Archive for December, 2006

Good Riddance

December 31st, 2006 at 5:16 am by Mark
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     Truly, there are a lot of idiots in the world.  The conviction, and subsequent execution, of Saddam Hussein — by his own citizens — is certainly proving it.

      A perfect example of people losing their damn minds comes from India, where, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party general secretary Beni Prasad Verma (a lefty Islamist, no less) claimed that George Bush is “the biggest terrorist in the world.” Seems he’s all about getting those around him riled up with anti-American sentiment despite the fact that Saddam was convicted and executed by the very people he used to rule.
      All in all, it seems a very nasty place for an Indian politician to be sticking his nose, but then I guess his sort are pretty common these days. It’s little wonder that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was mentioning, just the other day, that that state specifically is “in need of modern leadership.”
     Why, I’ll bet right there in Uttar Pradesh, just a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the Kashmir, there’re even a few Islamic fundamentalists who were inspired by the snippet and are declaring jihad at this very moment! Let’s hope they’re at least as stupid as the British attempted-shoe-bomber Richard Reid

      It’s a little funny, since you certainly don’t hear any anti-American sentiment in the execution video.  Seems like most people who lived under the thumb of that maniac in Iraq are overwhelmingly happy the man is dead.
     And while I’ve wrestled with the thought that perhaps I shouldn’t post this video, stolen from a camera phone, I finally thought… why not?

Goodbye, Opal

December 27th, 2006 at 7:53 pm by Mark
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     Last week I got the news that Opal’s Lounge, Knoxville’s best Dive, had sold out.  Swanky and I have frequented the place on off for many years now, having a beer, playing darts and talking to Opal, the owner.
     A few years ago, her grandson Robbie started helping her out, and the crowd changed a little — it became younger, and a lot more obnoxious than the older “neighborhood regulars” who usually frequented the place.
     Still, I could always go in before 7PM and sit and talk to Opal, smoke cigarettes and laugh.

     I told Swanky about it last week.  Today, he broke the story on his blog.  Since my name was on it, I couldn’t help but go and check it out…

     Today, it already felt like a different place. No Opal. No Robbie. Strange people, who I didn’t know, struggled with both the cash register and finding that elusive “Miller Lite.”
     The familiar painting — one her late husband had brought from Mexico — was no longer on the wall above the cash register, and several other items we’ve stared at over the years just weren’t there.  It all felt a little surreal, and I sat there wondering if Opal had taken her things, or if they’d shoved them in the storage room.

     Finally, I looked at the new bartenders, and asked, “I’m confused… where’s Opal?”
     “She sold out!” he said happily.
     He introduced himself, personable enough.  They’re friends of Robbie’s, and will be converting the bar into “D A’s Sports Bar” (I believe that’s what he said — was hard to hear over the TV & Jukebox). They told me that Opal did everything she could to help them get into the place.

     “Sold it to us two weeks ago,” he said. “But it was official … last week.”
     Strangely, last week was the first  heard about it … from one of my clients. Opal had called him a few minutes before I walked in the door.
     Given that, I’m kinda surprised she didn’t say anything when Swanky and I were there on her last Friday.  Like he says…

If you go by before 7PM these days, you can still hang out with Opal herself. She is a legend in Knoxville bars. She has been like a grandmother to me. One that smokes, drinks and cusses.

     Instead, she gave Swanky and I each a hug and a kiss, and said, “I love you boys!”

     That’s pretty damn special, coming from Opal.

     And after going there this afternoon, I miss her already.

Stock Photos

Too Many Typos

December 27th, 2006 at 12:59 pm by Mark
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     Lately, every time I sit down to write, it takes far too long.  And yet, for several days after I hit “Publish,” I still find a number of glaringly obvious mistakes.  There’s rarely a mispelling, mind you, but often a missing word or prepositional phrase, sometimes with disastrous consequences for what might have been a perfectly good paragraph.
     Lysdexia sucsk.

     Everyone makes mistakes, however, I don’t want to use that as an excuse for producing a poor-quality article.  So, seriously, how often do we make these sorts of mistakes when writing with pen and paper?  Certainly, the predominance of the computer has made this a much more difficult excercise.
     I was reminded of an e-mail Swanky sent me a few years ago, full of mistakes from newspaper ads:

  • 2 female Boston Terrier puppies, 7 wks old, Perfect markings, 555-1234. Leave mess.
  • Lost: small apricot poodle. Reward. Neutered. Like one of the family.
  • A superb and inexpensive restaurant. Fine food expertly served by waitresses in appetizing forms.
  • Dinner Special — Turkey $2.35; Chicken or Beef $2.25; Children $2.00.
  • For sale: an antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.
  • Four-poster bed, 101 years old. Perfect for antique lover.
  • Now is your chance to have your ears pierced and get an extra pair to take home, too.
  • Wanted: 50 girls for stripping machine operators in factory.
  • Wanted: Unmarried girls to pick fresh fruit and produce at night.
  • We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand.
  • For Sale. Three canaries of undermined sex.
  • For Sale — Eight puppies from a German Shepperd and an Alaskan Hussy.
  • Great Dames for sale.
  • Have several very old dresses from grandmother in beautiful condition.
  • Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it.
  • Dog for sale: eats anything and is fond of children.
  • Vacation Special: have your home exterminated.
  • If you think you’ve seen everything in Paris, visit the Pere Lachasis Cemetery. It boasts such immortals as Moliere, Jean de la Fontain, and Chopin.
  • Mt. Kilimanjaro, the breathtaking backdrop for the Serena Lodge. Swim in the lovely pool while you drink it all in.
  • The hotel has bowling alleys, tennis courts, comfortable beds, and other athletic facilities.
  • Get rid of aunts: Zap does the job in 24 hours.
  • Toaster: A gift that every member of the family appreciates. Automatically burns toast.
  • Sheer stockings. Designed for fancy dress, but so serviceable that lots of women wear nothing else.
  • Stock up and save. Limit: one.
  • We build bodies that last a lifetime.
  • For Rent: 6-room hated apartment.
  • Man, honest. Will take anything.
  • Wanted: chambermaid in rectory. Love in, $200 a month. References required.
  • Man wanted to work in dynamite factory. Must be willing to travel.
  • UsedCars: Why go elsewhere to be cheated? Come here first!
  • Christmans tag-sale. Handmade gifts for the hard-to-find person.
  • Wanted: Hair-cutter. Excellent growth potential.
  • Wanted. Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.
  • 3-year-old teacher need for pre-school. Experience preferred.
  • Our experienced Mom will care of your child. Fenced yard, meals, and smacks included.
  • Our bikinis are exciting. They are simply the tops.
  • Auto Repair Service. Free pick-up also including shiply delivery. Try us once, you’ll never go anywhere again.
  • Illiterate? Write today for free help.
  • Girl wanted to assist magician in cutting-off-head illusion. Blue Cross and salary.
  • Wanted. Widower with school-age children requires person to assume general housekeeping duties. Must be capable of contributing to growth of family.
  • Mixing bowl set designed to please a cook with round bottom for efficient beating.
  • Semi-Annual after-Christmas Sale.
  • And now, the Superstore–unequaled in size, unmatched in variety, unrivaled inconvenience.
  • We will oil your sewing machine and adjust tension in your home for $1.00.

     At least I’m in good company. 😉

2006 – Happy F-ing Holidays!

December 24th, 2006 at 4:00 pm by Mark
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     Here’s the obligatory holiday photo…

Happy F-ing Holidays

     I missed the Thanksgiving post because I was busy enjoying myself during what was certainly the event that I was most thankful for in 2006.  Miranda and I spent some good, quality time together discussing everything that went wrong during our marriage, and making our apologies where they were applicable.
     Sure, divorce is divorce, and it is the end, but it’s always better when you can part as friends.  And hey, everybody can use a few more friends.  With that, we have all the closure we need to go ahead and get on with our lives.
     So, Miranda, my friend, I hope all of you on your side of the world, and the rest, have wonderful and memorable Holidays. 🙂 *toasts*

     To my family, hey…  *toasts*

     To Mr. & Ms. Swanky, here’s to you guys.  You know why.  *toasts*

     To the Bloggers I’ve talked to, met, hung out with and e-mailed over the last year, kudos, and here’s to a great new year.  *toasts*

     To my customers & clients, we’ve had a good year through all our ups and downs.  I truly appreciate the business, loyalty and reciprocity we’ve all achieved this year.  *toasts*

     To my new neighbors, who’ve been great to hang out with and talk to the second half of the year. *toasts*

     To my friends, both new and old, thanks for the wild times and here’s to us making a few more. *toasts*

     To my Pirate Chicks (possessive little bastard I am), certainly, you girls have certainly made my year.  You’re every one individual and unique, some loud and some quiet, some bold and some shy, some aggressive and some passive, but I know damn well when the shit hits the fan, every damn one of you would be right there with me — and for any of you, I’d do the same.
     You’ve made the good times better, and the bad times bearable, if not hilarious.  *hugs* I love every damn one of ya.  *toasts*

     It just wouldn’t be like me to get all sappy and not leave something sarcastic.

     So, to all the ladies, a special gift, courtesy of NBC…

Stock Photos

Stupid Computer

December 19th, 2006 at 7:56 pm by Mark
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I’ve had this HP Pavilion 513W sitting here for a while now, but when the guy first asked me about it, it would lock up when it attempted to load the AGP driver — even in safe mode.
Now, I don’t make it a habit of working on Home machines for obvious reasons, but I know him, and was pretty sure of what was going on with it.  Told him I could take a look at it, but in the meantime, he wanted to see what HP said.  He had already made up his mind to buy a new system and was looking for the best time to buy new electronics on Nerds On Call, but upon my words to wait a few days till I have a complete look at it, they decided to wait. Apparently, he and his father also decided to do a system restore one last time, erasing all of his data.  Still, each time it got to Disc 6, the system would stop writing to its 80GB Hard Drive and halt.  Given all that, I was reasonably sure the restore CD’s were scratch just bad enough to quit working.

After finally locating an HP Operating System disc and trying that, I realized the machine would never boot into XP.  I changed the hard drive to no avail.  I changed the memory, power supply, and even the CPU, and even used the best thermal paste available on places whre it was applicable, and it still kept happening.

Today, just for a test, I unplugged the Combo CD-RW/DVD that came with that particular Pavilion.  To my amazement, the system booted right up, no problem.
Confused, I plugged up a Sony DRU-14A DVD-RW and the original 80GB drive, and XP Home is installed just perfectly (on a drive which previously complained intermittently).

Eventually, everthing was right.

Or so I thought…

The next hurdle was Windows Activation.  After a half hour on the phone with Microsoft Customer Service, they gave me a key required to activate Windows XP, and everything was good.

This is why I don’t work on Home machines … Strange things happen with Home computers that never happen on Business machines.

I wonder what’s gonna happen when he upgrades to Windows Vista next month?  😉