It’s Time to Ban All Public Smoking in America

Posted on March 3rd, 2005 in Commentary,Health and Fitness by EngineerBoy

If you read much of this site you may pick up on the fact that I am not pro-smoking (he understated). I was born in 1961, and in 1964 my mother quit smoking because I would not sit with her or let her hold me if she had a cigarette going. My father smoked for many more years, and finally quit by going through a program that consisted of making the rounds of a lung cancer hospice with the attending physicians, and attending the autopsies of the folks who died while you were there. He told me about a particular emaciated living skeleton of a man who sucked smoke through his tracheotomy tube. My dad attended his autopsy and said the man’s lungs looked like a couple of deflated black balloons stuffed with marbles. Too late though, as my dad died young from cancer anyway.

All my life, through my late teens, I was surrounded by people who smoked. My entire extended family had about 70% smokers, and family gatherings were a fog-shrouded stank-fest. Slowly but surely my relatives either quit or died, until now there are no smokers left. Also, starting in my teens I started refusing to socialize with people who smoked, due to the combination of the noxious fumes and the gut-wrenching pity I felt when I realized they were powerlessly trapped by their addiction and wished to quit, but could not. When I was a child, television commercials told me to smoke, and touted the various positive benefits of the different brands. Doctors and stars (like John Wayne) shilled for the tobacco companies.

Everything I Needed To Know About Smoking I Learned BEFORE Kindergarten

But even as a three year old I knew that tobacco was a disgusting and unhealthy habit, and must admit that to this day I think that *anybody* who tried to rationalize their smoking by saying they “didn’t know how bad it was” is full of baloney, as the human body tells you everything you need to know from puff one. But through a combination of mercenary marketing and peer pressure, successive generations each had a non-trivial percentage of its members enticed into the darkness of smoking. And, in the interest of full disclosure, if I am brutally honest with myself (and you), I find smoking to be a character flaw, not only then but particularly now.

Fortunately, I think we can all look around and see that it’s all over for smoking in America, except for the shouting. The places where it is acceptable to smoke in public are quickly shrinking, and we are now down to the last stand. Smokers have been forced into a strategic retreat until now the only places they can smoke are outdoors, in bars and clubs, and in the few remaining restaurant smoking sections. But that is not enough. Smoking is a scourge, a plague, and 50 years from now our descendents will scarcely believe our stupidity.

Even the tobacco companies know that it’s over, at least in the US,

This Flustration is Killing Me!

Posted on March 2nd, 2005 in Commentary,The G-I-R-L by thegirl

Last time I checked, the words flustrated, acrosst, and nucular were not included in Webster’s English Dictionary… but perhaps I am mistaken. I’m not saying I’ve never made up a word, or used a word in the wrong context, but I certainly don’t converse using a pseudo-dictionary. The only person who can get away scotch free with that is George W. Bush. I do believe his version of the Declaration of Independence has the phrase ‘uninalienable rights’. Irregardless to what he may say, uninalienable is not a word.

Still, it amazes me to no end how politicians and other public figures can butcher the language so terribly. Didn’t they go to school? Um, hello? We covered basic grammar skills back in elementary school. Sorry to say, but if you haven’t yet grasped the basics of this whole grammar thing, an Ivy League school might not be the place for you, my friend. And when I say my friend, I mean George Bush.

I’m sure we just come off to be a bunch of unedumacated hillbillies to foreigners. If the President of the United States uses non-words during public speeches, we are headed for trouble.

Contrary to popular belief, Saddam is not Bush’s biggest foe… that would be grammar. Subject/verb agreement is right up there with Weapons of Mass Production (Quote: Washington D.C., November 27, 2002). But as Bush says, “Education belongs to everybody. High standards belongs to everybody.”

But enough with the Bushisms for now. Lets talk about adults. Well, not so much adults, but just society on the whole. Who in this country is responsible for proofreading billboards and other advertisements? Whoever it is… they deserve to be pink slipped. Anyone who lets a billboard for Ikea advertise with “Come check out our stool samples!” should consider a new vocation. Or, my personal favorite, the warnings that say “Sharp, keep out of children.” Not that I don’t condone the keeping out of children part… although it is humerous to think of. But certainly, yes, keep sharp objects both out of their reach… and out of them, for everyone’s sake.

Personally, I find it embarassing and humerous all at the same time. I mean yes, it is disappointing that our President had to pay his way through college… but he does say some of the darndest things. Apparently to him, we just live in a processed world. Now, in my head, that registers as though we have all been pushed through a giant food processer, and are now all tiny slivers of our former selves… but I think he was aiming for some deeper meaning… but who knows with all of his malapropisms.

All I can say is that I feel pretty dern smart in this world. There is just no excuse for some of the things people in this world say and do. And, for once, I completely agree with George Dubya… “One year ago today, the time for excuse-making has come to an end,”… well, something to that effect.

Lyrics to “You Are Worthless Alec Baldwin”

Posted on March 2nd, 2005 in Music,Television by mynagirl

"I'm...so...ronery..."

You Are Worthless Alec Baldwin

Words and music by (presumably) Trey Parker and Matt Stone:

I was sent from planet Xiron to conquer the earth
I had a terrific plan — I thought it would work
Tried to get the Earthlings all to kill each other you see
But it all went wrong and now I must decree…

You are worthless Alec Baldwin, you are worthless Alec Baldwin
You failed in every way and now my stock in you has fallen
Your career is stallin’ and you’re worthless Alec Baldwin
That’s why I blew your head off and your children are all bawlin’

Planet Xiron is inhabited with Xipods like me
But also with Balmacs who are giant bees
The Xipods and Balmacs are at constant war
So we wanted a new home and that’s what Earth was for

But you are worthless Alec Baldwin, you are worthless Alec Baldwin
You fucked up my whole plan and now Xiron is smeared with Balmac pollen
Your garbage needs some haulin’ and you’re worthless Alec Baldwin
Now I must return home a failure — I’m afraid the pit of Kryrok is callin’…

Sleep Paralysis: A First Person Account

Posted on March 2nd, 2005 in Engineerboy,Health and Fitness by EngineerBoy

This is just about what it felt like...

When I was 12 or 13 years old, I woke up one night in my bed, fully awake, fully aware of everything, clearly not asleep, and absolutely unable to move a muscle, other than my eyes. Even my breathing was involuntary, because I eventually wanted to yell or scream, but could not. It felt as if someone had encased me in Lucite, or poured clear concrete over me (while still allowing me to breathe). I felt that there was a malevolent presence in the room. I had no sense of up or down and felt like I was slowly falling and spinning. The two windows beyond the foot of my bed were backlit by ambient moonlight, and took on, to me, the appearance of evil glowing eyes floating at the foot of my bed. I was terrified beyond explanation, even now at 43, when I have a much richer vocabulary. My entire body sweated in terror, even though it was a cool evening. I was so terrified and the feeling of an evil presence was so unequivocal that I assumed that I had either died or was about to die, and not in any good way, with no warm comforting light at the end of the tunnel with loving relatives waiting for me. No, I was going to die, and die horribly. I knew it.

Eventually my repeated attempts to scream started to generate small movements in my throat. Through countless repeated attempts I was finally able to squawk out a tiny sound…this was the beginning of the end of the paralysis, and with each new breath I was able to make louder and louder sounds until I was screaming with all my might (or so I thought). I slowly regained the ability to move my limbs, and eventually sat up, waiting for one or more of my family members to come and see why I had been shrieking my head off. But they didn’t. It was then that I realized that what I perceived as screaming had actually been muffled squeaks, but they had been enough to snap me out of it. I didn’t wake my family up, because I didn’t know what I would tell them. When I laid back down the feeling started to come back, so I spent the rest of the night awake and alert (to say the least).

This event lasted for what seemed like hours, but I really don’t know how long it lasted. I had trouble sleeping for several years after this episode, because I would feel it starting to happen again and would force myself to stay awake.

Over the years I have only told a few people about this event, as it just seemed so strange, and since it occurred in the fringes of sleep, could easily be explained away (by someone who hasn’t experienced it) as “just a bad dream”. I knew