Running Numbers From the Bar

Photo: National Post.

That’s the Sydney Opera House, seen through the dust storm currently blanketing Sydney. I’ve never seen a dust storm. This picture doesn’t make sense to my eye, but so few things do. In my misspent youth, there was a sense that reporters were supposed to report and the story was the story. Last night, Katie Couric interviewed Glenn Beck, which is like the ouroboros biting the back of its head, and, no, that doesn’t make sense either.

Smoke On the Horizon

Previously on Poor Impulse Control: Dad died in 2007 and left us homework. In 1997, a healthy portion of my shiny-shiny brain was wiped clean and I had to re-learn basics like Who am I? and How many fingers am I holding up? For a decade, learning was both everything I did and too exhausting to contemplate, so when Dad explained nothing and left us professional kitchen equipment, I was not so sure my brain was going to refill up with fancy thoughts. Surprise! Even a terrible functional memory is not preventing my brain from frothing over and thank you very much, do you have a towel?

Yesterday, Pete and I bought a food sealer contraption on sale at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Oh ho, you say, Aquarius with Scorpio-Scorpio, you know better than to purchase appliances while Mercury is retrograde. Isn’t your laptop kerflooey? Indeed, that laptop is a paperweight and I do know better but wait: dude, it was on sale, the box had been opened and the contents rifled, one easily replaceable part was missing and I had a coupon, so the contraption that was on sale for $139.99 – 20% for the coupon and 20% for the rifling = $83.99. But it’s only a bargain if it works, so we restrained ourselves in the store and the parking lot and on Route 1 and across some back roads and while Pete fixed a plumbing emergency at Trout’s house and through the grocery store and most of the way home. I may never have been so rational in my entire life. I don’t know how you people do it.

See, the thing is I have this dehydrator. I don’t know why Dad had it or what he used it for, but it sat in Pete’s basement for two years before I said, Well, maybe I should sorta kinda probably attempt to figure out what that does, and brought it upstairs to try it. I’ve been drying fruit and herbs and vegetables and it’s all been very interesting but about 1/4 of everything I dried turned blue and fuzzy. Blue and fuzzy in a sweater may be grand but in the pantry or the fridge it is alarming. Pete maintains that everything dried should sojourn in the freezer until employed. Well, crap. Potatoes went blue and fuzzy in Ziploc bags, tomatoes went blue and fuzzy in Ball jars. Up from the recesses of ancient memory bubbled some of Dad’s advice: You need a vacuum food saver machine. Vacuum food saver machines are bitchin’. It was a very ancient memory.

When we finally got home, I set up the machine and discovered the easily replaceable part was actually inside the machine. I can set up things I’ve never seen before because I am mechanically inclined and members of my family are allergic to manuals. Most devices are pretty simple anyway as long as you remember they were designed by people who would rather be watching cartoons. So. I set up the machine, stuffed steamed chard into a bag and pressed the button. ZOOSH! The machine sucked the moisture right out of the bag and sealed the bag. It was all very loud, so Pete came in from outside and paraphrased an old Garrett Morris line: “I was driving by when I heard you using that appliance.” Then I stuffed steamed beet greens into a bag and ZOOSH! Out went the liquid and the machine sealed the bag. The the Tray Full light went on and the machine would not seal, forcing me to read the manual. I am still recovering from this trauma, but I did figure out how to open the machine and empty the liquid from the tray, which is not very large. Note that beet juice looks great on hardwood floors.

Anyway, Mercury in retrograde is the time when people are supposed to backtrack and fix broken stuff or re-think plans that went awry. I spent the next hour sorting everything I’d dehydrated all summer, stuffing it into quart bags, using the machine, labeling everything and organizing the fridge. I was very pleased with myself and I discovered that apparently I have all the eggplant in Middlesex County, which is very exciting when one considers Pete won’t touch eggplant. Guess what I’m eating all winter!

The machine is so loud I’m sure my neighbors were thrilled when I quit. This morning, Pete was still in bed when I took apples and beets out of the dehydrator. I’ll deal with those later. In the meantime, it’s worth considering what it means when you have gear that requires the purchase of further gear, which has its own accessory gear, and that I’ve alphabetized my fridge. I am learning a great deal at a crazy speed. Next week: I’m taking a class on cold frame gardening, another plunge for my brain. Hang onto your towel.

At Home They Could Be Anyone

I’ve let twenty years of Limbaugh’s bullshit go by without comment because ignoring that noise is better for one’s sanity than engaging, but after yesterday, he should be hounded to the edge of society and shunned by outcasts. Media Matters For America:

…Rush took a caller who said the local police investigating the bus assault said today the attack was not racially motivated. Rush responded to these developments put out by the local law enforcement:

LIMBAUGH: I think the guy’s wrong. I think not only it was racism, it was justifiable racism. I mean, that’s the lesson we’re being taught here today. Kid shouldn’t have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses – it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama’s America.

I don’t even know what to say. That’s so offensive it’s hard to form a sentence in response. And yet, it is impossible to let that go by, because – finally, I see this now – ignoring Limbaugh is the same as silence, and silence equals consent.

Last night, Pete and I were talking this over when one of the tenants came home. I was blathering on a bit and the tenant interrupted.

Tenant: I just wonder why Rush would say that.
Tata: It doesn’t matter why. It’s so offensive there can be no reason for saying it.
Tenant: But I just wonder why he would say that.
Tata: No, there is no why that justifies saying this about those kids on that bus.
Tenant: This is like that thing in – what was it? – Paterson? where the town tried to impose a curfew and the ACLU filed suit but kind of shot themselves in the foot by admitting it was the black people selling all the drugs –
Tata: No, that’s not what happened. That’s backwards.
Tenant: Yeah, the ACLU got it backwards.
Tata: No, I’m not agreeing with you. I’m disagreeing with you. That is not what happened.

The American Civil Liberties Union has already successfully defeated several juvenile curfews in New Jersey courts, said Ed Barocas, legal director of the state ACLU. Adult curfews are usually associated with the imposition of martial law, which typically is restricted to emergencies, wartime or military occupation, according to the ACLU.

“An adult curfew is unprecedented in our state,” Barocas said.

“It’s just completely unheard of,” said Jon Shane, a professor of policing administration at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. “Not to mention being generally unconstitutional.”

I’m speechless, but not silent. I can’t ignore this anymore. Let’s start with the truth.

[Mayor Mark]Eckert said the city, police department and school officials will soon hold assemblies and communicate with parents and students in many ways about “character, good behavior and not tolerating bullies.”

Plans for these events grew out of the attack itself and Belleville Police Capt. Don Sax’s initial comment that the attack was racially motivated. By Tuesday, the department reversed itse;f and said the attack was a case of bullying.

Eckert said students aboard the bus told police that two students were involved in the attack.

“I can tell you preliminarily that the kids interviewed are not calling this a racial incident,” Eckert said. “They are calling it an attack by two boys who have been picking on kids, regardless of color, for a long time. They’ve been bullies.”

Eckert said Sax had “made a mistake. He let the media squeeze out an opinion (about the incident) instead of saying we don’t have all the facts. He made a mistake, but he’s normally a really good guy.”

And Sax should be fired. Kids on buses get into fights. Since we put cameras on buses we’ve taken all the suspense out of figuring out who threw the first punch. Yet, we still haven’t learned how to see for ourselves what happened or school authorities would have seen bullies pounding on a smaller kid and Sax would’ve known what to do. If they had, this would have been all over but the suspensions. But some fool shot off his mouth and released video. It’s all bullshit.

But then there’s Limbaugh. What can done about him now?

Regardless Of the Balance Life

Crooks & Liars:

Ezra Klein points out Baucus’s dilemma:

Max Baucus will release the Chairman’s Mark — the official first draft of his bill — later today. But things are not going according to plan. He’s got a bill full of the compromises meant to attract Republican support, but no Republican support. Not even Olympia Snowe, at this point, has committed to backing the bill.

Meanwhile, the framework has conceded enough to the GOP that it’s also losing Democratic support, including that of Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Finance Committee’s Health Care Subcommittee. And Rockefeller says that four to six Democrats on the committee feel similarly. Baucus is thus caught between a rock and a hard place. The absence of any Republican support makes it hard for him to justify his compromises. And his compromises make it hard for the Democrats on the committee to support his bill.

I do three stupid things before breakfast, have an attention span shorter than a sugar-shocked toddler and dated enough crazy people to fill a post office wall, but even I know a few things Max Baucus should learn:

1. It’s over between Max and the Republicans. When you still want ’em bad and hope they love you and wait up all night, Puddin’, even if they show up they’re on their way out the door. It’s sad and all, but stand up on your own two feet and walk. Walk, baby!
2. Some folks look human but ain’t. Look them in the eye and you’ll see it. When a man tells the world he’s going to vote against your legislation, believe it. He’s not bargaining. He’s dissing you in a deeply personal way, waiting for you to – again – walk away. Walk it, sugar!
3. We’ve seen the Republicans’ true colors for decades. I hate to quote Miss Oprah quoting Miss Maya Angelou, but it’s gotta be: When someone shows you their true colors believe them. Max – girl – your boots were made for walkin’.

Time and again, I watch the Democrats get out-maneuvered and I wonder: did these spineless fuckers not attend high school? Did they not have to stand up to bullies they’d have to face the next day? Did they not have to figure out how to push through crowds of lifeless dolts to get anything done? No?

Perhaps Congressional Democrats need a sophomore year in New Jersey public high schools to toughen them up. You know: because apparently governing has softened their skulls.