Shadow Government – a reality?

I should point out right away that I tend to be a conspiracy theorist and this is one of those rants.

Still there? wow, well thanks… here we go then

In December (I think) of 2008 the brother to our then President, Jeb Bush, said that it might be a good idea to avoid becoming “the old white-guy party,” and for the republicans to form a shadow government. (Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/01/jeb-bush-gop-setting-up-a_n_147495.html ). Now lots of folks didn’t take this kind of thing seriously, and why would we it’s laughable.

Or is it?

On January 30th, 2009, the Grand Ol Party (a.k.a. “the old white-guy party”) elected Michael S. Steele to be the RNC Chairman. This guy’s campaigns have been endorsed by the evil men we already know: Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. He says the color of his skin has nothing to do with him being elected, but I disagree. It sets up the Shadow Government perfectly. Not only does it look like the GOP has a change of heart, but it also keeps realists like me wondering what they are really up to, which leave the Shadow Government open to do the things that it thinks needs doing.

Crazy right? Just wait, it gets better.

Harry Reid, answered a question about a 10% raise in the congressional budget: “We had a situation — you should direct that question to Senator McConnell,” he said, referring to the Senate Minority Leader, “because we had trouble organizing this year. He wanted to maintain a lot of their staffing even though they had lost huge numbers. And the only way we could get it done is to do what we did. So you should direct that question to Senator McConnell.” Well what do you think they need these extra staff members for? To maintain the offices of Jeb Bush’s Shadow Government of course.

Now, lots of things are possible. I suppose that the same party that has been “the old white-guy party” for such a long period of time could have possibly changed their tune and thought… Wow, there are other races! Let’s let them have a part in our schemes. That certainly seems likely. That’s why they would put Bobby Jindal out in front of the National audience after Obama, whom we know can speak.

Seriously, come on, this is all smoke and mirrors. Where are the grumpy white men with money, young wives and guns? This is all so we wont see what the Republicans are really doing. It frightens me.

OK, I’ll quit ranting for a while, but I think Jeb Bush’s secret government is plotting something, something stupid if he’s anything like his brother, and then we’ll all pay.

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP_RSTUVWXYZ

On this day, Q, my baby boy, my pretty kitty – has been put to sleep.

On July 13th, 1999 my friend Krista and I had lunch to celebrate her 10 year sobriety birthday in Rockville somewhere and afterward we stopped at the PetSmart, which is where I first saw Q. Q and his brother, another black cat, were in a cage together at the PetSmart. As soon as I approached, Q stood up and started purring and rubbing his nose and body up against my fingers and the cage… he was so adorable. His brother just sat there, he maybe looked up and found nothing of interest and went back to sleep. Well I really wanted to take the little guy home, but I wasn’t sure Gary would be up for it… so I didn’t. I was prepared at home already, I had purchased litter, a litter box and scoop in anticipation of getting a cat, but I really didn’t think Gary would say yes.

That evening when I arrived home I told Gary I almost brought home a cat, and he asked why I didn’t… so then I was pretty upset, someone was bound to take that cat, he was so lovable and needy. The next day after work Krista and I returned to the PetSmart, intent on finding the perfect cat for me. We were both very shocked to see Q and his brother still there.

I filled out all the paperwork, listened to all the advice from the PetSmart experts and loaded Q into the cardboard Garfield and Odie inspired cat carrier and Krista dropped me off at the Metro. He was relatively quiet on the Metro and I was soon exiting the Metro on the escalator up on Q Street NW and that’s where he got his name. His full name Q Ten Appel, Q for the street he came home on, Ten as it was Krista’s 10th Sobriety Birthday and Appel for me… or QT for short.

That night Q was pretty scared, he wouldn’t come out from under my bed and so I just left him alone. I would get down on the floor and look at him, trying to coax him out but he wasn’t interested, it was safe, dark and warm under there and that was all he needed. I had, when he first arrived, shown him to the litter box and the food, neither of which piqued his interest at the time – but that night I awoke to the sound of him peeing on my bed… poor little guy, I thought, I showed him to the box and tried to talk to him about how important it was to go there and woke up long enough to put my comforter cover in the laundry.

Q knew his name, and in the summer I would start to call his name while walking up the hill to the house. He would always run to the window and sit in the sill waiting for me to arrive, meowing the whole time. When I’d get tot he door he would run up purring away and giving me a kiss by rubbing his snout up against the side of my glasses, each time he did this I would say: “Good Boy Kisses” and eventually he learned that when I said that I wanted a kiss, which he would then proceed to do.

At night when I would prepare for bed, Q wanted nothing to do with me, but as soon as I switched off the light after reading a few chapters he would be on the bed and lying next to me, he had to be touching me somehow and then he would start to purr up a storm.

When the alarm would go off in the morning he would expect me to lie down next to him and give him attention, even me going to the bathroom was frowned upon, as he was the important thing here and I’d better realize it pretty soon.

He was my baby boy, I loved him very very much.

I brought him home a sister a year or so after he had been with me, I assumed he was lonely. This was not very well accepted for the first few months, but eventually Q and his sister, Mouse, grew to love one another and grew inseparable – he knew, however, that he was top dog.

Q was not at home only twice that I can remember, once Gary and I were going to be in Las Vegas for a few days and he stayed with Gary’s parents; and once he stayed at a co-workers (Diana) house. When he was at Gary’s parents he was very happy about having a basement to explore, but when he and Mouse were at Diana’s they didn’t leave from underneath her couch unless she was in her room sleeping. Q was never much of a social cat, he didn’t want anything to do with any humans except Gary and I and if anyone knocked on the door he would bolt out of the room he was in, into the safety of under a bed somewhere.

In Chesapeake, where Q, Mouse and I lived for under a year, Q was found to be pooping in my bedroom closet, no explanation and I scolded him for it and tried to keep that door closed.

Back in DC we found piles of poop in secluded places in the house where Q had gone for some reason, but other days for weeks and sometimes months at a time he would go in the box like Mouse. Nothing changed, no difference in litter, food, routines… but occasionally you would see him run out of the box like he was in pain and soon after you’d find a pile of crap somewhere that it shouldn’t be.

In December of 2007 Gary and I went on a cruise and my friends Mark and Robert stopped in every day to take care of the cats. Robert knew one of them wasn’t using the box, but assumed he or she was just not going. When Gary and I returned from the cruise we discovered 5 different spots where Q had gone to the bathroom on Gary’s bed, that’ll teach him for taking me away for a week.

It had continued to get worse and one morning I rolled over in my bed and there next to my pillow where Q would normally sleep was a small turd.

I spent $350 on an Xray, changed litter, changed food… nothing was helping. He was miserable when this was happening, I was pissed and things were getting destroyed… so I had to make a decision, that decision was to put him to sleep. I didn’t make the decision lightly, I thought very carefully about my options and the cost associated with this issue.

So, this morning Gary and I drove out to 1201 NY Ave and handed Q over to the Humane Society. They said they would put him to sleep and I did not want to be present for that. I kissed him one last time on the forehead, gave him a very big hug and walked out the door. Then I cried.

Now here I sit at home and I know it will be hard for a while. I imagine Mouse will be very lonely, but I will do my best to keep her occupied and happy.

Goodbye Q, I’ll always hold you in my heart and I miss you already.

Pegasus II and Cygnus

Back when Ted and I first met we had one basic thing in common: love of comic books. Ted was much more serious about it than I was and he introduced me to several stories and books that I then grew to love and treasure, he also taught me about preserving the comics (bags and boards). I was pretty clueless and most of my comic books were just kind of lying around my room crumpled up or torn in various places.

But Ted, he had boxes of well preserved special issues, entire story lines of the golden age of X-Men (OK, it wasn’t the golden age of comics… I don’t think, but it was those issues of X-Men that brought the rest of the world into their universe and shone the spotlight on them for quite a while), first editions, and even *gasp* independent publisher comics.

One of his independent comics, Nexus, gave me the tool I needed to get rid of the military recruiters that were waking me at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings – “Communism is glorious, just glorious.” stated the character. Just saying that phrase to one recruiter fellow (Navy I believe) brought their attempts to bring me into the armed services to an abrupt halt – it was the cold war after all (1988).

Anyway, the point of this post; is that while Ted and I were in school together, 9 – 12th grades, we had started to write our own comic book: Cygnus and Pegasus II. Now this comic was based on our make believe times out by an old pile of rusted metal somethings next to the railroad tracks near where my grandma lived on Camp Street in Whitehall. Those rusted out pieces of debris were our spaceship, our mountain, our alien planet and we could do anything there… after all both Cygnus and Pegasus II were descendants of the ancient Greek Gods of Mount Olympus and their power was near infinite.

Of course we did have our share of problems back then, and each one of them somehow ended up in our story: girlfriends, teachers, friends, family… everyone had a part in our story. And we were plagiarists too, we would steal from anybody: Legion of Superheroes, X-Men, Spiderman, it didn’t matter if it was something that we read regularly we would find a way to put parts of it into the story. Some of the first paragraphs that I wrote had characters with the same first names as the founding members of the Legion of Superheroes, but I didn’t know it was wrong, I just was too stoned to be original more than likely.

But here I was looking through my old papers this evening trying to find one of the stories that involved not just Ted and I, but Rosy and Eric as well. I was going to type it up and cringe at all the spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and just plain stupidity to make sure that it got posted somewhere that would possibly be safe for me to laugh at in a decade or so… but I can’t seem to find it. Perhaps this weekend I’ll have some time to be able to go out and find this piece of horrid literature and post some of it on here for you all to laugh at, just trying to do my part to keep you entertained.

PVC, XYZ and Sad Little Girls

This weekend my friend Eric and I hooked up with our friend Rosy from High School. We wanted to try to get her to relax and have a good time – she’s very serious and we did manage to get her to smile here and there and I do believe I heard a chuckle or two as well. Eric and I are both likely bruised on shoulders and shins from her assaults when we would joke at her expense.

Eric is retired Air Force and Rosy is active Air Force and when the two of them get to talking about what’s been going on the last 21 years they talk in letters. You would think that I would be used to this kind of thing – having lived in DC for the last 10 years, but I just couldn’t keep up. I just kind of zoned out when they would start and I’d reflect that if either of them were with me at a WoW convention they’d hear just as many letters or in DC with the locals.

We went to see the Baltimore Aquarium on Friday during the day and that evening came into Baltimore suburbs for a Dinner Theater. We saw the play Midlife the Crisis Musical at Toby’s Dinner Theater in Columbia and were very entertained.

Each night the three of us were up into the wee hours of the evening like old times and our bodies will be paying for it I think for the next few days. We did get to show Rosy the sites of DC, the fun of Baltimore (that can be had with your clothes on and your wallet still intact) and laughter which she desperately needed.

I hope that the next time I have a few days with old friends that they remember how old we are and that even as the youngest of us – I complain the loudest!

The Black Knight and the Rose

Over 20 years agoEric “Sleazy” Nelson, Rosy Pieper and James Appel roamed through the halls of G-E-T High School (yes, that’s really a school) causing nothing but trouble…

Ok, that’s not true, for the most part we were well behaved, Rosy especially – she didn’t even smoke cigarettes.

We did however form friendships that have lasted on and off for the last couple decades; they both disappeared off my radar when I was drunking and boozing – how dare they – they didn’t actually go anywhere, I just lost touch with reality. Along with several other folks from back they, these friendships remain strong.

It was just last summer that we were all in the same spot again for the first time in ages and it was nice to see friends at home.

This weekend Eric, Rosy and I will hang out together and reminisce about old times complain about new times and have a good time, the only regret we are likely to have is that Ted and others wont be with us, as that would make it a truly memorable weekend.

Wii

I made a decision to buy a Nintendo Wii, took forever to actually buy one though – everyone was sold out, out of stock and just nowhere to be found. The system arrived yesterday and I installed it in 6 easy steps.

At present I only have the game that came with the system, Wii Sports which includes: Tennis, Bowling, Baseball, Boxing and Golf. But I tried them all out and even did the Wii Fitness test which says my Wii Age is 48, argh!

I was sweating, sore and worked out after playing these games for over an hour.

The Wii Fit is scheduled to arrive today and that should really be a lot of fun.

I’ll keep you posted.

Superbowl XLIII

I watched the Superbowl, well, really I watched the ads for the Superbowl – I was reading (Just After Sunset – Stephen King) and tried to pay attention during commercial breaks. Usually the most exciting part of the big game for me is the new commercials.

First I want to say that this was a chance for automakers to show us something new, something different and something green – I was a little surprised to see any automaker with Superbowl ads at all, these the are most expensive commercials in the year and these folks just begged for money from the taxpayers. If you were going to spend the money perhaps you should have shown us how you’re going to change your business model and make a profit again. Maybe how you were going to help the country relieve itself from its dependence on oil by giving us the vehicles we know you can make, but are unwilling to.

Second, I know during these tough economic times that NBC had a hard time finding advertisers to fill the spots, but there were entirely too many NBC ads. I did like the Alex Baldwin HULU ad, the Heroes football game, but the rest were overkill.

Third, this was actually a good game to watch, I gave up on the Cardinals early on, but they came back and stole the show from the ads, engrossing me in the actual game – I know – unthinkable. If they had only come out fighting like that in the first quarter it might have been an entirely different outcome.

Lastly, I just think it may be time for us to have half time shows move out of the 80s and into the 90s… yes, I know you Bruce fans are all offended thinking this guy will live forever… but I have no intention of watching the show when most of the performers will need to be in walkers to be out there. There are quite a few performers of this decade that could have entertained just as well.

Anyway, I’m glad the game is over.

WoW Free

On April 13th, 2005 I created my first World of Warcraft (WoW) character. I played WoW every day until the end of December 2008 – unless of course I was out of town. I played every morning before work, and immediately upon my return home from the office – unless of course there was some pressing issue or social thing I had to deal with – reluctantly. What is WoW? A MMORPG of course. MMORPG is Massively Multi Online Role Playing Game. WoW is the undisputed leader in this field and has been for a few years now.

You create an avatar, a 3 dimensional character that lives in a virtual world that you can control almost every aspect of. It isn’t just hitting buttons to hack and slash opponents, it’s also dancing, chatting, emoting and more. Each character in WoW was as unique as the player that was playing it at home – except in the case of female night elves which were all the same (wow humor). WoW allowed you to choose between two different factions (think Russia vs US cold war). First there was the Alliance which consisted of Humans, Night Elves, Dwarfs, Gnomes and later the Dranei (the Dranei were introduced to WoW during it’s first expansion pack The Burning Crusade). And there was the Horde consisting of Orcs, Trolls, Tauren and Undead (Blood Elves were introduced to the Horde in the Xpac BC). So after choosing your race you pick a class: Mage, Hunter, Warrior, Druid, Shaman, Paladin, Rogue, Priest and Warlock; there were of course class restrictions, but that’s a long story.

If I remember correctly my first character was a female dwarf priest, tons of male characters were hitting on me almost immediately, I didn’t feel the need to tell them that I was a guy. Didn’t matter that much, I was looking for my rl (real life) friends and couldn’t find them. Turns out I was on the wrong server.

I then created a male gnome warrior named Lariq, he had green hair and mustache and was pretty hard to kill (OK, so I tried out lots of different classes and found this one to be so hard to kill – so I sucked in the beginning). Lariq was created on the same server as my rl friends, but I rarely saw them online when I was on. This server was a “Normal” server. When Lariq got to level 60 (the level cap at the time), I was getting bored, I wasn’t a hard core raider and didn’t have the uber gear that would allow me to go to many raids, nevertheless I was fortunate enough to be invited to UBRS and MC (Upper Black Rock Spire and Molten Core) when they were something worth going to.

I rolled (created) my next character on a different server one I picked randomly called Kirin Tor (KT) which just happened to be an RP realm – RP is Role Playing. RP realms have different rules than normal servers, but are rarely enforced unless players complain, so they are known as whining servers… but I didn’t know that at the time. I rolled Mancy, a gnome male rogue here. Rogues start out very slowly, but can make themselves stealthed which was a lot of fun. Mancy became my new Main (what WoW players refer to as their main character when they have multiples, you can have up to 10 characters on one server and up to 50 characters total). Mancy wasn’t much of a RPer but he did love to PVP (Player vs Player) and leveled almost exclusively that way, he did however manage to hook up with a few raiding guilds here and there that took him along as DPS (Damage Per Second). I was playing Mancy almost exclusively and decided to delete Lariq, which I promptly did.. I figured I would never play that character again so I sold all his stuff and gave away all his gold (currency in WoW). Soon enough Mancy reached 60 and I once again started to get bored with the lack of new things and eventually…

I rolled Noq, and undead mage on Thorium Brotherhood (TB) also an RP realm, I had found the RP realm folks to be much nicer in general than folks on Normal or PVP servers. Noq was pretty much a solo playing character who also loved to PVP. He was fortunate that he met some folks that made his playing more social and they hung out a lot together online (Grokus, Janka, Meltiece, Zurasha and a few others) back in the day we ruled WSG (Warsong Gulch a PVP battleground instance) and were the closest of friends, we had regular enemies from the Alliance that loved to play matches against us. Of course this was before WoW introduced cross server battlegrounds and made most of us dislike the BGs).

I soon rolled Ailmeant, a dwarf priest on a PVP server which is a very hard place to level and got him to about 55 before getting bored with him. When BC was released I transferred him to Kirin Tor where he quickly made friends with his leveling buddy Oroblarm, a dwarf Paladin and they were both soon 70 (the new leveling cap) and raiding. I soon paid the $10 fee and had Lariq undeleted and restored to the KT server and renamed him Bubo and leveled him quickly to 70.

WoW released the Burning Crusade expansion on January 16, 2007, and quickly broke records for how many units were sold. I rolled a BE (Blood Elf) Hunter on TB named Bubbo, BE’s tend to be a little effeminate (opinion) and quicly became the most rolled race in WoW. I played more gay on Bubbo than I do in rl, it was fun to be so campy and self-centered.

It was the early fall of 2008 and I had been playing for quite a while and was just tired, bored and found less and less desire to play the game. Then my Pa died in November right before the release of Wrath of the Litch King (WotLK) and I missed the first few days of the release and when I came back most of my friends had leveled ahead without me, so I was soloing content again, which wasn’t all that appealing at this stage of the game.

So I think I originally spent $40 on the game, and the monthly subscription rates were 14.99 for one month (46 months 689.54), 13.99 if you subscribed for 3months (41.97) (46 months 643.54) or 12.99 for a 6 month sign up (72.94) (46 months (597.54). I spent around $40 for BC and $40 for WotLK. I would play every work morning for about 2 hours, then when I would get home I would play until it was time to go to bed and on weekend I would play all day, from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. or later. This is typical for players of WoW in my opinion. I don’t think it is really that much different than TV, monthly cable bills are about $70 starting out and many that I know spend hours in front of their TV never noticing the time slip away – but as a WoW addict I probably shouldn’t judge.

Anyway, I hope it’s over now, I had a great deal of fun, met some people that I hope will always be in my life and generally didn’t mind the time I spent in Azeroth (the planet in WoW’s name). When and if another great game comes along that everyone is talking about I’d probably give it a shot, but I would hope that I wouldn’t be quite as engrossed in it as I was in WoW.