One Extra Second

"So, it won't be ready until Monday Morning," the multi-pierced mechanic said to me while he fiddled with recently removed bits of my car.  He'd brought out one of my tie-rods to show me the extent of their decline, along with a new tie rod that was supposed to go in my car.  The problem was that they had to have these tie rods brought to this mechanic, and instead of tie rods for a 2005 Prius, he was holding a part for a 2006 car. 

I should probably take a moment to point out that as far as cars go, I know next to nothing.  I can put various fluids in the car, I can change a battery, and I can change a tire.  Not that I ever want to because there are people that I'm supposed to be able to pay to do this stuff for me, and one of them is currently trying to show me...I have no idea.  He could show me a peanut butter sandwich and a hot dog right now, and I'd be almost as clueless.  "But Ricky, I was told that Apple Butter was much better for the engine that Concord Grape.  What say you?"  

"Sorry man," he fidgeted with the broken tie rod.  There's a sign outside the station advertising that they sell Spinners.  Could he not afford one?  Stop fingering bits of my car, dude. 

"Dude, this really throws a wrench in my gears."  He stares blankly at me as if he's trying to figure out if I made that pun on purpose.  "Is there anything you can do for me right now?"

"Well, it's 1 pm, we're actually closed now."

Right.  Of course.  We can't have Ricky spend another second under a car than he has to, and I guess this weekend I wouldn't really want him to.  I'm fairly sure he's got a mother.  I don't, but I have a wife who has put up with my business for years while helping raise two special needs kids and a daughter that is just as much of a freak of nature as her old man.  I was going to take care of the Sunday business on Saturday so she could sleep in.   

I was going to do that until Ricky decided my tie-rods were the cure for his ADD.  

Resigned to parting with the car for the remainder of the weekend, my mind keeps going back to that little bit of extra time that no one seems to want to commit to.  The guy at the parts warehouse could have spent one extra second making sure that tie rod was the right one.  Ricky could have spent a little extra time bolting them into the car so I could leave with it.  

The imp of the perverse in the back of my head pipes up. "And what about you, Roley?  What extra time are you not committing to?"

He's right, you know.   Am I spending that one extra second making sure things that I'm doing are correct?  I go through my own backstory, and I realize that no, I may not be.  It's not just Ricky, I have my own issues.  

What's the cost of not spending that one extra second?  In my case, it means doing things over most of the time.  It means I'm not putting out my best work.  Sometimes it means I'm not putting out work at all because I'm not committing to the extra time it takes.   

That one extra second is a real bitch, but it might be one we have to pay attention to if we're going to get shit done.   

Happy Mother's Day, Ricky.   As a tech support guy, I used to dread going over and fixing Mom's computer and printer and TV, and all the stuff she didn't know how to work.  I hope you don't get stuck changing oil, though if you do, don't gripe about it.  You'll miss changing that oil one day, and you'll want that one extra second more than anything. 

Getting Back To North

Getting Back To North

I'm being tugged in a whole lot of directions right now, and I thought I'd take a second to define them in black and white.  Somehow, I'm hoping against hope that I will see where North lies when I see it on paper instead of a bunch of nebulous ideas in my head. 

The comedy is always there.  The characters are always there, although I'm dead set against bringing back WYRD 101 and The Pungoverse.  That ship has sailed, and I honestly don't think I can do anything else with Pungo.  This doesn't stop the urge to write things in those voices, because that's my default even now.  I've written in that style for so long it's second nature.  Writing as ME is hard, and yet that is exactly what I want to do.   

The side of me that is pissed off about the Presidential Election and it's fallout over the next 3.5 years (minimum) wants to do a sarcastic political and current events show.  I've tried this a couple of weeks ago, and while I think I could do well at it, the trial week was enough for me to know that my heart isn't into it.  

Yet another idea I've had is to explain concepts using small words.  The new GOP healthcare bill, finance, Why this town--while I believe it's the best city in the world--has it's priorities backasswards, things like that.  I won't lie, I think that's a natural extension of my personality and that will happen organically.  I just don't want to make it my primary reason for doing anything.  

But the thing I keep coming back to is writing stories and telling people that you can be a complete fuckup and still do good things.  All I can give you there is my experience in being a fuckup--which is considerable--and helping in whatever way I can by telling people it's ok.  I'm glossing over that quite a bit, but I want to share my story and help people write theirs. It's the only way I know how to leave this world better than how I found it.  I've said this a million times, or at least until you're sick of it.  My trouble is that I keep losing the why.  This is always my problem, aside from being distracted by the new shiny things of all different shapes and sizes.  The fog sets in, and I can't find the lighthouse, never mind North.

So every once in a while, I need to find the course again.  This is one of those times. 

Yesterday I sat down with a notebook and wrote a bunch of ideas down.  If I did every one of those Ideas I would have 36 weeks of material.  I consider that just a brain dump for me to sift through.  What I know for sure is that it's time for me to stop throwing things against the wall to see what sticks.   It's time for me to stick to something I know I can do for a long time and have my heart in.  

As such, I'm putting new episodes on hiatus.  Now is a good time for me to add to the back catalogue while I'm writing, so once or twice a week I'll be adding to the Archive.   What I intend to do is write and produce a season of 12 episodes over the course of the summer, and then drop them in the fall. I’ve done this before, so I know I can.   I’ll add to the YouTube channel during this time; I know I will be vlogging while I'm in Maine at the end of June.  I just don't believe my everyday life is that damn interesting to put out something daily on video, and I don't want to manufacture a reason to bore you to death.  Whatever it is I end up doing will be in both video and audio, and maybe other things.  One thing is for absolute certain, it will be the most I’ve ever planned ahead and prepared for.   This next chapter of Roley I want to be different, where different means the absolute best I can do.  

I just don't want to do anything for the fuck of it anymore.  I want a reason, and to know I'm doing some good.    So, let me go find my map and my compass and get back to North.  


I Blame Vin Diesel

As the most milquetoast bourgeois white male in the Civilized Western world, you will no doubt be shocked when I tell you I drive a Prius.  I consider it a step up from the PT Cruiser I still own.  


I never said I had any taste.  I would think the milquetoast bourgeois white dude part might have summed that up, but in case you didn’t get that part, I’m hopeless.   One day I hope to the balding middle-aged dude in the BMW convertible one day, but by the time I could afford one they may have had to revoke my license.


Anyway, I digress.  I’m not a reckless driver.  At most, I might try to beat the yellow more than I should (because yellow means go really really fast), and I tend to drive between 5 and 9 miles over the limit, not because I’m trying to get there a little faster, I find that that’s the sweet spot for the Prius to ease back on the engine and let the electric motor do the work.  I’m not one of those hypermilers, I just enjoy a good video game.  The Prius is one big rolling video game to me, and I allow myself that little joy;  To see how many miles I can get out a tank without being completely anal.


Again, I want to assure everyone that I’m not one of those doddering fools you’re trying to get around during rush hour. I move my ass between point A and B like most drivers.  But more and more often, I’m running into people on the roads that just piss me off, and I’m absolutely sure you’ve run into them as well.  More to the point, I’m sure you thought they were going to run into you.


I’m talking about these maniacs that swerve in and out of lanes, and ride people’s asses like the Boulevard was their own personal game of Pole Position.  Or, these crotch rocket drivers that split lanes and drive in-between the cars.  I’m just waiting for one poor sod to change lanes without using their blinker and kill one of those idiots.  So far in the past week or so, I have been cut off 5 times, I’ve been drafted 12 times, and I’ve damn near been side swiped 3 times.  Some of these by sports cars, but most of the time it’s by people in fucking Mazda’s and Hyundais that are just impatient and think they’re losing the race for the NASCAR cup.   Don’t even get me started on the Interstate.  Those fuckers are crazy, weaving in and out of lanes—sometimes they’ve got a real conga line going on there—two, three, four cars pushing 75-80-90 miles an hour and forcing their horsepower on everybody just trying to get somewhere.  I worry for those people because if they fuck up they’re drinking dinner through a straw forever if they’re lucky.


I see these people as they go by, and they almost always look younger than me.  I haven’t seen any soccer moms in Honda Odysseys with babies on board pulling this business, though there was one young lady in a Santa Fe who tried to occupy the same physical space as me on the highway recently, until I stomped my foot on the pedal and had time to get out of her way before our DNA co-mingled.  Good thing too, I'd look hideous as a blonde.  I know this because I’ve tried.  I looked like Guy Fieri’s sick bloated cousin.  


This craziness always comes in fits and starts, and it’s picked up in the last week or so, and I think I know why.  I would be willing to bet you that quite a few of them has gone to see the new Fast and Furious movie that’s just come out.  Personally, I haven’t seen any of them, because I. Don’t. Care.   I haven’t seen Friends or Seinfeld either.  Ever.  And I was supposed to be the target demo for that bullshit.  I am NOT the demo for cars careening around at a bajillion miles an hour while trying not to be dead.  It might be a thing, it’s just not my thing.   I think the level of fuckery behind the wheel is in direct correlation to the release of one of these movies, and that’s enough for me not to want to see one of the damn things.  


But for all the idiots out there on the roads who I believe see the cars careening at a bajillion miles an hour, they see Vin Diesel do it and not die, and they say “Hell, I can do that and not die.”  Not even thinking of all the other people on the roads who are actually driving fucking reasonably and not dying.  So let me be absolutely clear:  you're doing what you do because you think you can is really fucking annoying for the rest of us who just want to get to fucking work, or school, or wherever without eating YOUR front quarter panel.   I’d also like it very much if you’d stop riding my ass even though I’m going 50 miles an hour in a 45 because I’m afraid you’re going to eat my rear bumper.  I don’t brake check people, though I’ve been tempted.   I don’t trust myself to not end up in a rear ender, and I don’t want the hassle.


I’d like to suggest a solution to this problem though, and it IS a problem.  The solution lies in the deep dark 1980s.  For a short period of time in this country, there was a car that was exported from that mecca of automotive engineering…Yugoslavia.  It was called the Yugo, and I don’t want to say there was no power to these things, but if you lost the zipkey—the same one that got your Evel Knievel Stunt cycle going?  Yeah, that one—you were pretty much fucked.  I’ve seen more people push Yugos than driving them.  I’m telling you we have a market for assholes that need to sit down and be humble like Kendrick says.  Fuckers need correcting, and making them drive a puke green box with wheels that can’t get out of its own way for a few months might be just the thing.   No Yugos?  Find a goddamn Chevette or a 78 Civic.  A Datsun B210.  One of these fucking mopeds that can’t get over 25.  Make ‘em ride those for a month or two. In January.   


And someone bitchslap Vin Diesel for me because this shit is cray. 

Ship to Shore 3/3: Sessions, Cameras, Parrotheads, Typos

I was going to dream up some weird parody about whether or not you’d say something if you saw someone kick the cat and tie it to Keebler Elf, Esq, but let’s be honest.  It’s WAY to cutesy-poo to do that, and I’d rather just cut to the meat. 

Jeff Sessions is either a lying bastard or a fucking moron.  Now, we might get into a discussion about which of those is less worrisome, but either way, the end result is that he’s not good at his job.  

In this case,  all the man had to do was answer a question simply.  Like, for example, how he did in writing to Patrick Leahy:

Leahy (written question): Several of the president-elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?

Sessions’s written reply: “No."

Now, as it turns out, he was lying about that as well, but I want to give the guy props for a straight answer.  

So, when the cameras and lights were on him, and he was trying to be the best elf he could be for his buddy Don, he went off the reservation just a tad: 

At a confirmation hearing in January, Franken posed the following question to Sessions: “If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?”

“I'm not aware of any of those activities,” Sessions replied. “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I didn't have — did not have communications with the Russians.”

At this point I want to point out that the Elf did what so many slimebalms do in these situations, he answered the question he wanted to answer, not the one asked of him.  Had he just answered the question, we wouldn’t be here right now.  “Senator, I’d investigate it.”  or, “Senator, I’d recuse myself.”   

The only places this kind of thing happens are in politics or in dealings with sociopaths.  

Which is to say, politics.  

So now we have a couple of stories coming from Sessions, ranging from “I did no such thing”, to “I can’t remember”, to “I did, but we didn’t talk about the campaign”.  Each one of these is a lie on top of the original lie, because the esteemed elf from Alabama can’t keep his lies straight.  So again I say, he’s either a lying bastard, or he’s a fucking moron.  Either way, he’s a piece of hot garbage that shouldn’t be Attorney General for any longer than it takes for any player to be named later to get his ass to DC.  

If perjury is perjury, and no man is above the law, then Jeff Sessions committed perjury.  He should be treated as such. 

SnarkyLinks after the jump

Ship to Shore 3/2/2017: Hair, Social Media, News Alerts

I have a love/hate relationship with my scalp.  Rather, the fact that I can see more of it than I would like.  On my ‘good’ days, the more-or-less balanced part of my brain says “you’re 46, that’s a reality, get a buzzcut and be done with it.  it’s one less thing you have to fuck with.”  Then, the mischievous little imp that is forever 18 years old climbs up to my other shoulder and pricks at my vanity.  Currently, I’m in a phase where I’ve given in to the imp.  

The imp has convinced me to try the one last thing I have never tried: Minoxidil.  Because I’m 46, and I’m a vain little bastard sometimes.  The little fuckers that dreamed this shit up in the lab say that I ought to see something after about 30 days or so if I rub this greasy crap on the top of my scalp twice a day.   A little fun fact about Roley: I hate greasy crap of pretty much any kind, anywhere on me.  It’s a texture thing.  I can’t stand it.  Lotion on my hands?  NO.  I’d rather get the hose again and again and again.  And yet, here I am.  Because vanity. 

A couple years ago I tried Tea Tree Shampoo, and it wasn’t a total loss; I saw nothing to tell me that I had any hair growth, but I did find I liked Tea Tree Shampoo a lot.  Now I have this stuff called Nioxin.  The smart-assed lady at the Great Clips that I will never leave convinced me to try it.  

“Does your wife know you’re doing this?”, she asked.

“No.”, I replied. 

“Because she’s just going to laugh?”

“Right. So clearly I can go home for this abuse.”

“That’ll be 35 bucks.  Does your vanity hurt worse than your wallet?”

“Kind of a coin flip right now.”

“I like you.  At least you’re honest about being a dumbass.”

Frankly, I wouldn’t trade exchanges like this with the people in my life for any amount of money.  Not only because they do keep me honest, but in some weird corner of my imagination, I see Aaron Sorkin writing dialog furiously based on these moments.  That is a universe I would very much like to inhabit.  A universe where everyone has razor-sharp wit, is remarkably intelligent, and not for nothing, a full head of hair. 

I give this until June, after which I shave my head and nuke the bathroom mirror. 

SnarkyLinks after the jump. 

Ship to Shore 3/1/2017: Trump, Twitter, Subway, Uber


A Joint Session of Congress (or the State of the Union in any other year) is an infomercial.  It's been an infomercial for a long time.  The guy in charge tells you what he'd like to do for a price to be named later and his party cheers, the other doesn't.  There is nothing new under the sun here.  Then the other party finds someone completely lifeless to the response, and craps the bed for 10 minutes or so.  Last night was no exception.  

What struck me as Mr. Trump left the well of the House was that here we have a man who--for the first time--may be more in love with the image of what he thinks a President is, without wanting to take any of the responsibility of being President.  Then I laughed at myself, because really it wouldn't have been any other way with Trump.  Of course image matters more than substance.  That's been his life.  Long before this election and his billions in free press from a willing media, long before The Apprentice, there was The Donald, a man whose arrogance flaunted his apparent wealth in front of a public in a time when greed was good. 

It still is.  Greed and arrogance got him to Pennsylvania Avenue.  However, don't be fooled into thinking greed and arrogance will remove him from there.  His base, and the party that has ridden on his tacky gold coattails don't care about that.  They may eventually care about his irresponsibility, but I doubt it.  

What will eventually matter are the results and the consequences, because in normal times that's what people base their vote on.  We're not in normal times right now, but I think we'll return there soon enough.   

SnarkyLinks follow after the jump.

TRAWLING: February 8 2017

Here are the headlines from Democracy Now!


The Daily Stoic:  366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perserverance, and the Art of Living (Amazon Affiliate Link)

You know, I'm finding something here that agrees with me.  A weird kind of ultimate confirmation bias of things I suspected to be truths, without having any authority to back up those beliefs.  Turns out the authority comes from dead Romans.  Go Figure.   I suppose I'll follow this up with Marcus Aurelius' Meditations for a deeper dive.  



The book I mentioned above mentions three factors that were crucial to the Stoics:  Perseverance, Action, and Will.   I'm glossing over this quite a bit but basically, the only thing you can control is your mind.  Don't sweat the external forces, just worry about out own choices, attitude, and outlook.  

There's a lot of external forces vying for our attention these days, isn't there?  So, what are we to do.   

Well, I would suggest that not every noodle thrown against the wall is going to be al dente, so don't eat it.  Press on and do you.  There are going to be times when it is necessary to make your voice heard, but that's going to be those things that align with your core beliefs.  Only you know what those are.  However, if every little piece of information that you receive causes you to throw a fit, you're going to get fatigued very quickly.   That leads to a kind of shell shock, and we can't afford that. 

We still have to live our lives.  We still have to be productive people, not for society, but rather for ourselves and the people we care about.  My advice is to stop consuming the empty calories of mass media that pile on the fear, uncertainty, and doubt.  If something happens of great import, you will know it.  Trust me on this, there's a certain level of current events that no one misses even if they try.  

Until then, stay the course.  Remember, don't resist, refuse. Opt out.  


(...and read that book!  It's quite good.)

SHIP TO SHORE: February 6 2017

I think the thing that really gets me about this new world we're living in, is how readily certain people accept that this is normal. 

I hate to tell you, but this is not normal. 

At the same time, I'm not going to go all 1984 on you, because I think that gives Mr. Trump WAY too much credit.  I don't think his boot is the one stamping on a human face forever.   I think we're just dealing with a man child who has lived to his seventies without having experienced that first great disillusionment most of us experience when we're in our twenties.   That moment when we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the world doesn't revolve around us, and that things are not going to work out quite the way we wanted it to.  For some of us, that means that we're going to have to grow up a little.  For others, it means that we have to sack up and get to work.  For Mr. Trump, it means that a majority of the people in this country might like watching his bombast on a reality TV show, but we don't much care for that same bombast in the Oval Office.  It also means that he's finding out--maybe for the first time--that he can't have everything he wants, and that makes him MAD.

I'm of two minds on that lashing out, because our President and Id made flesh seems hell bent on alienating us from the rest of the world, and that is going to lead to conflict to some degree.  I don't know if that's just a public shaming of Mr. Trump by the rest of the world or something much more tragic, but in either event it's going to be unpleasant.  

In the end, one thing is for sure, and I'll put money on this:  It will not be the Democrats that bring down Donald Trump.  Donald Trump will do it all by himself.  

 I didn't honestly think I would see Saturday Night Live return to social relevance in my lifetime.  Let's be honest, it's been SO bad.  I stopped watching years ago.  I had a conversation with LoonRadio some weeks ago in which I suggested that the next four years will see a renaissance in what I'll lovingly call the subversive arts.  It is the heart of piracy to rebel, of course.  

It seems a lot of creatives have found a reason to chart a course and go sailing.  A silver lining in this new age of creeping fascism, I suppose.

It occurred to to be today as I was sitting in the car that the overly warm feeling of the sun on my face was something I had not felt in quite a while.  That sunny feeling that is a foreboding of sunburn if you're not careful.  It's the first sign that my City of Dolphins is creeping slowly out of Winter.  I despise Winter; I tell people that while I'm from Maine, there's a reason I'm not IN Maine.   Maine was always more of a weigh station between duty stations, and luckily just a short time between stations.  I've lived in Hawaii, Virginia, and Cuba in my conscious memory.  I'm told we have also lived in Oakland, San Diego, and Bremerton before I was five.  Hawaii is the first thing I remember, and as a result, I'm pretty spoiled.  Seasons are vastly overrated, and I have a rule of thumb that I share everyone in a while with those that know me personally: If it's too cold to water ski naked, it's too fucking cold.  

You're so very welcome. 

The technical difficulty that happened this weekend was my foot.  I have been dealing with a nagging injury for a while now, and I  overdid it this past weekend.  I don't know if I do not have the luxury of stopping, or if my will justly does not allow me to, but physicians and physics and some combination thereof mandated it for Monday.  So I stayed home, put my foot on ice and painkillers and read.  A lot. 

The lost pastime of reading.  I used to inhale books.  In fifth grade while my peers were reading Judy Blume, I was reading All The President's Men.  I read The Fountainhead at 12.   I read most of the books that the Virginia Beach Public School system mandates before I made it to high school, and they wondered why I was bored.  

Then life happened, and my library dwindled, and my interests became concrete, and I didn't lose myself in wood pulp again for years.  I still haven't gone completely back to the dead trees, because I have a Kindle.  Many of my bibliophilic friends hate this, but I don't care.  I can carry a library in my pocket, and I like that.  I like that a LOT.  

Being able to read for 30 minutes before bed has also allowed me to sleep better, so long as I leave the other screens in my office.  I've managed to do this for about a month, and while I don't know if that whole blue screen business is hokum or not, I know that reading primes my brain for sleep.  This may be known, but remember that I have to find my own way sometimes. 

The days of staying up late during the week are pretty much over.  I have shit to do. 

One more thing on the subject of reading:  Get magazines related to your interests.  Get your local paper.   Do this.  Like Grace Slick advised us, 'Feed Your Head'.   Learn.  Also, learn to take that time to be silent.   Take all the time to be silent you like.  Daydream in solitude.   You authority figures that told us it was bad to daydream: Go to hell.   Letting your mind wander and think of the what if moments of life is fucking amazing, and everyone should do that for a few minutes every day.  Even better if you can write it down after.  You never know....




TRAWLING: February 3 2017

Here are today's headlines from Democracy Now!


Most influential, according to Combi, is a social paranoia that has been ramped up by smartphones. Generation Z's social circles are not just a group of friends, but a potential swarm of teenage paparazzi, with even fewer morals than the professionals.

"With everything kids do being filmed, they are very aware that being caught wasted on camera isn't a good look. So it's put people off. There is a culture of drink and drug shaming in the media, and this social embarrassment has filtered down to kids. If they get wasted at a party, the likelihood is that it will end up on Instagram or Snapchat. Kids have always been cruel, and most kids who see someone passed out on the floor having wet themselves are going to take a picture."

So, peer pressure.  

Some things never change.  


Old-fashioned thermostats, it seems, are being retrofitted so that they can be centrally controlled. In other words, fiddling with the buttons will make no difference to the temperature—although, given how effective placebos are, some people will feel a phantom cooling or warming in the room.

Guests, though, are fighting back. Blogs have been started that explain how to override systems and take back control of the temperature. YouTube videos explain the procedures for bypassing specific models. Some regular travellers have vowed never to stay in establishments unless they can take full responsibility for their climate.

I've stayed in some absolute holes in the winter that were just as bad as sleeping in a snowdrift.  If it's 25 degrees outside, my room needs to be pumping some heat.  If I can't control that, I doubt I'd stay in a place like that again.  


"Well this is Black History Month, so this is our little breakfast, our little get-together. Hi Lynn, how are you? Just a few notes. During this month, we honor the tremendous history of African-Americans throughout our country. Throughout the world, if you really think about it, right? And their story is one of unimaginable sacrifice, hard work, and faith in America. I’ve gotten a real glimpse — during the campaign, I’d go around with Ben to a lot of different places I wasn’t so familiar with. They’re incredible people. And I want to thank Ben Carson, who’s gonna be heading up HUD. That’s a big job. That’s a job that’s not only housing, but it’s mind and spirit. Right, Ben? And you understand, nobody’s gonna be better than Ben."

Once you realize that they didn't have to change a single word of his to make it a parody, you understand its brilliance.

Instead of a Photo of The Day, I thought I'd share the last live performance of my favorite Pink Floyd song.   This is a song that will never be played again, because Richard is gone.  

What a performance.  Strap in for this, it's 25 minutes of amazing. 


TRAWLING: February 2 2017

If you're keeping count, it's Thursday.  If you're not keeping count...well...

Lost of people ask me why I post the headlines from Democracy Now! up top here, and not something else.  Great question, easy answer.  First, I have reached the point where I trust corporate news sources about as far as I could comfortably spit a refrigerator, and second, I haven't yet figured out how to embed NPR.  If I do, I might switch out.  Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! is viewer supported, not ad driven.  Also, the first 10-15 minutes is pretty much straight headlines, and that's all I need for my day.  Talking heads are empty calories, and it pollutes your mind.  

That said, here are the headlines from Democracy Now!


Occasionally, instead of links I'll take this space to make a point.  A point that is guaranteed to piss someone off.  Today is one of those days.  

I can forgive Donald Trump for a lot of things.  For example, it's not hard for me to forgive him for his temper, as I have one of my own that I work with on a daily basis.  I can forgive him the administrative fumbles that seem to have plagued his first weeks in office. I can't imagine going from what was really a small privately run company to running the Federal Government, which employs hundreds of thousands of people.  The logistics of that behemoth must be frightening.  I can even forgive his administration for it's gaffes and not seeming to know what one person said (and to know what not to say) from day to day.  We're all in uncharted waters now, so I can forgive a lot of that.  That's not to say that I agree with this administration.  I don't, not one iota.  

What I cannot--what we cannot--forgive, is the reckless disregard for our military, which we have now been told was the case.  It has been reported that Donald Trump green lighted a covert operation in Yemen without sufficient intelligence, resulting in the death of a Navy SEAL, and 8 year old American girl, and others.  To have sufficient intel and make the wrong call is forgivable.  To not have it and make the wrong call is intolerable.  

From The article:

US military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support, or adequate backup preparations.

As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced Al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger-than-expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists.

Now comes the information from today's briefing that our President, who sent our men into that disaster waiting to happen, didn't bother to be in the Situation Room to watch.  


The president was here in the residence. He was kept in touch with his national security staff. Secretary Mattis and others kept him updated on both the raid and the death of Chief Owens as well as the four other individuals that were injured. So he was kept apprised of the situation.

This is beyond unacceptable, and I might remind you that had this happened under Hillary Clinton's administration, the screaming wouldn't have stopped yet.  Also, I might remind you that Clinton and her old boss can demonstrably prove their presence in the Situation Room at one of the most historic moments of the past 16 years.  

I can forgive many things, as we all should.   This kind of callousness and incompetence towards our military is not one of those things.  

If his negligence is directly responsible for the death of that SEAL, than he is not fit to be Commander in Chief, and he must be removed from office before his negligence gets another member of our military-- or another American-- killed.  

TRAWLING: February 1 2017

Here are today's Headlines Courtesy of Democracy Now!


But what is a shame is that Capaldi really was just hitting his stride and finding his tone as the 12th Doctor. Ah well; better to leave them wanting more. Capaldi’s final season of Doctor Who premieres on April 15.

I disagree with this vehemently.  Capaldi has been amazing as The Doctor, what has been sadly lacking is the balls to make The Doctor the asshole Peter Capaldi is truly capable of being.  I longed to see that.  The scripts have been hit and miss as well.  One thing I will tell you for sure: The few episodes that Capaldi was the sole character on the show have been among the best episodes I have ever seen.  Proof that he knows the role.  He should, it's long been established that he was a fanatic for Who since childhood.

Now on to the oncoming storm of predictions?  I want a callback to Colin Baker's Doctor in the next regeneration.  I think Moffat has cleared the way with The Master becoming Missy.  The door is open, Chris Chibnall.  You can make history.   I hope she will be deliciously disagreeable, arrogant, self-centered, a bad dresser, and The Doctor...whether you like it or not. 

More about Doctor Who on the Saturday Show, exclusively for my Patreon Listeners.


The VP said she believed I’d shown what kind of journalism I want to do — I think the assumption was that I want to do advocacy journalism — and that it is not the kind of journalism Marketplace does...She said that we cannot be both activists and journalists at the same. I respectfully disagreed with that binary. I never suggested that we should become advocates rather than doing our jobs as journalists, nor do I believe we should take stances on policy issues in our stories. However, I believe journalism itself is under attack, and in order to defend it, we need to know what we stand for and perhaps even consider activism as journalists on behalf of fairness, inclusivity, and free speech. All told, I suspect that the move to get rid of me was more about fear of the perception of what I said than what I actually said.

Journalism--or at least what journalism should be--is under attack now.  My advice to you is to stand with those that stand behind their reporters and their work and not cower under their desks.  My opinion is that APM is hiding in a bunker with their fingers in their ears, hoping not to get hit.  Their preoccupation with 'the fear of perception' is nothing more than corporate cowardice.  Your bravery may have cost your your job Lewis, but I have confidence that an organization with testicular fortitude will snap you right up so you can get back to the work you believe in.  I wish you success.  


With MLS growing to 22 teams for the upcoming 2017 season with the addition of Atlanta United and Minnesota United, LAFC will arrive in 2018 to take the number of teams to 23. David Beckham’s team in Miami is currently on hold as they continue their search for a stadium site which puts their status as team number 24 in some doubt.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber has stated his goal of adding four more teams in the coming years to expand the league to 28, but more specifically two more teams will be added for the 2020 season to take the league to 26 teams. The decision on who those two expansion franchises will be will be made midway through 2017 and will come from these 12 candidates who have submitted applications.

I'm putting my money on San Diego  and Cincinnati.  I don't think North Carolina gives two shits about soccer, but I didn't think Atlanta did either.  That surprised me.  If NC gets a team, I think Charlotte would before Raleigh.  I also foresee Tampa getting a team sooner rather than later.   

PHOTO OF THE DAY is courtesy of The Numinous


SHIP TO SHORE: February 1 2017

I suppose that this is going to be more of a free writing exercise, because once I try to put my mind to writing about a certain thing, my mind goes absolutely blank.  So, this is probably going to be more of a stream of consciousness form of writing.  Next to me I have a timer set to 15 minutes.  Whatever I get done in 15 minutes is what is going to get posted.  Period.  So, this might vary from week to week.  It will be once a week, hopefully on Wednesdays.  

It’s weird, because I do keep a daily journal, but that is somewhat limited to things that happened that day, and frankly, I say some things in there that I wouldn’t want to say out here.  Not hateful, just private.  I’ve gotten into the habit of journaling over the past year to remember what I did, where I fucked up, and the lessons I can learn from fucking up.

This is meant to be different, I just don’t yet know how.  Is this supposed to be my views on a certain topic in the news, or the culture, or something that’s pissing me off?  I just got up, and it’s 6am.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to be pissed off at yet today.  I’d prefer not to be pissed off at anything this early, if at all.   I’m not sure that’s healthy.  I lived in a constant state of anger and frustration for many years, and trust me when I tell you, living life not in a perpetual state teetering on the edge of rage is much better. 

In any event, I’ve decided one of my goals for the month of February is to write with more consistency for the site.  You may have noticed my daily TRAWLING posts, where I throw up links I think are interesting or relevant.  I’ve always been a fan of John Gruber’s Daring Fireball blog, and I like his style.  On my platform, I can’t really do the same thing, much as I’d like, but I can create a post every day that’s basically LINK/POST/MY SMARTASS OPINION, so I’m going to do that. 

However, I decided that if I’m going to write more for the site, I need to actually WRITE SOMETHING.  That’s where the problem comes in.  If I have a set topic, or I’m writing a script at work, I have source material in front of me to draw from.  In this case, the source material is nowhere but between my ears, and I have to dig that out of me somehow.  
It’s harder than you think, because I have about a ton of Pink Floyd lyrics and random useless knowledge to dig through before I get to the nougat center.  I just threw up in my mouth a little with that visual.

So, I’ve decided on just free writing for now.  So, forgive me if this sometimes doesn’t make any sense.  I’m knocking the rust off the pipes.  This format will probably change as I get used to more consistent writing.  At least, I hope it will.  


TRAWLING: January 31 2017

So, anything interesting happen last night?  I understand Samoa Joe debuted on Raw and kicked the crap out of a lawyer.  

That's what I get for eating after midnight.

Here are the headlines from Democracy Now!


The first story is simple: the administration is just doing what it said it would do, literally keeping its campaign promises. Lots of people won’t agree, but it’s playing to its base. They’re also not really good at this whole government thing yet, so implementation is shaky. The second is more sinister: the administration is deliberately testing the limits of governmental checks and balances to set up a self-serving, dangerous consolidation of power

I hesitate to even talk conspiracy theories.  I really do.  But, I'm starting to wonder if there's a red line these people won't cross, and I increasingly think that there isn't one.  That worries me. Let's face a little reality here: Our President is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he's got people around him that now have seemingly unlimited power to get their agenda accomplished. To be clear, it's not Trump I'm worried about, and I'm not even that worried about Putin.  It's Bannon that worries me.  That man is going to make Dick Cheney look angelic.  Keep your eye on him. 


According to the notice, applicants will need to disable the Touch Bar's ability to be used with apps through the System Preferences before they can use their computers to take the test. The Touch Bar needs to be set to "Expanded Control Strip," which displays options like screen brightness and volume controls without allowing it to show app-specific content that shifts with each app. 

The digital equivalent of writing down the answers on your arm in permanent marker, I suppose? I want to ask if that can even be done, but they wouldn't be doing this if someone hadn't gone all Kobayashi Maru on this test.  You should be hiring whoever did that for their ingenuity, but I'm just some guy. What do I know?


For the last two years, Prince’s legendary catalog has been streaming exclusively on TIDAL. That’ll soon change, however, as Warner Bros. has struck a deal to bring his music to Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, and other prominent streaming platforms.

Not sure how I feel about this.  Prince clearly did not want his music online.  The Child of the 80s in me wanted Sign O' The Times in my music library years ago.  


According to co-star Gaten Matarazzo, she may have just had a hard time hearing.

“I think it’s just that she couldn’t hear what David was saying,” Matarazzo said to TMZ. He added that the cast didn’t have any ill will toward Ryder after and was just happy to be together.

Frankly, I've been that kind of confused and giddy drunk where I made those faces when someone was talking.  You know, I just assumed....yeah.  OK. Sure. 

You do you, Winona.  Heathers is still amazing. 


Ho said that making Twitter safer was the company’s primary focus at the moment, and acknowledged its failures in the past to protect users from threats, insults, and other harassment. “We heard you, we didn't move fast enough last year,” Ho wrote in a threaded series of tweets. “Now we're thinking about progress in days and hours not weeks and months.”

Twitter is my drug of choice, and it has really pained me to watch good people with diverse views--as well as just some funny people making jokes--get set upon by a mob of fuckwits.  This process is WAY late, and I won't be holding my breath to see if it takes a sizeable dent out of the human waste dump that was Gamergate, The Twitchies, and pretty much any of the basket of fuckery that thinks InfoWars and Breitbart are the Gospel.  It's a welcome message, though.  Let's see what you do. 


Here’s what happened in the book industry over the last few years: As Amazon has become the big dog in the book world, the “Amazon Bestseller” status has come to be synonymous with being an actual bestseller. This is not true, and I can prove it.

Of note:  One of the articles linked in this piece explains how authors (I'm seriously fighting the urge to put the modifier conservative here, though I'm sure it applies to all) buy their own books in bulk.  I'm absolutely convinced this is how not only Coulter and Malkin and their ilk make it on to the list, but I'm fairly certain this is how quite a few of the Guru Squad does it.  

Read the article for the novelty of putting a foot on the Best Seller list, click through for an education on why Best Seller Lists may not even matter anymore. 


PHOTO OF THE DAY is by my friend Pete Federico

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TRAWLING: January 30 2017

Welcome to a new week, shipmates.  Also, welcome to a new experiment here at the ship, where I go fishing for links.  This is going to be stuff I think is either relevant or interesting, or just plain freaky.   First off, today's Headlines Courtesy of Democracy Now!

"I went on three network shows and spoke for 35 minutes on three network Sunday shows. You know what got picked? The fact that I said 'alternative facts,' not the fact that I ripped a new one to some of those hosts that they never cover the facts that matter. "

Damn right you got stuck with that.  You know why?  I think you do.  You got stuck with that because it was stupid.  You knew it was stupid the second it came out of your mouth, it was obvious to anyone watching that you knew you fucked up.  Acknowledge, and move on.  

Starbucks is embracing the trend towards voice-based computing with the launch of a new feature in its mobile app called My Starbucks barista, which allows customers to order and pay for their food and drinks just by speaking. This includes being able to modify their drink order, as if they were speaking with a barista in real life. 
Another NLP presupposition which is false is "If someone can do something, anyone can learn it." This comes from people who claim they understand the brain and can help you reprogram yours. They want you to think that the only thing that separates the average person from Einstein or Pavarotti or the World Champion Log Lifter is NLP.

...and you can learn how to be the next Einstein if you (buy this book, attend this seminar, send us your first born...)   I've studied these self help people for about a year now, and I really think they prey on the broken who need something to latch onto.  That's not to say there isn't some worth in about 20 percent of the content.  It's just that 80 percent bullshit you have to stomach, and I just can't.   NLP though, is something completely separate.  It's as mumbo-jumbo as anything that L.Ron Hubbard ever dreamed up, and you need to run the fuck away. 

Here's everything you ever need to know about Self-Help.  Really.  A year's work, right here, for free.  You're welcome. 

CreativeLive empowers you to unleash your potential by bringing the world’s greatest experts directly to you, live. Featuring workshops in photography, video, design, business, audio, music, crafting, and software training, CreativeLive unlocks previously closed doors by making dynamic education accessible to everyone.

Anyone can watch our live online workshops — for free — and interact with instructors in real time. The future of education is interactive, free, and live now. 

Seriously, if you're a creative, why are you not taking advantage of this?  They do a series of free classes every day.  I dedicate a block of time during my weekend to learning something I didn't know.  This weekend, it was about how to use Snapchat, because I'm old.  It was a seminar by Joel Comm, broadcast free on Creative Live.  Seriously, go check this out.  

I've been a Doctor Who fan so long I remember when it wasn't cool at all to be a Doctor Who fan.  I also remember the time when Doctor Who was not on TV, because the BBC fucked up.  I'll take Who anyway I can get him.  Capaldi has been brilliant, but there seems to be an unwritten rule about Timelords lasting about three years these days.  (or a couple billion, if you've been paying attention...).  I'll be sad to see this one go, but it was in the cards.  A new companion usually comes before the regeneration.  

Now then.  Who's it going to be? (pardon the pun).   Half jokingly, I nominate Sean Bean for the role.  That way we know up front he's going to die...


via  Protests last night at JFK Airport in New York.   Mr. President, I think it's safe to say you have our attention. 

via  Protests last night at JFK Airport in New York.  

Mr. President, I think it's safe to say you have our attention. 









Trawling: January 4 2017

Headlines, from Democracy Now!  

Dish Network has released Air TV in time for CES.  I bring this up because it's the closest competitor (in my opinion) to Apple TV.  One feature that Apple TV doesn't have is the ability to work with an OTA antenna.  It imports those channels so you don't have to (I would hope) switch inputs on your set.  When I cancelled cable a little over a month ago, these things worried me. I have to tell you, I don't miss it, and I don't miss anything I want to see. The Direct TV Now app on my Apple TV, along with my OTA antenna works a treat, and frankly I work so much I just can't justify the expense of 300 bucks a month for TV/Internet/Phone that I wasn't using.  Now it's 100 bucks a month for Internet only, and 40 bucks for Direct TV Now.  

I'm happy, my wallet's happy...everybody's happy. 


Current Book:  Tools of Titans, by Tim Ferris (Amazon Affiliate Link)


Some nutjob we should have removed from the gene pool when we had the chance got rushed to the ER for "an undisclosed ailment".  I don't speak ill of the dead, but I'll read this guy's obit with satisfaction.


You know what I really can't stand?  Cutesy soundbites designed to try to start something.  Like this one.  THEY FAIL. STOP DOING THAT. 


My local NOAA Weather, because at the slightest mention of snow, people in the 757 have a complete cranial/anal inversion.


if you haven't seen it by now, you really need to check out Wendy's Twitter account today. No need to ask where the beef is, they're having beef with everybody.  

Roley: 2017 Edition

After the 2016 Advent Calendar that closed out 2016, I gave a lot of thought about where to go next.  I'm all for planning and goal setting;  I'd be in the same fetal position I was circa 2005-2008-ish without it.  

But, let's make sure we're all on the same page:  If you're looking for Tony Robbins style mojo, this is NOT the place.   The more I think about it, I believe that the nexus of Planning, Goal Setting, and Piracy leads me to Next Years' Model... 

No Bullshit.

You may have noticed quite a lot of bullshit lately.  Starting around the Summer of 2016, I certainly noticed an uptick in the excrementality of people.   You might point to the Election as being a prime example of this, but I would suggest that the Trumpocalypse is just the end result of an iceberg of bovine scatology, the orange synthetic Dry Looked to hell and back hair-helmet of The Donald being merely the tip.

No, it's been a season of boot wearing for a long time now, and the layers just seem to be getting thicker.  So, what to do if you're feeling a tad...subversive?

In my case, I'm going to embrace it.  When I started this new podcast, I said that this show is going to be whatever I need it to be at any given moment.  If you believe that there's such a person as a multi-potentialite (as opposed to a schizophrenic, I suppose) then this platform allows me the freedom to go where I want.  Now, I want to subtract from the bullshit.  

For some of you, this may signal a return to form.  Some of the old ways will be returning, but not any of the old familiar places.  What I can tell you for sure is that we will be doing No Bullshit News.  From there, it's going to be quite literally where the prep takes me.  You may laugh, you may get angry, and you may--perish the thought--learn something.  

Something else I'd like to announce today:  Our new Patreon Page.   I have to be completely honest with you: I have struggled about opening a Patreon Page for a long time, the main reason being that with life intervening in the way it has over the past two or three years, I didn't feel it fair to ask people to pledge their hard earned money to something that was inconsistent at best.  However, I have shifted my thinking on this.  If you pledge a recurring monthly amount to me on Patreon, you are placing your trust in me.  You are holding me accountable.  I deliver, or you vote with your wallet.  With that in mind, I have given a lot of time to what I KNOW I can deliver, and you will see that listed on the Patreon Page.  Also: the reward structure you see here may be expanded to offer other things as time goes on.  It all comes down to what I know I can do NOW, and what I may be able to do later as time allows.  I should make the following point, just to close this out: The podcast will always be free.  Your patronage gets you extra stuff.  You want extra?  Get extra.  Or, don't.  We're good. 

I don't take this lightly.  In fact, your patronage will allow me to build out Scrappy Gull Studios to be a full professional  and video workshop.  I want to book time at SGS for folks who want to podcast or shoot videos but have no resources of their own, to producing and delivering podcasts for people, to teaching them how to podcast for themselves.  This is what your donation will help me do.  For more information, please do check out my Patreon page, and thank you in advance for your support.  

In many respects, this will be the return of a more personality driven train wreck.  For me, it will be getting back to what makes this medium fun for me--shooting from the lip.  Coupled with my want to make our lives better, this will be a lot of fun.  I hope you enjoy it.  




DECEMBER 30, 2016

Some Housekeeping:

1. If you scroll down the sidebar at, you'll notice a new section called Listen.  Strangely, it's got all the different places you can listen to or subscribe to the show. I'll add more ways as, well, I make the money to pay for the premium services I'm gonna need at those places.  

2. If you're the sort of person that actually comes to the website, check the homepage for the running link list posted every day.  At some point during the day (I haven't decided what time yet, I'm thinking 3 pm Eastern) I will cut it off and make a blog post out of it. Then it will post to the Human Highlight reels. 

Having said that, let's go trawling. 


First off, here are the day's Headlines, courtesy of Democracy Now!  Amy Goodman is getting to be one of the only journalists I trust to actually report straight news anymore, so I'll try to link to her headline segment every day.  You deserve no bullshit. 

I've got a piece today on the blog, 2016 in Review.  Have a look. 


Spartz believes that because generation Z grew up amid the Occupy Wall Street movement, which portrayed big banking and corporate greed as public enemy No. 1, this has further aggravated their distrust of the behemoths. "Some of the anti-establishment sentiment has penetrated this generation," he says. "Big brands are the establishment and having a recognizable animal on the top right-hand corner of your shirt signals that you are part of the establishment."

They also grew up during the Great Recession and may have a similar financial mindset and drive as those who grew up during the Great Depression.  The pendulum swings back towards frugality and a competitive drive.  

It's possible that this Generation may right the collective narcissism of the Baby Boomer generation, the effects of which trail right through Gen X and Millenials.  


Thanks to rising home prices, combined with an influx of VC and Wall Street cash, house flipping is back.

In the past few months, banks like Wells Fargo, Goldman, and JPMorgan have all started offering credit lines to lending companies specializing in house flipping.

And thanks to this aggressive push, the market for house flipping loans will reach about $48b (that’s billion with a B, people) this year alone, the highest since the peak of the bubble in 2006.

I'm kind of glad Gen Z has developed those virtues I mentioned above, because with the banks still able to play with the house money, there are good odds that we're seeing the beginning of another bubble right here.  Watch this space.  


The survey finds that Americans are primarily bound together by their generation and the major events that occurred during their formative years. For the oldest Americans, the Silent and Greatest generations, that unifying event is World War II. For Baby Boomers, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War are defining moments. For Millennials and Gen Xers, the 9/11 terror attacks and the Obama election leads the list by a greater margin than for other generations.

Noting the exception of 9/11, note the relative ages of when respondents likely were when the event on their list took place.  My guess is most of these happened in their formative years or young adulthood.  The Challenger disaster happened when I was 16, and I can still remember it like it was yesterday.

One further note to add: For Generation X and Millenials, every single event that was listed was covered extensively on cable news.  I wonder how that might affect their memory of it.


Most insidious of all, the app will have real world consequences. According to Extra Credits, high scores will grant users benefits: "Like making it easier to get the paperwork you need to travel or making it easier to get a loan."  

Although the ratings are currently optional, the social tool will become mandatory by 2020. 

There have even been rumours about implementing penalties for low scores: "Like slower internet speeds, or restricting jobs a low scoring person is allowed to hold."

The system could also become a powerful tool for social conditioning, as users could lose points for having friends with low obedience scores.

And they could have levels like Alpha, Beta, Delta...

O Brave New World, that has such people in it.