Thursday, September 30, 2004
The Church of Critical Thinking is not a religious organization, and it does not acknowledge the existence of any deities. The Church of CT believes that separation of church and state is a very good idea, but is frustrated that the separation is becoming increasingly blurred. As an atheist, I should be able to enjoy my life without the restrictions imposed by your religion. The Church of CT is surprised that there is so much acceptance and so little outrage over the importance religion has in our government. But we're about more than just keeping religion out of our government.
In addition to religions, there are politicians, pseudo-scientists, psychics, advertisers, and others all asking you to believe things on faith alone without providing clear evidence that what they say is the truth. Our goal is to teach people to use Critical Thinking skills to analyze what they're being told, to be skeptic where appropriate, and to reject ideas that they may already hold as true if they don't hold up when examined critically.
Juan was 63 and lived on the streets. He said he had seen me often, but that I had never seen him. He explained that it was a few days until the weekend and the end of the month, so unless somebody gave him some food, he would have to forage, collect cans, and beg until his assistance check came or the food banks opened. I told him I would by him dinner even though I was broke (somebody had recently drained my checking account through a fraudulent transaction), but I had enough money for my own dinner. So I skipped dinner and bought him a deep fried fish with beans, rice, and a bowl of soup.
I do not know why I cannot give money to a homeless person, but I always give food. It seems like the right thing to do, especially given that I always know where my next meal is coming from, but the homeless seldom do.
I’ll look for Juan in the days and weeks ahead.
Red Dancer © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
Every now and then, I get the urge to paint. It normally ends in up the trash. This one started life as a watercolor, then was scanned into Illustrator, and eventually tweaked in Photoshop. I am quite happy with the results even though I have not been able to repeat the process to my satisfaction on any other projects.
This guy teaches our children.
Winter in Pittsburgh © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
I travel to Pittsburgh from time to time. Of course, normally it is the middle of winter and since I am from Los Angeles, I freeze my ass off. Every time I go, I cannot help but wonder at what an ugly city it is. The first time I saw the city, after traveling through a hillside tunnel that emptied out onto a bridge, it was breathtaking, the 10th time I saw the city, well... it looked a lot like Riverside to me, which is to say, pretty damn ugly.
For this picture, I was killing time in a restaurant while trying to stay warm. It was about 16 degrees outside, so walking around in what I considered a heavy coat was out of the question. I shot a few pictures, mostly of snow and Ice, and then saw this leaf. It was mid January and I had not seen a green living thing since I had arrived. Back home everything is green all the time. I can usually tell its fall because the magnolia tree in my front hard will drop a few hundred leaves. In Pittsburgh, finding a leaf in winter was an event.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
I came across this while testing my RSS feed. This person is seriously twisted and may have a small problem with logic (as in he does not know what it is). Give it a read if you dare. He actually claims... well never mind, he can claim all he wants but I will be damned if I repeat his crap on my blog. This just goes to show you that not all voices in the blogsphere are created equal, nor for that matter, are they rational.
I don’t think the author of the article is the same person who runs this blog, so this is most likely a reprint from some other publication. The authors name is Wayne Madsen, his email is WMadsen777@aol.com. Write him a love note or two when you get a chance.
Trailer & Chair © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
I was driving around one day and saw this chair in an open field. I think it was left over from a flea market. I stopped to look, then saw the trailer and thought - wow - this is so representative of life in a trailer park; not that its familiar or anything....
Band Stickers #3 © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
This is the third in my series on band stickers posted on public signs or public places (I know, get a life). My favorite is in the upper left hand corner, it reads "Chong for President"; it really brings back a few memories.
Monday, September 27, 2004
I've had enough. Each time I start talking myself into not wasting my vote on a Libertarian, something like this crops up to strengthen my resolve NEVER vote for a republican. Of course, Democrats are off the menu because well, they are democrats. So I'm back to Michael Badnarik and the libertarians again. At least he's not a ferret farmer!
Sunday, September 26, 2004
I won’t go into the plot. I don’t want to spoil the fun. Let’s just say that whoever made this movie is a genius. The movie plays with your perceptions at ever turn. Edgar Wright early on establishes this satire as not only a jab at dawn of the dead, but as a jab at us. As the opening credits roll, one cannot help but laugh at the zombie like depiction of daily life. I’ve seen the same look myself as I drive to work on the freeways of LA.
My favorite movie bit is when the Shaun, Liz, and Ed beat the crap out of a zombie bartender with pull cues to the beat of a Queen hit. The music in Shaun of the dead rocks; It makes the movie. One cannot help but tap a toe in rhythm to the zombie beat (or beating).
The movie is kid safe; my nine year old loved it. Enjoy!
Stuffed Mushrooms © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
Cafe Tu Tu Tango is a tapis bar located in the block of Orange, an outdoor mall in Orange County California. These Stuffed Mushrooms were made with blue cheese, roasted garlic, scallions, and fresh thyme. They are served on a bed of Horseradish remoulade. I enjoyed the mushrooms, along with Spanish antipasto, grilled hoisin wings, and beef skewers. Average price is between $7.50 and $11. Oh, and none of this stuff is really Atkins safe.
Café Tu Tu Tango has an excellent bar with a wide range of beers and wines. Their house sangria is very good. I can drink it by the bucket.
I really do like this place. I have eaten there maybe five times in the last six months. The quality is consistent and the service is great. The restaurant is full of amateur and professional art (all for sale). They have entertainment of some sort each night and painters on usually onsite producing new works. The best tip is people watching. Get a seat on the patio and watch the people who happen to walk past. It’s great fun.
Of course, as Darth Vader says, "…let me see you with my own eyes", I had to see for myself. I started typing simple words into Goggle image search a few months ago with the safe search feature on, and again with it off. Results were mixed, but often with the safesearch off, porno would be displayed. In this context, I consider porno SPAM and hate it. I don’t like having to change the way I work because some jagoff wants me to follow his dirty picture links. If I want a picture of a rainbow damn it, I want a rainbow, not some… well better left unsaid.
Therefore, I’ve started another regular post to my blog; the results of Goggle Image searches, no obviously suggestive words, just normal everyday words. The word of the day today is Balloon.
A nice array of balloon pictures, including an interesting rendition of American Gothic.
Safesearch Off: NWS Warning: Not Work Safe
Five graphic porno images were mixed in with various images of balloons, including the aformentioned American Gothic.
Parents: Keep safesearch on. You can find it on Goggle under preferences.
Balloon Man © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
I found this balloon sculpture today at the Block of Orange at Cafe Tu Tu Tango. He was nearly six feet tall. The hostess told me their balloon guy was one of the best working today. I've seen him work before myself, he is amazing. A restaurant review will follow soon, the meal was outstanding.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
I am reminded of the famous Wendy’s TV commercial “Show me the beer”. There should be no secrets here, if Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) has committed some criminal act that prevents him from returning to America, the put the information in the public domain. He is (or was) an American citizen after all, and is a prominent peace activist. When we take action against a prominent public figure and justify it by stating “the intelligence community has come into the possession of additional information that further raises our concern”, we are hiding behind conspiracy to justify our actions. It feels like the McCarthy era all over again.
Yusuf Islam is supposed to have donated money to Hamas. Yusuf claims to have never donated money to any terrorist group. Perhaps if he came out and said he has never donated money to Hamas he could dispel this rumor.
Yusuf Islam is known throughout the world for his humanitarian work and for his remarkably consistent message against terrorist’s acts. His recent post on the The Beslan Tragedy is a great example. He condemns the terrorists, their actions, and then goes on to clarify Islam’s view on the subject. It’s a great read and helps one to understand his motivation. (I don’t agree with all of what he says, but does that really matter?)
Oh, a parting thought; the only “donating” I remember hearing about is Yusaf Islam’s donation of his royalties from the release of his new box set catalog to the 9/11 fund.
Friday, September 24, 2004
Carson Ugly #7 © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
This morning I stopped to get some tea on at Carl's at the corner of Avalon and Carson, this woman was sleeping off another cold lonely night. I bought her breakfast and asked her story, she had been displaced from her mobile home about six months earlier and was now homeless and alone. I could not take any more pictures, it had got personal. I agreed to look for her if I were in the area again; she could always use a meal.
Why is this Carson Ugly? If I back up and take a wide shot, the Carson civic center is in the background. This woman had spent the whole night by herself within 100 yards of what passes for downtown, complete with the Mayor, City Hall, and the local sheriff sub station, way-to-go Carson!
Oh, and I’m sure she is actually a woman. She had all the right curves, but looked kind of man like and had a gritty androgynous voice. We did not exchange names.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
According to Wikipedia, “A cult is a group with a religious or philosophical identity, often existing on the margins of society. Its marginal status may come about either due to its novel belief system or due to idiosyncratic practices that cause the surrounding culture to regard it as far outside the mainstream.” – So, it seems unlikely that the billion or so Muslims in the world are in a cult, but could parts of Islam be influenced by cult like figures? This assertion seems more reasonable given the rise of cult like figures like Osama bin Laden. Mainstream Islam seems to find the actions of Muslim terrorists abhorrent, yet we are bombarded with images of fire eyed young men and woman eager to die for Osama bin Laden’s warped cause.
It looks like I’m going to spend some time thinking about this, doing some research, and talking to a few Muslims, then post more. I appreciate any comments or thoughts that could help guide the learning process.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Richard Eating, Paris © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
I spoke with my good friend Richard this morning and asked his permission to add my favorite picture of him to my blog. He graciously agreed. This picture was taken a couple of years ago while on a business trip to France. Richard and I killed some time by walking the city one Saturday. We found this restaurant after walking through a sculpture garden, then sat down for what I will always remember as one of the finest meals of my life. I captured the moment with my camera. Richard's expression says it all.
I can't remember the restaurant name at the moment, it's famous. I'll look it up and post it here later. I found it! Le Grand Véfour in the jardin du palais royal in Paris.
Carson Ugly © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
September 22nd was a long day of meeting, then a mad rush to grad school. On the way to Long Beach from Carson I noticed a profusion of political signs, all partially attached to any handy structure. I was in a very good mood. The day was a clear and bright, beautiful actually, yet Carson brought be down again. I thought to myself, if the local politicians can not hang a sign right, how can the be expected to fix the rest of the city? I am doomed to work in the ugliest city in America!
Beautiful day in ugly Carson.
Hueman © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
I found another defaced stop light. This time in Cerritos on the South Street on ramp to the north bound 605 freeway. Best guess? It is either the Irish rock band Hueman (not real popular), or it my be the muralist Hueman. Any ideas?
Monday, September 20, 2004
Favorite Koi © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
Somebody at school tonight asked me if I like Koi. I told her yes, I've tried to raise them myself but the birds kept eating them so now I just shoot pictures and raise gold fish (much cheaper). This one is my favorite shots of a Koi pond. It's located in the Hilton Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii. I plan to go back again someday.
Suicide © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
I'm always on the lookout for bumper stickers and window stickers, but sometimes it's the hand painted warnings that catch my eye. This one is kind of funny to me because I just had a friend pull to the inside of a truck making a right. His new car was nearly totaled, but he was ok.
20 © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
I've always been fascinated by street signs. I think they tell a lot about a culture. Take this 20 from a small city in Europe. What does it say? I look at it and see neglect; something I would not be accustomed to see here in LA. In Neglect I also see beauty, the texture of the paint, the vivid blue, even the font, it's all good.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
I Wish I Waz Honest © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
The sticker caught eye, I normally don't like to take my camera into public toilet's, people tend to think you are a freak when the see you point and click. I was cussed at while I took this one. I could not help it though, the sign made me do it.
Curry © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
My favorite sign from my travels in Europe. This one is from the Frog & Rosbif in Paris. I drank many a pint there, and then stumbled back home. The Dark de Triomphe is an outstanding brew, espcially for a beer starved county like France.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Kenny © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
Kenny and I stopped by Game Works in Long Beach to watch the Yankees play the Red Sox. Kenny lives for this time of the year, his Yanks keep this east cost native going, much to the annoyance of us native west costers! The game was rain delayed twice, so we enjoyed the company of a few friends, had a few beers, and waited. Eventually the game retuned. Unfortunatly, the night did not end well for Kenny; The Yankees lost 2 to 3.
Hal Sparks © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
Playing to a crowd of 30 (maybe 40), Hal Sparks of Queer as Folk, lights it up with his band "The Hal Sparks Band", he was playing a passable Hendrix “All along the Watchtower” when I walked up. He transitioned into a tune I did not recognize, but it too was pretty damn good. I think it might have been an original. The gig was in Long Beach at the Pike, outside at about 7:15 p.m. The crowed was mostly media types (there was a gamers event going on in Game Works, the World Cyber Games 2004), and teenyboppers. I listened for a few songs and concluded I would pay the cover if he were to play at a bar I frequent..
John © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
John and I go way back, we've either been working together, or in school together, for several years now. It was not a good night for John, I suckered him in a bet on a game of bowling (I won 146 to 120 something), after he spotted me 10 pins. Of course, I fell flat on my ass in the 6th frame, fouling and drawing the attention of everybody in the place. From there it was a tie at air hockey (I came back from 5 down!), then I killed him on Daytona. Poor fella, when I left he was being beaten badly by another friend. I'm not really sure if he knows how to win. The only thing I know for sure -- John buys my next three lunches at Fantastic Burger!
Back to Bowling, John wants a rematch using his own ball and shoes. I don't think so John! I pulled one win out of my ass, I don't think it's likely to happen again!
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Old Vett © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
You see this a lot in LA. A 60 something woman trying to look much younger, dolled up, painted and cruising in her best ride. It's usually an older model Vett. Don't get me wrong, I'll take the ride any day. I love the way this picture shows the LA strip mall advertising hell we live in too.
Mary on my wall © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
I starting seeing more and more of these (of course it could be because I'm looking for them), they pop up everywhere, but most commonly on Hispanic auto garages and restaurants. They are hard to spot peaking out between the bright blue paint, hand lettered signs, and graffiti.. This one is from Anaheim Blvd in Wilmington, just south of the 110 Freeway. I don't know if it means the garage is blessed by the Virgin Mary, or if it's a charm to ward off gang violence. A friend once told me they were erected as memorials to a passed loved one. I'm going to have to stop and ask soon. I can't stand not knowing
A friend asked me what my top rated tunes were in my 30gig iPod. I would post my most often played list, however it seems to be one long list of Dave Matthews Band songs, so I'll go with the highest rated for now. I'm might need to reset the play counts because it's going to take awhile for an other songs to catch up.
My Current Top Rated:
- When the World Ends - Dave Matthews Band
- Like a stone - Audioslave
- Stay or Leave (live) - Dave Matthews Band
- Big Time Sensuality - Bjork
- Mr. Jones - Counting Crows
- The Good Life - Weezer
- Only in Dreams - Weezer
- Killing in the Name - Rage Against the Machine
- Bullet in the head - Rage against the machine
- Mr. Cab Driver - Lenny Kravitz
My Most receintly played:
- The Air Near my Fingers - The White Stripes
- Animals - Talking Heads
- Two hearts in 3-4 time - The Avalanches
- Even Though - Sugar Ray
- Doctor Jimmy - The Who
- Heave-Ho - Smash Mouth
- Walking the Blues - Jonny Cash
- Oh! Sweet Nothin' - The Velvet Underground
- Rumble - Guitar Wolf
- Reaction - Bob Marley & the Wailers
Currently playing: Come On - Young Dubliners
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Bus Stop Music © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
I heard this guy before I saw him, I was sitting at a traffic light at Avalon and Carson when I heard so clear, pure guitar float over the traffic. I snapped a quick picture before a truck blocked my line of sight. I shot 40 pictures today, two fires, one auto accident, a very voyeuristic shot of a girl on a payphone, a very fat man, a very thin man, a crack whore (in Long Beach), and a road side memorial for a small child who had been killed in traffic, but none of them talked to me the way this one did. It made me happy. I like things that make me happy. I hope you do too.
Why do we treat these guys like friends? In the end I am sure we will find Saudi had a great deal to do with our current Muslim Terrorist problems.
You can get flogged for handing out bibles. Hmmm, I know a few Jehovah’s witnesses that I'll like to nominate for service in Saudi Arabia. --- Firpo Carr maybe or even Michael Jackson?
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Fall is Coming © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
This picture reflects my mood today. I alway feel like this when I visit people in the hospital.
Fall is comming, winter soon after, although in Los Angeles it is very hard to tell the difference between seasons. I guess I can live with December being slightly less hot than September. I don't use cooler on purpose - it's been in the 90's here during mid December.
His first article reads: “Where did you get the idea atheists hate God”, he claims it is because we (atheists) really believe in god. Ah, wtf? More Christian nutball logic.
His next article suggests Atheists waste energy dening god while not paying attention to “The Devil”. Again, wtf? I’ve got some news for you buck-o , I don’t belive in anything supernatural, god, the devil, santa, faries, you name it, if it don’t walk the planet, I don’t believe in it. Neither do other atheists.
His other articles all rant about the same thing. He goes on making assumptions like “all atheist think this way or that way”. Heck, I don’t know two atheists that think the same way about anything, we tend to be independent thinkers.
My favorite article is entitled “ATHEISTS CREATE CRIMINAL SOCIETIES”, (all cap are his idea). In this article, we find that the root of all evil is Atheists. We create all of society’s problems. Ah, wtf? Last time I check the vast majority of people in America, an in the wider world profess a belief in a supernatural being of one sort or another. Don’t you think it is reasonable to expect that Christians might have a hand in some of this? Of course not, this guy’s logic is completely warped.
And people wonder why I rant on Christian fundamentalist…..
Stop Bush! © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
I'm starting to see more and more of these around Los Angeles and Long Beach. I caught this one on a recent trip to West LA. I cop actually asked me why I was taking picture of street signs. I did'nt really have an answer for him. I recall first seeing them back when the war in Iraq started, so the idea is not new. If this catches on, I bet every stop sign will be plastered with these as we move towards the election.
Monday, September 13, 2004
Saturday, September 11, 2004
This article goes on about Muslims feeling singled out after 9/11, as if it were illogical to assume that an internationally traveling observing Muslim might not have some small link to international Islamic terrorists. Does it surprise anyone that a customs agent might ask a few extra questions? I seem to recall being subjected to an intestine search of my baggage and a long interview in customs after a returning from France. It seems I fit the drug smuggling profile (fat white guy with minimal baggage?). If it is reasonable to suspect me of drug smuggling, it is reasonable to subject anyone to a higher level of scrutiny.
You've got to ask, is there a reason people are looking harder a Muslims? Hmm… How about the Beslan massacre, or that latest car bombings in Iraq or murder bomber in Israel, or how about 9/11. Do any of these people forget that the key take away from the 9/11 attack was it was MUSLIMS attacking America?. Come on! Get some common sense! As long as Muslims are killing Christians (and anyone else) in the name of Allah, then Muslims are going to be suspect here in America. Perhaps it's time for the “religion of peace” to practice what it preaches?
Then there is Hatem Bazian. Does anyone remember his call for bringing the Intifada to America? Bazian made this call for violence at a large public rally in San Francisco earlier this year. Why would any reporter in his or her right mind use his comments in an article about intolerance? Could it be that highly visible Muslim public figures (he lectures at UC Berkeley), contribute to the perception problem when they seek to incite violence here in America? Watch this man close…. He is dangerous.
Hatem Bazian can be reach by email at: email@example.com give him your thoughts, or drop Jonathan Curiel, the reporter who wrote this crap, a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Carson Ugly # 5 © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
I drive past this architectural mess each day. I think to myself, can it be any worse? Then I think back to my trips through Newark and Pittsburgh and think, Oh hell yes.
Wilmington Ave & 223rd, Carson California
Friday, September 10, 2004
The war in Iraq touched my family last week. The son of my wife's friend, a young marine named Derek Gardner, was killed when a terrorist drove a car next to his convoy and detonated a large bomb. Six other marines were killed. It marked a very sad chapter, in a sad and dangerous war. Our children our dying in a war far from home, in the abstract it bothered me, but last Tuesday when my wife called to break the news, I could not breathe. My own son is old enough to serve, and he is currently very far from home too. I could not help but think about what it how much it would hurt to lose him. the pain must be unbearable.
Vickey De Lacour is Derek’s mother and a long time friend of my wife. She is a nice person who loved her children and was proud of her son's service, but at the same time worried about his safety. He was three or four weeks from coming home when he died. Now Vicky is expressing her anger and the press is eating it up. Vicky is an articulate and attractive single mother, her son may well have been the 1000th serviceman killed in Iraq. The media circle like sharks. They tape her agony, exploit her pain. She is nothing but a story to them. Give it a rest. Let Vicky grieve her for her son in peace.
RIP Derek Gardner
DewKey © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
I was down in west LA recently with my son and came across a street sign that inspired me to create this bit of mixed media photoshop art. I don' t like it as much as I do just make a good photograph, but it is still a fun medium to work in. This piece is a composite of two photos, some original pastel work, and some photoshop fudging.
Metal Head © Copyright 2004 Mojoey
I was working with a serious of Photo's I shot in down town LA near the Main branch of the LA Library when I came across a head sculpture at the bottom of the ponds leading to the entrance. I snapped a few dozen pictures, then thought "this might be something I can use as my cover for my annual music compilation disk". So I played and played in Photoshop to arrive at this. The prints come out a little to red for my taste so it is still up in the air as to if I will use it.
Any comments? Does it look like a good choice for a CD cover?
Saturday, September 04, 2004
My favorite Rodney memory has to do with an old friend named Jon Zammerin and his insistence that I listen to KROQ because Rodney was breaking something big. It turned out to be Blondie. The show rocked, the music rocked, and I forked out the bucks to she her show when it hit LA. Rodney was cool because he was connected.
KROQ on the on the other hand is NO COOL. They are now the corporate beast in a very bad local music scene. If it were not for Kevin and Bean in the morning, I would not listen to them at all. You can actually count the music in rotation on the station; they play about 24 different songs a day (that all sound the same). Guys – whatever happened to leading alternative music revolution? You introduced Sublime for god’s sake!
Anyway – back on track, the Mayor of Sunset Strip rocks. It is a good rental if you are a music fan.