Charles Krauthammer is smart. He's always on talk shows spouting his opinions. He also writes a column in the Washington Post. His last espoused racial profiling when it comes to frisking subway riders. He thinks we should target Muslims, particularly South Asian or Arabs. He doesn't say exactly how you can distinguish these folks from say, Sikhs.
He also says we should exempt women from searches. Now there are 500,000,000 Muslim women. And as the Israelis know all too well, they aren't above a suicide bomb or two. Particularly if they've been scorned by polite society because they got raped by their father-in-law. Hey, it beats stoning. And don't be surprised if she shows up in a tasteful miniskirt and blouse ensemble either. So long as you're already violating every tenet of your faith, what's flashing a little thigh? Maybe pick up a BLT at the snack bar too.
But we do need guidelines to streamline the process. We could target:
People sporting patriotic t-shirts. All wrapped up in yourself in your red white and blue...
Hunchbacks: For obvious reasons.
Men wearing an overabundance of cologne: They could be trying to cover up the stench of fear.
People wearing sunglasses on overcast days: Eyes are the window to the soul. If you're getting ready to commit mass murder, it will show in your peepers.
Big Heads: Mohammed Atta had a noggin the size of jack-o-lantern.
Flat-chested chicks: If you know you're going to die soon, why bother investing in implants?
Military uniforms: The perfect disguise!
Men (or women) with moustaches, goatees and especially soul patches: These smack of insincerity and perhaps far worse.
People who hum or push baby strollers: They may not be bent on mayhem but let's harass them just for spite. They are annoyingly smug, after all.
Women with that absurb amount of makeup on, as seen in cosmetic ads: Maybe they want to leave a sharp-looking corpse.
Poor people toting ornamental lap dogs around: These are strictly for the trendy noveau riche.
Men who arrive together on a motorcycle: How often do you see that? Practically never!
Colbert King countered Krauthammer by trotting out Tim McVeigh (cooked) Eric Rudolph (soon to be) and Chechyans. The latter hail from the Caususus. It doesn't get any whiter than that.
Ah, the utter futility of it all. Why can't Westerners be more like those terror-savvy Israelis? Accept that you must abide the miniscule chance that you personally will fall victim to suicide bombs and go about your business.
Fueled by government-funded pronouncements and overwrought (one of my fave words) portrayals of drug addiction in movies and media, most people have this image of murmuring addicts laying in fetid pools of vomit in alleys or jabbing needles in a search for a vein that has yet to collapse. To paraphrase that pol whose name escapes me, I've known lots of addicts and they are nothing like that.
In fact, they are more like you than you'd care to think. Let me introduce you to the alien concept of social crackheads. Meet a car mechanic, real estate title searcher and pizzaria owner who are married with children and mortgages and bills. See them going about their daily business, meeting obligations except for those occasional weekends when they convene in hotel rooms, tape tin foil to all the windows lest any light peek through, and smoke crack for an entire weekend.
Actually it isn't crack, it's freebase. White addicts including David Crosby in his book Long Time Gone go to great lengths to distinguish between the two. They claim that ghetto crack has additives and thus isn't pure cocaine like the freebase they so lovingly cook up in those hotel rooms. This is bullshit. When supplies run low, these guys can be found at open air drug markets where brothers holler, "Whatchou need?" with impunity.
You may be surprised to learn that freebase, as well as Ecstacy, have been around since the early 80s. I saw people freebasing in 1982, using volatile solvents that caught Richard Pryor on fire. He famously said, "When you runnin' down the street and you on fire, people gets out of you way." Nowadays all you need is water, a vial or spoon and baking soda and a lighter (actually a tiny torch works better.)
I have also read articles about folks who become heroin addicts in their youth, lack the wherewithal to quit and basically go through their lives as functional folks other than those telltale track marks up and down their arms and between their toes. That is why there are long sleeve shirts. And of course we've all known functioning alcoholics. They drink to excess but manage their lives pretty well, thank you very much.
Which brings me to my main point. I have made it clear that I don't think the government has any business trying to regulate personal behavior. Presently I am a very responsible, well-off suburban homeowner, Cub Scout leader and soccer coach. At other times I have gambled with bookies, visited prostitutes and taken every drug you could imagine. People go through phases and it is no business of the goddamn government what they do.
So I read that Afghanistan has a problem. Its cash crop has always been poppies, which are converted to opium and sold to heroin cartels. Now that moralistic America has installed its puppet government there, this is somehow a problem. And folks, I have the solution. There is a huge, legal market for raw opium. Just ask Pfizer and all the other pharmaceutical companies who are making a killing selling OxyContin, Percocet and Tylox to cure ycur imaginary aches and pains and in many cases, fueling a worse drug epedemic than street dealers coulld ever cause. All we need to do is let the Afghans grow their poppies but sell them only tho those reputable pharmo-conglomerates so that everyone becomes addicted to opiates. This would include those moralists who wring their hands about this supposed "issue" while gulping down handfuls of OxyContin during their breaks.
Do you hear me, Rush Limbaugh? Oh wait, I fogot. You're deaf. Never mind.
As usual, I find myself apologizing for my absence at the start of my post. Sorry. Travel and stuff.
But I'm back in the States now. I returned on June 30, and I'm finally settling down to be in one place. If you asked me on June 20 what I was going to do when I returned, I probably would have given you a bewildered shrug, as I had next to no clue. A few ideas, yes, but not too many. I really didn't want to come back, but I had a friend's wedding to go to, and I hadn't seen my family (except for my brother) for about a year. And yes, funds were running low after all that scuba diving I did.
About 2 months into my yearlong trip, I told myself that I was going to return to the States after a year of travel, work for another year, then go back abroad. About a month before leaving Central America, I told myself that I would work for 6 months, the go back on the road. Now it looks like I'll be here for about 4 months, then go back down south. I guess this country doesn't have all that much appeal to me now. That's how it goes.
Now, I'm halfway through this post, and I've forgotten what my point is. Well, I guess mostly to inform you that any posts about beaches and fun in the sun will now just be memories for the time being. I've gotten my old job back for the few months I'll be around, a friend's offered me his spare bedroom for free, and I've just bought a car. So, American life has hit me full force, and I still just want to leave.
And ya know what my biggest complaint about this country is? Too much air-conditioning! I freeze everywhere I go! Now, I don't mind a little A/C, but is it really necessary to cool grocery stores to a chilly 65 degrees? I have to bring a jacket with me wherever I go when it's 90 degrees outside, just do I don't turn into an icicle when I'm indoors!
We are safe and sound. We are too damn safe. Time was men in particular, and I suspect more than few young lasses, valued verve. People walked around with pistols strapped in holsters, ready to blow somebody else's head off at the slightest provocation or perceived slight. I'll get back to that thought in due time.
Due to the proliferation of frivolous lawsuits, manufacturers slap a plethora of silly warning labels on every product they churn out. Get in a car and it says that anyone under 12 is in grave danger of being crushed to death by the front air bags. Now when my son was 12 he was taller and outweighed me....but never mind that. It also says to sit as far from the killer bag as possible.
My mower says that to lessen the danger of serious injury or death I should keep my hands and feet away from the rotating blade. (It is silent about my other appendage.) Likewise, when I bought my new disposal, it warned: "UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE SHOULD THE USER PUT HAND IN UNIT WHILE IT IS OPERATING. DISCONNECT POWER BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO UNJAM." Ya think?
The newspaper comes in a plastic bag that most assuredly IS NOT A TOY! There is a clear and present danger of small children suffocating if they put it over their heads. Hmmm. There are still more examples of this inanity to be found here.
The one group that purports to boycott the Safety Dance is rappers. They pretend to be like those Wild West gunslingers of yore. Shooting one another, bitch-slapping they hos, knocking over liquor stores, ripping off bookies and dealers and so on. I, having seen their sumptuous spreads on Cribs, am not buying it. These guys couldn't fight their way out of a cobweb. They wouldn't know a Mac-9 from Bernie Mac. Their trophy wives withhold bootie until he gets around to fixing the latch on their cabana. (She wants privacy when romping with the pool boy.)
I don't care about safety. I've never had a checkup. I cross the road wherever I please. I don't know my cholesterol number or blood pressure. If I did, I wouldn't know what it meant. I speed, litter, run through redlights, drink, smoke, gamble and spit. I've broken every bone in my body. My life is like Fight Club. Sometimes just for kicks I'll stick my hand in the disposal while it's running. You get a few cuts and bruises but nothing too serious. I haven't tried the mower blade just yet.
I'm also in favor of anarchy. Whether it's on the soccer field, cutting deals at work, fighting or (in my single days) approaching hotties, I am supremely confident---cocky, some might say---about my own ability to come out on top. And anarchy is nothing but Darwinian survival of the fittest.
I hear a lot of talk these days about more successful nations helping out failure nations. And while I understand the compassion and empathy, I don't buy the "misfortune of others." Everyone had an equal chance to become the most prosperous and powerful. In fact, Africa boasts a vast expanse of fertile land and a wealth of minable raw materials. It's got tons of oil too. it's had the longest time to develop. The reason everything sucks there is because the people have allowed themselves to be dominated by greedy tyrants and warlords who want to take everything for themselves and their cronies. We once had a situation like that here. It was called British occupation. So we kicked their asses and threw them out. End of story.
I just got home. It's 4:02 am on a Sunday morning. My Saturday was fairly uneventful, in general : I didn't do much during the day besides yoga at 10:30, since I was up at 8. Then I planned to do laundry when I got home, but I was too unmotivated (gotta change that... too much dirty laundry. Maybe a fluff & fold...) Then in the evening, I went to join some friends from out-of-town up in Pasadena for dinner.
And of course, as always happens with an uneventful day, somethign eventful happened : I got a flat tire on the freeway.
I've experienced three flat tires in my life: two were in my car (including tonight) and one was in a friend's car. All three times, however, I was driving. The first was in my friend's car, and I thought to myself "What's this helicopter noise? Why are they flying so close to us?" and that's when my friend who I was driving woke up and said "PULL OVER!! THAT'S A FLAT TIRE!!"
And so we changed a flat tire on the side of the highway in Iowa. Number two was in my car, but I'd been parked and it must have been a slow leak, as it was fine when I left my car and flat when I came back many hours later. As it was 3 am and I couldn't find my jack, since it wasn't where I expected it to be (having never looked for it before) I called Triple A and had them change it out for me.
Tonight, however, it was about 7 pm and I was flying along on the freeway when suddenly I thought, "OK, I know I need an alignment, but this is ridiculous!" And then the helicopter noises started. I pulled off into an emergency turnoff and saw that yes, indeed, I had a flat tire. I limped my car to the next exit, where for the next hour I managed to change the tire, having witnessed it once and with the assistance of my car's manual.
This, however, was not the event I wished to talk about.
After dinner in Pasadena, I came back down to West Hollywood and met some friends out at the bars. After close, we parted ways and I started back to my car. I happened upon a very, very drunk boy holding onto a lamppost for dear life. Over the course of the next two hours I proceeded to escort him to a plot of grass, assist him in vomiting, attempted to call his friends who'd left him (on his birthday no less) and tried to get him to walk as far as my car so I could take him home. However, I couldn't get him to walk very far at all, and after an hour of failing to rouse him more than a few feet from him chosen stand of grass, I flagged down a taxi, gave the driver more than enough for the fare and his troubles, and sent the young lad on his way.
I hope he arrived okay. I have no way of knowing, as I didn't know the kid at all, before finding him wrapped around the lamppost. I thought originally I could just escort him, stumbling, to my car and take him home, but that proved impossible. So instead, I gave the cabbie $50 for a $25 fare to make sure he got home, and to compsensate for any lost time he may have while waiting on the side of the road while the chap vomited.
Once again, in the same vein as my last post: kindness from strangers. This time I was able to give it. I would have given him a ride to his place, but instead I sent him home in a taxi after two hours of cajoling, water-forcing, verbal reassurement, and back-stroking. He looked better than he was when I found him, minus the sleepiness of drunkenness.
I hope he got home all right. I told him that we'd all been there, and we have: not necessarily needing strangers to care for us on the side of the road, but strangers have certainly helped us all.
I can't help but be concerned, however, that I'm kind of happy that I got to help someone out tonight. Is it truly a selfless, helping act if you derive some pleasure from it? We've discussed this plenty, theoretically, in my philosophy classes, but that didn't occur to me as I tried to help him. All I could think of was "Have I been this way? Did I need people to help me? Can this repay or give me credit towards any karmic debt I may have?"
I look at John G. Roberts, the new Supreme, and I see a baby-faced youngster. Way too young to join Clarence the Pube, Tony Soprano-Scalia, Diana Ross and that Stevens coot on the big bench.
I thought Supreme Court nominees had to sign an affidavit affirming that they spend most of their waking moments obseesing over bowel movement frequency or "bone loss." (The latter cracks me up. I always picture someone getting out of bed and tumbling to the floor, cursing the loss of their tibia overnight. Honey, do you know where I left my tibia? Did you check the kitchen table? That's where you always leave it when you're drunk. Or going to write a check only to discover that you've mislaid a critical metacarpal.)
He's young enough to have little kids. His neighbors say that is his life, just loves those damn kids. Well, that isn't good. "Listen guys, I'd love to sit around and chew the fat about whether King W has the right to detain American citizens for life without a trial or attorneys or food, and give them a periodic Emeril for good measure, but my kid's soccer practice starts in half an hour and I'm the coach. See ya!"
At 46 I'm starting to think everyone is too young to do the things they do. I see kids triumphantly producing IDs to buy beer or cigarettes and I'm thinking, now way that is real. But it has that authenticating holiogram or whatever you call it. Abdul Raman makes damn sure of that. Never know when the beer cops might send in a peach fuzz-faced young-un with a phony ID.
It's the same way with driving cars. Then again, they've been simulating driving ever since they were born on their PS-2 and X-boxes.
I have got to go take my AM shit. It is 7:40. I'm 2 minutes late.
My earliest memory is deciding to stomp all over a huge red ant colony near an outdoor patio where my parents held wedding receptions. I jumped up and down and it collapsed like a sinkhole. Soon the voracious varmints were all up in my pants and eating me alive. I went screaming onto the patio, ripping off my pants. The bride and groom were just saying their I do's. I know about this not from memory but from the constant retelling of the horror story throughout my childhood.
It was my 1st embarassment and may have been the last time I did anything truly spontaneous. I've never been one to flit off to New York for a shopping trip on the spur of the moment.
But I dig spontaneity as a concept. I took all kind of ribbing from my clique in high school over the Solie Incident. Solie was actually Marisol, a diplomat's daughter who'd always been part of the In Crowd. In her senior year she decided to screw all the so-called freaks. When my turn came it didn't work out. I told everyone her jock brother had caught us and partly that was true. But she told him to piss off and cooed, "Now where were we?" The whole thing smacked of slumming and it seemed so stilted too boot. I couldn't go through with it. The spontaneity just wasn't there. I'd sooner do The Wave at a sporting event.
Solie was her nickname and that's what everyone called her. Nobody knew where it came from. Unlike such luminaries as Jennifer Lopez aka J Lo or Sean Combs aka Puff Diddy or P. Daddy or whoever the fuck he is. Perhaps because no one else bothered, these a-holes deigned to nciknaming themselves. You can't do that. And don't even get me started about Jennie from the Block. If Lopez ever returned to her Bronx 'hood, they'd give her a curb job and empty her fancy Gucci bag faster than Lucy would go Waaah! When you've got rocks on your fingers the size of Ron Jeremy's balls, you ain't Jennie from the Block no more, girl.
Nicknames must arise spontaneously. You can't force it. I learned this in 6th grade, when I decided that people should start calling me "The Kid." Some other guys had acquired monikers and envious, I wanted one too. I got as much flak about that debacle as the Solie Incident.
Yet contrived Corporate American despises spontanaeity and its cousins randomness and unpredictability. So long as we all remain satisfied with our dutiful quasi-lives as automaton consumers of their goods and services, they will continue tightening their grip on all aspects of everything; suffocating all creativity in the process. They are like The Alien with their tentacles snaking their way into our lives at every turn. Buy this, don't buy that, this is better, this is worse.
Consider that ABC once put talking devices in urinals to tout it's moribund show Norm.
A few weeks ago one of my best friends, who lives in another city, asked me, "So what's going on with your boyfriend?" She was joking, because I don't have a boyfriend. But there are usually some boys in my life. Right now, there are a lot of boys, so when she asked I became confused. Finally I said, "Which one?"
She laughed: "Geez Jean, how many do you have?"
I don't have that many. Really. There's the one who always notices when I wear my nice outfits. He gives me puppy-dog eyes, but his sense of humor is a bit crude... it turns me off. There's the one who also does the dreamy eyes, but never seems to be having a good day. I'm not into all the angst. There's the one who disappeared when his dissertation ran into trouble. I liked him. And finally, there's the one around whom I can't seem to think straight. I can't get it together around him. I think he's just playing me for a sympathetic ear. My friends all hate him, everyone says I've been played, and still when I look at him my sight is obscured by some kind of dark haze. It makes me stay out until three in the morning with him. It makes me let him drive cross-country with me. Is my girl-fu good enough to snare him somewhere in between Los Angeles and Chicago? I wonder.
Yes, I'm moving to Chicago. I got into a Master's program. It will take one year to finish, and after that I will either stay to work in Chicago, or apply for a Ph.D. program. I miss L.A. already and I haven't left yet. I've lived here since I was a baby. My world is here: my favorite stores, the streets I've known for decades, the landmarks. The people, although that doesn't include all of my friends anymore. The life... Big Bear when you want to see snow, Venice when you want to see sand, the Standard for yuppies, Las Vegas for sun-baked dissolution and great buffets. Pho and Taiwanese ice joints. French-Vietnamese sandwiches and tamales flown via carry-on from Guatemala. Things I enjoy.
I can't complain, though. My life to come is going to be very exciting. I'm going to be studying with some amazing people. Two of my best friends are in Illinois, and Chicago is of course Chicago. It will be good. The boys will have to stay behind. Except the one bastard. Chicago is his hometown.
There's a lot of sectarian violence in this world. I mean a LOT. Some people seem eager to do violence to one another based on slights, real or imagined, against their faith. This is obviously something that's been going on for some time, and in a liberal democracies in particular it seems hard to solve. In relatively homogenous countries governed by a tyrant of some sort (king, etc.) the path is clear: outsiders are outside and their persons and beliefs are thus good fodder for your guns, cannon, sharpened sticks, what have you.
In a liberal democracy that professes to welcome outsiders and be tolerant of their views, the way is a bit muddier. France probably has it the easiest, in that the French make it clear that they expect people who move to France to become French and no mistake. It's thus been perfectly in keeping with French standards (despite some distaste on the part of observers) to rule that religious displays in public are a violation of French secularism, for instance.
In the US and Britain, however, we've embraced multiculturalism to some degree. This by itself isn't a bad thing - we allow for the possibility that our cultures can grow and be enriched by the cultures of new arrivals. We've reaped many benefits thanks to this relative openness (I think with my stomach so the incredible variety of cuisines available in our cities is first to my mind).
On the other hand, we don't have a good response to disinterest on the part of immigrants in integrating into the culture of their adoptive home. Here in the US, for instance, we are basically powerless to compel anyone to learn the national language if they choose not to, or to deal with those who govern their own households in ways that are not strictly illegal but violate our principles of womens' or childrens' rights. If a husband won't allow his wife to drive or work, or won't allow his children to date once they reach high school, or select their own careers once they graduate from college, we are prevented from acting based on our equally strong principle of respecting the cultures of our neighbors.
I think this is a good thing. Government shouldn't be in the business of telling people what they can't do in their own homes unless someone is getting abused, or wants to escape and is bodily prevented from doing so. Government also shouldn't be in the business of deciding which religions are nice and which are naughty - even though there are a lot of beliefs in *most* world religions that don't seem to line up very well with the principles of liberal democracy.
Britain is in a funny position now. They have anti-hate laws on the books for certain groups which fought for them (why hate crimes weren't defined more broadly is anyone's guess). Britain also has seen some anti-Muslim grumbing recently thanks to the recent bombings and even earlier because of what appears to be a culture of intense anti-Western sentiment among some Muslim clergy preaching there. There was also an ugly incident where some Sikh youths got the idea into their heads that having their faith insulted gave them the right to go crazy-go-nuts at a playhouse in Birmingham, and the general "they're stealing our jobs and neighborhoods!" crazies who live everywhere haven't helped create a general atmosphere of tolerance either.
So now they have a new anti-hatred bill winding its way through the legislative process. The proposition seems reasonable: people shouldn't do or say things that inspire hatred of other people's religions. Warnings start going off, however, when one considers what happens in other countries that have similar laws on the books. The notion of making illegal "documents which violate religion X" seems ... well, a bit undemocratic too. Especially when you consider, for instance, that the religious writings of pretty much every religion directly contradict those of every other religion.
No matter what you believe, you must accept (well, I guess you don't HAVE to accept it - you could just go absolute ape-shit all the time) that the world is filled with people who believe that your religion is absolute nonsense. There are lots of people who believe that Moses or Krishna never existed, that Jesus didn't rise from the dead, that Mohammed wasn't inspired by God, etc. And if you have an answer to someone's fun-making or challenge, then by all means let's hear it. But I'm worried when we start silencing citizens for fear that people will be offended. I have the right to hate not only your religion but you personally. I have the right to question or mock what I think is silly or dangerous, whether religious, philosophical, or whatever. My right to call silly buggers on your religion is no different from my right to speak out against any other belief (political, etc.). And if there is anyone who can't take the heat, who can't hear their religious views challenged without flying into a violent rage, then I've got news: that discomfort is the price of free speech. If it's too much to bear, there are a lot of contries in the world where you won't have to worry about it.
This just seems a bit too close to a law against blasphemy. And that, I fear, isn't the mark of a healthy democracy at all.
One of the most interesting things about growing up in a place like Iowa is seeing the stark contrast between one's hometown and where one chooses to live after that. I was raised in Iowa and went to school there (mostly because of a scholarship) but I was always dreaming of the day when I could leave the corn-drenched state and move somewhere a little bit more exciting. For every person that's nascent and raised in Iowa and plans to stay there for their entire lives, there are probably five others just biding their time until they can leave. And of course, now that I'm in L.A., I've left behind the hogs and corn and found.... well, I've found something different that suits me better. Yet what really gives me pause is how much similar people are here to those back home.
When you grow up in the Midwest, you really become accustomed to the genality, hard-working ethic, and general good-will people have towards one another, even if they're strangers. Now, this isn't always the case, but it happens far more often than not. Leaffin recently spoke of her experiences in Central and South America and how she was slightly surprised by the kindness of strangers. She and I grew up in the same town in Iowa and went to school together; even there, we would have been surprised by someone just out and saying "come back another day with the money." But small change, a few dollars here and there, doesn't matter so much. It didn't happen to me often back in Iowa, but every now and then.
What I didn't expect was to find it here, in L.A. Today I was in a rather foul mood, and to alleviate that I did what any 20-something guy would do : I decided to have a couple drinks. However, I realized that I had very little drinkable in my apartment, save the large bottle of Absolut in my freezer, and I wasn't about to shoot that. So, since I live in a fairly convenient neighborhood, I went to the liquor store down the street.
West Hollywood is a very Russian area for some reason; or perhaps it's not in its entirety, but around my block it certainly is. Most of my neighbors are Russian, many of the businesses are Russian-owned, and even many of the store signs are purely in Russian. Granted, most of my fellow West Hollywood residents are actually from the Ukraine or other former Soviet states, but it's still intriguing to see the culture and to hear Russian spoken as often as English and to see Cyrillic signs everywhere.
The liquor store down the block from me is Russian owned; the owner and a gent I believe to be his son are often speaking in a foreign tongue to customers. All I can comprehend is "Spacieba." But I think the ethic of people has translated across linguistic boundaries..... or maybe West Hollywood isn't as L.A. as other places in the city.
I went to purchase some beer and Red Bull (not all for tonight) and I found that for a bill of $24 and change I had only $23. Now this is a very small difference, truly, and I knew that I had more money back in my apartment. I didn't have my debit card on hand, since I lost it yesterday (and the accursed person who retrieved it from the ATM after I'd left it there (which I'd never done before—why do they even have ATMs that still keep your card instead of just a swipe) withdrew $500 and then attempted to take out more. Thankfully, the bank will reimburse me for that.). I said I lived just down the street and I'd be back in a moment with the full amount. However, the cashier said to take my purchases and just "come back later with the money." I agreed, and as I walked back to my apartment, it struck me how I really didn't expect treatment like this anywhere in L.A. I've seen people turned away for having less than a dollar short for things before; indeed, I've even seen the homeless in my neighborhood turn down an offering that was less than a dollar.
I walked back to my apartment, deposited my items in the fridge, and walked back to the store. It was rather hot out (which is slightly unusual in L.A., though it is in California) and so I was sweating a bit once I got back to Liquor Time (yes, that's really its name.) And as I handed the cashier the additional two dollars I had lacked before, he asked "What was the total again? $24?" and I replied "$24 something." He attempted to hand be back one of the dollars, and I waved it away. An additional 50-odd cents wasn't going to hurt me, and it wouldn't really help them, either. But yet, it seemed kind enough to do, in order to repay his kindness.
Trust: is it easier to give when small losses are concerned? I'm tempted to say yes, but yet, there have been a couple times with amounts over $20 were given to me, with no expectation of repayment.
These are the things that make me remember that we do live a good world.
Hard as it may be to believe this actually happened: Two longtime rival companies came together in what was described as a merger but was really a takeover of the one I worked for by a crosstown rival. Its CEO triumphantly breezed into our HQ for a televised speech and Q&A afterwards. He called on a woman who reminded me of that chirpy-voiced, short-haired girl who does the voiceovers for Volkswagen. "I'd like to address something near and dear to our hearts here at XYZ Co," she said, "DIVERSITY!" "I couldn't help but notice that your inner circle consists entirely of middle-aged white men," she continued, much to the dismay of thousands of cringing viewers crowded around TV monitors, "What do you plan to do to rectify this?"
The CEO stammered something meaningless and then bent to whisper something to his aide, who scribbled on a pad. "She's history," we all exclaimed.
I went to the grocery store where you have to bag your own. There's a conveyor belt on either side of the cashier. The space between checkout lines is very narrow. She placed about fifty of my items on the belt opposite me. Between me and my arduous bagging task stood a hefty Hispanic couple and their kid, jabbering in Spanish. Eager to get on with it but unable to reach my stuff, I said, "Excuse me." She looks at me curiously, like a cat scolded for climbing on the dining room table for scraps. He ignores me completely, continuing to bag massive amounts of rice and beans. I'm able to communicate with her via sign language and she gets out of my way. "Excuse me!!!" I holler at him. Still impervious. So I draw upon my pitiful fluency in French, Spanglish and Jamaican to formulate this hodgepodge: "Senor! Excusez mon! Need to get by Si!" Amazingly it worked and I squeezed by.
I wake up to find there's no coffee. I don't exist without coffee. So I make my way up to 7-11, feeling much like David Bowie must have when he dubbed himself the Pale White Duke. I know full well what awaits me. Swarms of Hispanic day laborers, landscapers and whatnot gathered for their morning social hour around my coveted coffee. Jabbering in Spanish about God knows what. Buying massive amounts of Gatorade and Spicy Big Bites and Corona to stock their coolers. A line snaking halfway to hell. Any woman who'd brave this gauntlet would feel like those hapless chicks in the Tailhook scandal at the Air Force Academy. "Mama si ta!," the men all exclaim while making some kind of lewd hand gesture I don't understand. For some reason, when I'm half awake and dazed, this whole crazed scene makes me feel grossly inadequate.
They don't seem to care what the girl looks like. Fat chicks, pockmarked faces, running sores, imaciated, sloppily dressed, they don't care. Everyone gets the same treatment. They do not discriminate. Which brings me to my point.
Everyone would agree that diversity or multiethnicity is a good thing for society. A staid place like Denmark could use an influx of Latinos, with the effusive gusto they bring, for example. But too much diversity means no cohesiveness, no common ethos, no tie that binds a culture together. Indeed, as Pat Buchanan analogized in Death of the West, what we have today isn't so much a melting pot of yore as a tossed salad.
To me the biggest problem with certain Latin Americans having imported their culture here and made scant effort to assimilate is practical in nature. When we speak different languages, we can't communicate on even the most basic of levels let alone have any meaningful discourse. See paragraph 3 above.
As I edge my way through the crowd toward the coffee station, it becomes necessary to reach my hand at crotch level for stirs and lids. The jabbering men are standing so close to these items that my hand comes within an inch or so of their dicks. This is as close as my hand has ever come to another man's package. Now, I don't have any use for this. Ah but I do wonder what they are saying about the Pale White Duke in their midst.
Here we go again. See the carnage. See the claims of responsibility on shady websites. See the politicians wagging their fingers and promising to bring the thugs to justice, whatever that means. See Lock's beloved liberals bemoaning our lack of understanding of the root causes of terrorism. As usual the simple answer is the right one. The root cause of terrorism is---terrorists. Not just any terrorists, Wahibbi Muslim terrorists. Putting aside the USS Cole and Pentagon, which were ligit military targets in a war on the west Osama declared publicly back in '98, they're responsible for two attacks in NYC, the ones in London, Bali, Turkey, Moscow, Spain and the two US embassies in Africa. Let's not forget all their webcast beheadings including the recent killing of the Egyptian ambassador to Iraq. And roadside bombs in Iraq.
Those same liberals caution us not to let this descend into a "clash of civilizations" between the sophisticated, secular west and the religion of peace, Islam. As if it already hasn't. More specifically it is a clash between us and the Wahibbis; we have no quarrel with Sunnis or Shi-ites.
It is also a clash between those two mainstream factions of Islam and the twisted Wahibbis who are the source of all evil today. Here's what the Muslim Council of Britain said: "These evil deeds make victims of us all. The evil people who planned and carried out these series of explosions in London want to demoralize us as a nation and divide us as a people. All of us must unite in helping the police capture these murderers." That's pretty plain talk.
Here are our only choices: 1) Accept things as they are. Do our best to be vigilant and beef up security, but know that every year or so this is going to occur. Forever, or until the Wahibbis meet their goal of killing or subjugating every non-Wahibbi man woman and child alive. And it will only get worse as they acquire more lethal weapons. To this end they will violate every tenet of the very religion their hate-filled ideology grew out of. (One of the targeted subway stations was used mostly by Muslims, a definite no-no. As is the slaughter of defenseless old men, women and kids.)
It's best to think of our sworn enemies like a heavily armed cult, not a strain of Islam. And just ask David Koresh and the Branch Davidians how we deal with heavily armed cults; especially ones headed by deranged pricks who take multiple wives. In Osama’s case, those wives would include his first and main squeeze Sabiha. She endured 25 years of his incessant chanting and notoriously small-dicked ministrations. She then stormed out in disgust after he brought a nubile cutie young enough to be his daughter into the fold. What kind of balls must it take to jilt a mass murderer who makes Ted Bundy look like a humanitarian saint? Which brings me to option #2:
Kill them all and let Allah sort it out. First take great pains to separate real Islam adherents from cult islam i.e. Wahibbis Give folks every chance to renounce violence and hatred and join the Sunnis or Shi-ites and live in peace. Then off the rest of them en masse. (One little problem is that Wahibbism is the official and only religion of our oil-rich pal Saudi Arabia. Oh well. We already hold the second largest oil reserve next to theirs. Maybe we'll take theirs too!)
3) Accede to all Osama's ridiculous demands, whatever they might happen to be on any given day. (Quietly we've already moved most of our troops out of the holy land of Saudi Arabia, one his major beefs. And $3 billion annual aide to Israel could certainly be put to better use building sufficient roads here.) But with the small caveat that in return they agree that there will be a nuclear holocaust in their countries if any harm comes to any of us as a result of their nefarious activities, ever. That should give the tyrants who rule those countries an incentive to police or rub out suspects on their turf. Oh, and there will be no further trade between us and them. We'll get oil from Venezuala, Alaska, Mexico, Russia and Nigeria but not from them. Hell, we'll walk if we have to rather than have anything to do with Wahibi Saudi Arabia. It will be like the old South, two separate but nominally equal worlds. As an added bonus we could abandon the folly in Iraq. Dudes, you're on your own as of today. See ya!
And we shall see who flourishes and who whithers on the vine.
My sister and my host on vacation hates TV. There were like six TVs there but she forbade any watching of them. She's paying the rent so that's ok. But I get home hungering for news. So I have been watching the newscasts avidly, one after another. I know that the French President dissed British and Finnish food, costing France the 2012 Olympic bid. And I know that there are 549,000 registered sex offenders in our midst (in the US alone.) You've got to figure that puts the number of deviants out there at well over a million. Then an expert comes on the screen saying that despite prison sentences (where they are treated none too well by fellow inmates) and "treatment" 95% go back to their old ways.
What does this tell us? To me it says that whether it is genetic or a result of some environmental deal, that is the way these people are and they will never change. Flashers, rapists, child molesters, bestiality fans, you name it and there appears to be a significant portion of the population who prefer that to regular action with consenting adults.
A long time ago homosexuality had a similar stigma attached to it. There were homos but they guarded their secret lives carefully. God forbid anyone would find out Jim Nabors was boning Rock Hudson.
Of course the difference is one of informed consent. My wife has been flashed and she certainly didn't agree to the encounter. I know other people who were sexually abused as children, usually by Catholic priests. By definition altar boys can't give informed consult to getting corn holed by these sickening perverts. Clearly this type of thing is wrong when viewed through the perceptive prism of the majority.
But when you look at the offenders objectively, what is the difference? Even though the vast majority of people, myself included, disapprove of their (violent, forceful) sexual preferences and think they should be killed or castrated, does that delegitimize their preferences entirely? And if this is something they are unable to control, as with the criminally insane, how can they be held legally liable for their acts?
I checked out the age of consent worldwide and found that it is pretty uniform. Except for Spain. There you can have sex with a boy or girl of 13 and it is coapacetic as far as the government is concerned. Her father may be a different story.
These are the types of thoughts that occur to me sometimes and I am not at all sure what to do with them. Hence this post.
That really is all North Carolina's famed Outer Banks is. And yet, people flock to it and always come back with one of those OBX stickers on their cars. I just spent an enjoyable week there for the second year in a row. Both times I've just been lucky enough to be invited to stay down there for free. Now I am hooked. My problem being that I am an asshole cased in a cheerful, reasonable veneer. Stay with me for a week and the asshole is sure to bleed through. So it is very likely no one willl invite me next year, and then I'd be pissed. OBX is in my blood now.
Although it takes a couple days to unwind and get into true Vay-kay mode, once you have it is like you're a totally different person. No worries, no goals, just aimless hedonism day after day. I start walking slower and wearing shades at all times. I stop shaving and donning clean chothes every day. There is a different rhythm to the days and nights.
The problem is that you're really talking about 8 days less two travel days less the two unwinding days and then there at the end odious thoughts of work, bills and responsible life start creeping in. So really your whole Vay-kay amounts to 3 days of mindless pleasure and it is liable to rain on one of those.
The other problem is the bane of everyone's existence: Miniature Golf. Like erecting above ground swimming pools nobody swims in, every parent had found themselves doing this ridiculous activity. It costs $5 a player and they tell you that you can play all you want. Which is a little like someone telling you that you can have an icepick rammed into your forehead as much as you like. The miniature putting areas always have some corny motif and it is next to impossible to hit the ball into the hole. You're issued this scoring card and a pencil, but every hole you have to fish it out of your pocket and count the strokes it takes until each player picks up their ball and throws it in the hole in frustration.
So on the trek home we started compiling a list of things the world could be rid of forever and there is no harm done. Kereoke sprung to mind, as did ticks, mosquitoes, celebrities, picnics and something called an Emeril. This is where one ejaculates into one's hand and then hurls it in someone else's face and yells, "Bam" a la the TV chef. My son and I agree that if this misfortune were ever to befall you, that you might as well end it all now. Nothing good is ever going to occur in your life after such a dehumanizing event.
What else could we do without?