The fat police are are out to get your super-sized sugar drink

So Bloomberg has hit another one out of the ballpark. Raising the bar on his absurd health related antics, he has pushed through a law banning any sweetened drink larger than 16 ounces from regular food vending sources.

Talk of Big Brother! Next, it will be what you can eat, the color of your underwear, and the days you can have sex…I mean, really! Just goes to show what a man will do when he has achieved all that he set out to do and has nothing in front of him other than endless trivial ludicrousness and the Machiavellian pleasure of messing with other people’s lives.

“All universal moral principles are idle fancies.” Marquis De Sade.

The Enterprise come to New York

Shuttle Enterprise

The space shuttle Enterprise comes to New York. A majestic sight and a feather in New York’s cap, specially since the shuttle will be visible for viewing on the Intrepid come July. However, nobody’s pointing out that the Enterprise was a prototype that never flew into space with a regular crew, unlike the other shuttles, which have all gone to more ‘favored’ locations like The Smithsonian in Washington DC and also California.

In fact, The Enterprise has been living all this while at the Smithsonian, and they got rid of it to make room for the shuttle Discovery. So, in spite of all the hoopla, we’re just getting the stuff that the Smithsonian is throwing out. Still, maybe they’ll let you climb into the cockpit when it’s on the Intrepid.

The Politics of Innocence

I don’t normally comment on issues in the current news, but something about the ongoing brouhaha at Penn State bothered me enough to voice my concerns. My issue is not really with the sordid details of the incident, which are horrifying in themselves, but commonplace enough to dismiss with a shake of the head. (My apologies to all those involved and affected. I mean no disrespect.) What really struck me in this affair is the reaction of the students at Penn State, all those football supporters, Nittany Lions fans and other knee-jerk flag wavers, at the official firing of Joe Paterno. Rioting on the campus! Overturned vehicles. What, is this Tahrir Square? What is is it about large than life figures that brings out such ridiculous emotions? I mean, the man was not directly responsible for anything, but he knew, and procrastinated, and all down the line, everyone in authority worked to save their own skins and preserve the legacy of the sports franchise that defines Penn State. We put our idols on pedestals and scream bloody murder when they are toppled, forgetting that they are also human beings, flawed, like the rest of us. Same with our politicians and other celebrities. Must be some innate human condition that we are incapable of overcoming. We’re not talking isolated incidents here, but concerted action by masses of people, who are defending the idealism of a notion or an institution, and are unable to distinguish between the institution and the individuals representing it. Reminds me of the OJ incident. I guess we don’t like damaged heroes.

So far, so good…

NanoRebel 2011

Three days in and I’m doing well. I think knowing where I’m going with this actually makes a difference. Let’s see how I deal with the first weekend. Traditionally, weekends are the time to catch up, but, for whatever reason, my weekends seem to be spent procrastinating. Hope I can get at least the minimum done. Otherwise, the cushion will have to carry me over.

Super Harvest Moon

The "Harvestest" moon

Super Harvest Moon/Jupiter Conjunction

Tuesday marked a relatively rare phenomenon known as the Super Harvest Moon. What this means is that the full moon falls on or close to the autumn equinox. Well, Tuesday was the autumn equinox as well as the full moon. I was watching it as I drove home from an exhausting visit to a rehabilitation home where an elderly friend of ours is convalescing. It didn’t look any different from other full moons, although I see from various pictures on the internet that I must live on a different planet, because the pictures they posted and what I saw are two completely different things. Same big orb. Maybe a little brighter, but where did all that orange hue come from? I bet it was created by a camera filter!

So what makes this kind of full moon super? The fact that it appears on a day where there are equal amounts of daylight and darkness doesn’t make any difference to the appearance of the moon, although the “authorities” beg to differ.  The only people who would probably care about this sort of thing must be witches and warlocks and other assorted occult oriented persons, for whom a Super Harvest Moon (or the Harvestest Moon as it is sometimes called), on one of the major event days in the Wiccan calendar has to mean a big boost with the ceremonies and rituals and such. Unless of course, it’s overcast:)

According to NASA, there’s a special twilight glow produced by the sun setting while the moon is rising, meaning that both are in the sky at the same time. Possibly, this may produce the vision inducing kind of twilight they speak of, but it must occur for only a few fleeting minutes, and I missed it. When I saw the moon, there was no sun. What’s more interesting is that Jupiter is also in the night sky, forming a conjunction with the full moon that promises to be spectacular. Unfortunately for me I couldn’t spot this either. Jupiter is making its closest approach to Earth in years, in fact it will not get this close again for another twenty two years, but it rises in the East, along with the Harvest moon, and while there might be a point at which the two are separated enough to provide a visual spectacle, it probably occurs around midnight, when both Jupiter and the moon are overhead in the Eastern sky. At midnight I was deep in dreamless (or not), sleep. Another strike out in the moon watching department. I wonder whether the Super Harvest Moon makes people crazier than usual. I mean, its common knowledge that some people are affected by the full moon so maybe the super duper one has a super duper effect on them. Must be a field day for werewolves. I have big plans to investigate all this related phenomena at the next Super lunar event but I guess I’ll have to wait another twenty two years for that. Most probably I’ll be in the nursing home I was returning from when I first caught a glimpse of the Super Harvest Moon.

Hello WordPress world

So I have this new WordPress blog, and already anxiety about posting. I haven’t figured out yet whether I’ll write about writing, music or some other completely unrelated topic, but we’ll see. If this can push me to write a little more and write a little more frequently, then well and good. Motivation is the hardest thing for me. Sometimes I’ll write for a stretch, almost every day, other times my own personal lazy gremlin takes over and then it’s hard to get back in. I know I’m not the only one with this problem, but it’s something you can easily share. At least not verbally. This blog is like my own private therapist 🙂 (That’s what I call my ipod).

On a related (or unrelated) note, I managed to get a short story in to Glimmer Train Press for their August 31 deadline. The category was open to unpublished writers, or those whose work had appeared in a magazine with a circulation of 5000 or less. That certainly includes me; in the first category really, and I had to write like hell for three days to come up with a 6000+ word story based on my recent trip to Mexico. I visited a quaint little village named Salyuta there, and that was the name of my story. I hope people who know Salyuta won’t mind. I made it it out into a dark and dangerous place because I needed some excitement, but in reality, its a tourist oriented new-age hangout. Very proud of that effort. It was intense, including proof reading and editing at the last moment.

Mexico was great, but hot!!! So hot that I started blistering on my forehead and forearms by the end of the 7 days. My fault entirely for not using the fancy SPF70 sunblock that I bought at CVS the day before we left. But then, who thinks of applying sunblock on their head? I played golf (!!!) for the first time in Nuevo Vallarta, and I think the sun on the links was totally instrumental in making my head peel off. That was the least of my worries anyway. The unaccustomed exercise left me sore in my shoulders and forearms for days afterward. Never realized that the game was so physical. Lost quarts of sweat on the green and seemingly pounds of weight when on the scale back in the hotel but it was all just water under the bridge (or out of my body).

Also found a contest (sort of) on that i thought was quirky and interesting. Not so much pressure there and definitely more low key. It’s a genre fiction thing, and I love dabbling in science fiction and noir fantasy. I’m sorely tempted to just dig in and write in the SF genre, just for the heck of it, but most literary rags look down on such stuff. Pity, because I enjoy reading it so much. At some point, I should explore all the online magazines, ezines and such that specialize in SF and see if I should make a switch.

All this of course just to keep me and my pen (or rather my fingers, keyboard and computer) occupied. The craziest part is I seem to be able to write more at work than at home, although it should be vice versa. too much distraction at home. In the office, once I’ve taken care of business I can always put in an hour or two of solid scribbling, and that seems to be the way I’m mostly operating nowadays. I have the same problem with music too. Luckily I practice with a band every Monday, otherwise I’ll not play at all. Just as an example, I got myself a new delay pedal from T.C.Electronics last Friday and I still haven’t taken it out of the box. The same old whinge applies here too. Too lazy so no time. I like sitting out on the porch with a drink and a book during the summer time when I get home, and it’s so damn hot anyways that I can’t do much else. So it’s like being caught between two devils. They’re standing on either shoulder, whispering in my ear, and I’m so distracted by both of them that I end up not paying any attention to either. Ce la vie

On the way to Salyuta
Looking towards Salyuta

Been feeling a bit tired lately, and I took to wondering whether the weather is related to whether I feel good on any particular day. If the temperature drops and the sun hides, does that trigger some synapse hiding in my brain, telling me “be sad?” Not to say that this is a new and original thought. People have been saying it for a long time. Must be some truth in it somewhere, kinda like ‘old wives’ tales or folk stories. Always a kernal of truth in that nucleus. I just remembered that in the Scandinavian countries, the rate of suicide is higher in the winter months when the sun disappears for months on end. So, does the sun feed the soul in some way? Why would a rational healthy person contemplate suicide just because its winter? After all, we are cognizent beings, and presumably all of those poor souls who actually carried through after contemplating must have know that the sun reappears after a time. A throwback to a more primitive age, when we didn’t actually ‘know’ as much as we think we do now? I’m thinking that there must be something hiding in the collective subconscious, and it is darker than we would like to let on. But wait a minute, what about the eskimo people? They don’t have such irrational thoughts, or do they. Who ever heard of an eskimo committing suicide because of the lack of sunlight during the arctic winter? Maybe they do, and I just don’t know about it. Gotta research this sometime. Anyway, I’m feeling much better now that I know others are more irrational than I am. Cheers!

And so it begins. I try not to look furtively over my shoulder as I do this. A blog? So what do I write in a blog? Doesn’t matter at this point. I’m writing in it already. So now people can read the crap I write and laugh. See, I’m paranoid already. That’s me, the paranoid scribbler, always looking at the dark side, and I don’t mean the Darth Vader kind of dark side. More like the ‘why the hell can’t I do better than this’ dark side. Maybe thats why most of what people write never sees the light of day? I am probably wrong with this. Wiki says there are millions of blogs out there, so tons of people are having their stuff exposed to the light of day. Then again, maybe not. Who reads this stuff anyway? Is this like an alternate universe where you can live vicariously as who you imagine yourself to be? What if others don’t like your alternate persona? Can you be as paranoid in an alternate universe as in this one? I feel like a dog trying to catch his tail. So close but always just out of reach. But I’ll catch that damn thing someday, even if I have to reach inside out and get it from within. If a blog goes unread does it exist? Does the simple act of writing on this page make it so? Maybe I should be the existential blogger, but I like paranoid better. I’m paranoid, (who would have guessed? ), and I’m paranoid that others are not as paranoid as I am. God, what a juvenile play on words. I should leave this before it gets worse, but I can’t. Like scratching a wound that’s scabbed over. You know its going to take longer to heal, but it feels sooooo good! Maybe tomorrow I’ll have something saner to say. Don’t follow me. I have no money and there is no computer in my car.