E Pleb Neesta

26 09 2010

Long ago, when people watched TV in their caves with their pet dinosaurs standing guard outside, there was a TV show called Star Trek. It was, in its day, considered groundbreaking, although it is hard to explain why to those who only discovered it after its many siblings and descendants. The special effects are pretty hokey, for one thing, and the producers ran true to type and decimated the show’s budget each year- eventually shutting it down altogether as being unprofitable. But some of the writing for the show was first-rate science fiction.

Veteran viewers of Star Trek may recognize the words of this post’s title as Yang “Worship Words”, from one of the better episodes called “The Omega Glory“. Like most episodes, the special effects blew chunks, the science had only tenuous connections to reality, and there were plot holes big enough to fly Enterprise through. The episode did bring up a couple of interesting points- mainly regarding the Yang “Worship Words” and their Holy Documents (the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence).

There are a lot of people in this country waving the Constitution about like a magic wand, claiming that all our societal ills will be done away with merely by acknowledging its power. To many of these people, the Constitution is a Holy Document, the words written on it are their “Worship Words”, and somehow only the enlightened few who are treating the Constitution as a magical talisman have divined the mystical secrets within. We should therefore vote for them, regardless of how mind-bogglingly stupid too many of them are.

I would caution those people to at least make an attempt to understand those words. These folks seem to believe that merely quoting passages from their Holy Document negates all arguments against their political positions, but display an appalling lack of understanding about the meaning of those words. They also routinely demonstrate only the most tenuous understanding of the Constitution and its history.

Far too many people seem to believe that the Constitution was intended to limit the power of the central government in favor of greater powers for the states. This demonstrates a seemingly willful disregard of actual history. The document which accomplished the things these folk are advocating was called the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution was created to correct many of the colossal fuck-ups created by the Articles- by giving more power to the Federal Government at the expense of the states. The men at that Constitutional Convention were understandably wary of the powers of a central government, but also knew that the Articles of Confederation made it impossible for the United States of America to be anything more than an ironic title. They got together and hammered out a series of compromises (often in smoke-filled back rooms, taverns, and clandestine private meetings) to create a single nation under a centralized Federal Government, to which the States would be subordinate.

That sound you just heard was a bunch of Tea Party heads exploding.

Some of those compromises included the first twelve Amendments (the ten of which make up the Bill of Rights were just the first of those twelve Amendments ratified) to the new Constitution. These Amendments were compromise measures designed to protect the rights of the States and individual citizens against the power of the Federal Government.

I personally am appalled at the extent to which the last few Presidents (with the connivance of the Legislature) have expanded the powers of the Executive branch, and I am likewise nauseated by the growing power of the Federal Government in general at the expense of individual rights. I share these feelings with the manifold and diverse Tea Party groups around the country. One way in which the Tea Party folks and I part company is in the blind worship of the Constitution and the Founders.

When history becomes scripture and men become deities, truth is the victim.

The Founders were men, not gods. They had the same frailties and foibles as any other men. The Constitution they created was a committee effort, and therefore the result of laborious compromise and dirty dealing. It is not a Holy Document, the mere mention of which will assuage all fears and solve all problems. The Constitution is a set of limits and powers which are hopefully properly balanced to allow freedom and prosperity. Tea Party activists tend to ignore these facts in favor of cherry-picking sections from the Constitution which favor their positions. This is eerily similar to the way fundamentalist christians cherry-pick scriptures to justify their insidious deeds and words. The similarities are easily explained, because many of the most vocal and idiotic Tea Party activists are also fundamentalist christians. Far too many of the remainder are what can best be described as Constitutional Fundamentalists. Fundamentalism in any flavor is bad. Fundamentalism coupled with political power is indescribably bad. Political fundamentalism coupled with religious fundamentalism is a precursor to Hell on Earth.

The people who make up the Tea Party groups (not organizations, mind you- just groups) are starting to fall victim to the public perception that the rabid fundamentalist whackjobs who get most of the air time in the media represent the totality of the movement. It is therefore incumbent upon the Tea Party members to abolish this justified perception by acknowledging the fact that their movement appears to have been hijacked by utter fuckwits, and doing something about it. Not every criticism of a Tea Party candidate is the result of a sinister conspiracy. If criticism is justified, deal with it. Alleging that everyone who so much as looks cross-eyed at a Tea Party member is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist Wannabe only reinforces the public perception that Tea Party members are all a little bit unstable- particularly if the original criticism is true and well-deserved.

If the Tea Party truly wants to make changes to the political process, they will need to reiterate their core aims to the public. Tell the public what you plan to do, why you want to do it, and how you plan to make that happen. If you are truly a grass-roots movement of the average people in this country, this approach will pay the greatest dividends on Election Day. In doing so, the Tea Party will also need to deal with the rabid foaming loons in their ranks, to avoid seeming crazy by association. At present, every Tea Party representative who gets air time seems to be a rabid, fundamentalist christian bigot with an outspoken disdain for anyone who is not white and christian. All this will get you is enormous trouble in the political process and defeat at the polls. You want to be fundamentalists? Try getting your movement back from the paranoid xenophobes who have hijacked it.

Current status: Annoyed

Current music: Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits

Black Ice

22 09 2010

William Gibson is not just a great storyteller, he is also a prophet. Not in the religious sense, but rather in the sense that he wrote stories (in the 1980s) about malicious software (malware) built by (or for) a national military or government for the sole purpose of attacking and destroying enemy assets. Gibson wrote these stories in a near-future world where governments routinely augment their conventional war-fighting operations with dedicated software.

That future has arrived. For those of you who don’t follow information technology news, allow me to introduce you to Stuxnet.

Information warfare experts around the world have been working on reverse-engineering this malware since it first came to their attention in June. Unlike most such programs, this worm requires no input or actions from a user. It is specifically designed to infiltrate industrial control systems, such as power plants or manufacturing centers. It is also a precision bit of weaponized software- there is apparently only one set of machines on the planet which will activate the worm’s destructive programming, and then only if certain applications are in use. Once activated, Stuxnet will apparently take control of the target system and cause it to operate outside parameters- effectively damaging or destroying that equipment. They think. It could just infiltrate the system and shut it down, whereupon the author(s) can contact the target’s owners and demand a ransom for returning control. Given the complexity and precision of the programming, this is considered unlikely.

Despite what you’ve seen in movies or TV shows, most hackers are not that skillful. Most are merely using bits and pieces of software created by others to launch their attacks. The super-nerd with a shit-hot computer system and a superfast internet connection doesn’t really exist outside of Hollyweird. As a result, most information warfare attacks you hear or read about are fairly crude (relatively speaking). These attacks succeed largely because most computer users are unbelievably stupid. There are dozens of companies who make a living keeping up to date on the current state of the art and providing protection against the various iterations of worms, viruses, and similar malware. Many of them wrote some of the original software which script kiddies are still using today.

Computer security experts are amazed and scared shitless by the staggering mount of programming built into Stuxnet. Amazed by the exquisite care with which the worm seeks a very precise target, and scared because this is the first documented case of such weaponized software. Stuxnet is the result of a single person of surpassing aptitude on a long series of good days or the end product of an industrialized, Manhattan Project-type directed effort by a large number of very skilled programmers working together. Outside of Hollyweird, that sort of effort is thought to be possible only for governments or very large corporations (or both).

Gibson coined the term ICE for his stories. ICE is an acronym for Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics. Most ICE was used to prevent unauthorized access, and operated mainly by disconnecting the unauthorized user from the targeted system or network. The cyber-bravos in Gibson’s tales were also familiar with something called Black ICE. This sort of program would kill or incapacitate unauthorized users. Stuxnet is similar in that it causes damage outside of computer networks. Stuxnet is a purpose-built weapon.

Welcome to the future. Mind that first step …

Suggested reading: Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Burning Chrome– all by William Gibson

Current status: Intrigued

Current music: I Want You To by Weezer

Public Service Announcement

16 09 2010

As a public service to my few readers, I am passing on this warning from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

A new, extremely virulent strain of a well-known pathogen has emerged, and is already spreading. It was first observed in San Luis Obispo, CA earlier this week, but we have recently confirmed a new outbreak in Tulsa, OK. The CDC has expended a great deal of effort to identify how this pathogen is spread, and successfully isolated two primary vectors: Police departments and fear-mongering local media outlets. Please avoid believing any so-called “information” coming from either of these two populations.

I refer, of course, to the very old internet meme-turned-public-menace known as Pedobear.

Those of you who frequent the message boards on many web sites will be familiar with Pedobear. For those who are not, Pedobear started existence as a slightly creepy cartoon character from Japanese animation, but has been co-opted for several years by the online community- particularly at 4Chan- as a way of making fun of the widespread hysteria in the US about sexual abuse of children. Yes, it is in poor taste. I would even go so far as to say it is extremely poor taste. Bad taste notwithstanding, Pedobear is yet another long-running internet meme that has begun to creep into what we laughingly refer to as Real Life™.

I assume most of my readers are familiar with the aphorism, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” So it is with Pedobear. It seems that some helicopter parent saw a car with a Pedobear sticker and apparently asked someone what that was. Like most helicopter parents, this person has no apparent sense of humor and very little sense of any other sort, and immediately jumped to the conclusion that Pedobear was the “mascot” of pedophiles in the US. The deeply stupid helicopter parent (I apologize for the redundancy) immediately went to the local Police in San Luis Obispo, who promptly issued a Public Warning to the local media outlets about this “new threat” to the precious children. At least one media outlet likewise failed to do any sort of fact-checking on the subject and alerted all of their readers. The internet community enjoyed great lulz, and many web-dwellers made a point of sending comments to the media outlets and police to expose their manifold stupidities.

All of this happened and was essentially over by this past Tuesday, although the giggling on 4Chan never really stopped. This should have been the end of the story, but we are dealing with a particularly virulent strain of stupidity here. Two days later, another news outlet- this time in Tulsa, Oklahoma- released another warning from their local police about this horrible scourge. Obviously, we have a pandemic of stupidity being transmitted from police departments to media outlets  across the country. The only proven way to deal with stupidity of this magnitude is by treating those who have contracted the disease with as much public derision as possible.

This is not the first strain of Stupidus Derpus Pandemicus to appear this year, of course. It is, however, the first one with such easily-identifiable disease vectors. Police departments have no business passing on unsubstantiated rumor as Public Safety warnings- least of all when merely punching the word “pedobear” into wikipedia quickly gives the correct information. Almost any search engine gives up a large sum of information about this meme, which any moron of average intelligence (I include media drones and police officers as a courtesy) should therefore have been able to determine how stupid this “threat” really is. The fact that at least two police departments and media outlets failed to perform even the most perfunctory fact-checking shows a lack of integrity that borders on cosmic.

This image goes out to all the media hacks and tiny-brained thugs-in-uniform out there. Remember boys and girls, the best way to evolve your way out of the swamp is to bang the rocks together.

Such dismal stupidity does bring up an interesting point- given the stellar density of  stupid exhibited by the police and media agencies in this little example, how much more drivel-masquerading-as-fact is being spoon-fed to us by other media and police agencies without our knowledge? I’m guessing quite a bit. Do yourself a favor: if the media or the police are telling you something, check if it’s something important. The epic fail in this episode suggests that such simple facts as, “the sun rises in the east” would warrant fresh investigation if coming from the media or police.

Current status: disgusted

Current music: Soul Meets Body by Death Cab for Cutie

Lost Opportunities

12 09 2010

It’s the 12th of September. I made a point of not posting anything relevant to 9/11 yesterday to allow more time for people to get over the national spasm of media hype surrounding the attack. For those of you who have just emerged from ten years of suspended animation, here is what happened: a bunch of religious zealots took over four commercial aircraft and conducted coordinated kamikazi attacks on targets in Washington DC and New York. They were ordered to do so by a ruthlessly intelligent man whose primary goal was the overthrow of the ruling family in Saudi Arabia. Nearly three thousand innocent civilian died in the attacks.

Some people may be asking why flying airplanes into buildings here in the US would have any effect on overthrowing the House of Saud. Bin Laden knew that overthrowing the Saudi dynasty would be next to impossible so long as they were supported economically and politically by the United States. In order to remove the House of Saud from power, Bin Laden would have to reduce American power in the region. The intermediate strategic goal was to instigate a war between the West and all of Islam. If the West fell into that trap, they would remove the Saudi royal family for him- and he was pre-positioned to take advantage of the resulting power vacuum. Whether or not the West waged war on all of Islam, the inevitable counter strikes would likely inflame public opinion in the House of Peace against the West, making it possible for Al Qaeda to successfully take power on a wave of populist anger.

In the short term, this was a blitheringly stupid move. Bin Laden failed to appreciate the magnitude of the American response. He also failed to take into account the fact that Islam has a great many internal divisions which would also be jockeying for power. Governments all over the world started expending enormous resources to track and destroy the Al Qaeda organization and anyone affiliated with it (and- frequently- eliminate potential rebels and terrorists within their own countries). Still worse- from the terrorists’ point of view- much of the world started cooperating in this effort. Al Qaeda’s base of operations in Afghanistan was rapidly destroyed with contemptuous ease, transferring funds to the scattered units of the group became astronomically difficult, and Al Qaeda’s command-and-control structure was eviscerated. Further complicating Bin Laden’s plan was the US conquest of Iraq. Replacing one of the bastions of Sunni Islam with a largely Shi’ite government in Iraq meant that the Shi’a in Iran would be grow strong. Persian influence is now one of the most potent problems for Al Qaeda.

Sounds like a net loss for the Bad Guys, right?

In the short term, it was a loss for Al Qaeda. The long-term strategic goal has yet to be stopped. Al Qaeda shifted quickly (of necessity) to a widely dispersed, decentralized network of loosely-affiliated groups. These groups were directed to make trouble for the Americans in the Middle East. If American military and economic power could be thwarted- or appear to be thwarted- on the ground, then Al Qaeda could still move against the Saudi government, once the US was weakened internally and internationally. I challenge all and sundry to look at the current state of affairs in the Middle East and not see a net loss for the Good Guys.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there was global support for action against Al Qaeda and similar groups. A huge opportunity existed to bring huge swaths of the world into closer contact, improve security, communications, and trade. That opportunity was carelessly discarded in favor of short-term political goals by governments across the globe. Seeing an excuse to hugely increase the power of the Executive Branch, the Bush Administration jammed a wide variety of legislation through Congress which would never have passed in the cold light of day. With national unity still waxing and a firm grip on public opinion, our elected representatives enacted sweeping limitations on individual liberties and began ignoring the Constitution whenever it suited their purposes. This is not solely aimed at the Republicans who were then in control. Huge numbers of Democrats joined in this collective raping of American ideals.

Individuals were arrested and locked up for years without benefit of trial. Government agencies forced their noses into the private phone calls and emails of American citizens without warrants- or any oversight by the courts. Individuals suspected of collusion or affiliation with terrorists were tortured by our government, or at our government’s behest by other governments with fewer qualms about violating human rights. Costly, time-wasting, and thoroughly useless so-called “security measures” were put in place at US airports.  American citizens could be prohibited from boarding any aircraft in the world if their names were on a secret list of suspected Bad Guys (and frequently if their names were just similar to a suspected Bad Guy), with no means of appeal and no way to tell if your name is on the list. Police agencies across the country were given millions of dollars worth of military equipment to help prevent terrorism, which was promptly used by those same police to commit terror attacks on the civilian populations they were supposedly protecting. In just nine short years, we have gone from enjoying individual liberties to cheerfully watching as those same liberties get stripped from our fellow Americans because they are “different”. Those who know their history will remember what happened in this country the last time we went down this road: thousands of innocent civilians- including children- were forced into internment camps because we were afraid they might “do something”.

Have we learned nothing from history? We, the People, are better than this. Irrational acts might be understandable in moments of blind panic, but they are still irrational. Sustaining a feeling of panic is one of the government’s goals, because it is easier to convince people to give up liberty in search of security when they are afraid.

In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Al Qaeda has won. We have become a nation frightened of the possibilities of the future we once embraced and created. They didn’t have to defeat us- we did it to ourselves out of fear.

Here is a short video clip on the subject.

Current status: somber

Current music: Total Eclipse of the Heart by Nikki French

Sound and Fury

9 09 2010

Heads up, rational people! The derp is getting stronger.

Some religious fuckwit named Bryan Fischer has decided that America should use Germany as an example of how to deal with violent ideologues. It seems that Herr Fischer is an admirer of how Germany deals with their neo-Nazi groups, and thinks we should apply the same principles and tactics here in the US. Sturmbanfuhrer Fischer thinks that the US should refuse to permit the building – or existence- of any mosques on the grounds that, “every single mosque is a potential terror training center or recruitment center for jihad” and thus “you cannot claim first amendment protections if your religious organization is engaged in subversive activities.

I’ll allow you a moment to let that sink in.

I repeatedly use German and Nazi terms to refer to this pathetic waste of oxygen because his antics are reminiscent of another pin-headed rabble-rouser … in 1930’s Germany. He’s deliberately singling out a small minority of American citizens as being “dangerous” and who should be denied basic human rights on the basis of nothing more than Gruppenfurher Fischer’s say-so. This isn’t even a slippery slope- this is nothing less than condemnation of millions of Americans as “enemies” by virtue of the fact that they are “different”. What’s next? After the muslims have been dealt with, will it be time to rid the nation of the scourge of Rastafarianism? Gotta have an enemy to hate. Maybe we should go after the Mormons, Santeria, and Hindus, too.

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. – Seneca the Younger

Here’s a clue chit for those who haven’t figured out why this is a problem: If the religiously moronic can successfully remove Constitutional liberties from any minority group by spinning that group as a threat, they can make the same arguments for everyone who isn’t just like them (white, christian, and irredeemably stupid). Weirdly, the only reason Herr Fischer and his sturmtruppen are such a threat to our country is because those same Constitutional guarantees of freedom they so desperately want to deny to muslims protect the Christian Dominionists.

An infinite God ought to be able to protect Himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures. – Robert Ingersoll

The really imbecilic part of the whole litany of Christian Dominionist blather coming from our Gestapo friend is the fact that he and his followers are actually more dangerous to this country than any number of muslims. Why? Because of the amount of influence he wields over our Government. Let us take a look at the people who have been invited- like ReichsMarshall Fischer- to speak at a “Values Voter Summit” this year. There are ten sitting Governors, Senators, and US Representatives on the list, as well as five people (using the term loosely) who are considered contenders for the Presidency.

When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. – Sinclair Lewis

The only way the other guests at this event could possibly redeem themselves as public figures would be to rise up in a body and denounce this Brownshirt for the dangerous lunatic he is, then go on to explicitly repudiate his message and tactics and re-affirm their adherence to the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States.

Speaking of the Constitution, here’s that pesky First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? Absolutely everything this jackass want to accomplish is specifically prohibited in the First Amendment. That explains why Oberfuhrer Fischer and his jack-booted followers are so keen on developing a method to remove those Constitutional guarantees from anyone they find objectionable.

In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty. – Thomas Jefferson

Now, here is the important bit. Why do these alleged people think they can get away with this sort of bullshit? Because you let them. You have been ever-so-willing to follow the Man on a Horse and turn over your individual rights in the vain hope of safety and security that those who wish to remake our country in their own warped image are counting on your habit of willfully stupid obedience to let them get away with murder.

Wake the fuck up! Your enemies are not the millions of muslims who live among us. Your true enemies are the rabble-rousers and religious panderers who want nothing less than replacing the Constitution with their twisted interpretation of religion.

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics. – Robert A. Heinlein

I have no desire to be enslaved to a God or Gods. More, I have no desire to see others shackled by compulsory religion. If your God doesn’t like the way I live, let him tell me- not you.If you want to follow some religion or another- knock yourself out. Just leave me out of it. Your right to practice your religion ends where the practice of your religion infringes on someone else’s rights.

One last thing- you do not have a Constitutionally-guaranteed right to “not be annoyed”.

Current status: Seething with rage

Current music: Witch Hunt by Rush (it seemed appropriate)

Better Living Through Chemistry

6 09 2010

A few years ago, I made a remarkably simple (and stupid) mistake, and it cost me a career and left me in constant pain. The Navy was nice enough to give me severance pay, but they couldn’t justify keeping a sailor who can barely walk. If you can’t go to sea, you can’t stay in the Big Blue Machine.

I still work for the Navy as a civilian, but my entire life was turned upside down by a moment’s inattention to detail. I used to be fairly fit (for a sailor). I ran every day, worked out in the gym, practiced one or two martial arts, and generally had an abundance of good health as a result. I can do none of those things any more, and my general health has suffered for it. All the muscle mass I had turned into mush, and now I look like a potato.

Then there is the pain. If you go to a doctor’s office, they usually have a little chart on the wall to help you describe what level of pain you are feeling. A normal person should be at zero (on a scale of zero to ten). “Normal”, for me, is between four and five. Every day. Every night. Any activity beyond a short walk usually sends me up into the seven-to-eight range. Some of my work requires that I spend a considerable time on my feet. I plan my work routine to cover as much territory as possible in the shortest amount of time (a comedian once said, “If you want to know the easiest way to get somewhere, ask a cripple- they know ALL the shortcuts“), then grit my teeth and get the job done. I also tend to use large quantities of pharmaceuticals to keep the pain to a more-or-less manageable level.

I hate drugs. Always have. Being in the service only reinforced this opinion, since Navy Medicine generally consists of band-aids and “vitamin M” (Motrin™). Ibuprofen, the active chemical in several brand-name pain relievers (including Motrin™), does a fair job on aches and pains, but tends to tear up your stomach in large doses (the military routinely hands out “vitamin M” in 800 mg doses- to the point where it’s called “Ranger Candy” by the Army). There are also significant side effects from long-term use- including damage to the liver and kidneys. The problem is, ibuprofen works best when there’s a reasonably consistent level of the drug in your bloodstream all the time, so there are a lot of ex-military people out there with damaged livers and kidneys from long-term ibuprofen use.

Ibuprofen doesn’t work very well for me, so I’m kind of stuck with more potent meds. Did I mention I dislike drugs? I truly loathe narcotics. Narcotics like codeine often reduce the pain to tolerable levels, but they make me dumb as a post. Worse, the dumb-as-a-post effect outlasts the pain relief by at least a factor of three. I’ll get four to six hours of surcease from pain, at the cost of blithering idiocy for a couple of days. This can cause some problems at work, where only sheer force of will keeps me from expressing my heartfelt disgust with stupidity. If I’m in dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks mode, the vitriol tends to spill forth unbidden. Since I work in a customer-service-intensive field, this causes extra work for my boss and co-worker- neither of whom deserve it.

In between ibuprofen and narcotics are a few drugs which take a notch or two off the pain, but generally leave me more-or-less coherent and mostly in control of my faculties. They all tend to make me sleepy, so I try not to take them at work. After a particularly arduous day, I often take one just before I leave for home. The soporific effect doesn’t kick in until I’m safely at home, and pain level will be slowly reducing through the course of my drive to the point where I can manage to get into the house without terrifying neighborhood children with my facial expressions. I cannot take them constantly, but these drugs do make it possible for me to have a reasonable facsimile of a normal existence.

Then there is beer. I never used to be a big fan of beer, although I had a few favorites. My tastes ran more to single-malt scotch. I discovered by accident that a favorite beer of mine had a marvelous pain relieving effect. This apparent analgesic effect required further study, so I experimented. I found that several beers and ales did wonders for relieving my pain, but far too many of those tasted like malted battery acid. If I couldn’t stand to drink them, they wouldn’t do me much good. I was left with a handful of beers and ales which were both good-tasting and worked well as painkillers. let me assure all and sundry that I am talking about drinking a single beer, and getting the same analgesic effect as one of the make-me-sleepy painkillers. Getting blotto would probably help with the pain, but I’d be back in dim-as-five-feet-up-a-pig’s-ass territory, and I hate that.

Believe it or not, my beloved wife approves of this means of pain control. She frequently tells me to stop at the store and pick up a couple of bottles. She can’t stand the stuff, but likes the fact that it keeps my pain manageable. I can’t believe I married someone with such good judgement. Better still, the cat likes it, too. She loves drinking the foam and the corks make wonderful cat toys.

So, despite my infirmities, I have managed to scratch out a rude approximation of a normal life. I eagerly await the invention of a painkiller with no side effects, but in the meantime, I will make do with the combinations of chemicals and lifestyle changes which I have developed over the past few years.

Current status: Bored

Current music: The High Road by Broken Bells