Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pollyticks r Some of us


First, a momentary tribute to my comedic political idol.

Some of you may not be aware that I ran for president. Twice.

No, not president of my local renters' association, or something on a local, pithy level. I ran for President of the United States.

Sorta.

With the passing of my aforementioned comedic political idol, I began mulling running my own parody campaign in the tradition and memory of Pat Paulsen. In the late fall of '99, I decided to go for it, and notified VoteSmart.org that I was running under the banner of the newly-established National Barking Spider Resurgence Party. They obligingly listed me on their presidential candidate database.

And the fun began.

Needless to say, I didn't win in either '00 or '04. At least I -- unlike another unnamed candidate -- didn't try to overturn the US Constitution and sue to be declared a winner he wasn't. I took my failure to get even 1 electoral vote (and less than .00000000000001 percent of the popular vote) in stride, and didn't throw a snit to get a venerable and useful electoral tool thrown out because it didn't fit one party's ideal (ie, it didn't help them win).

Instead, I got some amusing publicity from the likes of Newsweek, the BBC, Paul Harvey, NPR, ESPN 2, telephone interviews with several radio stations across the country and mentions on countless political blogs. Not all of them kind mentions, but that's politics, even in parody.

Sadly, I didn't get mocked/parodied by The Capitol Steps or JibJab, but when one isn't a front-runner, one can't expect attention from the funniest.

The other thing my parody campaign got me was email. Email from school children, having to do papers on unique third parties and wanting to know what I stood for, etc. Emails from frustrated voters, who enjoyed reading the web site and wishing a little more humor could be injected into the political process. I got a few offers from folks who wanted to work on the campaign, or establish a branch of the party in their neck of the woods. And yes, I got a few campaign contribution offers. All turned down (see the party mission statement for why).

I also got a little hate mail.

In '00, I got one from a Jennifer Yee, who insisted I needed psychological help (I assured her I was every bit as normal as she was, then backtracked and asked her which voices she heard at night, in case hers were stranger than mine). In '04, I got an angry email from a young professional woman who demanded that "I give her back the ten minutes of her life she wasted reading your site". I wrote her back and suggested that her time was, in essence, not wasted at all: her precious ten minutes had helped her determine that I wasn't her presidential answer, but that if I came up with a surplus ten minutes, I'd be happy to return it, no questions asked. That drew an amusing apologetic reply.

On the other hand, I got an angry email from an unnamed gent in Wisconsin who demanded to know "how much the Republican Party is paying you to siphon off votes from the Democrats?". My response: "Where do I sign up for a program like that?" His response back was unprintable.

Some peoples' kids.

Now, while I have yet to decide if I'm going to run this parody campaign one more time, the site is up in case I decide to; and I'm already receiving email on it. So far, all of three (the rest being Nigerian email scam crap). One, a student asking me if I could tell him how many popular votes I received in '04 (see the made-up statistic above for the answer I sent him). Another from an alleged Socialist Party candidate, seeking to debate anybody to raise awareness of him and his positions (I declined, since I'm not yet officially running, and public appearances is contrary to the campaign methodology of the NBSR Party).

And I got this 'un, from a Brandon Barber (nightwolf_fullmoon@hotmail.com) that qualifies as my first official 'hate mail' for the possible Campaign of '08 (note that the spelling and grammar herein is no typo; this is exactly what he sent me):

You dont know me and in my opinion im a lot smarter that way, but its ok, you can have my name if u like, its Brandon. Naturally i have no social recognition whereas u might considering u actually attempted running for president. However, it doesnt not omit the fact that your policies regarding your election platform and view points on several political matters are entirly bogus. I commend u for not desiring to bring in any money for your campaign as well as your commitment to not leave your home. This ensures that u will get no more than .1% of the popular vote for presidency because you are a douche. Now i dont want to ge vulgar here (lol), but the fact is a fact; the presidentail campaign is a ludicrous shpiel for "beauty pagent" in which both candidates adhere to the same higher-ups anyhow, but im sure you knew this. Your never gonna get any electoral votes so i guess there is some releif in the proccesses of the america voting system. Oh, and by the way, over half of the founding fathers of america were liberal, so whats that saying about u? Are you a british nazi? u like dessenting against the natural way of life? thats fine because Jesus loves you, but just remember he's only the right hand of THE MAN, and the Devil is the left...so what happens when both sides meet?

This is a message from the global-oust party.

*Image the closing strains of the theme from The Twilight Zone fading into the background*

I'm glad I do this for fun; otherwise, I'd have to turn this over to PETA, and they're already in trouble for scandals involving abuse of dumb animals by dumber ones (aka, their members).

But, like select Nigerian email scam letters, such a letter as this simply cannot be ignored, nor did I:

First of all, Brandon, I want to assure you that you can keep your name; I already have one I've gotten used to. Next, I want to thank you for your very revealing, poignant commentary. By the tone, diction, grammar and spelling of your missive, it suggests (but is not indisputably established) that you are a child of the outcome-based education generation. Of course, it is possible that you are not a child at this biological state of your development, but you certainly do write like one.

The "Global-oust Party", eh? I'll look for them in future press releases and naturally expect to see them garner better than .1% of the vote, with such leading lights as yourself at the fore.

Thanks for your jumbled thoughts,

Letters like this almost make me wonder why I'm reluctant to run a third campaign...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Seymour & Jane: Update


A few of you have asked; Seymour and Jane have answered.

Just the other day I received this postcard from Seymour and Jane, wishing me a Happy New Year (Year of the Pig/Boar in the Chinese astrological sphere), and letting me know that they can't wait to come home this year, because "it's cold here!".

During the summer spent on the beach at the Moooo! Bar, I heard only from their host.

They're currently on the Japanese island of Hokkaido with their host, Amy Chavez. She's there teaching English, and skiing when she gets the chance between time needed for her other endeavors.

Weather-wise, they don't know what they've missed here, do they?

For those of you who've joined this blog more recently, Seymour is my precocious pet rock, adopted from the property landscaping back in April of 2000. His original purpose on Moving Day was as a door stop; but in the snow and cold of that particular early April day, he weedled his way into staying on as an adopted "pet rock".

And in the time since has become quite the spoiled pet rock: he has managed to learn to use my phone and credit card to order pizza; uses my golf putter to try to fend off the "dangerous" leftovers that morph in my refrigerator (or at least in the first one); tried to get the police to take him along in the wake of the infamous "Iaido-katana" episode; and after watching a marathon of the original The Outer Limits series on the Sci-Fi Channel, converted the VCR remote into a home defense weapon without the benefit of a user's manual. That resulted in me unknowingly insulting some ethnic neighbors with obscene Morse Code in Farsi, and vaporizing a pile of phone books and the first refrigerator (which I remind Seymour I'm still paying for).

Then there's Jane: an authentic earette of corn from Iowa. One I was convinced by Seymour to purloin from a not-yet harvested field and bring back to him as a companion, during my September '05 journey to Iowa (noted in the Sept '05 blog entries). I didn't know Jane was a 'Jane' until Seymour so named her.

I wasn't sure even then, but I got proof positive not long after Seymour and Jane were spending summer days and nights on the beach at the Moooo! Bar on Shiraishi Island: Amy wrote to tell me that Jane was gonna be a momma.

I'd meant to have that talk with Seymour before they headed off to Japan in March of '06, but like most guys, I procrastinated. Besides, whadda we got hyar? A rock and an earette of corn?

Who knew?

At any rate, I don't know how much of a brood is coming back with them; I did remind Seymour that this is a one bedroom apartment. 'Nuff said.

So anyway, there's your update for inquiring minds. I anticipate Seymour and Jane returning sometime around May, perhaps; I believe Amy is planning to visit her family in Ohio around then, and will be more than ready to return her free-loading guests hyar.

And, believe it or not, they'll be welcome back. After all, Ol' Stone Face (the Easter Island-looking Kleenex dispenser) and my plutonium shovel just don't have Seymour's talent for mayhem and mischief.

Thank Gawd.

I expect some transitional problems upon their return: I don't speak Japanese. I don't use or have chopsticks. The closest thing to a beach around here lives two floors down on the backside of the building.

And there's no charming Amy for Seymour and Jane to have fun with. Just ol' fud me.

At least I do have some new DVD movies for Seymour and Jane to entertain themselves with. I've made it a point to not include the modernized movie version of The Outer Limits. I can't afford to have to buy another refrigerator.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hearing Impaled


What did we listeners do to piss off my local radio station?

For the past couple days, Colorado's Morning News (850 KOA, Denver CO) has been playing snippets from auditions for the next edition of American Idol. The snippets are of auditions from Minneapolis and Seattle.

And have obviously been cherry-picked for their "unique" sound.

A sound that convinced me this morning an alien was attempting to jam an anal probe into my radio's backside.

Steffan/April, MAKE IT STOP!!!!!!!!!!

Granted, just a quick remote search of day time talk TV reveals how many people are more than eager to debase themselves for 15 minutes of (sh)fame before a percentage of a national and studio audience. So it follows that folks who screech in the shower should delude themselves into thinking they've got what it takes to be the next big winner on American Idol.

When you've got something like that, there must be something that can cure it.

From what I heard on KOA the past two mornings -- I thought I was waking up to a Reuters audio fabrication of torture of terrorists at Guantanamo -- there is no way on God's Green Earth that I could be remotely within earshot of this show. Small wonder Simon Cowell is the way he is. Jewel -- apparently a guest judge -- will either start taking a hard line with the audio devastations of Rufus and Queen, or will start thinking that William Hung is the greatest recording artist since William Shatner.

Much as I miss her, I'm glad Karen Carpenter was spared this.

And yes, hypersensitives, I'm not excluding me from the audio talentless. At least unlike some of these frightfully deludeds, I don't bother shaming myself before a national audience. I can't carry a tune in an easy-to-carry bucket and I have no illusions on that score. I adhere to the wisdom of "Dirty Harry" Callaghan (Magnum Force) when he espoused, "a man's GOT to know his limitations".

I do; so should so many of these audio abominations.

'Scuse me now as I go wash my ears out with some Enya.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Take A Step Back


Ever noticed that some folks are in a bigger hurry than you are?

At the store. On the highway. Walking down a street. In business and at leisure. Someone's always in a hurry. Frequently they're in a hurry because they're all about what they're into, where they're going, and what their perceived place in the universe is.

Eh: more power to 'em. I'm happy to move to the right so they can be on with their hurry. It needn't concern me.

But sometimes, they're in a hurry where you are concerned.

Not because you're not moving fast enough; they're in a hurry where you're concerned with regards to your age.

On January 10, I received a piece of snail mail that began with the opening and less than delicate salvo:

Our records show that you haven't yet registered for the benefits of AARP membership, even though you are FULLY ELIGIBLE.

Hello??? Them's fightin' woids.

It's January 10, 2007. I ain't hit the half-century mark just yet. It might be splitting hairs or a simple point of miniscule contention, but my actual achievement of the milestone enroute to tombstone is still a couple weeks away. And in any event, I'm not turning 50: I'll be 29 for the 21st time, and I intend to keep on practicing until I get it right.

At least another ten years, I reckon.

And that's the truth...phfffffft.

So I went online to AARP (www.aarp.org) and sent them the following email so as to clarify the chronological discrepancy and, in essence, put a definitive "whoa!" to this run-away wagon of theirs, trying to wisk me prematurely into curmudgeondom:

Dear AARPsters:

Now just a suck egg mule, goat pokin' friggin' minute hyar. While it is biologically reasonable to establish and support the truth that, chronologically speaking, rumors of my date with half-centurydom are imminent, I can say with fully documentable fact and supporting evidence that I'M NOT THERE YET. And your efforts to plant your bureaucratic foot 'pon my backside to hurry the process along is in need of a take-a-step-back, yall.

I will turn 50 when I am good and ready -- or when I am outstripped in my quest to destroy every visual calendar that undercuts plausible deniability -- but NOT BEFORE, and danged certain NOT on the word of some bureaucratic boondoggle in the DC Beltway!

Uh-kay?

The initial reply I got was one of them auto-reply fangled things, telling me your thoughts and concerns are important to us, and we will reply to your comments within a couple of business days.

Righhhhhht.

Once they get around to reading the above, it may or not affect some future application of mine to join the ranks of dues-paying curmudgeons of AARP inclinations. But I will be snarfalloogied before I will be rushed into premature chronological advancement by any DC bureaubrat of dubious antecedence and inept calendar-reading skills.

I'm in no hurry to accelerate my aging perfectly gracelessly on my own, thank ye. Not even by a day.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

A Blizzard In Pictures II





With another storm on the horizon (possibly the fourth in four weeks), it's time to provide a few more photos of Blizzard I and Blizzard II.

As I've revealed heretofore, I am a pseudo-technophobe. I don't have a cell phone. An ipod. A blackberry. An MP3 player. An Xbox or any such. And I don't have a digital camera. I still rely on good ol' 35mm film.

And a manual snow shovel, even if it has delusions of being plutonium powered, or whatever it thought it was (see a couple-three blog entries back, if I just lost ya; you'll need GPS help after reading that 'un).

Here are four more snowstorm photos: three from the pre-Xmas blizzard, and one more from the pre-New Years' storm.

From the pre-Xmas storm: my buried auto, ensconced in its carport, awaiting succor; the results of a couple hours of digging to liberate both it and the carport to the left of mine; and the infamous Mount Snowphfffft that resulted from my car achieving succor by my hand and that of my 'plutonium shovel'.

The fourth photo -- differentiated by the fact that it's still snowing pretty good when this was taken -- is from the second storm between Xmas and NYE; my plutonium shovel, mugging for the camera while giving me grief for having taken "a break" from shovelling.

Anyone wanna buy a talking, pompous ass shovel with delusions of nuclear power?

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

A Blizzard in Pictures






Specifically, the Denver & Front Range Xmas Blizzard of 2006. These particular photos show the storm -- after a few hours of gradually increasing snow --starting to get rolling, as the winds pick up (as viewed from my third floor apartment patio); late morning, the scene in the parking lot is as folks are having increasing problems dealing with the blizzard; two other shots -- one from the parking lot level, the other from the patio -- show the blizzard at its height, as visibility is down to 100 yards and less; and finally, an afterview of the parking lot, once the winds and snow had tapered off about mid day of the next day.

December 20-21, 2006. 'Twas a Merry Christmas and a Happy Snow Shovel, with considerable sarcasm on the latter.

In (eventually) Part II, you'll be introduced to a vehicle rescue, and the birth of Mount Snowphfffft. A birth and maturation in two parts. Finally, you might just be introduced to Photo Diary of a Mad Snow Shoveller...