Saturday, December 31, 2005

the best laid plans (of getting laid?)

everyone seems to have hated 2005. hurricanes, war, expensive gas, government hands up skirts, more terror, an earthquake, a dead pope, a new pope, junk science, false narratives, evolving ipods, plamegate, torture, terri schiavo, cindy sheehan, lies lies lies, hypocrisy hypocrisy hypocrisy.

i got schadenfreudy when the republican party finally began to reap a little of what it had sown, although it's tragic that people's lives are lost and otherwise devastated as a result. frankly i would love for their goals to come to fruition. i'd also love it if i could shit gold, but that's not very likely to happen either.

in all sincerety i hope the rest of the world has a better year in 2006.

personally though 2005 was a good year. i'm not going into detail.

the obligatory list of 2006 goals:
  • maintenance - eye exams, glasses (i was supposed to get last year), visit the dentist, get a percription for this cold
  • keep avoiding sugar (should i? can i?)
  • relocate - find job in minneapolis, find place to live in minneapolis, go to minneapolis, be in minneapolis
  • stick with the vegetarian diet
  • learn to play guitar -- really do it this time dickhead
  • no more giving chucky cheese tokens to homeless people
  • bring down the neo-fascist zombie brigade fundamentalist christian conservative movement and expose them to the light
  • build a new computer for myself
  • continue to work on reaching higher levels of self-actualization and find peace in solitude and acceptance of "i"
  • start running again
  • write more, maybe try to get published
  • do more volunteer/charity work
  • become more politically active instead of just bitching
  • maybe not so much blasphemy (second opinions on this one?)
there are my ambitions for the forthcoming 365. always the biggest obstacle to overcome for me is laziness, which looms like a dense fog over practically everything i do. but i will continue to be a purveyor of crunk and practice/preach healthy skepticism. question everything, cultivate personal peace by being free of "want", and keep on chasing that resilient female tail.

auld lang syne, and peaches.

next year i guess

my new year's plans have been thwarted by a bad head cold. i hope it isn't the bird flu, although i don't eat meat so it probably isn't. although again, it's me we're talking about so that kind of tragic irony would be completely appropriate. suffice it to say that i, once again, am relegated to my shack-hut where i will continue to cough up nothing while the rest of the world has that salient, once-a-year excuse to kiss at midnight. i'll just listen to fireworks and conjure up images of the fantastically good times all others in the world are having ringing in the new year. you all will never have as much fun as you are having right now in my own imagination. enjoy.

wanted: robitussin

today i am ill. not in the usual put-this-man-on-lithium way -- i'm sounding very baritone, on new yea'rs eve of all days. regardless i AM going to enjoy myself this evening. antibiotics and the other plethera of over-the-counter medicine i'm garbling aren't meant to be taken with alcohol but to them i say MEH. i like to make memories on new year's eves and i don't want this one to entail me watching ryan seacrest's new year's rockin' eve while making out with a kleenex. if anyone has a get-well-quick scheme please divulge. as of now my only plan is to drink shots. white diamonds.

Friday, December 30, 2005

political compass

at jenny's suggestion i tried a different quiz at i scored even left of gandhi, so i feel pretty good about the results.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

a person who speaks three languages: trilingual
a person who speaks two languages: bilingual
a person who speaks one language: american


see where you land

world's smallest political quiz

wonder boy

last night i was on a combination of the following: 2 xanbars, antibiotics, beer, pot, and an empty stomach. and, flash of lightning, i am actually at work (albeit an hour late). i don't feel so great. i am the walking dead.

and i accidentally washed my cell phone with my jeans so now i have to get a replacement. i'll be incommunicado until tuesday probably. god bless cingular though, they're only charging me $65 for the replacement. i have to say that i love cingular. and asses.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

not knockin' the knockers

while streaming an independent radio station at work i heard a version of the buzzcocks' "ever fallen in love" being done by thea gilmore. it freaked me out in a good way.

last night i found myself watching "fear factor" because there were two girl contestants (hot ones -- imagine that) in two-pieces. i was hypnotized, watching them dive into a garbage bin full of garbage (whaaaaa?) and putrid water. after a minute i suddelny thought, "what in dog's name am i doing?" i don't like admitting that i am a creature of instinct. i try desperately to avoid succumbing to my baser animal nature, but it's an uphill battle.

i immediately swore at myself and flipped over to the 'span where barbara boxer was doing an interview. still, i'm ashamed.

and envious. for the females out there, i don't know if you realize the power your boobies wield. i like to pretend that i'm a misanthropic intellectual; i rise above petty human practices and attempt to avoid like grim death the slack-jawed, cro-magnon behavior that so emphatically permeates our society, especially in males.

but fuck, i don't think i can desensitize myself to boobies. i just can't..

but ladies, TAKE ADVANTAGE. i'm starting to understand why so many girls flash cleavage in their profile/various internet pictures/when they go out on weekends. heretofore i just thought it was sluttiness but now i'm wondering if it isn't just an advertising gimmick (it's probably an amalgom) -- shaking what your momma gave you. why else would the men in beer commercials be blue-collar, working class plaid shirt-wearing fat-gut average joes while the women are porn stars in teeny-weeny-bikinis?

sluttiness or opportunism?

maybe i'm lamenting the fact that there isn't a masculine version of cleavage. i guess it's a great equalizer -- historically men have had more rights than women, and continue to, so god, in her infinite glory, endowed women with magic fun bags to keep the men mesmerized and utterly (udderly?) at bay.

when we're born they're our first source of nutrition and from the second we're weened off the breast and onto a bottle we dedicate our lives to getting back to the top of the mountain(s). think about it -- why do men get jobs, buy cars, work out? it's because these serve as bait, while we hope to lure the fairer sex into our confidences and fulfill some sort of suppressed oedipal desire.

i could go to grad school and write a thesis on how civilization as we know it revolves around boobies.

i don't know if that idea makes me feel happy or helpless. forgive me, but fee fi fo fum i love titties..

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

a little godspeak

the church is not the vehicle through which one can best establish a relationship with "god". words are meaningless -- whether you say them every day or for an hour once a week. a person is (or should be) defined only by actions. this is why i don't attend church or subscribe to any one faith in particular. that, and all the hypocrisy.

why are ornate, million-dollar churches built for communities to worship in? can't and shouldn't that money better serve to assist the poor? the church is generally active in outreach programs and other charitable causes, but i never understood why a humble building in which to worship was not suitable.

actually i know exactly why -- it's to cajole people into attending mass in a beautiful building with stained glass, to give it that "holy" look. so much for finding god under an upturned stone or a split piece of wood.

and getting people to attend mass, it seems to me, is all about money. everything is.

Monday, December 26, 2005

retourner chez moi

i saw a woman, 50 or 60, standing in the baggage check-in line with, i shit you not, her pants pulled up to her tits. granterd they were pretty saggy, but it was very disturbing nonetheless. doesn't a family member or friend at onn point have to shake a person and shout "for christ's sake pull your pants down to your waist! what's the matter with you? is it going to flood soon?" or "pull your pants up snoop dogg! you look like a damn fool!"

it was also surprising that five (i was bored so i counted) people felt the need to use the airplane lavatories PRIOR to even taking off. it's a 35-minute flight -- is it that impossible to go either before or after? i'm just saying.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

happy birthday jeebus!

here's wishing you all a very happy merry. thanks for reading, thanks for writing, thanks for the irrepressible human ass. white diamonds!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

daft punk is playing at my house

a big mormon family that lives across the street sang us a christmas carol this evening. i've never seen people going door-to-door singing christmas carols in my life (anyone else?).

it scared the everloving SHIT out of me. it was actually embarrassing -- i'm sitting in the office eating pie, i look out the window and see 15 people at my parents' front door. i'm only assuming they could see me too.

i find mormons enchanting. they're just like smurfs. i'll refer to a monologue from "donnie darko""

[Smurfette] was sent in as Gargamel's evil spy with the intention of destroying the Smurf village, but the overwhelming goodness of the Smurf way of life transformed her. And as for the whole gang-bang scenario, it just couldn't happen. Smurfs are asexual. They don't even have reproductive organs under those little white pants. That's what's so illogical, you know, about being a Smurf. What's the point of living if you don't have a dick?
i'd consider becoming mormon if it weren't for all the church obligations they have (don't they go every day?). they seem so nice. they brought us bread with frosting on it and sang "o holy night".

i should go to their house and sing "christmas in hollas".

skymail and the world of tomorrow

the skymail catalog is an odd creature. i can't help but wonder what type of person decides to order such useless trinketry while flying. i understand trying to sell people products while they're on a plane, killing time by leafing through the only reading material available to them. still, a more comprehensive compilation of useless shite you will not find.

i feel bad for those who buy harry potter brooms and/or lord-of-the-rings swords, or memorabilia from the star wars collection (those light sabres don't really work y'all). i wish i was a jedi too, but a fake plastic sword isn't going to help me score with natalie portman.

although i'd rather be the guy who buys harry potter props than disney props. disney sucks.

and my, oh my, what a plethera of ipod attachments there are! ipod probably has more accessories available than barbie. there's even an ipod massage chair you can buy for a scant $999.95.

a cat in one of these ads that looks exactly like mine. i'm still not buying the two-story roof patio pet home. the cat-friendly self-cleaning litterbox is tempting, but i can't imagine it would work more than a week. the concept just doesn't seem feasible to me.

the giant novelty nestle crunch bar is calling to me. devil seed!

a liquor dispenser that looks like a fire hydrant (the "fire water fire hydrant")... i guess it's interesting, but i generally try to cut down on the barriers between me and my liquor. this thing would just add another step to the process, plus be something else i'd have to clean. laziness trumps kitsch.

skymail sells meat! you can actually order ham, sausage, poultry and hamburgers from the skymail catalog. even if i weren't a vegetarian i'd still feel iffy about mail-order meat. something doesn't sit well with me when you can buy camping gear on one page and a whole turkey on the next.

it's going to be 75 fucking degrees here in texas today. it's not very christmasy (in my best mr. hanky voice). although we do have punch and pie (no... more... pie...).

i'm bored. i ramble-write when i'm bored.

this new house of my parents makes my head hurt. it's ginormous (and yet i still don't have my own room, thanks to other family staying here. i don't mind). my dad bought a 46" flat panel lcd television, with bose surround sound and direct tv. it's ridiculous. i'm wildly jealous.

i've been watching some of my parents' dvd's. some scattered observations:

"mr. and mrs. smith" was MUCH better than i anticipated. brad pitt is a funny gay.

"bad santa" was delightful. very fun to hear lauren graham say "fuck".

had i known "the island" was a michael bay film i never would have rented it. scarlett johansen was dolled up like a goddamned whore (pronounced whoo-uh).

"fantastic 4" -- jessica alba is easy on the eyes. it's sad and ironic that they cast her as the invisible girl.

"king arthur" -- i watched the version with clive owen and kiera knightly (also nice to look at). it was bloody and gritty an d i liked it.

Friday, December 23, 2005

blame my narrow urethra

i should be grateful that i only have to see family once every year, but really i'm just resentful. every time i see my grandmother (once a year maybe) she tries to subtly make me feel guilty that i haven't yet married and had kids. little does she know that my resolve to never take a wife is uber stalwart. antiquation (conservativism) pisses me off. practically all my cousins who are roughly my age are married with children. go bug them.

what's wrong with the kurt russell / goldie hawn dynamic?

is getting married and deciding to have children a sign that you've given up on ever having fun again? my cousin is the same age as i and she's crapping one out in the spring, and i think she's insahe. dog forbid i should ever reproduce, but if i did and it was intentional there's no way i'd give in until i was late-thirties. at that point in life i imagine i'll need some sort of project to break the monotony, so why not a kid.

but presently i'm still way too irresponsible and immature, not to mention terrified. i shouldn't be worried right now -- i'd have to get a date first, and there's little danger of that, much less the... rest... of the... err... stuff... that has to happen to make babies.

merry late december!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

favorite albums 2005

2005 was a great music year for me. you may notice that no rap albums made the list. it's not that i don't like rap, i just don't like black people (tongue affixed firmly in cheek).

  1. new pornographers - twin cinema
  2. sufjan stevens - illinois
  3. the decemberists - picaresque
  4. ladytron - the witching hour
  5. stars - set yourself on fire
  6. broken social scene - broken social scene
  7. sleater-kinney - the woods
  8. joy zipper - american whip
  9. morning after girls - s/t
  10. bloc party - silent alarm
  11. stephen malkmus - face the truth
  12. the kills - no wow
  13. kaiser chiefs - employment
  14. fiona apple - extraordinary machine
  15. joy zipper - the heartlight set
  16. eisley - room noises
  17. single frame - body end basement
  18. imogen heap - speak for yourself
  19. love is all - nine times that same song
  20. rogue wave - descended like vultures
  21. woody whatever - the great pop
  22. spoon - gimme fiction
  23. m.i.a. - arular
  24. new order - waiting for the siren's call
  25. the fiery furnaces - ep (ep)
  26. maximo park - a certain trigger
  27. magnapop - mouthfeel
  28. the rosebuds - birds make good neighbors
  29. russian futurists - our thickness
  30. the cyanide valentine - let it rot
  31. serena maneesh - serena maneesh
  32. sons and daughters - the repulsion box
  33. clor - clor
  34. beck - guero
  35. the white stripes - get behind me satan
  36. bob mould - body of song
  37. tom vek - we have sound
  38. feist - let it die
  39. dengue fever - escape from dragon house
  40. clap your hands say yeah - clap your hands say yeah
  41. morningwood - morningwood
  42. nine inch nails - with teeth
  43. giant drag - hearts and unicorns
  44. hail social - hail social
  45. juliana hatfield - made in china
  46. oasis - don't believe the truth
  47. the like - are you thinking what i'm thinking
  48. and you will know us by the trail of dead - worlds apart
  49. fischerspooner - odyssey
  50. black rebel motorcycle club - howl
not top-50, but good all the same. not in order:

  • super furry animals - love kraft
  • acid house kings - sing along with the acid house kings
  • greg dulli - amber headlights
  • my morning jacket - z
  • jason forrest - shemelessly exciting
  • kiss me deadly - misty medley
  • goldfrapp - supernature
  • the most serene republic - underwater cinematographer
  • the subways- young for eternity
  • clue to kalo - one way it's every way
  • you say party! we say die! - hit the floor!
  • junior senior - hey hey my my yo yo
  • metric - live it out
  • idlewild - warnings/promises
  • ivy - in the clear
  • brendan benson - alternative to love
  • hoy - forever endeavour
  • nada surf - the weight is a gift
  • 50 foot wave - golden ocean
  • the 101 - green street
  • lce soundsystem - lcd soundsystem
  • gibby haynes and his problem - s/t
  • rockit girl - bright lights
  • dandy warhols - odditorium or warlords of mars
  • weezer - make believe
  • gruff rhys - yr atal genhedlaeth
  • the organ - grab that gun
  • queens of the stone age - lullabies to paralyze
  • garbage - bleed like me
  • ash - meltdown
  • del cielo - us vs. them
  • cloud cult - advice from the happy hippopotamus
  • black lipstick - sincerely, black lipstick
  • cruiserweight - sweet weaponry
  • the sugarplastic - will
  • the peels - the peels
  • sunshine - moonshower and razorblades
  • the duke spirit - cuts across the land
  • teenage fanclub - man-made
  • magneta lane - the constant lover
  • marbles - expo
  • bellafea - familty tree
  • paatos - kallocain
  • shout out louds - howl howl gaff gaff
  • abandoned pools - the reverb (ep)
  • billy corgan - the future embrace
  • the raveonettes - pretty in black
  • astropop 3 - eclipsing binary star
  • the caesars - paper tigers
  • mobius band - the loving sounds of static
  • controller.controller - x-amounts
  • wolf parade - apologies to the queen mary
  • the spinto band - nice and nicely done
  • architecture in helsinki - in case we die
  • the capes - taste ep
  • the dead science - submariner
  • bearsuit - cat spectacular!
  • time over money

    i often dream of a four-day work week. i essentially work 9 hours a day anyway (i don't take lunch breaks) -- an extra hour or two monday through thursday isn't THAT big of a deal, but a 3-day weekend... my dog, a huge improvement from the current 2-day version. it's how they do it in europe isn't it? lucky buggars.

    i'm one who values his time much more than money. money comes and goes (you only notice it when it's moving, remember), but we only have a limited amount of time, ultimately. going to work at all ruins my day, so why not just ruin 4 instead of 5? it will never happen, but a guy can dream.

    Thursday, December 15, 2005

    gays are bad, mmkay?

    Massachussetts Pastor has Contest for Mr. Straight

    i believe that this is the gayest thing i've ever heard. a freak jesus pastor in massachussetts is organizing a "mr. hetero" competition. events will include (from the "Mr. Straight" web page):

    • Strength - how many oprah magazines can you tear?
    • Talent - your choice
    • Intellectual - answering random questions such as your favorite heterosexual role model
    • Competition - name that food

    tearing up oprah magazines for the strength competition? don't real men tear phone books in half? if they want to trash gay publications why not guns and ammo?

    i'm going to propose that the talent section mandate that each contestant sing and perform an interpretive dance to any lavish broadway musical song. perhaps "luck be a lady" from guys and dolls or "i could have danced all night" from my fair lady. i'm open to suggestions.

    the intellectual competition should be the best answer to the how-many-queers-does-it-take-to-screw-in-a-light-blub joke. or just ask every contestant what their favorite bette midler album is.

    and in lieu of a "name that food" competition, how about just a good hot dog eating contest? what's more american and "hetero" than that? ohhh wait....

    as i always say, homophobia equals homosexual. this is the gayest thing i've ever heard of.

    Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    mea culpa mea culpa

    i'm always bitching about people who think they have the moral authority to legislate their faith and force their dogma on others, and i arbitrarily lump in george bush and his whole cabal with those people.

    but i'm completely wrong! i was reflecting on what role his faith plays in his governance, and george et. al. need to be utterly commended for leaving all (and i mean ALL) aspects of christianity out of their policies!

    obviously none of them give a fiddler's fuck about poverty and the poor. they have no problem conducting illegitimate war and sending innocent people to their deaths. looting the treasury and employee pensions are not a problem. and they definitely check that whole "forgiveness" thing at the capitol door -- too bad tookie!

    i can't believe i never realized this sooner. bush doesn't just leave his faith out of his policies, he goes above and fucking beyond to ensure that NO aspects of christianity leak into our laws. kudos george.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2005

    the mindless american

    The Mindless American: A Tragedy In The Making

    by Dr. Doug Soderstrom
    October 24, 2005

    As a result of nine-eleven’s jarring impact upon our nation, journalists have discovered a near paranoid rise in retaliation against individuals attempting to expose governmental malfeasance. Increasingly government officials have begun punishing individuals for nothing more than reasoned attempts to inform the American public concerning: How the military has systematically abused (tortured) foreign detainees; How the government intentionally withheld evidence suggesting that an attack upon the United States by Al Qaeda had been eminent; How the military has begun to wage war upon soldiers who, in good conscience, have come to believe that it is wrong for them to kill in a war that, according to international law, is illegal, one that, the reasons for going to war, were fabricated by the President of the United States; How the United States has a sixty-year history (1945- 2005) of assassinating foreign leaders who have chosen not to support the government’s foreign policy goals, initiating the overthrow of duly-elected foreign democracies, while simultaneously supporting brutal authoritarian dictatorships all in order to fill the coffers of America’s military-industrial complex, an egregious imperialistic force with but one goal: To take command of the world economy.

    As a result, many of these individuals have been incarcerated, accused of being a traitor, of having sided with the enemy, told that their career will be destroyed, and threatened with extended imprisonment. Accordingly, on September 21, 2005, U.S. immigration officials banned Robert Fisk, an internationally renowned British journalist, on his way to deliver a speech in Santa Fe, New Mexico, from entering the United States of America due to incisive criticism of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war. No doubt such a scenario has, and is, being repeated many times over in our country. A rather sad fact for a president who has chosen to make such a big deal about the oft-quoted ideals of “freedom and democracy!”

    But even more shameful is the fact that there are people who seem not to care that such things are taking place in our country; a rather ignorant crowd of jingoes more comfortable choosing to sit back pretending that everything will be just fine, a people with apparently little regard for the facts. As a behavioral scientist, I am grieved at what appears to be a near pandemic of disinterest in what is happening to our country.

    Given the election of George Walker Bush as our president, our country made it quite clear that it is pleased to have as its president a scoundrel, a true terrorist, one more than willing to bully the rest of the world, as opposed to having chosen a real man, one that humanity might embrace as a man of true character (someone like Jimmy Carter), an individual committed to doing what is best for the world (rather than what is most profitable for those running the petrol, armament, pharmaceutical, and construction industries), one with a desire to do what must be done in order to create a more humane world, one of peace, justice, and love. Although we claim to be a Christian nation, having chosen George Walker Bush to be the leader of our nation is a scandal beyond belief, one that mocks the very name of one whose life embodies that which we have been said to believe.

    However, now that I am well into my seventh decade of life and very near retirement, I have come to the conclusion that the world basically sucks, that there are few who seem to have the investigative courage to take a good hard look at things that, if discovered, would no doubt destroy one’s image of a land that can do no wrong, one that they believe has somehow received the eternal blessing of God. So I must ask: How is it that we have become such a mindless nation, a society populated by deadheads, folks who seem to have little desire to look beyond the thinly-veneered surface of life?

    As a behavioral scientist, it appears that a vast share of folks in our nation have chosen to relinquish a quality no doubt essential to authentic human life….. an existential responsibility to think for themselves, an ontological need to discount the petty concerns that drive the minds of those directed by triviality. It seems that such individuals have become so fantastically preoccupied with, essentially enamored by, the norm of what others think, they have effectively relinquished, through a process of cognitive foreclosure, the capacity to think for themselves. Having become so extremely alienated from the core of their own being, they have little choice but to follow the crowd’s madding need to forge a symbiotic attachment to, in essence relationship with, a society, that for all practical purposes has become the basis of their own identity, the bedrock of their very being. Having done so, the image they have forged for themselves (who they believe themselves to be) has become every bit as fabricated, every bit as disconnected from reality, as their image of society. So in wanting to have at their disposal a more a positive image of themselves, they have been left with little choice but to construct a glorified image of society; an image of what they wish society would have been rather than what it has, in fact, turned out to be. Something like having chosen to have built an ego-incased frame constructed upon the shifting sands of inane social rumor and outright public lies…… truly a flight of fancy bordering on the absurd!

    Very few would disagree with the proposition that in Hitler’s Germany there was a determined effort to brainwash the people so they might support Mein Fuhrer’s efforts to conquer the world. However, what if one were to suggest that much the same is occurring in the United States of America, that there has been a determined effort through the socializing influence of our schools, the government, the mass media, the churches we attend, even that of our own parents, to pressure us into believing (just as Hitler) that our country has received the blessing of God, and because of this, we therefore have not only the right, but more importantly, through the use of military weapons, a divine responsibility to see that the world acquiesces to our needs and expectations. Just as Hitler in the 1930’s prepared his countrymen to accept the authoritarian control of the Nazi government, much the same may well be occurring in the United States. Just as Hitler indoctrinated his people to believe that Germany had the right to conquer the world, George Walker Bush “in the name of freedom and democracy” may well be doing the same (preparing the American people to support his administration’s imperialistic drive to dominate the world).

    Behaviorally, it is clear that citizens, from cradle to grave, are primed to conform to the dictates of those in power, instructed never to question the validity of what those who would like to take control of our lives have to say. Most Americans have no idea; that what we are fed by the news media (televised and paper-print news) is nothing more than a portrayal of what powerful corporations (those who pay the salaries of those who run mass media) want us to believe, that what happens to pass as education is as often as not mere propaganda (e.g. that Americans are the good guys and their enemies are, without exception, always the bad guys), that what we learn in church may have very little or nothing to do with the truth, that what our parents teach us may be nothing more than an accumulation of their own personal biases…… no doubt a rather subtle modification of what they were taught by their parents. And through such a process, governments and nations around the world wield control as to what their citizens, believe, value, and do.

    And, of course, in our own society, the primary way most of us are controlled, the way the vast majority of us are forced “to tow the line,” is through the ominous threat of being fired. Something like this: If you are interested in keeping your career on track, that you would like to keep your job, then you ought to consider the following in order to assure your employer that you deserve the right to keep your job; get married and have a couple of kids, become a member of a social club (such as the Lions Club, the Kiwanis Club, or the Rotarians), be a good capitalist, be a patriotic citizen who loves his country, and make sure that you attend a local church so that everybody will know that you believe in God almighty. However, if, for whatever reason, you decide that you would like to become a rebel, that you would like to begin thinking for yourself, then you’d better brace yourself for trouble, because there is a reasonable likelihood that you will be fired! You see, in America, there is a rule of thumb concerning the working world which basically says that those who do what they are told to do are likely to keep their jobs, whereas those who tend to think for themselves, tend to buck the system, (tend not to do what they have been told to do) end up jobless, powerless, and left to fend for themselves on the mean streets of society.

    But why? Why does such a thing occur? Why would America the beautiful, land of the free, do such a horrible thing to its own citizens? The answer is quite simple: Knowing that knowledge is power; the secret is control, controlling the out flow of information, making sure that citizens know no more than they “are supposed to know,” making sure that they remain relatively uninformed, making sure that they are given “just enough” that they will go along with, peacefully accept, the premise that they are well informed, that they have a good idea of what is going on. It is necessary then that the government keep the people from learning the truth. Keep them from even wanting to know the truth. Put the fear of God into them to the extent that they will never question what they have been told to believe. You see, those in power may say that they want their citizens to be educated, to be well informed as to what is going on, however, such is simply not the case. Ask yourself this question: What happens to those of us (teachers, preachers, philosophers, writers, journalists) who do not “tow the line,” those intent upon proposing alternate ways of looking at the world? Look at what happened to Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, even Socrates. I mean, really now, who among us wants to be crucified, assassinated, forced to drink hemlock……. wants to risk the possibility of losing one’s job, the ability to put food on the table for one’s family? However, just in case you do not believe me, try this on for size…… the next time you go to work tell the boss that you are an infidel (that you have grown up and no longer believe in God), that you have decided to become a socialist (that capitalism essentially sucks), that you no longer give a shit about your country (that you have decided to become a rebel, an actively-participating antiwar protestor), and then see what happens. Do you get the point?

    There are many (Robert Fisk, Cindy Sheehan, Sybil Edmunds, Bunnatine Greenhouse, Coleen Rowley, Captain Ian Fishback, Col. Anthony Shaffer, Kevin Benderman, Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Camilo Mejia, among others) who have illustrated the courage to risk their jobs, their careers, their reputations, their marriages, their wealth, imprisonment, and, in some cases, even that of their own sanity. But the sad fact is that for every hero out there, there are literally thousands of citizens (each who no doubt consider themselves to be conscientious, hard-working individuals who have a sincere belief in God and a loyal commitment to their country) who yet, for whatever reason, detest men and woman such as these who have shown the moral gumption to put their lives on the line for no other reason than to make a stand for that which is right, a willingness to tell anyone, everyone who is willing to listen, that it is a far better thing for one to have sacrificed his own life so that others might see, than to have chosen to remain silent ensuring the blind pretense that all is well, that there is nothing to worry about, that Big Brother will no doubt take good care of us as long as we simply keep our mouths shut and do exactly as we are told.

    Postscript: The most dangerous thing one can do is to tell the truth…… the sentence for which, one way or the other, is always death!

    Doug Soderstrom, Ph.D.

    vonnegut article

    feel free to re-post this.

    Your Guess Is as Good as Mine

    By Kurt Vonnegut

    Most of you, if not all of you, like me, feel inadequately educated. That is an ordinary feeling for a member of our species. One of the most brilliant human beings of all times, George Bernard Shaw said on his 75th birthday or so that at last he knew enough to become a mediocre office boy. He died in 1950, by the way, when I was 28. He is the one who said, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I turned 83 a couple weeks ago, and I must say I agree.

    Shaw, if he were alive today, would envy us the solid information that we have or can get about the nature of the universe, about time and space and matter, about our own bodies and brains, about the resources and vulnerabilities of our planet, about how all sorts of human beings actually talk and feel and live.

    This is the information revolution. We have taken it very badly so far. Information seems to be getting in the way all the time. Human beings have had to guess about almost everything for the past million years or so. Our most enthralling and sometimes terrifying guessers are the leading characters in our history books. I will name two of them: Aristotle and Hitler. One good guesser and one bad one.

    The masses of humanity, having no solid information to tell them otherwise, have had little choice but to believe this guesser or that one. Russians who didn’t think much of the guesses of Ivan the Terrible, for example, were likely to have their hats nailed to their heads.

    We must acknowledge, though, that persuasive guessers—even Ivan the Terrible, now a hero in Russia—have given us courage to endure extraordinary ordeals that we had no way of understanding. Crop failures, wars, plagues, eruptions of volcanoes, babies being born dead—the guessers gave us the illusion that bad luck and good luck were understandable and could somehow be dealt with intelligently and effectively.

    Without that illusion, we would all have surrendered long ago. But in fact, the guessers knew no more than the common people and sometimes less. The important thing was that they gave us the illusion that we’re in control of our destinies.

    Persuasive guessing has been at the core of leadership for so long—for all of human experience so far—that it is wholly unsurprising that most of the leaders of this planet, in spite of all the information that is suddenly ours, want the guessing to go on, because now it is their turn to guess and be listened to.

    Some of the loudest, most proudly ignorant guessing in the world is going on in Washington today. Our leaders are sick of all the solid information that has been dumped on humanity by research and scholarship and investigative reporting.

    They think that the whole country is sick of it, and they want standards, and it isn’t the gold standard. They want to put us back on the snake-oil standard.

    Loaded pistols are good for people unless they’re in prisons or lunatic asylums.

    That’s correct.

    Millions spent on public health are inflationary.

    That’s correct.

    Billions spent on weapons will bring inflation down.

    That’s correct.

    Industrial wastes, and especially those that are radioactive, hardly ever hurt anybody, so everybody should shut up about them.

    That’s correct.

    Industries should be allowed to do whatever they want to do: Bribe, wreck the environment just a little, fix prices, screw dumb customers, put a stop to competition and raid the Treasury in case they go broke.

    That’s correct.

    That’s free enterprise.

    And that’s correct.

    The poor have done something very wrong or they wouldn’t be poor, so their children should pay the consequences.

    That’s correct.

    The United States of America cannot be expected to look after its people.

    That’s correct.

    The free market will do that.

    That’s correct.

    The free market is an automatic system of justice.

    That’s correct.

    And so on.

    If you actually are an educated, thinking person, you will not be welcome in Washington, D.C. I know a couple of bright seventh graders who would not be welcomed in Washington, D.C.

    Do you remember those doctors a few years back who got together and announced that it was a simple, clear medical fact that we could not survive even a moderate attack by hydrogen bombs? They were not welcome in Washington, D.C.

    Even if we fired the first salvo of hydrogen weapons and the enemy never fired back, the poisons released would probably kill the whole planet by and by.

    What is the response in Washington? They guess otherwise. What good is an education? The boisterous guessers are still in charge—the haters of information. And the guessers are almost all highly educated people. Think of that. They have had to throw away their educations, even Harvard or Yale educations, to become guessers. If they didn’t do that, there is no way their uninhibited guessing could go on and on and on.

    Please, don’t you do that. But let me warn you, if you make use of the vast fund of knowledge now available to educated persons, you are going to be lonesome as hell. The guessers outnumber you—and now I have to guess—about ten to one.

    This essay was adapted from Senior Editor Kurt Vonnegut's new bestseller, A Man Without a Country, which can be ordered at or calling 1-800-596-7437.

    Kurt Vonnegut is a legendary author, WWII veteran, humanist, artist, smoker and In These Times senior editor. His classic works include Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions, Cats Cradle, among many others. His most recent book, A Man Without a Country, collects many of the articles written for this magazine.

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    rape me rob me kiss me kill me

    america is not the greatest country in the world. we are a population of vanity and greed. we like to tell ourselves that we're free and moral and an example for the rest of the world, but it's all a facade.

    how free is someone making minimum wage to live comfortably, out of poverty? we are not free. we receive information (news) that others CHOOSE to divulge to us, to manipulate us. our representatives placate us with rhetoric and glitter while carrying out nefarious, underhanded actions to further their own interests. it's politics, and it kills everything good that this country may have once been.

    our so-called elections are not true elections. they are yes or no questions, 0 or 1, this or that, bad or worse, black or white. aren't these absolutes? where's our gray area?

    it's the republicans and the democrats -- noone is blameless. with a scant few exceptions, i have no faith in the motives of our "elected" officials. when corporations pay for their elections it's hard to believe they'll pass legislation benefitting the lower and middle classes. look at the tax cuts approved by the house yesterday, par example.

    it's a nation of, for and by (bought by) rich, white people. the rest of us fall in line and don't object because we're brainwashed with supposed civic pride; being the "greatest country in the world". our conceptions of freedom are sorely askew.

    our leaders rape the world for interests not congruent with the majority of the american people, in the name of the american people, and spin it all so we think they're just. we don't invade for oil, we invade for freedom.

    i actually experience stress, real stress, knowing that the taxes that come out of my paycheck go towards torturing innocent people, state-sponsored executions, illegal war, oppression, racism, destruction of the environment, lining the pockets of millionaires, pension-defaulting airlines, and no-bid contracts.

    why don't i move to another country then, if i'm so dissatisfied? one, i'm poor. two, i'm a white male. that's it. if i had wealth i'd have it made as much as anyone in this world can.

    Wednesday, December 07, 2005

    security: (d) v. (r)

    appropo of nothing i've been up since 3:45 this morning and have been, as usual, spending quality time with the 'SPAN.

    on washington journal the question posed to callers today deals with which party (if either) they trust more on security. some braying JACKASS called in, naturally saying he trusts republicans because democrats only want people to "feel good", that we only concern ourselves with emotions and feelings.

    tell me jackass, was it reason and fact that led us into iraq, or was it knee-jerk revenge and retribution? is vengeance an emotion? maybe it was one man's desire to one-up his father? is that more emotional or factual? bravado and chest-beating is not a legitimate impetus for war, dickhole.

    how can we even measure the number of new america-haters we've created by our illegal occupation? the countless family and friends of innocent iraqis who have been maimed or killed or tortured now harbor nothing but the utmost ire for our country.

    the 9-11 commission (which i don't recognize as a completely credible authority on anything, but at the moment it's all we've got) submitted an abhorrent report (pdf file here) on the progress our government has made on their recommendations of 3-plus years ago. eye on the ball? eye on the ball?
    and how defenseless has the occupation left our "homeland" (i've never been comfortable with that term), with such a large number of our national guardsmen and equipment serving in the desert?

    we had a 3-day head start on hurricane katrina and FEMA still bungled the rescue operation. what happens when another terrorist attack occurs and we have no preparation time? (incidentally, there were several harbingers of the 9-11 attacks that the bush administration either ignored, failed to recognize, or saw as an opportunity to accomlpish their agenda and let happen). how ready are we for chemical/biological attacks?

    why does wisconsin get the same amount of funding per capita for security as new york city? does that make sense (flamingo i know you think so, but really)?

    i don't completely trust democrats to do anything -- they're all politicians and their motives are never what they say they are. but jesus tap-dancing christ, at least the dems are not so brazen in their corruption as to put the security of the american people, and america itself, in jeopardy solely for money and power.

    why did george "slam dunk" tenet get a presidential medal of freedom? because he did such a cracker-jack job of providing accurate intelligence on saddam's wmd's? or was it because he provided the administration with the exact intelligence they wanted to take us to war?

    fuck, even in the morning idiots get my blood boiling. this is better than caffeine (almost).

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    god in the hands of angry sinners

    local publications are often littered with letters-to-the-editor concerning christianity and its role in our culture and government. considering the prevalence of catholicism in south louisiana it's not surprising that many make cases for an increased hand of christian principles in schools, legislation, and other publicly-financed organizations and operations.

    many people believe that our country's progenitors intended to enmesh christian values in our government's practices and constitution, based on latters and essays they wrote expressing their religious views. i've read that jefferson, adams, washington et. al. were deists, not christians, but on this matter i'm indifferent. for the sake of argument i'll concede that they were christians.

    if it is true, in fact, that our founders were devout practitioners of christianity and intended to form a christian society, why did they not explicitly say so in the declaration of independence or u.s. constitution? the latter does not mention "god" at all, and the former alludes to a "god" and a "creator" nonspecific to any one religious sect. it concludes, "with a firm reliance on the proteciton of divine providence" -- also a vague reference connoting nothing related to any particular religion.

    why are those endeavoring to teach "intelligent design" (call it what it is -- junk science) in schools, place the ten commandments in front of courthouses, fund faith-based initiatives, and further involve christianity in government forced to parse and interpret and microscopically examine the phrasing of the constitution to further their opinions? wouldn't the language be clear enough had our founders intended a religious state?

    of course it would. they were sublimely intellectual and, in my purview, incredibly empathetic. one has to imagine another person's perspective in order to avoid mistakes of past theocracies, whose state leaders were also church leaders.

    why must american values be christian values? there exists plenty of overlap, but a plethera of people seem to operate under the misconception that before the existence of jesus morality did not exist, that he was the first to define compassionate values (for those who believe the earth is only 2000ish years old i guess it's rational to think so). is it impossible to be a moral person without being christian? can you be a christian without being moral (that's an easy one)?

    what i am most opposed to is the use of tax dollars to fund religous-based symbols and language in our government. i'm not so sensitive as to believe the word "christmas" needs to be eviscerated from the public consciousness, or change "christmas tree" to "holiday tree", but i do believe that some things go too far.

    for instance, why should a muslim family's tax dollars fund a school teaching junk science classes that their children then have to take? how do their children feel when the rest of the class recites the pledge of allegiance, "under god"? how does an atheist feel when forced to swear on the bible in a court of law?

    religious empathy i guess is a tough thing. it's much easier to view everything in black and white, condemning all else. acknowledging that other views in the world are meritorious means you have to think (work) a little bit harder to rationalize your own philosophies/beliefs; and people are lazy.

    i don't know to what end people champion christianity in government (i suspect they probably haven't completely thought it through either). the ultimate course would likely lead to a theocracy wouldn't it? is that what people want? if not, what is the purpose of all this grandstanding?

    the only reason i can believe is that it's purely political. religious issues are wedge issues, and they bring voters to the polls. does anyone believe roe v. wade will ever be overturned? it won't. if it's not happening now, with the especially brazen republican president, congress, and supreme court, it's never going to happen.

    republican (and democratic, to a lesser extent) politicians pander to a religious base only in order to win elecitons. meanwhile they incite unjust wars, let impoverished people drown, endorse state-sponsored executions, cut veteran's benefits and allow the elderley and disabled to go without health insurance, all while giving tax cuts to the wealthiest minority on the backs of the middle and lower classes.

    somehow they never have to answer for these things during elections though; one advantage of a cognitively dissonant base, i guess.

    and if i may get a little biblical, of the 30,000 or so verses in the bible, about 5,000 meantion poverty and the obligation of every capable person to help those less fortunate. how many mention gay marriage? how many mention pre-emptive war? does the bible say "turn the other cheek" or "an eye for an eye"? the hypocrisy of people who cherrypick verses from the bible to suit their own agenda (and that of the mindless sheep who follow them) is perplexing to me.

    what christian value is it that allows pat robertson to justify calling for the assassination of hugo chavez? which chapter/verse says the love between a man and a man or a woman and a woman is sinful? how could ANY type of love be considered sinful?

    personally i give whatever or whoever created this hodgepodge universe alot more credit than that. i believe that She/He/It has to be insulted when supposed followers display such narrow perspectives on existence and unbelieveably superficial understandings of human nature and each person's place in the world.

    the 'span

    i've been disappointed with my beloved C-SPAN lately. they've adopted a format on washington journal wherein they schedule one guest at a time to discuss the issue of the day, and no counter-argument is offered to the guest (except the call-ins). i don't care for it when a conservative is on, i don't care for it when a liberal is on. you would think that two guests with differing opinions could maintain the civility of the show. whatever. dog bless the 'span.

    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    how about a little football scarecrow

    a RARE sports post...

    i'm predicting the chicago bears will go to and win the superbowl this year. the defense wins. indianapolis will either get beaten by jacksonville in the playoffs or maybe denver, unless they make it to the superbowl in which case they'll lose to whomever (chicago)..

    personally i'd like to see a cincinnati/ny giants superbowl, just because, but it probably won't happen. just because i want it to.

    anyway, i'm not watching the foozball anymore. there's an infomercial on about this really cool ladder (santa - hint*).

    Friday, December 02, 2005

    yes, fuck yes

    tim robbins said yesterday that hillary clinton could kiss his ass. i agree.

    don't apologize for being a democrat hillary. don't triangulate. progressive values are american values. what's wrong with supporting civil liberties, protecting the environment, providing universal healthcare, and getting along with the international community? jesus, trying to placate both sides and having these meandering opinions makes me want to eat my own head. why not just demonstrate some fucking balls and say "yeah, i'm a liberal. what's wrong with that? why aren't you?"

    even people who disagree would at least respect you for having and sticking to a clear opinion. no wonder noone knows what the democratic position is on anything these days -- everyone has their own little ideas that don't fit on a bumper sticker and it all gets homogenized by the apologists and elephants-in-donkey-clothing (lieberman) and you end up with this big muttled mess that seems like mass whimpering.

    be like bernie sanders. be a fuck-yeah-i'm-a liberal.