to me when Grif and A-Rod started coasting. It was disappointing. I did get worked up a couple times, like when Carlos Guillen was intentionally injured by Tony Phillips. Guillen was gracious, while I knew if that happened anywhere else there would have been an assault conviction. I got cross at a similar incident when a bat broke. Clemens was the pitcher and for some bizarre reason took it personally. He threw the barrel of the bat as hard as he could at the runner. How he avoided causing a serious injury I don't know. Like it or not, thugs like these are role models, and we should not forgive what is an actual assault because it is done out of poor sportsmanship. I'd rather have my kids watching Ahnold kill 400 people in an action movie, than watch a vicious player like that. Maybe it's a good thing I don't have kids?

What do I think about the Clemens steroid scandal? Ha ha ha ha! A man who tries to maim his peers without even the thin excuse of backing them off the plate is not someone who has any credibility with me. From the little I've heard his attempt to take out the runner with the bat has the sound of irrational aggression consistent with steroid use. My point being that either he's a habitual bully or a habitual steroid user. Not that they are mutually exclusive. Good thing I'm not in a jury for the idiot -- for me he burned the bridge to assumed innocence long ago.

Of course, it's ridiculous this is playing out in congress. Denigrates both the sport and the lawmakers involved. A spoiled athlete is denying the drugs he used? So what? You'd think they'd spend as much time questioning the telcoms instead of giving them the neo-con "Get Out Of Jail Free" card. Are they planning on giving him retroactive immunity? What about OJ? Vick?

Here's a conundrum. The whole ridiculous thing bores me. Yet here I am writing about it.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Dark Ages

In January I paid my power bill on-line, nice and early. A good boy for a change. Then my new bill came and didn't show my previous payment. I meant to call them and find out what was going on. They never bothered with a warning, just made my house dark and cold. Mostly my fault, and at least they appear to have taken me off the "Shut off late Friday for a weekend of misery" list. I got them in a minor bind for some of their typically amoral behavior and they have made my life unpleasant at every possible turn, including earlier disconnections than anyone else. The sort of passive-agressive treatment you can't bitch about. Yup, I'm late so there is nothing I can gripe about if I don't get the grace period everyone else gets. I know, and they know, it is my punishment for mentioning their extortion attempt to a state senator -- even if he chose not to follow-up once they said "We're republicans and would never do such a thing."

Coming home to no power is a nuisance on Thursday evening, but a royal pain on Friday so I was actually a little thankful last night. My irritation with myself and the abusive power company was still there, but I let go of it pretty quickly.

My right tibia is a barometer thanks to the break/surgery nearly three years ago. When cruddy weather is moving in it usually aches, sometimes pretty profoundly. If it gets chilled, it is even worse. All that was last night's scenario. I couldn't even turn on the tv or radio to give me something else to focus on. Usually I can accept pain and dissipate the discomfort with light meditation and visualization. It was more intense, and that just made me aware of it. The damn thing started twitching with some of the more painful spasms. With all that activity I was expecting arctic tornadoes. Just a cruddy day, weather-wise, nothing more. Kind of a let down.

Even with the discomfort I enjoyed going to sleep in a quiet and dark house. It has a wholesome feel. I woke quite early, and with nothing to cook or occupy myself I came in to work. That means I'll be able to go home early. That's a good way to start the weekend.

Political Gripe Of the Day
See the big to-do about MSNBC and idiot Shuster apologizing to Clinton? When is she going to apologize for:

  1. Letting w start the war.
  2. Waiting for over a year after the story broke to be 'outraged' by the inadequate body armor and humvee armor.
  3. Waiting for over a year after the story broke to be 'outraged' by the abysmal medical care for soldiers injured in combat.
  4. etc. (There is more...)

She better be willing to debate on their network, after they apologized and showed themselves to be have more integrity, sensitivity, and humility than her.