Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Burpee fails Heronswood

If you aren't a gardening junkie, the name "Heronswood" probably means nothing to you, but this Northwestern nursery is legendary and has probably done more to bring new species into popular cultivation than any other. The founders, Daniel J. Hinkley and Robert Jones started the nursury about twenty years ago and would travel the world collecting exotic plants to bring back and try out for gardening in the Northwest. The varieties they collected are amazing and their catalog was both beautiful and interesting, with their amusing descriptions of the different plants.

And now all that is shot to hell.

Thanks a lot, burpee. True, the burpee folks are being better than they could have been, but what did they do in this short time that took a successful company which they wanted to buy to turn it into a money drain? Don't suddenly say that it just won't make money. It did and now it is being uprooted and pulled apart. Just please, please let someone who can really take care of it buy those grounds and prevent further harm (Martha Stewart?).

I get annoyed with big companies that take over smaller successes and then take a successful formula and kill it by inflating it and then suddenly saying it couldn't work. No, it could have worked, it used to work, you just did it wrong and rather than try to adapt it, the movable stock is just swallowed into the larger company and the rest sort of cast off.

Whatever, I find this really depressing. Heronswood was this sort of mythical paradise kind of business. Its whole concept always appealed to me on so many levels and struck me as beautiful and inspirational that something like it could still exist in this crazy modern corporate world. Well, I guess it couldn't, but it was nice to believe in while it did. Thanks so much, Burpee. This is more than a business failure. I need to quit thinking about this.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Shut yo' mouth and say it ain't so!

So I'll try to lay off on the tv commentary for a little while, having watched an amazing final episode of America's Next Top Model last night. (spoiler alert for those of you in say, China, who download the show and watch it later).

Anyway, I'm not hating Tyra anymore, and though the producer influence and over editing for dramatic effect gets annoying, this one episode was finally cathartic and made up for all the hell that the other episodes were to watch. They crammed everything that we've been wanting to see all along: Jade getting ditched and Danielle winning. All is at peace with the world today.

A couple of final notes on these girls before we let them fade from our memory (which doesn't truely happen; I'll still get a text message from a friend if they see one of the girls from the second season walking down the street):

I may have hated Jade all along (it's easy to do, she's THAT girl), but last night my heart went out to her just a little bit. Why? The girl can't read. She couldn't learn her lines, she couldn't read the cue cards. She can't read. And all of a sudden, it all made sense. She was that kid from the very special episode of any given 80's sitcom who was new at the school and instantly popular because he acted over confident and cool and he teased and manipulated the dorky shy kid into writing his bookreport for him. And you hate him the whole show because he's taking advantage of this likable guy, until you learn that, you guessed it, he can't read and has always gotten by on his social skills and hidden this deep shame from everyone. Either he's undiagnosed dyslexic or a military kid who moved around so much he never really learned to read and then got good at faking it until it was too late to learn without being embarassed. So invariably the nice kid helps him learn to read, starting with _The little engine that could_.

anyways, point being, Jade can't read and her overcompensating attitude suddenly makes sense. Somebody get that girl in an adult education class and help her out. I hated her on the show, but I ain't no straight up hater. I wish her well.

And I've decided that perhaps the best reason for liking her is finally figuring out who she has really been all along: Lady Elaine Fairchild!

Which, of course, makes Joanie Ana Platypus and Danielle Henrietta Pussycat.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

tiara girls vs. my super sweet sixteen: which one is the worst thing in the history of television?

I've been writing perhaps too much about tv, particularly since I sit in front of a tv all of once a week (not counting watching cartoon network at Rbar on tuesday nights; speaking of, who was the asshole who put saved by the bell in their adult swim line up? Love adult swim, hate saved by the bell. It isn't even a fucking cartoon!!! So what that it came on on saturday mornings? If you want a live-actor saturday morning show to feed us at midnight, go with Peewee's Playhouse.). But what the hell...

Anyway, I'm not currently hating Tyra as much. Still love the show, but can somebody tell her that being overly sincere comes across as fake and contrived. Still, I'm not going to hate on her talking about the tsunami damage that wracked Phuket. I'm always a fan of bearing witness, even when it comes across as a little made-for-tv. Who doesn't like a "very special" episode?

Danielle and Joanie are still rocking my world, jade is still annoying beyond belief. Joanie has been losing it and getting nervous and retarded just a little bit, but still like the girl.

Wait, I do want to bitch for a minute about Tyra. Danielle has rocked this whole competition. She checked out of a hospital early to go model on top of an elephant shortly after having her uterus smashed flat while upside down in a fishnet and still hasn't managed to take a bad photo. So what criticism do they come up with week after week? She can't talk well enough. Girl has a country southern accent and it is one of the things which makes her so likable. So it is great to offer the advice that being able to better turn off her accent might make her more marketable, but where the hell is she supposed to get a speech coach while in the competition? And honestly, if she didn't lose her accent and won, I would watch next season just to see her on those obnoxious CoverGirl commercials. She may have an accent, but she can speak better than Naima or Nicole. Or Eva for that matter. Naima was just annoying and ain't pretty to look at and watching Nicole is like watching a bad ventriloquism act. Danielle at least has a believable range of facial expressions other than big dumb fake smile and the fake wow look that those girls seem to be working with.

But perhaps I am not hating Tyra so much because for however self-important and annoying she can be, you can at least believe somewhere deep down that her heart is in the right place and the show isn't only a vanity project and I've had the unfortunate luck to contrast this with the horror that is _my super sweet sixteen_ and _tiara girls_. Thankfully last night, when Charlene stole the remote and turned it to sss, it was a rerun. I wasn't about to sit through another episode, but the danger having passed, I stuck around for the Chapelle Show (excellent) and South Park (also excellent). Were I a nicer person, I would just write about how much I love both of them and leave sss and tg along, but whatev'.

So anyway, those came and went, and to my horror our lovely host uttered the most dreaded words in the english language,"Hey, change the channel; there is a new episode of tiara girls at 10!" I begged and pleaded, but to no avail, so I made my exit to go drink with Matt at Rbar, but not before ingesting some of this crap. These shows are basically just documentation of spoiling or abusing children. Last night, the girl wasn't super great herself, but as I've said before, no matter how much I can hate a child, I can always hate their parents more. And boy could you hate these parents. Really, next to them, the girl was almost charming and nice (and she wasn't either). Both parents. The mom was an atrocious bitch who shoveled her insecurities on her daughter and attacked her daughter's appearance to build herself up. The dad wasn't much better. Total closet fag (feel free to stay there if that's how you treat your daughter) married to this ex-beauty queen and treating his daughter like some failure for not looking like a bean pole.

Note to parents everywhere: if your lazy ass went out and bought a pepperoni pizza to feed your family for dinner, don't look across that pile of grease you chose to feed your offspring with and belittle them for not being skinny enough. The kids generally don't go out and buy the groceries. Feeding your kids pizza and donuts then attacking them for their weight has to count as child abuse and I don't mean that rhetorically. Sombody call child services.

Anyway, i can't say a whole lot more about what happened on the show. After watching the reluctant girl get collagen injections at her monste...I mean mother's behest, I jetted. Having had my faith in humanity smashed flat as Danielle's uterus and knowing there was beer waiting for me a couple of blocks away, I said my good-byes and a little prayer that the show's creator would trip and be impaled on a tiara.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Kung Fu Monkey is my new best friend forever...

Taking a brief swing through Kung Fu Monkey's neighborhood, I looked at this post,
"For my Untergeek friends ...", and the quality of my life sailed through the ceiling. For a happy-go-lucky kid who spends much of his life chained to a computer, mindlessly pecking away and trying to make sense out of gibberish which may or may not be in English and as likely as not is in indeciferable chicken-scratch on rotten old paper, having a new wellspring of good music to guide me through my day and make my life better is the best gift imaginable.

This box of Pandora was meant to be opened. You give them a song or artist you like and they give you music that is similar. When I got from Magnetic Fields to the Pogues "tuesday morning," I knew I was in love. I feel better about the world than I did 15 minutes ago.

Back to work with a smile on my face...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"We're the decider."

just noticed over at Eschaton, Atrios has a post titled "We're the Decider." Now, I haven't read the whole post, don't have time at the moment, but the title caught my rapidly skimming eye.

Such a simple phrase and turn about of the preznit's idiot words could be an effective and fun ralling cry as we approach the coming election. Also, using it in the context of a congressional election would serve as a gentle reminder that no matter how the repubs try to distance themselves from the imperial monkey in charge, they have been his do-boys for the last few years with out the least little yelp. Just filing this away to remember as our turn as deciders comes closer.

Friday, May 05, 2006

laying low in a tropical hideout

Uh, holy shit is all I can say. I'm listening to Islands new cd, _Return to the Sea_. I liked the Unicorns and was sad to hear they weren't unicorning anymore, but damn if you are going to ditch a good band to work on a new band, this is how to do it.

Went with Mason and K to see them perform a couple of weeks ago and the show was out of control amazing. Really, really that whole other level of performance that you won't ever forget.

Today I've been listening to them on my headphones and over and over I keep feeling wowed by them. The way they build an atmosphere and take you all over the place with these crazy sounds.
If you have never heard them beforego to their myspace page and listen to their music. And if they are coming to your town anytime soon, get a friggin' ticket. Sell you body if you have to, but get that ticket. Islands, you can't come back to New York soon enough.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

No matter how much I can hate a child...

...I can always hate their parents more.

This was an epiphany that came to me as this horrid group of families got on the subway one afternoon and these spoiled little shits kept whining incessantly and basically acting horrible. I found myself giving this child my meanest angry-school-marm look and wishing just for a second to catch one of the little brats' eyes so that the venomous glance would not be wasted on the back of his head. Then I remembered that he wasn't riding alone, not acting a fool in front of a bunch of strangers with no one there who knew him or could appropriately discipline him; he was with his parents. His lazy, obnoxious parents who were shaping this awful child to be an awful adult.

Now I take no crap off of kids and have no illusions about their naturally sweet angelic little souls. They are often wretched little beasts and are all chemically imbalanced ignoramouses who need boundaries and encouragement from adults in their life. But by and large, I like kids. I've spent a significant portion of my adult life working with kids and enjoy much of it, but man there are some awful parents out there and please don't get me started on the education department or foster care programs or juvenile detention stuff.

Anyway, I thought of this again when Coach Carter inexplicably picked up the bad habit of changing the channel after America's Next Top Model to MTV to watch Super Sweet Sixteen (sss). sss is horrible to watch and whoever created it should be ashamed of their life. If you haven't seen it, the concept is that you take nouveau rich trailer (not necessarily white) trash and film them throwing a sweet [sic] sixteen party for their wretched offspring so we can watch their spoiled kid act like an asshole on tv and all their friends act like desperate retards while all the adults run around with their heads up their asses.

This isn't some Southern coming-out ball, where a young lady is presented to society. Instead we get a few parents with money and no manners or class standing around in a sea of children who mistakenly think cleavage = maturity. It is a celebration of excess, pointless excess, trashy excess. It isn't that someone couldn't throw their daughter a sweet sixteen party that was the event fo the season and it could even be good television, but this show basically is just a prolonged episode of the jerry springer show, just without any life lesson at the end. How not to dress, how not to act, how not to treat others.

But again, through it all, I found myself being reminded that no matter how much you can hate the children (and believe me, you can), you can always hate the parents more. Anyparent who gives in to their children's whims and whining like that needs to be reminded and know that when they are dealing with those tantrums and fits and pulling their hair out: you made this little monster; you have the child you deserve.

Almost as bad, after it comes Tiara girls. Having begged for the channel to be changed through sss, I stayed for maybe ten minutes of tg and went in search of a drink. If I wanted to listen to evil, self-absorbed Southern women backstab each other and talk smack with their trailer-park sqwawks, I would have stayed in AL. There were plenty of that kind of beast down there and I avoid them like the plague. One thing that I did walk away from the shows feeling absolutely certain of was that going to a bar and drinking was a far healthier and more productive activity than watching either show. For a moment, the nagging voice in the back of my head that constantly reminds of future plans and possiblities and questions the productivity and usefulness of my every action shut up for the evening. Having seen what some other people do with their lives, what other people work to put on televisions, I could go sit and enjoy a beer, satisfied in my certitude that no matter what I do, what crimes I may commit in the future or have in the past, I'm never going to do that. I don't relish others falling short or the pain which some folks find themselves living in, but for a brief moment I let myself relax and be happy I was not like that, that my parents hadn't been like that, that if I ever have children they won't be like that.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

back to imposing consequences...

Juan Cole has a lovely smackdown of christopher hitchens. I like a good smacking of smarmy asshole so the post is fun just in watching hitchens being spanked and sent to stand in the corner, but it also leaps into a declaration of how we ain't gonna go to war with Iran.

I agree, but how's we ain't gonna do it? The assertion that we'll have to have a draft to do it seems reasonable enough, but were reasonable assumptions enough to keep up from making military mistakes, we never would have gone into Iraq. There is much to be said for the tactic of provoke or fabricate a threat and then force the hand after you have already started the conflict. It works amazingly well with excitable siblings and it seems to amount to much of bush's foreign policy. You poke and poke and poke and threaten until you can get a reaction, then use that as an excuse to fight back (or with Iraq, having failed to get the necessary reaction, 'retaliate' anyway and pretend that it was self-defense all along, batting your doey eyes at your maleable parents/constiuents, harvesting their initial sympathy and later coaxing them to contort logic to defend their original endorsement). Having folks currently less enamoured with the idea of going and beating some new brown folks up ("what's wrong with the ones we're already knocking around?") is no guarantee that the pres and his won't squeeze out just enough support or leeway to do something which makes the conflict inevitable and not on our terms.

So you ask,"What can I do? What leverage do I have with the folks making decisions?" If you are an average person like me, only so much, but you can wield what little you do have like a petulant tyrant if you want, and in cases like this, I certainly do.

Now one can complain about Iran all they want and have most of the complaints be perfectly legitimate. Their government... not so pretty, but they aren't launching any strikes on American soil anytime soon. They currently aren't a direct threat and they won't be unless we send folks over there for them to kill and give them new reasons to be vindictive with the oil supply. This being said, there aren't good reasons for invading Iran that aren't also true of a dozen other coutries around the world (if one more person points out to me that they've been hanging gay people for being gay, i'm going to scream. What? They kill gay people just like republican leaders say they wish they could and I am supposed to find them a particularly new and dispicable threat? Honey, down in my beloved AL they set your faggot ass on fire.). The point being that taking the position that we shouldn't invade Iran can be made with strength and fortitude which one might not have on other subjects. Again, not because Iran is rosy and I necessarily believe that there aren't humanitarian reasons for military intervention in some situations, but we know 1)this administration can't do anything competently 2)invading Iran would only make us less secure 3)we don't have the resources to spare on such an undertaking right now.

So again I must what little influence I wield and say with absolute certainty, that I will argue with and call whomever an idiot who calls for an invasion in Iran up and to the inexplicable point that such a military interaction occurs. After that, anyone who supported it on the front end ceases to be a person I will speak to. Period. Such is the threat for aquaintances, which isn't much of a threat since I don't generally surround myself with small-dick hawkish assholes. But for public officials, I expand my scorn and ANY public official who promotes invading Iran will not get my vote in whatever election is next. I will aggressively campaign against them and promote their opponent. I don't care if they are democrat or what the hell, and I normally shy away from litmus voting but being sick of useless wars and such and dumb folks following and enabling the folly of morons, I think this is one I am fine being rigid about. So yeah, they are still in the fishing and groundwork building stage of demonizing Iran and making them scary and aren't at the overt attack stage yet, but we've seen this song and dance before and anyone who wants to dance along can say goodbye to my political support from now until eternity.

My consequences are limited to one person and my readership is small, so I have no delusions of granduer as a political mover and shaker, but I can do what I can do and I will.