Saturday, March 28, 2009

Among Us, There Was A Fungus (Non-humongous).

Or, The Morel of the Story.

A few pieces at a time, I am endeavoring to transfer the one brushpile (a leftover from the Ice-pocalypse) that is still in the backyard to one of the two brushpiles piled by the road in front of the drainage ditch, where at some point in the future I assume the city will make it disappear.

Where it will go, I cannot say. Maybe the city will wish it away into a field somewhere, like that deranged little Opie-esque child/god in the Twilight Zone.

This morning, I was wrestling my daily quota of ten limbs out of the pile and by my feet I noticed a little spongy thing. It was a morel mushroom.

It seems a little early for those, I thought. Don't they come up a little closer to May? But then I realized I was thinking of my childhood.

You see, there is history between us, these little mushrooms and me.

I spent my childhood in Illinois. It's further north, so spring, and hence mushrooms, come later.

We had about an acre of land. It was bordered on one side by the woods and on the back by a neighborhood baseball field.

At the border of the ballfield and the woods, and fifty feet on each side, was prime morel-growing real estate. Late April or early May, somebody would notice one growing somewhere, and my parents and I would gather up some paper grocery bags (this was pre-plastic-grocery bags, but oddly not pre-plastic-garbage bags) and go on a mushroom hunt.

That night, my mom would fry them and it would be enough to feed a family of six, plus whatever hangers-on always seemed to be hanging around the house.

Fast-forward several years and 400 miles south, and I'm in 8th or 9th grade science class under Mr. Prewett. We are discussing the different kingdoms of living things. We get to the fungi.

"Fungi, of course, includes mushrooms. Hase anyone here gone picking mushrooms?" he asked the class.

I raised my hand. Nobody else did.

I lowered my hand, hoping nobody had seen it.

It was embarassing because A. since I was the only one, it set me apart from everyone else and the last thing an 8th or 9th grader wants is to stick out like a sore thumb. The important thing is to fit in by conforming to what everyone else does. And B. I thought it marked me as poor. What, can't you afford to BUY mushrooms, Poory McPoorpoor?

Looking back, we weren't any poorer than most of the people in my school. In fact, we were LESS poor than quite a few. My dad had a Caterpillar retirement check coming in every month.

But we LIVED poor. I used to think my parents spent it all on coffee and cigarettes. But back then, those luxuries were still cheap, so I don't know WHERE all the money went, or why we never had anything to show for it. Maybe it was the livestock. What's the joke -- How does a farmer end up with a small fortune? Start with a large fortune.

But I digress.

My raising, and sheepish lowering, of my hand had not gone unnoticed by Mr. Prewett.

And he couldn't just let it go, oh no.

He launched into a lecture directed specifically at me, in front of the whole class, about how I shouldn't be embarassed about picking mushrooms just because nobody else, certainly no civilized person, does it and how I shouldn't just follow the crowd. This lasted for several minutes.

It was even more embarassing than the thought of everyone thinking I was poor.

That night (too late to be of any help whatsoever) I realized that what I SHOULD have done is told him I misunderstood the question, that I had thought he meant getting mushrooms at the STORE. A lie, yes. But a lie I could bluff my way through and muddy the waters with, enough to run out the clock on the classtime.

That was . . . gawd it must be pushing 25 years ago. And that's the first thing I thought of when I saw the little morel on the ground.

At first, the unpleasant memory was almost enough to make me ignore the mushroom.

But then something clicked in my head -- Hey, that's something I can eat that the government doesn't get a cut of! I don't have to pay an indulgence to Uncle Tom Sam for the privilege of obtaining it!

My first scan of the backyard yielded five of them. Two subsequent scans yielded one each.

They were delicious.

4/2/09 UPDATE: Got five more today. Gonna eat 'em.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Did his Old Yellow Car make it to Heaven?

Dan Seals, R.I.P.

Nixon: Pay no attention to that name on the letterhead!

"It's all Matt Blunt's fault, honest!"

"And please don't notice that I spent nearly a week defending the report!"

The MIAC report has been retracted, but I wonder whether it's possible to unring the bell.

Suppose you work in a cubicle at Corporation X. One day, Memo #8675309 crosses your desk. It warns you to be wary of Gay Rastafarian Swedes, because they may be dangerous.

Weeks later, another memo crosses your desk, saying only that Memo #8675309 is null and void.

Now, a little time passes, and who walks into the office but a Gay Rastafarian Swede?

Do you remember the second memo? Or does the phrase "Gay Rastafarian Swede" connect a couple of neurons in the back of your mind? Wasn't there something said about them being dangerous awhile ago?

I hate it when that happens.

What happens when you Newsgoogle the term "prison toilet sausages"?

The smoke was traced to the inmate's cell, and he admitted trying to heat up snack sausage bought from an inmate store in the stainless steel toilet[.]

There's No "I" In "Drone."

I get what He's trying to do with the bees.

He's borrowing a page from the Clintons' playbook and trying to make it all about the symbolism. You know, style over substance. You remember the Clinton Era, don't you, when appearance mattered over reality so much that on more than one occasion when Congress held hearings on pollution or harassment or the health problem du jour, they would call to offer expert testimony and actor or actress who had starred in a movie about that problem?

It's not all that surprising really, coming as it does from someone with a Borg mentality. "Look what the noble collective can do, My underlings. All it takes is a strong central individual and a bunch of workers and drones that have shed their individuality and intellect in favor of The Hive Mind. See how much can be accomplished when we are each our brother's beekeeper."

But bees are not people, Mr. President. They do not come with a soul in their basic equipment package. They are not endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those very concepts are often annihilated for individuals in The Hive for "The Greater Good."

Another difference between bees and people is that bees lack the greatest force for the good and progress of the species that has ever existed -- the human capacity to reason. Bees do not experiment. Bees do not invent. Bees do not transform a slab of metal and perspiration into a Cadillac, nor do they aspire to try. Bees do not discover penicillin. Bees do not punish the murderers among them.

You know what bees do, Mr. President? They eat and drink and poop and accidentally pollinate some flowers and stick chewed-up paper on the walls and if they're lucky they might get laid somewhere along the way and then they sting you and then they die. They don't assign their best minds to work on curing the Colony Collapse problem; they have not invented a Mite Repellant Cream.

And when they die, hey, no big. What is one nameless drone among thousands? It's not like he ever did anything special with his life. It's not like he invented the Cadillac.

Nothing worth a damn was ever designed by a committee.

I'm pretty sure that goes for colonies, too.

One of the reasons I don't eat at Subway . . .

... is that it makes people act like THIS!

And why don't I eat Hillshire Farms? Because it makes people do this:

Is it just me . . .

... or does the other Kevin look more like a real athlete?

Ah, the Government Propaganda Channel!

Missouri undergoes a political earthquake all week long with the MIAC scandal, and what does Jeff City Journal on the Government Programming Channel have on? A couple of token blacks from the state legislature uncomfortably answering non-time-sensitive questions like "How does it feel to be a black legislator in Missouri?" and "Is it lonely?" from the clueless white moderator chick.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Meditations On The First Beehives.

1. How far away are they from
A. the First Swingset?
B. the area where dignitaries hold ceremonial gladhanding?

2. Is the taxpayer funding the salary of a Beekeeper Laureate just to provide the Obamas with a few jars of honey every year? If so, wouldn't it be cheaper just to go to Costco, where the Time Masheen is?

I should've posted this months ago.

And, to be honest, the timeliness for this has probably passed, but the longer I don't post it, the more it bothers me.

Remember Obama's "share my toys" quote?

“I don’t know what’s next,” Obama said with a chuckle. “By the end of the
week, he’ll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys
in kindergarten, or because I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

What bothers me is that it demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding, or perhaps an outright mischaracterization, of what communism (and, by extension, it's identical cousin socialism) is.

Communism is not sharing your toys and sandwich. In fact, under communism, they are not YOUR toys and sandwich at all; they are OURS. If you siezed all the toys and sandwiches and redistributed them according to YOUR priorities (much like you are doing with taxpayer money and AIG, Mister President), or petitioned the teacher to do the same, THAT would be communism.

Maybe that's why he doesn't think he's a socialist -- he doesn't know what a socialist IS.

While we're on the subject of redistributionist metaphors from the Left that bother me -- Hillary Clinton and the Christmas presents. What she didn't tell you is that instead of buying the presents herself, Grinch-like, she stole them out from under the trees of people she didn't think deserved them.

I'm burnin' I'm burnin' I'm burnin' for you . . .

Take this hypothetical situation.

Suppose someone . . . let's call him The Last American . . . is fixing a bowl of Top Ramen with pieces of smoked sausage in the microwave. He puts the water in, and cooks it for ten minutes.

Upon removing it from the microwave, some of the water sloshes onto his hand, burning it. By reflex, he jumps and splashes hot water and ramen noodles all over his chest. It causes what looks like 2nd-degree burns.

Who is responsible? Pick one:

1. The ramen company.
2. The water company.
3. The sausage company.
4. The bowl company.
5. The microwave company.
6. The shirt company, for making a shirt that is not heat-resistant.

Or is it that dumbass that sloshed ramen on himself?

Friday, March 20, 2009

I probably shouldn't start with "I was listening to Alex Jones on the shortwave last night . . ."

... but I was. And as much as I fear that gives the big-government supporters an excuse to refuse to address the substance of what follows and instead paint both me and Jones as tinfoil-hat-wearing whackos, I have to give my two cents on what he spent much of the show discussing.

This Missouri Information Analysis Center report business (you can view the document here).

It seems the authors of this report need to be reminded that "extremism" is not a synonym for "terrorism." Extremism, as used in the famous Goldwater quote, is the holding to one's ideology without compromise. Terrorism is the infliction of violence to instill fear.

This part is rich:

"Political Paraphernalia: Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups. It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty, or Libertarian material. These members are usually supporters of former Presidential Candidate: Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr."
(There were so many [sic]s in that quote I gave up trying.)

1. What is the methodology they used to reach this conclusion? Did they survey known militia members and ask them what sort of bumper sticker they have on their cars? Where is their research to back up this claim?

2. One of the things that makes Libertarians Libertarians and not anarchists is the principle of noninterference in the lives of others. This is incompatible with militiaism.

3. This will lead to ideological profiling. Is D.W.L.* the new D.W.B.**? And isn't this WAY over the line into Thoughtcrime?

4. Bob Barr is the grouchy brother-in-law at the family reunion; Ron Paul is the eccentric grandpa. Both are harmless. Any notion that they are leaders of some militia movement is patently absurd.

5. Isn't it convenient how this further marginalizes third parties that present a clear and concise alternative to the duopoly of Republicans and Democrats? Doesn't it give them another arrow in their quivers to shoot at us? "You don't want to vote for them, do you? After all, there is a perception that they are vaguely dangerous. Are you vaguely dangerous too?"

6. Timothy McVeigh was a Republican. John Wayne Gacy was a Democrat. As long as we're painting broad strokes here, doesn't that mean Republicans are terrorists and Democrats are murderous child molesters?

That's my two-cents after a quick once-over. I'm printing the report out to go over it more in-depth at my leisure.

And here I was ready to order a "Don't Blame Me; I Voted For Ron Paul" bumper sticker...

[H/T 2 Alex Jones.]

[Update: State apologizes, removes Paul, Barr & Baldwin's names. I don't see anything about removing the names of the Libertarian and Constitution Parties, though.]

* D.W.L. - "Driving While Libertarian," also known as DWACI - "Driving With A Consistent Ideology."

** D.W.B - "Driving While Black."

Monday, March 16, 2009

'Tis the Season...

... Happy Bacchanalia, all!

(I'm planning on celebrating with a Shamrock Shake from the Poop-Colored Restaurant, as seen in Scooby Doo: The Mystery of the Poop-Colored Restaurant.)

Hillary's not the only one who can hand out presents.

This one's for R:

And this one's for Kevin:

I would include one for myself, but I can't find anything on YouTube about Virgil Ward.

"From the lakes of northern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, wherever fish are bitin' that's where we're gonna go . . ."

Pride Goeth Before The Fall of The Hair Off The Head.

Several days after my spring headshave, this weekend I noticed the beginnings of The Dreaded Baldspot forming. On one hand, I suppose it means I still have plenty of testosterone pumping through my system. On the other, I was hoping to make it at least into my forties before it started. Missed it by about ten months.

I can deal with grey in my goatee. But going bald means I really have arrived at the thing I have been calling myself since before I was 25 -- Old Fartdom.

Does this mean I have to give up playing Star Wars Rebel Assault II and start playing canasta or cribbage or ... (shudder) ... shuffleboard? Do I have to give up my goals of someday getting back into comic books and putting my earring back in? Do I give up watching Spongebob and start watching 60 Minutes? Should I trade in my Guns N Roses and Pink CD's in favor of some Glenn Miller or ... (even worse shudder) ... countrypolitan? And do I gripe that you can't buy 8-tracks anymore?

It seems I am presented with a few options.

1. Pretend I didn't see it and keep doing what I have been doing, and risk becoming the pathetic Old Guy living in denial and trying desperately to his long-gone youth.

2. Throw on a baseball cap and hope I can get away with it another 5 or 10 years, but isn't that just kicking the can down the road?

3. Grow my hair long; Mom said it wasn't noticeable when my hair was longer. Maybe put it in a ponytail and become unpleasant Simpsons character Comic Book Guy.

4. Shave my head daily so it looks deliberate. Problem is, with my dark hair, when I shave my head it looks like my head's covered with a giant black birthmark, until the hair grows out a little in a few days.

5. Slather on the Rogaine.

6. Start rockin' a toup.

So, my minions, what's it gonna be?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ladies & Jeckylfin . . .

. . . a little Steffenwulp.


Anyone else notice how many TV commercials there are nowadays with a young black mother and two young daughters? Why is there almost never a father in the picture?

Is he too busy hanging out with Joe Biden?

Monday, March 2, 2009


I don't want to post "DAMNED SOCIALISTS!" every day for the next four years, so what do I post about?

On sassafras.

Claey's Sassafras Candy is good, but oddly orange.