Monday, December 19, 2011

the Cathouse

With the building of our new house, I got permission to build a cathouse.  I got all excited... until I realized it was actually a house... for cats.

Oddly enough, it's a problem I've been considering for quite some time.  Consider the following:

A. Cat poo is the stink of death
B. Dogs love cat poo
C. Dogs are affectionate, kissy animals

QED: I'm about to hurl

Which led me to believe it might be possible to make an awesome hideaway for the cats, complete with snacking doggy avoidance features.

Michalangelo had his Sistine Chapel, Van Gogh had his Starry Night, Da Vinci had his Mona Lisa.... and now I present to you, with no further ado: Spork's Cat Closet.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Let me tell you a story.  There isn't a snarky punchline.  There isn't a lesson to be learned.  It's just a story.

There was once a computer geek that worked in a big city.  His office had a huge plate glass window in it... probably 60 feet long from floor to ceiling.  One day while working he noticed a momma cat outside, nursing a tiny kitten.  This was not in a residential area and she was struggling to catch enough food to produce the milk for the kitten.  So the geek put out cat food for her.

Momma was wild.  Very wild.  And the kitten, orange with swirly stripes, became wild too.  No amount of coaxing or talking would draw her out.  Time went by... the only way the kitten would allow the geek to approach was through the plate glass window -- where if he dangled a string (or a frayed bit of CAT5 cable) she would play with it through the window.

As momma cats do...  Momma got pregnant again... and had another litter of kittens, leaving the kitten alone.  She did not know how to hunt.  She was helpless.  And Momma had to send her away to raise the next batch.

So the geek trapped her.  She was probably about 9 months old by now and extremely wild.  And every said you just can't tame a feral cat.  Once they are wild... it's over.

Like I said, there is no moral here... no punchline... no snark.  That scrawny scared feral kitten passed away today at the too-young age of almost 12.  She spent 9 months living on the hard streets, became an indoor cat and never looked back.  Bye Lucy.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Original Sin

There are lots of concepts in the Bible that are not just bad ideas -- they're downright WRONG.  Morally corrupt.  The one that always jumped out at me is Original Sin.  It's the idea that your Mom and Dad were essentially evil at the core and that makes YOU evil.  And you're going to be punished.  The great10000 grandchild of the parent gets punished for the sins of the parent.  Worse still, the supposed "Sin" of Genesis was the desire for knowledge and reason.  The story is just plain evil.  And it's the intro to the whole book, casting a pretty big shadow on the whole thing.  Good is bad.  Light is dark.  Reason is evil.  Ick.

Fast forward to present time and my favorite pitchman for convincing us we're all victims: Elizabeth Warren.  (Oh, you poor dear!  The world has treated you so poorly, making you buy that 3500 square foot house and forcing you to buy that $45,000 car!  IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT!)

Her newest pitch seems to be causing a fervor on the internets:
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you!

But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that maurauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea — God bless. Keep a big hunk of it.

But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
And there you have it: Original Sin.  Shame on you, you maker of things we want!  We coercively forced people to pay for roads and schools and didn't charge you a dime for using it. Now you actually had the nerve to drive on those roads and hire those educated folks as employees.  You BASTARD!  YOU OWE US! 

If you don't have a victim, make one.  Force them to pay for something they didn't ask for; give it to someone else, then make the victim angry and divert the blame.

Elizabeth Warren is God.  That's not a compliment.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Breakup

I don't know about you... but this is what I read when I read the recent email from Netflix:

Dear Spork,

I messed up. I owe you an explanation.

It is clear from your feedback over the past two months that you felt I lacked respect and humility in the way I announced my intent to fool around and the crabs I gave you.  That was certainly not my intent, and I offer my sincere apology.  Let me explain what I am thinking.

For the past five years, we've had a great relationship.  Cozy.  Safe.  Loving.  And... it's not you, it's me.  Most people are great at something -- like Brad fixes his girlfriend's car or Sharon dresses provacatively to show her large breasts -- do not become great at new things people want (fooling around for me).  So I moved quickly into fooling around, but I should have personally given you a full explanation of why we are splitting up.  It wouldn't have changed giving you crabs, but it would have been the right thing to do.

So here is what I am doing and why.

Many people love the monogamy lifestyle, as I do, because it's traditional and safe.  Monogamy is a great option for those who want a safe, loving environment.

I also love sleeping around because it's part of my nature, and I can have sex anytime I want.  The benefits of polygamy are really quite different from the benefits of monogamy.  I really need to focus on increasing my book of booty calls, without being hassled by monogamy.

So I realized that sleeping around and monogamy are becoming two different lifestyles, with very different risks/rewards, that need to be managed differentlly, and we need to let each grow independently.

It's hard to write this after over 10 years of our relationship, but I think it is necessary:  In a few weeks, I will introduce you to my cousin Thelma.  I chose Thelma because she has a real good personality and wants to get married really REALLY bad.

I promise Thelma will put out.  It may be a new name to you, but she will be monogamous.  One improvement you will see is she has no self esteem and will probably get really freaky with you.  You've been asking for freaky sex for years, but now that you're hooking up with Thelma, you will finally be getting it.  I am sure Thelma has other good traits as well.  A negative of you and Thelma hooking up is that you and I won't be doing it any more.

There will be no crabs (you're done with that!).  If you want to fool around with both me and Thelma, you'll have to work that deal out with her.  I'll let you know when Thelma is ready for your first date.

For me my slutty red dress has always been a source of joy.  Thelma will have a red dress in the same color, but now it will be a size XXL.  I know the XXL size will grow on you over time, but still, it is hard.  I imagine it will be hard for you too.

I want to acknowledge and thank you for sticking with our relationship, and to apologize again for the crabs.

Both Thelma and I will work hard to regain your trust.  I know it will not be overnight.  Actions speak louder than words.  But words help people understand actions.

Respectfully yours,

-Your girlfriend, mother of your children, sex goddess

p.s. I have a slightly longer explanation along with a sex tape with my new boyfriend posted on my blog, where you can also post comments.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lessons from the Middle IV: You're all not getting it

My Chambers Stove project has attracted my attention for much of the last several months... and the world has seemingly gone to hell without my advice.  This. Must. End.

As a public service, I offer another "Lesson From the Middle."  It appears the Left and Right at the top of the political food chain have all the cerebral processing power of a wooden log -- the left thinking much in the same way a bit of teak does and the right having the thought processes of say... pine or cedar. I feel like both sides need a serious dose of reality ... and I am here to give it to you if the excessive cellulose in your skull can handle it.

This should be something Mommy and Daddy taught you growing up, but ... a family has an income.  They also have expenses.  The income has got to be more than expenses or little Billy eats the cat.  It's not hard.  Money in has to be more than money out.  There was an old school method of dealing with debt crisis in the family: stop spending so damn much.  There was also a corollary: when you have extra cash, save it for later.  That same simple process works for families, for corporations and for governments.  I repeat: It's not hard.

You can blame the world's woes on Bush from now until your upcoming recall election but this temper tantrum just isn't true.  Bush was an idiot.  You're right there.  Bush was a free-spending socialist.  You're right again.  But debt troubles were there before him and they're here now after him.  So pipe down and look at the numbers.  There is no amount of tax-the-rich that will fix this.  You can tax them all at 100%, and even if they didn't pack up and leave the country, you'd still be drowning in debt.  You have to cut spending.  And I don't mean some stupid $2.7 billion dollar cut like the esteemed Senate majority leader (brain of maple) wants.  That not only doesn't make a dent in the debt, but it doesn't even make a dent in the deficit.  If the amount being spent is still more than the amount made, YOU ARE LOSING GROUND. 

You can't make a "trillion dollar cut over 10 years" when your overspending by more than a trillion dollars every single year.  It's math.  You have to cut enough to not only stop the bleeding, you also have to start emptying the debt bucket.  You need to cut so much it hurts and makes everyone scream bloody murder.  They need to know what services they're losing and why: Because they can't afford it.  Explain it to them in simple terms.  Don't scream that John Boner wants to crush Public Broadcasting.  Tell them how much we will miss Public Broadcasting and that if they really want to keep it, operators are standing by to take their pledge.

I have very strong philosophical problems with taxation -- not just the taking of monies by force, but the taking of monies by force and then spending it in ways that are often diametrically opposed to things I believe.  (I have graciously given you a partial solution to this that no one has implemented.   I'm waiting.)

So you understand: I hate taxes.  I hate them from my core.  I have philosophical issues with them.  So listen when I tell you: You MUST raise taxes.  Again, I don't mean raise taxes on the wealthy.  If we eat the wealthy, we're still going to be hungry tomorrow.  What you need to do is raise taxes on all of us.  We have to feel it.  We have to know "Service X costs money.  You are paying for it.  It isn't free."  It's been Monopoly money that sprays out of the Fountain of Free Things™ so long that we have lost track of it.  Let us know.  Send me a statement in detail of all the insane, stupid things you are doing with my hard earned money.  Infuriate me so I might vote the next guy out that wants to spend a dime more.

Your plans are no more than hand waving.  There is this call for compromise... and I am telling you: DON'T.  You can't compromise between two plans that hold all the water of a dishtowel when you are mopping up a spill the size of an ocean.  You're compromising between two bad choices in an attempt to keep your job another term.

Finance just isn't that hard.  It isn't about manipulating currency or moving markets or perfect timing.  It's just about living beneath your means and saving the rest.  It's second grade math.  Attempts to make it more than this are nothing but a scam to pass the buck to the next generation or the next Congressional session.  Just stop.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Lazy.  That's what you call someone that posts one tidbit every quarter.  Hello, I am lazy, nice to meet you.

And this post isn't so much a work of art or a spew of vitriol... It's more of an update.

The home front
I mentioned here and here we were trying to build a house.  And while the schedule has been oh-so-lax and not-quite-met... I believe it is actually about to begin.  There's a plan.  There's a builder.  There's a rough outline drawn on the ground with my truck parked in the "garage."  Now, building a house is probably not all that unique, so I probably won't be leaving updates here every 3 hours (unless there is something particularly interesting to post).  For friends/family/stalkers I'll try to keep a running set of photos on Picasa.  Other disinterested parties may silently ignore that.

I would, for the record, like to point out the builder selection process:
  • Builder 1 - hired to draw plans and bid on the house.  Copied/pasted plans from a web site.  Fired.
  • Builder 2 - Seems.   Like.  A.  Nice.  And.  Honest.  Guy.  That.  Talks.  A.  Little.  Slow.  For the record, I'd like to mention that 2 out of 4 times I have been to his office, I had car trouble bad enough that I had to be towed home.  No, this was not the same car.  Jinx?
  • Builder 3 - Seemslikeareallyniceguythattalksreallyfastanddrinkstoomuchcoffee.  We actually went a few rounds with him, telling him how we wanted to do some of our own work and he mysteriously just decided (weeks into this) to stop returning our phone calls.  Nutjob?  Or stringing us along?  Who cares.  Fired.
  • Builder 4 - The most highly recommended builder by the girl that eventually drew our plans (not by the copy-paste method).  "He would build my house," she said.  Then we talked to several subcontractors that slowly shook their heads no.  "He doesn't pay his bills and you cannot ever get him on the phone."  Fired.
  • Builder 5 - A slick used car salesman that deals in 2x4's and plywood.  I was ready to leave the office about the time I shook his hand.  Fired.
From the above, you can probably deduce we went with Builder 2.  If you're still wondering about the possible jinx, I'd also mention his office caught on fire about a week before we signed with him.

The Chambers
Ellie May has had the idea for several years that she wanted a shiny new (old) Chambers range in her kitchen.  We even drew the plans with the odd sized hole in the cabinets for it.  We've been watching Ebay/Craigslist for over a year, bid on a few and never found the right one at the right price.  And then they fell out of the sky.  Last week we found 2 of them for the price of 1.  Neither is pristine by any means, but they're both mostly complete and I feel certain I can build one working stove out of the 2.  I'll also have a spot on Picasa for the restoration of these guys... and possibly have some blog entries here as there do seem to be a crazy bunch of rabid fans (Ellie included).

Suggestions for naming the ranges are now being taken.