Sunday, November 15, 2009

Terrorism Works

The news coverage of the shootings at Ft. Hood has crystallized a very unfortunate fact in my mind: terrorism works. When an Islamic extremist can gun down his fellow soldiers while shouting “Allahu Akbar” at a major military base, and the mainstream media is reluctant to call it terrorism, we've got a serious problem in the United States. The irony is that the people who don’t want to “jump to conclusions” are the biggest victims of terrorism themselves. They are so terrorized that they cannot even conceive of terrorism in this case, let alone utter the word. Terrorism is not only the act of destruction, violence, and murder; it is also the resulting attitude of fear, silence, and denial that some hope will spare them from the next attack. Indeed, the response of the major media outlets has confirmed to me that terrorists are achieving their goals.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nobel not so Noble

America: where working against the domestic and foreign policy interests of the United States gets you a Nobel Peace Prize. Now I understand! The end of America means the beginning of peace. Duh!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Sausage of Vienna

Vienna Sausage, the best in the land
Proudly I sit with a can in my hand
No hunting required, no guns to employ
Just pop off the lid, and start to enjoy

O Sausage, fair meat from a place called Vienna
The mere sound of these words will raise my antenna
In the family of SPAM, but to my regret
It’s the weird, crazy uncle some want to forget

Crammed into a can with no room to spare
The fragrance of meatiness perfumes the air
The savory broth for which to imbibe
Has an “interesting” smell that’s so hard to describe

Akin to the digits of a middle-aged man
These Vienna Sausages fall from the can
Seven pink wonders, each two inches long
Oh, the magic fills my heart with a song

Extruded in batches from a giant machine
It’s cylindrical sludge (if you know what I mean)
This product includes both the feet and the snout
And form a geometrical meat-log layout

The texture is soft, even spongy, and light
There’s no criticizing this gourmet delight
It cuts with a knife and is smooth as paté
It’s good on a cracker (at least that’s what they say)

The trimmings of animals all scraped together
Crushed and formed into “sausages!” Oh, the splendor!
Combining the innards, the bone and the hoof
My triglyceride count has gone through the roof

The can says the meat is "mechanically deboned"
And I’ve heard that the animals all have been cloned
To provide the consistency we all deserve
A marvelous product we clearly observe

The snap of a hot dog, distinct and unique
In this sausage is absent, like Ancient Greek
Not as fatty as SPAM, and the taste, well, it’s great
It’s surprising that it would remain on your plate

Running string through the links of this tender meat
I make a large wreath and admire this feat
Like the candy necklace I munched in my youth
An occasional speck of grit stuck in my tooth

No need to refrigerate or even reheat
This superb byproduct is ready-to-eat
A good M.R.E. on a camp or a hike
A delicious companion wherever you like

Some call it ambrosia, the “food of the gods”
While others can’t stand it…what are the odds?
Bake them, deep fry them or make into hash
Some strongly contend they belong in the trash

Some consider it only “emergency” food
But sausage supporters believe this is rude
With all the preservatives, this meat will last
For centuries, or perhaps a nuclear blast

Despite the debate I think you will agree
That keeping canned food is necessary
There is no excitement, no glamour, no glitz
But you’ll be glad you have them when the Big One hits

These fleshy M-80s all drunken with brine
That buttery texture, so rich and so fine
This pureed meat product, a marvelous snack
Take heed, may induce a mild heart attack

For this wondrous concoction, eternal my thanks
To the mad scientist of these Frankenstein franks
These freakish frankfurters, this mystery meat
A brilliant invention, a miracle treat!

This culinary marvel I proudly will serve
Impaled on a toothpick as a kind of hors d’oeuvre
Made from chicken, and beef, and don’t forget piggies
This succulent sausage is offered by…Libby’s.

Scott M. Passey

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chris Cornell: From Edgy to Sketchy

I loved Chris Cornell the moment he hit the Seattle grunge scene with his band Soundgarden. He got even better with Audioslave, a band which I adored for a few short years before they split. Now he's on his own and his latest offering is not living up to expectations. He definitely a singer's singer, a true crooner, but his new album leaves a lot to be desired. Here's hoping he returns to his roots and the original stylings that made him such a star. Audioslave is definitely my most-played on the iPod, and it's due in large part to the talents of Chris Cornell.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My Queensryche Moment

In 1995, I was in graduate school and trying to make ends meet by working part-time at a local grocery store in Edmonds, Washington. One night as I was working the service counter, a man approached me and asked where the bathroom was. I directed him to the back of the store, while simultaneously trying to maintain the best possible poker face. I didn't want to give Geoff Tate, the lead singer of the 80's band Queensryche, the satisfaction of knowing I recognized him. I honestly think he was making a public appearance just to find out if anyone recognized him, since QR popularity had diminished considerably by that time. I wasn't particularly enamored with their style of music, but it was one of those brushes with "greatness" I did not soon forget. Looking back on it, I wish I had made an announcement over the store's PA system: "Attention, Olsen's shoppers. Mr. Geoff Tate of the band Queensryche is in the building and has just asked to use the bathroom. Please join me in welcoming Mr. Tate to our store."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

25 Random Songs

RULES: Put your iTunes (or whatever music player you use) on Shuffle. No cheating, write down the first 25 songs that come up when you hit your FWD arrow.

1. Jump In The Fire - Metallica - Kill 'Em All
2. Have You Ever Seen The Rain? - CCR - Chronicle, Vol. 1
3. Suite Madame Blue - Styx - Classics Vol. 15
4. Summer of Love - The B-52's - Time Capsule
5. The World Has Turned And Left - Weezer - Green Album
6. Somebody To Love - Queen - Greatest Hits
7. Overkill - Metallica - Garage Inc.
8. Annie's Song - John Denver - Greatest Hits Vol. 2
9. Twisting - They Might Be Giants - Flood
10. It's Going To Take Some Time - The Carpenters - The Singles 1969-1973
11. Kings And Queens - Aerosmith - Aerosmith's Greatest Hits
12. 13th (Swing Radio Mix) - The Cure - Galore (The Singles 1987-1997)
13. It's Called A Heart - Depeche Mode - Catching Up With Depeche Mode
14. Oh Me - Nirvana - MTV Unplugged In New York
15. New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 - R.E.M. - Automatic For The People
16. One More Go Round - James Taylor - New Moon Shine
17. Suffragette City - David Bowie - Best of Bowie
18. You Raise Me Up - Josh Groban - Closer
19. Hate To Feel - Alice in Chains - Dirt
20. Somebody Told Me - The Killers - Hot Fuss
21. In My Dreams - Crosby, Stills & Nash - Greatest Hits
22. Touched By The Hand of God - New Order - The Best of New Order
23. The Last Remaining Light - Audioslave - Audioslave
24. Perry Mason - Ozzy Osbourne - The Essential Ozzy Osbourne
25. No One Knows - Queens of the Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dad Strikes Again

My dad had an extremely sharp wit and loved writing letters to the editor. The following letter to a local radio station is a fair example of his style. He received a reply from the producer, who agreed with his assessment and complimented him on his writing ability.


KFAC Radio Station
5773 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, Calif.

Dear Sirs:

I would like to make a comment about the electronic composition “Silver Apples of the Moon” aired on your Avant Garde program last Saturday evening. Since the only portion thereof that I could comprehend was the composer’s statement read beforehand by your announcer, that is the only portion about which I feel justified to comment. The composer stated that the piece was not intended for the concert hall, and should be listened to only by small groups. I wholeheartedly concur. Exceedingly small groups. In fact, the smaller the better.


D. Clinton Passey

P.S. I would also like to make an intelligent comment about your Avant Garde program in general, but there aren’t any.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

25 Random Things About Moi

I will dispense with the pre-list commentary and get right to it:

1. I was born a poor black child.

2. I am cursed with Peter Pan Syndrome, also known as looking young for my age (no, Peter Pan Syndrome does not mean something else). To others I appear to be about 15 years younger than my actual age. When I was 16, I looked like I was 1.

3. I have driven the same car for the past 13 years: a 1996 Ford Escort Wagon. It’s the LX model. That’s just how I roll.

4. I was born in Redondo Beach, California, which is also where I proposed to my wife.

5. I got two separate speeding tickets from the Oregon State Patrol within the space of one hour. The first was justified; the second was not. I appealed the second ticket to no avail. Here is a brief description of the Oregon court appeals process. If you are an out-of-state resident, you mail a check for the penalty along with an appeal statement. They cash your check and laugh at your letter as they toss it in the trash.

6. I was an extra in an episode of the short-lived TV series “The Fugitive” starring Tim Daley. I played a cop in the opening scene, where we were frantically searching for the fugitive along the boat marina in La Conner, Washington. I think I appeared on camera for 2 seconds, so by my calculation I am still due 14:58 minutes of fame. They shaved off my goatee and trimmed my mustache; goatees are prohibited by the law enforcement dress code.

7. I am an avid cyclist, a scuba diver, and a tormented artist/musician.

8. I love watching the Food Network. I secretly wish I had gone to culinary school.

9. I was the victim of an armed robbery at my first real job -- a small, family-owned grocery store in Bountiful, Utah. At closing time, the criminal held us at gunpoint and demanded my boss empty the day’s receipts into his bag. A few weeks later the police told us they had found a suspect, so we went down to Salt Lake County Jail to see if we could identify him. We all chose the same guy from a lineup. We received subpoenas to appear in court, but a couple weeks before trial we were informed that the suspect committed suicide in his cell.

10. We have four boys, ages 14, 12, 10, and 6. We had retained miscarriages for every child we have had (where the fetus does not abort itself).

11. A six-gill shark swam by me in 20 feet of water at the Keystone Jetty in Puget Sound. This is very rare because six-gill sharks typically live at depths of well over 100 feet.

12. I love to compose music but can never seem to finish a song before the next idea enters my head.

13. We got married in Seoul, Korea and had three different wedding receptions: one in Seoul, one in Seattle, and one in Bountiful. Neither Alisa’s parents nor mine were all together at any of the receptions.

14. I’m into spiritual philosophy and have been reading the works of Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie, along with the works of God the Eternal Father and Jesus Christ.

15. My dad had an unusual sense of humor and came up with interesting nicknames for both animate and inanimate objects. His name for me was Skarpathian Pugsforth.

16. I used to love watching team sports on TV, but now I can’t stand it. I am more interested in individual sports such as tennis, golf, and cycling. Go Lance!

17. Lightning struck the power pole outside our house, rupturing the gas line running under our front lawn and catching the grass on fire. The fire burned for six hours before the public utility district could figure out where the shut-off was. They had to replace the power pole and dig up our front yard, along with several other yards in the neighborhood.

18. I like to gather crabs off the bottom of the ocean, and I like to shoot spears through the heads of large fish (sounds barbaric, I know, but spearfishing is far more ecologically friendly than hook-and-line fishing).

19. Since my college days I have owned 8 different motorcycles. I currently only have two: a Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic and a Kawasaki Ninja 500. Alisa rides the Ninja.

20. I repelled down a 100-foot vertical face in the Sierra Nevada Mountains as an 11-year-old scout.

21. I drink a cup of red ginseng tea nearly every weekday.

22. My ultimate dream is to teach each of my boys a different instrument and start a family band. Unfortunately, my oldest son has an inexplicable aversion to music. When he was a toddler, he would cover his ears and say “Stop!” every time one of us started singing. However, he got Guitar Hero for Christmas and has been playing like a pro, so I’m still hopeful.

23. I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy.

24. I acquired a dry, deadpan sense of humor from my father and grandfather, and I thrive on satire and sarcasm. When things get too serious, I have to lighten them up. This also works in the reverse when things get too light.

25. I have lived a truly blessed life, and I am sincerely grateful to all those who have made positive contributions to my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. To all others who have had a negative impact on my development: may you suffer eternal torment in the fires of Mordor.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Advice for annoying newspaper columnists: Drop dead

"Advice for frustrated job hunters: Stay focused." This was the headline of an article in a recent Snohomish County newspaper. Pathetic excuse for journalism, if you ask me. Advice as general as "focus" can be extended to virtually every problem, every facet of life. Here are a few I came up with: "Advice for absent-minded professors: Stay focused." "Advice for struggling high school students: Stay focused." "Advice for easily distracted alligator trainers: Stay focused."

I realize there is a limited amount of detail one can put into a headline, but come on folks, can't we do better than this? There is a disturbing trend in the modern media to create news based on the obvious, self-evident truths we call common sense. I attribute this to a certain laziness on the part of journalists, who no longer do the difficult research and analysis that leads to those counter-intuitive insights that readers find interesting.

"Advice for anyone who faces any particular challenge, difficulty, trial, or speed bump in the road of Life: Stay focused." And while focused, keep a focus on the lesser-known phenomena that make life interesting.

My Colon, My Friend

I never thought I'd be talking colonoscopy at my age (42), but here I am, getting a colonoscopy today. There seems to be a family history of colon polyps (siblings found with colon polyps at age 40) so I thought I'd strike while the iron is hot. This Colyte stuff is really awful, though; drain cleaner for the body...think Dumb and Dumber, only worse. I had to start the clear fluids diet yesterday, and my appointment isn't for several hours, so I'm STARVING. Right now I could kill for a California Chicken Burger from Red Robin. I think that will be my first stop on the way home, although they say you get pretty loopy from the sedative so I'll probably just go home and sleep. But oh yes, that burger is mine tomorrow (repeat for dramatic effect).

UPDATE: The colonoscopy went smoothly and the doctor found nothing out of the ordinary.