a left leaning political blog -- it's not really about pie
a political blog, mostly, with a few cat pictures

Monday, June 30, 2003

The homicidal maniac at my grocery store

I shop for groceries at an Albertsons that is around the corner from my house. I have often thought that some of the people that work there seemed a little "off." I thought that they were lucky to have jobs, because a lot of places would not hire them. There's the cashier who doesn't make eye contact or small talk, and in fact doesn't ask if you "found everything alright today," as Albertsons cashiers are required to do. I figure he is a person with autism. Good for him, he has a job. There's the lady with tattoos covering every visible inch of her body. In conservative Orange County, she's very lucky to have been hired. I know for a fact that she makes a lot of customers there very uncomfortable. How nice of Albertsons to give her a job anyway.

And then there's Joe, the disheveled, mumbling to himself, smoking too many cigarettes on too many breaks, bag boy. When I heard about what happened yesterday, he was the first person I thought of.

It's great that Albertsons hires people that others would not. But it is not 20/20 hindsight when I say that Joe was the kind of person who should have been at home, on disability, playing Everquest all day. He should not have been trying to deal with the pressures of holding down a job, all the while listening to the voices in his head telling him to "do bad things." Had Albersons not hired him, he would have been at home, on disability playing Everquest all day, and the two people he hacked to death yesterday would still be alive.

Monday, June 23, 2003

What more is needed to start impeachment proceedings? Seriously.

Media Silent on Clark's 9/11 Comments:
Gen. says White House pushed Saddam link without evidence

CLARK: "There was a concerted effort during the fall of 2001, starting immediately after 9/11, to pin 9/11 and the terrorism problem on Saddam Hussein."

RUSSERT: "By who? Who did that?"

CLARK: "Well, it came from the White House, it came from people around the White House. It came from all over. I got a call on 9/11. I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, 'You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein.' I said, 'But--I'm willing to say it, but what's your evidence?' And I never got any evidence."

Thanks, Atrios.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Apparently, Moveone.org's primary is going to be freeped. (thanks, Body and Soul, Nathan Newman.)

This is from the free republic thread:

Look ... it's like this - if you sign up on Move-On's website, you become a part of their records. They have your email, your address, your telephone ... etc. If the FBI is investigating the organization (because they are Communists - who advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government), your name is going to show up in their records as BEING A MEMBER OF THEIR ORGANIZATION. How stupid is that ...??

If this is true, this country is way more fucked up than even I imagined.

They are discussing whether they should vote for Sharpton or Kucinich. The joke is on them if they inflate the Kucinich vote, as far as I am concerned.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Some exciting news (exciting for me, that is.)

In under a month, I will have a brand new cello -- one that looks very much like this:

The other day I was looking around the net to order some string-related items, and I came upon StringWorks. At first I thought it was silly. You don't buy an instrument over the internet. You go someplace and play several dozen instruments (old, never new -- new is bad) before making a decision. But I listened to a sound file on their site for a cello that costs under $1000, and I couldn't believe you could get such a great sounding instrument for less than $3,000 or $4,000. I noticed that they have a trial policy -- you tell them what you are looking for and they pick out an instrument for you, send it to you, and you play it for two weeks before deciding if you want it or not. For the next few days I looked at pictures and read every word on their site, and became obsessed with all things cello. Then I made the decision. Two days later my old cello was sold, and I had a very big check.

Strangely, leaving the old cello behind left me with no feelings of remorse. I wondered why. After all, we had been through a lot together.

We finished High School together, and we played with the Orange County Youth Philharmonic and the Orange Coast Community Symphony. In college, we had the privilege of studying with Victor Sazar, who himself had studied with Leonard Rose (He was sort of the Yo Yo Ma of his day.) We played with the Chico Symphony for one season, after which we moved to San Francisco, where everything changed. In the sixteen years I lived there we performed and recorded with various rock bands (but no one you have heard of, I would imagine.) I played in every venue available at the time, from the El Rio in the mission district to the Filmore and the Warfield. We played with Irish musicians in places like Ireland's 32 and the Cork and Bottle. One of my cello cases still smells like cigarette smoke. My cello got scratched up and kicked. My bow was once picked up by a drummer who had ketchup on his fingers and couldn't be used again until it was re-haired. For several years, my cello was filled up with packing material -- a trick I learned from a bassist -- which made it not quite so resonant, and less prone to feeding back (that screechy sound you hear in speakers sometimes) when I had to play amplified and really, really loud.

So after all that, why was I not sad seeing it go? Was it the orangish finish the instrument had, which I never cared for? Partly, but I realized that we had never been right for each other, and I never had known it until now. Cellos are individuals, with what people think of as "personalities." There are very bright sounding cellos, and there are very dark cellos and everything in between. I realize now that I had spent years not really liking the sound of my cello, and trying to alter the sound to one I liked when I played amplified. I was always telling the sound technicians "turn up the bass," (which is really problematic, because turning the bass up made it all the more prone to feedback.) My cello was one of the bright ones, and I wanted a warmer sound. Until now, I only knew that it was a good instrument and I should just be happy with it. I was completely in denial.

So now I will have the warm sound that I have always envied other cellists for. I am counting the days.

Update: Go here for my review of the Maestro Cello from Stringworks.com.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Dean aligns with Bush on death penalty

“As governor, I came to believe that the death penalty would be a just punishment for certain, especially heinous crimes, such as the murder of a child or the murder of a police officer. The events of September 11 convinced me that terrorists also deserve the ultimate punishment,” Dean said in a statement released by his campaign last week.

That's if you've gotten the right guy, Governor Dean, which often is not the case. With all of the prisoners being released on dna evidence lately, you have to be leaning in the other direction if you have more than half a brain cell in your head.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

I haven't had time to read this yet, but:

UPDATE: Oh, nevermind.