Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stupid things written in today’s NYT

Some days I don’t know why I read the NYT. More often than I’d like something America’s paper of record prints just annoys the crap out of me. Today is no exception. But I keep reading mainly because, for the most part, I learn something interesting in each article.

Today’s big news? The federal court injunction against Arizona’s immigration enforcement law. I’m not going to get into the right or wrong of the law except to say that, at the federal level, it needs to be changed and changed soon (like now). While I’m know I’m not in favor of an amnesty/citizenship program, I definitely think a massively expanded guest worker/rigorous enforcement program is needed.

Getting back to the point, the NYT had a fascinating article today about a little known aspect of how the immigration issue impacts the border counties in Arizona (and, I'm guessing, Texas, New Mexico and California).
Because enforcement has been stepped up along much of the border – the more easily crossed sections – it turns out illegal immigrants are now forced to traverse the less hospitable (read scorching desert) sections of the U.S.-Mexico border. This has led to many, many more illegal immigrants dropping dead on their journey to America. Their bodies are now filling the morgues in the border counties up to overflowing.

Like I said, an interesting article. The problem I have with it is the following section:

Human rights groups say it is the government’s sustained crackdown on human smuggling that has led to more deaths.

“The more that you militarize the border, the more you push the migrant flows into more isolated and desolate areas, and people hurt or injured are just left behind,” said Kat Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the CoaliciĆ³n de Derechos Humanos in Tucson.

Yes, of course. It’s the government’s fault for enforcing the law that these people are dying while they break the law. I can see the logic in that. This is the kind of crap that pisses me off. Why is the United States (and other industrialized nations) not allowed to protect its borders and keep illegal immigrants out?

No one has a right to just come here. And, if you’re not trying to break our laws by illegally entering our country, well, then you don’t have to worry about risking a horrible death from exposure by walking across the Sonoran or Chihuahuan desert.

Truthfully through, I can respect the effort. I am the grandson of immigrants who descendants have, in two generations gone from the desperation of the Irish potato famines and civil war, to masters degrees and upper-middle class living.

That’s why we need to fix our broken immigration system. Anyone willing to walk across a burning desert for a shot at a better life is someone who will put in a hard day’s work to better themselves and their children (unless they're a terrorist trying to sneak in and I hope you die screaming in pain under a scorching sun). And that’s the kind of spirit America was built upon.

That's the spirit that makes and keeps America great.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New product alert!!

Every so often you see something that just makes you laugh. This installment of the Foggy Dew is brought to you by the good people at The Onion.

According to a Trojan press release: "No One’s Pleasure condoms feature a quarter-inch-thick layer of non-lubricated latex with a unique abrasive texture that creates a variety of stinging sensations “for both him and her.” The company statement goes on to explain that the product magnifies personal insecurities and awakens deep-seated, unresolved relationship issues that are “sure to raise passions and quicken your pulse."
To read more about this exciting new product, click here.
Just the fact they put "Extra Gritty" on the package (ha, package) makes me laugh.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Moving objects

Yesterday, despite the temperature downtown being equal to that of the surface of the sun, I went for a walk around the Mall. Strangely, it was virtually identical to the one I took in December during the big snow. West Potomac Park to the Lincoln Memorial, down the north side of the Reflecting Pool to the World War II Memorial, and then to the Tidal Basin and back to my car.

I haven't had the chance to play with all the pictures, but I'd like to introduce you to Carlos, who I met right behind the Lincoln Memorial.

As you can see, Carlos was practicing his juggling and doing a pretty good job despite the heat. Why "despite the heat" you ask? Well, turns out when it's hot outside the body reacts by sweating in an attempt to cool itself. This, strangely, has a negative effect on juggling: It makes your hands very, very slippery.

Anyway, as you can see, Carlos is a very talented juggler. I don't know if it comes through in the pictures, but he has a very intense style - the next pictures try to show this - involving snatching the bottles out of the air in mid-flight and sweeping them through the paths of the others. It's pretty impressive.

I've had these two moon set pictures waiting to go for a couple of weeks now, and am only now getting around to posting them. As with most of my sun and moon set pictures, they were shot from my balcony. These were taken July 14:

I took a bunch more pictures on my Sunday walk - including the "Summer" edition of my Four Seasons series - but haven't gotten around to editing them yet so stay tuned.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Let's DO IT!!

So, apparently the fix was in.

D-Day: War's over, man. MTV dropped the big one.

LiLu: Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

Foggy Dew: [whispering] Germans?

Lexa: Forget it, she’s rolling.

LiLu: And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin’ gets tough... [thinks hard] the tough get goin’! Who’s with me? Let’s go!

[LiLu runs out, alone; then returns]

What the fuck happened to the LiLu-verse I used to know? Where’s the spirit? Where’s the guts, huh? “Ooh, we’re afraid to go with you LiLu, we might get in trouble.” Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I’m not gonna take this. MTV, they’re dead men! Xaiver, dead! Gabi -

Foggy Dew: Dead! LiLu’s right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.

LiLu: We’re just the guys to do it.

D-Day: Let’s do it.


Going forward, I'd like to solicit suggestions of really futile and stupid gestures to screw up the rest of the so-called "Music" Television's TJ contest. Perhaps something along the lines of, "May I have 10,000 marbles please?"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mr. Burns would not approve

I was upstairs doing my laundry when this note tacked to the bulletin board caught my eye...

I'm wondering if one of my neighbors used to work at CERN on the on the LHC. All I can say is that I hope it's in good condition, you know, after being transported from Switzerland. Or perhaps it's just a low-budget photon, captured from a common table lamp. You have to be careful when you're acquiring subatomic particles.

The next thing you know there's going to be cut-rate proton and neutron stands on every corner selling counterfeit molecule parts.

Whoever it is, Charles Montgomery "Monty" Burns would definitely take exception to the thought of someone trying to just give away light. Why give it away when you can build a giant disk to blot out the sun?

Seriously, there's only 16 words on the note, including phone number and apartment number (both obscured to protect the poor speller). How can you misspell two of them?
[Note: Don't forget to check out my new pictures on my photostream (link on the right). Moonset over the Pike.]

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Prime numbers and dirty words

I got tagged by the lovely (at least e-wise speaking since we’ve never met, but her writing is pretty attractive) magnolia with this meme (her answers). Interesting questions, hope you like the answers.

Oooo, and I even get to use dirty words along the way. A prime number’s worth of them in a row. And now, onto the Q&A.

Q. What is your favorite board/party/card game?

A. So many, many possible answers to this question. Favorite board game would have to be Trivial Pursuit. My love of all things arcane, inane and, well, trivial, once led to a situation where it was me against a group of four people. I still won. Party game: I assume this to mean “drinking game” and that would have to be Three Man. Few things better than a good game of Three Man. As for my favorite card game, that’s easy. During my time in the Marines I must have worn out a dozen decks of Bicycles playing Spades. Anyone out there know how to score a “nil-blind six*” bid?

Q. What is your earliest memory?

A. I’m dating myself here, but it would have to be the launch of Apollo 15. My family spent the summer in Florida while my dad was working on the construction of the Disney hotel with the monorail running through it (he helped design the place). We were outside around the pool and even from 50 miles a Saturn V makes a hell of an impression.

Q. If you could witness one event that occurred prior to your birth, what would it be?

A. Still feeling full of patriotic fervor today, so I’d choose Philadelphia, July 1-4, 1776 for the writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps whisper something in Jefferson’s ear while he was writing or in Adams’ and Franklin’s ears as they took a red quill to the document. The more I think about it, I'd be willing to swap this for the Constitutional convention, there's definitely some changes I'd like to get on the record there (term limits, balanced budget anyone?)

Q. What is your favorite curse word?

A. So many curse words…so, so little time. In truth, there really are only seven choices: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits.** To narrow it down anymore is difficult but, if forced, my favorite curse word is the versatile and venerated H-bomb of curse words: Motherfucker. Yep, me and half the folks on Inside the Actors Studio.

Q. What is your main fault?

A. I can sometimes be too detail-oriented…wait, not a job interview. The real answer is this: Events that make most people recoil in horror have very little impact on me. Someone shot 37 times? Easy, I'm also wondering why they wasted so many bullets with the price of ammo these days. Town flattened by a tornado or hurricane? Been there, done that and, somewhere, I actually have a t-shirt for it. Need someone to knock on the door of the dearly and very, very recently (within three hours) deceased? Send me in coach, I’m your boy. Between the Marines and being a reporter, especially as a reporter, I’ve seen and written about the worst aspects of human behavior, tragedies and natural disasters. It’s not that I don’t have empathy, I do, but I’d actually be surprised if humanity or nature could shock me anymore. They’re both so predictable.

Q. What turns you on?

A. I’m going to assume this question deals with sexual attraction, cause there’s lot’s of ways to turn a guy’s crank: food, sports, a new electronic device. Anyway, when it comes to women, the answer is, above all else, a woman who challenges me. Intellectually, emotionally, sexually, physically, comedically. Two of those five are going to disappear – eventually – and when they do you better hope you’re with someone you can talk to and laugh and cry with. Also, a great ass doesn’t hurt.

Q. What is your idea of misery?

A. Watching Dook win the national championship last year.

Q. What do you wish you knew more about?

A. Other places. I’ve traveled far too little and would like to go somewhere interesting – Rome, South Africa, Belfast, Central America, Scotland, the moon, North Korea (OK, maybe not that last one) – and learn about it. The day you stop learning is the day the entropy takes hold.

And that’s all folks.

I know the normal form of these things is to pass them along. But I’m not going to do that. I will, however, challenge you to pull these questions, answer them and post them in your little corner of the interwebs and then send me the link. I’ll post all the links I get here.

* 220 points – 100 for the nil and 120 for the blind six. A bold move that can either get you back into a game, or lose it for sure.

** Now don’t get on me about using the word “cunt.” Like it’s any worse than the other six. Also, if you don’t recognize the reference, I suggest a little research into the history of censorship and stand-up comedy.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fireworks!! Ohh!! Ahh!!

Happy Day After Birthday America! Or, as we like to call it around here: Fireworks Picture Day!!

I have to say, Sunday's fireworks show was pretty good. It was the first time I've been on the Mall for fireworks since New Years 2000. You remember, the night everyone thought the whole world was going to Hell in a hand basket as the computers began to misbehave because the human programers never taught them to recognize the year 2000.

"It was a bug Dave."

Also, the Washington Monument was still wrapped in its sleek and sexy scaffolding as they spruced the old boy up.

Anyway, I hit the Mall last night for the fireworks and had my "America, Hell Yeah!" levels topped off for the coming year.

But, before we get on to the pretty pictures from last night, a cautionary warning to photographers everywhere: When the finale comes remember to lower your shutter speed or crank down your aperture or you'll get pictures like these:

OK, the second one's not that bad. But still, with all the light they're throwing up in the sky, (caution, technical details ahead) 2 seconds at f8 with a 100 ISO is too much. You'll end up with very bright pictures. You gotta stop it down in some way and, after further review, I'd recommend stopping down either one or two stops.

One other little thing I discovered: People don't sit down for the show so be prepared to have some heads in the shot. Once you set up, that's it. With all the people around you have to choose your spot and stick with it. Even if the people in front of you insist on holding up their iPhones as they try, fruitlessly, to record the show.

And now for the rest of the show. These aren't in order, but they're pretty close. They're all clickable if you want to see them real big. For more, check out my Flickr page (I hope I'm doing this right.) I especially liked the way the sky went from a grayish-blue and orangy sunset color to start with, to inky black all in the space of about 15 minutes.

The only bad part about fireworks? You only really get them once a year. I'll just have to remember all of this for next year. Enjoy the rest of your long weekend.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A sign of the Apocalypse? Well, maybe in Rio...

"There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch." - Nigel Powers, the fahza of British super spy Austin Powers.

See, I'm guessing the folks in Brazil, after getting beat 2-1 in the World Cup, are feeling kinda the same way about the Netherlands as Maurice Joseph Micklewhite.

All good things must come to an end.