29 June 2011

The Return of the Two Minutes Hate

I just finished Cold by Bill Streever. Really loved it--so well written and entertaining. It jumped all over; time-location-topic, something that keeps my busy mind happy, but it wasn't so herky-jerky that it distracted from the book. Can't recommend it enough, especially to those of you who are looking for a break from the heat of summer.

I've moved on to Uranium...so far so good. I am hoping it's a quick read; graduate classes start on August 22nd and my "reading for fun" time will be cut short...probably to just the time at the gym (speaking of-I'm reading Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg on the nook and am digging it)...so i want to get in this book as well as three others--highly unlikely but a girl can dream right?

Two Minutes Hate
It's been so long...

Surely you've heard about the tongue in cheek, for adults only book Go the F#ck To Sleep. Written by a very tired (and very clever) parent as a way to communicate his love and frustration with raising children. The response i think has been overwhelming...parents seem to really relate to it and the author (a very accomplished author at that) Adam Mansbach has been doing the late night/early morning talk show rounds. He points out that while it's illustrated as a children's book, with verses such as, "The eagles who soar thru the sky are at rest / And the creatures who crawl, run and creep. / I know you are not thirsty. That's bullshit. / Stop lying. / Lie the fuck down, my darling, and sleep", it's best to keep this book away from the young ones.

Today I read an CNN opinion piece about the book. The author, Karen Spears Zacharias says that the reason the book, "should be kept out of reach of children is because of its violent language and because of the way it demeans children." She then goes on to talk with people who say things like, "Imagine if this were written about Jews, blacks, Muslims or Latinos." She herself says, "The violent language of "Go the F*** to Sleep" is not the least bit funny, when one considers how many neglected children fall asleep each night praying for a parent who'd care enough to hold them, nurture them and read to them."

Here's the rub though....First, it's not violent and demeaning--it's fucking true. Kids lie to get what they want, parents often want to yell loudly at them to lay down and sleep for christs sake. Good parents and the parents that buy this book (as Ms. Zacharias points out) refrain from yelling. Bad parents, who yell and do worse when their children don't listen; those parents don't change their behavior based on this book or any other. If you want to see a parent demeaning a child, watch Toddlers & Tiaras. Tell me how that's healthy for a daughter?

Second, it's not written about Jews or blacks or Muslims or Latinos. It's written about children; who, we all agree, can be completely vexing. Is this really the new standard for an adult story? If a child molester in my story is told that "You are a piece of shit and deserve to die in a fire" do i need to worry that someone will review it and say, but what if that was written about a Muslim? Do authors need to run through every marginalized group and do a kind of Folgers Crystals *we secretly replaced Mr. Mansbach innocent child with an african american--let's see what happens* swap so that we make sure we don't offend anyone, even people we don't actually write about? Can i be personally offended with Hitler's Mein Kampf because, even though he didn't speak poorly about redheaded women living in the states, imagine if he had?!

Third, Ms. Zacharias states that "Sadly, his book accurately portrays the hostile environment in which too many children grow up. For far too many kids, the obscenities found in Mansbach's book are a common, everyday household language." To that I would say, So? Hear me out. I don't condone speaking to children in this manner. Neither would the author and neither would any rational sensitive adult. Does the fact that many kids are neglected mean that we can't talk about it? Are humor and satire not allowed until everyone is loved and cared for? Ms. Zacharias is right that the book isn't funny "when one considers how many neglected children fall asleep each night praying for a parent who'd care enough to hold them, nurture them and read to them." Just like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs isn't so entertaining when you remember that 13,000 children die each day because they didn't get enough food to eat. If you want to help children who are neglected there are plenty of ways to do it, but we cant expect every book to be all things.

Mr. Mansbach was telling a story, one most parents can relate to, he wasn't trying to address the subject of childhood neglect and he shouldn't be expected to. He wrote an entertaining story for parents. Perhaps it will serve to make them feel less alone the next time their little butterface is throwing a fit and asking for another song and another tale and another glass of water.

02 June 2011


Today at work I need to be like this...

But I'm more like this...


31 May 2011


Recently I have been having extremely vivid dreams. One about my father--not so good. Another about planting flowers--better, although it appears I am no more of a green thumb in cloudland than i am right here in the real world. Kind of depressing. I mean, what's the point of a dream if i cant be a bad ass in it eh?

Whats more disturbing than the spate of dreams is that I am waking myself up because I find myself talking out loud. Its extremely disconcerting to wake up to your own voice. You hear a phrase, it makes no sense, you think who is talking here, and then you realize it's you.

Why do our brains do that? Random misfiring? Does it serve a purpose? Is it a tumor??

Alright, I'm off to bed...wish me sweet dreams free of mindless jabbering.


21 May 2011


My brother sklimps cracks me up. Here's the text i got this evening from him...

"I'm in heaven with jesus, son! Me and kirk cameron. Raptured!"

Ahh...I am sad to see the rapture fun end. We can joke and laugh like it was no big deal but, Harold Camping convinced a lot of, well, simple minded but probably good intentioned folks into giving him a boat load of cash to "spread the gospel." Over 100 million in the last seven years according to at least one story.

People quit their jobs, gave away their possessions, dropped out of school so they could prepare for the rapture. Sure all those who would be left behind had a good laugh but some folks have more than just egg on their faces. It's hard to feel bad for them...but i guess these are moments when i think--Richard Dawkins is right when he rallies against the indoctrination of children and weak minded folks. This is why he calls for militant atheism. I guess its time more of us came out of the proverbial closet eh?

~tweet tweet~ goes the bird

19 May 2011

Mix Tape

I'm putting together a playlist for a friend. I love to do this, and depending on the circumstances for the creation of the playlist (for a loved one, for a road trip, for a family member's birthday, for a party), I find that I learn something new about myself each time.

On my iPod I have a playlist called 'happy.' I realized soon after creating this that, while these songs make me happy, they may not be ones I want others to hear. There are some great songs in there, but man I listen to some wretched stuff! I'm am pretty sure that no one else's wants to listen to the Spin Doctors....maybe a guy who was transported here from 1991(Sweet Fannie Adams---1991?!).

Putting together a playlist is now so easy. Hipsters who can write better than me have waxed poetic about mix tapes so I won't bother doing that. We all know, labor of love etc etc. What I find is that, regardless of the medium, I still have a insane desire to send along with the music an explanation of why I am including this song or the historic context of that song. It's like I am scared that it will get interpreted incorrectly when, in reality, I have no control over the listeners interpretation of the song. My memories, my feelings surrounding the song are mine alone. I'm not sure I can force the song to convey a certain feeling, no matter how much I would like to.

I guess while making this playlist I've learned that I should just relax and let the music say whatever it needs to say.

Dire Straits said it best, Why Worry?

16 May 2011

Books And Such

I am nearly finished with San Francisco Noir, a title that Q picked up for me from the oh so divine City Lights Bookstore (Thanks again Q).

The book is a series of short stories based in different SF neighborhoods, all dark gritty noir plots, and I was surprised to find that San Francisco was a good city for that style of drama. I have my own feelings about SF but it's never felt cold, cruel, and cynical to me. I'm pleasantly surprised by what the writers have done to familiar neighborhoods.

I find that the book is making me long to watch Double Indemnity, and The Maltese Falcon. To drink too much in a dark bar watching the rain make patterns on the window. I suppose it will be wise for me to move on to a less influential book eh? Up next...Uranium because yes, I'm that much of a geek; and Cold because I dislike summers an awful lot...


P.S. If you dig all things noir you really should check out the other titles from Akashic Books' noir series. You're bound to find a city you like.

03 May 2011

Old Tymey Things

I love olden times (that's an official historian term by the way). Today while writing about Nike missiles and sharpening my pencil i realized how much i love antiquated things. You know:

Writing with wooden pencils...

Using an old typewriter...


1950s robots...

And of course, heavy black rotary phones...

...you know the kind you could brain someone with if you wanted to.

Why do some of us cling to these antiquated things? It's not that we're hipsters, our love of old discarded items came long before skinny jean-unnecessary scarf wearing dipshits made it cool to like all things retro again. Our love of these items is real and true.

What is it about the heavy clunky items of the past that hold such an attraction for me and others like me?

You see it in every clique....techno nerds who wet themselves at the site of a commodore 64, jock nerds who long for baseball players in stirrups. Something in these old discarded sturdy items speak to our soul. Perhaps it's just that...sturdy, heavy, something with weight, something not easily thrown into the trash, something that feels permanent in our otherwise entirely disposable lives.


14 April 2011

Cutting Medicaid

"Medicaid is something we talk about like it's a God-given right, when it's only been around since the 1960s It's a program that we phased in. We can easily start to phase it out," he [Levi Russell-Tea Party Spokesman] said.

Read full story here.

"Under god" has only been in the Pledge of Allegiance since the 1950s....can we phase that out too?

It struck me last night how disgusting it is that someone in this country can be diagnosed with cancer and die a slow and painful death because they cannot afford treatment.
Are we really okay with looking into the face of a person with a heart condition who only needs medicine to live and saying..."Oh sorry, I know this pill will save your life but you can't have it."
Is that the kind of country we want to be? Is that the kind of place we want to live in?

Life or Death should never be decided by the state of your bank account or your credit history.

04 April 2011

Quickly Quickly

I havent forgotten about Newt...work proved too hectic for a post last week. However, this post isnt about newt...something very special happened today.

Its the birthday of Dorothea Lynde Dix! Yes, the American prison and asylum reformer would have been 209 today. But something else happened today too....American playwright Robert Sherwood turned 115! You know Sherwood....he wrote Abe Lincoln in New York and a biography of Roosevelt.

Most importantly though...it's National Day in Senegal! Way to stick it to France Senegal.

Hmm...something else happened today. Oh, yes...i nearly forgot. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed this day 43 years ago. Such a tragedy.

I feel like i am forgetting something...oh yes, oh yes, Sklimps turns 35.
Happy born day brother.


28 March 2011


...righteous anger is building....

Soon there will be a post about Newt Gingrich, perhaps the least moral and most hypocritical man in politics. Well, that may be an overstatement but only because politics is filled with the worst people. Was it Plato who said, "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber." Ain't that the truth (no matter who said it).

Anyway, there's too much anger and not enough night for my rage today so soon...and don't say i didn't warn ya.


23 March 2011

Short List

Things I Can Tell About My Co-worker From a Day Using Her Machine:
~She uses the E key a lot.

...very short list.

~tweet tweet goes the busy bird

22 March 2011

Political Tête à Tête With Donald Trump

Guess what doesn't impress me? Your smug story about how you leased Gadhafi land in 2009 so he could attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting. You know why I am not impressed?

1. You said, "He paid me more for one night than the land was worth for two years,...." Wow...you're like a motel owner who jacks up the price of a room in the middle of a natural disaster. Impressive.

2. You then continue, "...and then I didn't let him use the land." It sounds like you really "screwed" Gadhafi. Oh, but wait...according to this 2009 story you didn't know the land you were renting to "Middle Eastern partners...may or may not have a relationship to Mr. Gaddafi." Hmm, so did you really screw him or did you get caught with your pants down and renege your short term lease when you realized a Libyan dictator would be staying there?

3. Speaking of that...how did you not know that Gadhafi was going to be staying there? Do you know many people from the middle east who travel to the U.S. and stay in a fucking Bedouin tent? Because I can only think of the one...

4. And that's the key right? You didn't discover that *gasp* Gadhafi was going to stay in that tent?! You pulled the deal when "State and federal politicians who learned that Gaddafi had rented property in the area were outraged..." One would think that you wouldn't need pressure from politicians to ask a Libyan dictator to pack up his tent if you were really surprised by his presence.

So there you go...you made a deal with a dictator, pulled out when you got caught, and then made a bunch of money off the whole thing.

Color me unimpressed.


21 March 2011

Reading Time

Here's something i like about science fiction books---with each novel you have to learn a whole new language. Each author has a new type of alcohol. A phrase for a common drug of the time. A new vehicle, a new race of people, a new technology that drives their world.

As a reader, it takes a certain amount of effort to jump into these stories. We are rewarded with a tale that is entirely of the author's making. It's easy to lose yourself in these stories-i think more so than others. Since every frame of reference in this foreign world is supplied by the author, the reader (in this case-me) doesn't over think the events, or the dialog. It's just as it should be and we have no reason to question it.

It's a nice change of pace...anything that lets my brain just sit back and enjoy is a good thing in my book.

~happy reading

P.S. Yes, Neuromancer is very good so far...thanks for asking.

18 March 2011


I think there is something magical about the Hammond Organ. You hear it often in the music of the 1960s and 70s and more and more these days. I wish I could explain how it fills a song with warmth. Everytime i hear a song with an organ line I can't help but smile.

Think the organ is only for church ladies (Well, isn't that special)? Do you need proof of the power of the organ?

I give you, The Doors. Sure it's a Vox Continental but really...it's still organ-a-rific.

How about Booker T & The MG's classic, Green Onions?

Not good enough, eh? You know the Beatles meant for Let it Be to sound like this. Listen to the organ at 1:50. Tell me that it doesnt sound better than the spector orchestra and i will kick you in your teeth.

There are so many more.

But my favorite is Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum. "Who," you ask? You know, those guys...

"But Bird" you say, "Can you name a song that isnt 30 years old?"

I can name five in fact...
Sowing the Seeds of Love-Tears For Fears
I Had A Dream, Joe-Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Fake Plastic Trees-Radiohead (Organ comes in at 57sec)
I'm Slowly Turning Into You-The White Stripes

I could go on and on...but really, by now you should already be out the door on the way to the record shop eh?


12 March 2011


Mmmmm today i had as close to a religious experience as I have ever had. It didnt come in the form of a burning bush or a booming voice from the sky but rather in a paper cup and a biodegradable spoon.


Wowza, that's some tasty ass frozen yogurt. I enjoyed the Taro (who would ever imagine that slimy poi is made of the same thing) and Guava Pineapple Tart with fresh fruit on top. It was affordable and after looking at the nutrition at home, surprisingly NOT horrible for you. We're talking 21-34 calories an ounce and fat free. It made me think of the Seinfeld episode with the fat-free yogurt. Here's a very apropos clip...for many reasons.

~tweet tweet goes the...oh...ouch!....brain freeze

25 February 2011


I finished Freedom by Jonathan Franzen tonight.

Franzen writes dialog in a way that is unique and real. Lots of people hate it and think it's not accurate...but i think it is eerily familiar. I see all my interactions play out in his pages. The fights, the secrets, the fear, the love. Everything you've ever said--in some way or another-is captured in his dialog. Half a dozen times while reading i found my self saying, yes...that is exactly right. Or, of course...that is just what i would think/say/do.

This book is similar to his excellent earlier novel, The Corrections. He writes it in chunks, first from this character's point of view, then from another's. You find yourself hating, loving, understanding, and feeling perplexed at these people. Somehow, in the end, you find yourself caring about each, wishing the best for them all. It's really remarkable. I would love to understand how he does it. How he crafts each character. Is it about having their storyline already laid out and just picking up each person at the right moment? Or does he write the twisting interconnected story as is? So many things to learn.

I'm always sad to see Franzen novels end but since i have a gazillion others piling up I'm moving on. Next up, the rise of theodore roosevelt. No worries Gibson, i will get to your Neuromancer soon enough.

~nerdy birdy

22 February 2011


"There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples." -His Holiness the Dalai Lama


I just finished watching a Smithsonian show, "Denying the Moon Landings." People who still, 40 years later, believe that the moon landings were faked. They brought up that people thought the first photos of Old Faithful at Yellowstone were faked, that people thought the Wright brothers faked their first flight, that people still think aliens helped Egyptians build the pyramids.

I don't understand this. I find myself constantly stunned by all that humans can do. We can fly through the air at hundreds of miles an hour...we can rocket to space in under ten minutes...we can pull a tumor out of your nose (Fact....gross gross fact).

Why do so many humans love to crap all over our own achievements? The human brain is remarkable...astounding...amazing. All that we can do and create. Why arent more people blown away by this? Why dont people stand slack-jawed at the sheer power of the human brain?

Good news is, we all have a chance to worship the brain this week...watch Discovery slip the surly bonds of Earth this Thursday at 4:50 p.m. EST.

~tweet tweet goes the bird