Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Why Are You Here?

Hi. Welcome to the archive of the old AOL Journal The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind. Please, look around, admire the drapes, raid the fridge, but be aware that not much really goes on around here.

However, if you're looking for fun (and a much more active blog), please go here:

The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind on Blogger.

Enjoy, and if you're looking for something specific, leave a comment here with your email, and I'll try to find it for you.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Casting my bean...

So, who am I voting for?


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/08/2008 12:01:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Whopsie...

Oh, Sarah...

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah...

You hypocritical little minx.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/07/2008 07:52:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Fiddle, and things go bang!

Testing… Testing… Testing…

Don’t worry. I’m not breaking things (again!). I’m just trying to see how difficult it is to move things from Microsoft Word into Blogger. Normally, the formatting gets all sorts of borked and wonked, and, inevitably, I wind up just giving up on the damn thing with a heavy sigh and a sharp smack of the delete button.

However, earlier today, a brick named Epiphany hit me square in the forehead, and I realized two things:

First, bricks with names hurt twice as badly as their anonymous brethren. And, second, since I use Thunderbird as an email program, I have this luxury of being able to paste without formatting, and, theoretically, I should be able to just slap this in there sans formats, then copy and paste it into the claustrophobic confines of the Blogger entry box.

So, you know, keep those fingers crossed.

Of course, that’s kind of impossible since if it does work, that whole crossing-fingers thing will be late and really unnecessary. And, if it doesn’t work, well, you’re not going to see the entry on here. But, you know, at least I'm thinking about you and your fingers, so that should count for something, right?

Anyway, it’s heading toward three in the freakin’ morning, and after a day spent writing and writing and writing, I am chugged out and near the point of drooling (oops. Just passed the drooling point. Damn flimsy water bottles!). So, perhaps after I crash, and when I am wrestling with that morning mug of sinister sludge I foolishly refer to as coffee, I’ll try to scribble a bit more of an explanation as to why I am so squeaked out to be able to move from Word to Blogger (yeah. I know there’s a plug-in, but it doesn’t work with New Blogger).


P.S. So far, things seem to be working.

Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/07/2008 01:31:00 AM

Monday, October 6, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Test

Well now… Consider this a test.

No. There’s nothing important here. I’m just fiddling… always fiddling.

Eventually, I have a feeling that things are going to explode in my face and make a big, huge mess.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/07/2008 12:46:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Ouch!

With most of the world's economies plummeting toward some sort of financial armageddon, I figured today's picture should represent what the victims of this crisis will inevitably be feeling crammed into one orifice or another. If you're an American reading this, I think it would be best to shut your eyes very tightly, get a pencil or some other bite stick to put in your mouth, bend over, and try, try, try to go to your Happy Placeâ„¢.

Other than that, my Monday is actually not half bad. The Humira seems to have worked, and whatever lingering aches and pains I am feeling can be handled with a simple dose of Advil and a heating pad wrapped around my ankle.

Unfortunately, I am currently engaged in a little battle between my feet and Acacia as she really, really wants to sleep on the heating pad. I've conceded a small corner which is currently baking the top of her head as she has worked herself into a little, fluffy ball and twisted her neck to near snapping to get to this really hot spot. Of course, I know that the second I move, I will lose my heating pad as she will sprawl out and let herself fry to the point of filling the house with the scent of burning fur.

Ah well... Enjoy the cactus.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/06/2008 12:13:00 PM

Sunday, October 5, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Only in America...


Only in America could someone so blisteringly rock-stupid be seen as qualified to assume the office of the Vice President (and, potentially President).

This video is 30 seconds of Sarah Palin chirping out her typical gibberish during the debates --a debate in which, rather than stay on topic, follow the format, or even answer with a single salient fact, she rambled off into the hills and hollers where people want their leaders to be just like them (i.e. dumb as a stump).

I swear, if I see a TV show called Ow! My Balls! I'm putting a gun in my mouth, and I'll eat a bullet (and for those of you who haven't seen the movie Idiocracy, I'm sorry, but that joke probably sailed right past you).

The potatohead vote got Bush elected twice, and America has done nothing but suffer since. Yet, here we are again. McCain, who doesn't even seem to be all there these days anyway, brought this yokel on board to court those who, for some reason, seem to think that the dumber a person is, the more he or she should be president.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/06/2008 12:04:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] At the close of an enjoyable, lazy day...

First, the picture...

It should be noted that, inside the house, Acacia (DeafCat) and Harding (DogCat) are pretty tolerant of one another. Actually, Harding is the tolerant one, and Acacia is the one who likes to set boundaries and torment Harding. If he comes in the basement to join me in my man cave and sit on my lap to get his fat head scratched, she will take a position at the top of the stairs, and once the scratchfest is finished, Harding will not go up the stairs unless I am there to chaperone him.

Still, they're pretty good together, and they'll both hangout in the neutral zone of the kitchen floor together when one of them is hungry. Sometimes, inside the house, they even play. Of course, with Harding being the size that he is (very big), and Acacia being the size that she is (very small), those little playful brawls usually end with her being swatted and sent tumbling across the floor.

Now, that being said, when they get outside, Acacia goes into full-blown bitch mode, and she treats Harding as though she doesn't even know him. She will hiss and growl and make any number of feeble kitty protests at this black and white blob of fur wandering around HER GODDAMN YARD! And, of course, Harding is just flat-out confused.

So, what you see here is, by all definitions, a stand off. And, of course, it's funny as hell.

In the confrontation you see here, for me to settle it, I had to actually go and pick up the furry lummox, Harding, and carry him past Acacia to the back door. Once there, they both trotted into the house, had a little bite, and then started chasing one another up and down the stairs in a mad moment of kitty fun.

Yeah. It's weird, but I gave up trying to figure out the lives of cats a long, long time ago.

Aside from that, I've decided to stop with the DogCat/DeafCat stuff. I think I've gotten bored with it, but it may spring up from time to time. The thing is, I didn't name either of these cats (and I sure as hell would never name anything "Acacia"), but in some weird way, those names do actually fit. Acacia fits about as well as anything named Acacia could, I suppose. But, the name Harding?

That fits him perfectly. Seriously, when I hear that name, I just think of a sort of lumbering oaf who just seems to move about as slow as possible, and let's face it, if my cat Harding had a soundtrack, it would include a lot of slow and lilting tuba solos.

And now for the public service announcement part of today's entry:

In the comments on this entry I made last Thursday, Dawn asks:
Can you try plaquenil like I did? It really helped some...
Now, normally, I'd answer in an email, but considering the gravitas of the answer, and the fact that I know I'm not the only one in the world suffering with the disease I've got, I figure it's best to just slap this tidbit of information up here in the hopes that it may actually save someone a hell of a lot of trouble.

The quick answer, Dawn, is no. I can't try Plaquenil.

And now, the why:

Plaquenil does very, very, very bad things to people with psoriasis. There have been many cases where Plaquenil has caused a flare-up in psoriasis so violent and extensive that the patient had to be placed in a medically induced coma for a good, long while in order to get a handle on it and keep the patient's heart from giving out as a result of that insane level of inflammation.

Seriously. Anything with even the slightest hint of quinine can make things flare up. For example, if I drink a gin and tonic or two, the next day I can expect things to be kind of uncomfortable as I wind up with some burning, itching spots here and there. And, that's from just a smidge of tonic water since, let's face it, when it comes to gin, I am a big fan of the long pour. I can't imagine the shape I'd be in if I chugged a bottle of tonic water.

The scary thing is that some folks, like me, develop arthritis before they wind up with the miserable skin lesions. And, most of the time, that arthritis is misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis. One of the favored treatments of RA is.... anyone?

Yep. Plaquenil.

So, for all you psoriasis sufferers out there, do yourselves a favor and keep a note just in case some out-of-touchdoctor tries to prescribe Plaquenil to you. I've had several try, but most are reasonably current. Still, you should be careful.

Anyway, other than that, I hope all your weekends rocked. Did anyone do anything fun?


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/05/2008 10:11:00 PM

Saturday, October 4, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Ooo... Bathtubby.

Now, I've done tilt-shift photography, and it can be really cool and fun and trippy. The thing is, I've seen hundreds and hundreds of tilt-shifted photographs, but I've never seen a tilt-shifted video. At least, not until now:

Bathtub II from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Man... That's just some wild, brain-bending stuff, huh?


P.S. For those of you reading this on AOL, if the video isn't showing up on my Journal there, please stop by my Blogger blog ( to check it out.

Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/05/2008 12:58:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] In the Hole!

I love Jon Stewart. I'd have his baby if that sort of thing were possible. However, since it's not, maybe I'd just wash his car or do the dishes or even clean the hair out of his shower drain. After all, when someone makes you laugh, you tend to overlook those things....

Anyway, here's the Daily Show's explanation of the Bailout Bill (I love the McCain bit).

He's right, you know? It's fucking embarrassing that this $700 billion bailout package that was supposedly vital to keep our entire civilization from collapsing couldn't be passed until they added another $150 billion for shit like this:
Senators attached a provision repealing a 39-cent excise tax on wooden arrows designed for children to an historic $700 billion financial-markets rescue that passed tonight by a vote of 74-25. The provision, originally proposed by Oregon senators Ron Wyden [D] and Gordon Smith [R], will save manufacturers such as Rose City Archery in Myrtle Point, Oregon, about $200,000 a year.

It's one of dozens of tax breaks benefiting Hollywood producers, stock-car racetrack owners and Virgin Islands rum-makers included in the broader legislation in an effort to win support from House Republicans, whose defection contributed to a rejection of an earlier version of the legislation two days ago on a 228-205 vote.
I'm sure this makes sense to someone. Not me. But, I'm sure there are people --let's say firemen-- who when told of people trapped in a burning building --let's say an elementary school-- tell those who are alarmed that, in order for them to rush out and extinguish the fire, they're going to need some nachos first.

Are you embarrassed yet, America?


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/04/2008 03:39:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Motivation.

I found this picture on a discussion thread over at Fark, and I just had to make a motivational poster out of it.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/04/2008 01:51:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Eeeek!

Oh yeah...

It's October, and I'm going to scare you all freakin' month.

Are you scared?


You should be. I mean, for all you know, there's a big, hairy spider, just like this one, crawling up the back of your chair. Or, maybe he's hanging out in your shoes?

One thing that I think it pretty awesome about this spider picture is that, if you look at the center of the spider's head, you can see what looks like The Joker from the old Batman series (or, maybe it's Mr. Heat Miser). You might need to click on the picture and head over to the large or original sizes to check it out. But, that might scare you too much... Yes. I vant to scare you! Ah-ha-ha-haaaa!


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/04/2008 12:14:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Weird... No. Very Weird.

Now, I really don't understand Yoga. I've never really been able to get my mind and body behind it, and if I were to try Yoga, I'm pretty sure I'd invent a new position called "The Screaming Rusty Lawn Chair." There would be a great many creaks and groans and pops and snaps, and it would simply end in tears.

Anyway, I saw this article this morning about how some religious leaders in the United States have taken to squawking their mighty outcry over the notion that teaching Yoga in America's public schools violates the separation clause of the First Amendment.
Two high school teachers began using yoga last year to help students relieve stress before exams.

Special education teacher Martha Duchscherer and Spanish teacher Kerry Perretta also were developing a districtwide program.But those plans were halted after parents and others in the community complained students were being indoctrinated in Hindu rites.

Yes. I know. America's a Christian Nationâ„¢, and if the Christians could somehow exercise without the aid of the Very Large Feline, a large part of America's youth wouldn't be a doughy mob of bloated, obese, couch-surfing slugs.
"People have made it a religious war, and it's not a religious war. We are basically concerned parents, saying we don't want our children participating in something that could cause them more stress and confusion," [ Rev. Colin] Lucid said.
No, Mr. Lucid. You made it a religious war. You are basically a god-botherer who went out looking for something to get all up in arms over, and you found a little exercise class upon which to unleash your jealous apoplectic fear and panic over the notion that another spiritual dog and pony show was moving in on the same turf where you comfortably peddle your snake oil to the masses.

Of course, this all means one very great thing which I'm certain a whole heap of children are going to love: If they can get rid of the benign Yoga in schools, they can also eliminate the far more threatening Middle Eastern mathematical language of Algebra. Trust me. That's confusing our children far more than a little exercise class could ever do, and it could potentially turn them into bomb-toting terrorists.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/04/2008 11:19:00 AM

Friday, October 3, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Another AOL Update...

Hey folks. Someone names Marie popped in to provide what could potentially be an easier way to download and save your journals. Here's what she says:

Marah Marie, at Anti-AOL said ... (October 3, 2008 6:26 PM) :

Just to let you know, I have an entire series of posts about this situation which I'll add to soon to include what you've written. That's here:

Your readers may want to know that my latest post shows AOL users how to use the free BackStreet Browser to download and backup their content from AOL before their sites are shut down.

BackStreet Browser is a free website downloader with a built-in browser for viewing downloaded files and stores your files however you want them stored, in whatever folder and directory structure you need, right there on your own computer. It's flexible, fast, easy to use, and once again, free, saving AOL users from having to download one page at a time with a tradional web browser, or using FTP to grab files, which can be time-consuming and perhaps more difficult. My post about that is here:

Joe Manna also has a downloading method for those AOL users who feel comfortable working from a free command line utility called WGet. His post about that is here:

Any word on how soon the Blogger "app" will be ready? How does AOL plan to let everyone know when it is...or will an announcement be made through Blogger?

If you are interested in backing up your journals, I certainly recommend spinning over to the link Marie provided to give this thing a whirl. From what I gather, the BackStreet browser is wicked fast; however, it may be a little tricky to operate. But, I think Marie provides some excellent instructions on how to use it.

Other than that, I haven't the foggiest idea as to when the application will be rolled out for AOL'ers to use to port their journals over to Blogger. Hopefully soon, though.

Anyway, I'll try to write more later. Right now, it's Friday night. And, it's not that I don't care, but... It's Friday night. Really. You shouldn't even be reading this. Put on your special dress and go dancing!


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/03/2008 07:10:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Opinions.... Yours!

Hi folks.

Now, I kind of like the look and feel of this page, and obviously, that could very well slow down my quest for the new and perfect template. But, you know, that's not important.

What is important is you. You guys are the ones who come to read my mad ramblings, and I would like to make the whole experience as comfortable as possible for you. So, this is the part where I ask you, my readers, what you think of the page.

So, what do you think?

Are there any problems?

One issue that I'm desperately trying to fix is that the title of each post is supposed to be a permanent link, but no matter what I do, it doesn't work. So, that's going to speed up my search for a new template since the damn thing is driving me nuts.

Other than that, though, please share your thoughts. I'm curious, you know?

So, spit it out!


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/03/2008 05:26:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] A Friday in October.

Lines...  Everywhere...  LINES!

It's October.

And, it's Friday.

In some circles, that, I suppose, can be a good thing. In my circles, it's a pain in the ass.

Still, there is a certain undeniable prettiness that springs up in October as apple-cider smells and fireplace smoke drift upon the chilled breezes with the cold snap of a coming winter. For me, my ideal fall is to sit on a comfy couch and stare out at a wavy lake that's on its way to turning solid.

Maybe it's just a desire to ignore the world, and fall and winter give me the perfect excuse to do just that. I guess bad weather is a misanthrope's dream.

Anyway, other than wax pastoral on an October Friday, I've been doing what I can to get those vulnerable things into the heated house. The plants I moved outside to enjoy the summer sun are now showing signs of panic as little warning signs pop up to tell me about an impending frost. And the poor and mighty yucca is just too far from home to handle this Wisconsin weather.

Unfortunately, they're big plants, and lugging them up the stairs and through the house is so hard on the hands and knees that it'll probably take me all afternoon to turn these things from outside plants into houseplants.

Ah well... Enjoy the picture of a pole. It means nothing. However, it's an interesting pole. I've driven my car into it hundreds of times as I use it as a guide when parking my car off the street when the snow laws go into effect. That pole and I are pals, I guess.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/03/2008 11:37:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Three Thousand...

I think this video sums up just how screwed Americans are and will be for quite some time.

There's an interesting bit in there when John McCain is mumbling on about the perks of deregulation. The maker of this video points out that McCain's deregulation is akin to the fact that a person who doesn't pay house insurance is better off financially until their house burns down.

That's a good analogy. McCain wants less regulation (it seems. He's waffled on that topic at least half a dozen time this week alone). However, where we are now is the result of this deregulation, and the fact that every American is going to be three-thousand dollars poorer, should make you stop and think (at least, I hope it does).

Personally, I truly dislike McCain on pretty much every single facet of his bizarre and twisted platform. And, to be honest, I simply don't have time to untangle that insane mess of whether he is for something or against something --in fact, early Thursday, he mentioned that Bush should veto the bailout bill that he himself voted for the previous day.

Yeah. He was so against it that he voted for it.

The fact that this sort of thing makes sense in the head of John McCain is frightening.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/03/2008 02:27:00 AM

Thursday, October 2, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Not Bad...

Let's see here. I just finished up watching the debates, and I'm plopping down with a big mug of licorice tea to drool at the television for the next couple of hours or so.

First, the tea: It's licorice, and I like it. It's one of those things that I bought on a whim some time ago, and when it made it then and took a sip, my first reaction was to wonder just what the hell it was I was dumping into my head. After that, however, some sort of odd addiciton seems to have kicked in, and now I find myself craving it late at night like a tweaker in search of a fix.

The thing is, it doesn't have that terribly cloying, acrid flavor that licorice usually has. In this drink, it's subtle and mixed with cinnamon (I think) and other things, and it's actually really good.

Now, the debates: I'll admit, Sarah Palin did better than I thought she would. Of course, that's not saying much since I thought she would have a meltdown and throw her shoe at Joe Biden's head. But, considering her target, she hit all the codewords, and, still considering the target to whom she was speaking, she gave absolutely no facts or details and just made the ears on the horde of Conservatives eager to see her sit in the second biggest chair perk up with each vapid platitude she rattled out with a wink and a smile. I'd imagine there was a lot of lapping on the right as there was a bucket of bullshit to lap up.

The voters she's after are those Bushies who have learned to replace relevant information with slack-jawed, empty soundbytes designed, not to educate, but to inspire. There's a danger in that, however. After all, Bush rallied a nation to war with nothing but catch phrases, and though a great many hearts may have been behind it, the head was ignored, and we wound up with the greatest foreign policy blunder in American history. And we still are paying for it. And, we will continue to pay for it long after we are dead and gone.

To think McCain would be any different, or set us on a right path, is not only foolish, it's terrifyingly dangerous. He calls himself a maverick; however, as Joe Biden pointed out, McCain has towed the party line time and time and time again, voting with President Bush ninety percent of the time.

Not exactly the hallmark of a trailblazer, don't you think?

Now, do I think Palin won the debate? No. There was no substance to a single thing she said. Biden had the facts, he had the numbers, he had the truth on his side.

However, Palin accomplished her task. She most likely didn't lose Conservative voters as a result of her saying what amounted to absolutely nothing.

With drool and television: Right now, I'm watching some sort of House rerun on USA. I've got a blow-out ankle that's been screeching at me all day (actually, it's been off and on for the last several months). The funny thing is, I didn't do a damn thing to it, and that's just crazy frustrating. Really. I'd be happy if I twisted it and it hurt. Hell, even if I accidentally sawed it off somehow while building that rocket ship I think I'm going to be needing in a few years, I'd be all like "Well, hell yes it hurts! I sawed the damn thing off. It's supposed to hurt."

Of course, since I didn't do anything to it, I'm confused. And annoyed.

Mostly annoyed.

Oh hey! House ended, and I changed the channel, and I managed to find the Robot Chicken: Star Wars special thingy.

I'm going to say, Robot Chicken probably the best fifteen minutes on television, and if I was ever to work in the entertainment world, I would be falling all over myself to get a gig working on that show in some way or another. It's freakin' hilarious.

Let's see... The show's over now, and life has lost a little meaning.

Bonus Pain & Whining: Unfortunately, the ankle isn't the only thing hurting on me. It's just a big ass mess of aches that seem to have settled into random joints, and it's beginning to really get to me. Last year, I was getting my Remicade infusions, and those things were a fucking miracle. It was astounding the effect they had on everything from my mobility to my quality of life and even my mood and my attitude.

Sure. Things still hurt, but it wasn't bad. Instead of aches that lead me to constantly alter the way I do things, my joints and bones just had a sort of dull ache that didn't get in the way of anything. And, right now, I'd poke a nun in the eye to get back to that magical place where things still hurt, but they didn't hurt bad enough to put my life on hold.

Back then, a couple of Advil, and I was good to go. Today? Ha! It's a fistfull of Vicodin just to be able to get out of bed.

I knew when I replaced those infusions with weekly injections of Humira things would not be as pleasant. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that they would get this bad. Since I started taking this stuff back in February, things have only gotten worse. Sure, the icky, psoriatic skin is gone for all intents and purposes, with only a few ugly spots here and there. But, the arthritis has just been slowly getting worse.

I wish I could go back to the Remicade. Unfortunately, America's health care system is so blown to shit by rampant corruption and greed, those medications could very well never have been invented for all I care.

John McCain would be the complete wrong direction with his desire to create a deregulated system of health care to encourage and reward the rampant greed and corruption and inhuman treatment of America's sick and suffering by the pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

Consider the following situation if you're looking for an example: In order to get the medications I need, I have to have some pretty damn good insurance. However, in order to afford that pretty damn good insurance, I'd need a damn good job. However, in order to get that damn good job, I need those medications.

Now, I can't be the only one in America who sees that as sorta fucked up.

And yes. I still stand by my assertion that going to college was the greatest mistake I, or anyone, could make. I'd fallen off my parents' insurance (which happens to pretty much each and every college student, unless you're Doogie Howser).

At the time, it wasn't a big deal. The school had a clinic or some sort of student health center designed to treat simple things that college kids usually come down with, and it was free. So long as you needed nothing more than an ice pack or a shot to clear up that case of the clap you got from some Friday night frat bash, you were good to go. Anything more, and they refer you to a very expensive hospital.

So, obviously, my plan, like most normal folks, was to simply finish school, get a decent job and have a happy, normal life.

That didn't happen. That will never happen.

Eventually, I left school to fight this disease, and since the only doctors I could see were a hundred miles away, I moved back to Milwaukee, and for more than a decade, I've been stuck in this disaster with no way out.

So really. When some cock-sucking, spoiled, neo-con, sycophant politician tells me that I should vote for him because he wants to deregulate an already overly corrupt and murderous privatized system because he's in the pocket of one lobbyist and/or another, I find myself with the urge to laugh.... and the urge slash that son of a bitch with a million papercuts before dousing him in gas and setting him on fire.

Seriously. McCain received better health care as a POW in Hanoi than a great many Americans receive today. It's amazing, really. I simply can't understand how people can vote for a spineless, boot-licking coward who's entire presidency will have been bought by those with special interests and a desire to have a direct line to the most influential person in America for their own personal gain. We have one of those corrupt fools now, and how's that working out, again?

Anyway, this is just me venting and rambling and whining. But, this is the reason why I am permanently angry. You don't see a lot of that anger because I compartmentalize it fairly well. But, it's there, looming beneath the surface.

Unfortunately, things do spring up to spark that pent up rage. For example, right now, I'm trying to get into my AOL Journal to go through some entries to see if I want to save them, but AOL is denying me access. Soooo.... I'm a little pissed.

Anyway, I apologize for the pile of babble. I'm hoping you didn't read it all.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/02/2008 10:22:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Random Things.

It was forty-some-odd degrees when I woke up this morning (my god! Did I just say 'forty-some-odd." Next, I'll be bouncing around in the dirt on a John Deere).

Forty degrees is officially cold, and it's roughly the temperature where my mad survival instincts kick in. They do that you know.

I've been trained. I have a knife. And, most importantly, my neighbor has food, a fireplace, and a freakin' hot wife.


These are Viking survival skills, people. I'm not some freakin' Les Stroud type where you could drop me in the woods and I'll make a condo out of boulders and bear shit. I take what's yours and make it mine. Like what they did with England --by the way, only someone from Scandinavia would conquer England for the freakin' weather. I can almost imagine how that conversation went:

Olaf: Fuck! It's snowing again!
Mrs. Olaf: Of course, you idiot. This is Norway.
Olaf: Where is it not snowing?
Mrs. Olaf: SoHo.
Olaf: Right. Off we go then.

Now, speaking of Sarah Palin...

Oh. Wait. I deleted that bit from above. Umm... Just replace Olaf with Sarah Palin, and Mrs. Olaf can be John McCain, and SoHo can be... well... Baltimore.

Anyway, speaking of Sarah Palin, the debates are on, and they are on like Donkey Kong (really always wanted or say that). That is, of course, unless Palin's programmers, in a fit of utter hopelessness smash their heads into the walls at the frustration of trying to get someone who, while Governor of Alaska, signed off on a Supreme Court decision not Roe v. Wade (that whole Exxon damages thing back in June) to name a Supreme Court decision other than Roe v. Wade (hint: Exxon v. Baker).

Or, maybe they already opened their veins and arteries and bled themselves like mutton after trying to get Sarah Palin, a journalist, to name a printed news source she's read.
Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?

Palin: I've read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.

Couric: What, specifically?

Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.

Couric: Can you name a few?

Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn't a foreign country, where it's kind of suggested, "Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?" Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.
Really, Sarah. I think you could have said you get your news from a copy of The Watchtower that someone left on your doorstep, and Katie would have been happy. But noooo... You rattled off into some sort of "everyone thumbs their noses at Alaska and blah blah blah..." pity party.

Listen lady! I've seen Deadliest Catch. I know what goes on in Alaska. You all catch crabs.

That came out wrong. I should have gone with the Jack London reference. But then I'd just wind up thinking that all Alaskans do nothing but claw the earth scrabbling for gold and freeze to death while waiting for their dogs to build a fire for them.

Nonetheless, the funny thing about the debate is that Joe Biden probably can't win. If he comes off as being nice to Palin, he's going to look patronizing, and that's going to play to Palin's perky, smiling, anti-intellectual Pikachu.

If Biden is short and tough with her, well... He might as well just stand there in a grease-stained wife beater shirt and flick lit Marlboros at her. And, let's face it, if you saw someone tossing lit cigarettes at Pikachu, what the fuck would you think?

Other than that, I think Biden's only option is to just stand there and let Palin hang herself. First, ask her an off-the-wall question. Ask her about what happened when the last volcano erupted in her state, and ask her what she did as governor to help those affected. Get her to name the volcano and the towns involved. If you can get Palin talking about specifics, she's liable to get frustrated and flustered because she is such an incurious woman, she doesn't know specific things.

Besides, Pikachu on a noose?

That's funny stuff, right there.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/02/2008 11:11:00 AM

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] It's Thursday.

And here's your picture, all packed, peanuted, poked and polished for your enjoyment. And, yes. I mean you. Not any of this blog's other readers -we don't like them, do we? I'm talking about you. I like you. You're special. Can I buy you a drink?
This picture of a Yucca enchanted me and spun my mind. It's kind of rare when that sort of whacky thing happens, and, try as I may, I just never really know what to do about that.

So, it's at that time that I turn to the two time-tested standby's in artistic interpretation: 'shrooms and blotter acid.

The acid makes the leaves move. Unfortunately, and this is the short road to a bad trip, the 'shrooms make it feel as though I'm putting my face into a fan where it will be ground up into marshmallows and devoured by unicorns to be crapped out at the next Burning Man.

So, do yourselves a favor. Don't drop acid and eat mushrooms if you're going to be staring at this image of a houseplant for any length of time. It will freak you out!

Now, in the interest of full-disclosure, I don't do acid or mushrooms. I simply don't have the brain cells to spare for that sort of adventure, people. However, if I did, I'd imagine my response would be pretty much the same. I'm not sure though. I'll leave that to one of the myriad of Hunter S. Thompson wannabes out there. Me? I'm perfectly fine just sitting here imagining what my brain would be like if it was altered enough.


P.S. What? I can't be serious all the time.

Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/02/2008 12:40:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Humility: You're Doing it Wrong!

I've not been able to stop laughing at this since PZ Myers slapped it up on Pharyngula. It's from my most-favorite person I despise, Little Billy O'Reilly, and it is an absolute perfect, blisteringly-comical, display of this pseudo-journalist's bloated, porcine ego:

"Next time you meet an atheist, tell him or her that you know a bold, fresh guy, a barbarian who was raised in a working-class home and retains the lessons he learned there.

"Then mention to that atheist that this guy is now watched and listened to, on a daily basis, by millions of people all over the world and, to boot, sells millions of books.

"Then, while the non-believer is digesting all that, ask him or her if they still don't believe there's a God!"

I love it.

I really, truly do.

Bill O'Reilly is using himself as proof of a god's existence. And, he's actually serious about it. He actually believes this laundry list of accomplishments he's managed in his confused life as a fraudcaster, a novelist, and a loofah-waving sexual predator are sure proof, by-golly, that there is a God Almighty, and he's charmed with little Billy.

It's sad, I think. Bill sees the writing on the wall that he and his precious "news" channel are screaching into irrelevancy once the Bush Administration slithers out of office taking the daily talking points they fed Fox "News" with them out the door. Bill will have to think for himself, and that simply is not something he's used to doing.

Seriously. In the past, when Bill O'Reilly has been called upon to think (or even act as though he were something other than a knuckle-dragging, boot-licking toady), the only thing Bill's been able to manage is to yell a little louder and louder until he literally drowns out those people asking him to think.

Still... To Bill O'Reilly, Bill O'Reilly is proof of god. And not the man, O'Reilly, but the freakin' fraudcaster and hack autobiographer.

In other words, Bill O'Reilly's résumé is proof of god to Bill O'Reilly.

Can't... Stop... Laughing!

Good thing he left out his stint on Inside Edition.

Anyway, to catch my breath and answer this bloated loon's question, I'm going to have to say, No Bill. Your résumé doesn't prove to me that there is a god. The fact that you don't suffocate beneath the crushing weight of your own corpulent ego might be proof of god, but not quite.

So, anyway, no. I'm going to need a little more than that.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/01/2008 09:13:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Testing...

Move along... Nothing to see here.

I'm hoping this works. I would like to be able to finally (yes, finally) be able to create "jumps" or whatever the hell you call them.

Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/01/2008 06:26:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Keepin' an eye on things...

So, how's the new look?


This is just a temporary thing, but I thought the layout looked kind of cool with DeafCat over there on the edge looking concerned. In other words, there is no horseplay allowed. So, all you horses? Yeah. She's looking at you.

Now, personal reminder: I need to create a new banner (hence the acronym up there that looks supremely tacky). The old one started to stink like... well... You know that hunk of cheese in your fridge that got shoved to the back a while ago and has now taken on a very threatening disposition due to months of neglect?

Yeah. It stunk like that. But, unlike the cheese, it doesn't pull a gun on me whenever I open the fridge to get some juice.

So, I'll work on one of those...

I also need to make a better background image thing.

After that, well... who knows. I'm going to just play around for a while.

Anyway, I just wanted to make that note here. I'm going to have some coffee and go shopping for a new template in a bit.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/01/2008 04:10:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] The Rundown...

I can't said the...
So, how am I feeling today?

I can't say that it's good, but I can say that I am desperately trying not to let it get to me. I figure that's probably the best I can do in such situations. It's what I do in every situation, every day, and very little changes.

Now, I don't mean to be all doom and gloom all the time, but this place really is an outlet for my thoughts, and when those thoughts are generally crippled by a distracting, endless ache somewhere, it's inevitable that my thoughts will be focused on that. As humans, I think we're wired to address those things when they spring up. We've evolved to say "holy fuck! That hurts! I'd better do something about it before it gets worse."

And, that's where I am. It never ends. Something, somewhere, is screaming "Pay attention to me!"

It's such a weird, weird thing.

Right now, my feet are screaming, some fingers are screaming, and my knees ache and make this bizarre, stomach-twisting noise when I try to operate the stairs. It's a wet, crunchy, squishy sound, and if I were to write it into a book, I would say it sounds like celery twisting inside a wrapper of bloody, wet meat.

It's gross. So, I'm trying to avoid the stairs. Stairs are bad...

Other than that, there's been some questions about that whole "Follower" thing on this blog, and I am trying to figure out a new look and layout for this place, but it's not easy since I'm really fussy, and I'd like to keep something with this width for my photos and whatnots.

I'm trying to get that working, but this is an old template, and it doesn't allow that Follower feature. But! You can add the feed manually to the list of blogs on your Blogger dashboard. Simply click "ADD" and copy and paste the following feed URL into the URL box:
If you use a reader, you can use that feed as well.

Wicked cool, huh?

So, please do that until I can find and set-up a new template to include the Follow module. I'm hoping to build one soon, make the transfer, and hopefully not lose too many things on this page while I add a few more.

For those of you making the switch over to the Blogger community from AOL, there are a ton of places out there to find helpful tips and pointers. For example, the one I'm currently using is the Tips for New Bloggers blog just because it was there. However, there are many, many more out there (I'd say about a thousand different sites). Plus, Blogger Help has a really deep search based interface. Just go and type whatever you need. For example, I just went in and typed "Template," and I got a boatload of possible answers with regards to where I can find new templates and how to tweak and set up and customize those templates.

Now, the layout feature for setting up your blogs kicks some pretty serious ass in my opinion. The interface is kind of similar to your old AIM pages interface --only nowhere near as clunky and slow. You can do all sorts of basic things and plug in all sorts of widgets and modules. However, if you would like to go beyond that, you can dive into your blog's HTML source and manually change whatever the heck you please (just make sure you save a copy of that template before you make any changes --I tend to copy and paste it into an email).

The things I seem to be changing most are the borders. Blogger puts them around the header image, and going into the template and changing the borders to 0 in the right spots get rid of that.

You can also add a static background image pretty easily (although I am having some hard times sussing out the sizing and stuff, but that's mostly the result of me being stupid).

Oh yeah. One thing about Blogger that blows AOL Journals out of the water is that you can upload pictures directly from your computer into your blog entries. Just pick the size and alignment, then once the image is uploaded, if you want to move it around your entry, simply copy and paste it where ever.

The AOL feature just wasn't nearly as intuitive.

So, you guys moving over are in for a pleasant surprise, I think. You can make your blogging experience as easy as your AOL journals (or easier). Or, you can dive into it and customize the hell out of your little chunk of the interwebbies.

Aside from that, I am curious how the moves will be handled. I don't know what the layouts will look like. I have a feeling your journal's entries and comments will be ported over, but extraneous things such as your sidebar links, favorite places, About Me, etc will most likely be lost.

All things considered, that's actually not such a bad thing, and I really am impressed that AOL has even offered to do this for everyone. That says so much about the people at AOL that they would care enough to go to these lengths to help preserve your content. Sadly, as nice as Blogger is, I don't think you'll find that sort of consideration here. Then again, I don't think you'll find it anywhere these days. So, it's kind of sad to see that sort of customer service die with the passing of AOL Journals.

Anyway, I'll try to write more in the future as I think of things. There's really not much to this Blogger thing, but if you do have any questions, please feel free to ask, and I'll try to find an answer for you.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/01/2008 01:51:00 PM

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Modernize...

Now, for the longest time I've loved the look of this blog. The layout is nice and friendly, and I like the old fashioned three-column look with the nice, wide test field for posting nice, wide pictures.

The thing is, there are some features I really want to use, but I'm not able to with this template.

Needless to say, I think it's time I change the look here, and hopefully I can find something that's not too brutal. Keep those fingers crossed.

I'm thinking a neon green background with either jet blue or flaming pink text. I want to burn what I say into your eyes. When you close them, oh yeah! You're going to still be able to read what I wrote.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/30/2008 10:58:00 PM


So, I was going to try and post all those earlier things onto my Blogger blog, but the formatting made me very, very unhappy... 

Now, here's what I'm going to do (and this idea comes from Beth of the Nutwood Junction blog):  I'm just going to move this whole shebang over to Blogger, and then I'm simply going to link to it as an archive. 

Easy-peasy, people! 


P.S.  Sorry about the previous entry.  Hope you all didn't mind getting a bonus alert from me. 

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Baby, I'm crazed...



Now, since every inch of my pudgy, little paws are really sore today, I'm going to try to cram as many thoughts as I can into today's picture entry. The planet's been considerably more schizophrenic than usual it seems, and to say it's not been gnawing on my brains would be a huge mistake.

First, today's picture is an attempt of mine to get creative with some off-camera lighting in my laundry chute. I placed my Vivitar flash with a blue gel under the chute and set it to bounce off the water-heater back there.

The other flash, my Nikon SB-600, is up above with a red gel.

Now, obviously, those colors make a huge difference in this black and white image. As you can see, the reds really jump out at you. And the blues? Well... If you don't feel as though you're sitting on a beach sucking Mai Tais somewhere in the tropics, I don't know what to tell you. I mean, look! It's just...

Yeah. The colors sucked ass. So, I made this image black and white and handled the opposing lights with level adjustments in Photoshop. I think it turned out kind of creepy. I mean, if I was a little more disturbed (and this laundry chute was maybe a little stronger since it threatens to crumble into kindling if I toss a wet towel down there), this is where I'd keep my victims before introducing the chainsaws, rats and meat hooks.

Thankfully, I'm a nice guy and not that crazy... yet.

Anyway, it's a neat thing, I think.

Now, the stock markets... Oh boy.

I have no idea what's going on since I know next to nothing about those sorts of things. However, I don't think the bailout is the answer since it seems to me that it is nothing more than a Band Aid on a bullet hole.

Everyone is losing as a result of this. Some are going to be smacked quite hard, and some, not so much. I don't think we'll see the the results of this corruption until several years from now, however.

Still, it's a puzzle that I don't think anyone really understands. These banks go under, yet these fat cat bosses receive millions in reward instead of a nice, long rope with which to hang themselves. Take Alan Fishman, for instance. This asshole puts in seventeen days of "work" at Washington Mutual, and for such loyal and devoted service, he's getting almost twenty million dollars as a shiny golden parachute/severance package.

He didn't earn that. He doesn't deserve it. But, America is a confused, greedy and corrupt place these days, but he's going to take it, and he's going to run off into the sunset laughing as the people he's robbed are unable to retire.

Now, I know all of you would like to be able to work for two weeks and get that sort of scratch, but we also know that should never happen because, in the real world with real money, things aren't supposed to work that way. Ever.

Nonetheless, take it for what it's worth, people. As I said, I don't understand this mess.

And, finally, AOL Journals is falling out of the tubes, and, as of November 1st (just a little sudden), you who use AOL as a blogging platform will be essentially homeless. Now, the folks over at Magic smoke are rattling on about there being some sort of means to transfer your AOL Journal over to Blogger; however, not a single one of them has said just what that procedure is or how to go about it.

Hopefully, they will share this secret wisdom soon before people start swinging knives. I know there are a whole heap of older entries I'd like to move over to my Blogger blog, but, until now, there was never an easy way to do it. Unfortunately, with AOL being AOL, I'm thinking there still isn't going to be an easy way to do it.

I'll be honest, I have mixed feelings about the end of AOL Journals. I'm sad to see them go since, not only are there some truly amazing and awesome bloggers over there who have really made a difference in my life with their words, it's where I started when I decided to immerse myself in scribbling upon the world-wide-weird. It's always been such a wild and crazy community, and I am certainly going to miss it.

Unfortunately, a long time ago, AOL started causing more problems for me than I wanted to deal with, and I simply jumped over to Blogger and was happy to maintain my AOL Journal as a mirror of my new, shiny blog. Ironically, I actually did that in orderto have some sort of back up for my mad ramblings.

Anyway, I'm sure I will write more about the end of AOL Journals in the future. We've got a month, after all. And, I hope we can make the best of it. And, trust me when I say this, Blogger is really not so bad. There is much more freedom in page layout, and you can easily add your own features and make your blog truly yours through any number of widgets and whatnots out there.

Well, I think I've typed more than enough today. My knuckles are a-screamin'. So, good luck, and don't forget that I'm looking forward to some new neighbors here on my little slice of the interwebs (so much for that quiet blog in the country, though).


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/30/2008 04:18:00 PM

Monday, September 29, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Polarize me!

Now, it's been a while since I talked about the actual ins and outs of photography as I've learned them through what can only be described as my completely blind swan-dive into amateur picture snapping. So, I'm due, people! I must have learned something along the way...

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned polarizers in the past. They're expensive, but very handy things, if you're looking to really make your pictures look deeper and and richer and all-around nicer. The thing is, here I sit talking about photography, but I rarely post any pictures of what the hell I am rattling on about, and that makes me look like a gurgling pedant.

Weird how that happens, I guess.

Anyway, here's a picture taken without a polarizer:

Now, it's not without its charms insofar as a picture of a bunch of bowls of dribbling water can be, and hey! I think I see a quarter in there that missed its wishful pitch into the fountain (that would probably explain why that big, fat check from that nice man in Nigeria hasn't shown up yet).

So, that's without the polarizer. What does it look like with a polarizer? Well... Have a look for yourself.

Notice anything different?

If you said, "Wow Dan! Your thumb really stands out a hell of a lot better against that grass with the polarizer on the end of your lens. That's just amazing," you'd be right.

Polarizers do wonderful things to colors since they cut out certain waveforms of light that can mute or dull colors which would normally be rich and vibrant.

Let's call it glare. Polarizers get rid of glare. I think anyone with a pair of Foster Grants could tell you this. For example, look at the water. Without the polarizer, none of that is really visible since the reflection on the surface of the water covers it like a blanket. However, put the polarizer on, and now you can see the scum and stones that lay beneath the surface.

Other than that, circular polarizers can be pretty damn expensive, and the one I used here was somewhere around $100 to fit on my superwide 10-20mm lens. That's a little insane, but I also have one to fit my lenses which have a 52mm filter ring, and I grabbed that one from Best Buy for $20 (and I think they're all around that price regardless of filter size).

It's a steal!

Now, it's not the best, but it's cheap, and it works much better than its pricetag would suggest. So, if you'd like to fiddle with these things, I'd recommend starting there.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/29/2008 12:06:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Warning! 'ere be whining.

Now. Today absolutely sucks, and as far as an inventory of aches goes, they start at the tips of my frigid little toes and just sort of spark their way up to the top of my neck. So, it's a bit of a drag at the moment.

On the other hand, the head's still good (I think) and pain free.

It's a little like the last time I played the game Risk, and my head is kind of like Madagascar. The world was taken over by a single horde of color (I think it may have been blue); however, on the tiny island of Madagascar, there was a ferocious enclave of red tents and towers. I was beaten back to this Ebola-laden patch of earth off the African coast, but I had hope. However, sitting across from me was a mighty general full of Patton-esque piss and vinegar, and I would need more luck than strategy if I was to fulfill my hopes and dreams of global domination and issue in a new era of totalitarian oppression.

In a few moments, I had taken bites off Africa, and my little tents began speckling the savanna. Across from me, the General attacked but was soundly beaten back. I took Europe with little struggle. Russia fell (I lost many tents in Kamchatka, but who doesn't?).

Eventually, to make a long story short, the world was mine, and there was much rejoicing.

The moral of the story is, so long as I don't have a headache in Madagascar, I can own the world (or something like that).

Anyway, In other news, I've not been taking many pictures, and I have no idea when I'll return to the whole Daily Picture thing. It's been tough for me to leave the house. It was a beautiful weekend in Wisconsin, but there were some hefty aches which kept me from hopping in my Jeep and heading out into the world with my camera. The thing is, it's not so much the pain that kept me from doing things. You see, when you've got such extensive inflammation, it just sucks whatever energy you have right out of you, and all you really want to do is sleep. So, I tried to do that, but those aches just don't make that sort of thing very easy.

Nonetheless, it's been a bitch!


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/29/2008 11:03:00 AM

Sunday, September 28, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Best Quote Ever.

So, there's this thing going on today that's being called "Pulpit Freedom Sunday." It's a funny thing. Pastors, priests, preachers and other voices for God are seeking to violate established U.S. Tax Law by telling their congregations how to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

Of course, this violates a church's tax-exempt status as they operate in clear violation of the separation clause of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

WASHINGTON — Pastor Gus Booth remembers when he used to simply encourage his congregation of 150 in Warroad, Minn., to vote each Election Day. Now, he thinks it's important to tell them which candidate should get their vote.

On Sunday , as part of the "Pulpit Initiative" organized by an Arizona-based conservative Christian legal group, Booth is set to join dozens of clergy nationwide in challenging Internal Revenue Service rules that prohibit churches from politicking by supporting or opposing candidates.

"If we can tell you what to do in the bedroom, we can certainly tell you what to do in the voting booth," said the minister, an evangelical leader of a nondenominational church, who expects to endorse Republican John McCain during his Pulpit Freedom Sunday sermon.
I love it. From the mouths of zombies comes one of the most telling displays of religious arrogance imaginable. In fact, I think that should be printed on a bumper sticker.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/28/2008 12:17:00 PM

Saturday, September 27, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Sleep Lesson #1.

How to sleep.

First, find a cat.

Next, set the cat down somewhere (it can be a couch, a chair, a bed, anywhere) and begin to observe the cat.

When the cat tips over, you too should feel very sleepy in one or two minutes.

If this doesn't work, might I suggest reading the biography of Michael Bolton on Wikipedia.

Now, what you see here is DeafCat completely crashed in the windowsill soaking up the sun... With all that fur... On an eighty-degree day...

I suppose that would explain the brain damage and why she tends to sit in the middle of the kitchen staring longingly at the oven like Sylvia Plath every time I cook a pizza or a pot roast.


P.S. Look! There's my Jeep. It's kind of muddy at the moment since the last time I went out for a drive, I found myself getting really bored with that whole paved road thing. Besides, there was a nice path type thing going from where I was to where I wanted to be, and if I followed the road, it would have added an extra mile to my drive. Let's face it, in this day and age, I've got to really start driving less and taking more efficient routes to save money.

Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/28/2008 12:54:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] I can haz research staf now?

First, thanks to Paul for the quick and informative answer to my question about what the hell John McCain was getting on about with that whole nuclear power-plant reducing our dependence upon foreign oil statement. As Paul commented in the previous entry:
During 2004, 05, and 06 the USA generated almost 2.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity through the combustion of petroleum and natural gas, about 21% of the total national power generation for those years. In addition to reducing American reliance on foreign oil, increased nuclear power generation would contribute to a significant drop in greenhouse gas emmisions. Of course, in that arena, oil isn't the problem. Coal is, representing almost half of all electrical power generation in the country.
The Google-fu is strong with this one!

The thing is, they lumped petroleum and natural gas together to come up with their numbers, and I'm willing to go out on a limb here and say that if you split those two, you'd find that the number of oil-burning power plants to be really, really small. In fact, as Buckoclown (aka Ken) on my AOL Journal points out, that number is so small, it hardly constitutes what I would call a "dependence":
You are correct that a small percentage of our electrical generation is produced using petroleum in the US, about 2%, mostly in California (they do not allow coal in CA).
So, is our country dependent upon foreign oil? Yes. Very, freakin' much so. In fact, we're dangerously dependent, and that has got to change somehow.

However, would building nuclear power plants lessen this dependence? Not really.

Anyway, I just thought it was a very strange thing for McCain to say. Personally, I have no problems with building nuclear plants. I think today's technology would make a Chernobyl-level event improbable. On the other hand, the nuclear waste is a different story, and until a safe way of disposing of this crap is discovered, nuclear power will not be an altogether viable alternative to coal or petroleum.

Nonetheless, thank you very much Paul and Ken for the information. I totally owe you guys beers next time you're in Milwaukee.

Now, McCain and his confusion about our addiction to oil isn't really one of my biggest worries. In fact, it's actually kind of small in spite of how he's got the lobbyists in his pocket, and both he and his running mate are a little too chummy with, and probably willing to act in the best interests of, the oil producers in this country.

The thing that really concerns me is best demonstrated with this:

I don't want any more fucking wars! I don't want to "bomb-bomb-bomb. Bomb-bomb-Iran" no matter how melodic it sounds. I don't want to pick fights with Plain's arctic nemesis "Pootin" when he "pears his head into our airspace" (whatever the hell that means).

I think we should go back to fighting those responsible for attacking us and stop dicking around in countries that had nothing to do with those who attacked us. To treat war so cavalierly as though it's a game which will bring some level of glory to you if you are a leader, is foolish beyond words. That is the action of bully desperate for respect and taking the most misguided route to gain that respect. War is, and it should always be, a last resort. Respect is earned, and it is not something attained through fear. There is a difference between fear and respect, and these days, it seems a lot of people don't understand that.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/27/2008 11:52:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Help me!

Hey everyone!

Last night, as I was watching TV, I was flipping channels between Stargate: Atlantis (Don't judge me, Paul), the Brewers/Cubs' game (Go Brewers!), and, lastly, the Presidential Debates.

Personally, I think the debates were flat, freakin' lifeless (which is actually a good thing), but one thing confused the hell out of me.

During the debates, John McCain said that he wanted to build more nuclear energy plants. He also said that doing so would reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Now, I don't know if I'm just not grasping things, or if John McCain isn't grasping things, but what the fuck is he talking about?

Do people have oil-powered ceiling fans, toasters, and refrigerators?

Then again, maybe he's talking about electric space heaters. Perhaps, with the way oil prices are, people will be reduced to using these portable heaters to heat their homes this winter because they can't afford to use their oil furnaces.

Anyway, if all you out there can think of how building nuclear plants will reduce our dependency upon foreign oil, please help me out here. I really can't think of a single way in which they would.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/27/2008 02:31:00 PM

Friday, September 26, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] 9/26/2008 05:26:00 AM

Now, I thought you'd enjoy a little picture...

High Voltage This is the dreaded space between the garages. Somehow, it gets mowed, but I don't do it. I think the neighbor might, but I've honestly never seen him do it.

Perhaps it's the grass-eating zombies who somehow collect back here every now and then and just munch their way around before traveling off down the alley to some other poor, unfortunate span of grass.

To be perfectly honest, I really have no idea who the hell is cutting that grass, and now that I think about it, it's beginning to bother me.

I wish they wouldn't. That's a perfect place to hide some bodies. If the day ever comes where I snap, I'm going to need that patch of grass to remain untouched.

However, if someone's mowing it, maybe they've beaten me to it and stashed a half-a-dozen corpses back there, and they're just trying to keep up appearances so as not to raise suspicions.

Oh, but see... I'm smart. My suspicion is raised because I applied impeccable logic to this situation, and now I just need to exhume one body to find out how he did it. Then, I can go all copy cat, and when the plot is packed to the rafters, I can call the cops, they come and tidy up, and they arrest this unknown little lawn care lunatic.

Now, the plot can go untouched, and I can finally get that killing spree underway.

Looks like I've got my weekend plans all figured out. How about you?


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/26/2008 05:26:00 AM

Thursday, September 25, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Oh, my love...

Oh Sarah... Sweet, sweet Sarah. It's impossible to profess my love and devotion to you and your antics in this clumsy, cumbersome medium. Just know that if you weren't currently running with a man who can barely walk as a result of lugging his melon-sized prostate around the country, it would be you and me tripping happily through the snow covered fields of looking for baby seals to club so I could turn them into toasty mittens for your cold little hands.

Sarah? Lipstick or not, you are the bee's knees, doncha know!

Yes. I know. That mean man in Russia is always peeking across the Bering Strait into your bathroom window to drink you in as though you were a bottle of his beloved vodka. But, can you blame him, Sarah? You have the kind of fabulous rack that could defrost a Siberian gulag.

I'm sorry. That was sexist of me. I lose my head sometimes. It's hard not to since the only other catch coming into my house out of Alaska is a box of frozen crab legs I picked up at Piggly Wiggly, and they don't say such sweet, sensible things like you.

They are damned tasty with butter, though.

Thankfully, Sarah, as a result of your proximity to this bad, bad man, you have the foreign policy experience to handle him. And, since I live close to an airport, I have the necessary experience to grab the nearest 747 to fly up there and rescue you should the bad, bad Russian man prove to be more than your immense foreign diplomatic skills can handle.

Now, don't let that Katie person get to you, Sarah. She's an agent of evil. A liberal activist. A communist who hates baby Jesus and loves witchcraft. Don't worry. You're protected against witchcraft thanks to the nice preacher who once got a woman run out of his Kenyan town because she was using her witchcraft to cause traffic accidents. He's got an eye for witchcraft, that one. He's such a nice man for using his Jesus to bless you, and I am glad you have such nice friends, Sarah. We should buy him a puppy and see if he can baptize your teenager's baby.

But, I digress...

Sarah? It's not that you look stupid. Trust me. You do. Don't take it personally. Some people like that. After all, Benny Hill made a career out of it, and our current president was reelected and started a war with it. Stupid sells. Stupid wins. People want to be with stupid (they even have shirts made up and everything). Stupid beats evil any day in my book, baby.

Sorry... I'm a sexist bastard. But, I'm not elitist. I'm too poor to be elitist. Then again, I do live close to a bank.

Oh Sarah. Thank you for showing me how easy it is to gain experience in life. Ever since I was a child, I've dreamed of being an astronaut, but I always believed so many things kept me from following that dream. Little did I know that I could simply move to Denver to be close enough to space to call myself an astronaut.

Then again, do you like doctors, Sarah? I mean, women want to marry doctors, right? I live right by a hospital, so I've got that going for me.

How about firemen?

There's a fire station less than two hundred yards away. Think of the experience I have there. It's so close, I think I am a great fireman.

Oh Sarah. Thank you for showing me how easy life is. The only way I can repay you is to love you with my whole little heart.

Love and Kisses,

Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/26/2008 12:09:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Well... You got a really large number.

I love this quote:
"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."
What are we talking about here?


Yes! You in the front. What do you think?

Umm... No. I'm sorry, but we're not talking about how many red cups to get for tonight's annual all-you-can-eat chicken-fry/community kegger. Thanks for reminding me though. We should probably pick up a few more cups.

You see, this number is how our trusted Bush lackeys and cronies Treasury Department arrived at that big, freakin' seven-hundred billion dollar number of tax-payer money they seek to swipe out of your pocket without any question or oversight so as to bailout some crumbling financial institutions.

Obviously, these are the top economic minds of our nation, and, well, since they are so smart, you see, they can pull numbers completely out of their asses with absolutely no research into the matter whatsoever. It's like if my Jeep ran out of gas and I showed up at your front door and told you to give me a thousand bucks to top off the tank --no questions asked.

Now, not to get all foil-hatty and stuff, but why do I get the feeling that this bailout is not so much an attempt to fix the economy insofar as it's one last attempt by the corrupt and greedy Bush Administration to rob the American people blind on his way out of office? Why else would that chimp-faced, little coke-head interrupt prime-time television to, once again, terrify the population into believing him?

Why else would there be such a rush to pass this legislation and hand over money of this amount with the disturbing caveat that it receive a rubber stamp with no oversight, no questions, no scrutiny, no debate, nothing?

Seriously. It's amazing what these bastards believe they can get away with as they wreck the nation and line their pockets. Hank Paulson asked Congress to give him 700 billion dollars with no investigation into where that money was going or how it was to be dispersed. No plan. Just a big, fucking check.

Anyway, like I said, if I told you my car desperately needed gas or the entire economy will be destroyed and global panic will ensue, and then I asked you for a thousand bucks (or two thousand, or ten thousand?) and you can't ask me any questions about why I need a that much money. You see, that's what these assholes are doing. They pulled a monster number out of their asses with no research into how much they actually need, and they expect Americans to simply give it to them without asking or any way of knowing where that money is really, truly going.

Do you honestly trust the Bush Administration enough to do that? Do you really trust them?

The thing is, and this is a very funny thing, acting in such haste in this manner will not make things any better. And, contrary to what our duplicitous president says, we actually do have the luxury of time in finding a genuine solution to this crisis so long as we keep our heads clear. Don't let Bush terrify you into making yet another poorly thought out and dangerous decision, America.

Take his only power --the power to terrify you-- away.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/25/2008 09:44:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Ya. You Betcha der's a trainwreck, doncha no.

This is both sad and terrifying....


You know you're blowing an interview when sweet, little Katie Couric is hounding you for an answer.

"I'll try to find ya some, and I'll bring 'em to ya." Palin says.

Why doesn't she know?

Shouldn't she know?

There's more to being a "maverick" than simply taking criticism from both sides of the aisle. Hell! If that's the case, lots of Senators, Congressmen and every president in history could be called a maverick --even that freakin' whipped, little bitch currently running in circles trying to find a corner in the Oval Office could be a maverick.


No wonder why McCain wants to run away from the debates with his tail between his legs. The second either of these two goons opens their mouths, they broadcast to the whole world how blinkingly stupid they truly are. Just look at the video above (or read the transcript) and see if you don't find yourself waiting for an answer... an actual answer. I'm not talking about the garden-variety white noise of wallpaper rhetoric and simple freakin' platitudes. I mean an honest, straight answer.

In fact, strangely enough, I think Palin's only reasonably honest answer is her last sentence that she will find those examples and bring 'em to ya' Katie.

What is it with McCain and Palin that requires people to always WAIT for them?

These two window-lickers are too rock stupid to run America. McCain clearly can't handle more than one thing at a time, and Palin's head is crammed so far up her ass in search of God that she doesn't have the slightest clue as to what's going on in the world around her.

Really... Bring those examples, Sarah. Or, did the dog eat your homework? Just don't forget that, you know, we're not going to hold our collective breath waiting for you.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/25/2008 11:12:00 AM

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Run and Hide!

It's going to be fun watching the political right of this nation try to spin McCain's begging for a suspension of campaigning to "focus on the economy."

I don't think anyone sees this as anything other than a political gimmick, and if you do, well... stop and ask yourself what relevant committees either of these two candidates are on which would require them to be in Washington to discuss the creation of this bailout legislation?

Also, wouldn't you think that the American people deserve to hear from their potential president as to how he will personally go about solving this economic crisis in an open debate?

Also, wouldn't you want a president who is capable of multitasking in this day and age rather than one who requires that the population acquiesce to the fact that he is clearly only capable of handling one thing at a time?

Really, people. McCain is in panic mode, and freaking out over something which is out of his control and, thankfully, in the hands of others whose job it is to actually deal with. All he has to do is show up and vote (which, strangely enough, he hasn't done much of to begin with. In fact, McCain has the worst attendance of any senator --even the one who suffered a brain hemorrhage).

Seriously. It's a ninety minute debate, and it's a perfect opportunity to talk about the economy. It's a shame McCain is acting with such blatant cowardice. And, if he tries to suspend the Vice Presidential debates, that's going to be even more pathetic.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/24/2008 10:01:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Portal Z.

Here's a door for you.


If it makes you think of anything, do share with the rest of the class.

Now, to help you think, I will say that this came from the abandoned airplane factory down the street. So, let your minds wander back to a time when air-travel was a new and exciting thing and that wild, blue yonder was an unexplored, vast expanse.

When the workers went in and out through this door, don't you wonder what may have been on their minds?

Could any of them possibly understand the role their creations would play in the world today?

Other than that, I'm cranked on opiates today (what else is new), and I don't think anyone should expect anything from me other than my being a drooling, unintelligible, fucking potatohead.

Yeah. I'm angry. I get like that some days, and this morning was very, very rough. My hands are shot. My knees are trashed. Feet, neck, shoulders, etc.? All fucked and filled with pain.

The thing is, I've been bitching about this stuff for what seems like an eternity, and I'm sure you're all just as tired --if not more-- of reading about my gripes, grumbles and sundry troubles. However, for whatever reason, I think it's nice to have not only an outlet upon which to unload these gripes, but it's also maybe a good idea to have an updating chronicle of these complaints in the hopes that, one day, I may be able to look back and remember just how pissed off I truly was.

It's just very strange how a chronic, endless pain can weasel its way into your every single action and thought to alter and twist the way you do simple, ordinary things. I think anyone who's ever broken a finger, sprained an ankle, twisted a knee, mashed a toe or suffered some other sort of injury for even a temporary time can relate. It's annoying.

So yeah. I think you'll find me whining here and listing the things which hurt. And, I'll apologize for that ahead of time, and if you don't want to read them, please don't. But, this is the only journal I am keeping, and it seems like as good of a place as any for this nonsense. For some reason, though, I think it's important to keep a log ofthe day's troubles. Perhaps in writing about them, I may actually find an answer, a catharsis, or some level of relief.

Anyway, I am not asking for your pity or any of your sympathy. I don't want it, and I don't need it. Trust me. In this day and age, I'm willing to bet each and every one of you have your own mountains to climb, and you all are probably saddled with something unfair, unwanted, and painful. You'd be crazy if you allowed the insignificant troubles of a largely anonymous blogger into your hearts. Really. You've got better things to care about, people.

Nonetheless, somewhere inside me is a sense of humor. Unfortunately, it's pretty easy for pain, or even a bad day, to trump this sense of humor and ability to laugh as it gets ground into the dirt by a big, unhappy boot.

Don't worry, though. In the end, it is just me writing about me. I don't think I can entertain, enchant or enlighten in every post I write, and I think I'd be an idiot to try. I'd gotten off track and forgotten about why it is I decided to keep one of these blogs in the first place. As a result, entries were forced, thoughts were inevitably strained, and when you do that in the world of the written word, you abandon the elegance that makes it appealing in the first place.

Finally, if you find this collection of words and prattle difficult to grasp, don't think too much about it. This stream of conscious babblefest is nothing more than me trying to find a way of writing about things. Trust me. I have a sense of humor. It's just usually overshadowed by my frustration. So, unloading that frustration here may actually help.

We'll see how it goes. But, boy-o-boy, I am one seriously grumpy motherfucker today. And, it's a good thing I am staying in and loafing around while everything hurts; otherwise, I would probably throat-punch a bag lady. Really... With my mood being what it is, if I went to the movies today, it'd turn into a bloodbath because the person behind me would be talking, then their throat would be slit, and I'm sure I'd have to silence the subsequent screams of all the other terrified folks because all that panicked screeching makes it impossible to watch a simple fucking movie.

So, it's best to stay indoors and see what's on cable.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 9/24/2008 11:21:00 AM