Mark Twain's...

Mysterious Stranger, implanted here for your amusement...

This is a most "un-Twainian story, if you know what I mean...


What would you do...

...if you lived in one of Henry Kravis' mansions for a day during the holidays?

This link came to me courtesy of the other of my most political friends, Jo savage lefty of the Northland.

In brief, the link is a bid from the folks at Brave New Films to get your ideas (posted to their blog) on what you would do if you came into sudden possession of one of Henry Kravis' five mansions.

File this one under The War on Greed, a coming film from Brave New Films.

Another useful tool in guaging who to vote for...

This link is courtesy of Jim, one of the two most politically active people I know.

From opensecrets.org, this link allows you to select any of a dozen or so major industries and see how much money they have given to each of the current Presidential hopefuls. And it's all done in a friendly bar graph format.



HMO's improve your quality of life...

If you're a stockholder, CEO/CFO/COO, or at least insured. Otherwise, well just read on -

Hats off to Reuters for passing on the info.

now there's something you don't see everyday...

a book deal. For me.

No, I'm serious.

I have a friend - an established author - who just pitched a book idea to his agent the other day. And in the proposal I was the photographer. And I have to do is shoot pictures like crazy till I can fill the book. My guess is that I'd need about 200 shots of varying things for the author to work with. In part he would give me assignments about what he needs shots of. and i would come up with other pictures he would write around.

The actual signing on the book should come in or shortly after March. That's when I can begin working in earnest (and like a crazed banshee) on pictures. In the meantime I will just keep taking shots and processing them.

Recently I migrated all my old shots to a new external hard drive and that has caused some problems in fetching the old photos (some are in places I can't find and others simply can't be retrieved. However, it is early enough on that this won't cause a big problem as virtually everything can be re-shot.



fucking fine art...

and don't you forget it boy-o.

Over the last couple of months I have re-met my best friend from high school. He's over in Dubai. Well, in the last couple of days he's joined an online reading group called Shelfari. I suspect that through some automated effort on that site's part I have received three invites in the last day or two to join.

The only problem I have with it is that "the arts" community takes itself too fucking seriously. We of the Hoi Polli* don't call it "artsy-fartsy" for no reason you know.

Anyhow, I decided after the third email to just break down and join. In the profile area there was a box in which to write about yourself. I took this opportunity to be artsy-fartsy and write a poem about me. Please enjoy -

The I's Have It
by Mad Man Mikey

I believe I am too old for this crap

I believe that after our deaths we will find out that God is a lot more like
Groucho Marx than Charlton Heston

I believe the government is constantly and forever asking us the time so it will have a chance to slip an ace up its sleeve while we check our watches

I believe that the South will rise again

I believe that when it does we should
cheerfully help it load the trunk and then send it
off with a case of RC and a
half dozen Moon Pies in the back seat

I believe Robert Greene
has a great thing going

I believe that any 50+ year old man who does not board a crowded
bus or commuter train and fart loudly with a big grin on
his face should eat more asparagus

I believe the problem lies not with the amount of an
overbearing rudeness, but with the timing of this rudeness

I believe we all need to laugh at ourselves

I believe that everyone else is
already laughing at us

I believe it is time for a second cup of coffee

Thank you for your most kind audience there, gentle reader.

*Hoi Polloi translates from the Koiney (New Testament) Greek as "The People". I believe it is first person plural. A really good treatment of the eternalbattle between the mass of uncultured swine and the cultural elite can be found in the article "Good Marx for the Anthropologist: Structure and Anti-Structure in 'Duck Soup'" by Ivan Karp, 1981. The article covers the phenomena of Structure and Antistructure and liminality. I've been trying to find link on the web to a concise definition of what that means, but good luck discovering it. I swear, the web is a pile of socks the size of Montana and I'll not spend my January first trying to sort them.

Suffice it to say that structure and anti-structure are well portrayed in the Marx Brother's movie Duck Soup. Anthropology's structure and antistructure theory is paralleled in other areas of thought too, from Marxist thesis, antithesis synthesis to Capitalist's market concepts to Donovan's Zen-esque musical refrain "First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is."

If you need to know more then either buy a book on the subject, take an anthropology professor who focuses on class structures to lunch or buy your own goddamned liberal arts education.

Happy New Year...

The oddest thing happened last night just after midnight - the outside of my left foot (outside of part of my left hip and leg) went numb. It is still numb this morning. The epicenter of said numbness is in my left heel.

This caps a week during which I have had a very slight pins and needles feeling in parts of my left arm.

The left arm (and in some cases shoulder) numbness would worry me more than it does were it not for a visit to the emergency room at the VA in North Chicago I had about a year ago. After being hooked up to some monitors and such for about an hour the abrupt Korean doctor chided me that I was not suffering from some heart issues but rather had a pinched nerve. By the way, get out of her emergency room because there are some really sick folks who need help.

(OK she didn't say that, but the sentiment sort of hung in her voice and demeanor.)

So anyhow back to the current numbness...

I am guessing it is one of four things - a stroke of some sort, some idiotic clot blockage somewhere, an onset of type II diabetes or a pinched nerve. Frankly, I favor the pinched nerve theory. The numbness does not seem radical enough to be the product of a stroke and it does not seem widespread enough to be diabetes. It could be a clot, but somehow I doubt it. Again, the numbness doesn't seem widespread enough. As I have been having some definite pains in my hips and legs lately I am going with the pinched nerve theory.

The theory will be put to the test on either Thursday or Friday when I can finally get an appointment with my doctor. As it stands today is a holiday and I won't be able to even make an appointment till tomorrow. And from there it will be at least another day or two till I can actually find an opening in the staff's schedule.

A quick note on physical problems - I tend to not worry a lot on things like this and am also not inclined to react to them quickly. During my 30's I had some normal but frightening health problems None of them panned out to be anything, despite my worries. However, I did learn one thing from that decade and that is "don't panic." Thus I do not panic.