Monthly Archives: December 2009

Two things I hate and will preach against as long as there is polluted air in my lungs: big government and big business.  Unfortunately, my hypocrisy knows no bounds since it seems I can avoid neither. Being a huge fan of the written word and a poor journalist, I can only build a library at a snail’s pace. So when I want to read the latest book or magazine, I am forced with a choice – the public library or going to a corporate bookstore. As of late I’ve chosen the latter because I can read all the material and not pay, it feels like I’m cheating the system that I hate.

While screwing some old white man out of his profits the other day, I discovered an article about An Atlas of Radical Cartography. I subsequently asked for this for Christmas and despite rumors about my many nafarious undertakings, he delivered. The maps are interesting and if you are curious about the contents, check out the above link.

Since examining the maps and reading the accompaning essays, I’ve become obsessed with cartography. Until recently my idea of a map was a piece of paper that once unfolded could never be put back quite right. But maps are so much more than that. They are one of the best examples of combining form and function. Each map is a work of art that is full of useful information. They help us navigate everyday situations, whether that is how to get from Bowling Green, Ky. to Gibson City, Il. or how the economics of oil and war are connected.

There is a whole community dedicated making unique maps. They are an interesting lot who, it seems, are versed in politics, statistics, geography and design. Somehow all these factors are melded into one picture that we call a map.

Viva la mapa revolucion!

I’m not going to apologize for the lack of posts here. I have my first full-time job and no Internet at home. Get over it. Forward we go.

It’s Christmas eve. Hooray, all the greedy boys and girls will get presents tomorrow, despite this going against Santa’s naughty act of 1856. Santa, you’ve sold out. What did it take? A better sleigh? A beach house in Aruba? An island in Dubai?

Fat Judas.

Now instead of presents being handed out based on moral merit, it seems you give to the rich and deny the poor. In fact, I think I saw you at a teabagger protest of the health care overhaul.

You must of stole some Nazi gold and are still riding high on that blood money. No wonder you’re North Pole Nation is the only one where slavery is still legal. Your workshop is a modern day Peenemunde. How can people be so blind? Wearing red, white and black, you might as well have a swastika armband as well.

My family isn’t poor so I assume you might try and make a trip down our chimney. I’ll be waiting for you, 12-gauge in hand. My grandpa was a Nazi killer and I’m more than happy to join his ranks. Cookies, milk and buckshot.

Ho ho ho

For all the things Kentucky does well – bourbon, bluegrass, fried chicken – parking is not one of them. Maybe it is because of the high number of grotesquely large trucks. It could be that people parking in the local Wal Mart and gas station parking lots are too busy spitting coffee-colored liquid into an empty soda body. Or maybe the answer is simpler, drivers education is sub par. I don’t know and I’m not here to make a guess. What I do know is that people’s inability to park directly affects me. Because everyone drives everywhere here, parking spots are a high-valued commodity. Drivers become scavengers, pouncing on empty spots with unbridled enthusiasm. In the course of parking their giant 4×4 trucks, they take up one and a third spaces. Of course they might as well take up both spaces. Just let everyone know they are a prick instead of trying to keep up the illusion of civility. This causes someone else to part way in the next space, and it becomes a vicious cycle. One I unwillingly propagate. Looks like this culture is starting to get is corn-liquor-stained fingers a hold of  me.

In the words of Kurt Vonnegut and in the vein of the last post, go on, call me a Luddite. Technology has made my life extremely convenient, but it seems it can also be addicting. Cell phones, e-mail and Internet publishing are all highs that if not feed often enough, cause me to go into withdrawals. I start sweating, wondering what could be sitting in my inbox. An alert about my bank account? Some urgent press release for work? Naked pictures of Dick Cheney’s daughter? All possibilities. It is the kind of addiction that drives me to walk a mile in freezing weather to get my high.

Since moving to Bowling Green I have had to ride out some delirious tremens, especially in the late evening. I’m in a stopgap apartment so investing in the Internet isn’t an option at this point. And I don’t plan on getting cable. It’s something that eats your soul while at the same time convincing you the world is all sunshine and whiskey rivers. As the days pass by the tremors lessen. Hallucinations of twitter feeds and instant messages are becoming less intense.

I still haven’t kicked the technology temptress, and I don’t want to.  She is too damn alluring for that. But she is no longer calling the shots. We are at least on equal footing, for the time being. I’m sure she’ll clime climb back on top at some point. I’ll willingly let her, knowing it isn’t good for me. Watching the seduction will only quicken the process. Until then.

Yankee; an epithet I hate. My dad is from Louisiana, and despite living in Illinois longer than he did in the south, he still likes to use yankee as an insult. He says things like “that is so yankee” with such distain you can almost see the hatred dripping off his lips. I was always a yankee, and though my dad wouldn’t admit it, I think he was ashamed of it. Now that I live in Kentucky that title carry the same weight with the locals as it does with my dad. A heavy cross I have to bear, unless I change my accent, tribal identification card and marry a local all in the hopes of avoiding scorn. I think the term is “going native” when you’re out in the wilds of New Borneo or Los Angeles.

Like any foreigner in an unfamiliar country, the first thing I have to do is get the lay of the land. Until last night, I had being using a GPS unit as a navigational crutch, a monotone co-pilot. For the first time since moving here five days ago, I got into my car without the thing. Not intentionally, but it was cold and I didn’t want to walk the 15 feet back to my apartment to grab it. Besides, having the electronic map with me doesn’t always ensure I can get where I want. It has led me in the completely opposite direction of where I need to go.

The betrayal of the GPS fresh in my memory, I headed out into the world of Bowling Green blind. After several wrong turns and frustrating stop light conundrums, I finally ended up at Krogers (the location of which I only knew because the damn GPS had led me in the wrong direction the previous night). Except for lobotomy, dementia or drug induced coma, I will always remember where that grocery store is. So electronics be damned. Except for the computer I wrote this on, the Internet connection that let me publish it online, and the computer you’re reading it on. And cell phones. Mine has been invaluable since moving at least three and half hours away from anyone I know. I also like the electronics that make noise come from cards, that is good old-fashioned entertainment. Digital watches could and should be subject to a genocide and I would count it as a victory for the good guys.