Saturday, September 01, 2007

Moving Sale!

We're going to abandon this blog, shifting over to our new site.

Come see us there, for conversation about sex in prehistory, why ladies moan, chimps have red asses, and Darwin knew more about Blue-footed Boobies than just plain boobs.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Kids, Avert Your Eyes!

This blog's been rated R.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

"The Homeland"

When did the United States become "The Homeland?" Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I never heard this usage until we entered the "post-9/11 world," that is, entered the looking-glass. It seems strange to me that political consultants can come up with something like this for Bush to use in his speeches and it simply enters the language. Where's the filter of skepticism and common sense? Now I read speeches by Obama using the term, without irony.

Yankee, go back to your homeland!

Framing Debate

If you set the terms of the debate, you can't lose it. Though this is an obvious point, it seems the press and Democrats either don't understand it or choose to ignore it.

There is no war on terrorism. "Democracy in Iraq" is nothing but an empty slogan. There are no plans for removing US troops from that part of the world. Even if a candidate gets elected president after promising to withdraw US troops, he/she will change course once they are in a position to do so. Guaranteed.

This is all about energy supplies. Terrorism, democracy and the rest of it are all side-shows at best, pure distraction at worst. By letting the administration frame the debate in terms of "progress toward democracy" or "fighting terrorists," our press and false opposition party participate in the fraud being perpetrated upon the public. By accepting that this is a worthy conversation, we allow the fraud to continue.

From beginning to end, this is about oil. Nothing else. Control the oil and you control the world. Simple as that. Brutal, but true. Anyone who thinks the US is fighting for "freedom" or "democracy" is deluded. The Democrats are in on the game, like the guys who pretend to lose then win at Three Card Monty. It's all part of the game. In the end, they all go home and split the take.

Don't let anyone tell you any different.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Alberto Gonzales in the Closet

Am I the only one who thinks the United States is being run by a cabal composed of closeted homosexuals and psychopathic homophobes? I had the misfortune to watch Alberto Gonzales in his latest masochistic testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and I swear my gaydar was ringing off the hook! It made me think about the whole Jeff Gannon situation from a few years ago: gay escort pretending to be a journalist uses a false name and gets Secret Service clearance to enter the White House over 100 times. What? He's in the same room with our precious, irreplaceable President, and he's a gay hooker using a fake name? What?

Bill Clinton isn't the only guy getting hummers in the West Wing. It's amazing to me that the public never found out WHO GOT THIS GUY PAST SECURITY. He didn't wander in on his own. This isn't like getting your friend into the disco. The Secret Service didn't rubber stamp his pass without looking into who he was. Somebody -- somebody with lotsa clout got him in. Who was it? Who, working in the White House, in a position of great authority, is pulling strings for a gay hooker who specializes in soldier-boy fantasies?

Can you say blackmail-ready? Did you know Rove's adoptive father was an openly-gay man with about three dozen body piercings -- most of them in his genitalia? Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but there's certainly some cause to wonder what sorts of demons are lurking under Karl's bed at night.

It's no longer original to point out all the things this administration has done that make a blowjob from Monica seem to be no big deal and nobody's fucking business (how it seemed to me at the time), but come on. I submit to you that our government has gone well over into the Twilight Zone. Bush, Gonzalez, Rove... closeted gay boys who love macho uniforms and cower in fear of the Big Dick (Cheney), who knows their secret and wields it like a sushi knife.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Eden Reconsidered

So the central creation myth of western culture has it that Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. This is presented as the punishment they received for having defied the explicit instructions of a vengeful God who told them to leave well enough alone. They reached for more than what they found there in Paradise, and lost everything as a result. Before The Fall, they were naked and innocent, living off the fruit of the land (literally), bearing their children and living happily without suffering -- ignorant and free.

From my perspective, this narrative is clearly about the so-called agricultural revolution. It seems the abandonment of the hunter/gatherer existence our species had enjoyed for many millennia was a painful, reluctant process.

And then there's this: a garden is a place of cultivation. Adam and Eve were not kicked out of the Garden; they were kicked in to one!

Forget the Garden of Eden; Adam and Eve lived in the Jungle of Eden. The garden/farm is where it all went sideways. We've been suffering the consequences of this shift ever since.

The abandonment of the foraging life in favor of agriculture is our original sin.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Egos in the Rain

Since a blog is just a place to gripe, with the occasional nod toward something substantive, let me just say that HELL IS A RAINY DAY IN CHINATOWN. I'm 6'2" which means that most Chinese hold their umbrellas at just about my eye-level. I know I'm a grumpy old fart, but have you noticed how people use their umbrellas as projections of their egos? Even when it's not raining and everyone else is happily walking along under an open sky, there's always some dipshit with his over-sized, entire-sidewalk-occupying umbrella wide open. What's the message he's sending? Asshole. Heaven help us if he gets his hands on a baby-carriage....

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Delayed Gore

Given the events of the past 7 years, how many people do you think there are in the US who are kicking themselves for not voting for Gore in 2000? While Bush and the republican leadership have been wrong on every major issue they've confronted, Gore, it seems, has been right. Global warming, Iraq, 9/11, taxes, budgetary constraint.... With Bush's approval ratings reduced to the hard-core zealots who think world-wide disaster is the necessary precursor to the return of their bearded savior, I'd imagine the other (sane) former-Bush supporters might be willing -- eager even -- to give Gore his chance. According to this report, a shadow staff is assembling in the wings, waiting for Al to give the word.

Those same former Bush supporters would be unlikely, I suspect, to vote for Hillary. She just rubs too many people the wrong way. And haven't we had enough of the dynasties in the White House?

The republicans don't seem to be offering anyone truly viable: a Mormon who has changed his position on abortion, gay marriage and hunting? A New York cross-dresser who has shamelessly cashed-in on 9/11, with a slew of ex-wives and mistresses and ties to organized crime? Another bad actor with cancer and a trophy wife younger than his children? A former hero who sold his soul and dignity, far too cheaply and now can't look himself in the mirror?

In a previous post, I talked about how the only leaders worth following really don't want the job. I think Gore fits into that category at this point. We need his leadership much more than he needs our admiration.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Home-Grown Political Prisoners

The best way to tell how dangerous any given drug is is to look at the ratio of effective dosage to fatal dosage. If two aspirin relieve a headache, how many kill you? If half a joint gets you laughing, how many would it take to put you under? This chart shows the ratio for many of the most common recreational drugs.

As you can see, just 5X the normal dose of heroin or 10X that of booze will kill you, while you'd need to take 1000X the normal dose of LSD to do the job, and the only way smoking marijuana would kill you is if you lit your hair on fire or ended up drowning face-down in a tub of ice cream. An interesting article explaining how these calculations are made can be found here.

So, if it's true that pot, mushrooms and LSD are utterly NOT dangerous, what do we call the hundreds of thousands of people currently sitting in prisons across the US, convicted of cultivation, possession or sale of these substances? People who not only did not hurt anyone, but COULD NOT have hurt anyone by their actions inasmuch as these substances are simply NOT medically dangerous?

I call them political prisoners.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

On Crying Wolf

The following is from a blog called Violent Acres. She's pretty funny normally, but makes a serious point in this post. Here she's focused on the role of governmental lying, but I'd expand it into commerce as well. My own conclusion is that as media has intensified its presence in social consciousness, we've come to accept the underlying (pun intended) premise of advertising (that it's all about style of presentation -- bullshit is fine as long as it's funny or memorable in some way). It's like a virus that's jumped from something we've created (media, advertising) into our own minds. Very strange, and certainly a worrisome development.

The Government Who Cried Wolf

March 15th, 2007

My husband’s youngest child has developed a bit of a lying problem. He lies to get out of trouble. He lies to avoid doing something he doesn’t enjoy. He lies to get attention or to get people to like him. Sometimes, he lies for no apparent reason at all.

I tried to explain to him that lying is probably one of the worst things a person can do. I expected him to accept my morality as fact and not question my Supreme Adult-like Assessment of his Bad Behavior.

Instead, he asked me, “Why? What’s so bad about it?”

Well, touché.

What is so bad about lying? We currently live in a culture that cumulatively lies our asses off on a nearly daily basis. We lie to get out of trouble. (I’m sorry, officer, I didn’t realize how fast I was going.) We lie to avoid doing something we won’t enjoy. (I’d love to go to your party; it’s just that I already made plans.) We lie to get attention (Oh man, I am feeling so sick today) and we lie to get people to like us. (I love your new haircut!)

At first, we told ourselves that Little White Lies were OK. After all, there were good intentions behind a lot of our lies. Most of the time, we were trying to be tactful. We were attempting to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. We were doing our best to remain politically correct. We wanted to make friends and keep them happy. What’s the harm in that?

Then, our lying got out of control. It was almost as if we started to glorify lying. Joe Millionaire was a likeable guy despite his steady stream of lies to potential new wives. The biggest and most skilled liar won a million dollars on ‘Survivor’ or earned a position working for Donald Trump. A greedy woman lied about being raped in order to sue a basketball star and escaped punishment when she was found out. Our very own president of the United States chose to perjure himself in a court of law rather than simply say, “Fuck off, it’s none of your damn business.”

So how does one explain to a child that lying is wrong when it’s so obviously in vogue?

For a minute there, I was just as confused as my husband’s son. Then I closed my eyes tightly and desperately searched my memory for what my Father told me. This is what I finally came up with:

“Because, someday, you are going to be telling the truth and you’ll need someone to believe you. But no one will.”

I consider myself to be quite the Average Joe when it comes to politics. By that, I mean I am mildly ignorant about what goes on in Washington and I go to the polls with only a vaguest understanding of the issues. Oftentimes, I end up voting with my gut or just giving up altogether and voting down party lines.

I don’t want to be ignorant. I want to make informed, solid, confident decisions. However, the more I read about the people in power, the more I have a sneaking suspicion that everything they say is all bunch of bullshit. Every time I attempt to do some honest research, I am confronted with nothing but lies.

The Democrats want me to believe that anyone who doesn’t support government sponsored programs that promote a victim mentality (such as welfare and social security) is a cruel, intolerant, selfish asshole. The Democrats want me to pay minorities for past atrocities (Through affirmative action, etc) committed against their ancestors based completely on the color of my skin. If I argue or point out the fact that my ancestors did not even live in America when slavery was rampant, they call me a racist. Should I be against gay marriage but completely supportive of homosexual civil unions, I am a homophobe. The Democrats want me to believe that supporting speech that is hateful strictly based on a person’s constitutional rights is akin to agreeing with the person being the jerk.

I am starting to wonder if ‘Intolerance’ is the Democrat’s big lie. It seems to me that they use that word as a weapon to demoralize people and create social stigma around any idea that is contrary to their own. Excuse me if that doesn’t seem very tolerant to me.

The Republicans want me to believe that anyone who is an Atheist possesses no morals and will someday commit a crime. They tell me that I only resent being spied on because I have something to hide. If I support abortion because I believe it is more merciful to end a life than to bring it into the world unwanted and abused, they accuse me of being a heartless murderer. If I say it is better for a child to be raised by a gay couple as opposed to being completely abandoned, the Republicans say I lack family values. If I insist that school should be a place for education and not religious training, it is obvious to them that I don’t give a shit about the children.

Perhaps ‘Family Values’ is the Republican’s big lie. That phrase is being used to shame the opposition into supporting religious agendas in a country that prides itself on religious freedom. Just because I am not a Christian does not mean that I do not see the value in a strong family unit, nor does it make me a criminal.

The Feminists tell me that men and women who complete the same job do not make equal pay. If true, I agree that is unfair. However, when I make note of the fact that men do not get equal rights in family court, I notice that the feminists are suspiciously quiet.

Is Feminism about equality or superiority? Do they even know anymore?

Some scientists say global warming is a very real phenomenon. They say that unless we act now, there will be tragic consequences for the future. Other scientists say that the Earth has gone through varying climate changes for billions of years. They note the tropical climate back when dinosaurs walked the planet and the ice age that soon followed.

Who shall I believe when both groups hold their hands out for more grant money?

Every time I turn on the TV, I hear varying versions of the phrase ‘SEE HOW YOUR CHILDREN ARE IN DANGER, NEWS AT 11!’ Undoubtedly, I am worried and I quickly tune into the news that night….only to watch a report about a steep set of stairs or a chair that is being recalled because of its tendency to pinch thighs. Serious Thunderstorm Alerts turn out to be minor rainfall and scary viruses that sweep the nation are nothing more than common colds.

When did the news embrace cheap scare tactics in lieu of unbiased, factual reporting?

We are told that we’ve gone to war to prevent more terrorist attacks similar to the one that took place on September 11th. The President assures us that he is trying to prevent the loss of more American lives. But as the war rages on, one can’t help but notice the death toll is rising. We were told the Middle East had Weapons of Mass Destruction. Then someone said that they didn’t. Then we found some chemical….things? I don’t know. Something doesn’t quite add up anymore.

My gut tells me that everyone currently in power is a liar. But if that is the case, then who do I believe? Where do I go for unbiased facts when every legitimate source is suspect?

I consider myself an Average Joe in that I have lost faith in it all. I have turned my television off and I have canceled my subscription to the newspaper. I have lost the will to sift through partial truths, minor falsities, purposeful deceptions, and bald face lies. Instead, I have focused all of my attention on My World and I pay little mind to what goes in The World.

But, someday, I wonder what will happen if some vital information was suddenly stumbled upon. Perhaps the politicians will try to warn us and we will all sneer at them in disgust. Maybe the media will frantically attempt to report the news…to billions of people who only roll their eyes in response. Scientists and Activists may beg us to believe them only to be met with bored, apathetic sighs.

I wonder if one day this world will be met with tragic consequences simply because those in power refused to stop crying wolf.

If so, we’ll all be royally fucked. But at least we can take our children by the hand and say, “This. This is why lying is bad.”

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"Primitive" Politics

"Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia. "
Kurt Vonnegut

Of the many lessons we could learn from pre-agricultural cultures, one of the most valuable may concern politics. In hunter-gatherer societies, political power is diffuse and fluid. Leaders are generally not really "chosen" in any concrete way; people just gravitate toward those who seem to inspire confidence, based upon their track record, character and generosity. So one person might be "leader" when it came to questions of where to hunt, while another might be "leader" in questions of domestic disputes, and so on. But there is one quality that universally disqualifies anyone from becoming a "leader" in these societies: the desire to be a leader.

Wanting to be in a position of authority is seen as a sure sign of lack of character and is a clear demonstration of bad decision-making. After all, being a leader is a pain in the ass. The leader is expected to be generous, so he/she normally has the smallest hut, shares the most food, is the first one awakened to deal with any late-night crisis, etc. Who, but a fool, would choose such responsibility?

What we call ambition is seen as disgraceful self-importance, a pathetic lack of self-respect and perspective.

Perhaps this is why our political system so often seems like a beauty contest where only the ugliest can compete. Look at the pantheon of self-important, attention-starved, ass-kissing losers we have to choose from! Witness the self-humiliation required for entry into the contest, even from someone like McCain or Kerry, who one would think are above such a need.

The only light on the horizon, as far as I'm concerned, would be a Draft Gore movement, that succeeded in convincing Mr. Gore to come to the aid of his party and planet. He seems genuinely uninterested, so such a movement would have to be passionately convincing. And this is as it should be. We should have to convince reluctant leaders, otherwise they're not worth following.

The political process in the United States today reminds me of looking for darkness with a flashlight. The process defeats the purpose. With apologies to Groucho Marx, I wouldn't want any leader who would want to be my leader!

Monday, February 19, 2007


Do you suffer from Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder (DSACDAD)? So many of us do. Luckily, the good folks over at Future Pharms have developed Havidol, the first approved treatment for DSACDAD. Check it out here.

For when feeling better just isn't enough...

(Caution: May cause interspecies communication.)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sex Re-Assignment

Now that Ted Haggart, disgraced Christian fundamentalist self-hating hypocrite preacher has emerged "totally heterosexual" from his 3-week intensive therapy session, I've got a question. If he can be born again, again, this time as a heterosexual man, is there such a service that can make me bi-sexual?

As Woody Allen says, it doubles the chances of getting a date on Friday night. Think how much easier life would be. Is there some miracle worker in Colorado who can get my pendulum to hold steady right in the center of the swing?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cafe con leche!

Ain't nothin like it.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

How to Live a Full LIfe

As we drift away from that magical few days when people are likely to get drunk enough to think they can actually make major changes in their lives by sheer power of will, I thought I'd share these tips for a successful life from one of my favorite writers, Michael Ventura. I don't necessarily agree with every detail, but there's a lot of wisdom in there, so read slowly and savor...

00. Indulge in secrets. Without one or two major secrets, your life will surely fade. (If you're over forty and don't understand this . . . you're in big trouble.)
A conundrum: secrets aren't lies--they're mysteries, havens, passageways. Lies wreck your life; secrets can save your life. But sometimes you have to lie to keep the secret. Ugh oh.
1. Make mistakes. As Coleman Hawkins said, "If you don't make mistakes, you aren't really trying."
2. Stop lying about yourself. To yourself. To your friends. To your family. To your business associates. Maybe even to your enemies. (Your enemies oppress you as much by your fidelity to your own lies as by anything else.)
3. Stop tolerating in your leaders what you wouldn't tolerate in your friends. But...
4. Tolerate impurity. Trying to be pure about anything is a way of setting yourself up to fail. Asking other people to be pure is a way of setting them up.
5. Read one book a month--a book that you didn't find out about in a magazine or newspaper. Browse an independent bookstore and wait till some book says, "Read me" and read it.
6. Listen to the voices. The wee inner voices. Even if they don't speak, even if they only breathe a little, like dirty phone calls. Do anything they tell you to do except rape, kill or pillage. (The voices make mistakes sometimes, but they don't make boring mistakes.)
7. Leave people alone when they tell you to leave them alone. If they mean it, they need it. If they don't mean it, they're trying to manipulate you, so fuck them. (Note: This rule applies to grownups only.)
8. Don't make the "sophisticated" error of thinking that a negative voice is automatically smarter than a positive voice.
9. Eat real food but don't be a fanatic about it.
10. Don't be a fanatic about anything.
11. Do only exercises that take you somewhere. Walk, ride a bike, roller-skate, swim. All other exercise is ego- and/or fear-driven, and if you listen to ego and fear you will drown out the voices you most need.
12. Don't run. Really, don't. American likes to run because running from (fill in the blank) is what we do best. Everybody who runs is running down an alley away from something terrible. Stop running and find out what's behind you.
13. Don't dye your hair unless you're a woman over forty and you dye it the color of my obsessions. Even then, don't cover up all your gray. Gray is gorgeous. And if you're a man, then really don't dye to cover gray. Dig it: EVERYBODY KNOWS. And they talk about it in a snide way behind your back. I'm not kidding.
14. Eat Italian food. Italians went from being oppressive Romans to being the inefficient, wonderful Italians they are today. It's probably the food.
[15. No longer applicable.]
16. Given that you're living in a city where driving is necessary, learn to drive. You may think you know how, but my experience of the way you drive is that you probably don't. So here's how: Drive for space, not for speed. Space in front of you is the safest thing you can have with a car. Darting in and out of traffic doesn't change anything, it just makes you older. You can't beat the average traffic flow on any given street or freeway by more than five minutes, which only makes a
difference if you're having a baby. And don't you feel like an idiot when you've passed six cars and they pull up beside you at the next light? They're laughing at you. And they hate you. Which isn't good for you. Drive for space.
If the move ain't smooth, it ain't right. There's no excuse for a jerky turn, stop or acceleration. It's hard on the car, it's hard on the other passengers, it confuses other drivers, it's not aesthetic. Such moves are for emergencies only.
Ninety percent of the time you drive with your habits, not your head, so figure out what your bad habits are--gunning it through yellows? not signaling? tailgating? Your worst habit will turn into your worst accident. So stop it. Drive for space. End of lesson.
17. Dance. Jesus said, in one of the Gnostic gospels, "He who does not dance does not know what happens."
18. Don't worry so much about being fat. Fat feels great in bed.
19. Have at least one other living thing in your abode. Rhododendrons, for instance, are fantastic creatures. They give much, ask little, have marvelous names, and they don't shit where I walk.
20. Look into people's eyes when you talk to them.
21. Call your parents by their real first names the very next time you see them. Try it. Watch their faces. Then do it at least half the time you talk to or about them from now on. (If people all over the world did this, nations would cease to war.)
22. Have candlelight in your life. (If you should get into rituals, it'll come in handy.)
23. No matter how rushed your schedule is, spend at least five minutes in the morning quietly in bed with your loved one just being gentle together. Perhaps drinking tea.
24. Tell your mother and father, individually--and your children, if you have children--what you really think. Once a year, minimum. If more people did this, it would save more lives than arresting drunk drivers.
25. Do not avoid the eyes of the homeless.
26. If you think something's wrong--at work, in your family, in your self, in your country--agitate for change. If you won't do that, it doesn't matter how tan you are.
27. As regards No. 23: Assuming that you want a loved one but don't have one, my bet is it's not because you're fat, ugly, crazy, old, a failure, a drunk, a ninny or a clod. Lot of fat ugly crazy older failing drunk ninnying clods have loved ones. Lots who don't have lovers want one, and would probably even put up with you. So there's some lie at the heart of your loneliness; being with someone would reveal the lie, and you don't want that.
28. Tape this to your bathroom mirror:
One can only face in others what one
can face in oneself.
--James Baldwin
29. Work is a sacrament. Don't despise anyone's.
30. Don't talk down to kids.
31. Don't chicken out about sex. Given that you're with a consenting adult, do whatever you fantasize. This is much more important than quitting smoking.
32. Watch at least one black-and-white film per month.
33. Regarding No. 6: Entertain the notion that there are . . . voices. Some come from within, some from the plants and objects and such around you, and some come from what I call, for shorthand purposes, the Infinite. If you don't listen for them, you life will be more difficult than it has to be.
34. Pay more taxes--and insist that those taxes, and the taxes you already pay, go for education. Giving the young a lively, thorough, truthful education is the most important environmental issue today, even more important than acid rain, tropical rain forests and ozone holes.
35. Let me make that a lot clearer. Recycling and shopping ecologically are almost pointless when one-third of California's high-school students drop out, and most who graduate can't read much and have no skills to speak of. How can these people inherit a world? Even if we give them a greener world, are they equipped to keep it that way? You want a solution, so here's a solution: Take to the Streets for the Education of the Children.
36. Pray.
37. Stop looking for other people to supply the solution. You're the solution. If you're not, there is no solution.
38. Be aware of the Network. We live by a network of connections and links. Your connection to yourself, to your intimates, to your place, to the collective, to the planet, to the Infinite. (Each is a distinct connection.) Equally powerful are the collective's connections to you (not at all the same as yours to it), to groups of intimates, to itself, to the planet, to the Infinite. Finally, the connections of groups of intimates to one another, to the collective, to the planet, to the Infinite. All these levels and connections interweave. All are equally important.
All the links or connective points of this network (call them the acupuncture points of our universe) both take and generate energy. Any link out of sync weakens the others. (The West, for instance, has concentrated too much on the individual; the East, too much on the collective; both approaches have been catastrophic on every level of the network.) This network, from you all the way to the Infinite, is a living whole, ceaselessly changing. Some of these changes take millions of years. Some
happen instantaneously.
May the links of the network shine.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

All Together Now!

Strange how the closer together we pack ourselves on this planet, the further we drift from just about everything: each other, our food, our comfort, our feelings...

Psychologist spend an awful lot of time debating whether human beings are essentially noble and good (the Rousseauian Romantic position) or horrid brutes held in check only by the "civilizing" influence of government and religion (the Hobbesian Realist position). Total waste of time.

People are "good" if they think they're intimately involved with what they're doing and "bad" if they see themselves as at a distance from their actions.

Take war for example. During WWII, the U.S. military found that they had a serious problem: their soldiers found it very difficult to shoot AT the enemy. Most soldiers were firing above their advancing heads. Killing the enemy -- even as feared an enemy as the Japanese -- was just too revolting.

But how many pilots do you suppose find themselves unable to push the button that sends the bombs off to kill and maim unseen victims far below?

Another example: meat. Just about all the meat we eat is made from the flesh of animals that we've systematically reduced to a non-life of drugged stupor in a cage. What we allow to happen to other living creatures so that we can enjoy the pepperoni on our pizza would be unthinkable for most of us if we had to actually participate in the process in any meaningful way. Even simply seeing what happens on a pig farm/processing plant would render most of us nauseated vegans.

But as most of us will never see the reality, we keep chewing.

In Iraq, Americans and American policies are killing thousands of people every month, while in America, people are more concerned with shopping. We are as removed from the war being fought in our name as we are from the slaughterhouse. And as unconcerned.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Paris Stinks!

Just back from the city of Love -- not "Brotherly Love," either!

First night there, we went to the grocery store and bought some food for the room -- to remove the mini-bar temptation: some wine, beer, cheese, salami, bread, etc. Nice.

Next day, we came back to the room and were dismayed to find that it smelled like shit! Literally, like shit. We considered changing rooms, but figured it was a ventilation problem, so we turned on the A/C and waited to see if that helped. It didn't. So we decided it was worth it to pack up all our stuff again and move to another room.

Just before going down to reception to tell them the problem, I realized that the cheese was not in the fridge. No shit. Just cheese.

How do you say "American idiot" in French?

Here are some shots from our stay:

A strange dude and his dog (with helmet)
Me by the Seine
Casi and Pierre in front of some church...
Casi pretending to be an infidel

Idiot Chic

If anyone needs an argument-ending example of how fashion has nothing whatever to do with aesthetics and is, in fact, nothing more than a crude "in-group" sign, the utterly absurd, pathetic, uncomfortable, awkward low baggy pants is it. I thought piercing the eyebrows was beyond goofy, but this is just laugh-in-your face stupid. Call me a grumpy old man, but at least I'm not an utterly ridiculous young idiot!


Saturday, September 16, 2006


Since we're in the "Remember 9/11" season, I thought I'd offer my own take on that unique, pivotal day.

There is very little unique or pivotal about it -- other than the fact that it was broadcast live and in living color.

Fewer than 3,000 people died that day. No question that this is horrible for those personally involved, but for the rest of us there was really no tangible impact. How many people died in last year's earthquake in Pakistan? Remember that one?

Just under 80,000 -- or about 25X as many as died on 9/11. But 9/11 "changed everything?"

Come on.

Tsunami, anyone? Car accidents? Lung cancer?

You counter that these are natural disasters, so they cannot be compared? OK, how many innocent people in Iraq died under U.S. bombs in the past year? Nobody knows, because the American authorities don't keep track of Iraqi dead (anyone guess why not?), but it was certainly far more than 3,000 (judging just by bodies brought to the Bagdad morgue).

More U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq than died on 9/11. But those deaths aren't televised. No funerals. No flag-draped coffins arriving. They are kept away from public consciousness, even as our noses are constantly rubbed in 9/11. It's not about what we know -- it's about what we see.

As a culture, the U.S. has crossed over to virtual reality. What happens is no longer as important as what appears to happen. The Bush administration knows this all too well. They know they can keep repeating the same lies over and over and eventually these falsehoods will become woven into the fabric of what most Americans consider to be "reality." "Reality shows" are scripted and edited. The war in Iraq is part of the war on terrorism. America is the land of the free. Republicans will protect your family. Democrats are tax and spend liberals who are soft on the enemy. Wonderbread builds strong bodies. Coke is the Real Thing.

Rinse, repeat.

What's special about 9/11 is presentation. Nothing else. Imagery. Camera angles. Flames. Dramatic footage of people plummeting to their deaths.

9/11 is the best-marketed tragedy in history.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Who Took My Moustache?

I don't think it makes me a homophobe to say that I'm pissed at homosexuals for stealing the moustache. Does it?

When I was a kid, I had an uncle who seemed to me to be the ultimate in macho intelligence. I mean, this guy had it going on: his driveway contained a camper-van with dope in the glove compartment, a little green Saab sportscar and there was a motorcycle parked in the garage. Dude lived out in the countryside (a place called Quiggleville -- I kid you not), big garden, sexy, funny wife (my aunt), wild, happy, snotty-nosed kids (my cousins), and a big old German Shepard named "Luke." He was a man of peace and wisdom (Master's Degree in Forestry, Crosby, Stills and Nash records), but he also taught me how to shoot his handguns in the field out back, and he went deer-hunting with a bow and arrow to make it more challenging, etc. This guy had everything -- and a moustache.

Of course, after growing up -- more or less -- I grew my own moustache, more or less like his. My Puerto Rican girlfriend loved it -- or claimed to. We were living in San Francisco at the time, and years later it occured to me that perhaps the devious woman only claimed to like my 'stache (and black leather jacket) in order to make me seem as gay as possible and thus thwart any possible interest from other women.

Now here's the thing: having a 'stache was fun. I could feel the breeze blowing through it. I felt like a cat with whiskers -- attuned to sublte changes in the environment that I never felt without it. It was sensuous (which is probably the real reason my girlfriend -- who loved all things sensational -- was into it).

But unless you're gay, that sort of stash is now off-limits. It's become a neon-bright, no-mistake-about-it identifier. Akin to a love of opera or a poster of Barry Manilow on your bedroom wall.

I feel like a straight guy who loves Barry Manilow. Where's my 'stache?