Dabutcha's Blog

February 2, 2014

Thus Spake the Committee


Poor you a Pint, sir?

Poor you a Pint, sir?

Addiction doesn’t discriminate and it doesn’t compromise.  The only way an addict can “overcome” his disease is to stop using and stay stopped.  There is no “casual,” “recreational,” or “social” alternative.
I can’t claim to know another person’s demons or mental noise.  But, I can attest to the fact that my demons never stop screaming.  It’s my job to turn the volume down and not hand them a megaphone anymore.  No matter what.
The committee has spoken…

***   ***   ***

Today is Super Sunday.  They don’t really call it that anymore, do they?  Still, the Seahawks and the Broncos will battle it out in a few hours for the NFL crown.  Another thing that rests in the past is Bud Bowl.  Remember that shit?  Billy Bud, Bobby Bud, & Co.?  I was 14 the first time Anheuser-Busch bombarded televisions worldwide with kid-friendly advertising for its Budweiser family of beers.  Twenty-five years ago.

As a freshman at Roman, I’d already been drunk a number of times in my young life.  I also knew well the trappings of alcoholism.  But there was a cartoonish, video game-style version of a sport I followed aired over and over again during the biggest game of the year.  When I was sure to be watching, as were my friends, as were millions of children across the globe.  Say what you want about ethics in advertising.  Argue “free-market vs. corporate responsibility” all you wish.  Bud Bowl planted (if not watered) the “beer is fun” seed in young minds.  In my mind.

Beer was fun.  Shit, beer is fun.  Just ask dudes with full beards and tight pants, who choke down pumpkin ales while eating shiitake puffs and discussing the merits of a barter system-based economy.  Ask chicks who slam Blue Moons and smoke American Spirits.  Beer is cool.  I stopped drinking just before Bud Light added lime to its recipe.  Back then, if we wanted our beer to taste like citrus, we had to bust out a cutting board and get to work.  Or buy a squeezie thing of ReaLime.  We put lime wedges into Busch Lights.  Not the same as a Cherry Stout from some guy’s basement.  Which apparently sells well in the 21-35 market in Denver.

So booze doesn’t need to piggyback its way onto the world’s largest annual television event in order to draw a crowd.  It’s plenty popular, right there at the front of young minds.  Along with weed and illegal and prescription drugs.  Much is being made of the fact that this year’s Big Game is to be contested between teams from two states which have legalized marijuana – Washington and Colorado.  The punsters have been making Super “Bowl” jokes non-stop.  One might say they’re having a field day.

Why am I going on and on about beer and weed and drugs and television?  Because that’s the world in which we choose to raise our children.  The same one in which we were raised.  Yet everyone laments the going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket of society, of the country.  Of humanity.

Our media — once-promising as beneficial to all — promotes behaviors that would make our grandmothers shiver.  It’s their revolution, after all, and they’re the ones televising it.  In HD, 3D, and any other D that increases profits.  This has always been the case.  TV started as a way to demonstrate the scope and power of technology.  NBC, the oldest broadcast network, began as RCA, Radio Corporation of America, which had originally been owned by General Electric, which made  – among other things – televisions, TV antennas, and other industry-relevant products.  Essentially, GE fed itself by generating the electricity that powered its products that advertised the company that generated the electricity…  Early programming, like radio, was sponsored by large enterprises in the big oil (Texaco Star Theater) and tobacco industries.  Alcohol ads just make sense.

Yes. TV, radio, the internet, etc, allow information to be instantaneously gained and shared; available to the masses.  This ideaexchange, however, is not without its cost: in order to receive the data, we must endure the subliminal stowaway—marketing.  Commercials, infomercials, product placement, jingles, slogans, campaigns, etc.  Buy, buy, buy!

***   ***   ***

My rant started in response to multiple Facebook posts and online news items about the death of yet another famous actor.  Hoffman battled drugs and alcohol early in life, entering rehab shortly after his college graduation.  Clean, he landed a role on “Law & Order” and thus began his impressive and respected Hollywood career.  He won an Oscar for his portrayal of a writer—Truman Capote—who struggled with and ultimately died from complications of addiction.  Hoffman had stayed clean and sober for 23 years before admitting relapse in May of last year.  He overdosed on heroin.

Last July, I went off about the death of a guy on some dumb TV show.  On this blog, I talked about the way the media dominates the day, either with its fake heroes or its alleges villains.  The man who died in July had also overdosed on heroin.  Addiction alone is the hardest thing a person could experience.  Addiction, and death, in the public eye has to be exponentially more difficult.  Yet, there it is, on full display each and every day.  In movies and music.  On TV.  In our faces.

***   ***   ***

We are addicted to fame.  We yearn for it and its trappings.  We chase and follow those who have it.  We mourn those who lose it.  We drink it, smoke it, snort it, and shoot it.  We love fame and the famous.  Fame is a drug and the longer we abuse it, the worse it will be when we ultimately succumb to it.

The cure?  Fame rehab.  Cold turkey!  We need a program, to help us kick our addiction to fame.  This program is brought to you by Living Your Fucking Life and Letting That Be Good Enough.

I’m going to watch the game now.  With an ice cold Diet Coke.  I’m not trying to slim down, I like to drink it – just for the taste of it.

As always, thank you for stopping by.

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January 25, 2014

Plans change, but this does not


This is what a search of "stargate plans" finds.

This is what a search of “stargate plans” finds.

Just the other day, I told my darling girlfriend that I haven’t had too many of those funny coincidences happen lately.  She had, which was why I volunteered the information.  Of course, once I said that, the Universe began doing that thing where it causes all sorts of paths to cross until it presents me with yet another “holy shit” moment.

The company for which I work uses multiple systems for tracking and transferring data.  Every job we work exists on each of these platforms, independent of all other jobs and unable to cross from one platform to another without operator assistance.  We do a lot of updating each time we make a call, take a call, open an email, and so on.  I joke of updating the system when I sneeze; it’s almost not-quite that ridiculous.

So anyways, I received an instant message from a co-worker in Cedar Rapids that one of my jobs appeared in her work load.  It happens all the time.  Jobs that sit get kicked back into rotation even though they “belong” to one writer and/or specialist.  I responded to the IM and retrieved “my” job.  Moments later, a co-worker at the King of Prussia office and I spoke about what a pain in the ass it can be to have to stop what we’re doing to pull a job from someone else’s list.

“Why does that happen so much?” she said.

“I have no idea, but I get like seven messages a day about jobs I have to pull from other people’s systems,” I replied.  “I swear, every day I get a message about [company name].”

“Sheesh,” she lamented before walking back to her cubicle.

As I sat and readied myself for workfun, an instant message popped up on my screen.  Wouldn’t you know it?  [Company name] is in [coworker]‘s system.  I just fucking said that!

Yeah, funny.  Not exactly mindblowing; just odd timing.

*****     *****     *****

Today, my darling girlfriend and I had planned to spend some time together.  Alone.  A celebration—she hasn’t even received her diploma and she’s been offered what’s essentially her (first) dream job.  (Trust me, there’ll be more dream jobs and she’ll get offers for those, too.)  Our plans, however, had to be postponed due to shifting schedules and snow and such.  It happens.  Running errands in the snow—upon the slick, suburban highways, with clueless, distracted drivers to contend with—can become more of a fight for survival and less of a grocery run.

She texted: I really wish it would stop snowing so i can see my man :(
I replied: Plans change…

The snow has since ceased and the roads, I’m sure, are more passable than before.  There may be hope yet.

Who’s on SNL tonite???
Jonah hill and Bastille (?)

We could always celebrate over Weekend Update…

*****     *****     *****

In the meantime, I’m killing time with a Cormac McCarthy novel and some cable television.  What will they think of next?  The offerings are plentiful: Godfdather, Billy Madison, Stargate, etc.  I settle upon Stargate, as I’m a spacecase.  Well, I’m watching the scene where Kurt Russell’s character is introduced.  He declares the stargate job now belongs to the military.  (I wonder if he should have just sent an instant message.)  When the older-lady-with-an-accent-scientist-person protests, “I vas told I vould have complete autonomy,” Tango (or was he Cash?) dismisses her by simply stating, “Plans change.”  Boom.

*****     *****     *****

There it is again.  Two words that anyone could say at anytime, which I just happened to text today to my scientist-person girlfriend (who is in no way older, nor does she have an accent [say wooder, baby]) at a time when she expressed her disappointment, were then uttered:

  • on my TV screen
  • in a twenty-year-old film
  • by the square-headed Husband o’ Hawn

as a response to the scientist-lady’s disappointment.

Ergo, rather than sit at home and miss my lady, I’ll see what’s up and, hopefully, schedule some sort of Saturday Night Live-watching date.

Plans change.  I just have to remain flexible so that I don’t miss the good stuff.  Thanks for stopping by.

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January 24, 2014

My Stub’s on Fire


Who says I'm not a fucking ghost?

Who says I’m not a fucking ghost?

This happens from time to time: the very end of my right arm, in the meaty part below my elbow, reacts to something and grows hot and red.  Phantom sensations?  Perhaps.  Where that talking fucking dog when I need him?  Scooby Doo and the Case of the Five Missing Fingers.  I swear, if I find out it’s Asa Shanks, trying to steal my family fortune, I’m going to expose him for the fraud he is.  Point is, I’m rubbing my stub because it feels better when I do.  Take it how you wish…

I’ve gotten some pretty obvious stares lately.  That’s somewhat comical – hence, the Scooby Doo reference.  Is what is, man.  Is what is.

*****     *****     *****

As I made my way out the door and to my car this morning, the last-quarter Moon stole my attention.  Flanking the semi-circle of green cheese was a pair of bright points – planets, stars, or galaxies; my mind immediately escaped the salty asphalt upon which my feet trod and floated among the cosmic flotsam.  (I cast no jetsam, as I needed my wits to navigate such depths.)  The astronomy class from a few semesters ago affords me enough facts that I can reasonably understand the differences and distances involved in what I saw in the sky above.

However, what lies among the heavens is a whole other realm of reality, and this caused me pause and thought:
Discovery is great, but I love to wonder.

My understanding of the space two feet in front of my face is wanting, lacking.  I can research Earth’s atmosphere, get a fairly firm grasp of aerodynamics, and determine where the scent of toasted marshmallows originated (I’m a Yankee-doodle Candle…).  But what really turns my gears is the notion that between my nose and the glass jar lies an infinite number of (possible) realities, limited only by my imagination and lack of sleep.

Pretty fucking decent.

*****     *****     *****

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.     “Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” – Isaiah 35:5-6 (Masonic Bible)

While searching the possibility of a weak cliché in an above paragraph, I found the writings of a W. John Murray.  Published by Divine Science Publishing Association in 1922, Murray used a version of this passage to open his chapter on obtaining health.  Deep shit, no?  Divine science and health, knowledge and wonderment, reservation and awe…

(Stephen Colbert just brought up the Bible on his show; he’s debating where morality originates.  His guest is speaking of brain circuitry and the chemicals that create attachment – oxytocin.  He argued science with the existence of the soul.)

*****     *****     *****

Just because it’s in us to find out how, that doesn’t mean we should abandon the pondering of why.  The absence of answers is nothing to fear.  I gratefully embrace not knowing as much, if not more than, knowing.  Even when it comes to my red, hot stub…

Thank for stopping by.

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