Thursday, January 31, 2008
Why is the bathroom door in this Carlsbad hotel room notched in such an interesting manner? Is it from some damage that hasn't yet been fixed? Is it a fancy embellishment to the otherwise boring straight line of the door edge?
Apparently the door is just a smidgen too close to the toilet when it opens in to the bathroom... so the smart folks in the hotel facilities office cut a little section out to allow it to swing fully open.
Now that's ingenuity!
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Mark Twain (1835-1910), author
There should be a test that people need to pass before becoming parents. Let's review a few of the basics before the final exam:
You can find more answers for your examine from this book:
A tip of the hat to Monkeys for Helping, which has even more parental tips.
Sometimes must have
To stand naked
Bob Dylan, singer, songwriter
Now that Hillary seems to be a popular candidate will we see more of this? You may have seen these photos a few years ago, but I missed them and thought it was worth a chuckle. Before politicians such as Rudy Giuliani or government officials like J. Edgar Hoover, there was the comedian Milton Berle. Now I introduce you to a few Photohopped presidents:
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), author
Yesterday a majority of the day was spent on the train to San Diego to and fro. I was on the Amtrak and what a treat. The seats were comfortable, there was a plug to keep the computer charged, and stereotypical California scenery aplenty.
Because of this trip and pleasant experience, I plan to take a nice day or weekend trip to San Diego via the train in the near future. A round-trip ticket was approximately $50 from Union Station.
These photos were taken from inside the train through a rain-spotted window:
If you look carefully you can see the reflection of the camera.
Monday, January 28, 2008
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) U.S. President
I was very excited to hear about Carolyn Kennedy supporting Obama in the Sunday New York Times. What I like about him is he is not playing the typical divisive politics that we are seeing from the Clintons. The Clintons have to use these kinds of tactics because that is what the Republicans use so successfully, but if Obama can rise above it, then we have an opportunity to be hopeful that the tone at the top will change and spread through Washington, the country, and around the world.
It’s worth taking a chance on Obama for that hope.
From the opinion piece:
Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.
We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn’t that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960.
Senator Obama has demonstrated these qualities throughout his more than two decades of public service, not just in the United States Senate but in Illinois, where he helped turn around struggling communities, taught constitutional law and was an elected state official for eight years. And Senator Obama is showing the same qualities today. He has built a movement that is changing the face of politics in this country, and he has demonstrated a special gift for inspiring young people — known for a willingness to volunteer, but an aversion to politics — to become engaged in the political process.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
"Daddy, is it true that you only have to choke the clutch when your engine is cold?"
Jane Austen (1775 – 1817), writer
Before the year ended I was caught unaware about a situation I created, innocently; see “Lesson Learned” post below. What surprised me most after the dust cleared is the sanctimonious jackals hollering for blood. I suspect they are the type of people one would see in the accompanying photo.
Initially, I thought I would not blog any more. I wondered if it was really worth it. I first removed a number of posts that related to daughter because I worried about her safety, then I took down just about everything. I thought these wackos could be dangerous. After reading the comments from the priggish lout boasting about discovering the blog and how he hated my
…vitriolic and disdainful commentary of a political nature (all of which I found myself disagreeing with, vehemently). I made a point to review it [the blog] heavily as I wanted to make sure that the attorneys received all pertinent information…
I decided that I couldn’t back down. Once I read his comments, I quickly returned the political posts (although I couldn’t find any of a vitriolic nature), especially after he provided a link to Toner Mishap.
Welcome new readers and join the many others who already enjoy the posts of Toner Mishap.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Dale E. Turner
From Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"
"I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."
You can read the rest of the letter at The Ethical Exhibitionist who receives a tip of the hat for posting this, or here read it at the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
John Lennon (1940-1980), singer, song writer
The whole truth, nothing but the truth; not from the Bush administration.
Our government made 935 'false statements' to its citizens in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Bush made 260 of them himself. And, the citizenry doesn't seem to care.
The right-wing nut jobs and the sanctimoniously righteous will discount the story citing the fact CNN carried it.
Tip of the hat to Chandira at Diary of a Hope Fiend.
Friday, January 25, 2008
H.L. Mencken, writer
I made a mistake and I faced my potential punishment with nervousness, remorsefulness, and very, very carefully so as not to make any further missteps. Not as others may have described as quiveringly, shakingly, or trembling. Meekly, maybe. I would have said soft-spoken. I certainly wasn’t going to be wrong and forceful, like so many right-wing nut jobs with flat tops and Jesus bumper stickers. Well, I guess we all think of ourselves as writers, whether writing here or in a newspaper’s comment section.
That is all I will say on the topic.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466–1536), Dutch humanist
I am caught in the web...
Monday, January 21, 2008
Anderson Cooper, journalist
All day I have been thinking about my life’s occupation. Lately I have been wanting to be a reporter/writer, again. Sunday morning, I read the LATimes book review about William Vollmann and his latest book “riding “Toward Everywhere," which is an account of his adventure as a slumming hobo.” I had a week’s vacation planned when I was in my early twenties to jump trains with the managing editor of the local newspaper where I worked. We never did it. I don’t recall why, but I am truly sorry we didn't. The reviewer called Vollmann an intrepid cultural interpreter. Also, yesterday morning in the NYTimes was an article on Jimmy Breslin. It talked about his style of reporting and it named many of peers who are now dead such as Norman Mailer, Murray Kempton, George Plimpton, and Arthur Schlesinger. Saturday’s Wall Street Journal featured an opinion piece on Fredric U. Dicker, state editor for the New York Post, who doesn’t let politicians get away with their usual lies and half truths. Finally, I started reading Anderson Cooper’s “Dispatches from the Edge.”
In some respects Toner Mishap is my opinion page outlet for not following my heart, but my wallet, not that I am doing so great, but my career choices have been slightly more lucrative than being a local reporter somewhere. I still have a fantasy of working for some local newspaper in my golden years. I suspect I have too much of an independent, contrarian, cynical streak to appeal to a local readership, so you're stuck with me.
Tuesday I go to court regarding the posts about my experiences as a juror, so even blogging I get into anxiety causing situations. Writing can be a dangerous and costly occupation, if you offend someone. Breslin was beat up badly by a mafia member of the Lucchese family. On The Mark called me early at the office the other morning and highly recommended that I take down the post that wrote, which was just a quote, but he thought I was asking for trouble. I removed the post. I will use the quote again shortly I have no doubt. I have deleted another post a few months ago that had to do with the CEO of a once major mortgage company, after the newspapers reported that he collected millions of dollars in bonuses and stocks, but the company was going to lay off thousands of employees, I asked how could he sleep at night.
There is certainly a chilling effect on writing if you are not careful. For my own good, I think I will just stick to Toner Mishap and attempt not to aggravate the powerful and litigation minded, as best I can.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Benjamin Haydon (1786-1846) artist
I just finished the bibliophile mystery "The book of Air and Shadows" by Michael Gruber and found this interesting:
...movies come first. For example, one never had a fast draw face-to-face shoot-out on the dusty Main Street in a western town. It never happened ever. A screenwriter invented it for dramatic effect. It’s the classic American trope, redemption through violence, and it comes through the movies. There were very few handguns in the real old west. They were expensive and heavy and no one but an idiot would wear them in a side holster. On a horse? When you wanted to kill someone in the old West, you waited for your chance and shot him in the back, usually with a shotgun. Now we have a zillion handguns because the movies taught us that a handgun is something a real man has to have, and people really kill each other like fictional western gunslingers. And it’s not just hugs.
Movies shape everyone’ reality, to the extent that it’s shaped by human action—foreign policy, business, sexual relationships, family dynamics, the whole nine yards. It used to be the Bible but now it’s movies. Why is there stalking? Because we know that the guy should persist and make a fool of himself until the girl admits that she loves him. Why is there date rape? Because the asshole is waiting for the moment when resistance turns to passion.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Apparently an on-air Golf Channel personality (Kelly Tilghman) was talking about Tiger Woods recently and used the word "lynch" -- suggesting that in order for the other golfers to actually win now and then, they might need to gang up on Tiger and "lynch him in a back alley."
Had they said this about a white golfer, no one would have blinked. The word is a little more loaded when referring to Tiger, I suppose, because of his race and the history of violence against blacks in America. So OK, this host was insensitive. She was suspended for two weeks.
The real problem I have is what took place this week in Golfweek magazine -- the cover is shown here. A noose was used to illustrate the story about Tilghman's use of the word "lynch" -- and the editor has now been sacked over that image choice. Why? It's an appropriate, dramatic image to illustrate the content of the story -- and that's all.
Check out the article on Yahoo.
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) French artist
During the summer of 1972, I really became a Rolling Stones fan with the release of "Exile on Main Street," which was the background music to all our neighborhood chess games. I played every chance I could; Bobby Fischer and his game against Boris Spassky is who I can thank for my interest in the game. With my new iMac computer, I was pleased that a chess game was included.
From the New York Times: Bobby Fischer, the iconoclastic genius who was one of the greatest chess players the world has ever seen, has died, The Associated Press reported Friday. He died on Thursday in a hospital in Reykjavik, Iceland, his spokesman, Gardar Sverrisson, said. He was 64. No cause of death was given.
The world championship match against the elegant Spassky was an unforgettable spectacle, the cold war fought with chess pieces in an out-of-the-way place. Mr. Fischer’s characteristic petulance, loutishness and sense of outrage were the stuff of front page headlines all over the globe. Incensed by the conditions under which the match was to be played — he was particularly offended by the whirr of television cameras in the hall — he lost the first game, then forfeited the second and insisted the remaining games be played in an isolated room the size of a janitor’s closet. There, he roared back from what, in chess, is a sizable deficit, trouncing Mr. Spassky, 12 ½to 8 ½. (In championship chess, a victory is worth one point, a draw a half-point for each player.) In all, Mr. Fischer won 7 games, lost 3 (including the forfeit) and drew 11.
Through July and most of August, the attention of the world was riveted on the Spassky-Fischer match. Americans who didn’t know a Ruy Lopez from a Poisoned Pawn watched a hitherto unknown commentator named Shelby Lyman explain each game on public television. All this was Mr. Fischer’s doing. Bobby Fischer the rebel, the enfant-terrible, the tantrum-thrower, the uncompromising savage of the chess board, had captured the imagination of the world. Because of him, for the first time in the United States the game, with all its arcana and intimations of nerdiness, was cool. And when it was over, he walked away with a winner’s purse of $250,000, a sum that staggered anyone ever associated with chess. When Mr. Spassky won the world championship, his prize was $1,400.Mr. Fischer, the most powerful American player in history, had renounced his American citizenship and moved to Iceland in 2005.
Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951), novelist
I purchased my first iTune song "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country" by Randy Newman below (just the song not the video), which is apropos for this political season:
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466–1536), Dutch humanist
That is all I want to say for now.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Walt Disney, (1901-1966) animator, filmmaker, amusement park developer
From the Wall Street Journal:
Belgium is known for a lot of things, including waffles and an array of skull-crushingly strong beers that would make even a much-larger nation proud. Oddly, another product of this bastion of biculturalism is the surprisingly homogenous group of blue-skinned gnomes known as Schtroumpf, which, in American, is translated as the Smurfs. The Associated Press reports that 2008 is the 50th anniversary of these mushroom dwellers.
The Smurfs originally surfaced as supporting characters in a 1958 cartoon called "Johan and Pirlouit," which was set in the Middle Ages and drawn by Pierre Culliford, a cartoonist who went by the pen name "Peyo."
In Spanish, a Smurf is a Pitufo. The Gerrmans call them Schlumpfs. They're Nam Ching Ling in China and, in Japan, one of the little guys -- or Smurfette -- is a Sumafa. They're called Dardassim in Hebrew.
Monday, January 14, 2008
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1966) writer
I purchased one of our luxury items – firewood. The others being books and CDs. The guy who delivered the firewood said the price was $5 more than what I was quoted the day I ordered it. I told him I would call the place and tell them, but he asked me not to, he didn’t care about his tip.
I didn’t argue, which is not my nature and I gave him his tip anyway, because while we disagreed completely about religion, he was still a nice guy. The conversation started because he was telling god to bless the family and me, then he used an example about homosexuals should not be together because of what the Bible says.
I had to point out to him the hypocrisy of the Bible on this topic. I showed the delivery man an article from the 2004 Los Angeles Times opinion piece titled “Holy Terror.” Even before I could show him the direct quote from the newspaper on Leviticus 20:13 that says homosexuals should be killed: “if a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death,” he dismissed the article as the writer’s interpretation. I said it was a direct quote from the Bible, but he had never seen it. He couldn’t believe that the Bible could contradict itself from the Ten Commandments. I attempted to show him other quotes called out by the newspaper that the Bible also instructs us to murder people who work on the Sabbath (which is what he was doing), along with adulterers and children who curse their parents.
He had his beliefs and nothing I said was going to change his mind. I wished him well and thanked him for stacking the wood.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
For certain sums of gold, which you denied me
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) dramatist, poet
Speaking of Big Brother, who exactly is in charge here? Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff is not making me feel secure or confident about who is in charge. How secure we should feel in this country, especially when the FBI has carte blanche to wire tap most anyone at any time under this administration, but then they get cut off in the middle of surveillances for lack of payment, according to the Wall Street Journal:
A Justice Department audit released today revealed telecom companies recently cut off some FBI wiretaps on suspected criminals because of the bureau's repeated inability to pay bills on time. The audit blamed the FBI's lax oversight, ironically, of money used for undercover jobs. A wiretap in at least one Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act investigation was "halted due to untimely payment," the audit found. The report offered recommendations to improve tracking and management of the funding system, including telecommunication costs.
Why is it that FBI interruptus apparently okay if our country is always in imminent danger of attack?
AT&T doesn't care what your higher mission is if you have not paid your bill, the country be damned
Noam Chomsky, U.S. linguist, political analyst
The lumbering wheels of justice rolled up to my house (as Michael Corleone said: "IN MY HOME! Where my wife sleeps... and my children play with their toys.") and it has had a chilling effect. I am not going to discuss now, but I am very bothered and rather outraged, once I got over my initial shock and fear.
This chilling effect has made me suspect that my First Amendment rights are not so secure unless I have Paris Hilton’s legal counsel. All this makes me hesitate to write in my usual over the top style.
In any case, I’ll attempt to write again and try to ignore the feeling that someone is watching and trying to salvage their wreckage off my observations.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Yes, there's more. Today, just one photo -- a shot from Legoland's Miniland, this time the section devoted to recreating New Orleans entirely out of Lego blocks. On a little out-of-the-way street I saw two cops roughing up a perp, their actions being closely watched (and documented) by a curious bystander. OK, only one is roughing up the suspect -- the other is on the lookout for curious bystanders... look out when he notices our shutterbug!
Monday, January 07, 2008
For those of you who missed it: click here.
Friday, January 04, 2008
She wants to be Marilyn, minus the drug addiction and tragic death. Well, minus the tragic death. She's dressed to kill, and is vain enough to imagine that they're singing about her when they say, "she's a brick... house!" One question: are those crosses on her nipples?
It's really amazing how she's managed to keep herself looking so good at her advanced age.
Here we see Sleeping Beauty awaiting true love's kiss, with a fairly standard rack -- white and heaving, as her somnolent exhalations present her good side to her beloved.
Given our status as a web-based literary publication, we find ourselves using words and phrases we might not utter in public -- like MILF. Nonetheless, here we see a young mother disciplining her child; though her top isn't very revealing, it seems she *is* wearing a thong.
Middle-aged Bathing Beauty
Her husband is snapping vacation picks while she models her new swimsuit. Note how middle-age has exaggerated her breasts, but her bikini top does a good job of maintaining their pleasant shape.
What's up with this top? Is it stylish and minimalist, or is it just two diamonds attached with double-sided tape? The hat gives her game away -- she's a foreigner, and doesn't know any better.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Karl Kraus (1874-1936) satirist
This is from the 2007 Darwin Awards. Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it.
(21 May 2004, Texas) Michael was an alcoholic. And not an ordinary alcoholic, but an alcoholic who liked to take his liquor... well, rectally. His wife said he was "addicted to enemas" and often used alcohol in this manner. The result was the same: inebriation.
The machine shop owner couldn't imbibe alcohol by mouth due to a painful throat ailment, so he elected to receive his favourite beverage via enema. And tonight, Michael was in for one hell of a party. Two 1.5 litre bottles of sherry, more than 100 fluid ounces, right up the old address!
When the rest of us have had enough, we either stop drinking or pass out. When Michael had had enough (and subsequently passed out) the alcohol remaining in his rectal cavity continued to be absorbed. The next morning, Michael was dead.
The 58-year-old did a pretty good job of embalming himself. According to toxicology reports, his blood alcohol level was 0.47%.
In order to qualify for a Darwin Award, a person must remove himself from the gene pool via an "astounding misapplication of judgment." Three litres of sherry up the butt can only be described as astounding. Unsurprisingly, his neighbors said they were surprised to learn of the incident.
(10 January 2007, East Germany) A 63-year-old man's extraordinary effort to eradicate a mole from his property resulted in a probable victory for the mole. The man had pounded several metal rods into the ground and connected them to a high-voltage power line, with the intent of rendering the subterranean realm uninhabitable.
Incidentally, the maneuver electrified the very ground he stood upon. He was found dead at his holiday property on the Baltic Sea. Police had to trip the main circuit breaker before venturing onto the property.
The precise date of the sexagenarian's demise could not be ascertained, but the electricity bill may provide a clue.
(27 July 2007, Guadalajara, Mexico) 24-year-old Jessica was working out in the Provincia Hotel's gym when she realised she needed something from the floor below. Instead of picking up the phone, using the intercom, or just walking downstairs, she decided that the open shaft of the industrial lift was the communications device for her.
So Jessica stuck her head into the empty shaft to shout to the people downstairs. And somehow, she missed noticing that the elevator was coming up towards her. If the elevator had been going down, one could say that she was in no position to observe the approaching lift. But, leaving aside the stupidity of sticking your head into an elevator shaft, if she was looking down, how could she miss the mass of metal inexorably headed her way?
Since an elevator cage and a skull are both solid objects, one had to give. Let's just say, the elevator won. Jessica will be missed by her family, but not by the gene pool.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
As for rights management, it's interesting to note as an aside that the Lego store featured a build-some-reindeer-and-a-sled activity, with said reindeer totalling nine and the lead reindeer featuring a spot upon which you could easily put a red brick to signify a certain reindeer's bright nose... but patrons were forbidden to do so because the rights to Rudolph are still held tightly and so Legoland can't simulate that reindeer.
Here we see Prince Charming chatting with someone on his celphone -- presumably *not* Sleeping Beauty, as she's... well... asleep, right? Weirder still is that you can hear a high-pitched tinny voice coming through the speaker (sort of like one of the Chipmunks) sounding as though it is giving a long list of things to do... interspersed with his lower-pitched grunt of assent. My guess is he's reconsidering whether he should wake his beloved or not.
I'm not entirely sure why Aladdin abandons his shoes in the cave of wonders as he rubs the magic lamp, but here they are -- for some reason with rollerblade attachments.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) author
Happy New Year! Now let me take care of some old business. I would like to think if nothing else, Toner Mishap is supportive of other writers. I would have pointed this out earlier, but with being slammed at work, the holidays, and the flu, I now have the time to encourage all readers who enjoy an original and unique short story to read Amy Letter's short story that made me both chuckle and cringe. Amy from the Incertus blog had her story published at Fringe Magazine early this month.