Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Very Cool - Lunch with my Big Brother

No, this wasn't a lunch engagement with Goodman, my biological brother (the one who tried to hitchhike around the world in a pink bunny suit). Nor was I seated across from a large monitor showing the face of our glorious leader declaring 'War is Peace' and 'Ignorance is Strength' No, this was a special lunch with a very cool guy.

My parents divorced when I was quite young with my brother going to live with my Dad in Washington. My mother, in her wisdom, felt I should have a positive male role model in my life and contacted Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America.

After a few false starts I was paired up with a man named Jack Ellis. Jack was one of the first men to join the BB/BS program when it was founded in Cleveland. In fact, he had mentored FIVE other kids before me. Jack taught me to drive and how to travel. We took several long distance trips with me at the wheel of his Lincoln Continental mark IV. He exposed me to different ideas, even taking me to a meeting of the John Birch society once, as well as many museums and parks. He drove me to one of my first Pennsic Wars. Although I was not a great academic in school, he saw great potential in me and always encouraged me in whatever I tried.

His mentoring duties officially ended when I graduated High School back in 1986. But he was still a guiding hand for years afterwards. In time, I saw less and less of him. Then, out of the blue I got a call from Chris, one of Jacks earlier 'little brothers'. He had contacted all the other kids Jack had mentored and wanted to get us all together for a surprise lunch at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cleveland. I agreed in a heartbeat. Not only was Chris able to get all the boys together, but another protege' of his flew half way around the world to make the appointment.

It seems that many years ago a young man was just starting his college education when his parents suddenly died. Jack insisted he stay in school and helped him in many ways until he graduated. This young man, whom I shall call Mr. K, eventually built up a series of very successful businesses. He is now a multi-millionaire with homes in London, New York, Boca Raton and the south of France. When he heard about this meeting he changed his vacation plans and took his private jet into Cleveland (from London)after a massive snowstorm just to have lunch with Jack. This is the kind of love this guy inspires.

The effects of time have taken their toll on Jack. His eyesight has deteriorated and he can't drive anymore. He also needs a cane to keep himself steady and get winded pretty easily. But at 82 he is still in better command of his mental faculties than I am. He still loves to laugh, to eat and to know how all his little brothers are doing. We talked and laughed and swapped stories. Jack had a wonderful time and was so happy to see us all together.

As the excellent meal waned I began to wonder what this was going to cost me. I've never eaten at the Ritz before (A sign in the lobby said that high tea was available for $23.00 per person) I briefly entertained the idea of paying for the party myself, but quickly came to my senses. Yes, it would be cool to show Jack I was doing well, and hey it would be fun to buy a millionaire and the other little brothers lunch but this is the Ritz we're talking about here. Before I could ask about dividing the check the bill came back with the maitre'd into the hands of Mr. K. We all offered to pay our way but Mr. K would have none of it. "Next time you guys are in London you can buy me lunch" Little does Mr. K know I just got my new passport in the mail...

As he signed off on the bill I heard him talking to himself as he calculated the tip. It was the very method Jack had taught me when I was all of 16. It would take a lengthy book to document all this guy has done in his life. I only hope I get to have half the adventures he's had.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Not Cool - My ducks are dead

They came with the house. And they weren't the kind of pet I would have chosen to own if given a choice. But they weren't bad creatures. After their summer fuck-fest tapered off they calmed down and were pretty quiet and pleasant.

Today, while shovelling ourselves out of the blizzard that hit us several days ago I spotted one of the ducks mangled bodoes on the lawn. Something attacked it, taking a few chunks but nothing more. We bagged the body and went in search of the other two. We found one by the pond and signs of another attack but no body, though I expect it also is dead.

These were domestic ducks, bred for farm life. They can't fly and their movement on snow is very limited. There were tracks everywhere but we can't tell what it was that killed they. It might have been a fox as the animal was light enough not to sink in the snow. We spent an hour in the snow analysing the crime scene. We've been watching too goddman much CSI. In the end we determined that even if we knew what killed them they were gone and there was nothing we could do about it. No one else around us owns any ducks so there was no one to warn and no elaborate trap to set to catch the culprit.

So what am I going to do about it? Not a damn thing most likely. But it's sad nonetheless. I don't like to see any creature killed. My wife, who complained about the little buggers during the summer is really very sensitive to such things and I know it upset her a lot as well. They were curious creatures and always made us smile.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

War shopping

Rossana and I went into our bank the other day to deposit some checks. As we wait we notice a large plastic box. Next to the box are photocopied lists. These lists are things that U.S. Soldiers in Iraq have requested as they are in short supply.

I idly glanced over the list. Some of the things on their should not be.


I wanted to put the list down. I don't like this war. I knew that things weren't going to go well for us even before we took pictures of naked Iraqis we were torturing.

But fuck. The overwhelming majority of people serving over there are good people trapped by the decisions of a moron commander-in-chief. Its just not their fault.

I looked around on Google and started finding stories about soldiers families taking up collections so that their sons and daughters would have the basic necessities for serving in a desert war theater. Some had paid for their kids body armor.


We found ourselves at Big Lots, filling a shopping cart with things from the list. Things I wouldn't go camping without, let alone fight a war. How are you supposed to feel about that? It leaves one a little conflicted, but these guys deserve what comfort they can get during this holiday season. Especially since some of them won't be coming home except in flag draped caskets.

Monday, December 20, 2004

'Cause I got a golden ti-cket!'

My new passport arrived today and with it the promise of leaving the country whenever I damn well please. My wife's has yet to show up however and this led to a long hard look at me. I had to swear that I wouldn't pack up all my shit and leave for outer mongolia tonight without her. I promissed, and domestic bliss was re-established.

The new passport has my ugly mug digitally printed onto the first page, makeing forgery either much easier or much harder. There is now a very complex little hologram coating on the page. Why am I mentioning this? No reason... no reason at all...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Manly man

So today I put all the resources of my super-cool shop into action and decided that there was NO WAY I would ever pay $35 for an oil change again. I purchased oil and filter and did my first solo oil change without permanently harming myself.

The process is pretty staight forward. Jack up the front and put it on stands. Remove plug and drain hot oil onto hands, floor and into oil catcher. Remove old oil filter (sending yet another quart of warm oil onto hands) Clean up oil puddles, replace filter and plug and refill with fresh oil.

Total time: approx 30 minutes.

Upon my lovely wifes return I told her of my Manly Deeds. I told her how it cost only $15 for the oil and filter, thus saving about $20 and a trip to the "city". My mate seemed somewhat unimpressed, telling me that SHE gets her oil changed for about $20. It takes longer, but she works it in around a shopping trip usually.

I was, needless to say, a bit gobsmacked. I rushed to the interweb and tracked down some better prices for oil and filter, getting the price down to a measely $8.47 HA! PLUS my wife wife hadn't factored in the cost of GAS to get her "cheaper" oil change. I began to feel better.

Of course, this ignored the money I spent on the various tools that were used on this project. Hydraulic jack, jack stands, creeper etc. I also have 5 quarts of old oil that will have to go somewhere. But these costs will be ammortised over the next 1-200 oil changes so it all works out in the end. *cough*

Monday, December 06, 2004

Get out your tinfoil hats..

This story, if true, should make some heads roll. I'm not saying it WILL, especially since its going to an 'ethics committee' (read: circular file)

Sunday, December 05, 2004

More Las Vegas Eye candy

I posted a few pics here but if you really want to see what what was happening at this party take a gander at the official party website.

There are links on the bottom of the page too. Lots to see.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

So True...

Found this over at Fark.com. Fuck Nostradamus, this man saw the future with a clarity that rivals a Hi Def Satelite signal

The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

-H. L. Menkin 1920

Monday, November 22, 2004

Home again, home again...

We were at home for the weekend and it was pretty weird. We went to a movie Saturday afternoon and were stunned by the crowds. Usually we're the only people in a theater.

I'm taking the time to catch up on paperwork and clean up the house. I'm also puttering around the shop doing maintenance. (I love puttering) The shop makes getting projects done a LOT easier. Prior to heading to Las Vegas we needed a lightweight mannequin system. The regular ones are way to heavy and bulky to ship. Solution? Inflatable mannequin dress forms and copper pipe stands. My friend Grim kindly taught me to solder over the phone and the results were so good I designed and made two portable lights for the show as well.

We've been thinking of 'getting away' (fleeing) for the hollidays. So I checked my passport and lo, I need to get it renewed. This send Rossana searching for hers as well. I heard a scream as she discovered that hers was already expired. The knowledge that she couldn't leave the country kind of freaked her out. I mean, this is the woman that didn't fully unpack after moving in with me for two years. Needless to say, I have been on the internets getting the applications and we'll likely pay the extra $60 to get them expedited.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

This is D and Monkey, who's wedding we were attending in Las Vegas. These pics are from the Fantasy Festish Ball, which was a pretty sweet party. Posted by Hello
These ladies were discussing who got to ride the bed first. It quickly turned into a catfight with lots of hair pulling and loss of lingerie. Actually, that part is a lie. The two ladies are economics majors discussing the merrits of the 1860 Hawley-Smoot tarriff. Posted by Hello
My sweetie next to a custom bed that has many interresting features including lights, 12 restraint points, a sit & spin and a steel ball which I assume is used to punish your parrot when its been naughty. Posted by Hello
Wouldn't it be nice if YOUR garden pixies looked like this? Posted by Hello
This is Aliki looking stunning in her Princess Leia outfit created by a talented chap named Tomak Posted by Hello
Every girl's crazy for a sharp dressed man Posted by Hello

Monday, November 15, 2004

Hey! I have psychic powers!

So I guess I pegged this one. Colin Powell and three more gone. Adding to my sneaky weasel theory, Colin wrote:

"I am pleased to have been part of a team that launched the global war against terror, liberated the Afghan and Iraqi people."

He also said he "brought the attention of the world to the problem of proliferation, reaffirmed our alliances, adjusted to the post-Cold War world and undertook major initiatives to deal with the problem of poverty and disease in the developing world."

First, this is horseshit, second, Why does he sound like he's posting his resume? The only thing missing is the use of the term 'synergy' and 'paradigm'.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Dumb Monkeys

Well the election is over and true unmitigated ignorance has won out over clear, rational thinking. I will confess here and now, that I thought in my heart that this thing was in the bag for Kerry. Really.

My reasoning wasn't so flawed as you might think. It went something like this: When you enter that voting booth, that it. You are alone and away from the prying eyes of the world. You are free to vote how you truly feel. And I thought that people, despite whatever they told their friends and coworkers and political party, would quietly vote for Kerry in an attempt to put a stop to the madness of this regime

I was BALLS OUT wrong.

The one consolation is that Bush MAY turn out to be a lame duck. We just need to keep him isolated and politically immobile. Isolation won't be hard. 49% of the country and much of the world hates him. His cabinet had had enough of this moron. These are tough jobs under the best of conditions, but 4 years under Bush has taken its toll for these people. I won't be surprised to see Colin Powell go. At one time I thought I could vote for the man if he ran for the Oval Office. I didn't think he would enter the political arena because he just seemed too nice and straightforward a guy. But after his performance at the U.N. there are really only two possibilities; he's become a lying weasel or he's an idiot. Neither possibility inspires my vote.

That can pretty much summarize my opinion of a lot of senior level officials. Lying weasel or idiot. Maybe a bit of both. Below is s a concession speech from a third party candidate. This is a man who will never get the popular vote, but he does speak him mind. Enjoy!

November 03, 2004
Concession Speech
[Former candidate Felber, flanked by his family and supporters, steps up to the podium in the bright autumn sunlight.]

My fellow Americans, the people of this nation have spoken, and spoken with a clear voice. So I am here to offer my concession.

I concede that I overestimated the intelligence of the American people. Though the people disagree with the President on almost every issue, you saw fit to vote for him. I never saw that coming. That's really special. And I mean "special" in the sense that we use it to describe those kids who ride the short school bus and find ways to injure themselves while eating pudding with rubber spoons. That kind of special.

I concede that I misjudged the power of hate. That's pretty powerful stuff, and I didn't see it. So let me take a moment to congratulate the President's strategists: Putting the gay marriage amendments on the ballot in various swing states like Ohio... well, that was just genius. Genius. It got people, a certain kind of people, to the polls. The unprecedented number of folks who showed up and cited "moral values" as their biggest issue, those people changed history. The folks who consider same sex marriage a more important issue than war, or terrorism, or the economy... Who'd have thought the election would belong to them? Well, Karl Rove did. Gotta give it up to him for that.
[Boos.] Now, now. Credit where it's due.

I concede that I put too much faith in America's youth. With 8 out of 10 of you opposing the President, with your friends and classmates dying daily in a war you disapprove of, with your future being mortgaged to pay for rich old peoples' tax breaks, you somehow managed to sit on your asses and watch the Cartoon Network while aging homophobic hillbillies carried the day. You voted with the exact same anemic percentage that you did in 2000. You suck. Seriously, y'do. Thank you. Thank you very much.

There are some who would say that I sound bitter, that now is the time for healing, to bring the nation together. Let me tell you a little story. Last night, I watched the returns come in with some friends here in Los Angeles. As the night progressed, people began to talk half-seriously about secession, a red state / blue state split. The reasoning was this: We in blue states produce the vast majority of the wealth in this country and pay the most taxes, and you in the red states receive the majority of the money from those taxes while complaining about 'em. We in the blue states are the only ones who've
been attacked by foreign terrorists, yet you in the red states are gung ho to fight a war in our name. We in the blue states produce the entertainment that you consume so greedily each day, while you in the red states show open disdain for us and our values. Blue state civilians are the actual victims and targets of the war on terror, while red state civilians are the ones standing behind us and yelling "Oh, yeah!? Bring it on!"

More than 40% of you Bush voters still believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. I'm impressed by that, truly I am. Your sons and daughters who might die in this war know it's not true, the people in the urban centers where al Qaeda wants to attack know it's not true, but those of you who are at practically no risk believe this easy lie because you can. As part of my concession speech, let me say that I really envy that luxury. I concede that.

Healing? We, the people at risk from terrorists, the people who subsidize you, the people who speak in glowing and respectful terms about the heartland of America while that heartland insults and excoriates us... we wanted some healing. We spoke loud and clear. And you refused to give it to us, largely because of your high moral values. You knew better: America doesn't need its allies, doesn't need to share the burden, doesn't need to unite the world, doesn't need to provide for its future. Hell no. Not when it's got a human shield of pointy-headed, atheistic, unconfrontational breadwinners who are
willing to pay the bills and play nice in the vain hope of winning a vote that we can never have. Because we're "morally inferior," I suppose, we are supposed to respect your values while you insult ours. And the big joke here is that for 20 years, we've done just that.
It's not a "ha-ha" funny joke, I realize, but it's a joke all the same. Being an independent candidate gives me one luxury - as well as conceding the election today, I am also announcing my candidacy for President in 2008. [Wild applause, screams, chants of "Fel-ber! Fel-ber!] Thank you.

And I make this pledge to you today: THIS time, next time, there will be no pandering. This time I will run with all the open and joking contempt for my opponents that our President demonstrated towards the cradle of liberty, the Ivy League intellectuals, the "media elite," and the "white-wine sippers." This time I will not pretend that the simple folk of America know just as much as the people who devote their lives to serving and studying the nation and the world. They don't.

So that's why I'm asking for your vote in 2008, America. I'm talking to you, you ignorant, slack-jawed yokels, you bible-thumping, inbred drones, you redneck, racist, chest-thumping, perennially duped grade- school grads. Vote for me, because I know better, and I truly believe that I can help your smug, sorry asses. Vote Felber in '08! Thank you,
and may God, if he does in fact exist, bless each and every one of you.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The return of the KING

So I leave my old job as a small cog in a vast machine.
I stop blogging.
I let the hosting for the site expire.

You think you're out... and then they pull you back in again.

A lot has happened in the past year. Maybe some of it should be told...

So I log into Blogger.com and what the hell do you know but my account still works! So I cough up a few bucks and restore the site. I used a template since the original HTML I created would need to be seriously overhauled to work with some of the neat new features. I'll likely redesign it soon. Right now I just need to get the kinks out. Blogger has really developed over the last year and there are a lot of new and keen features that will make it easier to update the site even while I'm on the road with only my trusty Sidekick II. Stay tuned.