Money Laundering

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Published on: March 10, 2016

I get just a bit giddy when I open up the washing machine and find that money came loose from my pockets and is there for me to discover like a long lost treasure.

Sure it was only three pennies, but they are really shiny.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

In Vyno Veritas

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Published on: March 1, 2016

There is a Walgreens near where I work and I stop in often to get a bottle of juice or snacks for the office. There is an older guy there, who I assumed was from Eastern Europe, whose name tag reads “Vyno.”

Walgreens uses the tag line “Be Well.” You’ll sometimes hear employees saying that to you on the way out, and it can come off as one of those silly things said because the employees are instructed to. There is a way Vyno says it that sounds so sincere. Be well? Why thank you, I feel better already.

I was checking out yesterday and I decided to ask him, “Where are you from?”

“Armenia, but I grew up in France,” he said. “I worked in the Persian Gulf for years. I speak six languages.”

“Is Vyno an Armenian name?”

“No…I will tell you the story,” he said. He wanted to make sure that change was counted right and business was taken care of before chatting more.

He pointed to his name tag.

“‘V’ is the first letter of my first name. ‘Y’ is the first letter of my last name. ‘No’ is to remind me never to say no to customers,” he said.

I never did ask him what his real name is.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

This is all on me

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Published on: October 7, 2015

I get a couple of e-mails a week saying that if I just sign an online petition or send five bucks, I could “end Citizens United.” Wow. Who knew it was so easy?

I guess it’s my fault that the ruling still stands, eh?

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Not to excuse the Donald, but…

Categories: Rumination
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Published on: September 21, 2015

A guy called me today at the office to inform me of a crime spree I hadn’t yet been aware of: Mexicans, he said, are going into our hospitals and stealing babies.

The method of theft is to hide the babies in oversized purses (he didn’t say “oversized,” but it’s the only way this would work, right?) and make an unobtrusive getaway.

“They are just putting them in purses and they walk right out,” he said.

I suppose I could have asked him for details of this scheme. Heck, it might have been fun. Is this organized or some sort of leaderless resistance to perceived Anglo tyranny? What do they do with the babies? How do they have room for stolen babies with so many “anchor babies” that they have just to collect welfare? How is Raúl Grijalva involved in this?

I didn’t do that. Instead, I thanked him and assured him that the councilmember will give this news all the attention it deserves.

The other day, I was on a panel at a forum on issues facing the elderly. A woman I wasn’t sure I recognized got up and started to talk about fraud being committed against older folks. Then, things turned more sinister when she started talking about Mexicans being the main perpetrator of this. It was about then that I recognized her as a woman that rants at mayor and council meetings about Aztlan (she thinks that’s an organized group rather than a concept of aging Chicano activists, apparently) and the Catholic Church plotting to wreck America in some way or another. Sure enough, that’s the direction she went.

Even if she had a marginally sane point, she went on way too long. I don’t know why the person holding her mike didn’t snatch it away and give her a curt “Thank you.”

Eventually, she finished. I looked over at the fire chief, who was also on the panel, and he looked at me, both of us with a silent, “You want to take this one?”

The person holding the mike looked over at the panel and said “Do any of you have anything to say?”

I was thinking of mentioning my time in MEChA (Aztlan was part of our name, after all) and letting her know that most of our time was spent raising money for scholarships and get togethers at South Tucson restaurants. I thought better of it.

Everyone else had the same idea. It was a mix of motives: the impossibility of addressing her bizarre allegations and the hope that silence was the best answer.

Really, confronting her would have wrecked the whole event. Instead of having what could have ended up a screaming match and a lone bozo considering herself a martyr to free expression and her rather twisted version of the truth, we ignored the comments and talked about things like hearing aids, transportation issues for people who no longer drive and senior poverty. Basically, we got to talk about what we showed up to talk about.

It’s a tough line to draw. The loudmouth uncle shows up at a family gathering and talks about what the queers are doing to our precious bodily fluids and you stop yourself because the confrontation might be uglier than what was being said. You wave and say a nice hello when walking by the house with the confederate flag and the “Hands off, Barack” sign.

Of course, like everything in politics this Summer and Fall, this brings us to Donald Trump. None of this excuses Trump, who seemed to be showing agreement with the ridiculous comments that a man made at his “town hall” meeting last week. Civility doesn’t mean saying “right on” to every hateful thing somebody says. Could Trump have just said “next question”? Yeah, probably. I think his response says that he’s now being led around by the monster he’s created.

How are the rest of us supposed to handle nonsense like this? I try my best to confront when I can. “Dude, when you say spick, you are talking about my mom,” is among my favorites. One of the reasons we’ve come so far over the last fifty years or so is because plenty of people have said, “Hey, that’s not cool.” Still, this can end up being a big game of whack-a-mole: we spend all our time finding outrage and we’re left with little time to get the important work in front of us done. Maybe that’s the strategy of the Trumps of the world.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Calling Alanis…or Lalo…

Categories: Old Pueblo
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Published on: September 16, 2015

If you are on the hunt for irony, check this gem from TCC Today:

On September 8, 2015, the Tucson Community Center (TCC) Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places at the National Level of Significance!

-sigh-

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

“Unlike some people I can name…”

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Published on: July 18, 2015

The National Writers Union wanted a capsule bio from me to distribute at next month’s delegate assembly. I quickly did one up and sent it. The response was came back just as quickly.

Perfect. You are clearly a professional writer who can write to specifications – and do so quickly. Thanks – Barbara Beckwith

Nice to hear, but I wonder if it also means that she gets a bit frustrated trying to get the others in the group to respond on deadline.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Find the Pizza!

Categories: Snarky Complaints
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Published on: June 10, 2015

Capcha has always irritated me, although I understand its purpose. As long as there are jackasses who somehow manage to make a living by setting up phony baloney sites and posting hundreds of spam messages, we’ll need it.

The thing that has bugged me is that the “type what you see” words sometimes include easily confused characters like ones or o’s. How can I figure that out, especially since you guys oh so cleverly warped it?

Anyway, they have a new thing. Capcha will put up a quiz like this:

Capcha

I’ve also seen “Find the pizza!” and “Find the salad!” I don’t know if it’s an improvement or not. I guess it will stick until some guy in Belarus cracks it so he can make a dummy porn bot account.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

That time Harvey Pekar got banned from Letterman

Categories: Comic Books
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Published on: May 20, 2015

Salon has a piece this morning on Harvey Pekar’s last appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. The headline’s emphasis is on Letterman, which makes sense given it is his last week on the air.

Never saw it? Not to worry, there is a grainy YouTube video:

I never got the impression that Letterman was angry at Pekar so much for the anti-GE talk as much as that Pekar was being an asshole. Oh course, the fact that Pekar was an asshole is a lot of why we liked him, and the reason he got on the show in the first place.

American SplendorSomething I found funny back when the American Splendor movie was released ten years ago was how often Pekar would be referred to as a “David Letterman guest.” I guess being on TV a few times give you more cred that a mere comic book writer.

Pekar made sure he got the last word. The exchange was portrayed in American Splendor #14 (“The David Letterman Exploitation Issue”).

Interestingly, despite the vitriol that Pekar seemed to display in the interview, the portrayal in the comic (a story called “The Grand Finale”) of David Letterman is relatively respectful. Mostly, this is that Pekar’s “voice” in the story is that of a detached observer. He is only reporting on what happened. Also, as Two Geeks Talking notes, Pekar’s telling is also an admission that, much like his portrayal of himself in his comics, he may have ramped up his own irascibility to make for better TV.

Despite his honest telling of the exchange, he censored it a wee bit.

AS Image 9

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Geek Question of the Day

Categories: Snarky Complaints
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Published on: May 13, 2015

Okay, everyone (well, nearly everyone) knows the error in Star Wars where Han Solo brags about completing the Kessal Run in 12 parsecs. Parsecs measure distance and not time, and no one buys George Lucas’s explanation that he knew that all along and meant that Solo knew a short cut or some such nonsense.

Pointing out the error has become one of those ways to show that you are “in the know” as a Star Wars fan. But, here’s the thing that gets me: why would Solo or anyone in a “Galaxy far, far away” be using parsecs to measure anything?

A parsec is approximately three and a quarter light years and has been in use for about a century. It is based on the distance from which the Earth and the Sun would appear one second of arc away from each other. Given the difference in sizes, it is doubtful that the Earth would appear at all if it is that far in apparent distance from the Sun. Never mind that though; it is in common use in astronomy.

Here’s the trouble: how would some guy from Alderaan establish what a parsec is? Is there some definition like, “Hey, you know that star? If there was a planet 93 million miles from it, how far away would you have to be for them to be an arcsecond apart? That’s my new measurement!”

Obviously, someone didn’t think this through.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Not quite incognito

Categories: Old Pueblo
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Published on: May 5, 2015

A van with the KVOA logo pulls up and the window rolls down. A woman wearing sunglasses who is clearly Lupita Murrillo pokes her head out.

“Excuse me. I’m a reporter with channel 4.”

I had that figured.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

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