Saturday, August 06, 2005

Heroes? Maybe, Maybe Not

here is an interesting story from the new york times that speaks of the dearth of wartime heroes now and how that may have come into play. and it reminds the reader that people like me who are against the war need to remember the men and women who are over there fighting it and just trying to survive and come home, while doing their best to uphold the traditions of the military branches they serve. these people deserve our respect if only because this war is not what they signed up for, but they are not shirking the reponsibility their signing of contracts committed them to. i will argue against this war and the actions of my government, but i can't condemn the soldiers to death. some, i'm sure, love killing anyone who stands in their way. but most just want to do what they agreed to and come home in one piece. you want heroes? no sane soldier who survives will accept that mantle, but they're exactly the ones who deserve it. not because they defended my "freedom", but because they defended themselves and their buddies in a situation they didn't ask for.

Too Good To Be True...

my gawd, it's 1860 all over again. git out the muskets and drop in the powder, martha. we's havin' us a feud.

"South Carolina Republicans say the Democrats need to stop dragging their feet and return the beer money they are owed. Democrats say the check's in the mail."

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Rant O' The Week

i know you don't want to hear it, but i'll keep saying it: our current administration (with the acquiescence of both parties in congress) is leading us down the same road that hitler did in the 1930's. the "war on terror", which has now been redubbed "the war on extremism" (because the former was no longer polling well) has been a smokescreen for global hegemony. we don't care if the world is safe for everyone. we only care that it's safe for our corporations. it's about the money, silly. not the democracy. and it's about whatever smallminded agenda the voting base thinks is important (even though it really isn't).
--quick, which would you rather have: a world free of HIV... or $2.00 a gallon gasoline?
--which sounds better to you: no poverty, no malnutrition, no polio...or unlimited weekend and evening minutes?
--make the choice: 13,000 females a year in the U.S.A. impregnated by rapists or a blanket denial of access to an abortion?
--alternate question: accept funds from the U.S.A. for HIV medicine only if you agree to not promote contraceptives as a means of stopping its spread or tell the U.S.A. to go fuck itself, because you know its abstinence message is death incarnate? warning: the latter will keep all american government monies out of your hands.
--(multiple choice) you find yourself invited to a Bush Townhouse speech. you are given a ticket and you go. on the surface you look like a "normal" person (i.e. no tee shirt with anti-bush slogans, no anti-bush cardboard signs stuffed down your pants). the car you arrive in, however, bears a bumpersticker that reads something to the effect of "no war for oil". after you've been seated a man who looks very much like a secret service agent approaches you, flashes what looks like a badge and tells you that you have to leave. do you:
a) acquiesce quietly and do whatever he tells you even though you've done nothing untoward;
b) ask him what the problem is and ask to speak to his boss when he won't tell you what the problem is;
c) quickly strip down to the anti-bush tee shirts that you had worn in under your outer clothing and begin chanting "we will come all over" ala "we will overcome";
d) know that the prunes coupled with the brownies would take effect about now and, taking a squat, share with your bretheren and sisteren the "fruits" of how you view bush's policies toward anyone who attempts to disagree.

you see, i disagree with almost everything he and his bunch have done. i blog about it. i write to the newspaper about it. i email people about it. and i am on a list because of it. not because i am a threat to our country, but simply because i disagree. i was on the FBI's list once before, because i refused to sign up for the selective service back in 1980 or 82. the FBI sent me nasty letters. claimed i was a "class 4 felon". i was in high school. my mother, who is liberal, didn't like the whole SSS process, but told me i had to do it. i lied when she asked if i had gone to the post office and registered. there was no way. i was hip deep in reagan's island hopping down in central america. no way. but that felon thing blew away like so much political baby kissing. i hope this does, too. i hope we rebound as a nation and get our balances back. because right now we are out of whack. we are not dope. we are not sick.
it's amazing to think that whack doesn't mean "hit on the noggin". and sick means not sick.and dope as for phat...well, i am not a linguist and so i think i decide to pronounce it p-hat.

from this site comes "an editorial:
...the folks who today call themselves "conservatives" - from Limbaugh to Gingrich to Kristol to the senior Bushies - are not conservatives in either the American or the classical European mold. They represent something entirely new in the experience of America, breathtaking in its sweep and horrifying in its reach and ambitions. They are the "new conservatives" or "neo-conservatives."
Arguably, the last two political philosophers who both influenced world events and shared many of the worldviews of today's neocons were the Nicolo Machiavelli (who published "The Prince" in Italy in 1515) and Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels (who inspired a young Adolf Hitler with his magazine "Ostara").

Half Nekkid Thursday

yes, folks. it's that time. high time. high time to give you an unclothed view of part of my anatomy for your delectition. enjoy. try not to swoon. thank you. thankyouverymuch. pogo thanks you, too. and pogo's friends- albert alligator, cherchy lafemme, miz skunk, champeen hosshead, owl, porkypine an' mrs. beaver- thank you as well. and asked me if i wouldn't mind sendin' you a little poem to think of them by (ahem):

how much wood would a woodchunk chunk
would a wood chunk chunk would
a wood chunk chunk woodawood wunk
chunk wooda woo
wa wuh wozza, hum?

much ground
round would
a hound dog hog
if a ground hog
was ground round?

you see, i grew up with pogo the possum an' all his little friends even though they were aborn before my time. while other children were dreaming of g.i. joe, barbie and matchbox i was immersed in the theatrical throes of whether pogo would give a good one to the beak of deacon mushrat. it was also the case with penrod, that irrascible gent penned by booth tarkington. written and inked before my time, but my mother was one for the literate arts and the fiendishly juvenile.
so, this is me, fairly damn nekkid.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

so, there i was, deep in the fresno. wondering if i would ever get out alive. north fresnans were all around me. clovisites were closing in. i realized that i worked in one of the most dangerous places in the world for a towerist: next to PELCO. bastion of greed, greed, greed and charity. damn that last one.
i'll tell you what, though. driving to work in the morning from the relatively safe confines of the tower to the supposedly safe confines of a business near the airport is not what the mayor would have you believe. alan autry. wow. i knew him as a bad actor. bubba from The Heat of the Night (sorry to say, the t.v. series) is my spokesperson to the World At Large. this is the man who "meets" with Mr. Arnie the Steroids Horse who impersonates the Governor in a laugh-filled romp that will leave you breathless and voting for any hooker or midget who ever runs for their offices again.
but today i had to opt out of the 8 hour schedule, because i had to be home between 1 and 4 p.m. the air conditioning guy was going to come by sometime within those time restaints and fix my air conditioning. and it was 103 degrees today. as providence would have it (and we all know that when a service technician says "between this time and this time" he or she means as close as possible to the later one) he showed at 4:15. amazingly, i hadn't given up and left yet to walk and get my car from the shop. i had my hat on, my keys in my pocket and was trying to convince thumper to come in from the front stoop. thumper had other things on her mind like seeing how long i would talk to her before giving up in disgust.
so, the a.c. guy is there. he looks at my furnace. he looks at my condensor unit (he doesn't laugh when i tell him the unit only looks small because of the freon). and he tells me that everything is working fine and to call his shop when something breaks. the damn thing wouldn't turn on on sunday. flat out. wouldn't work.
so, i head down to the car shop where my car is sitting. the same car that wouldn't start on sunday. flat out. wouldn't work. after a nice walk of about 20 minutes in the 103 weather i get there and my car is ready to go. no charge. why no charge? because as soon as it got there it behaved like the child of your relatives' dreams. no pissing, no crapping, sugar doesn't raise the heartbeat by a smidge. so, now i have a car that i don't know will start in the morning (unless it feels like it) and an a.c. unit that will kick if it feels like it. and the experts all agree that i'm not a movie star and i should stop acting like i deserve to be treated like one. almost makes me want to blog another po-em...but not tonight.
i got meat on my mind.

The Adventures of Buck Buck #3, i've made it out of that one guy's pocket. gave me up for a beer. how do you like that? one buck, one beer. he didn't get charged for the second beer or one of my comrades- ducat and cash -would be hanging with me still.
anyway, i'm free at last. thank god almighty, i'm free at last. now if i can only get this new guy to pick me up from the computer table and put me in his pocket. otherwise, how can he spend me? hope there's no sawbucks or larger already in there. change is nice. they're sociable, like to chatter a bit when they're bored. good way to while the waiting time.
huh. he keeps staring at me, then glancing away quickly. wonder what that's about?
oh crap. he's got a cat. filthy little beasts. if i'm so much as moved an inch i'll become a flip toy. okay, so let's concentrate on no wind. still as a midsummer's day. nothing to see here you nasty little monster. keep moving. oh look, it's baby jesus on a string! man, cats are dumb.
...i'm starting to think this may not be my day. he just sits there staring at his computer screen and occasionally pecking inexpertly at it. now, he's surfing the web. wonder what he's looking-- oh, that's just disgusting. perv!!! oh god, spend me quick! and with the other hand!!!
...i feel so dirty and used...

(police blotter #18843-28: supect was turned in by owner at 14:23:30 on 8/2/05. supect gives its name as "buck". refused to speak or cooperate with arresting officers. appeared delusional, paranoid and wrinkled. upon body search, smallish amounts of white residue were noted. suspect was consequently tested for drugs. trace amounts of cocaine, speed and crystal meth were present in suspect's fibers. suspect was remanded to owner's custody with one year's probation. conditions of probation are as follows:
1. no loitering near liquor stores;
2. no loitering near toilet tanks;
3. not to be seen rolled up in public;
4. not to be seen in north fresno college bars;
5. complete 30 cents of a drug diversion program;
6. no gang associations (i.e. "13th street hempers").
suspect is required to check in weekly with an officer of the court to verify current address and may be subject to random drug tests. any failure to comply with all or any of the above requirements may result in a jail sentence of no more than one year and a fine of one dollar.)

update circa 19:27-
yup, this guy's pretty much a tradeoff with the last guy. goes to the store, buys beer and cigarettes. pays with plastic. yeah, i know i couldn't cover the purchase. but he could have gotten rid of some of the "elite" that he is still holding onto. and he had them in his pocket (yes, i'm forced into uncomfortably close confines with a five, ten and twenty...bitchy little pricks).
ah well, tomorrow's a new day and he does so like the catering truck that shows up at work for the morning break. perhaps he'll want a muffin or breakfast burrito. one can only hope and dream, because his pocket is dark, warm and humid. and smells of elderberries.

Monday, August 01, 2005

These Asian Times

"We have plenty of plutonium in our nuclear power plants, so it's possible for us to produce 3,000 to 4,000 nuclear warheads." The same year the chief cabinet secretary, Yasuo Fukuda, stunned the nation by claiming Japan's "pacifist" constitution did not prohibit nuclear weapons.

Outsiders could forgive the average Filipino for being cynical, and even that might be too generous a word. In fact most are way past being cynical. A good portion of the more than 80 million Filipinos are so fed up with their keepers, they simply don' t care any more. Instead, they prefer to lampoon their leader, with jokes spread by text messages and, perhaps most hilariously, by making her voice into a wildly popular cell phone ring tone.
What seemed strange at the time was a former president holding a news conference from inside the presidential palace. More than a few people speculated that there had been some kind of soft coup, that Arroyo had become nothing more than a figurehead, with Ramos as the real power in charge. While Ramos laughed off the suggestions, Arroyo's words at the state of the nation address said otherwise. As she commenced her speech, she welcomed and thanked Ramos even before the Senate president, Franklin Drilon, who occupied the chair right behind her. From a protocol standpoint this was a serious blunder. From a political angle, however, it made perfect sense; Drilon, a former staunch ally, had recently dumped Arroyo and asked her to resign.

A Case of the Mondays

here i sit broken hearted
have a car which shoulda started
ignition switch has gone kapoop
i'm missing work and outtta the loop.

AC unit done quit on me
and the air in here is 103
money's tight, not much to give
now i know how artists live.

yes, indeedy. home alone. without a car. without reliable air conditioning. and a cat that suddenly wants to be picked up and held. i have to admit that the walk home this morning from the mechanic's shop was not so bad. i stayed on van ness blvd as long as i could. and the tow truck fee was a lot smaller than it could have been. you see, yesterday when i got in my beloved bmw 3.0 Si (silver) to go and meet lecram for sunday coffee at java wava i noticed something amiss. the damn thing wouldn't start! wouldn't even turn over! all it would do was play dead!
so, i calmly got back out of the car and called lecram to inform him that i would not be meeting him after all. this was not a good start to the day. especially after i very calmly put my fist through the window and my foot as well.
that was a joke.
so, i fretted some and i stewed some and i chewed my nails some wondering whereohwhere was i going to raise cash if the car problem thingy turned into an expensive surgery (and trust me. nothing about this car's upkeep is cheap). after a while i turned on the central A.C., because the thermostat hit 90. an hour later i realized that besides stewing i was now steaming. boiling over. that's when i noticed the thermostat read 95. that's when i noticed something new was amiss. that's when i noticed the outside condensor unit hadn't kicked on. that's when i noticed that the furnace blower was pushing outside air in without benefit of cooling.
all of this on a sunday when nothing's open and no one cares.
so, i walked over to my mechanic's house to find him remodeling the kitchen. i told him of the problem and asked him for advice. the advice he gave me in body language was to leave immediately. i politely did so without reminding him of the more than $2000 i had spent at his shop in the last year.
so, now to this morning. i called van ness automotive (a neighborhood shop), was given the green light to bring it in and proceeded to call for a tow truck. first, though, i (in my infinite wisdom) decided to try starting the car one more time. and it star---no it didn't. it thought about it for half of a second, then reverted to its original opinion.
i called for the truck. the truck arrives, driver asks what's the problem, checks lights, asks me to turn the key with lights on to check battery...and guess what? the car starts. it starts as if it hadn't a care in the world. after a good, hearty, man to man chuckle with the driver (and i'd swear the car was laughing, too) we agreed that he would charge me for a service call and would follow me to the car shop at no extra fee. so, a silverer lining around my silver P.O.S.
now, i'm home again thinking that i could hop on the city bus and be at work in about an hour (because fresno's bus system serving a community of well over 500,000 souls is a system built for a town of 500). then, my landlord calls.
"joel, whozit air conditioning will be at your house tomorrow between 1 p.m. and 4."
"...greeaat. i'll be here."
at that point i know i have no intention of getting on any bus to drive anywhere for over an hour and still have a 3/4 mile walk to work. i, also, knew that i would have to call my manager and gently inform him that i would be bussing it to work tomorrow and needing to leave early...but that brings up the question: if the earliest i can get to work is about 7:30 a.m. and i would need to catch a bus that got me back to my house by 1 p.m., should i even go in if i can only be there for four hours? the asphalt work that i do is an all day affair. after 4 hours i'm just getting into the nitty gritty of the tests.
well, i haven't called him yet. most likely he'll tell me to borrow a company truck to drive home in tomorrow. which ain't a bad thing. those trucks have better air conditioning than my car.
so, here does the call...

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sunday Sermon

yes, Jayne, there is a Santa Claus (so long as we keep him in our hearts). but no, jayne, there is no democracy. there hasn't been for quite a long time. it's not Bush who started it. it wasn't Reagan or Clinton. it was a group of former Communists who became disillusioned with that party's goals, realizing that it had no chance of surviving or effecting change. so, they became Democrats. they were part of the New Deal and Kennedy's Camelot (though many were opting out by that point). some were singled out during the McCarthy debacle. after that, they became Neo-Conservatives. and they studied. and they realized that corporations, not nations, are the true rulers of this world. corporations make and break governments. corporations control the flow of money and research. corporations such as IBM, AT&T, Exxon, General Electric, Mobil, Johnson & Johnson, Nike...these entities are what control your and my destiny inasmuch as we consume. and we consume much more often than we vote or read or write. do you drink water? they own the water. our government doesn't. do you need gas, electricity, food, entertainment, clothes, housing? all basic needs, all owned by corporations. all touted by politicians as issues to be addressed if only you will vote for said politician. but said politician's war chest is not filled by you or me. it is filled by corporations intent on changing or introducing legislation. it is filled by corporations which are filling the opposition's war chest as well. corporations don't care who wins so long as one does. and it's no secret that the "special interest lobby groups" and PAC's in D.C. are the movers and shakers. all governments look at public polls. all governments try not to step too far out of the norm when pushing their agendas. but the special interests and PAC's are the corporation fronts that tell our governments just how far they CAN tiptoe out without being dragged down. halliburton being given new war contracts despite its lousy accounting department, despite its cost overruns and fraudulent billing? no problem so long as Bolton is being held up for crucifixion. no problem so long as Rove is blabbing secrets. the corporations are the ones raping us. they are the ones who control our every move. Bush and his band are the Players, the ones who put on the show in order to distract. if he's lucky, Bush will go down in the history books as a great president. if he's unlucky, he'll be remembered as a schmuck. the corporations don't care either way. they get their contracts. they manipulate the stock market. the oversee global transactions. they shadow every government in existence and almost always are "in the king's ear" before our government is. and our government will never say boo, because the corporations are the best at wooing and bedding. and once bedded...always wedded.

(so, this may have nothing to do with the above diatribe, but i find it indicative)
Leaked emails from two former prosecutors claim the military commissions set up to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay are rigged, fraudulent, and thin on evidence against the accused.