The thoughts of a writer.

Friday, August 26, 2005

What's News?

Periodically I wonder about important things like whether there are “pervious” materials. It only makes sense, if we have impervious materials that there must be pervious ones too.

This morning it was raining. I had my window open, and though the temperature was comfortable, it was definitely a bit humid. I watched my Beta (fish) “Spaz,” swimming around in his bowl, darting through the roots of his plant. I started to wonder if fish feel humidity?

Have you noticed the news lately… unfortunately? Everyday seems to be the most violent day yet in Iraq. The next news story will likely be, oil prices reached a new record high today! Then they will have some really enlightening news about smoking causing cancer, or eating causing obesity. Why don’t they talk about how humidity affects fish?

I was reading the Beer News this morning, and it talked about how an official from Belgium cancelled his lunch with an Iranian official, because the Iranian insisted that beer not be served, because it is offensive to Islam. First off, what doesn’t offend Islam, and second, why does the visiting diplomat think he can pull beer off the menu in another country? If a woman visited Iran, she would be forced to wear a veil whether she found it offensive or not. As a matter-of-fact, this same Beer News story mentioned another Muslim diplomat who refused to shake the hand of another Belgian diplomat –simply because she was female. Doesn’t this sound a bit prehistoric in the 21st century? Are they afraid of “girl-germs?” Why is prejudice/discrimination legal and practiced in the “peaceful” culture of Islam? In the news media, where it is hoped not to offend anyone, an American could never be allowed to be prejudice, but as long as it is a part of someone’s religion, it is fine…Basically, it makes about as much sense as a fish feeling humidity.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Providence Sucks!


I'm fighting with Providence again. They lost my certified letter with the second round of proof that I moved and transferred my vehicle to Minnesota. I've been hung-up on, disconnected, told I'd be called back, and told they didn't know their own fax number...
Someone should really do an investigation of this. They are threatening me about taxes on a car I don't own anymore for years I didn't live there. No matter how many times I provide proof, they continue to tax me...

I’ve already paid for more than the time I lived there. It is roughly 99.5 cents per day that they charged me for the excise tax to own a car in their city of boarded up buildings, ghetto and crime.
------------------------------------------------------------
Cut to commercial…
Picture of that bearded guy from the Christian Children’s Fund…


“This is Guido. He is a mobbed-up politician from Providence, Rhode Island. Guido lives in a 19-room house in the affluent section of the city, far from the Chad Brown Housing Project. He does have a drug and prostitution business in the projects, but his only function is to receive illegally gotten monies.”

“Things are hard for Guido and many other Mafia-Connected Politicians in Providence. With the price of hired muscle, a wife and numerous revolving girlfriends, he can barely afford a new yacht this year. How much would you be willing to give? Would a dollar be too much? How about if I told you that for an excise tax of just 99.5 cents a day, you could keep an “upstanding” citizen like Guido in new cars and booze? Are you going to tell him it’s too much? How can you resist this face? The Tax Assessor’s Office has already “lost” the certified letters with proof that you moved. You might as well pay up… and know… that Guido and others like him are far richer than you could ever hope to be.”

Train goes by, and body is seen underneath. End of commercial.

http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/4448/

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Gratuitous Self-Promotion of my Book

He Who Goes First
By Kevin J. Curtis

This is the story of a Mongol warrior who lived during Jenghiz Khan’s empire. It is a new look at a frequently misunderstood culture and history. The participants are not bound by ideals of what is good or bad. Like their ancestor the wolf, they do not act out of cruelty or mercy. They live by a natural law, which has been lost on modern society. To judge them in the midst of our politically correct, industrialized world is like trying to convince a caveman of the merits of having a personal computer. Jenghiz Khan was perhaps the most brilliant uneducated man in history. He was a master of human nature. The men who helped him create his empire, like He-Who-Goes-First, were making their lives from the “raw materials” of the times they lived in. The warrior in this story struggles with his spirituality and his role as a soldier.

ISBN: 1-4137-4190-8, 165 pages, 5.5 x 8.

$16.95 plus $3.00 Shipping & Handling (.50 per additional copy)

Phone orders (301) 695-1707

You may mail your order to:
Publish America, LLLP
P.O. Box 151 Frederick, MD 21705

http://www.publishamerica.com/books/6406

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Interstellar Traveler, Unglip Reporting

August 17, 2005
Cycle 3, Blue Planet
Interstellar Traveler, Unglip Reporting.

I have returned to the Blue Planet in search of intelligent life. Last time, my findings were inconclusive. The temperature was lower today, below 17 helo-hectars. The bipedal beings have not changed much in the past rotation around the star. They still drive quad-rolling transport devices, and most of them are still vocalizing into small radio devices that they hold against their auditory canals. It seems that none of them are very good at both driving a quad-rolling transport and using a radio vocalizer at the same time. I would have thought that during the past solar orbit they would have improved their skills. It seems that their lack of intelligence is more so than I had first anticipated. They are still using prehistoric biotoxins to power almost everything. The residue has caused significant damage to the environmental well-being of this planet. Again, the bipedal beings seem to be too ignorant to figure this out. Hoping to go unnoticed, I changed shape and put on a pair of floppy foot protectors and baggy lower extremity coverings. I also wore a pullover upper cover made of processed plant fiber. I put a covering on the top, and then turned it around backward –the way these moronic creatures prefer to wear them. Then I entered a large construction with many transports parked outside. The front of it said, “Wal*mart.” My disguise seemed to be working perfectly, as none of the beings inside took any notice of me. I decided that I would replenish my supplies with the crude materials I found at Wal*mart. No one stopped me from picking out what I wanted. As a matter-of-fact, none of the beings wearing Wal*mart coverings ever approached me! It wasn’t until I tried to leave, that a siren of some kind went off. An aged being closed in. It was wearing numerous metal jewelry items, and it must have been a high-ranking official! Soon more beings joined in and chased me into the transport storage area outside. They were vocalizing loudly and acting threateningly toward me. I decided that I had better act quickly to save myself, so I secreted fomboorg on several of the nearby transports and they began to melt. That got their attention, and they allowed me to escape just before the aliens wearing blue clothing, with a variety of strange paraphernalia attached, drove up in their noisy, flashing transport. I still am not sure what to think of these aliens. I am going to leave this place. I do not hold much hope for finding intelligent life here. Perhaps another solar orbit will help.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

GAS PRICES

It was only a month ago when I went on my road-trip and was paying more for gasoline than ever before. It was averaging about $2.35 per gallon. Today, a month later it is averaging $2.65 per gallon.

Yesterday when gas was varying between $2.45 and $2.69 per gallon, I put my car in the garage and took my bicycle for a 20-mile ride through the trails in Fort Snelling State Park. I chose not to drive somewhere to hike. I’m afraid we all need to find ways to use less gas, because the price isn’t going to come down. Our political leadership comes from families who have long made their money from petroleum profits. That could also explain why the Saudis are considered allies of the USA, even though they spawn, grow and fund more terrorists than any other country.

Oil, it seems, is the civilized world’s drug of choice. The repercussions of this can be seen in environmental damage, and slowly but surely, the downfall of our economy. The rich can’t see beyond their greed, but the cost of oil is causing everything to cost more. It is only a matter of time before people will be unable to afford the things they need.

One more thing… when I am hiking, the bicycles try to run me down. When I am bicycling, the cars try to run me down. As we begin to get off our butts and use other means of getting from place to place, we should all be conscious of sharing the roads and trails. Try putting the cell phone down…

ROBOGOAT

Check this site written by me and my friend Dave...

http://shirleyink.angelcities.com/robogoat.html

Monday, August 15, 2005

Wine-Making

I enjoy making my own beer and wine. Beer it seems is more complicated and I consider it somewhat of an art. Wine, is easy in my opinion… like finger-painting. That said, I am obviously not making wine “the right way,” because I don’t add all of those chemicals and crap. I’m quite sure that I am doing it wrong, though to me personally, I only care about how it tastes a year from now.

Wine making for me, usually involves picking the fruit out in the woods. I made a raspberry wine early in July, which is still fermenting. This past Saturday, I picked a bunch of wild grapes along the river. This involved a long bicycle ride on the trails and the lengthy process of removing the stems and sorting out any undesirable things like spiders and bugs.

If you are familiar with the small, wild, purple grapes that grow in Minnesota, they are horribly tart. I have found, however, that by adding honey, I can come up with an absolutely delicious wine!

After sterilizing, cooking, straining, adding… I finally introduce the key ingredient; the yeast. The yeast quickly wakeup from dormancy and realize that they are in a wonderful “world” full of sugars just waiting for them to eat. As the yeast gorge themselves on the sugars, they begin to “poop” carbon dioxide, and more importantly; alcohol. The CO2 goes through the bubble-lock, and the alcohol begins to turn the mixture into wine that eventually is bottled and aged.

In closing, I would like to remind any wine-snobs who are at this moment looking down on my personal wine making philosophy, process or ingredients; that in the end, we are all just drinking yeast poop.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Providence/Rhode Island; land of TAXES that won't stop

Forward: The state of Rhode Island boasts a Dept. of Motor Vehicles, that is geared to make you wait hours/days, so that you find out that you need to go to yet another place and spend more money before you can return for more hours/days to start the process again. Most Rhode Islanders seem proud of this adversarial system (on any day they don't need to go there).

The city of Providence, charges an excise tax on vehicles, above and beyond the tax imposed by the state. This is for the luxury of being able to drive in their city.
It should be noted that the City of Providence has ample ghetto, limited street signs, and it is still heavily influenced by the mob. As much as I disliked it there, they are still charging me for a car I no longer own, almost two years after I left the state...

Some personal information changed for this posting.
----------------------------------------------------------------
August 9, 2005

Office of the Tax Assessor
Providence City Hall
25 Dorrance Street
Providence, RI 02903

RE: ACCOUNT NUMBER: “Numba”

I lived at,

Address
Providence, RI

from June until November 2003.

Then I moved back to Minnesota.
I received a bill from the Providence Tax Assessors Office approximately a year ago for my car. I returned the bill, with the information that I had moved out of the state to,

Address
MN

I was contacted by Michelle from the assessor’s office. She asked me to send her information from the Minnesota DMV, stating when I transferred my license. This I did, and I was told I would be issued a new pro-rated bill. After not receiving a bill for many months, I sent the e-mail (not included in this posting) to make sure it wasn't sent to my old address. It was already the case that my mail was being thrown away by the occupant of ADDRESS, RI, because by this time mail forwarding had expired. I was told in the e-mail that there was no bill.

On August 8, 2005, I received a letter dated August 4, 2005, from the,
Municipal Collection Agency
198 Dyer Street 2nd Floor
Providence, RI 02903.

This notice gives me 15 days to pay delinquent taxes. When I called this agency, I was informed that more taxes are pending for 2002, 2004, and 2005.
As I stated previously, I lived in Providence from June until November of 2003.
I will pay the excise tax for those months. I should not be taxed for any other time, since I am paying taxes in my home state of Minnesota.

My call to the collection agency this morning (August 9), gave me a number to call for Providence City Hall, which gave me a number to call for the Tax Assessor, which gave me a voice-mail, which hung-up on me.

I want to take care of this and payoff my taxes. I do not want to continue to pay taxes to Rhode Island or Providence. I am a resident of Minnesota, and have been for all of my life -outside of the months of June - November of 2003.

Please update these records and stop taxing me. I do not wish to continue to go through this every year. I do not even own the car in question anymore.
A check is in the mail for the amount of $168.77 payable to the City of Providence. Please send me a receipt.

Sincerely,


Kevin J. Curtis
Address

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Bandwidth

My friend Mark (no not that Mark, the other Mark), was recently asked while we were having beers at a local bar, if he was “with the band.” His immediate reply was, “yes, we are with the band!”

He mentioned to me, that he was once at a bar and asked someone else if he was “with the band.” The other guy replied, “no.” Mark could not believe this! “Dude!” he said, “always say that you are with the band!”

This, I think, is probably the real definition for the word, “bandwidth.” Either that or it is a way of determining how big of a stage your band needs.
KJC