taco shop psychic
mincing is for garlic, not words...

Sunday, March 31, 2002  

32. Procrastination? Where?

This blogger claims she's a procrastinator. If she is, it does not seem to affect her blogging...

I'll probably wind up linking to her.

Newfound Love for Sinead O'Connor

Remember the big uproar when O'Connor ripped the photograph of the pope on SNL? I was reminded of this by watching VH1 of all things. I'm going to have to delve a little further into what she was saying in 1992 because of recent events regarding Catholicism. I remember being somewhat ambivalent about the whole thing ten years ago -- I seem to remember thinking her message was quite on target, but her methods lacked...something. But to tell the truth, I may just be squeamish about some conflicts, because I feel the same way about Christopher Hitchens now -- with regards to him considering Kissinger and Mother Therese to be two of the four pale riders of the apocalypse. You never know, visionaries come in all kinds of packages.

In Case Any of You Still Had Doubts

It appears that I am quite stark raving mad.

posted by Tacoshop | 7:05 AM

Saturday, March 30, 2002  

31. Thankfully, I'm Not the Only One.

Back in 23, I mentioned that our current war on terrorism is not the first one we've fought and won. Here is an article about what was essentially our first war on terrorism. I found it on Arts & Letters Daily.

I'm trying out a new browser called Research-Desk. It costs money, but you know what? It automagically suppresses pop-up ads. I think I'm going to send them some money when I get a job again. No pop-up ads alone make it worth the 50 bucks for the Pro edition.

posted by Tacoshop | 12:56 PM

30. Scruples?!

My Saturday Scruples answers are here.

posted by Tacoshop | 4:58 AM

29. Beware of Me, I'm Not Ethical

I took this test today. Frankly, if these answers are an indication, Randy Cohen is full of it. Here are the questions and answers I supposedly answered incorrectly (my selections are in bold):

1. One rainy evening I wandered into a shop, where I left my name-brand umbrella in a basket near the door. When I was ready to leave, my umbrella was gone. There were several others in the basket. Should I have taken a similar name-brand umbrella, taken a lesser quality model, or just gotten wet? - I.F.S., New York
A. a similar name-brand umbrella
B. a lesser quality model
C. just gotten wet

Mr. Cohen's 'correct' answer and justification:

If your umbrella were actually stolen, then taking another one means that someone will end up umbrellaless. Your having been robbed does not justify your robbing someone else. However, here in New York at least, it is more likely that your umbrella was not stolen, but was exchanged inadvertently, and so your taking an equivalent one provides a kind of rough justice. Everyone leaves with an umbrella more or less equal to what he arrived with, and everyone stays dry. This system works only if people are honest and don't try to trade up. The solution lies in determining if you are the victim of wicked theft or innocent error, less a matter of ethics than sociology.

My rationale:

The real answer here is obviously not shown -- that is, if you're that concerned about your umbrella, you should not leave it out of your sight. Mr. Cohen's 'correct' answer presupposes that not only that the now umbrellaless person was not the victim of outright petty theft but was also not the victim of someone trading up. Unless this is easily verifiable by somehow matching the remaining umbrellas to their respective owners and taking the odd one out, you should not assume either. The lowest common denominator is that you are a victim of theft. Mr. Cohen's litmus test for this situation will not work for any other; losing your car does not entitle you to my van, losing your bicycle does not entitle you to mine, losing your overcoat does not entitle you to mine in a coat check. Get wet, deal with it and don't lose your umbrella anymore. And if I catch you trying to steal my umbrella, I will show you what exactly rough justice is about, probably with said umbrella.

2. While engaging in horseplay in my house, a friend of my 10-year-old son accidentally broke an antique lamp. I did not ask his parents to pay for it and would decline if they offered, but it irks me that they didn't even make the gesture. May I surreptitiously break something in their house to settle the score? What should I do? - anonymous, Highland Park, N.J.
A. Smash something, say nothing. An eye for an eye, a broken lamp for a broken lamp.
B. Smash nothing, say something. You and those parents need to talk
C. Smash nothing, say nothing. Kids break things, it's what they do. Why make a big deal about it?

Mr. Cohen's 'correct' answer and justification:

Of course you shouldn't smash anything at their house. You would run afoul of that ancient precept ''Two wrongs don't make a broken antique lamp whole again.'' However, you need not persist in your high-minded but simmering silence. Your vivid revenge fantasies suggest that you have unfinished business with those other parents. You're likelier to mend your friendship by talking this over with them than by continuing to imagine the euphonious tinkling of breaking glass.

My rationale:

While Mr. Cohen's response accurately takes into account the anger felt by the owners of the lamp, I find it unconscionable that he would recommend potentially driving a wedge further between the two families. This cannot in any way have a positive effect on the children's friendship together, even if the parents of the offending child are truly remiss for what they did and pay for the lamp. If the parent was so callous as to not fully realize that he should make an offer for the replacement of the lamp by some means, then when confronted after the fact I can't help but think that this same parent would, possibly even subconsciously, attempt to dissuade his child from playing with the other. If the parent was so callous as to consider and then dismiss the ought of making an offer, then it likely follows that when confronted, he's not going to care if the two kids ever see each other again and very possibly would actively attempt to prevent it. And if you feel this uptight over a broken lamp, take some anger management classes.

3. I had a dinner at the home of one of my neighbors, and he said grace in a way that seemed appallingly sexist. What should I have done?-- anonymous, Los Angeles
A. Let it pass. Their house, their customs. And silence is not an endorsement of their views.
B. It is wrong to be passive in the face of such offensive comments. You should have walked out right then.
C. Speak up, but not during the actual prayer, and not angrily. There’s time for a quiet conversation during dinner.

Mr. Cohen's 'correct' answer and justification:

Silently bowing your head is not a declaration of belief; after all, if a Christian dances at a Jewish wedding, no one assumes he's converted. As long as no one was being hurt, you did no wrong to sit quietly and marvel at the variegated - and sometimes idiotic -beliefs of humanity. There is no obligation to inform your host of your spiritual views between the cocktails and the cognac. However, in proliferating offensive ideas -- a sexist comment, a racist slug -- all of us are hurt, and you certainly have no obligation to remain silent. If you could have raised the matter calmly, particularly when all were mellowed by that cognac, that would have been the right thing to do.

My rationale:

No. Again, the appropriate answer is not here. I think that it needs to be brought up, but not at that dinner, and certainly not after the host has imbibed alcohol of any stripe. While Mr. Cohen's answer accurately took into account the power of sexism and racism, the seemingly appropriate time would be when everyone is sober (possibly while declining dinner invitations in the future), not when there is a chance of the alcohol distorting the emotions of the moment. Even if cognac mellows, it seems iffy at best to rely on it to not instantly exaggerate any feelings of hurt or anger that may come to the host, no matter how well-phrased the complaint.

4. In more than 25 years of teaching, I have never agreed with my students on what to do when one of them gets an answer wrong and I inadvertently mark it as correct. If the student lets me know, I praise him for his honesty, then take off the points I should have in the first place. Is this right, or should I let him keep the points because the mistake was mine?- Sandra Martin, Ramsey, N.J.
A. lower the grade: the test should accurately measure his work not your powers of observation
B. leave the grade unchanged : honesty rewarded
C. lower the grade an extra ten points: that'll teach the little grade-grubber

Mr. Cohen's 'correct' answer and justification:

Lower the grade to what the student actually earned. Some teachers take the contrary position: their error raised a student's hopes, so the extra points compensate him for his disappointment and reward him for his honesty. That would be fine if he were the only kid in the class. However, this benefits one student at the expense of all the others. What's more, the class will resent not only the student who received an unearned credit but also the teacher who granted it, undermining the sense of the classroom as a place where justice prevails. In addition, it teaches not the virtue of honesty but its utility: speak up only when it's to your advantage.

It is worth reminding your students that a test is not merely a device for assigning a grade; it is a diagnostic tool meant to discover what the class knows and where it might improve, and that even a teacher can make a mistake.

My rationale:

I recognize that I'm likely in the minority on this one. Again, I feel that the appropriate answer is not given - that the grade should be adjusted to the score the child should have received, but that the honesty should be rewarded somehow, maybe in a favorable thought when the teacher compiled any grades necessary for classroom participation if that's an option. While the answer I selected does not reward academic honesty, it also does not punish it. Today's teachers are not just teaching academia however; they are to some degree, also relied upon to show kids that personal honesty and strong moral character are good traits to possess. The Mary Kay LeTourneau scandal would not have been half the sensation it was if Mrs. LeTourneau was not a teacher. I further cannot buy the rationale that the rest of the class would in any signifigant way resent the teacher or student involved. Rather, it would clearly demonstrate to the students that honesty is something to be rewarded. The results of this, quite obviously one would think, is that a stronger rapport would result between teacher and their students. It also would establish an instantaneous self-policing of the teacher's grading methods, thereby ensuring further accuracy in measuring where a class is academically because it will have the effect of factoring out any inaccurate grading. If any resentment would be felt by the students, it would likely be far more temporary than resentment of the knowledge that being honest with the teacher nets potential punishment that is easily avoided. In a time where we have to be extremely concerned with what has proven to be an extremely rift in communication between students and teachers, I can't help but think this is a dumb, dumb thing to recommend. It is, however, unsurprising when the advice Mr. Cohen gave regarding stealing umbrellas is taken into account.

In the eighth grade, I had a math teacher named Colonel Quay, an ex-Marine. Colonel Quay was a palsy-afflicted, football-loving, septugenarian 'Old Corps' hardass -- but a good teacher. Nobody liked the guy, but everyone that had him agreed that he had one redeeming quality -- he never assigned homework.

Well, one night he did. If I remember right, two people out of a class of forty actually did it; I was not one of them. After discovering that a large number had not, Colonel Quay went around the room asking each student if they had their homework and if not, why. I was easily in the first quarter of those he asked. I simply told him that I did not do it, and I had no excuse for not doing it. I was the only one to say anything like this. Every other homeworkless malcontent issued some pisspoor excuse as to why they did not have theirs. I'm not sure he even looked that the two papers that were handed in. All I know is that three 'A's were handed out for that assignment and one was mine.

Colonel Quay, because of his palsy, was a favorite target to make fun of in front of other kids at lunch. I did not encounter a solitary student in my class who would make fun of him after this incident for the rest of the year.

posted by Tacoshop | 4:30 AM

Friday, March 29, 2002  

28. Very Friendly Food

My Friday Five is here.

So I went to a new (to me) restaurant today, Gordita's on 85th. This place was schizo. The music was loud and the lights flickered as if someone was using some really high-powered equipment that the building couldn't handle. The food is cheap and plentiful, though. I had a breakfast burrito, Wonderboy (my brother) had the chicken fajitas plate. I ordered a wet steak burrito for my girlfriend to take with us. They split the order for us so that they would cook her meal after we finished.

Got the burrito home and took the plasti-whatever container out of the bag -- they had handwritten, "Hi! How are you?" on the lid of the container. Very friendly.

It's been a few hours, and with what my stomach is feeling, I'm thinking that maybe it wasn't quite that friendly after all...

The cats sure did like the steak though. Happy cats!

posted by Tacoshop | 12:49 AM

Thursday, March 28, 2002  

27. Bridget O'Reilly

As many or all of you know, I grew up in Frankfurt am Main during the closing chapters of the Cold War. The American military had installations throughout and around the city, many of which were the real estate equivalent of postage stamps (oder 'Briefmarken', fuer Helen). Two such postage stamps of land were Edwards Kaserne and Drake Kaserne in the northern part of the city. These were the homes of, among other things, the headquarters elements of the US Third Armored Division -- my father's unit.

These two bases on the edge of Frankfurt had most everything needed for day-to-day life of an American. On Drake Kaserne there was a legal aid office, the Third Armored Division museum, a movie theater (that later became the practice hall for the Division Band), a four-lane bowling alley, a day care center and various and sundry units attendant to the HQ. It also housed Frankfurt American Junior High School, of which I'm an alum. Edwards Kaserne was where Dad worked. It had the chapel, a Shoppette (convenience store with four aisles and two cash registers), a cafeteria (the Edwards Burger Bar - my first place of employment), the Post Office and the library. Behind Edwards Kaserne was Old Edwards Housing; beyond that, the Edwards Sportsplatz; beyond that, New Edwards Housing. I lived in Old Edwards.

I spent a lot of time in the library. It was a decent-sized library for the amount of people it supported. There were a number of nice librarians, all but one of them were military wives. The lone exception in 1985 was a short, redheaded nineteen year-old Irish lass. I was fifteen and I had a major crush on Bridget O'Reilly.

And Bridget was friendly. She was flirtatious -- cute and knowledgeable and that Irish accent! A lot of goodness in a small, joyful package.

The next two years - 1985 and 1986 - were hard ones in Frankfurt. Shit was blowing up left and right. the Achille Lauro was hijacked, resulting in the death of a wheelchair bound American, Leon Klinghoffer. The TWA flight was hijacked and taken all over the Middle East for most of two weeks, and resulted in the death of Navy Diver Robert Stetham -- because he held an American military ID card. An American in Wiesbaden was killed for his ID card, so that a car bomb could be placed near the entrance of Rhein-Main Air Base. The bomb went off, removing the back of a building and killing two more. In retaliation of the LaBelle discotheque bombing in Berlin, the United States bombed Libya. After this, it was difficult to be an American in a European city. On top of all this, there was the Challenger disaster -- something I came home from school to see plastered all over The Today Show -- which to us was a mid-afternoon news program.

During this time, Bridget became a royal terror. She insulted me personally and often for being an American, and made several disparaging remarks about Americans and America. I chalked it up to the increased European fears that Reagan was leading us into the hot version of what was already effectively World War III. I couldn't even talk to her unless it was strictly about library business - and even then, if I had a question about a book or where to find it, I was belittled for being another dumb American.

By the time I was nineteen, Bridget was twenty-three and had calmed down quite a bit by then. But that was 1989 and the wall had come down and the dark cloud that had plagued Europe for forty years was breaking up -- to be replaced by other clouds to be sure, but things then were looking pretty rosy. We renewed our friendship, and I started spending more time in the library. The juvenile crush was of course long gone, but it was a joy to see her happy again.

I enlisted in 1990. To be exact, I enlisted on April 3d. In order to be there on the third, I had to fly out to New York on the second. On the first, my last night in country, Bridget bought me a pint and dinner at the Burger Bar. We had a great evening. Towards the bottom of my pint, Bridget laid a bomb on me.

Bridget O'Reilly was HIV positive.

She poured the whole story out. She was nineteen and dating various servicemen on Edwards. The very first time she had not insisted on a condom, with the fourth guy she had ever slept with, she contracted HIV. This was the cause of her anger towards Americans -- her feeling of helplessness and of having gotten screwed, in much more ways than one. And she was right -- this was just before the military in Europe started testing for AIDS every biannum. In fact, as I remember it, it was the very first test this American serviceman had that came back positive so that she knew.

I was absolutely floored. She told me that I took it worse than she did.

It's kind of fitting that this pint was shared on April First. Every year at this time, I think of how we're all April Fools for not devoting more resources to this. On Monday, I'm going to raise a pint to my friend Bridget, who is probably now long dead -- we lost touch while I was in the service, a definite mistake on my part. Because of the nature of the military community overseas, I don't know if anyone other than her family and her last boyfriend - a German that never could be intimate with her - bother to remember her.

If you like, and you know someone that has contracted HIV, maybe you could mention them in your blog, so that they're not completely forgotten. I don't know how many would actually want to do so, but I hope someone does. I'd like to hear about your friends.

And I'm having my toast at 6 PM Monday. If anyone wants to drop by their local establishment for a silent toast, it would also be most welcome. I'm not certain that it's a complete coincidence that all the women I have cared most about since I left Germany are short redheads.

posted by Tacoshop | 4:39 AM

Wednesday, March 27, 2002  

26. Why the Thespian Crest Shows Both Tragic and Comedic Masks Milton Berle is dead at 93, Dudley Moore is dead at 66.

posted by Tacoshop | 11:04 PM

Tuesday, March 26, 2002  

25. This almost doesn't rate it's own number. My Monday Mission and Tuesday Too are here.

posted by Tacoshop | 4:45 AM

Sunday, March 24, 2002  

24. Important discourse.

This is a site most every heterosexual man needs to visit. Or this one, or this one.

You may ask why. Let me tell you a story.

In 1996, my girlfriend and I lived in an apartment in Federal Way, Washington. My girlfriend was dangerously close to running out of tampons and so I was sent to the drugstore to fetch additional supply. This was the first time I had ever gone to get tampons for her - or anyone for that matter. We were poor, and I scraped together about six bucks in change. I went to the neighborhood PayLess and proceeded to the feminine hygiene area of the health and beauty aisle. I selected a pink Playtex box, as I was instructed, and dropped a bunch of change on the counter to pay for them.

Much mirth is derived by women all over the world about the uneasiness and discomfort men feel when purchasing feminine hygiene products. You'd think the men were experiencing the cramps themselves when you see the twisted faces of agony they occasionally make when they show up with that lone item at the checkout, clad in it's pastel-colored box. It is as if the box wasn't the 20 count container but the 20,000 count container -- the one that measures 5 foot cube, is decorated by a pretty pink rotating bubblelight announcing to the world the psychological and emotional suffering the poor man is going through because if he does not come home with tampons he will die. A very painful and horrible death. A lingering, painful and horrible death.

So you get the idea of what I was feeling that day when I made my ahem maiden (some might say virginal) trip to purchase tampons. But to make it worse, it could not be a quick process because I was armed with only nickels, dimes and pennies! Oh! The anguish!

Armed with my purchase, I strolled out to my van as non-chalantly as I could muster with the tampons being the sole occupant of the see-through white PayLess bag ("Nope don't need the reciept thank you very much have a nice day").You'd have thought that the cashier could have removed the pink bubblelight, but I thought that maybe it could help me with traffic -- upon seeing the intermittant pink light coming from the inside of my van in their rearview mirror, every man in my way would pull over because they knew I was on an emergency tampon run!

The story does not end here.

"What do you mean I bought the wrong ones?! How can there be wrong ones?! You said the pink Playtex box!", I asserted, waving the pink Playtex box at my girlfriend, the pink bubblelight bathing us in it's happy glow.

Yes, indeed, I bought the wrong ones. My girlfriend meant the Playtex with the pink stripe, not the pink Playtex box. At the time, all the Playtex boxes were pink! It was a conspiracy, I was certain of it. And now I had no money, I had to get the right tampons, and I neglected to get the receipt when I purchased them.

So, you guys think buying tampons is bad? Try exchanging them for the right ones with no receipt.

To my fellow Men: know your tampons.

posted by Tacoshop | 7:11 PM

Saturday, March 23, 2002  

23. I posted my Friday Five here.

I went and got two copies of my discharge papers today so that I can try to get veterans preferance for a job I'm applying for.

Why do some Americans resent America defending herself? More appropriately, why do Americans resent defending herself against terrorists? Even more appropriately, why do Americans resent America defending herself pro-actively against terrorists?

I have just read another nauseating uber-liberal piece (Ted Rall this time) about the indefinite nature of the war on terrorism and compared W.'s current goverment to the government of Oceania in 1984. If only W., his minions, lackeys and underlings were collectively half that smart, that would almost be buyable (who, exactly, at the INS has been fired over the visa scandal?). There is no doubt in my mind that come re-election time, W. is going to milk the war effort for all it's worth -- incumbent presidents tend to do that, even Democratic ones (FDR, LBJ). George Bush Sr. tried to do it by manufacturing a fake war that turned into a real one.

Wars are bad, bad things. We should try to avoid them at any cost. War causes all kinds of political advantages and disadvantages at home politically -- but if you live in such a vacuum that you cannot pay attention to history and use it as an overlay to understand current events, then you really have no business commenting on them.

Ted Rall and his ilk would rather go back to their pre-September fantasy world where foreign terrorism never happened to Americans -- at least not in America. It only happened to the military personnel stationed overseas - and well, it's their job to randomly get blown up, isn't it?

I hate extremists. The Earth Liberation front and the Army of God are the same caliber of fools, driven by different desires and prejudices. They are the modern day equivalent Ku Klux Klan (at that organization's zenith) and are both trying to hold America back in the short-sighted, hate-filled pursuit of their cause.

I hate short-sightedness. American higher education is raking in billions of dollars per annum to teach college students how not to think. With few exceptions, college graduates as a whole cannot plan anything more basic than a personal budget (unless they receive an MBA, whereupon they can plan the budget of a small company). They are not taught how to look at history to learn how to handle scenarios they will likely encounter in the future. American universities teach 'now' they do not teach 'why things are'. They also do not teach anything regarding communal sacrifice or why it's occasionally necessary. It's all mememememememe and how to make 'me' feel good about 'myself'.

Colleges and universities have collectively marginalized themselves, they just have not realized it yet. And of all the things that are not taught, the biggest is that this is not the first 'war on terrorism' fought either by America or a western civilization, and that previous wars on terrorism, while never on this scale and never fought like this one, have been won.

I remember the Baader-Meinhof gang and Red Army Faction. I sure wish more than a few other people did.

When I read pieces like Ted Rall's, I tend to wonder if the Roman Empire's fall was preceded by a the rise of a self-loathing class like we seem to have developed.

posted by Tacoshop | 5:36 AM

Thursday, March 21, 2002  

22. Well, this is interesting. I heard from one of my former co-workers today and possibly found out why my position was eliminated. I have to tell you, it makes me feel good to be brutally honest.

posted by Tacoshop | 5:58 PM

21. Yay -- I took the time to fix my links today.

To be filed under 'D' for 'Duh'. I thought jf Cates was a guy. It is a standard feature of the sexist brain to assign male genders to anonymous folks that are introduced with initials rather than names. I know this and yet I fell into this trap. I blame the yellow text on red background, lol. I think I may even referred to jf as a 'him' in the comments of her own blog when I was vehemently dissing the would-be detractors of the Tuesday Too! The horror! My humblest apologies to jf -- by the way, is that a mid-sixties Volkswagen sedan in that picture? It almost looks like it should be a Volkswagen 1500 but seems too long and there appears to be bumper where the reverse indicators go. A Volvo, maybe? I dunno, it's hard to tell.

posted by Tacoshop | 4:24 PM

20. Applied to two jobs at UW today - one as a member of their temp pool and the other as an Assistant System Administrator. Odds of getting either? Nil! (Such an optimist I am).

posted by Tacoshop | 6:51 AM

Wednesday, March 20, 2002  

19. Well, I've not burned any other cooking utensils since Sunday, but not for lack of trying. I almost warped a plastic spoon today.

My meatless chili sucks. It tastes like it needs something yet -- like meat.

I'm pulling the web counter I think. I'm not marketing anything, I don't particularly care if this blog is read by any other than me (no offense to anyone reading, it's not personal) -- why should I intrude on your surfing habits?

I still can't shake the idea that Harry Lime was guilty of little more than extreme self interest. In fact, the more I think about this, the more I think that Graham Greene and Ayn Rand can be used to illustrate the two different sides of the same coin - which I would define as the necessity of an effective government. In my mind, the political spectrum is often more describable as a circle than a line. The right-wing wackos that support libertarianism and the left-wing wackos that support anarchy effectively want the same thing for different reasons. Want to know what a hands-off or incompetent government looks like? Visit sub-Saharan Africa -- start in Mogadishu and work your way west.

The more I eat my chili, the more I like it.

Does it ever seem to you that the groups of people most disturbed by the fact that Bush lost the popular vote but won the election are the ones who are most likely to have voted for Nader? I so wish I'd had my camera when I saw two vehicles this week with pro-Green Party and "Bush Lost" bumperstickers.

Someone tell me what's going on in the world. Since I got cable, I feel stupider.

Militant vegetarians drive me bonkers. I'm a vegetarian, mind you. I saw a bumpersticker today that asked, in effect, if you have animals called pets living in your home then why do you have animals dead on your plate called dinner? I instantly wondered how many houseplants this person had. What happens to the cows, chickens and pigs when humankind has no reason to eat them anymore?

posted by Tacoshop | 2:37 AM

Sunday, March 17, 2002  

18. Lovely. I need to stop cooking. Something like six times this week I've turned on the wrong burner. Today, not only did I turn on the wrong burner (melting a lucite-handled butterknife in the process), I also managed to leave the kitchen simmering my rice pilaf on high instead of low. After the red beans and rice gets done, I'm going back to bed.

posted by Tacoshop | 5:55 PM

Noticed when I went to get cigs that a friend of mine (so I exagerrated a bit when I said I had no RL friends) called and left a message on my cell, so I returned the call. She's a bit under the weather and wanted to let me know, as I was extremely worried the last time she went to the doctor for the same thing. She then proceeded to chew me out for feeding the dog vegetarian pizza.

posted by Tacoshop | 5:24 PM

Looks like I screwed up my links at the bottom of the page when I went to add more. I'll have to fix that.

It snowed throughout the weekend here and as a result/side effect/whatever it's been rather cold here for the last few days. The last few times I've slept in my bed, I've awoken with a cat smack on the middle of my chest. It can get hard to breathe with a cat on your chest, especially when you are allergic to them.

It sure is bright out today. I'll have to go walk around the lake today, or tomorrow if the weather holds. I've been gaining a little of the weight back that I lost in the late part of last year after I went (mostly) vegetarian and I need to go re-lose it.

posted by Tacoshop | 2:44 PM

The middle of the night. I can talk multitudes about the middle of the night.

In the middle of the night, my brain goes haywire. I have no idea why, but I get really, really...loony in the middle of the night. I start worrying about things that I cannot control, and sad about how my life has turned out. This is when I feel like the most colossal failure that has ever walked the Earth. I've done all these great and wonderful things, I've seen the most bizarre shit. I can't hold a job and I have no real real life friends. How the hell did this happen? When did I become a recluse? At what point was it exactly that I went off the deep end? Was it the five days I spent in Paris? The six years in Frankfurt? Somalia? Seattle? When?!?

Is this the best there is? Really?

The noises don't help. I hear everything in the middle of the night. Every car. Every bus. Everytime someone walks their dog past my house at 5 AM, I know.

posted by Tacoshop | 2:57 AM

Saturday, March 16, 2002  

Life has been unbelievably dull. When I started blogging, I was going to do it because I wanted to put the earth-shattering things that run through my head. Regrettably, these notions I've had have been rough to get into printed words, and my blog has been something less than what I wanted as a result. The result is this dull, boring ass blog. I'll see if I can work on that a bit.

posted by Tacoshop | 11:45 PM

I've lost the will to blog.

I don't have a whole lot to report. Life is pretty damn dull, and I didn't feel like doing the Friday Five.

posted by Tacoshop | 9:40 PM

Thursday, March 14, 2002  

Michael Walzer has hit the nail on the head regarding the problems with the American Left. Regretfully, I don't think the Left's knee-jerk reaction to kick America for everything will go away with the beginning of a mere discussion. It simply is fashionable among the Left to hate America for the feeling of righteousness that it gives the masses of the Left. Their hatred has become their universal religion.

posted by Tacoshop | 4:07 AM

Updated the long boring history.

posted by Tacoshop | 3:37 AM

Tuesday, March 12, 2002  

I did ultimately get a brief email from my new good friend who promised another to come. Quite possibly this person has the patience and understanding of a saint. We shall see...

This is my new favorite blog. It's a blog by an Army wife, and I feel a special kinship with these kinds of folks. After all, I'm the eldest son of an Army wife. Mom was the somewhat typical, somewhat atypical Army wife for 23 years. I made her a Marine's mother for six. She is still currently an Army aunt (how has no-one coined that one previously?!) as well as a Department of the Army employee in Seoul. The tables have turned, mom is dad's sponsor now.

By the way, this is my military history:

4/70 - 7/70, Superior, Wisconsin.

7/70 - 12/71, Hanau, Doernigheim and Frankfurt, Germany. I'm not sure when the moves to Doernigheim and Frankfurt occurred -- I was not yet two. Mom and I were not sponsored for this trip so we got to live on the economy. This experience could very well be why we never did again if housing was available.

12/71 - ?/73?, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and environs

?/73? - ?/74, Des Moines, Iowa - Dad got out of the Army. He didn't care for being a shoe salesman at Ardan's, so he re-enlisted.

?/74 - ?/76, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. I attended Pence kindergarten here. Our address was 251 Indiana Avenue, which had this huge fan mounted in the stairwell - it was a townhouse. The AAFES Ice Cream Lady used to come around escorted by two MP's on motorcycles. I was fascinated by garbage trucks, dandelions and the neighborhood cats that hung off the back screen door, six at a time.

?/76 - 3/77, Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Housing was so short in Germany, it made the national news. I remember Walter Cronkite talking about it. I drank a gallon of milk a day, attended Boyd Elementary and lived on Alatoona Ave. I got my first bike, which the college chicks from upstairs tried to teach me to ride. They drove an old Saab. Tim's Dairy was down the street and where I would go to buy Push-up sherbet pops. My best friend's name was Lisa. Ceramics was a big deal, and Co-op was the place to shop. Perkins opened a restaurant. Mmmm...Perkins.

3/77 - 6/79, Bad Kreuznach, Germany. We flew there on Eastern. Swimming lessons at the Bad - don't forget your swimming cap! We couldn't afford the telephone, but then no one could. There was one phone in the whole stairwell, and the people living below us were into CB radios. Crosstalk came over our stereo system all the time. I don't know what clicked, but after waiting agaonizing months for our hold baggage to arrive. Summer nights in Germany are looong. I used to crawl under the Rose Barracks back gate to go see Dad at work. I learned how to play pool there. The O Club had butterscotch topping and banana flavored ice cream. The carnival came twice a year and played endless loops of Elvis and Abba. We went to Paris, volksmarched all over Germany and my folks bought me a radio controlled car for X-mas. They spent so much money on me that year they could not afford a tree. It was the best Christmas ever, until they sprang it upon me that Santa Claus wasn't real. I just had to tell a friend this amazing revelation, and I ruined then four year-old Tabitha's Christmas too. Mom and Dad were pissed. I wonder where Tabitha is... Because of not having a tree, we had a "Christmas Bench" - an antique bench that we decorated for the occasion -- the presents sat on and under the bench. From this, I not only gained my insight into Santa, but the bench sits out in my living room now as one of my most cherished posessions. I derived my love for Ferraris from the remote control car and although I do not own a Ferrari, I do have a poor cousin to it, the Lancia Beta Zagato (which was coincidentally built during this period). Temp quarters were 5640 C-7 and our permanent housing was 5616 A-8.

6/79 - 10/80, Fort Campell, Kentucky, and environs. While waiting for housing, we lived in a mobile home on the Kentucky side of the line. The air condtioner was one of those window mounted units -- when we would go shopping at Winn-Dixie we would set the A/C on frigid and come back to a freezer. It was the neatest thing. The trailer was partially furnished, and I slept on a early American concept of a futon. It was a short naugahyde bench whose back folded flat. It was very reminiscent of things I've seen in passenger vans, except much sturdier and heavier. Permanent housing was at 7421-A McAuliffe in Gardner Hills. We inadvertantly had the largest backyard on post but I couldn't play in it because my folks were scared of the critters that might be hiding there. The schools on Ft. Campbell in 1980 still practiced corporal punishment, the only school I attended that I remember that to be the case -- although the school in Eau Claire may have, I just don't remember. The dispenser of justice in Jackson Elementary was Mr. Hay, whom everyone obviously was deathly afraid of. He actually was an interesting fellow, the first person to tell me about nerve damage, since he had it. I wanted to join scouting, but Gardner Hills didn't have a denmother, so when Mom went to sign me up, they really twisted her arm and she did it the year we were there. Mom did the best job of all the denmothers (but, hey, I'm biased). My best example was when we had to do the candy fundraising event. There were incentive prizes for the den that sold the most on post as well as individual prizes for the top ten sellers. Mom really instilled a sense of teamwork in us - to the point that we far and away won the competition between the dens. In doing so, we managed to place no scouts in the individual top ten finishers. The scoutmasters were caught so offguard at the awards ceremony, they scrambled to come up with five cheesy prizes for places 11-15, of which we held all but 13. We got the bigass cake though. Mom can hold a grudge quite a long time, she still hates Scouting.

10/80 - 10/83, Roswell, Georgia. Dad finagled a trade of positions with a guy who was the supply sergeant at the Georgia State ROTC program. In our household you are three things - a Celtics fan, a Packers fan and a Braves fan. If you aren't, you're put to death, it's just that simple. We saw a lot of Braves games. The Atlanta area was being terrorized by a guy snatching kids off the street, it's amazing I had the free rein that I did (although I think that most of that came after Wayne Williams was caught). The creek behind our house flooded and I took my rubber raft out for it's only voyage. We got our MTV. We even got our MTV in school before class began! I would spend countless hours in the swimming pool across the street during summer. Mom got pregnant with my brother and Dad finally got promoted to Staff Sergeant. My best friend helped me through some hard years of having to deal with people that were not used to folks that just showed up like we did. They'd known each other since they first started school together and I was decidedly different. Our lily-white elementary school in Georgia had a black girl, an Indian girl (from India, not native American) and I was considered to be the odd one, go figure. I had my first major crush on Carla McElroy when I was thirteen. I was one of the first eighth graders to attend Holcomb Bridge Middle School, and probably the first to transfer out. My musical tastes really blossomed at this time - I was a Men At Work junkie, Dad took me to the concert - and I also listened to the Police, Toto, Hall & Oates, and other music that was popular at the time.

10/83 - 11/84, Fort Lee, Virginia. All of a sudden, school was damned hard. I really was not prepared for 74 being an F, and it's absolutely amazing I passed eighth grade. I walk funny -- because of something Dad told me here. I was deathly afraid of my old man growing up. We didn't talk much, and even though we did things together, we really didn't communicate well. The guest house had hardwood floors that seemed to have nothing underneath for support. A result of this was that my walking (I stopped growing here - I was 13 and already 5'9") reverberated throughout the building. Dad came home from work in the usual surly mood and after my walking disturbed the nap he was taking to get rid of his headache he told me that if I didn't learn how to walk quitely, he "would cut [my] fucking feet off". I believed him; to this day I walk on the sides of my feet. I attended both the middle schools in the region, Moore and Clements. These had been built during segregation as the black (Moore) and white (Clements) high schools. The difference between the two were night and day. I attended Clements the beginning of my freshman year and I let a kid cheat off my science paper my last week in school. The only thing that saved me from being busted for this was the fact that Mom wanted my help to clear quarters, so she pulled me from school two days early. The day that I was supposed to talk to my teacher and the principal was the day I checked out. I didn't confess this for years to her. Dad made Sergeant First Class and eight months later was a CW2.

11/84 - 4/90, Frankfurt, Germany. They think it rains in Seattle. The Pacific Northwest has nothing on Frankfurt. I'm not exactly sure what to put here. This is where I got into basketball, cross country running and theatre. There were a lot of unpleasant things that went on in Frankfurt at the time -- the terror bombings and fear that gripped the city for years after we bombed Libya. All manners of things were blown up during this time, including a carbomb that went off at our PX, another that went off at Rhein-Main Air Base, one that went off in a trash can in the main concourse of the airport and of course, the bomb that got on to Pan Am 103 in Frankfurt, which was considered to be one of the safest and most secure airports in the world at the time. I'm not going to write much more here because of all the bad memories of the time that were mixed in with the good. There are many different ways to make war, and many different ways to cause war casualties. I'd have to say that anyone that lived in Frankfurt (and this probably extended throughout Germany) in 1985-86 are some of the most hidden casualties of a hidden war; by 1989 it was easy to tell who had lived in Frankfurt prior to those two years and those who had arrived 1987 and later -- all you had to do was look at them and you knew.

posted by Tacoshop | 2:21 AM

Monday, March 11, 2002  

Well, I know the person I spoke of earlier got my email. I have no response, and I may not be getting one. I blew it in the worst way this time, I fear.

posted by Tacoshop | 8:23 AM

Aw damn. I forgot to put the garbage out on the curb again.

posted by Tacoshop | 8:09 AM

Here is a link I found over at Arts & Letters Daily regarding animal hoarding. Heh, this sounds really familiar. My girlfriend has this problem, it takes a lot of effort to keep it in check. It's never gotten to the degree mentioned in this article, but it takes a lot of work to prevent things like this from happening. The article opened my eyes a bit, now I'm better armed to say no if I need to.

posted by Tacoshop | 2:10 AM

I retrieved my girlfriend from the airport today. It's good to have her back home, but she seemed less than thrilled with all the things I've done to improve the quality of life within the house.

I had to apologize to a new good friend today in email for being stupid. It was a hard mail to write, as the confession I made may have (more than any other action I've performed) cost me the friendship. I cannot begin to explain how crummy I feel. Dumbass Chad strikes again.

posted by Tacoshop | 2:05 AM

Sunday, March 10, 2002  

Hello, BlogSnob admin!

posted by Tacoshop | 1:48 AM

Added comments.

posted by Tacoshop | 1:31 AM

Added hit counter.

posted by Tacoshop | 1:21 AM

Saturday, March 09, 2002  

An introduction. My name is Chad, and this is my new blog. I grew tired of my old blog for several different reasons so I decided to delete it. I neglected to read the directions regarding deletion so now I can't get into the blog to edit it, but it sits out there in cyberspace. Oh well. I live in Seattle with my girlfriend, brother, dog, three cats and three birds.

Speaking of brother, I must now go fetch him from work. Tomorrow I fetch the girlfriend from the airport. The next couple of days are gonna be busy.

posted by Tacoshop | 9:41 PM

First post! Woo!

posted by Tacoshop | 9:32 PM