Wednesday, August 30, 2006

So sorry

For not doing the usual comics-bashing and nerd-punching and elderly-kicking. All worthy goals, but this married life takes priority over the usual fun. I got thank you notes to write, you know. I can't be wasting my eloquence on this blog ALL the time.

Where is Positively Unemployed's co-editor B-licious in all of this? you ask.
I'll tell ya where.

I love this story.
They're holding an old person at Gitmo. Which, I was arguing long ago, should have been Gitmo's original purpose. It's on the island of Cuba, so it's conveniently located near the elderly menace's strongholds in Florida. Furthermore, old people still Remember the Maine, and would believe it if Gitmo guards told them they (the old people) were part of an invasion force.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Drinking early today

Up With People sucks. Word finally reaches Minneapolis.

More than 1,000 upbeat people were on hand Sunday to see the newest version of Up With People, an organization formed in 1965 to counter the counter-culture.

That's what the 80 young singers, dancers and smilers still do. They counter the raunchy and cynical with a navel-free, tattoo-less show about life as it oughta be.

One song, "An Ounce of Positive," sort of defines the lonely mission of the group.

"The news is filled with negative;

"the only hopeful story buried on the back page. ..."

Also, my message sounds so much more classy when put into a British accent.

Monday, August 28, 2006

You're kidding me.
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards may have violated Scotland's new smoking ban by lighting up during a concert.

This is what the great scofflaw of rock and roll is done in by? A smoking ban?

I admit a devotion to Keith Richards, as he showed proper respect for the music of my Chicago. But when we start busting elderly musicians for smoking CIGARETTES...well, that's the end of it all, isn't it?

You wanna go after old people who break the law, how about this guy?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Don't believe me that it's bad?

Believe it.
Last year Minneapolis had 49 homicides. So far this year 41 people have been killed, most of them shot in the street by men in search of money or drugs, or with a score to settle. The level of violence in this city of 370,000 is “off the chain”, according to Lee Edwards, who investigates murders. Minneapolis's homicide rate is now almost twice that of New York. And it is moving in the wrong direction.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

You hear this, old people?

That's the sound of a generation's rage turned against you.
Fear it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Sweet Lord, rescue me

I guess the lesson here is that you should always wash your hands after crapping out a whole chicken. Apparently, it's a very enjoyable experience, judging from the cow's face.

I live in a drunken haze

Called Minneapolis.
No wonder everyone here is so easily awed by pigs and tractors. They're continually drunk. Raising the question:
Is Minnesota such a craphole because it's full of sots, or is it full of sots because it's such a craphole?

Full stats here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Gettin the anger back

This elderly driver should be brought to swift and final justice.
The young woman in the story was, by all accounts, one of the good ones. Full of life and a love for this world and its people.
Badaracco’s sister said the former Brookline High School student, who graduated in 2001, was due to leave town soon for London, England, to get her master’s degree in comparative politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Eventually, her sister said, the recent Northwestern University graduate wanted to obtain her doctorate to become a professor to satisfy her appetite for education.
Badaracco had gotten a taste of teaching while in college, as she volunteered at a school in Chicago before heading to the Southern Hemisphere shortly after she graduated in 2005.

But apparently, an old person felt the need to drive on the sidewalk and deprive this world of what she could have accomplished.
The driver, Florida resident Lenore Liner, came up behind Badaracco, reportedly jumped the curb and hit the young woman who was walking alone, according to Newton Police.

She was walking on the sidewalk and an old person hit her with a car.

Wake up, America. Let's mandate testing for the elderly menace.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Minnesota State Fair

It is upon us again.
People ask me, "Oh, gosh, Frankie, are you going to da fair? Ya gotta gotodafair!"

And this year, I am not. I am never going to the Minnesota State Fair again. I went last year, and saw this:

And I feel that to attempt to see anything else would be dishonoring the religious experience I had upon seeing this giant Red Wing boot.

But you should go. Check out the State Fair lineup.
Not to get too excited, but I'll just say that I am sorry I'm going to have to miss this concert:

As like every other gathering in this state, it features Garrison Keillor. I think the signs on the state border say that:
"Welcome to Minnesota. Featuring Garrison Keillor."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Let's see if I still got it

Unfunny Comic Strip of the Day

The elderly now think it's their right to drive on the sidewalk.
The state took away Steinbach's driver's license in June of 2004, citing health reasons. He's been riding the mower at least a few times a week a half mile to spots such as the Piggly Wiggly supermarket and Beyer's True Value hardware store.

A little rusty, I know. But if someone were to write, say, an exposee on Prison Hooch or Malt Liquor, a Malt Liquor Challenge even, I might start getting inspired.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Reports of my demise?

Somewhat exaggerated.
Be back blogging this week.

It's official. Mr. and Mrs. Machine are now legally married. Thanks to B-licious and the Czar Kylius for attending and rocking out so righteously.

We also saw a taping of the Daily Show on August 16, because I wanted to confront Jon Stewart about stealing my material. Security, however, had different ideas.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Note to self


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Frankie Machine Writes A Letter

Dear Mr. Brooks:

I write to correct you on misconceptions you presented in your New York Times column of August 3, 2006 (“Bye-Bye, Bootstraps”).

You omit a key part of the quotation you attribute to Christopher Priga. While you quote him as saying “To be honest, I’m kind of looking for the home run. There’s no point in hitting for base hits,” you do not inform your readers that he added, “I’ve been down the road where I did all the things I was supposed to do, and the end result of that is nil.”

This is an important distinction to understand. I speak from my own experience on this topic. Because of federal budget cuts, I was laid off by a government contractor, having held an editorial position of expertise and responsibility.

After a yearlong depressing and disillusioning job search, I had to take a job that paid 25% less than I was making, with a 45-minute commute that cannot be done by public transportation. What is my primary task at my new job? Checking the spelling on food packages.

Like you, I hold a degree from the University of Chicago. I did everything “right.” I put money away into my 401k and other saving vehicles from my first paycheck at my first post-college job. I did not own a car until I was 30. I lived in cheap apartments in bad parts of town. I showed up at the office every day, worked the long hours, went on the road trips, and put my own personal plans behind that of my employers.

Admittedly, on my current salary, I am also paying most of the expenses for my fiancĂ©e and myself. She is a graduate student at a large public university, studying public health. Despite what has traditionally been a good bet for raising one’s income, her extra education makes our economic chances look slim. Between us, at the end of each month, we find ourselves another increment toward being penniless. Slowly, the tide is overtaking us. With gasoline costing more than $3.00 a gallon, and food, electricity, and rent likewise rising in cost, I doubt I could support only myself on my new salary, much less two people.

Even for all my effort, we are about to be financially broken. I have no problem or resentment toward those who, like Mr. Priga, decide to live a life of leisure in the face of such a future. Life is short enough, and the pursuit of wealth has proven itself to be pointless and a lie. Why not liquidate the assets, draw on some equity, and enjoy the days reading wonderful books and writing stories? Nelson Algren was right. It’s a rigged ballgame, but the game’s not over yet.

Rather than admonish those who chuck it all as being lazy and un-industrious, you should have focused on the following facts of the modern working world:

1. An undergraduate degree is nothing more than a union card. Employers do not distinguish between a third-tier and top-ten college or university; all the B.A. represents is sticktoitiveness and the willingness to work any position to pay off student loans.
2. With senior citizens continuing to work and not retiring, this creates a massive crunch for fewer and fewer higher-level positions. Case in point, myself: at 31 years old, I am the youngest person at my company. With eight years work experience, I am also the lowest on the corporate totem pole.
3. The economy has shifted, in the last six years, from needing educated and intelligent people to being a service-based, low-skill economy. With the benefits of education and employment diminishing day by day, and people having to get by on less and less, this situation is soon to reach dismal levels.

That you did not address any of these points, and decided to write in a moralizing tone that recalls Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, indicates that you don’t understand what is happening out here. It is bad, Mr. Brooks. With our nation’s energy, resources, and tax dollars being used in the war on Iraq, the shame of the wasted potential grows.

You attempt to wax nostalgic by saying, “Once upon a time, middle-class men would have defined their dignity by their ability to work hard, provide for their family and live as self-reliant members of society.” You fail to understand that those days are almost gone. I, and millions like me, work hard, but our ability to provide for our family and be self-reliant is diminishing rapidly. I assure you, Mr. Brooks, the situation you point to with Puritan self-righteousness did not arise from lack of trying. As I said, it is bad. And it’s going to get a lot worse.

Thank you for your time. I doubt I'll ever get to a U of C reunion, at this rate.


Frankie Machine

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Pig F***kers and Meth Addicts

Sometimes, that's what I feel populate my area of the country.
Here we go.
Unfunny Comic Strip of the Day

The elderly begin to be brought to justice.
According to Crews, who limped to the podium to read a four-page letter to the court, Crews was alone on a road repair site on South Beach Road in Jupiter Island, flagging traffic around a truck making a delivery.

Choate hit him once trying to go around the site and again when he tried to stop her, he said, all the while yelling at him to get out of the way.

After Choate drove away, Crews managed to track her to the Jupiter Island Club, where she had a card game. Choate accused him of being rude and threatened to have him fired, Crews said.

Crews, 47, also said Jupiter Island police gave Choate special treatment, allowing her to finish the game and interviewing her at her home later.