Wednesday, November 30, 2005

No time to really post, sorry...

I'm fine...

Life is okay...

My wife is home in DAYS!



Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Retail BLOWS!


I mean:

Original Source for art


So... I didn't sleep last night, like at all... And I'm a bit cranky. The car was frozen shut today... I'm not kidding... Damn leaky seals around the doors or something. I mean, it's not like you get rained on inside the car, or anything... But in the winter, if it rains, and blows a little... The doors get frozen shut. And the windows. Ger. I scraped for about 15 minutes to get the car freed of the ice and snow from last night's storm. We were lucky actually... As in Western Minnesota (where the centre of the storm was) they got 9-12 inches of snow! We only had about 1 or so in the Cities, so I'm not really complaining. But... Jeez.

Okay... So I got my hair cut by this guy named Ed. He opened a barber's shop right next to my favourite coffee shop in St. Paul two years ago... (After I had left for Britain) and since I had to get my hair cut anyway... And was stopping by the Fine Grind for coffee... I jumped in. Didn't have to wait... He cut my hair. Spent TIME on it, and was a really good barber. I'll be going back!

So... If you're in the Twin Cities, and you need a cut... GO HERE:
Ed's Barber Shop
2040 Marshall Avenue (at Cleveland)
St. Paul, MN 55104
(+1) 651-917-0154

Seriously... When I find a good place... I go to it for as long as I can. I was panicked about finding a new "stylist" since I've returned to the States, and I'm pleasantly surprised to have found a good one on the first try! YAY!


I have to go get my driver's License renewed today, so I have to cut this short... But...

I'm okay... I'm having a couple of days off from work, thank the gods... And I'll be writing more tomorrow, if I get a chance.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

A blacker Saturday.

Hi folks...

It's actually 1:40am on Sunday, as I write this entry.

I just got off of work at midnight.

Due to the weather, and poor driving conditions... "Black Friday" wasn't actually that bad this year... But... As the title of this blog states, Saturday more than made up for it.

Today was nuts.

I just worked an eleven hour shift today.... I got my half-hour break at 3:30 when I started work at 1:00. So... I worked eight hours without a smoke-break or anything today.

I'm actually okay.

My feet are killing me... My legs were stricken with strange "nerve" things... Um... Sensations of "burning" in my thighs, which were really interesting.


You know... My legs are actually quite developed from living in Britain, and walking everywhere but now... I think my legs are growing even bigger! It's nuts.

Och weel... It's nice to know that $80,000 dollars and two degrees make me a great "retail employee."


I work tomorrow nine hours, and Monday, eight hours... And then I'm off Tues through Thursday.

Thank the gods.

I'll try to write again soon... But I'm feeling delicate.

I love all my readers...



Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday

That's right folks... It's "Black Friday" as coined by retailers. The day after Thanksgiving, statistically the biggest shopping day of the year in the US. The term "Black Friday" is either the owner's of retail places term for the first day that retailers go from being unprofitable or "in the red" to profitable or "in the black."

I personally think that the term wasn't coined by the employers, but the employees, and that "Black Friday" actually is called that because it's the worst day to be an employee at a retail store, due to the sheer madness of the shoppers.

I could be wrong, but...

This will be the second time I go through a "Black Friday" at the mall of America as an employee. The first time was back in the mid-'90's when I worked at B.Dalton Bookseller at the Mall. I seem to remember crying after my shift 10 years ago. So... I'm not really looking forward to my shift today. On top of the "ritual madness" that is Black Friday... This is also only my second shift WORKING at this place, so... I'm a bit nervous because of that too. Eight hours of hell... With only the slim possibility of a fag-break... Is NOT a good thing for the Tuck-man.

So... Wish me luck.

Oh... And for all you "retail" folk that have dealt with being searched at a retail job, before going home... And saying it's "normal" I have only one thing to bemoan... The current state of employee/employer relations. The fact that as an employee, and not TRUSTED by your employer is a sad, sad commentary on our times today.

I'm not used to "not being trusted" and even if it IS normal... It's something that I really fucking HATE. Okay? I mean... We can all chuckle about it... But I don't think that we SHOULD. I think we should take our employers to TASK for this lack of faith... And conversely... Any employee STEALING from their employer should be shot, without trial. I'm not kidding... I think we have to return to immediate and firm removal of the wastes of space of our modern society... Remove the chaff, so the rest of us can return to our normal lives.


Well... I'm off. Oh, and My Lady's internet is down at the house, so if you don't hear from her for a while, it's not through her OWN lack... It's through the actions of an over-blown and quite bumbling British Telecom service. Think nice thoughts her way, as she's now REALLY cut off from the normal world, and stuck in a hell of epic proportions.

Smiles readers... Wish me luck.

-- T

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Greetings to yet another day from Minnesota!

First... Thanks for all the "good vibes" for my interview yesterday. As of 9:25am today, I still don't know the results.


But, it seemed to go okay. And she asked if I would be able to start today... But... Here's the rub. She was meant to call me this morning... And they have a "anti-tattoo" thing, so I have to wear a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath the "company t-shirt" to "hide" my sin from their very fragile customers... Or something.... But I'm not about to go buy a whole passle of the damn things, if I'm not hired! I personally think that the long-sleeved t-shirt is one of the bigger fashion faux-pas' EVER. So... We'll see won't we.

That being said...

I was complaining on Sunday about the complete lacunae of any good news about which to rant... Well, thankfully, there's finally something to complain about. Yay!

• St. Paul Urban dwellers lighted, not delighted. Okay, this story is just funny. There's a whole passle of yuppies that live in Downtown St. Paul, and they're upset that the buildings and the signs on the buildings are lit up all night... It keeps them awake, or something. One of the companies, Bremer Bank, has offered to buy people black-out shades for their windows, and only two complainants have taken up the offer. Folks... If it's too light outside your window, buy a shade, or, if one is GIVEN to you, take it. Do not think you're so special, your urban-castle is such an example of a tax base, or that you deserve something that makes no sense! If you live in an urban setting, it's going to be bright outside all night long. It just will. You're the same sort of people who complain that "it's not safe" outside at night, begging for better street-lighting, to keep the "riff-raff" away... but...

See. Makes no sense.

Look... Move out to the country, and you'll see plenty of dark. I know... I lived with My Lady's family in the middle of fucking nowhere in Scotland. That's fucking dark okay? Damn.

• Here's another thing that got my goat this morning... In an editorial from the Star Tribune they complained about class-sizes. They only briefly mentioned that taxpayers have raised referendums to pay for smaller class sizes, and that for some reason, all that money is being "lost" somehow. 'Cause you know... We have. I remember voting in three fricking elections to raise taxes to lower class sizes. Over six years in Bloomington, we've had these bloody referendums, and I remember that the first two passed, but the third one didn't. You know why? 'Cause voters are only SO fricking stupid, that's why. What happened to the first two referendums? The high-schools and grade-schools in Bloomington built gymnasiums and sports-facilities. Not classrooms... Not more teachers... Gyms. I kid you not! Smaller class sizes are an obvious way to improve student learning. More personal attention, better classroom management by the teachers, better one-on-one with students that need extra help. Etc... It's just bloody obvious. But the problem is... We've given them money "for smaller class sizes" and they've spent it elsewhere! Fuck off! You made your bed, city-schools, now lie in it.

• Ah yes... Reason five thousand four hundred and thirty three, for me not to be Catholic anymore: Vatican says gays may not join priesthood. Now this upsets me, not 'cause I'm gay. But because the church is so fricking stupid. There's a shortage of priests, okay? Really "Catholic" gays actually DO believe that being gay is a sin. So, in the past 40 or so years, gay men have joined the priesthood to be celibate, and to "not sin." Some of the best priests I've had throughout my life were quite obviously homosexual. But they were celibate, just like a priest is supposed to be. It was a win-win for the church. Gay people, in order to NOT sin, joined the priesthood, furthered the church, and "saved their immortal souls." But the church says that gays are no longer allowed to be ordained. The sad thing about this... Is that most of this "no more gay" thing is the churches answer to all the child-molestation by priests... And the church is making one major mistake here...

Homosexuals are not child-molesters.

Child-molesters are child-molesters.

I'm straight, okay... I like women. I am attracted to women. NOT GIRLS... Women.

A gay guy is attracted to MEN. Not boys... MEN.

This is just so fucking ridiculous. Gah. Well... Good luck Nazi-pope. Your shortage of priests is going to JUMP in the next 10 years, and you've brought it all onto yourself. Jesus wept. And continues to do so.

• Finally... Pubs prepare for new drinking laws. Alleluia. Welcome, Britain, to the rest of the world. To the people that say that "Binge-drinking" is going to get worse because of extended hours... You're probably right. Sorry... But you are. For some weird reason, Brits are just all about drinking. I personally blame it on the weather. I mean... I was drinking like a fish whilst living in England and Scotland. Now that I'm home... I'm actually quite sober, pretty much every day. (Except for that one time last week... But I digress) Yep... It's your weather. Look at it this way perhaps with global-warming 'caused mainly by my president and his policies... Britain will get warmer and less rainy, and people won't have to feel as though they have to drink themselves into insensibility every night.

Probably not though.

Cheers everyone... Smiles and kittens!
-- Tuckmac

News Flash
I was hired today at 13:45... I work from 6-9pm tonight. Thanks for the happy thoughts. - T

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The house is cold.

I didn't want to get out of bed today. I mean, I was awake but the idea of exposing my skin to the ambient air-temp in my bedroom was just way too daunting this morning.

To explain... We're trying to conserve energy at the MacNeill household. What that means, is that in addition to putting up 3M Window insulation, and putting blankets against the door-frames, we're also keeping the heating set at an unbearably cold 58°F temperature (14°C).

That's just damn cold.


Well... I DID eventually get out of bed, and am now about to head upstairs to do the shit-shower-shave thing, in preparation for my job-interview this afternoon.


But anyhoo... It's currently at (noon, CST) 32°F (0°C) but it's meant to get up to 39°F (4°C) this afternoon... OOH... Above freezing... How wonderful!


Okay... So is anyone else getting really tired of "Suck my" Dick Cheney? Here's a quote from a recent speech:
"The flaws in the intelligence are plain enough in hindsight. But any suggestion that prewar information was distorted, hyped or fabricated by the leader of the nation is utterly false,'' Cheney said in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute.

Shut UP Cheney... You lying piece of fucking shite!

The funny thing about this, however, is all the back-peddling from the administration due to Sen. Murtha. After the admin let slide that he was a coward... Now they're all "oh, no... That's not what we meant, nothing against Murtha, oh no..."


Read the latest foibles of the whole discussion here: Cheny blasts senators who claim Bush lied on Iraq from the Star and Sickle.

Okay... I'm off to become beautiful... Or at least an approximation of said physical form.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Okay, so it's Monday

Okay, this isn't a typical "blog" test, it's a "real" test that you can take on the internet here: (Belief-o-matic)

The reason that I put it here, is that there's been a couple of conversations on N8's or Mick's, or my own site, about religion and I thought, what the hell? When I found this test. I was curious to see what my "beliefs" would be considered. Hmm... Not so sure I like the idea that the test made me a "Neo-pagan" 'cause I don't consider myself to be one. However... It could just be that my beliefs are SO messed up, that that was the closest thing that they could come up with, but... Gah.

1. Neo-Pagan (100%)
2. New Age (93%)
3. Unitarian Universalism (86%)
4. Mahayana Buddhism (83%)
5. Hinduism (75%)
6. Liberal Quakers (75%)
7. Jainism (74%)
8. Sikhism (74%)
9. Reform Judaism (72%)
10. New Thought (69%)
11. Scientology (67%)
12. Theravada Buddhism (67%)
13. Bahá'í Faith (65%)
14. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (55%)
15. Orthodox Judaism (55%)
16. Taoism (51%)
17. Secular Humanism (50%)
18. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (46%)
19. Islam (45%)
20. Orthodox Quaker (45%)
21. Nontheist (29%)
22. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (22%)
23. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (21%)
24. Eastern Orthodox (19%)
25. Roman Catholic (19%)
26. Seventh Day Adventist (19%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (10%)

Anyhoo... what the? Okay... Couple of things:

Mick spoke about job-searching... And I'll let you go check out his entry, as I'd say pretty much the same thing... Gah... I forgot how horrible it was to try to find a job! But... All you can do is keep looking, and hoping, right? RIGHT????

Well... For the "dorky-job-for-now" search... I set up that interview with Sam Goody, and I go in on Tuesday at 2:00pm (CST) So... If you're around tomorrow, or not... Think happy thoughts my way, as I'll need all the good karma floating around me, as I can get! No other "dorky-job-for-now" places that I've turned in apps for, have called me in for interviews, so... I'm a bit nervous.

Q: How many existentailists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: Two; one to screw it in and one to observe how the lightbulb itself symbolizes a single incandescent beacon of subjective reality in a netherworld of endless absurdity reaching out toward a cosmos of nothingness.

Yeah... I'll cut off now. Smiles, see you tomorrow.

-- T

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Another great Sunday Morning...

I've just finished reading the Sunday newspaper.

I read the entire thing... Even the business section (and I actually HATE reading it, but what the hell) and you know what...

There's nothing really to rant about. More stuff about Bush and lying to all of us about the Iraq war. More about taxes being unfair to the middle and lower-classes... More about CIA leaks, and dodging by our administration. In the Arts section, lots of stuff about modern literature, that I have never found interesting enough to even complain about... More... Boredom.


I hate it when there's nothing NEW to complain about. I mean... I've ranted about all that other stuff quite a few times (well, except about modern literature, which is just snooze-worthy anyhoo), and I don't want my readers to grow as bored of my rants, as I am by the news.


Okay... Um... I guess with the personal news.

• I'm getting more and more excited to finally be reunited with My Lady, as the date of Dec. 5th approaches... Yay!

• Still not finding "a real job" but I have been called for an interview by Sam Goody in the Mall of America for an interview for a "do SOMETHING" sort of job.

• Been looking at the weather in Melrose, Scotland (closest internet weather I could find to My Lady) and in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, and they're remarkably similar. I'm soo sorry Pook! What a deal.

• Did the "window-insulation" kits yesterday, stretching plastic stuff over the windows to reduce air-flow from outside. Oh... Boy... Exciting, no?

Yep... That's my life.

Gods, please start making some news, preferably something nice and messy with The Idiot involved in yet another scandal.

Thank you.

-- Ta readers - Tuckmac

Friday, November 18, 2005

The morning after


You know those hangovers that make you feel as though you were 90 years old, and something had crawled into your mouth and died, and then you realise that it was your tongue?

And when your head hurts so bad that you just may throw up from the pain, but you're not sure if it's the headache or if your actually nauseous?




I've been doing all the "things..." you know... Lot's of water, a bit of coffee... Two sarnies with plenty of butter and cheese... And quite a few fags, and I'm almost human again.

Gah. Or... As Mick said: "Gar."

Yeah. Gar is closer than Gah.

Hope everyone got home okay last night... I obviously did. Thank the gods.

Man was I an idiot last night.

Oh well... The gods have found it necessary to punish me today, and you know what? They're right to.


I'm going to go lay back down.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Okay, it has to be a "bit" fast today.

As I'm heading out to pick up the printed photos from my wedding. That's right... My wonderful Mother, bemoaning the fact that all the photos are "digital" and that she hates having to look at them on a computer, has paid for me to get two sets of 169photos printed at Ritz Camera. I'm all for it. I like having things to hold onto as well... And this way, My Lady and I can do the "typical wedding album" thing. Cute no? And you all thought I was completely caught up in the "digital photo" world!

Well, okay. I am. But...


I was reading "Blair confronts threat of new revolt" on Yahoo News, and there was this link... Okay, I'm REALLY proving myself to be a dork here, but I clicked on it...

First... The Blair thing. Okay, the British Gov. is going mad about the fact that it only takes 40 Labour MP's to switch over to the opposition, to blank out Blair. Well, folks... We knew this was coming. After the last elections, Blair's majority in Parliament took a NOSE-dive. So... It's not all that amazing. I have to admit, I find it funny that the Tories are convincing the rebel Labour MP's to think about voting AGAINST Blair's Education Reforms, 'cause they're "too Tory" I mean, what? Then why aren't the fucking TORIES supporting the reform? Man... And we thought that American politics were murky! But seriously... The idea that the reforms would lead to an elitism in schools is a valid worry. I don't know... I think Blair should definitely take a step back, and start trying to remember what it is to be a LABOUR Prime Minister. Come on Tone... Get it together man!

A few days ago... There was a "Melee" at a mall in the Twin Cities. What "sparked" this tussle? A boy band. That's right folks, a boy band with members ranging from pre-teen to mid-teen. Called B5, I think, or something... Notice I'm not linking to it... That's right folks... I'm not going to link to a fucking boy-band... Y'all can look them up on Google, if you want. Anyhoo.... The melee started because the boys got up on stage, and hundreds of young girls stormed the stage, and began ripping their clothes off! I kid you fucking not. Now... I was thinking, "Shit, I can't believe that they're down-playing the fact that these kids (and they are, I don't care if they're in a band) these freaking KIDS get sexually assaulted... And nothing is really being said about it. Well... Bless this particular reader... As they wrote a letter to the editorial pages that sums up the problem pretty well: "Nothing funny about the melee at the mall".

Okay... Finally... About this rather embarrassing link that I clicked on whilst reading Yahoo News... Um... They had this "Miss World" link. And I couldn't help it. So... I clicked, and perused the entries from the British Isles. The Scottish Bird, looks so freaking Scottish that it hurts. I mean, her name is really cool, and Celtic, and all, but... Sorry... Not sure she's actually going to get anywhere. She's too Scottish looking. And before people go... "Oh HO, wait till your Wife reads this." I can say with NO problem that my wife is absolutely exquisite, and that she's not freaking SCOTTISH! She was brought up there, but she's English. Okay? Anyhoo... The Bird from England is definitely hot. But I think that's 'cause she was actually born in Uzbekistan... For some reason, the Brits don't like the looks of their own... I suggest they look at My Lady, as she's the best looking Brit I've ever seen. Well... Since Princess Di, anyhoo.

Okay... It wasn't that much of a "fast one" today, was it... Damn... I hate it when I get on a blog roll. Okay... I'm off. Ta!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


And people in high school used to pick on me.

I am nerdier than 12% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Okay... Anyhoo...

What's up today?

Whilst still living in England, this was a huge story. I'm glad that it's in court, and I'm glad they're going to get these fucks! Let me also say... That Fiona and I, while agreeing that we may perhaps live in Britain in the future, have no interest in living in Liverpool. Yeah... The Beatles came from there, but that was the last good thing to happen in Liverpool. Oh... Well, my friend Roy came from Liverpool, and sounds like a proper scouser. And he's okay... But that's it. Nothing else good about the place.

And... US retains hold of the internet Normally... I'm all against the US being in charge of ANYTHING, however... When countries like Iran and China are the ones complaining about the US having a role in Internet addressing... Well, I wonder about a "real" reason that they're upset. Hmm???

That's it for today... Except for the weather report.

It's fecking cold. (As My Lady would say) and you know what... I'm loving it. At least it's not greypissrainpiss as my friend Anastasia would say... muahahahaha.

X's T

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Shades of Winter on a cold Tuesday

It's raining outside, today. And it's cold. 38°F or about 3°C. Not very comfortable. We're all waiting for it to get below freezing, and actually start snowing.

Sounds weird to my Brit friends, I'm sure... But we Minnesotans don't really LIKE the rain at this time of year. Yeah, yeah, I know... By talking about single digit temperatures in C and rain, I'm just describing a typical winter day in Scotland. But... here... It gets much colder, and it snows. And you know what? We don't mind. There's something about a "dry" Minnesota cold day, when you step outside, perhaps just after a snow, and you breathe deeply of the air, tinged with warning bite that tells you that you're alive! It's a wonderful feeling. I think that Winter has always been one of my favourite seasons in Minnesota. (Judging from other conversations, at N8's blog, I'm alone in this.) But I really DO love the winter. I love the feel of deadly-cold air going in and out of my lungs, the bite of the wind on my exposed cheeks (as the scarf and hat cover most of the rest of my head) and the sound of the snow crunching under my feet. In Winter, in the Twin Cities, the snow shrouds the ground, covering a plethora of sins. There's a magic to the pristine white of our coldest season. There's also a "toughness" that we have in Minnesota. You speak to a New Yorker, or somebody from another big city, and they'll say, "I'm tough, I'm a New Yorker, I can survive anything, guns, drugs, gangs, mafia... You give it ta me, and I'll fugging take it!"

A Minnesotan just has to say... "I'm from Minnesota."

And usually, you'll hear a... "Fuck, you guys are nuts!"

We're left alone.

But seriously... Once you've survived a Minnesotan Winter, you DO feel powerful. If you can survive -20°C temps and wind-chills that get significantly colder, with the blowing snow and the deadly icy roads...

Hell, you can survive anything.

Anyhoo... I'm actually looking forward to the Winter, but I'm not so fond of the "in between" stage of November. When the damp cold sinks right into your bones... I mean, I actually CREAK in this type of weather, and it's not very fricking comfortable.

Bring on the damn snow already!


The amazing Goddess, has found a distance-learning course in Art History at the Open University (a big UK on-line, sort of thing) and she's excited about it. So am I... I think it would be a wonderful course for her to get her feet wet... There's a serious lack of Art History taught in UK art colleges. Just like there's a serious lack of Art Theory taught in the US art colleges. Well... I had to spend two years trying to catch up with my Brit art friends, and now Fi's going to spend a year trying to catch up with all of us Yank artists. I say... YAY YOU! Go for it pook!

Mick, has updated his Novel, and has to do about 2100 words a day to catch up with the deadline through NaNoWriMo. I added up MY word-count, and discovered that I need to do 2400 words a day to complete my novel in time. Muahahahaha... Yeah, like that's going to happen? Not. But I'm going to keep writing. Why the hell not! I'm enjoying the exercise, and I've always wanted to write a book.

Beyond that... Nothing much more to report for the day. I hope everyone is well. See ya, readers!

Slàinte - T

Monday, November 14, 2005


Don't have a tonne of time today, and I've been ranting a bit more than normal.

So... Personal news.

The Wife (aka Fi, Pookie, Goddess, etc) is coming on the 5th of December.


She's coming on a tourist visa, and only staying for the 90 days allowed. That's not to say that we're not going to have her leave, and then come BACK again, but we're trying (and following our lawyer's advice) to be good little citizens of the UK and the US.

She put an "excited picture" of herself on HER blog, and I thought I'd do the same on mine! It's a bit blurry, and it was taken at the wedding reception, but it goes pretty far towards showing my happiness with my love coming over. Even if it IS just for a visit!

Take it easy everyone... I'm trying!

Slàinte - T

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Opinion Columnists

Greetings on this fine Sunday!

Yeah, just so's you all know... I spent most of the morning drinking coffee and reading the newspaper.

I've made jokes about my local paper, and called it the Star and Sickle.

Well, My friend Tim (who coined the term Star and Sickle) isn't the only "conservative/Republican" that has had issues with our little Twin Cities daily Rag. In order for the Star and Trib to appear more balanced, and fair in it's coverage. They hired a new columnist named Katherine Kersten. And here's my issue with this whole thing.

Look, I know that I'm a bleeding heart liberal. But I'd like to think that I cover items and stories and give people a chance to disagree with me. I'm all about dialogue. I'll argue and heck, spit at someone who disagrees with me, but they're allowed their view-point (no matter how wrong they are ;-} ) and I hope that by creating a dialogue, we, as humans, can come to some sort of, I don't know... Not agreement, 'cause that may never happen, but... Something. I feel that if we all talk enough, perhaps we won't end up shooting each other in the future. I know... Silly hope, anyhoo...

My issue with the hiring of Katherine Kersten, a very Right-winged Republican Christian Conservative of the HIGHEST order, is that she doesn't foster a "balance" at the Star Tribune... She creates strife for basically all of humanity.

A column that she wrote a few days ago: "North of the border, gay marriage spurs social revolution" she takes a decidedly "gay marriage is evil, gay people are evil, gays are destroying our culture" sort of viewpoint. Now... Now...

Look, I'm not even going to go off on how fucking insane this woman is. I mean, for crying out loud! Get off your bloody high-christian-horse and just calm the hell down!

What I am going to say, is that if a newspaper has a decidedly "liberal" bent to it, do you really need to get someone who is absolutely raving-teeth-knashing-bloody-minded NUTS to try to balance your paper out? Do you really?

It really does come down to one particular thing.


Sorry... But it does. The reason the US was so great, for so long, is that we had the separation of Church and State in our constitution. And lately, 98% of our problems are due to the Christian-Right movement in the US.

Environment? Fuck it, it's the end times Jesus is coming, use as much petrol as you want.
Gays? The bible says their evil... Punish them, oh, and masturbation is also bad, how many follow that rule?
Iraq? - Bush said it, "Crusade." He took it back, after his buddies noticed the problem, but he DID say it.
Abortion? - It's murder, you're killing babies, you, you... Baby KILLER!
Free Speech - It's only free if you belong to an Evangelical FREE Church.
Evolution? - I don't even want to go there, thank you Kansas for showing us all just how insane Americans are.

I could keep going...

The issues back when I was a kid, was the slightly "socialist" Democrats fighting for labour and social programmes. And the Rich "government is bad" Republicans that wanted to cut programmes and taxes in equal proportion.

Now... The Christian-Right has destroyed that balance. Somehow, in my country, where there's meant to be a separation between Church and State, there are conservative Christians running our government, and making decisions based on Christian Biblical Teachings.

I beg everyone that isn't a religious nut... If a politician talks about "his or her faith" do NOT vote for that person. I don't care if they go to church or not, or if they believe, or not; it shouldn't have anything to do with running for public office.

I beg all religious nuts... Stop trying to legislate a MORAL teaching based on a document that is thousands of years old and that is only prescribed to by a very, very small, yet FUCKING loud constituency in my country.

Thank you.

-- A non-Christian, non-religious, but somehow still moral human being.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Thoughts about art. And, of course, me.

There's been this on-going discussion over at my friend N8's site, HERE. (Before you click it, realise that it's a very LONG discussion, but definitely a "must read")

It started out as a musing by N8 about mythology and fell head-long into a discussion of Religion and Eastern Thought.

I got the shit kicked out of me. The people commenting are extremely intelligent, and although I'm not slob when it comes to the brain department, I am rightfully in awe of some of their minds.

I've since pulled out of the discussion, for the primary reason that I wasn't able to express myself in the way I was hoping, I would mean one thing, and I swear it must have come out through my writing as a completely different thing! Ger... Was it frustrating. But anyhoo... It was a really fun time, none-the-less.

The conversation made me think of something, I talked briefly about art, and my brain, and thought, heck... I might as well say something on MY blog about it, as it's about me.

I am a fine-art photographer.

I have to start there, 'cause this is all about me.

Being a fine-art photographer hasn't been easy. First... There aren't many. Secondly, a lot of people, like 92% of the population of the Earth don't really understand what that means. That's not saying that the whole world is silly or anything, it's just that as an established media of fine art, it's pretty fricking new. My friend Brett and I were the first two Bachelor of Fine Art folks at River Falls that MAJORED in Photography, and that was only back in '98 and '99 respectively! Why didn't others get a major in Photography before us? 'Cause it didn't exist! You could get it in painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, even fibres, but NOT in Photography.

Weel... Now you can, and we did, and it was gravy.

After a few years, I went to go get my MFA in Britain, I thought... Heck, good career move, nice C.V. builder, grad-school in a foreign country... Different view-point on the arts, yadda, yadda...

Boy... Was THAT a mistake. While in the U.S. Fine-art Photography, while being rather new as an academic subject, is still accepted. In England? Gah... I was told in my first year of my masters that if I continued making photographs, I'd fail the course.

I didn't fail. And I didn't stop making photographs, but that's a different story.

Anyhoo... In Britain... Fine Art is this "magical" thing. You are creating a piece of art, or performance that "means" something else, or describes something, or communicates this 'larger ideal' of something. The main thing in contemporary art, at the current moment, is "conceptual" art rather than "representational" art. Put it this way, if I took a shit, and smeared it on a canvas, and called it "Daisies in Spring" and then wrote some amazingly boring dissertation about how shit symbolises this, and canvas symbolises this, and Daises symbolise this... Blah, de blah, de blah... I'd be making conceptual art. If I painted a picture like Monet's Lilies, or hell, even a Picasso type painting of a few whores in a boudoir, now-a-days, I'd be laughed at by the modern art world.

This is a problem... As photography is basically pure representation. I look at something that exists and I record it. There's a HELL of a lot more to it than that, obviously, but I don't have a tonne of time to go through modern art theory at the mo', and I digress... What I do is "show" people things that normally they wouldn't notice about the world that we all share. The things exist, it's just that perhaps they're overlooked, or ignored by most folks walking about.

I love doing that. I think I'm really good at it. (Which is why, even doing representational photography, I still passed my course) And I have never wanted to change. The thing is... Is that I am UNABLE to change.

I can't "do" art, the way art is taught now-a-days.

I don't "think" like most of the artist's seem to be able to think in Britain. I used the example of my wife and myself. She's an artist, and a bloody well GIFTED one at that.

If you said "sky" to my wife, she'd probably visualise a blue, or grey, or what-have-you, SKY.

You say "sky" to me, and I don't. I actually visualise (for lack of better term) the letter's "S" "K" and "Y". I never visualise a picture of something... I either "think" of an idea that goes along with it, or lacking comprehension, I'll think of the letters of the word that make up that "thing" you've asked me to visualise.

Weird, huh?

Now... That is a pretty fucking limiting thing when you're trying to be an artist. I mean... If I don't visualise things, how can I be an artist in the first place?

Well... I make photos.

I don't sit in my studio and visualise an idea, and then go out into the world to try to represent, thorough a photograph, this "idea" in the real world.

I go OUT into the world, and make photos of stuff that's already there, and maybe, just MAYBE complete a series of photographs (10 or 20) that TOGETHER can hint at a broader "idea" than a single image could do. But this is an afterthought, not the prime reason the photos were made in the first-place.

I don't know if anyone is going to get this... Or anything... But it's something that I had to write down, and get it off my chest.

I love art. I love my wife's art. Her's is the first "conceptual" art that I am actually able to "get" and understand. I can appreciate other conceptual artists' work, although I may not "get" it.

But... I like my OWN art. I like representing the real world. No hoity-toity ideas of something, just gritty or sometimes lovely visions of reality.

A place that we as a culture seem to be trying desperately from which to remove ourselves.

Thanks for reading.

-- Slàinte

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Rob, you did it again, thanks.

Rob, thanks for this photo. And I can't think of a better way to start out the blog today than with this marvellous image:

Unfortunate Camera Angle


If you read the news, you'll notice that there were a tonne of bombings. Three in Jordon, and more in Iraq. Not going to go there, 'cause like normal, most blogs are going to be talking about them, and frankly... Bombings don't surprise any of us anymore. Sad, isn't it?

To all those "Intelligent Design" folks, I give you Darwinism at WORK. (See Mick, I told you I'd find a use for it. Thanks again for the link.)

Mr. Blair... Once again, I warn you. Try to act like "Bush-lite" again, and your people WILL slap your ass DOWN. The thing I've always liked about my "other" home country, is that they are not like us in the States. The more you try to lead the citizens of the UK down the road of a Nazi-State like the United States, well...

You're going down.

Brown's Time anyone?

Back home in Minnesota... I've never been that fond of Lori Sturdevant (Editorial writer in my home paper) but she did a nice job of summing up the future of Minnesotan politics in a good article. Lessons from the trouncing of Mayor Kelly.

Something came to me, whilst reading that particular article. I was listening to Public Radio yesterday, and some nameless Republican guy said that the Republican's didn't lose out this election... They proved their point, as all the Democrats that won were "conservatives" and "Republican's in Dem's clothing".

I'm sorry sir. You're right, but also very wrong. You see... Clinton did that, back in the early '90's. He was the original "Fiscally conservative, Socially Liberal" politician. The Dems have been doing that for over 10 years now. The only reason that Bush won in the last two elections, is 'cause you've been saying that the people shouldn't vote for a "Republican-Democrat" but for the real thing, a "Compassionate Conservative." But... Look at what Bush does... His "Compassion" was seen in the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina. His gutting of Medicaid/Medicare his further destruction of the Lower and Middle classes is seen in every action that comes out of the White House. There's NOTHING "compassionate" about his conservatism. He guts social programmes to feed his "base" the rich, robber barons of corporate America.

People are realising that he lies. Republican's can NOT be compassionate. But... Democrats CAN be. They don't lie. They drove down the national debt, they did 'help' people get off of Welfare and into jobs. Our economy was VERY strong under Clinton. And less and less people were starving to death.

No... Sir, Republicans are not 'Centrists' they are still VERY "Right" and not bloody central at all.

American's like being Middle of the Road. And with the political winds beginning to change... I hope we'll see a better America in the future.

I'm not holding my breath though... And neither should any of my readers.

Slànte - T

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Is the third time the charm?

Folks, I've been trying to update this damn thing for days now... And my connection AND Safari keep crashing mid-way through. So... If you're reading this, it finally worked. If you're not, I'm picking up my laptop and tossing it out the window.

Anyhoo... First... There's a budget battle happening in the Senate and the House (congress to my Brit friends). The Senate passed their bill. Now the House is attempting to pass their's. The Senate bill cut funding to important programmes in the States, and also snuck in a little bit that allows oil-drilling in the ANWAR Alaskan Wildlife Refuge. (Something that has been blocked for years against the hunger of the Bushies.)

Now... I'm not happy that the Senate bill passed. It's not law yet, but it probably will be.

The HOUSE bill, however evicerates most social programmes in the States... Foodstamps, housing, child-care, college-funding for poor students... AND, AND, has a $70 billion tax cut for the wealthy. They're cutting $50 billion in funding for the poor, and also cutting $70 bill in taxes for the rich. Now folks... Basic arithmetic. If you're trying to pass a balanced budget... And you're deeply in debt. You cut money. Okay... So there goes the $50 bill... But then, if you also cut your INTAKE by MORE than you're saving... YOU ARE LOSING $20 BILL MORE!

It's like the Republicans can not do simple MATHEMATICS!

Sorry about all the "shouting" with capital letters, but I'm really cheesed off about this.

For a more balanced and fair view of this bill, here's a Op-Ed piece from this past weekend:
A Budget Outrage from the House.


Okay... That's my rant for the day.

Something fun? Sure, why not. I took the "Which movie villain are you test" Muahahahaha!

There you go... Crazy, crazy...

If you'd like... Take the test yourself!

I'm going to work.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Weekends were made for newspapers.

I'm serious... There's something extraordinarily great about sitting down with a big mug of coffee, a few fags, and the Sunday paper. You get all sorts of ads that you have to get through, but beyond that... The newspaper usually tries to do a really great job at not only giving you the news of the weekend, but also summing up the news of the past week. At times, they are able to draw NEW conclusions to older stories, simply by going back and looking at the story in a new "complete" sort of way.

While living in Britain, and being with my wife... My "newspaper Sunday" was curtailed a bit. I love my wife (I do, Lovey) and she's just as interested in reading the news as I am... However... My wife also really isn't one to sit down for four hours going through the newspaper. It kills her! I can actually see the bodily-vibrations start after the first hour... I can usually pull an extra hour out of the morning, whilst she begins cleaning, or doing some other sort of physical work. But... Then my inner Catholic-guilt kicks in, and I have to put down the paper and help her with whatever it is that she's doing. I grew used to my shortened "newspaper Sundays" and really didn't mind that much. However... Now that my wife is still stuck in the "Old Country" and I'm back here in Minnesota living at home with my mother (whole long drawn out story that I'm not going to get into at this moment... But suffice it to say, money=freedom. No money=lack of freedom.) anyhoo...

I woke up today at 8:30 am (CST) and poured myself a big cup of joe... Walked down into our basement (where my art-studio is located) and began to read the Star and Sickle. (No, that's not it's real name... That came from my friend Tim, who is a dripping-red Republican, who thinks that our Minneapolis paper is a haven for 'commie pinkos' and the like) I read the paper for three HOURS this morning... Front to back... Front Page, Nation, Twin-Cities-Region, the funnies, etc... Etc... And consumed six cups of coffee, and I lost track of the number of fags that I smoked. I feel complete. I have a rather horrible cough... But I feel good.

Then... I get to peruse the on-line versions of my favourites... NY Times, BBC news, et al... Ran across a few stories to share with you all...

First... I realise that us "Liberal-commie-pinko-traitors" keep bringing stuff like this up... But deal with it. It's real news. It's real reports. It's actual newsworthy information that we should make sure is disseminated out to the rest of the world!

So... It turns out that the Administration was even less disingenuous than we thought... Most of their "info" on Iraq and the supposed ties with Al-Qaeda was given by an Al-Qaedan member who just may have been giving the government the wrong information! Oh, my, gods! Really? Let me get this straight... We learned that there were ties between the dictator in Iraq, and Al-Qaeda from an Al-Qaeda leader who wants nothing more than the destruction of the US of A, and has given the administration the false news of ties, and perhaps, the reason he did this wasn't to help the US against their war on "Evil-doers" but actually to foster bad feelings between the Muslim world and the Western one? Really? Do you think that that's possible?


Okay... So suddenly... A thunderstorm in November turns dangerous... Unleashes an unseasonable tornado that crushes, you guessed it... Yet another Mobile-home park.

Folks... Do NOT live in a Trailer-home in the mid-West. YOU WILL DIE. This has become a cliché that trailer-parks are destroyed in tornados. Well... The reason it's a cliché is that it does actually happen every fucking tornado! Get out of the park... Have an address instead of a lot-number, and you may survive the scourge of the mid-west. Duh!

Finally... Cool science stuff... Mirror Therapy. Who'd a thunk it?

Well... I've got to get going, and start working on my novel. It's been a few days, and I haven't written anything... Going to fuck up my deadline. Ger... Wish me luck!


Friday, November 04, 2005

I like Fridays, I really, really do... Seriously, a lot...


Yeah. I'm heading out to River Falls tonight to meet up with a few friends at the old hang-out "Emma's Bar" on Main-street River Falls. Then I'm being treated to a wonderful meal at Dave's house after! I'm excited about that. It used to be a biweekly sort of thing, that we'd get together on a Friday and kvetch about our respective teaching gigs... Dave as a art professor, and myself as an art teacher at a secondary school. We wouldn't just bitch, though... Both of us like teaching, and usually could find something positive to talk about... Anyhoo...

I'm looking forward to the evening.

Mick talked about dancing a jig, over the latest polls showing our marvellous president Bushy plummeting in national opinions. Yeah... Mick, I think you're just an awful person to be happy about that! Shame.

Tee hee.

Bush is currently facing a bit of hatred down in Argentina... But then, he's used to it, isn't he? I just think it's kinda great that although the world has pretty much always hated the guy... Finally he is not even getting respite back here in the States! Take that, you.... You... You... Ger.

I read an interesting article about what would have happened if Guy Fawkes had succeeded in blowing up the Parliament with the King in attendance. It seems as though it were actually a GOOD thing that the guy was stopped. However... I still think that burning an effigy of a Catholic every November in Britain, and it's associated colonies, to be a bit gauche.

Anyhoo... That's it for today kiddies... I hope you're all doing well. I'm going to have a ball tonight... Muahahahaha.

Pook... If you read this... I can't wait until you get to join me in a "Friday in RF" really soon! I love you!

Slànte - T

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Have to be quick today.

I'm a bit crazy today, so you'll have to just live with the fact that I'm not gonna write much. Sorry.

Okay... First a fun little editorial from Steve Perry at the City Pages: The CIA leak investigation: Bigger fish, deeper water. Mr. Perry's take on the whole indictment of Scooter Libby, and the fact that it's perhaps just a drop of water in a deeper pan. Yay.

And... It's getting worse? Duh.

Finally, a bit of hope:

"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know when you're going to bite into one, and get that really bad nougat flavour that makes your tongue go numb."


Alright folks... Smiles, try to get some work done today, will ya?

-- T

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Fun news day kiddies!

First, I'd like to point out that participating in the NaNoWriMo month of November, attempting to write a 50,000 word "novel" in 30 days is definitely the most insane thing I've ever tried to do. But I'm almost to the 3000 word mark, it's only the beginning of the second day, and, heck... It's sort of fun.

Yes, I am insane.

Anyhoo... Fun news day, really fun. Occasionally, I'll read something on-line that sums up pretty much everything I say over the course of five or six months. I find myself extremely jealous of these reporters/editorialists. But I'm also just such a fan I could spit. So:

Matt Frei, the BBC correspondent for Washington D.C. writes a great little piece on my President. A quote:

"The president may once again - in his own words - be "mis-underestimated". But for now it is only his tenacity that gives reason for optimism."

Ah, bless 'm. Mis-underestimated. Thank you Mr. Bush for continuously making a joke out of my country. At least you're amusing. Wait, no you're not. You are still a scary fucker. Read the article for even MORE interesting news about my President here: "Bush's second-term gambles yet to pay off"

Chirac seeks to calm Paris riots. Mr. Chirac, perhaps if you didn't relegate you're poor and dispossessed immigrant population into slums, and take away their religious rights, and "fart in their general direction" then the Islamic Youth of your slums wouldn't have to riot. Sorry, but the way the French have been dealing with their Muslim immigrants is just disgusting, and... You reap what you sow.

Mick has done a nice job of kvetching today about certain issues, so I don't feel like I need to keep going on and on about Bushy and his Bushies... But... Mr. Wilson, husband of the "outed" CIA agent, Valerie Plame wrote an editorial letter today, and it's worth reading. It brings to mind many, many arguments against our current government, and the one question that I have for my President, and his cronies, is this:

For an administration that touts our freedoms, our responsibilities, and our place in the world... Don't you think that deliberately compromising our national security by outing an agent of our intelligence force was a treasonous act?

I do.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Ho Hum...

Well, HRH Prince Charles is here. (Yanks, that means "his royal highness") And all of us on this side of the pond are just "jumping for joy" at the chance to see Price Charles and Camilla (no longer Parker-Bowels) Duchess of Cornwall.

Check out this rousing review of our excitement in the BBC! Royal Couple Visiting Ground Zero.

Or this equally exciting AP story with the quote:

The Guardian newspaper said Tuesday that Charles and Camilla were visiting America determined to win over an American public that appeared to have "absolutely no interest in the eight-day royal visit.

Yeah... Good luck, Chucky.

I really can't speak for my fellow Americans here, I'm a bit messed up, being an ex-ex-pat to Britain. However, I find myself just itching to make all sorts of pithy comments about this amazing visit that is being foisted upon us by Their Royal Boringness'.

I won't though. That just wouldn't be fair.

But I am going to spell out my issues with this couple, and you're all invited to comment and tell me I'm a putz or some other worse term.

I was a very little boy (I think I was six) when Prince Charles and Lady Diana had the big televised wedding. I was in LOVE with Princess Di. How beautiful (not horsey like most Brits) and demure, and wow... I mean, she was a fairy princess for REAL! I always carried a bit of a torch for her. She was exquisite, and cared about orphans and left over land-mines, and stuff. What a Lady!

1996 (quite some time has passed) and Prince Charles divorces the Magical Fairy Princess. In the intervening years, we discover that the guy's been porking another woman, by the name of Camilla. (Anyone remember the name of Gonzo's chicken-girl-friend from the Muppets?) Okay... Not only is this woman a divorcée, she's as ugly as a freaking pile of shite! I mean... Horsey? Whoa... Her teeth come into the room twenty minutes before the rest of her! And he's sleeping with this woman behind my fairy princesses' BACK!

I wasn't alone in my contempt for this fuck-head. Many Americans agreed with me... And, hell, even more Brits did and still DO agree with me on this one.

It's not about the breaking of the vows of marriage that really get me... I mean, I'm a Yank, my presidents do that sort of stuff all the time... But, it's the fact that he was so bloody insane in his choice! It's one thing to diddle a fairly attractive intern in the Oval Office, or heck, Kennedy got Marilyn Monroe, for chrissake! But CAMILLA?

Years on from then... Diana's been killed in a rather convenient timely fashion by the Royal Family, oops... I mean, she died in a tragic accident, and it had nothing whatsoever to do with the Royal Family... And Charles finally gets his chance. He can marry the horsey, bitchy, high-society twit-headed and ugly Camilla.

Oh... Wait... The Queen's against it. The Royal Family is against it... The Parliament is against it... The British PEOPLE are against it. But it happens.

They're married, and Camilla just wore a tiara for the first time last week. Bless her.

Now they're coming here. How absolutely marvellous!

Gee whiz, Chucky... Why aren't American's excited about your visit? 'Cause we're used to our leaders and roll-models banging attractive folk... Not ugly ones. And not leaving a poor little unhappy wife at home whilst you do it... And not divorcing her (Hill and Bill are still together, right?) and then killing her (I mean, having her die in an accident) and then turning around and marrying the ugly-ass "other woman" as soon as you can get away with it.

Shame... Chucky... Shame.

Camilla... If you're reading this, ever... You're an ugly ass cow.

I miss my fairy princess. Bye Di... Some of us haven't forgotten you.