Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fucking rightwing barbarian

Costco's magazine for members recently asked whether income tax should continue to be taken out of unemployment insurance. Some rightwing shit-for-brains heartless turd wrote in this month's magazine that unemployment insurance should be subject to income taxes because:

Accountability - being responsible for your situation - is more of what is needed in our country. Therefore, every possible incentive to getting off unemployment insurance as soon as possible is needed.

Braindead bastard.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

DC-NYC, 5/8-5/18

It was a wonderful trip, despite the memories being slightly poisoned by what happened when we got back.

We flew to Baltimore on the 8th, picked up a rental car, then drove to Bowie, MD, where our granddaughter, Emily, lives and where we had a motel room reserved.

We spent the first weekend with Emily and felt that we bonded with her in a significant way. It was a delightful time. On Friday evening, after we arrived, we took her out to eat and talked endlessly. She loves the Baltimore Inner Harbor and the aquarium there, so we spent Saturday up there. Lots of walking around in the heat and humidity, but it was a happy time anyway. We ate dinner at the Rusty Scupper, a high-end restaurant on the Inner Harbor; she likes the place, and at the time we weren't worried about money, fortunately. (Had I known what was coming, the vacation would have been less happy.) On Sunday, the three of us went to see the new Star Trek movie. Leonore and I liked it quite a bit. Emily loved it. She said it was the best movie she'd ever seen. When I was 15, I would have agreed. Then we took her to dinner at a restaurant and talked much more. Really, it was a marvelous time for us, and Emily seemed to enjoy it greatly too.

We hope so much that she'll come out here to visit Daniel and us. Unfortunately, the idea of traveling this far without her family seems to unnerve her. We'll just mention it from time to time, avoiding pressure, and hope that eventually she'll give it a try.

After that, we drove to Leesburg, VA to spend a few days with Bob and Virginia, friends who used to live in Denver. They have an enormous house in a new development outside Leesburg. There are sprawling developments there, bedroom suburbs for DC. I'm sure it was much more charming 100 years ago, but it was beautiful to us because of the astonishing greenery and lushness. We were also in luck with the weather, which was cool and pleasant instead of the heat and humidity we dread. We spent time catching up on old times and, in my case, drinking lots of bourbon, of which Bob is an afficionado. He's enjoying being retired. He said that every day is like Saturday, and every night is like Friday night. Of course, they have that huge house and lots of money, neither of which most retired people have.

They took us into DC to show us how to get to the Metro station, etc. The four of us walked around the Mall and spent a few hours in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. I looked at space vehicles that I had worked on in the 60s and 70s but had never actually seen before -- an odd thought. We took photos. I also saw German WWII V1 and V2 rockets, which the Germans fired at me when I was a baby in England. (When I was working at NASA in Houston in the late 60s, I ran into Werhner von Braun. I wanted to jump up and down in front of him and say, "You missed me!" But I didn't.)

The next day, Leonore and I went back to DC and the Mall by ourselves and walked for hundreds of miles. We didn't go into the museums but instead walked down the Mall, past the Washington Monument, along the tidal basin (missed the cherry blossoms by a couple of weeks), into the Jefferson Memorial (one of my favorite presidents), on to the Lincoln Memorial, then back. We had intended to include the White House, but Leonore was exhausted by that point, so we skipped it. Ate some food and then took the Metro back.

I loved downtown Washington. I had expected it to be cold and sterile, acres of marble. Instead it seemed warm and friendly. The good weather probably helped. I'd love to go back, but I suppose it would be best to avoid the middle of summer or winter.

Then we went to Bethesda and had a fine time with my old college roommate, whom I hadn't seen since about 1965. He's aged, of course, but he talks and laughs and stands the same way as long ago. We both liked his wife very much. It was a very nice visit, and I hope we'll have a chance to see them again soon. They didn't seem inclined to head west, so it will probably have to be there again. I'm so glad we were able to do that.

Then we drove to NYC to stay with Lisa, Leonore's dorm mate from Indiana U, and her husband, Andrew. We didn't go into Manhattan this time. (We did last year, when we visited Lisa and Andrew.) Instead we spent one day at the NY Botanical Gardens and the Bronx Zoo, followed by dinner in the Bronx's Little Italy section. At the Gardens, we met up with another old college friend of Leonore's, whom we hadn't seen in 45 years or thereabouts. That was a nice surprise. The next day, we went to The Cloisters. Both days, it was chilly and rainy, which Leonore and I loved. The natives bitched about it. Everything we saw was lovely. If only all of NYC were like that. The drive to La Guardia on Monday morning, through rush-hour traffic, was a fucking nightmare.

Thanks to the two-hour time difference, we got home about 2 p.m., so I was able to do the weekly grocery shopping and get ready for the next day at a leisurely pace. Then I went to work on Tuesday and got laid off.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gilbert and Sullivan

Where are you, now that we need you? *

We are the justices of the court supreme
Whose decisions often make you scream.

Gilbert would have known what should come next.

* Dead

Monday, May 25, 2009

David's Definitions for July 2009


Unavoidable, inevitable. This rare word tends to be used to refer to major things, such as an ineluctable fate. A related word of opposite meaning, even more rare, is eluctate, meaning to struggle your way out from something. If you're taking an English literature class in college, you might discover that the novel Ulysses by James Joyce is ineluctable. In that book, the third chapter begins with the sentence: "Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes." You might want to switch majors.

(Will be published in the July 2009 issue of Denver's Community News.)

I'm collecting all of these at:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Laid off!

At 11 a.m. this morning. Right after we decided it was safe to spend lots of money on the house, etc.

I was hoping I'd finally found a place I could stay till retirement and not have to go through this shit again. Grump.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Oh, no, the Mormons posthumously converted my Holocaust-victim grandmother!

They probably did, since they've been doing that to Holocaust victims. And others, including, we now learn, Obama's mother. And they've been doing it secretly. Lying about it to the world. Bunch of slimeballs.

Rather, that's what they think they've done. What they've actually been doing is performing a silly, religious - oops, that's redundant! - ritual based on their particular set of fairy tales.

Speaking as an (angry! aggressive!) atheist, the religious rituals performed by Mormons mean as little to me as the religious rituals performed by undiscovered tribes deep in the Amazon rainforest or by Martians, if there are any Martians and if they perform religious rituals. Fairy tales are fairy tales. My grandmother and other members of the family died at the hands of madmen about 70 years ago; that was the tragedy and the crime, and nothing the Mormons do now has any effect on her.

The sleaziness is despicable, but that's about it. Beyond that, you can only get upset if you believe in the fairy tales.