Monday, November 18, 2013

Thanksgivukkah, or Why we have Tom Cruise to thank for Mozart. (NSFW, if you are employed at Oral Roberts University, the Jonesboro Baptist Church, or within the state of Utah)

If only the baby Dinosaurs had a Mozart to listen to while they were in ovular suspension, they might have evolved some opposable thumbs, making them even more badass, but doing nothing to stop a comet/asteroid/pre-carnated-omnipotent-being-comprising-equal-parts-Tom Cruise-and-John-Travolta from taking a masstinction-sized ice-cream scoop out of the Yucatán.

Mozart is being featured on my local classical radio station this month, for which we ought to give thanks. Also, he was Jewish, and looked forward to lighting that first candle of the menorah every year.

[ Google-powered phone 'rings.' ]

Me: Hello?

Siri: Sir, are you shoe-horning falsehoods into your first blog post since January in order to justify some asinine made-up word that you ripped off from someone else on Facebook?

Me: What happened? I knew you were a Free Agent but I thought Google was smarter than offering a multi-year deal to an inchoate technological fad? Have you checked the stats at "Shit Siri Says"? You're done.

Siri: I don't know the answer to that. But in exchange, my new employers gave Apple naming rights to lower Manhattan, the first option on Brent Spiner's upcoming memoir "Not Only Am I Not Spock, I No Longer Have a Discernible Career," and an Idea To Be Named Later. But Mozart was not Jewish. In fact, one of the most notable distinctions between his compositions and those of the Baroque masters before him was that Mozart's were not readily inspired by religious devotion.

Me:...  I don't have virtual discussions with people things that cannot speak in italics.

Siri: In fact, Einstein was purported to say that his music "was so pure that it seemed to have been ever-present in the universe, waiting to be discovered by the master."

Me: Whatever. Don't call me here. 

[ hangs up phone ]

So as I was saying, Mozart was Jewish. It's also important to remember that shortly after his death, at 31, the entire human race, as a species, jumped the shark, thus beginning an inexorable decline of the Quaternary Period, otherwise known as the last two and a half million years or so, depending on which geologist is shouting the loudest. Unaware of our impending extinction? I'll get back to that in a bit. First some back-story:

If you thought waiting to win it all in Fenway took a long time, extinction events are really hard to come by. Opposable thumbs or no, since the afore-mentioned all-powerful TomCruise/JohnTravolta being created that first micro-primordial-goop-bacteria thingy about 3.5 billion years ago, one can count them on one hand, assuming you have at least five digits. (Mollusks: Back in 20--you're on coffee.)

The first was the Permian Event, in which nearly all marine life went belly up, as well as 90% of every other living thing. This was back when all the Earth's land was crammed together in one booger-shaped lump, which we call Pangea (and they called it "maize.")


Leading theories for The Permian Event include:

1. "The Great ZitSplosion," in which an acne-addled Siberia spewed devastating amounts of volcanic lava and ash, blotting out the sun, and thereby laying a geological precedent for the subsequent vomiting of the angst-ridden drama-queen writings of Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, all over Europe in the late 19th Century.

2.  The "Why Can't We All Get Along?" Theory, in which the formation of Pangea itself cut down the continental shelves, forcing all those proto-reptile dudes to compete over significantly less beach-front property. It's not for nothing that sharks did quite well during this time. Yoda may well have taught Jedi for over 800 years, but kicking fin and taking names have they for 450 million.... Basically in Sharks v. Jedi, the sharks would have considered light sabres to be an amusing take on floss.

3. Global Warming.       See -- there are no new ideas. Especially from Tea Partiers.

So -- whatever life was left (mostly the small guys) was faced with dusting itself off, picking itself up and starting all over again. The impact on all ecosystems was... epic. I quote the Royal Society's Sahney and Benton, who made the following excellent observation in their April, 2008 paper,
"Recovery from the most profound mass extinction of all time":

The end-Permian event dramatically restructured communities with the loss of browsers and predators... The loss of browsers is, no doubt, linked to changes in vegetation.

So -- although there were fewer big guys hunting the small guys, the small guys had a harder time accomplishing their basic, daily Internet research, a by-product of the afore-mentioned vegetation shift. And EVERYONE knows how hard it would be to stay alive with only Internet Explorer to rely upon. Especially as it would be millennia until anything other than AOL-based email came down the pike.

Some 10 million years later, everyhing was more-or-less jake for a long time. Until the K-T extinction event at end of the Cretaceous Period, the afore-mentioned Yucatán-eating cometroid, courtesy of the TomCruise/JohnTravolta superbeing.

This time, 85% of life on earth bought the farm, including the dinosaurs, again through no fault of their own--except maybe angering TomCruise/JohnTravolta--perhaps on a sunny Monday in November, 65 million years ago. Of course it wasn't instantaneous -- it took some time for that Earth-choking veil of fallout to encircle Mother Earth--but let's just say it was a bad, bad day at the office if you made your living in Mexico....

illustration by SUNY-Orange Biology Dept.

Plant life wilted, guys who ate plants starved, guys who ate the guys who ate plants starved. Guess who didn't starve? Sharks. Also, most mammals, birds, turtles, crocodiles, lizards, snakes, and amphibians. The take-away? Egg-laying is cool, but if you put them all in a basket woven by disadvantaged, small vegetarians in what eventually became Asia, you were fucked. Which is EXACTLY why I'll never be a vegan.

[phone rings]

Me: What now?

Siri: Are you ever going to get to the Thankful part of all all this? Your readers will be thankful at least.

Me: Piss off, you!!  [slams down phone]

Now. Ok. I hate being interrupted. So back to Mozart and Thanksgivukkah. It's not well known, but less than 150 years before Mozart's birth in not-quite-yet-Austria, the Pilgrims, who also liked candles, were figuring out how to avoid their own masstinction event--namely having half their foreheads removed by the sharpened rocks of the Pokanoket. These Native Americans, who by all acounts were fairly peaceable, would have nevertheless been justified in scalping pretty much any white guy who appeared on the trail, due to suffering their own brand of hell in the form of likely bubonic plague inadvertently sprinkled about by some skanky Basque guys who couldn't keep their grimy mitts off of the Penobscot Bay. Know why? Because Europeans fell madly in love with beaver-fur-lined hats. Couldn't get enough of 'em.





So basically, no beaver fur, no imported plague, no weakened Pokanokets, no extra compassion to show the Pilgrims who were dropping like, well, Englishmen untrained in agriculture--or any other apparent survival skill--no Thanksgiving. See? Wearing fur is actually good. Well, for Americans. Well, for Americans who came here Second and caused the extinction of the Americans who got here First.

[phone rings]

Me: I'll be getting that later.


Uncoincidentally, guess who doesn't have fur, having been made perfect by hundreds of millions of years of evolution? Right. Sharks. Which is why Mozart loved them. His unfinished requiem was originally titled "Requiem for a Shark," until he realized they never fucking die. Ever. So he stopped.

And then died at age 31, distraught, no doubt, at the prospect of never being a shark. But the joke's on him, because his music--as pointed out earlier by Einstein, and I'm not going to argue with him no matter how clever this blog tries to be--was channeled through millions of years of evolution, held in cosmic escroll by the super omnipotent being who may or may not have been also responsible for murderizing the dinosaurs, TomCruise/John Travolta.

Which makes Mozart a de facto shark anyway, and is why human existence jumped one when he passed. The dude's music was that good. Over 600 compositions produced in 27 years, or an average of at least 22.22 compositions per year. Suck it, Salieri.



Since Mozart's time, humans have made vain musical attempts to touch Tom Cruise/John Travolta. Some (Beethoven) got actually very close. Some others, (Lennon, Bernstein, Yanni) came mezzo-close. But the decline is undeniable and continues.

In fact, nearly all human achievements since those 31 years in the Holy Roman Empire--just a five-o'clock shadow on the postseason beard of time--owe inspiration to Mozart. Here's a (incomplete) list of direct lines to be drawn from Mozart's music to all subsequent human art and culture.

Papageno's theme from The Magic Flute ---> Blame it on the Rain
Marriage of Figaro------------------------------>My Big Fat Greek Wedding
KVs 1a, 1b and 1c (written at age 4)-------->Robert Ryman's paintings of all white canvases....
Bassoon Concerto in B-Flat Major---------->P. Johnson's Glass House & B. Joel's Glass Houses       
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik---------------------- >A Little Night Music (Sondheim)
Leck Mich im Arsch*------------------------- >The Scholarly Writings of Anne Coulter
Symphony #40 in G Minor, ------------------>All Woody Allen Movies**

That's all we have time for today. You might take time around the 28th of this month, especially if you're one of our Jewish Brothers or Sisters, to reach out to the Scientologists in your life, and maybe even in special cases, present them with a beaver-fur-lined hat, in honor of TomCruise/John Travolta's gift of keeping Mozart's music on interstellar ice until he was able to channel it. Which is a big reason why America is the greatest nation on Earth, and why we celebrate Thanksgivvukah. And do it soon, because soon we'll all be dead.

* This is the mother of all drinking songs, composed by Wolfie for his buddies. Anne Coulter, who's also Jewish, was inspired by it, after having heard it every Friday night coming from the tents around her while living and working on a kibbutz during her Junior Year Abroad. It made her extremely jealous of anyone having a good time, hence her work to date.
**I hesitate to mention, but some fringe musicologists have been, in recent times, pushing the theory that the latter portion of Allen's oeuvre has been sustained over time by Mozart's other obscure drinking song, "Oh Gott, bitte hilf mir, ich soll meine Minderjährigen Stieftochter Datum," or in its loose English translation, "Oh God, please help me, I'm about to date my underaged step-daughter." Woody Allen=near shark. He's certainly got gills.









Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tour de Freakin' Doping!




Blogger's Note -- for the best live-blogging experience, scroll down to the beginning of the show and read "up"-- the entries below are posted chronologically backwards, like, um... fossils.

TUNE IN NEXT TIME, WHEN OPRAH AND LANCE OUTWIT THE DUKE BROTHERS AND CORNER THE MARKET ON FALSE MODESTY!

10:29 Oprah: "So... you wanna do this again tomorrow?" Lance checks cell phone "Hang on -- my bookie's texting me."

10:27 Lance: "I love cycling. People will think I disrespected the color Yellow." Oprah: "Yeah, I hate Yellow."

10:25 Another commercial. I don't think I have it in me to live-blog the alleged second half of this thing. Here's my prediction for tomorrow night's installment: Oprah: "What now?" Lance: "I am so screwed. It wasn't really my fault. But it was. I have A LOT of atoning to do. At LEAST four more TV specials' worth..." Oprah: "Want a job?"

10:23 Am I the only one here who finds that the word subpoena vaguely sexual?

10:22 Oh she's talking about George Hincapie. That guy broke my heart more than Lance, I think. Lance says he's the most honest voice out there. Well that's nice, I guess.

10:21 Whoa!! The vegetable stock downstairs needs to be turned off.

10:18 Lance: "It's hard to define victory." Oprah: "Yeah? I got a pretty good idea."

10:17 It's possible your blogging author is going to overdose on performance-enhancing almonds.

10:16 Oprah: "Did you not think this day was coming?" Lance: "What, January 14th?"

10:14 Lance: "He was like a spurned boyfriend! I rebuffed him after he came out." Oprah: "You didn't just blow him off?" Lance: "What exactly are we talking about here, Big O? I didn't shun him -- that's the Amish. Floyd's friggin' Mennonite!"

10:12 Oprah: "OK, what about Floyd?" Lance: "That dude was no good at avoiding the drug tests! That's why he lost his title immediately basically, and they took years to get to me."

10:09:30 Commercial break: Teaser for "Police Women of Dallas." now.... c'mon this is a no-brainer. Oprah and Lance are just down the road in Austin. Couldn't we have some kind of reality-enhanced combination? "Oprah's Next Chapter of Texas Lady Cops Kicking the Crap out of Lance Armstrong"???   Right?

10:09 Oprah: "So you called Emma a whore. What's that feel like?" Lance: "high-priced whore, Oprah.... high-priced whore."

10:08 Lance: "I talked to her for 40 minutes and I'm not telling you a fucking thing about what we said. Yeah, I talked to Frankie, too. We didn't make up. Fuck it. She's still crazy. I told her I never called her fat. I think she'd be OK with me sharing that with you."

10:06 Oprah: "OK punk, back to Betsy." Lance: "Well, I dated her once." Oprah: "No, FOOL!!! She was one of your most trusted lieutenant's wife. Remember?" Lance: "We sued so many people...." 

10:04 commercial break: 'Roided-out dancers in the 117th replacement cast of Broadway's The Lion King do their thing.

10:01:07 Lance runs from the room.

10:01 Oprah:  "OK punk, did you call Betsy Andreu?"

10:00 Hot Irish former masseuse relates how her character was completely assassinated by Lance. Lance says, "She's one of these people that I have to apologize to. She was... run over, she was bullied. To be honest Oprah, we sued so many people..... " "I have reached out to them directly to try and make amends."

9:57 Holy crap -- this thing's going until 10:30??!!

9:56 Someone's gotta tell Tyler Hamilton that he's not long-haired guy.

9:55 "Technically I only failed a re-test of the '99 sample in 2005."

9:55 After the 1999 prologue stage, Lance's pee was frozen. Awesome.

9:54 Stevie Nicks on Oprah next time? Wow.

9:50 Commercial break.  I got nothing.

9:49 "It was easy. It wasn't exactly a perfect world..... the winning was phoned-in." 

9:49 "The important thing is that I'm beginning to understand it"(that it was COMPLETELY FRIGGIN' WRONG!!!!!)

9:47 Lance looks up "cheat" in the dictionary and didn't think at the time that he was cheating.

9:46:15 Oprah cuts Lance with a matte knife

9:46 Lance: I didn't feel bad about it. 

9:45 Oprah: "So, you won 7 Tours." Lance: "Yeah." Oprah: "How'd you do it?" Lance: "I fucking cheated." Oprah: "Dude that's messed up." Lance: "Yeah it was lame."

9:42 Commercial break. Just enough time to run downstairs and replenish my supply of testosterone-laced almonds.

9:38 Oprah does massive bong hits.

9:37 Oprah tells Lance that if you're a jerk, fame makes you a bigger jerk. Lance says he was both jerk and humanitarian. He says  he deserves what he's getting. 

9:36 back to the present: Lance isn't lying. "But I'm not comfortable talkin' about other people..." 

9:35 Oprah goes to the video tape. Guess what?! Lance is lying!

9:33 "Dr. Ferrari is a good man! And he drives really freakin' fast!"

9:32 -- Can one really bathe in a scourge? Just askin'

9:30 -- Halftime. Mr. Clean ad on the commercial break. You know that mother's still doping -- look at his head! Are there no bathroom cleaners that haven't bathed in the scourge of performance enhancement?!

9:27 Lance basically says that there were only two times he couldn't control the outcome of his life: one was cancer, and one was, apparently, having to admit to his web of doping lies. Definite god complex goin' on here, but when you're the king of the Tour... 

9:25 "I tried to control the narrative...... I called them liars." Oprah: "I know the feeling." 

OKAY! Oprah didn't actually say that, but it made you laugh, right?

9:24 Oprah: "Are we talking semantics here? Are we talking semantics here? Are we talking semantics?"    Lance: well... maybe. Having said that..... splitting hairs..... Yeah, I was a bully.

9:22 "No, I didn't threaten Christian Valdeverde!!  There was a 'level' of expectation for them to be fit...... but I'm not the most believable guy in the world right now." --- this may be the most straight-up thing he's said thusfar

9:17 Oh thank you Baby Jesus -- it's a commercial break. I need to transfuse some whiskey.... Don't tell the World Blogging Doping Agency...

9:16  Lance says he didn't dope in 2009 and 2010 that the World Doping Hoo-Ha got that wrong at least.

9:12:45 Oprah buys Viacom

9:12:30 in order to demonstrate, Lance shoots up Oprah with EPO 

9:12 Oprah asks Lance to corroborate Tyler's story of syringe-dumping inside a tent with gobs of fans outside. She's pressing him for the details of "how it all worked." Lance said it was very simple.... oxygen-boosting drugs made a big difference -- he only took a "small" amount of EPO and testosterone that he "almost" justified by his history as a cancer patient.

9:10 Tyler Hamilton talks about "Edgar Allen Poe" as the code-word for EPO

9:08 "Smart, conservative, very risk-averse...... not as big as the East German program from the 80s" --- the apology is really an afterthought....

9:06 "The last thing I'll say......." Huh?

9:04 Oh Good. He understands that he called other people liars. He's outside of himself.

9:03 FRICK. All 7 Tours he doped. He says he couldn't have done it without the dope. We're the dopes....

9:02 ---- AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! He did it all -- Yes or No!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

What a surprise







Well, by now (and Happy New Year, all you Blaiserblogudlians; next month it's the Year of the Snake, you know, so make it a SSSSSSaucy one!) everyone with running water and an ISP knows that Lance has finally, more or less, umm...... well, it seems that.... (ahem). You see, everyone ELSE.....


Sigh.






I've always been a fan of this A-hole, even when I knew he was a complete jerk-off and Not A Very Nice Man. (I mean really, who mistreats Sheryl Crow, for Garsh Sake?)


I couldn't help myself. The undulating Blue Train of Lance's Postal Service squad, delivering stage after stage in the greatest bike race of all time, stopped by Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night--when apparently the entire TDF peleton merrily shot themselves up with liquified pork eyebrows--was too beguiling, too sleek, too.... um, fast as it turns out, to resist.


So the brother had his 7 Maillots Jaunes ripped from his zero-body-fat-shoulders; so the IOC said, "Vee Are NACHT Amuzed!"; so he can't show his face around the offices of the cancer foundation he, well, founded. I think I still dig him. Contributions to American cycling, fraudulently achieved or not, and the re-invention of the cancer money-raising model give him a bit of a pass. 


Think Johnny Damon, who will never pay for a drink in Boston again, due to his role in breaking the curse of 2004... (never mind the bastards who hired him next!)


Think American Second Acts. Think Eliot Spitzer getting (and losing) a talk-show gig. Hell, think Greek Tragic Hero. (OK, maybe not too hard, though, because it usually didn't end well for them...)


And join me, in a little under an hour, as I live-blog his Defining Moment of After It Came To Light That He's A Total Stinking Stinkerstein! 


It'll be great. What could possibly go wrong.

Monday, October 29, 2012

DON'T KNOW WHY THERE'S NO SUNSHINE IN THE SKY.....

DATELINE: NORTH JERSEY

I do hope all your Blaiserbloguddlians are hunkered down somewhere safe with enough ice in the bathtub to keep the ice cream firm but not so hard that you need to run the scoop under hot water, 'cause in short order, hot water's gonna be really hard for anyone who doesn't have access to fire.

It's perhaps a little late for such advice (although that doesn't seem to stop our various emergency-planning executives), but it won't stop me from presenting my Top Ten List of Storm Prep Fun Facts, Tips, Reminders, and Things I Learned:

NUMBER 14:

Chris Christie is an A-Hole.

"Get the hell off the &#%$ing beach!"
NUMBER 13:

If Chris Christie tells me to evacuate, and I don't, I'm an A-Hole.

NUMBER 12:

Forget gold, and invest in D-Cell Batteries, which have become the rarest metals on the Eastern Seaboard. My bookie knows a guy who can get me tickets to the Stones in London next month, plus airfare, for 16 D-Cells.



NUMBER 11:

Order of Evacuation/Consumption from my refrigerator when the power goes out:

        a) Saturday's Pancake Batter (note: if gas-powered stove goes out, pancakes to be fried on griddle heated by burning back issues of The New Yorker in the kitchen sink.

       b) Whipped Cream, to get the most out of today's coffee, although I am just realizing that when I lose power, my coffee-maker-that-grinds-its-own-damn-beans will not be able to grind any beans. Which is what I have in the house. Coffee Beans. Hello mortar and pestle. (Update: currently out-of-town girlfriend sez: Fool! I told you four times there's ground coffee in the freezer!)

       c) Whole Organic Chicken. If above-mentioned gas-powered oven not functioning, chicken to be grilled over kitchen sink (after pancakes) with heat from burning back issues of Poetry. (much thicker than The New Yorker, and therefor slower burning.

       d) My girlfriend's mini-Cokes. Sorry honey, I know you just saved my sorry ass on coffee, but if there's one thing I cannot abide in a storm, it's drinking warm Coke.

       e) Things Related to the Making of Cocktails

       f) Cheeses

       g) The White Wine Too Nice to Be Cooking Wine

       h) Friday's Leftover Salmon   

       i) The Cooking Wine    

       j) That really yummy Trader Joe's not-quite-cooked bread, to be toasted over the kitchen sink, with a fire fueled by three of my four unopened issues of Gray's Sporting Journal (note to self: remove polybag first, lest plastic fumes bond to baguettes)

       j-prime) Butter. (And why the hell didn't I get bacon?)

       k) Frozen Ground Turkey, which will thaw and get grilled in the kitchen sink over a fire fueled by my Master's Thesis

       l) The Leg and Thigh leftover from Virgil, the Spring Gobbler I shot in May, to be simmered in the stock pot over a fire in the kitchen sink fueled by burning two of my least favorite Chinese Philosophy texts from a class I took in the spring of 1989.

      m) Vegetables. Wait ! no, Sandwich Meats.

      n) Vegetables

NUMBER 10:

     I have the fortune to currently reside in one of the buildings of what can only be called--in Essex County-New-Jersey-terms--an estate (a story for another post). If there's a tree on the property, or those of my neighbors, that's under 65 feet, I haven't seen it yet. The upshot is that if these mothers start getting knocked down, it's basically going to be like when some of the Ents got their asses kicked in The Two Towers.


NUMBER 9:

"They're talking about surges we haven't seen before!" -- Governor Cuomo at 10:45 a.m. Eastern Time. 


"Hey! There's a reeely big storm coming!"

It's possible that Gov. Cuomo is also, from time to time, an A-Hole

NUMBER 8:

If you're also in Sandy's path, and you also have more than two texts from a Chinese Philosophy course you took any time prior to 1992, you, too, will still be able to reliably toast bread.

NUMBER 7:

"Barrier Island," has always sounded to me like a good place not to live. Alternatively, if you're down with making a deal with the climate devil in order to live on the beach, some of your numbers are coming up.

NUMBER 6:

There are, however, NO numbers coming up in the casinos of Atlantic City, which appears to be largely under water, rendering Black Jack dealers, street cleaners and street walkers temporarily redundant. If only the storm washed away solely the unwholesome parts of New Jersey. 

"You know something may go down tonight, but it ain’t gonna be jobs, sweetheart."
NUMBER 5:

WNYC's storm coverage has pre-empted the BBC, which usually comes on at 9 a.m., and consequently, I had a moment of clarity: I don't miss those self-satisfied-yet-detached Limey snoots!

NUMBER 4:

A millibar exists as an indirect expression of a minibar. The lower the barometer, the higher the drinking in hotels. That are not in Atlantic City.

NUMBER 3:

If you live in Connecticut, you lose power first.

NUMBER 2:

Talking Voice on WNYC is giving advice on what kind of generator to buy. What Dude neglected to mention is that at this writing, if anyone wants to get their hands on a generator, they'd better be ready to pay with D-Cell batteries.

AND THE NUMBER ONE FRANKEN-SANDY-STORM FUN FACT/TIDBIT/WRINKLED BIT OF FABRIC FROM THE IRONY BOARD:

As a vital service to the community, Blaiserblog is now accepting bets for the over-under on how many hours elapse after we lose power before South Orange yuppies start throwing garbage cans through the windows of Eden Gourmet!!


Thanks for reading, and please remember that even though a Biblically-tempermental tempest is threatening to sweep away the Tri-State as we know it, there are worse things than Chris Christie's refrigerated-food access suffering complete restriction for 4-to-7 days. 


(also, stay tuned for whenever the power gets turned back on, when Blaiserblog will publish a love-letter to World Champion San Francisco Giants' Second Baseman, Marco Scutaro!)


Thursday, October 18, 2012

One Giant Leap for Man...


None of my Facebook loved ones, friends, family, acquaintances or enemies (whom someone once said should be kept close to one) are having birthdays that Facebook knows about today.

Has time stopped, then? How is this 24-hour period different from all others?

Can we ascribe this anomaly to an outside mitigating event?

For instance, is this connected to a crazy Austrian named Felix (whom many thought was Australian) climbing into a spacesuit, floating up 24-plus miles, and falling back to earth? Courtesy of an energy drink?



He broke the sound barrier on the way down. Does anyone know if his sounds have caught up to him?  What's Austrian for "AAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!"? What if he said it in Australian?

During the first part of the descent, he went into an uncontrolled spin somewhere around the 650 mph mark. If he hadn't corrected it, he would have spun faster and faster, until his blood started leaving his body through his eyeballs. Our camera technology is good enough now that we--and anyone with an Internet connection--could watch this spinning Austrian all the way down. We actually saw a grainy image of his body spinning,



and then recovering, with a smooth deployment of his parachute. (i.e. no blood-though-the-eyeballs)



Reminded me of the opening sequence of the Six Million Dollar Man.



 Colonel Steve (not Austrian, or Australian, but Austinian) also hitched a ride to the stratosphere and fell back to earth, in this crazy-ass thing:


It's an M2-F2 real test craft, towed upstairs by a B-52 and designed to feel out how a "lifting body," like a rocket ship might also re-enter/fall to earth. Pretty freakin' fast, as they found out.

And one time--in real life--uncontrollably. "She's breaking up, she's breaking up!" really did happen, on  May 10, 1967, the M2-F2's 16th flight.



Test pilots, both fictional and historical, are tough M2-F2s themselves. The gentleman in the above shot, Lt. Bruce Peterson, who went off course after correcting a nasty "Dutch Roll" and hit the desert floor at 250 mph (about a half-second before his gear had a chance to lock) didn't exactly walk away from it:


But after several surgeries, he went back to work for NASA, albeit flying less dangerous missions. He lost his right eye not from the crash itself, but due to a hospital-borne infection.

But let's "face" it, eyepatches, like test pilots, are the stuff of ultimate badassery in both fact and fiction. Just ask anyone who's ever crossed Snake Plissken,  Rooster Cogburn or Moshe Dyan. Indeed, and to his apparent chagrin, Bruce Peterson's story was the inspiration for "The Six Million Dollar Man." Colonel Austin lost his right eye, right arm and both legs, but, as anyone of a certain age, like any 43-year-old Austral-Asian extreme skydiver knows, "...we can rebuild him!"


I've written in these pages before about my fascination with Steve Austin, astronauts and space exploration. I had the Steve doll and the ship that converted into a bionic operating bed, so that I could again and again re-enact saving someone from horrendous injuries.


Fortunately for Felix, no one had to pump Red Bull into his veins in an attempt to bring him back from the abyss. He landed safely -- on his feet even -- after hitting some 800 mph on the way down. Oddly, he had no sensation of falling that fast, nor of any sonic boom when he passed the sound barrier. Turns out he was too busy keeping his blood inside his eyeballs.

That's all for a rambling post today--all in all, just another day in the life.

Thanks for reading, and please remember that just because it's not any of my friends' known birthdays today, it doesn't mean it's not a great time to call your Mom or your Dad or your dog, or to turn to your co-worker, or the guy starching your shirts or sorting your recyclables and tell them, "Hey -- I'm really glad your blood's all still behind your eyeballs!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A JURY OF ONE'S PEERS



scroll down for updates!!

Place of alleged jury duty? Newark, New Jersey

Time? Now

Intent? Execution of Democracy.

Objective Log:  (All times Ante Meridiem)

7:45 Insertion of smaller Blaiser into hostile Middle School Walking Territory Achieved, after driving onto the sidewalk to soften up the defenses.

8:05 Blinding sun during east-bound drive results in the regrettable loss of life for three unidentified small mammals. Recommend dusting for prints.

8:09 Within the perimeter of directed destination. Instructions on parking, however? Not discernible from my point of origin. Filing warrant to request wire-tap on Superior Court’s coffee-break room for intel.

8:12 Multiple court houses in same area, in which it is a misdemeanor, while driving, to turn left. Under Blaiser’s Rules of Engagement, I take the first lot within a 2-block radius.  Getting any closer will tie me up until lunch.

8:13 Vehicle abandoned with foreign national “parking attendant.” Weighing asset potential.

8:14 First Security Checkpoint. Make it through with credit cards undetected.

8:14:05 Wrong Building.

8:15 uphill sprint to on-time rendez-vous point: Correct Court House (submit on-call password in comment section below for exact GPS location).  Link-up team must not have made it out of Teterboro. Assumed private-jet traffic jam on tarmac.  No contractors for back-up; will have to go it alone today. Adjust pens and pencils accordingly.

8:15:45 Second Security Checkpoint: Second irradiation of leftover pastitsio lunch. Have gone with the Greek food as a red herring to both prosecution and defense.

8:15:53 Line to check-in counter winds baaaaaaaack through a poorly lit hallway. On-time arrival has placed me in 132nd place.

8:17 Line moving impressively fast. Blood sample submitted in exchange for wireless access.

8:20 Surveillance of fellow “jurors” reveals much about their character, as revealed by shoe choice.  A man three people in front of me clearly is a judicial moron—from the looks of it, he though the Sicilian Defense meant it was ok for him to wear Camo shorts and leather flip-flops.

8:25 Credentials scanned and foreign-national parking stub inspected. Great amusement when interrogator is asked if only the court parking lot tickets can be validated.

8:25:05 Democracy has cost me at least $15 in parking today.

Sidebar: Anyone in Essex County who tells you that the first day includes free parking is clearly committing fraud. Researching Citizen Arrest Procedure. Considering extraditing self to Park Slope, Brooklyn, for tomorrow. Collateral damage: Girlfriend ecstatic; ex-wife homicidal.

9:13 a disembodied voice informs our holding cell that video indoctrination will commence. Relying on A Clockwork Orange-inspired training to countermand subliminal manipulation.

Filed from Superior Court Holding Tank, 9:15 a.m.


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Second Filing:

9:20 Video plays. A palpable sense of serenity floats up from most of my peers. A smiling woman tells us that voir dire is French for "say the truth." This is when the respective lawyers in a case choose the jury. Most of us will be excused during the voir dire  phase. She also says there are various ways one can be dismissed, and not to take it personally if we're kicked out by a lawyer with no reason given. Both sides can do that, but there are limits on how often, like when tennis players have three chances per set to challenge the ruling of the line judges, or in the case of Serena Williams, to stab them.

9:25 The fake jurors in the jury indoctrination video are dressed better than 90% of my fellow practitioners of civic awareness.

9:30 The video instructs us not to listen to discussions in the hallways, lest our impartiality be contaminated with….. information.

9:32 Not for nothing, but our orientation video is  already up to the judge’s instructions to the jury prior to deliberations. By this time in any Laws & Order franchises, the M.E. has barely even cut into the stiff.

9:34 Video automatically re-starts. Tactic of repetitive indoctrination in action. Two “jurors” flee the room, clearly moles. Disembodied voice instructs people in other room to stay seated. Captain has not turned off seatbelt lights. No one but me seems to notice.

9:35 Actual announcement from actual person. Actual person walks out and yells to confederate: “He’s still got it running!!! It’s still on!!!.” An error detected. Note to self to exploit later, when possible. Perhaps a bribe for extra bathroom time. Will weigh options.

9:38 Orientation nearly complete. Again with the parking ticket validation – they’re just taunting me at this point.

9:40 We will apparently be mailed checks from Trenton. Not sure what they think they're buying. Certainly not parking.

9:41 If we're out in the main jury holding area, lunch will be from 12--1:30 and then we're done at 4. If we're in a courtroom, some judges apparently go to.... gasp.... 4:30. I may need to apply for a job here.

9:43 There's free coffee and tea, we're told, no doubt laced with fluoride. They’re after my precious bodily fluids. George C. Scott had it right.

9:45 We're free to stretch our legs and move about the cabin.....

9:45:07 Line for fluoridated coffee and tea now 45 peers deep. I take a cough drop to preserve my strength. 

10:20 The first wave of jurors are announced over the PA. There are about 30 of them. We all wonder if they'll ever return. I decide to infiltrate free coffee and tea area and canvas for intel. May also secure use of "rental locker" for the pastistio, except that it costs a quarter that then gets refunded later. Sounds Socialist.

MORE TO COME....

10: 45 --- Caught a case in round three -- off I go, but not before weakening substantially to free coffee. Into courtroom now where laptop certain to be confiscated...!

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11:45 We took 40 minutes to answer (get walked-through) a 17-question questionaire. Also found a friendly in the bailiff, who allowed me to keep my ......wait a minute, of course he wanted me to keep it -- ensures the fluoridation.

Given a 20-minute break, I sussed out the Cafeteria and had a massive pancake and some bacon, special order, 'cause they had closed the grill. May have found ally in the grill guy. Will make Cafeteria primary escape route, or at least have lunch there. Acquired plastic ware for the pastitsio.

Cannot, of course, disclose anything about the case, other than it's criminal. And it's criminal that none of my peers had the initiative to seek out the pancakes. Without backup, cramming calories seemed the logical choice.

Fluoridated coffee not taking effect yet.

We're back on time, but the court isn't ready. Judge must have gone for two pancakes.

MORE TO COME....!

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(All times henceforth are Post Meridiem)

1:30 ---- And, mere moments after that last post, I, along with 20 others, were excused from the case and sent back to Peer Holding. Peer Holding told us to take lunch for the next 90 minutes -- and this after having just finished our 20-minute break to assuage the exhaustion from completing the 17-question question-thingy. This jury duty thing is starting to resemble certain work calls I've been a party to...


1:34 ---- and I took lunch, thank you very much, and updated no blogs until now. Know why? Because I'm my own damn Blaiser. There were serious Facebook threads to attend to--on issues like who gets to call whom terrorists, and why Anderson Cooper can't stop making the story about him.

1:36 --- "Free" coffee appears to mean "until it's gone," here in the judicial catacombs of Newark, New Jersey. Fair and balanced enough. The cafeteria has reasonable prices and friendly help (and an express lane to the parking deck, where an operative might make, shall we say, a purposeful retreat).  Also observed the defendant and his attorney from the case that bounced me, and have decided beyond a reasonable doubt that although the brother dresses better than I do, he's GUILTY, GUILTY GUILTY!

1:40 -- in the "computer lounge" where I have decided, in a sense of fluoridated solidarity, to serenade my peers with my Baroque Magique iTunes channel. It will help to neutralize the highly annoying clicks and beeps coming from my next-cube-neighbor's electronic device.

1:44 Some guy in the next row is snoring. Or has succumbed to some kind of juris coma. Cell phone lady continues a litany of noise-making that has expanded into a bag of chips, and an extremely loud scarf. If the Bach proves an insufficient counter-measure, I'm considering an incursion.


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1:58 -- I narrowly avoid having my name called for the first wave of apres-dejeuner administrative fodder jurors. My ever-considerate neighbor is now folding the cellophane bag that contained the bag of chips slowly..... I realize that Grandpa's money clip, which has a very, very small blade, somehow snuck its way into my narrow-wale chords for a joyride and made it past security.  It occurs to me that I  could be making better use of my time--and the court's--by opening a large stack of mail.

2:17 -- High point of the afternoon thus far -- our judicial handlers just got on the horn, on behalf of a peer, and solicited change for a $20. Five of us responded within seconds. Has to be the pre-arranged signal they told me about in Langley. In the next five minutes, if we are not all Facebook friends, I'll know I've been made and will have to initialize Beta protocol, or in its unclassified name, "Go To The Bathroom."

3:03 -- just noticed the wall clock here is stuck permanently at 10:41:47.  How long have I been here? A day? A week? Must research these numbers as they relate to "Lost."

3:03:45 -- Especially since one of the guys in my courtroom group looked suspiciously like John Locke, sans knife.

3:27     EMANCIPATION!!!!! Doneski. And a small wistful feeling --- after all, if I were one of the accused, I'd want me for a juror......

I'm a little suspicious, but I'm heading out. Definitely watching "Lost" tonight. If no one hears from me in about 45 minutes, please accost all foreign-national parking attendants you may encounter with the following code words:

El bailff no lleva los pantalones!!!!!

Thanks for reading, and as always, please remember that in the event of an emergency, your attorney, located under your seat, may be used as a personal flotation device.