Pops' Bucket
Friday, July 30, 2004
 
Duck and smother
Kerry's acceptance speech is over. All I can say is phew.

Before it was over--delivered, even--the avalanche of Republican Talking Points meant to be a "response" began falling. I saw RNC chair Ed Gillespie (the only man more vile and insipid than DNC chair Terry McAuliffe) nearly have a nervous breakdown on Hardball when Chris Mathews interrupted the pre-scripted rhythm of his "position".

I swear to God that's the only show where that ever happens. To Democrats and Republicans alike. The downside is that the reason that happens is that Chris is so busy talking that the guests never have time to complete a single sentence, but honestly I'd rather listen to that than the list of programmed responses.

We can all save a great deal of time in the next five weeks. It's the break where Republicans can still spend as much as they want pre-convention, so the ad-blitz roll-out is going to be mind-numbing. I suggest we all turn our televisions off and simply go read http://www.gop.com/KerryCorner/ . It's a comprehensive lists that lays out why exactly John Kerry is unfit to hold office, be commander-in-chief, draw breath, etc.

We can all come back and watch when the debates start in September. Until then I can be found:

Pops' Bucket
The Fetal Position
Riverside, CA

I guess the only reason to come out and look around would be to see the amusing flights of off-script fancy by folks like Trent Lott who called Kerry a "French speaking socialist" at some redneck-a-thon in Mississippi.

The only thing I'm unsure about there is if being a socialist causes one to be French speaking or if speaking French causes socialism.

I was surprised when I realized that I had understood every word of Kerry's speech last night. Turns out I speak perfect French. I guess I must have absorbed something while sleeping through Mrs. Shepardson's class in high school.

The only thing I'm really confused about is Zell Miller ("D"-Georgia). He's a Democrat, right? So why is he out there as a member of the Republican response team? Same talking points and everything, which one expects are devised and handed out by the GOP. Maybe one of my legion of Georgia reader can clear this up for me. I'd call him a crypto-Republican, but there's no longer anything "crypto" about it.

I guess I should leave it to Georgia Democrats to sort him out, but I'm not confident that such a creature exists.

It was a good speech by Kerry (short attention span remembers), but he's still kinda... bleh. Uninspiring in alot of ways. The one things he does have going for him is that it would take Abu Ghraib-style genital electrodes to get me to vote for GWB. Not just owning them either, I mean attaching them and probably turning them on.

And again, it's not that I hate the man, I simply don't think--even after four years in office--that he's cut out to be president. Alot has been made about John Edwards' "lack of experience" but I submit that it's possible to have been president for four years and still be unqualified to hold the job.

And just as soon as the DNC e-mails me my daily talking points, I'll be able to expand upon that more fully.


This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.8


Pops

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Thursday, July 29, 2004
 
Fair and balanced
Bad news.  I'm probably a hypocrite.

It's quite a disheartening realization.  It came to me as I was watching some of the coverage of the DNC in Boston.  The coverage is always more interesting than the floor show.

Ted Koppel was interviewing Jon Stewart (whose job it is to cover the coverage, which is always funny).  Once I got past the obvious fact that Mr. Stewart reads this blog (Hi, Jon!) and totally ripped off some of the stuff I've posted on here regarding the insipid banality of crosstalk-TV-as-analysis, I actually processed what he was saying.  He likened the DNC (and the general anachronism of conventions in general) to a corporate "product rollout".  To which I replied, "Yeah, no shit."

And yes, I realize he can't hear me through the TV screen.

But then I got to thinking about the August RNC where they are going to roll out a product that was already set as soon as the 2000 election was finished.  So we're going to have to sit through four nights of reruns so they can "brand" something that's already branded.  It thought about President Bush up there making his speech, eyes narrowed to slits, lips pursed in that inimitible way, laying out and justifying plans for my country that I disagree with close to 75-80% of the time and I caught myself thinking "Jesus, that guy bugs me."

This is where the hypocrite parts comes in.  It's a struggle--an honest, everyday, life-sapping struggle--to not fall into the trap of crosstalk-inclined partisanship.  I find myself as I walk around in everyday life thinking very dark thoughts about the president, but so far I think I've been able to keep the real poisonous impulses in check as I write this thing (or at least mask them with some humor).  I credit my teachers (especially grad school) with giving me some (judge for yourself whether it's successful or not) ability to write from a somewhat detached, critical place.  Of course I also credit them with crushing my spirit and driving me screaming out of academics.  So we'll call it a wash.

Then I thought about the DNC and the RNC together and decided: that's the point.  That was why Al Sharpton got to speak.  In this weeks' Newsweek, they claim that in 1992 (my first vote) 66% of the country were undecided around convention time.  This year that number is more like 17%.  At least that's what the bold-type caption said under a picture of Kerry and Edwards.  I don't really read articles.  I read Newsweek for the pictures.

This is where I should make some kind of high-falutin' poli-sci observation about the "party system perpetuating itself" and the link between national politics and the complicity of mass media, but I've bored myself already just thinking about it.

But if the point is to get you to close your mind to other possibilities, I think I understand some of the appeal of Ralph Nader and not just to disaffected liberals.

Except he's, you know, crazy.

 
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.6

 
Pops

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Wednesday, July 28, 2004
 
The Magic of White People*
*and by "people", I mean men specifically.
 
Being a white man, I should really know the answer to this, but I don't: What kind of skanky basement hoodoo are we practicing as a racial subset?  Whatever it is, we had better make sure nobody else gets their hands on it.  Otherwise we're in big trouble.

These thoughts come about after hearing (would've watched, but I was in the car.  Thanks NPR) Barack Obama's first-rate speech at the DNC in Boston last night.  He's running unopposed (!) for the US Senate seat in the great state of... OK, the state of Illinois.  And of course by "Illinois" I mean "Chicago" because there is nothing else in Illinois, unless you count St. Louis which you almost can.

I decided to check into the history of African-Americans in the Senate.  Hmm.  Here's the list (source):

Hiram R. Revels (R-Mississippi), 1870-71
Blanche K. Bruce (R-Mississippi), 1875-1881
Edward W. Brooke (R-Massachusetts), 1967-1979
Carol Moseley-Braun (D-Illinois), 1993-1999

Turns out all those blaxploitation movies were right. We really DO know how to keep a brother down. Of those listed, Edward Brooke III was the only black man ever elected to the Senate by popular vote. Ever. Ever. Yes, I said ever.

You go, Barack.  And I'm shocked the Republicans haven't yet pointed out how much "Obama" sounds like "Osama".  It seems like such a reasonable comparison to make and not at all out of line with their general electioneering slant.

And why doesn't anyone ever mention the fact that we have 14 female senators.  Fourteen.  Shouldn't that be the great scandal of our time?  There really should be fifty, shouldn't there?  At least? I guess it's an encouraging sign that not all of them are totally hot either.  Except Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana).  Yowza.

But hey, look, I did my part.  Both my senators are totally, like, chicks and junk.  And I voted for both of them.

I guess the question is How?  How has Whitey managed to keep himself up on the mountaintop for so long?  In Barack Obama and other rising political stars are we on the cusp of a watershed moment in the history of race/gender and politics in this country?

Yeah, I doubt it too.  It was a good speech though.

 
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.85

Pops' Vocabulary Tip of the Day: anthropophagy: cannibalism.  Thank you, Dostoyevsky.  Today I learned that word and that the Roman church is Satan's Instrument.  Good to know.  These are things you should be writing down. 

 
Pops

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004
 
Sold!
I will forego announcements of imminent Blogger Burnout for the time being.  I'll be saving them for moments of real Motivational Crisis.  Fear not, they happen regularly.

Watched Bill Clinton's speech to the DNC in Boston last night.

You know those pictures they used to have at the mall that looked like a jumble of colorful nonsense, but if you stared at it enough you saw a 3D picture of a sailboat or something?

Watching his speech last night and then weighing my options in the current presidential contest, I realized something: Kerry and Bush = jumble of nonsense (not even colorful, sorry).  Clinton = 3D sailboat.  I pride myself thinking that's probably the first time he' s been described in that way.

Look, I realize that he's probably the Devil.  I'm about 75% certain on this.  The other 25% thinks he's Luke Duke from The Dukes of Hazzard.

But Devil or Luke Duke, whatever he's selling I'm buying.  The man can give the hell out of a speech.  I am not looking forward to John Kerry's stentorian Plan-o-matic speech wherein he lays out in stultifying detail how he is going to save America by boring us to death on Thursday.  Even less am I looking forward to GWB's squinty-eyed, fumbling earnestness where he tells us what we ought to think and suggests that to disagree is to be in favor of al Qaeda.

Sure, Republicans all hated him, but come on, admit it, we all miss Slick Willy.  America's Funnest President.  He makes Warren G. Harding look like... well, Warren G. Harding.

This is where I sigh heavily, but you can't hear it over the Internet.


This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.1

 
Pops


ALERT ALERT ALERT
Things are apparenlty going to plan.  The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie teaser trailer is available.  I haven't seen it myself as there are apparently a zillion other dorks like me eating up all the available bandwidth.

I am currently reading The Brothers Karamazov and thus expect the film project to be announced momentarily.  Dostoyevsky for the masses.  Should be brutal.


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Monday, July 26, 2004
 
Disney Inferno
Estimated Days Until Blogger... ah, who cares anymore?

The wavering back and forth between exhilaration and revulsion with this thing is wearing me out, frankly.  I've just about had it.  Had it.

I'm sorry.  Don't be mad.  Come back.  Please?  I'm sorry.  Look, I didn't know what I was saying.  I'm just tired, OK?  Please?  I'm so sorry.  Come on.  I didn't mean it.  I didn't mean it.  Come on.  I'm tired.  It's been a long weekend and... come on.  Please?

Phew.  That was close.

Yours Truly had the bright idea to drag the three boys and the wife off to Disneyland on Saturday.  We have annual passes we bought with last year's Bush Checks (if you have kids, you remember the official bribe we all got last year from Uncle George) and they expire the first week of August (passes, not the checks).  So I says to Mrs. Pops: "Oy!  Let's us go to Disneyland Saturday seein' as it wasn't quite so hot as to catch the atmosphere on fire on Friday."

She says fine, but I have to stop talking like that.

OK good, let's us go.

It's Saturday morning at about 7:45 and there's traffic on the 91.  Did I mention it was Saturday morning at 7:45?  Yes?  OK, because after I typed it, I still didn't believe it.

Anyway, some poor bastard's car flipped over near the median.  Nobody dead, at least not in any obvious way (most of them were standing as we drove slowly by).  But as omens go, this is slightly more onerous than birds flying off to the left.

We get there at about 8:15 (usually a 20-25 minute drive total ended up more than twice that), pack up the kids in the convenient-in-theory-only double stroller and set off for the trams.  No parking and walking up to Disneyland anymore, no sir.  All off-site parking just to torture those of us with small children.

We get to the park, stash away our contraband provisions (PB&J for everyone in a locker outside the main gate.  I know, it sounds very Leave it to Beaver, but it's that or pay $40 for burgers inside... I wish I were kidding).

Round about 10 am the middle child (he's three) has refused to go on just about everything.  The castle (including the essential pathway through the center of the park) is closed for renovation, so whatever the crowd number was, we were all shunted on to side paths which is less fun than it sounds.

Oh, and through no fault of my own, my hair has burst into flames.  It was just that hot.  OK, it probably wasn't that hot, but with all the stroller-pushing and kid-carrying, it felt it.

We limp back to the "picnic area", the leper colony where one must eat non-Disney food and we have a very slow, weary lunch.  Meanwhile the youngest (he's 14 months) is discovered to be cutting four new teeth simultaneously.  Fan-mega-tastic.

One more push into the park to try to make it all worthwhile washes out when Mrs. Pops and I, stuck in another non-moving crowd of very sweaty foreign people, look at each other, read our collective minds and point the stroller back toward the exit.  The oldest boy (he's 5) clomps along, crying because he died of heat exhaustion twenty minutes earlier, so Pops gets to carry him all the way down Main Street US-motherfucking-A, kicking and screaming.

But you know why it was a good day?  Because on the way back, there was a brush fire off the side of the freeway.  The 91 eastbound was dead stopped.

Ah but we were in the toll-lanes, unecumbered, unfettered, 80 mph, home by 3 pm.  So really, it could have been worse.

Yeah, I could have been one of the several dozen firemen I saw in their full fire gear (rubber suits, for God's sake) dragging a firehose in line up a 60-degree incline in triple-digit heat while a helicopter makes water drops way more closely than safety should allow.

But since I'm not them, someone else has to be.  Here's me being glad I don't and equally glad that they are.  Nice work, fellas.  And ladies probably.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.3

 
Pops


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Sunday, July 25, 2004
 
Sincerity is so hard to pull off
Estimated Days Until Blogger Burnout: 14 (recharged after a few days away)

 
I keep having these ideas as to what I want to write about, but other bloggers keep distracting me.  I've honestly started a list of backlog topics for later posts because I keep having to come back here and talk about Other People's Blogs.

I had some fascinating observations to make about the ways people incorrectly use the words "affect" and "effect", but then I stumbled across this.

It was too horrible for words.  My brain temporarily seized as the litany of insults and cutting disparagements stampeded toward the part that sends impulses to the fingertips.  I mean Lord Almighty, is this guy for real?  Do people really do this?

As I sat here staring at my handy little Blogger window, waiting to unleash the Sarcasm Monster I found myself writing this really boring, not at all personally insulting post instead.  The disappointment I feel in myself is crushing, but it can't be helped.

Look, the guy thinks he's an elf.  So what?  There are worse things, right?  He's got the absolute conviction to put something so utterly, astonishingly lame out there.  Meanwhile here's me, writing about Other People's Blogs while carefully hiding behind my cheese-ball alias lest the horde of Internet stalkers come a-camping at my doorstep.

Now granted there are some advantages to being me.  For instance, I have seen a woman naked.  I mean an actual one, not just a picture of one on the Internet.  And not by accident either, on purpose.  What I mean is, she knew I was in the room at the time.  Something tells me that that probably won't happen for ol' Ringhithion for a very, very, very long time.

So boys and girls, who would we rather be?  Seventeen year old elf-boy reveling unabashedly in his passions (dorkfest though they are) or bitter thirty year old Pops, craven, decrepit, lashing out with misdirected resentment in the form of petulance and self-absorption in a blog so detached and impersonal it is doomed never to be read?

Yeah, I pick Me, too.

 
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.2

 
Pops


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Friday, July 23, 2004
 
Of Scrotum Weights and Political defensiveness
Estimated Days Until Blogger Burnout: 3 (again)


Looking for new blogs, I tried blogwise on the advice of someone somewhere, I forget.  I tried several things including both the universities I went to.  Turns out NO ONE at the school I did my undergrad work at blogs, or at least admits to it on blogwise.  The ones from my grad school had a distasteful Orange County tincture that frankly turned me off.  I tried the name of my hometown here (Riverside) and came up with this one.   Only this one.

My disappointment was palpable and, being the ass-hat that I can be, I did take the time and energy to mention it to the blogger-in-question.  Not only is it a rabid, frothing, clenched-cheeks tirade of a political blog, but a rabid, frothing, clenched-cheeks tirade of a Republican political blog.  Reading was like lifting an uncomfortable amount of weight with a part of my body unsuited to the task.  My scrotum, for example.

Scrotum weights are actually available for purchase on the Internet.  I checked after I wrote that last sentence.  Color me surprised.

As I said, I posted a comment or two on the above website (the blog, not the scrotum weight thing).  I was probing a little, trying to get at what makes frothy-mouthedness so appealing.  I mean, the whole stance is so defensive (and I don't mean just Republicans... there are just as many Democratic Kool-Aid drinkers out there.  You know who you are).  It's as if they think if they should waver just the slightest little bit, just open their minds the tiniest little crack a breeze might blow through and carry their entire personal identity away with it.

I asked a fairly benign question (though trying not to bait these people is tough) and got back the tired old predictable tirade.  Something about Michael Moore and Nancy Pelosi (I've never voted for either of them, by the way).  I pressed a little more and felt like I got over the wall a little bit, but in the end he seemed to think that my reasonableness precluded me from actually being a Democrat because we're all insane America-haters.  Thank you Fox News.

Engaging in conversation with someone of the opposite party is not unlike those scenes in "Crocodile Dundee" where he does that hang-ten thing with his fingers, moans softly at the back of his throat and approaches the otherwise rampaging animal slowly, eventually lulling it into a sense of safety. The end result is ol' Croc keeps the creature at bay when it would rather be goring you with tooth/horn/claw, what have you.  Limited interaction is possible at that stage, but in the end, it's going to wake up and be as rampagingly uninteresting as its nature dictates when it does.

I have no personal animosity toward this blogger nor do I mean to direct all my frustration at him, but two people screaming pre-scripted insults at one another at the same time is not the same as dialogue.  It's not even the same as argument.

So where's the fun in that?


This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.1

 
Pops


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Thursday, July 22, 2004
 
Is this really what I sound like?
Estimated Days Until Blogger Burnout: 4

 
It's coming, people.

But just when I think this is no longer fun, I only have to go to other people's blogs to find inspiration.

I was hoping I would outgrow the blog-commenting blogginess of this blog and make it more about something of merit, but who am I trying to kid?  I mean, seriously.  This is what makes blogging fun, other people's nonsense.

But then today I had something of a shock. I ran across this blog and I was horrified. It's angry, sarcastic, judgmental, irritated and irritating all at once.

Sharp intake of breath, hand to the mouth. Oh my God. It's ME.

It's like accidentally seeing your reflection as you walk past a store-front window and being surprised and horrrified by what you see. Is that what my ass looks like?

Just to torture the metaphor, I need to start working out.  In blog terms, I suppose that means I need to get my hands around a general purpose and strangle it... or better yet, find someone else's blog that has a better purpose than any of the crap I can think up and then steal it.

I've enjoyed some of the philosophical commentary blogs I've seen, but again, I've been out of the academic sphere for so long I could barely summon up the intellectual momentum to have a critical go at "Goodnight Gorilla", let alone Being and Nothingness. 

[For those without children, "Goodnight Gorilla" is a children's book with almost no words.]

FUCK I JUST DELETED TWO PARAGRAPHS SOMEHOW

OK, where was I?  Damn, they were good paragraphs too.  Stupid keyboard shortcuts.  Hit one wrong one time...

Anyway, what I've concluded is that the blog cited several paragraphs above and my own early posts (and this, I suppose, will count as an "early post"... and there, I've given myself a headache), the whole too-cool-for-school pose is borne mostly out of embarrassment.  It's a wedge to get into something with-it, together people like me should never get in to.  Honestly, I listen to alt-rock.  Blogging is so Top 40.

Do people still use those terms, "alt-rock" and "Top 40"?  I'm two months out of my twenties.  Pop culture is already getting hazy.

So all in all, I can come to only one, horrifying conclusion: Yes, this is what my ass looks like.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.875 (it just sounds right)


Pops

 
Completely Unsolicited Advertisement

This comes from the "New To Me" desk, so it's probably old Internet news, but people should check out 419eater.com.  Anyone who can get Nigerian bank-transfer spam scammers to send them money are my heroes.


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Wednesday, July 21, 2004
 
I want my BlogTV
Estimated Days Until Blogger Burnout: 5


The EDUBB index is dropping steadily. I almost decided not to post anything today.

I'm a somewhat adrift this afternoon. I realized just today that I've become too interested in someone else's blog at the expense of everyone else in the whole blogosphere.

It's strange and insidious the way these things work into your everyday habits. The closest comparison I can find is television. We follow a certain show, become familiar with the characters and the setting. Only the situations change from episode to episode, but really not very much. I'm fairly certain as I watch ER, for instance, that something medical will happen.

That's as technical as I can get with that, "something medical".  Oh, the images it conjures up.  And I wonder why I've never been published...

But anyway, as my quest to find like-minded bloggers rambles on, I stumbled across one that fit my needs.  Smart and funny, slightly skewed worldview with a regular (but not overwhelming) readership and active, regular postings.  Add to it I could expect the occasional response to one of my wise-ass comments and all was good.  It's like TV that talks back to you! 

So, things go along, la-di-da, days go forward and the world spins.  Check on it when I have a free second here and there, once or twice a day.  Then the blogstress decides to have a life outside of her blog and stop updating for a while.

Oh.  Not a thought for the rest of us, oh no.

Lightning crash-revelation time: Hey dummy, go read a different one.  Or several.

Ah yes, I say to myself while simultaneously promising to bludgeon myself later for the "dummy" comment.

Television has bad writing more often than not.  And freshly canned laughter to help remind you that you are, in fact, enjoying yourself whether the writing/acting/production in general is enjoyable or not.

For blogs, it seems to me, good writing should be the first and only criteria.  There should be even less wiggle room than television (or just about any other media except for... you know... writing) in the event the writing goes south since that's all there is.

But there is freedom in the amateur-ness of all this self-revelatory verbal vomit that is Blogland.  With that understood, a blogger can have bad writing days and the Peanut Gallery will come back again, provided the bad turn isn't permanent... or evidence of some kind of psychotic break... although now that I think about it the latter wouldn't be half bad reading.

I feel better about myself already.

So if this sucks, my legions of readers, I apologize.  Troll through the massive backlog of posts and find something good.  It will be the promise of slightly less suckful things to come.


This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.8

 
Pops


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Tuesday, July 20, 2004
 
I choose idle hands
Estimated Days Until Blogger Burnout: 6
 
 
The novelty is wearing off.  Not about blogging, I mean my new flat panel LCD monitor for my comptuer.  It's getting to the point where I can hardly remember what the old one looked like or even believe that I ever had something that large weighing my desk down.
 
It's strange, though, how flashes of insight can come from the most unlikely sources.
 
After setting up this monitor and regaining access to my desktop computer, I have been hit with a sudden, life-changing realization:
 
I am a lazy bastard.
 
No really, it's true.  Thank you, Samsung.  All that time and money doing R&D work (or stealing it from others, whatever... I'm in a forgiving mood) to make a pretty picture without a cathode ray tube; turns out you were manufacturing Epiphany-in-a-Box all along.  Bless you, my Japanese friends.
 
In the five days I had with just me and my dowdy, workmanlike Dell laptop I remembered what it was like to be a human being engaged with thoughts and ideas.  I submitted a story for publication at a litmag for the first time in nearly a year.  I actually wrote nearly an entire paragraph of new material.  Granted it was a very bad paragraph and eventually led to nothing, but at least I was plugged in.
 
But then the new monitor was up and running and suddenly... complete and total deflation.  I sit here despondent, drooling, paralyzed with too many options of things to do with my computer now that it has all been restored to me.
 
Working on the laptop was limiting, but strangely not at all confining.  It's a paradox I suppose: the more options I have, the less I want to do.  The more constricted and confined I am (still talking about options here, not BDSM... although now people using "BDSM" in a blog search may find this one... how curious) the more focused I am, the more capable I am of expansive thought.
 
I really am fascinated with myself, I must admit.
 
But as for the glut of opportunities for time-wasting on this thing, I mostly blame the people who make video games.  Whether it's the people at EA Sports for making crowds that jump and scream when you do something good or the loads of detailed, researched information that propel me through one of my ├╝berdork history simulation games, the pull of them is such that I find myself partaking even when I don't want to.  I would rather be productive, honestly.  But really, who has the time?  Goals to score and pagans to smite.  You can put it off and put it off, but the pagans are not going to smite themselves, people.
 
 
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.25
 
 
Pops


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Monday, July 19, 2004
 
Fear of the Right Turn
Readers take note: Humor Free Zone below.
 
Reading today how the Bush administration is investigating Iranian complicity in 9/11.  I may not sleep tonight.
 
"But Pops," you ask yourself, "why should you worry about this?  Bush wouldn't do anything drastic, would he?"
 
Well, the answer is he sort of would have to, wouldn't he?  This is, after all, the author of the bold and unyielding "Bush Doctrine" (named it himself, didn't he?) with it's two points: 1) reserve the right to pre-emptive military action and 2) "no distinction" between terrorists and those who "harbor" them.
 
So if it does come to light that indeed Iran knowingly aided the 9/11 highjackers, knowing what the plan was or that they generally meant to do something harmful, what other choice does the president have? 

It depends, I guess, on what our definition of "harboring" terrorists is.  So far the charge is letting them pass through Iran without a passport stamp.  What's the threshhold for pre-emption, anyway?  Is this post going to be all questions or what?
 
I'm wringing my hands here because I'm starting to think about my kids.  All politics is local right?  Can't get much more local than the people who got half their DNA from me.
 
This is not a non sequitur: American involvement in Vietnam began in the late '50s-early '60s.  Let's be generous and call it 1961 for our purposes here.  The last troops didn't leave until 14 years later in 1975.
 
Fourteen years from now my oldest boy will be 19 years old.  Does anyone think we'll have the Middle East all sorted out by 2018?  Or by 2021 when I have three sons 18 and over?  Granted we don't have a draft yet, but all we need is one more front to open and the Rumsfeldian dismissals of the idea will quickly fade.
 
If that doesn't impress anyone, let's look at Korea.  Start of involvement: 1950.  End of involvement: er... have to get back to you on that one.
 
I'm a Democrat, yes.  But I don't blindly hate George Bush.  I have, however, learned to believe him when he says he plans to do something militarily (other areas I have my doubts about, but I'll keep those to myself for now).  So now, what does he do?  If this shakes out the wrong way, what options does he have?
   
The joke among the media during the Iraq invasion was that the Pentagon was considering a "left turn", sending the never-ending column of military equipment hurtling toward a possibly recalcitrant Syria.  Now we're looking at the first thoughts of a "right turn" into Iran and it is freaking me out a little.
 

Pops
 

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Happy Birthday Mrs. Pops
...and Grandpops as well.  That's right, my wife and father share the same birthday.
 
I've already established that the wife doesn't read this, so I'm not sure why I'm bothering to say anything.  I'm POSITIVE my dad doesn't read this either.
 
But I'm relieved finally that she's left her twenties behind her and joined the 30+ set with me.  I'm all of two months older than she is, but oh, the things I've learned in those two months.
 
In just a few years we'll be in a new demographic group altogether, passing out of the 18-35 and on to the 36-50.  Advertisers will no longer care about us.  Tragic.  Next stop Alzheimer's.
 
I knew we agreed to grow old together, but it's happening faster than I'd like.
 
 
Pops

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Sunday, July 18, 2004
 
My wife doesn't read this
Estimated Days Until Blogger Burnout: 8
 
 
I'm sitting here wondering why I haven't mentioned my new little side-project here to Mrs. Pops.  I think I'm beginning to get a handle on it.
 
I've known Mrs. Pops for very close to half my life (we intially met while sophomores in high school) and it's only now that I've gotten her convinced that I'm actually a with-it, together dude.  She thinks I'm funny and good natured and nice and handsome (one assumes).
 
Of course this is a complete lie.  I'm actually quite nasty, cynical and ill-tempered.  I'm judgmental, maddeningly idiosyncratic, I use four-syllable words where two syllables will do and I have a tendency to ramble incoherently.
 
But that's just in this text version.  In full 3D walking-talking-breathing mode I'm much more interesting and that's what she gets to see.  For now I think what I'm doing is using this place (this "bucket" if you will) as a dumping ground for everything else.  I can get my snark on here and be pleasant and even-handed and accepting in real life.  It's quite therapeutic, now that I think about it.
 
I suppose eventually I'll let her know about this thing, but only when she catches me typing on it and demands to know what the hell is so goddamn important that it has all my attention while the baby is on the floor behind me trying to get the top off a bottle of Drano.
 
For now I can just feel guilt and shame and express it in a cathartic way to an anonymous public, the way normal, healthy people should.
 
 
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.6
 
 
Pops

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Philo Farnsworth is dead
UPDATE 19 July: Who the hell is John Logie Baird?! Did he beat Philo by two years? And what the hell is "mechanical television"? Damn you, Internet, and all your useful information!
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September 7, 1927, Utah inventor Philo Farnsworth first transmitted an electronic picture to a glass screen in another room.  The birth of television.
 
It occurred to me as I walked through the Best Buy out here in Riverside yesterday looking to replace my busted CRT monitor that I was witnessing the end of the era ushered in by Farnsworth and the beginning of another.
 
Judging by the televisions and computer monitors for sale there, the cathode-ray-tube is on its way out and it's going to take Philo Farnsworth with it.  Not that anyone will care.  Nobody knows who invented TV anyway.  Ask anyone and they'll probably say Henry Ford, Thomas Edison... Mr. Wizard maybe.
 
Did I just date myself with that last one?
 
So Mrs. Pops and I decided on a flat-screen LCD monitor.  The price was low enough that we could reasonably afford it.  It's a Samsung SyncMaster 712n.  I imagine that means something to someone.
 
No more static crackle when the screen comes to life.  No more warm-up time waiting for the image to appear.  No more huge separate box for the monitor when someone buys a new computer.  The cathode ray tube's moment in the sun is fading.
 
Although I'm pretty sure the manufacturer would recommend against leaving your cathode ray tube out in the sun.
 
The new monitor purchase plus early birthday dinner for Mrs. Pops (she comes crashing out of her twenties tomorrow, a Monday she has chosen to go to work on) put us over $500 for the day.  Hooray us and our imprudent spending habits.  If I have to pawn this thing to pay next month's mortgage, you'll know, mostly by the blankness of this space.
 
But good news: the living testaments to Mr. Farnsworth's work are still available at rapidly decreasing prices.  All you need do is get someone to help you carry it out of the store.
 
 
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.6 (lowest one yet!)
 
 
Pops

Edit: Here's a link. .  Learning is good.  Don't do drugs.  Stay in school.




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Saturday, July 17, 2004
 
Some things sound lame when blogged
Estimated Days Until Blogger Burnout: 9
 
 
Context.  It's probably my favorite word.  If you study history (like I did) and actually enjoy it, it's the thing you're looking for.  Plus, it just makes this muddled and confusing, which to me is quite a good thing.  Black and white is nice if you're, say, choosing new kitchen tiles or planning to invade Iraq.  In circumstances like those, you can't let yourself get bogged down in useless, annoying detail.  You choose one or the other.
 
But everything else is colored by context, and that's what makes the world interesting.
 
What am I getting at?  Well, in filling out my Blogger profile, I have been loath to mention a few things because of how they will read in the context of a Blogger profile.  What I mean by that is if I were to include certain things, then people who were familiar with personal blogs in general might make certain assumptions based on their experience in the blogosphere (a new word for me).
 
For instance, I take a martial arts class.  Aikido, to be exact.  I can explain here that I take it because I spend my days at home with my kids and for me, it's a chance to among adults and get a little exercise at the same time.
 
But think of it in the general context of a Blog.  "I'm into martial arts" means "I'm a fourteen year old who buys mail-order ninja stars".  That or I'm someone who lets it define their whole existence, mixing in Confucian quotes and Japanese words and characters into their blatherings, usually bastardized to the point of unintelligibility. 
 
Which brings us to my second favorite word, perspective.  It's a quality that I've found is especially rare in human beings.  Let's be clear, I'm not claiming it for myself, at least not in any larger dosage than your average blogster.
 
Perhaps it's an unfair characterization as blogs tend to be themed, so we don't get to see the larger whole of a human soul (yes that's right, context again), but it seems like blind extremism rules among bloggers: they tend to believe what they believe all the way.  No brakes, no consideration, no context, no perspective.  It's not that I think they aren't capable of it, it's just they choose not to employ it... er them.  Also, grammar is a problem.
 
In short blogs tend to be about obsessions.  This dovetails nicely with the idea that blogs are public versions of personal journals (OK fine, diaries).
 
In case it isn't clear yet what I'm on about, I've been spending my time randomly clicking through blog lists looking for something to engage me and I've been coming up short.  Again, the sample might be skewed due to circumstances, this being an election year and all, but all I can find are political blogs.  And not one of them--not one--is even handed in any respect.
 
I know I made my Iraq joke at the beginning of this post, but you're not going to find alot of harangue going on here.  It's just tiresome.  I loathe--loathe--political crosstalk television and so far, by and large, the blogs I've found about politics are simple extensions of that strident, perspective-less tone from both left and right.
 
Some are funnier than others, and that I do appreciate.  Some writers are smarter than others and those are more easily spotted.
 
But there's got to be something between James Carville and Bill O'Reilly.  I mean something.  Anything.   Comedy Central has tried to parody the crosstalk shows with something called "Crossballs", but it's so contrived and inessential as to be completely dismissible (assuming that's a word).  Plus it misses the point: it's essentially a "gotcha" show where real people fight with actors who they think are real people like them, but really they're just there to offer ridiculous propositions and rejoinders to see how far they can take it.
 
The closest thing to tolerable is "The Daily Show", which I love.  But that show is all about media mockery, when you get down to it, so still, I'm starving.  There's always "Hardball" on MSNBC, but that only works when the host is doing all the interrupting.
 
Just someone, anyone, bust these mouthpieces for their stupid talking points.  And you, blogger, stop repeating those talking points.  There's a difference between facts and information.
 
 
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.9
 
 
Pops

 

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I can broadcast my thoughts
Estimated Days Until Blogger Burnout: 10
 
I have discovered that I have a second magical power.
 
The first is obvious and shared by many.  I can make it rain.
 
It sounds somewhat likely, I know, but every time I pay to have my car washed, it invariably rains within 24 hours.  That or I can make sprinklers bust in such a way that driving through their spray in unavoidable.  You get the idea.
 
The other magical power I have just discovered is that, apparently, I can broadcast the contents of my thoughts.  For some reason, though, my brain waves can only be picked up and interpreted by people in the entertainment industry.  I wonder if it has something to do with my physical proximity to Hollywood.
 
Let me explain: Last year I read The Iliad and The Odyssey.  Next thing you know: Brad Pitt in Troy.   Then I read Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy... and they started shooting the film in April.
 
I started getting suspicious.  But this clinched it:  I just finished (last week) reading Beowulf for the first time.  I know, "Big deal, I read that in like eighth grade".  But... wait for it... it will now be turned into a major Hollywood motion picture.
 
Coincidence is now off the table.  The only logical conclusion can be that I am somehow influencing the decision making processes of people dozens of miles away whom I have never met without even trying.  It's a little scary if I consider it too closely, but I think I can trust myself.  With great power comes great responsibility.
 
That said--and I'm just putting this out there--if anyone has anything they would like to see adapted from page to screen in the near future, please forward your ideas to me and I will sit and think about them until they get green-lit.  Please, no Jane Austen.  It's not that I dislike Austen, I just don't think there are any of her books left to be made into films.
 
Amazing as this is, I can offer no promises.  After all, it took me nearly 15 years to get Lord of the Rings off the ground.
 
But look how well that worked out for everyone.
 
Fingers crossed.
 
 
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.4
 
 
Pops

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Friday, July 16, 2004
 
The 909. 1992-2004
In 1992 the vast 714 area code covering all of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties in southern California was split.  Orange County kept the 714 designation while Riverside and San Bernardino were assigned the new area code 909.   Suddenly this vast, amorphous space with the general, awkward name "Inland Empire" got borders and a point of common reference.
 
We are the 909.
 
Of course it became a source of sniggering derision from OC-ites, suddenly unburdened from any association with us.  Their scorn could flow freely.  (see ref: "Valley of the Dirt People").  That kernel of snobbery hardened when the OC itself split between 714 (north) and 949 (hoity-toity south).  Frankly the more we isolate those people, the better off the rest of us will be.  The funniest thing is how that ridiculous FOX show "The OC" accurately represents how OC people of a certain age acutally are.  In fact, I'd say the show doesn't quite give them the (lack of) credit they deserve.  I invite you to spend a weekend in Newport, the various Lagunas, Irvine, etc.  You'll see what I mean.
 
But now, as of tomorrow (July 17, 2004) the grand shape of the 909 will be obliterated by the imposition of the new area code for Riverside County (where I live), 951.  Too many people have moved here in too short a time (many, many OC refugees) to keep enough phone numbers available.
 
Let the identity crisis begin.  It's a fascinating anthropological point how something as ethereal as an area code can crystallize a community, but it's a fact of the cell-phone era, especially as the codes cover less and less actual area.
 
Now inevitably we will see ourselves as separate from our former cohorts in San Bernardino County.  And I'm not entirely happy with the new number.  Not only is it less lovely and symmetrical than 909, but it lacks that simply, palindromic structure that makes it so pleasing on the eye and to the ear.
 
951.  I guess I'll get used to it.
 
But the good news is that now we can make fun of those white trash slobs in the 909.  Hey look!  Another meth lab exploded!  Enjoy the NASCAR race, you rednecks!  Wahahahahaha!
 
Riverside County.  This is how we do things in the RC, bitch!
 
Free!  Freeeeee!
 
 
 
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.6
 
 
 
Pops



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Thursday, July 15, 2004
 
Inadvertent Motivation
Estimated Days Until Blogger Burnout: 11
 
OK, first of all, I just got here.  Now Blogger has gotten all fancy on me and added a bunch of toolbar stuff that is frankly freaking me out.  I don't do well with too many options.
 
Second, well, I suppose I should point something out.  The inevitable has happened.  This blog has had a... I'm ashamed to say it as it brings me dangerously close to sincerity... a positive effect on me.
 
Writing stuff again (here, I mean) prompted me to go rummaging through my old stores of short stories and other assorted writings.  I was quite impressed with myself, I must say.  Although, less obviously impressed than the literary magazine editorial staffs that had rejected every single one of those stories, often more than once.
 
Anyway, my great achievement was a small step; outright success mitigated by the bleedover of the overwhelming inertia of a long period of creative stagnation (read that: laziness) into my otherwise bold and decisive action.
 
Today, I made a submission to a literary magazine.
 
Of course, with my desktop monitor all busted up and junk, I couldn't check my old Submissions Log (it's just an Excel spreadsheet folks), so for all I know I've already sent that story to that particular magazine and had it rejected, but ah well.  They can have the privilege of rejecting it twice.
 
The lazy part is that I submitted it to the only litmag I could find that accepted e-mail submissions.  Look, manuscript envelopes are large and postage can add up on you fast, all right?  And in my defense, most of the litmags I was looking at are affiliated with universities and thus shut down until September, so get off my case already.
 
Of course since they do accept e-submissions, I know they get deluged with manuscripts, so I don't have alot of hope.  The story is good in parts, but is overall somewhat uneven.  That said, it is my best work, so it always stings a little bit when it gets rejected.  But it's $500 if it gets accepted...
 
Turns out I enjoy writing.  Who knew?
 
Currently reading Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett (my 19th Pratchett book!  Lawks...).  On deck: The Brothers Karamazov.  Dostoyevsky.  Eight hundred thousand pages with (apparently) NO PARAGRAPH BREAKS.  It's a race to see if I can get it read in less time it took ol' Fyodor to write it.  My money's on the Russian.
 
All this for the sake of bettering myself.
 
 
Today's post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.8 (it actually could have been worse)
 
 
Pops



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Wednesday, July 14, 2004
 
Might as well get it out of my system
Estimated Days Until Blogger Burnout: 5


Now that my readership has more than doubled over the last few days, I feel obligated to continue. And I'm resigned to the fact that the frequency of postings will continue at this pace for the foreseeable future. Part of it is frustrated-writer-itis and the other part is too-much-time-on-my-hands-anoma. The downside is that too much posting will inevitably hasten my looming burnout, but there's nothing for it. Here we go.

It's been brought to my attention that this blog falls into a "category". Naturally, this makes me uncomfortable as I prefer to be dark, mysterious and uncatergorizable. That last one probably isn't a word, I know, but I think it conveys the right meaning (which is, evidently, what words are supposed to do anyway).

I don't want this to be all about "what blogs are like" and such, but you're just going to have to bear with me as I sort this new thing out. After a while, I promise I will settle into long, droning personal stories told from a point of view and a context that no one outside of my immediate family could possible comprehend. It'll be good times.

But for now...

In analyzing my blog-viewing habits, I find that I am mostly attracted to reading the blogs of college-age people. This is mostly because a) there is no subset of human beings more boring than high schoolers (myself included, at the time) and b) college people tend to be smart.

This last observation seems rather obvious, but I don't mean that in the elitist way it might be taken. In fact, I have a theory about intelligence and I will use myself as an example.

The theory is that, while native intelligence is important, really we're only as smart as the people we surround ourselves with. To wit--

High school: stay low, don't get noticed, escape alive = stupid me.

College: say something smart to other smart people, get better grades than your friends in your major = smart me.

Grad school: don't get run over by the Intellectual Steamroller = me at near genius level.

Now: Six years after grad school, my MA on the wall while I stay home raising my kids. No conversations with anyone over 3'6" for the last 5+ years (except my wife, but we almost exclusively talk about the kids) = me gibbering idiot. I sweart to God I don't understand any of the papers I wrote in graduate school, let alone the books I was reading. I'm almost positive I'd get more out of a Foucault book by eating it than reading it at this point.

Of course my wife works for an semiconductor company doing complicated electrical engineering and programming work surrounded by similarly engaged people, so she has to speak very slowly to me. The trade off (I hope) is that my kids will turn out better than they would have with day care, but then I think "Well, at least there they would have learned Spanish."

So look out, college bloggers, I'm coming for you and your supple young minds. I think at 30 there's still hope for me, however slim.


This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.3 (hovering steadily)


Pops

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Existential angst (or Fear and Trembling)
Estimated Days Until Blogger Burnout: 1 (it's hero time, people)


This is it. First let me say how completely I am impressed with myself for being able to post the above link in so fancy a fashion. I've come a long way in these... however many days it's been since I started this thing.

But the damage has been done. I will say with some grudging respect that it is worth it to look at the above linked blog. But only if you can take on more sardonic self-critical commentary than what you have been subjected to here. The very short "I look like a sexy bitch today" post is quite funny.

Of course now when I say "you", I don't mean anyone in particular. Before when I had zero comments and no eyeballs on this thing, I could write to the fictional, mute throng who were possibly flocking to read this thing. Now I have a number to put on my readership, which is somewhat limiting, to say the least. In fact, it's as limiting as you can get while still talking about positive whole numbers.

So the illusion has been destroyed and my blogger's soul is in crisis. If I drank and was a redneck, I'd be unshaven, in my boxers, half-way through a case of Schlitz typing this out one blurry finger at a time while tears made tracks across my stubbled cheeks.

But as it is, I'm an urbane suburbanite (suburbane? not a word, no) and I tend to take these things in relative stride.

So this probably won't be the last post ever.

But wouldn't it be dramatic if it were?


This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.1


Pops

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Tuesday, July 13, 2004
 
Death of a dream
Estimated Days Until Blogger Burnout: 2 (or maybe 160)


I know I said I wouldn't be making multiple postings per day a habit, but some distressing things have happened to me today that must be shared. OK, perhaps "must" is a little strong, but my the voices in my head are screaming, so it's either this or another murder spree.

First: the monitor on my desktop computer just died. Just died, for no apparent reason. It made this sound like crumpling aluminum foil, flickered and died. Then I tried to turn it off and on again, just to see, and it made another sound, exactly like the sound a lightbulb makes when it burns out. Like "suuuurgePOP!" And then black.

All the warning signs were there. It wasn't eating, violent mood swings, becoming more and more withdrawn from me, even from its friends. I just assumed it was pregnant.

Let this be a lesson to all you monitor owners out there.

So how is Pops writing this if the monitor is busted? Touch-typing, baby.

No seriously, I have a laptop. Mrs. Pops has a very nice job.

So no fancy video games for Pops as the laptop can't quite handle the same load. This leaves me at the mercy of you, my legion of faithful reader(s).

Which brings me to thing #2: I have failed utterly. And I have no one to blame but myself.

See, in the course of my investigation into blogs and blogger culture, I was snooping through other people's similarly ignored blogs when I came across one called JennaTheGreat. Being a fan of both arrogance and irony, I decided to check it out. Most of the ones with promising names that I'd checked out turned out to be transvestite porn. I swear to God, I had no idea. It's just freakin' everywhere, apparently.

Anyway, this Jenna person writes on her blog a post about how only some guy called Erick (that's how she spelled it, people... talk to his parents if you must) read her blog. So I, being myself, replied "Yes, only Erick reads this" and went on my merry way, thinking nothing of it.

Well, funny story: turns out it leaves your NAME when you post. Somehow this resourceful little minx tracked me down and READ MY BLOG. Not only that, she POSTED SOMETHING.

It's like being stabbed in the heart with an icicle. The worst part is, now I have to think of a WHOLE 'NOTHER REASON for the existence of this blog. Mission statements suck.

But as I said, I have no one to blame but myself.

And I would post a link to Jenna's blog, but I have no idea how to post links, nor do I know how to find it again. Sorry.


This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.5


Pops

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Is it really this bad?
Estimated Days Until Blog Burnout: 3 (getting suddenly very close)

I've officially reached a third level of observation about my fledgling blog: it's boring. Visually I mean, wise-guy. I'm suddenly overcome with a sense of cheesy shallowness after seeing the lengths and extent to which people go to make their blogs a cheery (or at least tolerable) place to visit. My blog, on the other hand is a cookie-cutter, the AOL of blogs. If I were looking for a blog to read, I wouldn't read this one. The pre-fab nature of it is depressing and disheartening, hence the staggering drop-off in the EDUBB index above.

It's uninspiring to say the least.

Plus I'm posting too much. It's like suddenly discovering I like kiwi fruit and then eating kiwi fruit breakfast lunch and dinner for a week. This is one side of burnout, or so I've been reading. The other side of it is when your blog becomes so popular that you can't keep up with the public pressure and follow all the comments and demands on your time. Luckily I am in no danger of that.

In fact, I'm so clueless about how this thing works, I'm not entirely certain that this is available publically. The Blogger people seem satisified that it is, but I have no way of really verifying it. The problem is that if I could confirm it, I would fail at my stated goal to never have this blog read by a single other person. But that goal is no fun if that isn't at least a possibility and that requires some level of visibility.

Hoo boy, we're going to be off the charts today as we move along into...

[Slight change. I've renamed the Narcissism Scale to the Narcissus Scale, after the mythological figure from which the former is taken. It's just classier.]

Today's Post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.9 (angst abound)


Pops

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Monday, July 12, 2004
 
My God, you people
Never thought I'd be posting multiple posts in a day (I chalk it up to the zeal of novelty) but I have to say something.

In the course of my research into blogs and the blogger culture, I have thus far identified a few categories into which blogs fall:

1. Teenage girl angst. "I have a crush on XXX but he doesn't know... I am a terrible person... what am I supposed to be?... Mom won't let me be myself... Still a terrible person... All my friends secretly hate me... etc."

2. Amateur political commentary. Daft, most of it. Either "George Bush Is Satan" or "Liberals Hate America." Just because one of them is actually true (probably will become clear the more I write) doesn't mean we all want to hear you reiterate the talking points people more informed than you made on your favorite 24-hour news channel.

3. Wise-guy column-type stuff from frustrated writer types. These ones are really really good.

4. Porn.

Why is it everywhere on the Internet, no matter what the iteration, porn always crops up? Are the porn people afraid we will forget? It's like a tidal wave of sewage none of us can escape.

Overall, there just seems to be alot of anxiousness and discomfort out there that people for some reason feel compelled to write about. Like a global, simultaneous episode of Jerry Springer. It's fascinating in some ways and I'm sure there's some broader sociological point to me made about the whole thing, but frankly, that's out of my depth. I'm not even sure I have a depth, sociologically speaking.



Pops


~and for future reference, I'll save the number indeces for the first post of the day if this multiple posting thing becomes a habit (which I seriously doubt). Mostly I just can't be bothered to stick to my own format.

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Reason for Being
Estimated Days Until Blog Burnout: 30 (climing?)


So in an effort to be conscientious about this whole blog thing, I decided I would go and nose around through some other people's blogs.

This was a very strange experience. Since my feelings about blogging in re self-importance, it seemed almost paradoxical. I mean, to take an activity as self-referential as blogging into the domain of OTHER people's repetitive and inane bullshit very nearly does not compute at all. This is supposed to be about me, after all, and here I am reading other people's stuff about them. I was troubled.

But amongst the clouds and fog, a ray of light: people actually use these things for USEFUL purposes sometimes. For instance, I noted several people using their blog as a writing log, both to publish things they wrote (largely lame) and/or to chart the progess of things they were working on as a means of self motivation.

Wow.

Still all hubris and me-centered, sure, but could it be possible that there is a way to make this thing cross reference into another part of one's life that is not entirely disposable? I am curious. Intrigued. My interest is piqued. Unless it's "peaked", but I think it's "piqued". Can't be sure and can't be arsed to go find a dictionary.

I forgot to warn you that I am given to fits of pretension that mostly manifest themselves in the form of English slang.

Anyway, I am embarrassed to admit this but Pops fancies himself as something of a writer. But seeing as I am a Pops, I have three little kids, with whom I spend a vast majority of my time while Mrs. Pops earns us a living out there in the real world. As a result, Pops has a built-in excuse for being "too tired" to write (being a housewife and all). But now I see how people use this thing to goad themselves forward. It's shocking, really.

I used to write poetry like crazy. But since I left college, it just seems like a silly thing to do. I tried short stories and I still like the format, but I can never figure out how to end the damn things. I have been working on something novel-length, but I've been stuck at 60,000 words or so for a good long time now. Plus it's not very good. But the idea is to get the first one out of the way so I can get on with a decent one once I get all the crap ideas out of my system.

I know I'm not fooling anyone, least of all myself. I don't think I'll be suddenly writing on the pace I was back when I only had one little sprog to chase around, but it's good to know it's there. Just one more motivational technique for me to ignore. Now back to FIFA 2004 on my desktop here.


Today's Post on the Narcissism Scale: 4.7 (I did mention other people after all)



Pops

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Sunday, July 11, 2004
 
Sea-legs
Estimated Days Until Blog Burnout: 14

Today I am introducing a second index to finish my postings to bookend the Days Until Burnout I have implemented to open them.

The Narcissism Scale.

We know already that personal blogging is simply a diary meant for public consumption. Nothing, really, is more narcissistic than that. It's amazing the heights technology has allowed us as a species to hit. Before you actually had to have something to say before your every thought could be broadcast across the globe. Now all it takes is access to a functioning keyboard. Or perhaps even less than that.

Anyway, the Narcissism Scale works very similar to the Richter Scale, something people in Southern California (not unlike myself) are very familiar with. Instead of movements in the earth's crust, however, we will be measuring the extent to which each individual post reflects nothing of value outside of my own self-involvement and self-importance.

The Range will most likely be from 0 to 10. Zero = gormless innocent, e.g. Forrest Gump. Sorry, I can't actually think of a person in real life who would fit that description. Luckily I have a movie character of sub-normal intelligence to serve as an example of an egoless schlub. And that's most definitely the movie Gump, not the book Gump; I'm not comparing the two nor am I about to launch into some tirade about the divergences from book to screen and how Robert Zemeckis is actually the Anti-Christ or anything (though I do not have evidence that he is NOT in fact the Anti-Christ, it must be said) mostly because I haven't read the goddamn book.

OK, and 10 would be... Donald Trump I guess. Sorry, I can't actually think of a person in real life who fits the description and I have to resort to this so-ridiculous-he-can't-actually-be-a-real-person example.

All right, maybe Paris Hilton.

Or Prince when he went by that symbol thing instead of his actual name.

So, Today's Post on the Narcissism Scale: 9.3.

Sorry.


Pops


PS- I'm sure Trump is actually a lovely person in real life. But seriously, trying to trademark "You're Fired!"? What a tool.

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Saturday, July 10, 2004
 
Step in the nth direction
Estimated Days Until Blog Burnout: 17

The above number was reached scientifically, the process behind which I am not at liberty to say. However, the numbers may change (up or down) defending on a complex set of variables, foremost among which is Personal Laziness.

The good news is that I have settled on a goal for my blog. I thought I should structure it as a "mission statement" but then it occured to me that I have no idea how to spell "occur" in the past tense. Is that even correct in the present tense? If you consider a word--any word--long enough it will soon lose all its meaning.

Anyway, the point of my blog is to not have anyone else read it. Ever.

The downside to this is, of course, if I succeed completely, there will be no one to verify my success. I suppose I will have to live with my sense of self-actualized accomplishment along with crushing, debilitating loneliness. But the latter, at least, I'm well used to by now.

Pops

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Friday, July 09, 2004
 
I have no idea what I'm doing
I feel pressure. I've had a computer for a long time. I've kept up with all the latest "conveniences" the Internet has to offer (e-mail, shopping, newsgroups, etc.) and now I feel pressure to fit myself in to the Active Blogger category.

So here I am. I know nothing about HTML or anything even remotely close to any kind of programming language, so this is as good as this blog will ever look. Sorry.

It's called Pops' Bucket because I am Pops. This is my clever way conveying to readers that I am capable of procreation. That is not an idle boast either. It's been well proven.

The Bucket part refers to the fact that I intend to use this space as a catch-all. I cannot guarantee that the things you find in this bucket will be appetizing, useful or even remotely interesting. But then blogging is all about self-indulgence, isn't it?

It's "Look at me" for the instant-gratification set. I'd be a hypocrite if I pretended that I wasn't talking about myself as well.

So for the most part, here's what to expect: I am not that intersting. I have kids with whom I stay home five days a week while my wife works. I read alot. I can spell reasonably well. Do I have opinions about anything? I guess that remains to be seen, at least in this forum.

If you are looking for blogs with lots of dishy gossip or deep personal revelation or graphic retellings of wild, swinging nights, this is not the place for you.

In fact, I apologize if you found this blog while searching for something interesting to read. Google made me set it up. I felt the pressure and I completely and totally caved.

Pops

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