Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Take a drive around your neighborhood today and notice what is missing. Spring has begun to sprung just about everywhere and brought with it sunshine and birds singing and all the usual signs of the season. Baseball begins next week! Now, THAT is spring! It wasn't that bad of a winter but, no matter how cold winter was, there's just something about that rebirth that Spring brings that just makes a person feel good. I like it.

But, back to the drive and what is missing. Freedom is missing. This is painfully obvious. There are no burning buildings. No dead laying in the street. No roving bands of militia. All these, to some, are the harbingers of freedom and they are sorely lacking on this fine spring day. Is this the America our revered founding fathers envisioned for us? What the heck happened to their American dream?

Well, simply, it got misinterpreted. Somewhere along the line, the Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights and the Constitution all became as murky and open to interpretation as the Bible is for various peoples. While this has long been the case for fringe elements of our society like Supreme Court justices and people who wear tin foil hats, it seems to have become more mainstream and fervent now that we have a half black president in the white house. Some Americans feel this is the end of times and that America as we know it, is lost to us and the only way to get America back, is to make it look like Beirut on a Tuesday.

You'll probably miss that part as you stroll through the aisles of the Jewel today, planning a meal for the family tonight. Billy has soccer practice after school and Janie has band. Herb might have to work late- maybe burgers would be good. Don't forget a bottle of wine for the Henderson's this Saturday.

Wow. People like that really make some people sick! Doesn't that bitch know that America as we know it is being ripped apart by a communist/socialist/fascist/muslim/etc/fill-in-the-blank/nigger/messiah/president bent on enslaving us all!!?? Well, she's gonna be one of the first to go...because that bitch just doesn't get...WE ARE AT WAR!

Well, soon. Because, Goddamn it, you just can't have freedom without bloodshed, right?

Wrong. We've had freedom here for for a good long while and except for an unfortunate Civil War, 145 years ago, we've been free of American armies pitted against each other in the streets and fields of our nation. I wonder if other, less fortunate countries are jealous of this or if they think we are fools, pansies maybe.

There are 300+ million people in this country. I suspect that easily 10% are idiots. If my math is right, that means 3 million idiots walk amongst us, give or take a few thousand. Of those 300 million, 1% is seriously deranged. If they don't already live in the woods, stock-piling guns and ammo, stringing troutlines, preparing for Indian attacks, they WANT to live that way. Some really do think all Americans should live this way, as our founding fathers did (or, at least, allowed others to live) or so their interpretation of history goes.

300 million people all out hunting for dinner (with fully automatic weapons as God AND the Founding Fathers intended) each and every day. 300 million real Americans, living without government intervention. Fuck them building codes and seat belts! Ever notice that the Constitution mentions NOTHING about seat belts but EVERYTHING about LIBERTY? Or, maybe that's the BOR? I don't know. Like most democrats, these documents are on a roll in my bathroom. Not the actual documents mind you- the president himself gets those- but, replicas purchased during the last NPR pledge week.

Times are tough. This current recession is the worst we've had since The Great Depression. Unemployment is high, homes are being foreclosed on, many banks and corporations have failed. Yours truly isn't working anywhere near as much as he did 3 or even 2 years ago. Yet, life goes on very well here. There's no panic in the street. No government troops guarding major intersections. No check points. And despite the rantings of thousands of people with thousands of names on the internet, no need for such actions. Despite the war rhetoric of populists like Sarah Palin and whoever is running your local tea party, there is no need for troops to be called in.

Not yet, anyway. "They" are working on it, Sarah and Glenn and Ann and John Boner (sic). You know, in a country as great as this, finishing second in an election is not the worst thing that can happen. We've been doing it this way for a few hundred years and we've managed to do it without violent, post-election purges of the losers. Why anyone would want to now start with violent, post-election purges of the WINNERS is kind of silly. And un-American...

The current republican leadership, stung as they are by defeat, is giving way too much lip service to the rhetoric of war. Save that shit for football season where it belongs. You lost, get over it. Don't be against government when, once in power again, you will also govern. Republicans today are patriotically against big government and will continue to be until such a time as republican leadership once again makes it fashionable to be patriotically FOR government.

So, while you're shopping today at the Jewel or Kroger, enjoying this lovely Spring day, grown men and women in matching camo outfits are plotting to free you from servitude and your futile, un-American existence not by ballot but by bullet. I promise you, the founding fathers did not see THAT coming...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Messiah

What if Barack Obama, as the right and even farther right calls him, was actually "The Messiah"?

What if he did actually have magical powers? Let's say, for example, that his mere touch could cure anyone of cancer. Wouldn't that be cool? I'm telling ya, NOBODY could be against THAT!

Who am I kidding? Cancer is like a trillion dollar business. Overnight, oncologists would be out of business. Big Pharma would have to eat billions of now-useless cancer fighting pills. (They don't want to do that- those things make you sick!) Hospitals that employ the doctors, nurses, technicians, orderlies etc. that treat and or help the cancer patients would have a lot less work to do. This could lead to lay-offs and more unemployment. Insurance companies would take a hit too. As would lawyers whose business is based on fighting insurance companies. Funeral homes would suddenly see a lot less dead people. Their business would suffer. More lay-offs. What a nightmare! Gee, now I'm wondering what kind of good could possibly come from curing cancer. It would just ruin the economy is all.

America would fight back though. The real Americans that is- the republicans and tea baggers who know what corporations want and need. People who had never smoked before would suddenly jam full pacts of highly taxed cigarettes in their mouths, light them and puffing away furiously in a heroic bid to get cancer as quickly and patrioticly possible. And, of course, people would refuse to be touched by The Messiah whether they were cancer-ridden or not. Well, the crazy one's would do THAT. The more rational thinkers amongst them would quickly see that Big Pharma, Doctors etc, could rebound with a big push towards something that even a Messiah could not cure: Restless Leg Syndrome.

Not since the heartbreak of psoriasis has America seen a more debilitating- and non-curable- scourge upon our health. I think in about a weeks time it would make "the big C" look like foot fungus. The real beauty of it is, even a so-called "Messiah" can't cure something like that. Because, what exactly IS it?

But, that's neither here nor there. Obama is NOT "The Messiah". Relax folks, he won't be curing cancer anytime soon. This was just a bit of hyperbole to tweak the already frenzied wingnuts, the musings of a Ferrerman on a Sunday morn. I have heard though that he has a carburetor in the wings that converts ordinary tap water to energy. Tests on a blown, big-block Chevrolet have shown an increase in horsepower and mileage in the range of 125 miles per gallon of...water. This will totally end our dependence on foreign (and domestic) oil...

OMG! That will cost the oil companies TRAZILLIONS OF DOLLARS resulting in more job loss, unemployment, we'll never recover...

Sorry. Me being silly again. I wonder if anyone could cure my penchant for hyperbole? I doubt it. It's a pre-existing condition, certainly not covered by any insurance.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Role Playing

One of the favorite pastimes on the threads is trying to figure out who's who amongst the posters. It's not so much a fascination with who a person might be IRL but, rather a curiosity about who else a person might be posting as. Obviously you can sign in with as many names as you can think of and you can register a name for every e-mail address that you have. I recall one poster mentioning that she had 10 registered names. I don't recall who this was nor their reason for the multiples. I use troll names generally as a theme to correlate to what I am posting about and perhaps this person did the same but went to the trouble of registering. You just wonder how different each of those personalities could really be. I think it simply has more to do with wanting to use extra cute avatars and funny names than so many extensions of one's personalities. It's pretty common on the political threads to use different names, all posting the same rhetoric, to puff up your sides' all important numbers so that ( for example) it really, really looks like Obama IS a communist/muslim/socialist/facist/etc. because DOZENS of anonymous people think so.

But, what if a person used multiple aliases to create a sort of virtual world for themselves? And what if it were done to draw in others to this virtual world?

It's quite possible that this is what happened on the Chicago forum with the dregs and ninnies. Lets say that at their peak there were 20 dregs, spread out all over the country, who posted all day, all night, every day. It's reasonable to expect that 20 people might habitually gather to discuss advice columns every day. It's down now to maybe 10 on a good day. What happened to cut that in half?

Well, 770 left. Perhaps she took a few people with her?

Seriously, where did those other 10 go? Why did they leave? Attrition is always a factor. Some might have tired of the fighting and found better forums to post on as I did. Some, I suspect, decided or were forced to concentrate on their work and not risk unemployment in these hard times. Good call there. I didn't know it at the time but, when I was working regular and often around people in office settings, feeling sorry for them being stuck looking at computer screens all day, I did not realize that half their day was spent surfing the net, probably on Topix. I'd walk by a cubicle and hear someone LOL and wonder what could be funny on their computer. Now I know. ME! Well, a pre-Ferrerman version of "me".

Recently, a friend who is familiar with my blog and my ninnie/dreg dealings, suggested that many of those people were probably just one person with a lot of time on their hands. She hasn't ever posted on the Chicago forum but, a thread's a thread and she feels this happens on "our" thread so, why not there? This is nothing I haven't thought of before. I always thought that rational was also Raptor and thought it was cute that they would post to each other. Well, kinda creepy too, like talking to yourself is okay until you start to answer. Or argue.

Rational people (and I do not mean fictitious internet posters) look for reasons why people do the things that they do, good or bad. There are supposed to be good reasons why people kill- a motive. Joe killed John because he wanted his money. That's the reason. It explains why Joe killed John and, as horrible of a motivation that is, we understand it. Makes sense.

Why would someone create virtual people on the internet and have them interact with others as well as each other? Men in there 30's still play Dungeons and Dragons. Thousands of men and women like to dress up as Civil War characters and act out battles. I had a neighbor gal who practiced this role playing but with people who were into medieval times like she was. To each his/her own. Certainly thousands of people on the net pretend to be characters they wish they could be so as to enhance their self esteem to people they will never meet. No surprise- the internet is a great place to be all that you can be. And then some.

It is very likely that several of the dregs were creations of 770. It's kind of a no- brainer if you've read her many stories which are little better than the ramblings of a very sophomoric mind. Fantasies themselves. Though after the first few I only skimmed, I have long thought they only served to illustrate how she perceived various peoples ranking in the gang. Graffiti. If you were off in the bushes with another dreg, you were in her favor. If you were off in a boat by yourself on a lake, you were not.

I don't know who actually was who and who was a figment of her or anyone's imagination. I don't think it's at all important. It's something quirky to write about but, like most things on the net, it is a slice of real life. Just as I listen to peoples bullshit IRL, I pay attention to what others write on the threads. I am curious as to why someone would spend so much energy creating virtual people. Perhaps she was a con artist cunningly working herself into peoples lives but just for her own gratification rather than to steal their jewels. The real action in her world surely happened "offshore". I have no knowledge as to what may have transpired there. I doubt she was collecting social security numbers. But, I fear that she gained peoples trust and confidence as she played her game and I do feel sorry- to an extent- for those real people that she left behind. She certainly had a hard on for me and did not at all play fair in her quest to discredit me but, well, Ferrerman likes to fight. If I were scared or uninterested, I could have walked away. You may have noticed that I stayed. There wasn't much else going on at the time and I've been known to sit through a bad movie or two just to see how it ended. I'm extremely bemused that people who have never met me, absolutely HATE me based on an internet feud and anything they may have heard about me "offshore". People- real and imaginary- have wished me dead and even expressed desire to kill my IRL self, because of the feud. Wow. Better than TV!

And all because of 770, someone who may or may not be a woman, may or may not be a therapist and may or may not even be from anywhere near, Portland Oregon. Again- wow. I don't know who or what she was. I never accepted her at face value. That was for others to do. Some lined up to drink the bubble tea. Others just wanted to post their thoughts on Amy or Abby. I've seen enough threads with people lauding Bush as a good president that I'm not surprised that people would still- always- believe 770 was all she claimed. No one likes to be fooled. They like even less to admit they were fooled.

I have no idea what became of 770. Perhaps they upped her meds. Maybe she's reinvented herself on another forum elsewhere in Topixland. Yes, it could be she was a therapist paid to study Topix posters, write silly stories about them and see if she could get them to turn as a group against a Ferrerman. Your tax dollars at work... I, for the record, fucked with her for free because it was fun. You can't blame this on Obama or Bush.

I do wonder what happened to Ivory Dove. That chick was bat-shit crazy!

Good times...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thank You For Being Rich!

Back in my bartender days, there was a customer (whose name I've long since forgotten) who was a millionaire and had a seat on the Chicago Board of trade. I was not impressed. To me, he was just another boozer who was NEVER satisfied with the potency of his drink and ALWAYS complained. I remember entertaining the notion of pulling his head back, pouring a full bottle of rum down his throat and then topping it off with a shot of coke.

Never did that though but, no doubt he would have complained about the drink not being "strong enough..."

You see, aside from being an alcoholic complainer, the guy was a cheapskate to boot. He would either "forget" to tip or grudgingly leave a dollar-or worse- change. Yet some of the bartenders worshiped and respected him. Because he was a millionaire. I guess they thought some of his money-making skill would rub off on them. Perhaps they thought that to receive money in the form of a tip from him would cheapen the adoration of him and compromise their own dream of wealth. One barmaid, when I commented on his being a cheapskate, told me: "Silly- that's probably why he's rich and you're not!"

A few years later, working as a painter for a millionaire East Indian, I heard the same logic from a co-worker when she and I commiserated about how cheap he was. In her case she was an underpaid secretary and I was a wrongly paid painter. She, and others, who complained, explained the method to the madness of his road to wealth as being 'frugal".

"That's why he's rich!"

In my case, I felt I was wrongly paid by him in that he insisted on paying me as an independent contractor making me responsible for the full payment of my taxes. Though this is common in the trades, it is frowned upon by the IRS who feel that employers should help shoulder the burden of taxes. Whereas I can see a jack-leg paint contractor- just scraping by in life- not having a payroll, this guy had a company that probably employed 300+ people. Why couldn't he find room on the payroll for one painter?

Good question and one I asked many times of him, particularly when he asked me to get and pay for my own workmen's compensation through my brother-in-law who actually DID contract with him but, DID NOT employ me. Dozens of times I had to explain to this millionaire businessman that I worked for HIM, NOT JIM. I would have thought that the checks he signed each week to me would have tipped him off.

"That's not saving me money", he would often reply.

We all heard that phrase a lot from him. It seemed that, in his mind, all people on earth were here to save him money. I got the part where he came from a culture where bargaining is part of life. He didn't get the part where in America, when the gallon of milk is $2, THAT is YOUR price. Shop around, get it cheaper down the street but, the check out girl at Jewel is not allowed to negotiate the price of milk with customers.

Working for this guy was one of the easiest jobs I ever had. The electricians and the handyman I worked with were all getting screwed in their own right by this cheapskate but, times were tough then (though not as tough now)and we were lucky to be working. Like a lot of dishonest people, he was paranoid about others being dishonest with him. He was afraid we might cheat on our time so he insisted we begin and end each day punching the time clock at his office. Seemed silly to me as our work was always 15 some minutes away and time on the job was lost having to go to the office every morning and leave the job site early every afternoon to punch out. It didn't seem productive to me.

It became less productive when we'd meet each morning in our shop- our secret hideout- after punching in, to drink coffee and chat for an hour before heading off to work. We'd knock off about 2 in the afternoon to get back to the office to punch out at 3:30. Um, lunch was kinda long too... I know this wasn't "right' and didn't display the proper work ethic I'm known for but, the guy was screwing us and we felt we had to get some enjoyment out of it. The work got done but we happened to do it in 5 hours rather than the eight we were being underpaid for. I felt like a union man. An underpaid union man though...

To my knowledge, the Indian never found out. When he laid me off for a "lack of work" he called me back within two weeks and demanded that I take a $2 cut in pay because he couldn't afford to pay me what he had been under-paying me. Mind you, I knew of this mans empire. I had painted his home, the former mansion of a mobster, sitting on 5 acres in OakBrook. This sonovabitch was not close to hurting for money. In our meeting, he passed a piece of paper to me with his offer scribbled on it as if I were buying a used car. My dumbass had thought I could get on his payroll but his offer was the same money if I bought my own workers comp or $2 an hour less if he lied and said I was on HIS workers comp.

In my time off from him I had printed up business cards and actually gotten some work already so, I laid a card down and told him that if he needed any painting done, I would give him a good price...

He was incredulous. He considered me disloyal. I never worked for him again. After all he had done for me...

When tax time came, coached by my mother-in-law who worked for an attorney, I filed an appeal with the IRS. She knew from experience that the IRS has strict guidelines about who was and was not, an independent contractor. I clearly was not. They have a list of 20 questions to see if you met their criteria. Let me tell you, if you're punching a clock, you're an employee. That's just for starters.

I had practically begged this man, time and again, to put me on his payroll and he refused. I don't know if he told the IRS "THAT'S NOT SAVING ME MONEY!" but, if he did, they didn't listen. In the end, I got my tax bill cut more than in half and he had to pay the rest. We're talking a few grand. To an average millionaire- pocket change- but, it might as well have been a million to him. It truly was the thought that counted with him. I hadn't seen a rich man so hurt since I refused to buy a drink for the stock broker.

So, it deeply fucking pains me to see my fellow Americans fussing about president Obama's assertion that the rich should pay their fair share of taxes. Comedian Lewis Black explains this as the common American fantasy that you too may hit it big and be rich some day. Don't pick on rich people- I hope to be one some day! I think it's that and the hero worship that we have for money in general and rich people in particular. If I WERE rich, I wouldn't want to be picked on. Who would? But, like Black also says, after you tax rich people, THEY ARE STILL FUCKING RICH!

But, regular Americans and those anti-American teabaggers scream about the rich as being mistreated and about them being the one's to lead us out of the recession. Gosh, maybe it was the poor people on Wall Street and in the banks who got us into this mess? They outsource jobs over seas ...to save money... and use illegal aliens (cheap labor) to save money and they want our help in avoiding taxes...to save money... This is somehow good for America? Allowing them to do all this will lead America out of this recession? Is this that "trickle down' crap again? It seems to me that the Titanic has struck an iceberg again. We'll get on the boats after the rich people do. As soon as they get to safety, they'll surely send for us. They need us, don't they? Who will speak for them...

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Kind of Town

Bernie Lincicombe, who used to be a sportswriter for the Chicago Tribune, once remarked that the best thing about the Michael Jordan era in the NBA and with the Chicago Bulls, was that as a Chicagoan who traveled, he could now introduce himself to others all over the world without them saying: "CHICAGO? Al Capone!" This was invariably followed by someone's acting out the firing of a Tommy gun. Cute.

Al Capone and Tommy guns were the world-wide perception of the great city of Chicago until Michael started winning championships with da Bulls. I guess little Japanese people dropped their comical machine guns for hilarious pantomimes of slam dunks, at least in the 90's.

Al and Michael were the perceptions of Chicago that I have encountered whenever I have been out of town as well. Though I've never officially lived in the city limits, I do identify myself as being "from Chicago" when out of town. I'm actually from a suburb of Chicago but, to cut to the chase and head people off at the pass (as we say in the Western Suburbs) who will ask how far the suburb is from Chicago, I simply say, Chicago.

The Al Capone version used to intimidate people. They'd take a step back as if to see where this Chicago guy was hiding his Thompson. With the advent of Michael, they might have mentally stepped aside as well like a rival NBA forward not wanting to get caught on camera and wind up on a highlight reel or- worse- an MJ poster.

Silly, huh? Well, with the election of Chicagoan Barack H. Obama, it's gotten even sillier.

I don't get out of state much these days unless you count the inter-tubes as travel. But, my ISP says "Chicago" and if you know anything about the internet, THAT says it all. People from California to Casablanca see that ISP and they know that I'm part of that nasty, corrupt, Democratic, machine- like Obama- that runs roughshod all over Illinois and now, Washington and the world.

Sigh. Where's my Thompson when I need it? Where's my jumpshot?

I'm not the most politically astute person in most rooms. Really, my only saving grace is that I'm not an idiot. (Well, okay, that does depend on who you ask. I've got one and a half ex-wives, ya know) In most forums though, I'm a fucking political genius because, most people on the internet forums ARE idiots.

Honestly, partisanship aside, your average democrat IS more politically astute than your average republican because, they don't always define others based on their internet service provider at first and last glance. I have no earthly idea what the ramifications of cap and trade might be, for example. If you do and you seriously know the ins and outs of it and you came to whatever your conclusion is with an open, educated mind, I love you! But, if you are against it because it is proposed by corrupt, murderous, Chicago-style, socialist/communist/fascist/Muslim democrats like Tony Rezko and Barack Obama, you're an idiot. Same with health care. Unless you've got a better plan- one that doesn't simply involve leaving it as it is- shut up! To simply condemn EVERYTHING our president wants to do, for the aforementioned "Chicago-style" reasons, is stupid. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...

Republicans and teabaggers these days would complain if you hung them with a new rope. Worse, if you wrote about them complaining about hanging them with a new rope, they'd run around complaining that democrats were plotting Chicago-style mass executions of republicans- WITH ROPES! Clearly, gas chambers are more efficient and would provide huge profits for the corporations that provide deadly gas (assuming tax credits, of course) and those profits would then trickle down to everyone else, thus making everyone rich AND able to afford high insurance premiums (assuming, of course, that they have no pre-existing conditions and no intentions of getting sick. Ever.) Damn Chicago-style demoncrats!

Sigh, again. Well, it's not the worse prejudice to be a victim of, I guess. It's such a ridiculous stretch, even compared to Capone and Jordan, that you've got to shake your head and laugh. If a four year old tells you they believe in Santa Clause, it's cute. Don't ruin it for them. They'll get older and wiser and figure it all out for themselves. Unless, that is, they become 54 year olds who believe that Obama is a Chicago-style anything, I guess because he was really born in Kenya- doncha know...

There's nothing I can say to ruin it for these grown up fairy tale believers. No amount of facts or common sense will change their minds. In fact, if Beck or Bohener were to retract their rantings against Obama and his Chicago machine, their (former) followers would simply be told by someone else that they were "traitors". The song will remain the same. Republicans will continue to bleat like sheep, teabaggers would see it as further rationale for blood in the streets...

But, hey- this comes to you from Chicago (close enough)- I WOULD say all this, wouldn't I...