It happens all day long. People prattle on to you about this or that. Mostly it is about themselves or other people who have pissed them off. It is often mean-spirited. It is always boring. And you don't need to cope with it anymore.
Get yourself some discrete-looking earplugs. If need be you can cut one off your Ipod and another off someone else's. Put them in your ears when you wake up. Go about your business.
When the inevitable harangue or diatribe or monologue commences, lock eyes with your tormentor. Look rapt. Act tantalized. Watch his or her mouth carefully, nodding knowingly.
Eventually it will stop flapping, hopefully before your kids are ready to commit you to assisted dying. That is your cue to inteject with "Exactly!" Or you can go with the all-purpose "I know just what you mean!" Or else "I know where you're coming from." But I like "Exactly!" best because you can vary the inflection more easily to convey different meanings depending on what you imagine the subject matter to be.
One of the things you learn about in your first year of law school is the concept of "due process": you can't simply be thrown in jail without charge. The government has to charge you with something, and a judge or a grand jury has to agree that there's actually enough admissible evidence to make the charge plausible. The right to due process is guaranteed by the Constitution. There's a reason for this: the framers knew, as we should given the proliferation of autocracies in this world, that one of the bluntest tools of repression is the baseless imprisonment of enemies of the regime.
So now Congress takes for itself the power to say, "no." Congress says, "we will imprison who we want, and you will accept it. We will tell you what they have done, or not, and they will stay in prison for as long as we decide they should, even until they die. We admit no possibility of mistake, we have to prove nothing, and we call this patriotism." And for those senators brave enough to stand up and try to fight this abomination, the Republicans in the Senate promise retribution.
Congress can not take away the right of habeas corpus, because the right doesn't come from Congress. To do this Congress must amend the Constitution, and it doesn't have the will. Unfortunately, the President has replaced two of the justices of the Supreme Court with people also inclined to support government power at any cost, so it is possible that if his justices turn out to be the lackeys he envisioned that this bill will stand. But it won't stand forever. Either the next Congress or Court will realize the depth of this mistake, or something else will happen. Our nation will decline, the beacon of liberty will be extinguished, and in a way this bill will undo its own makers.
How did your Senator vote? Find out here.
Crib death, or as scientists call it, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is a curious phenomena. Especially when it occurs over and over in the same household. It is curious because it is a cause of death that has no medical explanation or basis. The baby just stops breathing in the crib and it is curtains for him or her. An autopsy typically turns up nothing.
Well, the baby doesn't just stop breathing. It has some help, usually in the form of ma or pa or both holding a pillow or a blankie over their head. SIDS is merely another term for murder, specifically infanticide.
And it is a very difficult murder to pin on anyone. Usually there are no witnesses and if there are, they aren't talking. There are no forensic clues for CSI: Wherever to work with. (BTW I have friend who is a murder detective. He laughs about all the free reign the TV evidence techs enjoy. That would never happen in a real life police department. CSI is as much bullshit as SIDS.)
But you can kind of understand it. Babies can be a real pain in the ass, especially other people's. I swear one is following me around and yowling incessantly wherever I go. His parents repeatedly run me over with their double-strollers and don't even stop to aplogive for maiming me. I have stroller wheel tracks all across my face. Damn moms.
And doncha hate it when coworkers make you look at their interchangeable tot shots? Or worse, bring the little bugger in for all the women to coo over and admire?
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been in the U.S. the past couple days speaking at the United Nations. For some reason Iran scares the living snot out of me, so I've taken every chance I've had to watch him speak. Faces you fears head on, I always say. That's the same reason I went to see Celine Dion when I was in Vegas.
Yesterday was Mahmoud's big speech in front of the UN General Assembly yesterday, and I got to watch all of it live on CSPAN. I also watched most of his press conference today at the U.N. where he answered questions from journalists from around the world. I only watch most of it because Dancing With the Stars was on.
From all the buzz on the guy, I was expecting a maniac. But he seemed well reasoned, well spoken, and charismatic. By the end of each of his two performances, I was starting to come around on this whole Iran thing. But then I turned off the TV, my brain started working again, and just how ridiculous everything he said was became obvious.
One of the frequent themes of his comments was that all people and nations should be subject to the same rules. This is an incredibly reasonable belief, and the basis of all free and peaceful nations, ours included (unless I got that part about how all men are created with certain unalienable rights wrong, like the guys who thought that slavery, and not letting women vote until only about 100 years ago were okay). Unfortunately, his question of why all nations aren't really being treated equally can should have been translated by the U.N. translator as "You guys have nukes, why can't we?" And really, the logic behind that is like when you get caught doing something bad as a little kid, and you rat our your little brother just because it isn't fair that you are the only one getting punished. Two wrongs don't make a right, even if it means you don't get a shiny nuclear bomb, or you have give up your X-Box for a week.
Another of his themes was justice. When one of the reporters asked him if he cared so much for justice, why was any citizen in Iran who criticized the government thrown in prison? His response was perfectly reasonable, that the laws of the land say you can't be openly critical of the government, and by not putting someone in jail for questioning his authority would be the real injustice. This translates to "I want justice in the world, but I should get to be judge, jury, and executioner." If he passed a law in that upon their 18th birthday every girl in Iran had to give him a blowjob, it'd be an "injustice" if they only offered a handy. Justice is simply enforcing the laws on the books, not making sure those laws themselves are in any way just.
Another reporter asked him if he was so much in favor of peace, how we should interpret his past comments about wiping Israel off the map. "Hey," he said, "I love all people, even the Jews." Well, except for the Zionists, who aren't really Jewish, and I guess aren't really people either. In his eyes Israel are occupiers of Palestine, and therefore terrorists.
To him, the equivalent would be if a bunch of Zoroastrians decided to take over the state of New Jersey and declare it their homeland. The people of New York would be totally in the right to send arms and aid to the militia in Jersey who were bombing buses in Newark and shooting rockets at hospitals in Trenton. They aren't helping murderers, rather supporting freedom fighters, and the people just going about their day by picking up some cheap furniture at the Ikea in Elizabeth while trying to avoid getting hit by missiles are the real terrorists.
The scary thing is that if you really believe that the government of Israel are the terrorists, then everything Hezbollah, the PLO, and all their supporters do can be justified as perfectly acceptable behaviors. For example, to catch some terrorists who were hiding in and supported by the government of Afghanistan, we bombed and invaded the country, and toppled that regime. It all is legitimate if Afghanistan had something to do with 9/11 and was a future threat to our country.
But, if we were wrong about the threat of Afghanistan, or say Iraq, then we'd be the terrorists.
Anyway, the strange part of this all is that I found myself totally understanding where the guy was coming from. I completely disagree with his basic premise about Israel, and wish he'd eaten a couple of spinach salads while he was Stateside, but I could see where people might think he could be speaking the true word. In fact, please keep an eye out and if I start to grow a beard, get very secretive about my life and activities, and become insensitive towards women, maybe you should contact Homeland Security on me.
It's 8 AM and I am noting the irony in a columnist grousing about the racism of Survivor: Race Wars and then later making light of consummate white oaf Tucker Carlson being the first "star" ousted from Dancing with the Stars. What's next, Christians squaring off against Muslims and Buddhists and Sikhs? I flick on the TV and on either HBO or Comedy Central there is a WASPy cutup doing standup. It is odd cuz he isn't some loquacious brother trodding through the differences-between-the races fields plowed by Richard Pryor and Chris Rock so many years ago. Nor is he Sarah Silverman bringing her deadpan perspective to the bittersweetness of being a Jewsh girl raped by a doctor. He's talking about an awkward one night stand he had.
The girl pulled away from him and crouched like an umpire and began playing with herself. He likens her to a preying mantis and a box of cow tongues and a DJ spinning records. He decides to join in the auto-erotic fun. While doing so he asks that quintessentially male question: Do you like that? The punchline is that when is the last time a girl replied, "No. I hate it. In fact I am hating it more and more with each disgusting stroke."
And yet it is true. There is something revolting about guys jerking off at all let alone with others present. Hence most male masturbation takes place solo, save for the occasional childhood circle jerk or that time your sister caught you in the bathroom, never to be mentioned again. This is unlike the female version, which can be quite stimulating to some.
The same is true of homosexual activity during threesomes. Many guys would literally die or even lessen their credit score to behold some gal-gal action. Whereas most girls would sooner get beheaded on the web than watch two dudes go at it.
The ACLU needs to look into this dichotomy.
As both of Ann Coutler's leg-men fans know all too well, our kids' textbooks have been rewritten by sushi-eating, America-bashing commie pinko fags. My son confirms this. The following is the new history of america.
We gave the Indians blankets soaked in smallpox, in one of the first uses of bio-weapons. Then we stole their land and relegated them to desolate reservations after pilfering their drugs and plying them with firewater. Violent pot farmer George Washington got so stoned he decided to oust the British. In so doing he showed no gratitude or loyalty to our forebears.
Old white men heretofore known as the founding dads then wrote their exclusionary, hateful constitution. The Brits returned in 1814 to reclaim what was rightfully theirs. We teamed with their archrivals the French and Indians to repel them once again. We then sailed to Africa to haul innocent villagers out of the jungles to enslave, whip and rape them. Hip-hop is the latter-day payback for this outrage.
Nothing else happened until the civil war broke out in 1861. Abe Lincoln didn't much mind slavery, though he was too poor to own any himself. But he hated wearing polyester. He was desperate to bring those cotton-producing states back into the fold. So he enlisted the services of the drunken sadist US Grant. Soon the South was vanquished. Southern rock is the latter-day payback for this outrage.
Then we used ruses to provoke two more wars, one with Spain and the other with Mexico. We stole Florida from the Spaniards and Texas and California from the Mexicans. A swarm of illegal low-riders at early bird special buffets is the latter-day payback for these outrages.
In WWI we jumped into what was essentially a petty local dispute over a duke who got shot. We tipped the scales in what was a perfectly good standoff, causing WWII. We also shot down the amiable Red Baron who was just minding his own business.
In the 30s are government decided it was tired of all these poor people so it starved them all to death. Then came WWII and our senseless firebombing of Dresden, Germany. Halfway across the world we slaughtered 100,000 innocent citizens of Hiroshima. The Japanese promptly surrended but we put our hands over our ears and pretended not to hear. Then we decimated Nagasaki. For good meusre we ousted the Palestinians from their tribal homeland to make room for Jews.
In the 50s conformist czars conspired to repress the Beat Movement, which later morphed into the counterculture of the 60s. The army killed all of them at Kent State. Bored, we decided to employ another ruse to massacre the North Vietnamese. Then we abanonded our allies and it fell to the North.
More recently we've been meddling in the private affairs of the middle east, to disastrous effect. We've thumbed our nose at the hallowed Kyoto Treaty and refused to recognize the World Court. That is the only reason war criminal George W Bush isn't standing trial in the courtroom adjacent to Saddam's.
I'm a lover, not a fighter. My "number" hovers around 50. But I have never been in a real fistfight, unless you count the time I broke a speaker grill over the head of my stalker who was found murdered the next day. No altercations, no fisticuffs, no barroom brawls. The latter is significant, considering that I used to make my living as a pool hustler.
I have assiduously avoided situations that might lead to violent encounters with men. I don't even like men, as I find most of them intimidating. And I've certainly never even considered raising my fist in anger at a women. My knuckles remain unscathed at age 47.
Maybe I am a combination of a man and a wuss. What Detective Monk calls a "muss."
But I do wonder what would happen if I strolled into a biker bar clad in a t-shirt that reads "All Biker Gangs Are Wimpy Faggots." Surely a fracas would ensue. Would I just let myself get knocked out, stomped upon and ultimately get carried away on a gurney or in a body bag? Or would I gamely fight back? Could I even land a solid punch? Or would I fight all sissified like a girl? Could I absorb a smashing blow to the face? Or would I wilt like cheap supermarket roses?
Could I fire a gun and shoot somebody dead? Slit someone's throat? Behead a guy for a webcast? Could I muster the nerve in a pinch? Could you?
The Newt drew flak for suggesting that women shouldn't serve in combat because they might be prone to infection when crouching in ditches. Just as the dean of Harvard got villified for saying that boys are better than girls at math and science. Which, at least statistically speaking, they are. He's now standing on a median with a coffee can in his hand.
It was a small college town with just one bar and no movie theater. The kids would gather there to drink and drug and play pool. I would do there to stay sober and hustle them out of their parents money. I noticed a short-haired ethnic kind of chick with a Brookyn accent watching me play impassively. I could tell there was some kind of interest but I had no idea what sort. No idea.
As the joint was closing and the losers were shuffling out, commiserating about this missed opportunity or that, the Brooklyn girl approached me with a very direct proposition. I was thinking, this is my lucky night! I had had a lucrative night of hustling. I had $75 in my pocket and now an instant, free date.
Alex asked me to drive her to her dorm. But on the way in she saw the light on in her room (or what she said was her room.) This meant her skanky roommate had brought some random guy home again. She suggested that we do it on the walkway, and I foolishly agreed. Afterwards we gathered up our stuff and went our separate ways.
Only when I returned to my apartment did I realize that Alex was the ultimate hustler. She'd watched me pocket all that money over the course of several hours and then stole it from me, along with my wallet, in a matter of seconds.
I stormed over to her dorm, intent on retrieving my cash and maybe punching her in face. Only to find out there was no Alex who lived at that dorm and nobody fitting her description either. I never saw her, my $75 or my wallet again.
In Philly a couple peered out to their driveway and noticed that a man was busily raping a teen there. It happens. This being the City of Brotherly Love i.e. Incestual Homosexuality, they rushed to the distressed damsel's rescue.
What happened next is the mystery. Somehow the rapist managed to pull out a pistol and shoot the couple dead while continuing to rape the teen. When he was done he shot her too. A full recovery is expected, at least physically. A "suspect" was arrested at the scene.
A "suspect?" A guy is there with a smoking gun and pants around his ankles and his slimy junk hanging out and two corpses and a bullet-ridden teenage rape victim are lying around and he is a "suspect?" This guy was a suspect like OJ was a suspect. Oh wait, he's innocent. OJ, that is.
Shooting someone dead isn't as easy as it looks in action movies, any more than beheading Nicole Brown Simpson was a piece of cake. (Just look how long it took to decapitate Nick Berg in the popular webcast. 13 minutes to be exact.)) It requires precise aim, more than a little luck and dealing with the recoil of the gun. The safety has to be off and one must have a bullet in the chamber. Unless the piece is semi-automatic there is that hammer thing to deal with as well. Killing a couple who are rushing at you flush with adrenaline is even harder still. Doing it while, er, doing it is a feat almost unimaginable.
Now just imagine the psychological state of said fully recovered teen. She's been brutally raped in some random couple's driveway, seen them splattered willy-nilly as he continued to pummel away, possibly caught the AIDS and then got shot herself. Having known some teenage girls in my time, I don't believe any of them could ever get past this ordeal. I see a suicide in the offing.
What a nightmare. And what would this philosopher for our times make of this.