Friday, October 26, 2007

The Saga Continues

Here's a stupid question: would the readers of this humble blog be interested in a story involving a Latinizing hippy chick, Pentecostal Gypsies, a BDS-ridden dot-com casualty, a sycophantic Marxist monkey fetishist, Gayh-C.L.U attorneys and other assorted colorful members of the MOONBAT‡ party gathered to imbibe the caffeine chalice beneath the watchful gaze of the glowing corporate mixoparthenos in drippy Seattle, WA?

I thought so. That's why you are so fortunate that former United States VP Albert Gore foresaw the possibility of making the works, factual and fictional, of Oengus Moonbones available to the public and therefore took the initiative of inventing the internet. Thus he made it possible for anyone in the world to read Melinda at Starbucks, the ongoing internet serial written by the same Mr. Moonbones.

Following is a chapter listing to aid in reading all the posts which comprise the story in order:

Melinda at Starbucks
§ 0.0 (prologue)
§ 0.1 (prologue)
§ 2.2.0
§ 2.2.1
§ 2.2.3
§ 2.2.4
§ 2.2.5
§ 2.3.0
§ 2.3.1
§ 2.3.2
§ 2.3.3
§ 2.3.4
§ 2.4.0
§ 2.4.1

I find the story to be fun and engaging. The dialogue is hilarious socio-political commentary which deftly avoids being (too) over-the-top. The acronyms are extremely clever and the archetypical profiles of the coffee-house characters are dead-on. I'd compare the style sort of a mix between Doug Coupland and Kurt Vonnegut, but less depressing than either. Plus any story where someone gets his ear bitten off has got to be good by default.

I should also mention that Oengus, having obviously suffered a sudden fit of glasnost, recently opened up comments on his blog, so if you enjoy the story as much as I do, please encourage him to continue telling it.

(Just for the record, I want the part of the narrator, Melinda's "interlocutor", when the film is made. I'm perfect for it. The Nehru jacket is on order. I'm scouting locations, I've got some other casting ideas as well and I'm working on some connections at a zoo for the monkey cage scene.)


‡ Acronym for Multicultural Organization Of National Basic Attitude Transformation, a progressive political movement that began in the Seattle Area.

Sully's Blog

Mark Sullivan, a writer/friend of mine who has real material published on dead wood, has a blog now so he can slum with the rest of us blogospheric hacks. A former house-mate in the 'Burgh, Sully is responsible for coming up with my nickname and rescuing me from a situation in a rather insane living situation in Lower Saint Clair. We had many adventures together before I bolted and moved to the Mistake on the Lake back in '98.

So far his blog has been very practical. Yesterday he blogged on how to turn candy bars into MP3 files, a great and useful work of alchemy.

Welcome to the blogosphere, big guy.

Ain't too proud to bleg

The Wikipedia glossary of blogging terms defines the noun bleg as follows:

A blog entry consisting of a request to the readers, such as for information or contributions. A portmanteau of "blog" and "beg". Also called "Lazyweb."

Sounds like me; I work really hard on this blog to make sure everyone knows how lazy I am. That's why I took some time off from watching television and eating Ruffles to put together the K Street Bleg to invite the mysterious blog commenter named "The Man from K Street" to start a blog.

I just think his comments are so dead on and cut through the digestive by-product of the pessimistas and the ivory tower condescension which is so prevalent in certain corners of the blogosphere. It's unfair that a lazy ass, or as I like to call myself, an "ambition-challenged person", has to wait so long inbetween K Street fixes.

So how about it, Mr. Man?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Dispose the day, bro"

Happy St. Crispin's Day, all y'all.

Lt. Michael Murphy, US Navy, is awarded Medal of Honor -- Post Mortem

He laid down his life for his friends. Excerpt from the President's speech:

On June 28th, 2005, Michael would give his life for these ideals. While conducting surveillance on a mountain ridge in Afghanistan, he and three fellow SEALs were surrounded by a much larger enemy force. Their only escape was down the side of a mountain -- and the SEALs launched a valiant counterattack while cascading from cliff to cliff. But as the enemy closed in, Michael recognized that the survival of his men depended on calling back to the base for reinforcements. With complete disregard for his own life, he moved into a clearing where his phone would get reception. He made the call, and Michael then fell under heavy fire. Yet his grace and upbringing never deserted him. Though severely wounded, he said "thank you" before hanging up, and returned to the fight -- before losing his life.

Unfortunately, the helicopter carrying the reinforcements never reached the scene. It crashed after being struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. And in the end, more Americans died in Afghanistan on June 28th, 2005 than on any other day since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom. This day of tragedy also has the sad distinction of being the deadliest for Navy Special Warfare forces since World War II.

One of Michael's fellow SEALs did make it off the mountain ridge -- he was one of Michael's closest friends. Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell of Texas, author of a riveting book called "Lone Survivor," put it this way: "Mikey was the best officer I ever knew, an iron-souled warrior of colossal and almost unbelievable courage in the face of the enemy."

For his courage, we award Lieutenant Michael Murphy the first Medal of Honor for combat in Afghanistan. And with this medal, we acknowledge a debt that will not diminish with time -- and can never be repaid.

Our nation is blessed to have volunteers like Michael who risk their lives for our freedom. We're blessed to have mothers and fathers like Maureen and Dan Murphy who raise sons of such courage and character. And we're blessed with the mercy of a loving God who comforts all those who grieve.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Blackadder's Catholic Free Market Approach to Healthcare

Kudos to M. Z. Forrest for allowing Vox Nova commenter Blackadder to present his thoughtful analysis regarding free market solutions to health care industry problems. Contrary to some of the recent squawkings that Hillary Clinton's health care proposal is somehow "catholic", he points out that there is a lot more respect for subsidiarity and the common good in market solutions than in single-payer systems. Here's a teaser, but read the whole thing, it's quick:

By taking over functions that used to belong to the family, church, and voluntary associations, the state has broken down the authority and power of these mediating institutions between the state and the individual. The result is that people increasingly are unrooted, isolated, and socially adrift. Many of these institutions have become frayed and particular affections and loyalties have broken down, leaving people isolated and dependent on the state for protection (ironically, people who oppose this are often called “radical individualists”). State intervention outsources charity and replaces real social solidarity with the fiction that sending tax dollars to Washington bureaucrats (or, rather, being in favor of others sending their tax money to Washington bureaucrats) is somehow charitable. People who believe it is the government’s responsibility to care for the poor are less likely to give to charity or volunteer their time, regardless of how much the government is actually spending on fighting poverty (let alone how effective that spending is). This is, I think, not a coincidence.

But if single payer is not the answer, does this mean that we just have to live with the problems of the current system? Not necessarily. There are a number of ways that our healthcare system might be improved that don’t involve a government take over....

Then he goes on to actually provide suggestions of how to improve the current system. Imagine that. These all read like a breath of fresh air to me because it meshes with my experience exactly. When I was 25 years old I had full coverage which I hardly needed. Would have been nice to have that wasted money instead, slap it into a savings account or stimulate the economy of the beer industry, whatever.

Now as a self-employed individual I have a "creative" plan for my growing family which I had to wrest from the insurance rep using a technique I affectionately call "psychological waterboarding", i.e., threatening to go elsewhere. I could even get a cheaper plan if I could threaten to buy an insurance plan out of state, say, South Dakota or Nebraska. He might even have to sell his yacht at that point. I don't think they do the yacht thing in those there parts.

Like the gallows, competition doth greatly focus the mind of these insurance galloots, even if you don't enjoy threatening business people as much as I do. Nothing personal, I got a wife and kids, buddy. It be a Catholic thing -- noam sane?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


If anyone knows any grief counselors looking for work, send 'em up to Cleveland.

Oh, well, great season.