Thursday, December 10, 2009

What to Call This Sort of Photography....

I took this in a basically abandoned oil field equipment site. The manufacturer is, apparently, "Happy Medart," which I've cropped to my own purposes. I like this kinda thing, but can't think what to call it.... Industrial Decay? Semi-Urban Industro-Trek? Shit I Like So Who Gives a Flying Rodent's Exposed Hinder Parts What We Calls It?

More Anon....

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Swearing Handyman: Hot Water Heater Edition.

The following is another in the Putziler Prize winning series, The Swearing Handyman. Today's edition outlines tips, tricks and steps to replace a hot water heater that has suddenly--and gushily--decided to give up the ghost...and the 40 gallons of water that had been so recently and neatly stored. Anyway, on to the steps.

1. Come home late, ready to go to bed and discover water running all over.

2. Freak in as dignified a manner as possible. I suggest streaking the neighborhood while swearing in tongues, but go with what feels natural. This is key. But avoid firearms...also: key.

3. Remember: the little knob that cuts water flow. It looks like...a little knob.
3a. You may not recall this until you've gone through your personal #2 process.
3b. Also...the gas...ya might wanna turn THAT knobby, too.

4. Choke back the overwhelming paralysis that creeps up on you when you realize a plumber is about to put at least one of his kids through a private community college on your dime.

5. Call reinforcements--I call mine, "Dad." There is no shame in this step; cold showers for the next week while burning through 3 returned and ineffective heaters because you were too friggin proud to call someone who's been there/done's called st00pid.
5a. Avoid st00pid.

6. Do the requisite research. (It ain't called "The Google" for nuthin.) In other words, read the side of the old one and call around for $$ on new ones.

7. Repeat step 2. Perhaps a coupla times. Then just buy the damn thing, unless you like stinking.

8. Have it ready and waiting when reinforcements show up.

9. Watch intently. You may face this again, and it might be nice if you could contribute.

10. Lift, connect, switch stuff back on, light.

11. Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

OOOOH! Heap, Big Hunter, You’s a MAY-UHN....

I don’t really mind deer hunting all that much. In fact, if it came down to a question of survival between me and Bambi…sorry ‘bout yer spot in the food chain, l’il buddy, but I have opposable thumbs and good aim. I appreciate the skill necessary. I even understand deer overpopulation is a huge problem for people and deer alike, so responsible, ethical hunting is necessary and good. ….


I have had it up to my over-developed Id with all the bragging, status updates, front page newspaper pics, etc. about the big buck that just got itself bagged. Ever had the uncomfortable “Where meat comes from” discussion with a 6 year-old when they realize beef = cow? Now imagine a similar convo when your soft-hearted kiddo (and almost all of them are) sees Bambi’s mommy field dressed in the back of a blood-drenched, seeping pickup, tongue awkwardly drifting out of the mouth as you wait behind it for a McD’s Happy Meal…or when a smiley bohunk poses next to Dancer on the front page of your local daily.

For fuck’s sake, here’s what your *aherm* “accomplishment” as heap-big hunter tells me about you: you’ve spent hundreds - if not thousands - of dollars on equipment, then waited hours and hours hidden way up a tree (usually) in freezing weather at 5am (or earlier) to wait for something that has a brain the size of a child’s fist to just wander on by….


Meanwhile, I can go to the store and buy food. Ya won’t see me with veggie burgers tied to my hood or a gallon of milk mounted and displayed on my wall….

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

BLARGLERS! See Debils Everywhere....

I recently posted a link elsewhere to a site that supports Net Neutrality. [An excellent definition of and summation on net neutrality can be found HERE. The site itself: HERE.] What followed very quickly was something that could be loosely defined as a “discussion” about this particular issue with someone who disagreed ostensibly because…Net Neutrality would lead to freedom of speech being stripped from us all.


It took a mere two posts to get there...making it illegal for ISP providers to restrict access to information would lead to making the First Amendment moot. This is not a stupid person; she’s not “bad." (However…she does likes herself some WrongWing NutJob radio and TV, apparently.) She kept arguing that OF COURSE! net neutrality was going to lead to an oppressive state with Obama as its Emporer--a senseless, panicky position I found as incomprehensible as the *aherm* “reasoning“ behind/on top of it--then, I suddenly saw what caused that knee-jerk reaction: the link’s summary started, “President Obama has repeatedly called for Net Neutrality.”

The clouds parted; the music from angels-n-harps swelled to crescendo and it hit me like a ton of rendered fat: Rush, Beck(y), Ann “Is It Cold In Here, Or Is It Me” Coulter, Palin, Hannity and all the rabid tea-baggers, birthers, death panelers, and faux-patriots-- they’re all Helen Boucher.

You know Helen Boucher. No? Well, you certainly know Kathy Bates’ extraordinary turn as Helen Boucher…”Momma” in The Waterboy? Am I ringin’ yer bell yet? Y’know…the one who hated “foo’s-ball,” even though she had no real reason and it was something her son was good at and wanted to do. Remember? Her only explanations for being against ANYTHING revolved around brow-beating anyone who DARED like “foo’s-ball” and calling it and anyone who encouraged Bobby “Deh Debil,” along with anyone or anyTHING else she just didn’t like.

The Republican Party response and that of the (Not So) Great BLARGLING! Masses to anything the president wants and or/supports is:

...Obama is Deh Debil!

Limbaugh is their de facto leader (as much as Beck(y) pretends to the throne) and has become Momma Boucher. Rush in drag - full throated BLARGLE! - calls to his minions with the mating…I mean “rallying”…cry:

Obama is Deh DEBIL!

Close your eyes and go with me to ImaginationLand: Picture Rush in all his *COUGH* “Glory.” (Need a vomitous break? I can wait…mind the splatter. TYVM.) Mentally strip off the overpriced, overstuffed golf shirt (a waste of money AND fabric) and those laughable, if voluminous, khakis. (Mentally leave on the man-thong/garter/hooker boot set he wears underneath--y’know--fer decency.) Slap Momma Boucher’s wig on that pate, a cheap cotton dress from the 1970’s (with all the matching accessories, including hat-n-purse)on that ass…then just listen to what oozes outta his mouth; watch the ludicrous turkey-neck wobble as he tries to form coherent arguments with lips still begging to suckle just one more time at Reagan‘s overrated teat (nom-nom-NOM!): Rush in drag and at full-throated BLARGLE! Do you see it? How could you not!?! He IS Momma Boucher…. They’re ALL! become Momma Boucher…. We’re damned near surrounded by an (almost) army of BLARGLING! Mommas!

Don’t get me wrong, there is actually much to criticize about the president. (I’m especially afraid health care reform, if it passes in its current iteration, is going to be terrible, but mainly because the Corporate Spankerchiefs that make up the national Rethuglickin Party were allowed to have way too much influence. But not because it‘s “Socialism.” Seriously, if you‘re gonna use big words…know what the fuck they mean AND how they apply first. But that’s all for a later rant.) But just because the president wants something is no reason to be reactionary-ily agin’ it.


There is legitimate room for reasoned debate on nearly every issue. But…being reasonable with the preternaturally Unreasonable is to invite chaos, migraines, and unintentional proximity to tea-baggers and an Oxycontin infused splatter.

Looky here, BLARGLERS! And lemme hit ya in that pronounced brow ridge with the Cudgel of Knowledge, as Bobby might put it: Everything is deh debil to you, Momma! Well, I like educated leaders, and I like my internets neutral! And I'm gonna keep ‘em both because they make me feel good! And by the way, Momma, "Joe Liebermans" are ornery 'cause of their "Medula Oblongata"! And I like the internet, and it likes me back! And it showed me its boobies and I like them too!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Oh, NOZE! Ah...ah can’t believe it! Repukes WON!?! The Commonwealth of Virginia and...and...Jersey.... Jersey.... (Well, what makes New Jersey palatable...? I got nuttin'.) ...both lost...utterly lost....

Oh, mah…someone get mah good faintin’ couch…. (Not THAT one, ya stupid git; the one with the comfy pillows, crushed velvet upholstery, and extra large cup holders…don‘t forget the Mint Julep.…) That’s bettah! Back to panic….

Whatevah shall we DO without VA and NJ? Ah mean…besides have better hair, fewer guidos, and nearly all our teefs? Really!?! The thought of a traditional Red state like VA going (R) again after voting (D) once in the last 30 years…it’s a SHOCKAH! (...much like that unfortunate incident involving a confused frat boy and drunken Jersey girl...but Ah digress...again....) And N.J.! That’s a bad, BAD l’il Garden Gnome--I mean, State!

Look, those gubernatorial races were little more than panicky voters in a couple of distressed states (are there any other kind of either right now?) combined with a collective ADD expecting the Dems to fix in 8 months what it took Rethugs 30 years to ruin…and not getting it now, Now, NOW!!!!! However, it is a bit of a wake-up call…

And there’s only one appropriate response:


Bring the Audacity, not of Hope, but of Action.

Stop asking the Disloyal Opposition for input; stop seeking their permission; do what you were sent to do. Say clearly, “This is our vision; this is how we’re gonna do it.” Then…enact those initiatives without compromise. Go ahead and stake your future on your actions. There is little better than doing what needs done, despite vicious attacks, and being right. And if it turns out you're wrong...then you didn't deserve to be there in the first place.

Be bold; Be bold now.

(BTW, a big congrats to Bill Owens, who won the heavily Republican NY 23rd district, despite the fact Palin, Huckabee, and several other BLARGLERS! bullied the moderate republican out in favor of the far more right-wing (and in their twisted minds, more republican) Conservative Party candidate. That's a wake-up call to repubs, too: just keep on keepin' on...ride your reckless brand of faux-conservatism directly into irrelevance. That way, when your done, the adults (read: moderates on both sides) can go back to having the grown-up conversations again.)

Oh, mah delicate sensibilities!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Manly Day For a Conquering Hero....

In every man's life, there are moments where he must face fears-n-facts head on or be sucked into the oblivion. Today was such a day for me.

Those among us who are married know the significance of the "Honey-Do" list. We all know its import; we all know it's there, and; men especially know the only thing worse than not getting to something on said list is screwing something up ON that list and having to call a professional in to fix the mess created.

(An aside for the ladies: that last is EXACTLY why so many of us seemingly ignore the list! It's not that we don't WANT to fix the leaky faucet; it's that we secretly fear the seemingly simple fix isn't simple at all and we'll turn a $25 problem into a nice coupla billable hours to a guy/girl/goat whose derrière is coverage-challenged AND we'll look far more foolish than if we ignore the chore AND! we'll owe someone else a chunk o' change!)

Such was the dilemma facing your hero and mine - um, that'd be me. Do try to keep up....

The master suite's garden tub has been functional, but cantankerous of late. A few niggling issues that, taken individually, could be tolerated by even the most high-maintenance among the better halves out there, but taken together, caused Sweetie great consternation. So much so, she put "Fix tub" on the dreaded list.

Oh, I put it off for a while.... "Ya just hafta wait for the water to cool down." Or: "I'm waiting for a tool/part/time/miracle from on high...." Y'know--I stalled. But then.... the secret weapon......

Sweetie: Well, should I just call the plumber?

(Tip for the ladies: that approach always works! DAMMIT! The fear of someone else making an easy fix far outweighs the fear of Handyman Projects.)

After the all-important Procrastination Stage, I tore out the offending part (Aside: It took several trips under the house, maneuvering through a crawl space CLEARLY! Not designed for anyone taller than the minimum height requirement for a Kiddie Coaster at the county fair.) and took it to Ye Olde Hardware Store (I've learned to avoid those terribly ironic "How May I Help You?" vests at the Scourge of the Earth, a.k.a. Wal-Mart.) for much needed help. I then learned whoever MADE the inlet originally screwed it up, so I had to go back and get the REST of the valve…by getting under the house…in that crawlspace…. (Seriously, Gollum would love it; Dracula could set up his master bedroom; Dick Cheney could escape the Wrath of God there….)

But in a display of true Manly Fortitude and Swearing Frustration/Determination…I got the offending bauble and took it back. So, naturally, the guy finds the bad washer, replaces it In seconds, then utters the most fearsome words he could have possibly birthed:

“Just pop that back in and your set! It should just take a few minutes.”

Smug, competent, mechanically-inclined jackhole....

A wave of handy-man inadequacy overwhelmed me! What If I couldn't install this gizmo in minutes!?! What if I were the only man on Earth to bring about damnation because he couldn't fix a faucet!?! What if I got stuck in the crawlspace!?! WHAT IF DICK CHENEY HAD MOVED INTO THE CRAWLSPACE WHILE I WAS GONE!?!

Alas, I took the Emasculation Kit home. Then, I just dove in…literally (I did mention/bitch-mightily-about that maternal-forbear copulating crawlspace, right?). And…I conquered the beasty. After a hook-up, a couple of nuts re-tightened, one blast of cold water to the face, one more critical re-tightening…I had it. I was careful; I was deliberate; I was swearing juuuust a little!!!! But no tools were thrown… No l'il ol' ladies were offended....

And then…

HUZZAH!!!!!! Cold water flowed! The tub: RESTORED! My Queen is happy!

And that, my virtual friends, is how we all know this: Gary is all that is Man. Therefore, the Apocalypse begins in 3...



Friday, October 30, 2009


The following is an LAPD PSA video for their iWatch program.

Ever read Orwell's 1984? Seen the movie? Danced nekkid in yer bay window, worried the neighbor's think you're doing it on purpose? Fackin' mind readers, ain't they?

The intent of iWatch is ostensibly good: have as many eyes-n-ears tuned in so terrorists (and wannabes) can‘t slip under the radar. If you look at the website, actual suspicious behaviors are listed (For example: “People drawing or measuring important buildings. Strangers asking questions about security or building security procedures.”) and had someone been doing that when Timothy McVeigh was in Oklahoma City…. But let’s face at least this fact: most people are too damned lazy to get beyond the PSA and look at what behaviors might be deemed “suspicious,” so the potential for abuse by even well-intentioned citizens is very real…especially in Post-9/11 America….

It's not the intent of iWatch--it’s the execution that causes me concern….

I’m not going to use Tilting to tell too many war stories or talk much about my job (that’s what memoirs are for, eh?), but I happen to be a cop; yet, the very thought of a program like this (much less its implementation) sends shivers up, down and across my spine such that all the Guinness I can hold won't calm because the cop on the street represents the first line of defense for civil liberties. (The fact some officers don’t live by that is another matter.) But when something like this pops up--something that explicitly asks you to watch your neighbors, look for “suspicious activity“ even though you haven‘t been trained--it gives the kooks, idiots, Chicken Littles, abusive exes, stalkers and even well-intentioned citizens legitimate cover to use the police to bother someone only because something “looks” odd.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called out because a breathless caller wanted police to check out someone in the neighborhood, only to find out the suspicious behavior was something not at all suspicious, but based on the caller’s own panic (which I can accept) or bigotry (which I cannot). The worst example, in brief: I was sent to check out someone lingering in a neighborhood one afternoon the caller thought was “suspicious,“ a very common call. I checked the area and found no one, so I spoke to the caller to see what exactly said person was doing that seemed “suspicious.” She said (quoting, here), “He’s black.”

I blinked, and busted out the patented, “WTF?” look on my face. (For those unfamiliar: I arch my right eyebrow, squint my left eye (LEFT ONLY!), and lower my face slightly and fifteen degrees to the left. It’s like a slightly horrified/mildly amused free range Mona Lisa as performance art.)

I asked for clarification as to the actual behavior that made her “suspicious” and she said, “Well, he’s black and he was just standing there.” (An aside: this is where I called in I was going on break, took off the badge, grabbed the nearest red herring and slapped her about the face and shoulders ‘til I gots bored--at least that’s what I did in my mind.) I blinked at her…then, I turned and left. Surely, even a mouth-breathing Twinkie repository like that felt the “ARE YOU FUCKIN’ KIDDING ME!?!” was understood and needed not be spoken….

This country was founded on many principles, but the most basic (and the one from which all the rest flow) is this: each of us has the right to be left alone, unless we’re causing harm to the rights of others. That includes freedom from unsubstantiated suspicion, freedom from being subjected to increased scrutiny for what someone “thinks” another “might” be doing.

For all the panicked talk the Ridic(k)ulous Right throws out about “fer’ners” and “mooslims” and linking Islam directly and inexorably to terrorism, it’s not hard to see how brain-stemmers would translate iWatch to mean iWatch fer Fer’ners. (Didja miss the big-eyed cutie saying “I watch my America.”?) And in this country, we don’t hassle people for something they might do…well, ideally, we don’t do that…there was a time we didn‘t do that. Combine iWatch with panic, toss in a metric shit-ton of Beck-fueled paranoia and jingoism, a dash of bigotry, mix well….

I'm not saying turn a blind eye; I'm saying let's not sacrifice a little liberty for a little security.


Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a bay window to install….

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Journey From Angry Young Man to Old Man Yelling @ Clouds, or; What a Long Strange Trip It Continues to Be

My journey started innocently enough: I plopped outta me mum and began ranting immediately, as I saw the doctor was inappropriately dressed for the occasion. More mewling followed, until I discovered "Language." After that, I waxed rhapsodic on many a topic, my soapbox-of-choice being a rather ungainly and (in hindsight) rickety set of unusually tall monkey bars. Then...the discovery of my true super power: Swearing Mightily!

I was quite the Angry Young Man for a long (some would say, "too long") time. But as the realization of Mortality has set in, I realize what a difficult, strange journey I am on, like the rest, begging the question: how does one transition from AYM to Old Man Yelling at Clouds?

It reminds me of the time I sailed across Lake Superior on a dinghy the size of a very large shoe (why anyone thought to name that lake "Superior" is beyond me, as there are several examples of better in Minnesota and Wisconsin, including a charming, though smaller, example just outside the Fon Du Lac area named for a once proud, though little remembered by history (due to the horribly racist policies of the Jackson administration) Native American tribe, though the name escapes me now as easily and completely as did the rascally cod I tried to wrangle on Day 3 of my excursion...but I digress and wax further rhapsodic....)

Anyway, t'was early on in my water-board adventure when I stumbled upon--rather, nearly sailed over--a merchant marine floating on what can only be described as a pile of rubbish loosely bound together by what appeared to be strands of his own hair. He was resplendent in his own way: well-worn boots that had clearly seen soil from Jakharta, Tripoli, Bangladesh, and more than a few Seattle night clubs at the height of grunge; pants and shirt from an ancient Sears collection; a long, scruffy beard that popped out in every direction from his jaw, complimented by an unusually thin, wispy mustache he must have gotten from his mother's side; no hair could be seen as it was apparently tucked away under a disconcertingly jaunty red wool cap. As I barely steered clear of this unusual sight, this man began swearing at me in the most profane, yet creative, of ways. (He was obviously the Shakespeare of sailor-talk.) Called into question were the following (though not necessarily in this order as his obscene observations looped back over themselves numerous times): my character; my mother's moral certitude and chastity; my father's ability to pick out healthy cattle; my sister's ability in the art of love; the size of my dinghy, and; the legitimacy of my birth.

As I sailed ever further away from this Tasmanian Devil of a Tourette's-afflicted example of the basest human creature ever to straddle a piece of flotsam, I was so stunned I could barely make reply. Finally, my days as Captain of the debate team at a famously prestigious university I need hardly mention (though, if you are interested, I shall send my CV for your perusal) came to bear and serve me well as I crafted the most succinct, cutting, and concise comeback in the history of history. I steeled myself again' the waves of the lake (again, not exactly "Superior," but they presented a challenge to me yet-to-be-developed sea legs, as this was early in my adventure, as I said), put one foot 'pon the edge of my craft, and replied:

"Go bloviate yerself!"

Judging by his stunned silence, I can only conclude it was the first exposure to bloviation as witty rejoinder of which he'd ever been the target.