Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So happy new year

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND BEST WISHES TO ALL!!!

Teens use lighter fluid
to set sleeping friend’s
hair on fire, videotape it.

Thankfully, the first decade of the 21st century, the NIGHTMARE YEARS, is over. And as far as the past year is concerned, I know how awful it was and I don’t need Olberman or Matthews or others to review it for me. I prefer to forget all about it, other than for purposes of holding Bush/Cheney and their band of war criminals accountable for their many crimes. It was an awful year in almost every respect: politically, militarily, economically, morally, ethically, productively, internationally, and in most any other way you might think. About the only two positive developments I can think of are the election of Barack Obama, who will soon become the 44th President of the United States (and our first black and white President), and Rachel Maddow who manages to kind of cheerfully and cleverly point out what a bunch of hopeless half-wits are pretending to run our country. Obama is yet to be tested, but that doesn’t keep us from hoping and hoping and hoping that he might be able to actually do something about the incredible mess Bush/Cheney and their minions have made of our once great nation. Even if he were to fail miserably he would still be a thousand percent better than those he is replacing. Maddow is wonderful in spite of the fact that she insists on dressing herself like a character out of Charles Addams (I know, picky, picky). She has the marvelous ability to smile pleasantly while slipping the knife in between the ribs. Matthews and Olberman are being consistently upstaged, the former being too egomaniacal and dim-witted to understand it, the latter being able to escape to the sports desk.

I am trying to think of anything, even one single thing, that the Bush/Cheney administration did to help the citizens of our nation or the nation itself. What positive achievement can they point to, other than stealing from the poor to give to the rich, and driving up the price of oil for their friends in the industry (if you wish to consider those in any way positive achievements). You don’t have to look far on the negative side: an unnecessary and criminal “war,” torture, illegal spying, myriad war crimes, constitutional violations, chronic lying and stonewalling, treasonous “outing” of a CIA agent, the list goes on and on. Historians are going to ponder for years and years how it is these criminals got elected in the first place, and how it was they were allowed to continue for so many years. The danger is they may have placed the nation in such jeopardy there will be neither time nor funds available to bring them to justice. I believe this should not be allowed to happen, no matter what the cost. If this does not happen we might as well open all the jails and penitentiaries and let everyone go free because “it all happened in the past,” and it’s time to let bygones be bygones, thus admitting for all the world to see that we are not, in fact, a nation of laws, or at least that the laws do not apply to everyone equally.

I guess by now we have demonstrated time and time again that laws and international sanctions do not apply to our Israeli “friends.” They apparently enjoy shooting fish in a barrel so much they won’t even consider a temporary cease-fire. There is obviously either a serious lack of intelligence among the Israelis or they just plain and simply do not want any cessation in hostilities. I am pretty sure they do not lack intelligence, and I am equally pretty sure they need permanent hostilities to keep milking the U. S. of billions each year. If hostilities ever stopped they would have to face the reality of their situation and actually have to give up some of their stolen lands. As long as the Palestinians are kept relatively powerless so they cannot fight back with any reasonable chance of success, permanent chaos suits them just fine.

LKBIQ:
To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.
Sir Winston Churchill

TILT:
Elisha Cook Jr., who played Wilmer in The Maltese Falcon, lived alone in the Sierras where he tied flies and fished for trout between movies.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Politics and religion

Naked intruder flees when
88 year-old woman grabs
his crotch and squeezes.

I fear I have arrived at a point where I cannot decide if I think religion is more absurd than politics, or politics is more absurd than religion, or if both are equally absurd. I will not comment here about the politics of the past eight years which most everyone might agree have been pretty weird, and which I think have been totally absurd. For the moment I am thinking only of the Blagojevich/Illinois situation (I guess most people would agree that Illinois politics have always been absurd, but let’s just stick to the current goings-on). As I understand it, the current situation is somewhat as follows. Blagojevich has been accused of trying to capitalize on Obama’s replacement in the Senate, as he, Blagojevich, as Governor of Illinois, has the power to appoint someone to that exalted office. Put simply, he was trying to gain materially through his ability to do this. Everyone became outraged when this was revealed. One hundred percent of the relevant Congress officials signed a letter saying he could not make such an appointment, and if he did, they would not seat the person he chose. Impeachment proceedings have already begun to get rid of Blagojevich. A lesser man (politician) probably would have simply given up, but not Blagojevich, who went ahead and appointed his choice to succeed Obama. Now everyone is outraged all over again, and threatening to refuse to seat the man. However, there is apparently some doubt about whether the Senate can refuse the candidate or not. I guess there was a previous case which managed to last for two and half years, at which point the Senate lost and had to seat the person. As it appears at the moment, the best the Senate can do is to delay recognition of the person and let it drag out in the courts. Of course if Blagojevich is impeached he would no longer be Governor and then the question of his candidate’s legitimacy would be raised. It was assumed that if the Governor did try to appoint someone under the existing circumstances he would be unable to find anyone who would accept the appointment. But he did, appointing an ex Attorney General who has an unblemished record and in principle is perfectly acceptable. His problem is, he is regarded as a loser, having run for Governor himself three times and lost every time. If he were appointed he would have to actually run for the office in 2010 and most everyone believes he could not win (which could result in a Republican taking over the Democratic seat). What a quandary! As Blagojevich has not been tried or convicted, and as we must assume he is innocent until proven guilty, and if he remains the legitimate Governor of Illinois, why should he not make an appointment? But if he makes the appointment and the Senate refuses it, what then? And if they just stall until he is (probably) impeached, then what? Further complicating this situation is the fact that Blagojevich’s attorney claims the Governor has not actually done anything wrong (other than merely talking about it which is not a crime). But it also turns out that his candidate of choice has donated money to Blagojevich several times in the past (so the question of “selling” the office is still somewhat open).

Now, turning for a time to the question of religion. We have here where we live a fairly large contingent of Mennonites. There are two separate groups, each with their own followers and church. The women of one of these groups wear black caps while the females members of the other group wear white hats. I do not know the significance of this, but it appears that one group is somewhat more liberal than the other, one apparently can watch TV, the other one not, and I know not what else (and not wanting to snoop I have never asked any of them). Basically, they seem to be nice people and good neighbors and I respect them all in spite of what their respective beliefs may be. But I confess I cannot imagine that the schism between them can be very serious (or it would not be to me, I am sure). But just today, while reading a book on the Russian conquest of Siberia, East of the Sun, by Benson Bobrick, I came across this account of a disagreement between Russian and Greek Orthodox believers:

“The principal differences to be settled were: whether a triple halleluia should be pronounced, in honor of the Trinity, or a double halleluia, in reference to the double nature of Christ; whether processions around the churches should march against or with the sun; whether it was right or wrong to have a beard; whether at mass there should be upon the altar one or many loaves—the Russian used seven; whether the name Jesus should be spelled Iissous or Issous; whether in prayer, the Saviour should be addressed as our God or the Son of God; whether it was right to say of God, ‘whose reign is eternal,’ or ‘whose reign shall be eternal’; whether the cross should have four or eight points; and whether the sign of the cross should be made with three fingers extended, as denoting the Trinity, and two closed in reference to Christ’s double nature, or with two fingers extended, in allusion to the double nature, and three closed, in token of the Trinity.” (page 102).

Now, not being a religious person, I find this trivial to the point of absurdity. Perhaps the case of Illinois politics above may be of more importance, I do not know. But in either case it seems to me it is much ado about something that could be easily settled if the various parties acted as serious adults rather than unnecessarily petulant children. But that seems to be the way of both politics and religion. In both cases the issues seem to have nothing to do with the welfare of the people but, rather, with the lust for power and control, our way or the highway, etc. What depresses me the most is the fear that this sort of thing will continue forever. Aw, well, at least I won’t.

LKBIQ:
In politics, absurdity is not a handicap.
Napoleon Bonaparte

TILT:
A mondegreen is a misheard or misinterpreted phrase, usually in a poem or song. For example, “all of the other reindeer,” can be heard as “Olive, the other reindeer.”

Monday, December 29, 2008

Slaughterhouse

Burglar stealing meat from
woman’s freezer thwarted
when his van is stuck in mud.

It is by no stretch of the imagination a “war,” although it may be to the bitter end. Those “brave” Israelis are boasting that it is to “be a war to the bitter end,” but what kind of “war” is it when one side has a million and a half Palestinians cornered in a small area, starved and without medicines and whatever, and virtually helpless in the face of overwhelming Israeli military superiority? It’s not a “war,” it’s a slaughter, a massacre, a bloodbath, an extermination, a pogrom, a mass murder so cowardly and unnecessary as to be condemned by the entire world (except, of course, by the U.S., complicit in this criminal act and apparently proud of it). The Israelis are boasting of it, how they allowed a few truckloads of supplies into Gaza to lull the Palestinians into thinking they were safe, and how they attacked on the Jewish Sabbath to also throw them off guard, and so on. They have already killed about 350 Palestinians, many women and children included, and are threatening to increase their bombardments. And all of this apparently in advance of an actual ground invasion. In some cases Palestinians are called and warned to flee, but, of course, they have nowhere to go, even the Egyptians are apparently shooting at them. These are not brave Israeli soldiers, they are cowardly ghouls who are determined to finish Hamas once and for all. Their rationale is the usual bullshit about “Israel has a right to defend itself.” By this massive slaughter of innocents they are protecting themselves from some rather primitive, home-made rockets that over the course of weeks finally managed to kill one Israeli. It’s the same massive overkill they employed against Lebanon not long ago, which failed miserably to bring about the results they wished. Now they say their massive bombardment will show Hamas they will not be intimidated. The bully is not intimidated by the weaker people he picks on. But they will not succeed in quieting Hamas, only in multiplying and intensifying the hatred they already feel toward Israel. And it is not just Hamas that is the target, it is all the Palestinian people, those poor souls displaced from their own lands by the arbitrary acts of a colonial power, who still refuse to give up seeking their rights and justice. It appears the Israelis have decided that a slow genocide of Palestinians is preferable to giving up any of the lands they have illegally and immorally expropriated. With U.S. aid they seem to be getting away with this crime against humanity. By these barbaric acts it may well be true that they are sowing the seeds of their own eventual destruction.

What a travesty! Bush just looks on and sanctions the Israeli bloodbath, while Obama has no choice except to repeat “there is only one President at a time.” While this may be literally true, is it in fact true? That is, Obama must have been consulted about this (I think), and while he is acknowledging that he isn’t President yet, did he in fact endorse this policy, indicate that he would support it, that he would continue our policy of uncritical acceptance of anything the Israelis want to do? Once he is President will he just continue the Bush/Cheney policy of non-interference (in fact, active support) in Israeli outrages? He is on record as saying he regards the Israeli/Palestinian question to be of the greatest importance and will try to help negotiate a two state solution. But will he? Will he even be able to do so in the face of the current hostilities? While we are forced to wait how many more innocent lives will be lost and ruined by this shameless, murderous aggression?

LKBIQ:
History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.
Edward Gibbon

TILT:
The earliest known cave paintings in Europe have been dated at 32,000 years ago.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Journey to the West (5)

Another dreary Sunday. Not much in the way of news. A bit of snow, turning to rain and then freezing. Lousy weather, difficult roads, cold and unpleasant. The world seems to be waiting for Obama to be inaugurated, waiting with high hopes. It is difficult to imagine how things can fail to improve from what is now. Anyway, installment number five of my "sort of memoir."

A little less than a year and a half after our return from Los Angeles I learned what my Uncle Otto meant when he said the scrap iron would be returned. The Japanese attacked Pear Harbor and we entered the war. I had just turned 12, old enough to understand what was happening but too young to have to become directly involved. Although the war was very far from our remote vantage point in North Idaho, we had English friends who had relatives in London, so we began to learn what was happening there. We listened to the radio and watched the news at our weekly movie theatre and began to learn of places and things we had never before experienced. There was rationing for one thing. Most everything was rationed: shoes, meat, sugar, gasoline, butter, cigarettes, and I don’t remember what all else. I confess the rationing did not really seem to affect us very much. Certainly we did not suffer. It was possible to trade ration stamps with others which helped some quite a lot. For example, as we did not drive very much, my father simply gave all his gas stamps to his hunting partner who also ran a garage. Whenever we need gas he just gave it to us, while he could use the extra stamps for those people who really needed gasoline. It was a small town, most everyone knew everyone else, and people helped each other as required.

We were supposed to collect things for the war effort, like aluminum foil, grease, and also paper. I have vivid memories of the paper drive. We collected newspapers and magazines from all over town. There were at least two collection centers, one in my friend Corky Thatcher’s garage and one in an abandoned house on the outskirts of town. We filled these places with tons of paper. In Corky’s garage we used the magazines to build forts and then threw magazines back and forth at each other. And we met regularly in the abandoned house to deliver our paper, but also to catch up on our reading. There were, in those days, pulp magazines like “Spicy Westerns,” “Spicy Detectives,” “Spicy Science Fiction,” and so on. While these were not truly hardcore porn, they were close, and for twelve year olds whose hormones were beginning to race, they were spicy indeed. While we learned a great deal from this eclectic collection of reading material, I’m not sure how the war effort gained much as I’m not certain anyone ever picked up all this paper.

Among other adventures with Corky, he got me my first paying job. In one of the butcher shops they had wieners that came 100 to a box and had casings that were inedible. I believe these were called Lujacks, and Corky and I had to remove the casings, for which we received a penny each. Needless to say, we did not become wealthy “skinning Lujacks,” but it was productive work, the first I ever encountered, and the rewards of which I never forgot. It was the first of many experiences with the problems of labor and management in a capitalistic society. Although Corky was my age he was years ahead of me in experience and ability. His mother, among her other work, raised rabbits for sale. Corky could kill, skin, and dress a rabbit so fast I could scarcely believe it. He also taught me to roast potatoes in the ashes of a campfire and how to take care of a younger sister (although I never had one). His mother was either a widow or a divorcee. I believe she cleaned houses and such for a living. They lived in an old, somewhat decrepit rented house with very little furniture but seemed happy to be getting along so well. After a couple of years they disappeared, I know not where. Sometimes I find it rather strange that I actually knew a widow Thatcher with a son, Corky, and a daughter, Becky, but I did.

Girls, too, were now taking on an entirely new perspective. We didn’t date yet, but we met in groups to play “spin-the-bottle,” and kiss and giggle, and talk of imaginary conquests and encounters. We learned to dance to juke boxes and records played in the wealthier kids’ basements, and of course learned all the new songs, that in those days were often sentimental and had to do with the war. “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” “Saturday Night,” and other such favorites. It was the era of the big bands, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Les Brown, and many others. We learned to jitterbug and dress in pegged pants with key chains and had crew cuts and in general had a good time in spite of the war. In many ways I think this may have been the best time of my life.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The never-ending conflict

For making noise during
a movie, young man gets shot
in the arm by irate neighbor.

I am both sick at heart and outraged. The Israelis, having herded a million and a half more or less helpless Palestinians into Gaza, and having failed to starve them to death, or force the Egyptians to take them, have now bombed them again, killing somewhere between 150 and 205 (the reports differ). This bombing was said to be in retaliation for missiles sent into Israel by Hamas. These inaccurate missiles, and suicide bombers, are basically the only weapons left to the Palestinians. Remember that Einstein once said insanity was repeating the same thing over and over and expecting to get different results. The Israelis have been doing the same thing over and over again for years and it has only resulted in making the Palestinians more enraged and more determined to attack them however they can with their limited means. The U.S., which can always be depended upon to support Israeli genocide, predictably blames Hamas and says they should stop firing missiles into Israel. Hamas, the legitimately and democratically elected government of the Palestinians, is considered merely a terrorist organization by the U.S., disappointed at the outcome of an election that we encouraged. Democracy is wonderful as long as it produces the results we desire, if not, we either ignore it or label it an enemy of some kind. In the eyes of much of the world, Hamas and Hezbollah are not terrorist organizations, but, rather, freedom fighters trying to defend themselves from aggressor nations like Israel and the U.S.. Barak, who recently (finally) allowed truckloads of food and medicine into Gaza is being criticized for aiding and abetting the enemy. Can you believe this, food and medicine which they desperately need is being withheld? And the U.S. apparently sanctions this horrible war crime (the Israelis can do no wrong). Obama, so far, has merely said “no comment.” This does not bode well for the Palestinians. Will the Israelis, desperate to rid themselves of this population, eventually create their own “final solution?” And would the U.S. even sanction that? It is no secret what the Israelis are up to, and the entire world is watching while they do it, as if the Israelis are, in fact, a chosen people. I recall when I was much younger I supported the idea of a “Jewish Homeland,” and thought it was a fine idea. I believed that Israel would eventually be able to make peace with the Arabs and become a democracy in the Middle East. Only later did I begin to realize that trying to establish a Jewish state in the heart of Arab lands was really not a very good idea. And as Israeli greed for land and water and power has now made accommodation virtually impossible, I have become totally disillusioned and cynical. As long as the U.S. uncritically supports the outrageous acts of the Israelis towards the Palestinians there will never be peace in the Middle East. At this point in time it may be impossible to create a “two state solution.” It may well be there is no future except the status quo, festering forever in that troubled part of the world.

As there is nothing else to do but hope, I still wait for Obama’s inauguration (but not for Warren’s performance). But the problems we face may be far more than any ordinary, or even extraordinary President, can deal with. The state of the world and our country has never been this bad (with the possible exception of the Great Depression). Not only does Obama face two failing “wars,” a failed economic system,” a limited amount of funds, he is also going to have to deal with the issue of war crimes and prosecutions, the Israeli/Palestinian perhaps insoluble problem, the Iranians, Russians, and Chinese, the probable new depression, a hostile and uncooperative Republican party, and who knows what else. We should probably wish that he really is a visitor from outer space, sent here to protect us from ourselves, and try to straighten out a world gone very wrong. The Republicans, who should be standing behind him to try to solve our problems, are already plotting to bring him down, just as they tried to bring down Clinton. I have naively believed that the point of government was to look after the citizens and their well-being, with the understanding there would be differences of opinion along the way, but compromises would move us along. Now, however, under the Bush/Cheney/Rove administration, it has become a “war” between the haves and the have-nots, where compromise is unacceptable and the complete destruction of the other party is the goal. To me this is nothing short of political treason. It cannot be allowed to continue. Bush/Cheney/Rove et al must be held accountable for what they have done, never mind any “reaching across the aisle” to these criminals.

LKBIQ:
To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, right or wrong - is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
Theodore Roosevelt
TILT:
Evidence of fishing is known to date back at least 40,000 years

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dead time

We need to rethink the period between Thanksgiving and the first of the year. As it is now this is largely just dead time, at least for many. Of course it isn't dead time for those who man the stores and cater to the shoppers, but for many others it is basically a lost month, and whatever activity there is is mostly related to shopping and preparing for the "holidays." This is perhaps most noticeable in offices and in Universities. After Thanksgiving no one seems to think of anything other than doing their Christmas shopping and preparing for the feasts and festivities that are happening. Office Christmas parties galore, extra long lunch hours to allow for shopping, missed days of work due to hangovers and too many days off for travel and such. People are supposed to be at work, but in reality, while their bodies are there, their minds are not. I think we should just take a month long holiday and have done with it. Those who work in stores and shops could take off the month of January to compensate them for having to work during December. There isn't much work for them in January anyway, especially this year, as there apparently isn't even much work for them during December as most people don't have much money to spend this year. Apparently the annual shopping spree has been so bad there are some stores who many go out of business. Of course Wall Street, the banks and insurance companies are doing fine, but how many corporate jets can you sell in one season.

Along these lines, I cannot understand why any working person would ever vote for a Republican. They make no secret of the fact that they are anti-union, anti-working stiff, anti-decent wages, anti-pensions, anti-health insurance, and so on. They are completely up front about this, just witness what is going on with the big 3 auto companies, and what their hero, Ronald Reagan, did to the airline unions, which seems to have made union busting even more fashionable than ever before. "Freedom and justice for all," mean for Republicans "for all who have lots of money and power," not for "all." It has been so ever since I can remember. Republicans seem to think that ordinary people do not deserve living wages or benefits of any kind. I think it is no exaggeration to say there is a "war" between those who "have" and those who do not have, and the goal of this war is to make sure than no one, who isn't already someone, should have the right to anything other than work in a sweatshop. If Republicans have their way we will return to the conditions that obtained at the turn of the 20th century. To this end they have starved our public school system and fought every labor initiative for years and years. They do not believe in democracy, and would prefer that most of us would not even vote. And if we must vote, they fill our heads with garbage like the threat of gay marriages or abortions or gun control or, even worse, "socialized medicine." I am not sympathetic to Obama's plan to reach out to these people. Why should he reach out to those who basically want to destroy our democracy? He's something like the woman who believes she can change her man if only she can get him to marry her. I do not believe these "free market" believers will ever change, no matter how badly their philosophy has failed

I simply do not understand why it is that people are so resistant to reality or change, or to doing the fair and just thing. Take the Israeli case, for example. Now they are talking about invading Gaza again, in order to stop the rockets the Palestinians are launching from there. So once again they are going to meet violence with more violence, which will breed more violence, which will also breed more violence, ad infinitum. This has been going on for years and hasn't worked. Nothing could be more obvious than this. But will they try something else, like, for example, negotiating in good faith for a Palestinian state, or some other solution to this problem. Of course not, especially if that warmonger Netanyahu gets elected. The Israelis would rather cling to their stolen land and water than negotiate any kind of peace with the Palestinians. The never-ending violence will continue, apparently until the Israelis have successfully destroyed the Palestinians entirely. Why the U.S. continues to support this slow genocide I do not know. I cannot see any good reason for it. The Palestinians don't have any oil or other resources for us to gain. We are not going to gain any land or resources of any kind. You might say "we do not have any dog in this fight." And yet we persist in our mindless support of anything the Israelis wish, no matter how it violates all canons of International law and fundamental human decency.

Of course this year the dead time is worse than usual because we are waiting impatiently for the crooks in the White House to get out. If Bush/Cheney had any sense whatsoever of human decency they would have resigned years ago, and now they are busily trying to sabotage anything positive Obama might wish to do, destroy our environment for their corporate buddies, and pass new rules that are blatant attempts to steal and pillage right up to the last moment. This could have been avoided had democrats not been so cowardly, but, then, they all seem to be members of the same ruling class.

LKBIQ:

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
H. L. Mencken

TILT:
Controversy continues to the present day over the authorship of Shakespeare's many plays, sonnets, and poems, but no proof of other authorship exists.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Best Wishes to All.

Silently the snow,
that pure and peaceful blanket,
warms our mother earth.

Morialekafa

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On Christmas shopping

Utah man steals $500,000
firetruck to visit his mother
at home in Washington.

After my eye appointment today, we took the opportunity to try to do a bit of Christmas shopping. Yes, of course, we’re a bit late. But we really enjoy the endless lines of automobiles, the thousands of shoppers (all late, just like us), the long lines, the jostling and shoving and bad tempers, the endless droning of Christmas carols, the well-below freezing temperatures, the new action figure of Christ, the thousands upon thousands of items of Chinese junk, the snow-covered slippery sidewalks, the suspicious floorwalkers, the waiting in line after line, driving home over slippery, frozen highways, the overwhelming Christmas good cheer, and all the other joys of the season. It really is the season to be jolly. You know, the annual time when we celebrate the Gods of Materialism and Merchandising. So, ho ho ho! In fact, we flunked Christmas shopping today, finding virtually nothing that any of us could possible want or use (if you can believe that).

I guess the reason for our failure today is the entirely new concept of Christmas shopping I unveiled this year. It beats all of the above and makes Christmas shopping a breeze, as easy as falling off a greased pig. It’s a simple concept, but foolproof, and fascinating in its own right. I just brought up Amazon.com, Shop.com, and whatever other shopping venues were necessary. Then I told my wife and son to order whatever they wished (depending upon their good sense not to over-do it). Thus they each ordered exactly what they would really like, rather than having to take a chance on the stupid or useless items that I might have given them. The stuff eventually arrives in the mail or by UPS or FedEx, I wrap it (somewhat clumsily) and put it under the tree. Simple, no? What, you think that takes all the surprise out of Christmas? Not at all. In fact, it makes it all the more exciting. It merely shifts the surprise from the receiver to the giver. As I don’t know exactly what they ordered, I am very surprised, and I’m even more surprised when I get the bills. It works exactly the same for them, I order stuff, they are surprised at my lack of taste or sophistication, but wrap it nonetheless , and then they are even more surprised when I complain about the bills. The other great feature of this system is that all of the items never arrive on time, thus spreading out the Spirit of Christmas and gift-giving over a longer period. You also don’t have to return unwanted items unless something is damaged in transit (this rarely happens anymore as everything is wrapped and smothered in thousands of plastic bubbles and such). You eventually have to take all this to the dump, but you have to do that no matter what system you employ. Our shopping today was mostly just nostalgia, and the search for those cute little items you might want to put in a stocking. As sorely as I was tempted, I resisted the urge to buy the new action figure of Jesus (I try to avoid hypocrisy). I can report in all honesty that not one single person of any kind wished us Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, not one. Perhaps it was the glazed look in our eyes that put them off.

Shocking! Obama was photographed in Hawaii with his shirt off. Imagine! His shirt off! How un-Presidental. Of course he was swimming, but even so, how awful. How long do you think it will be before someone brings out the pictures of Putin and compares the two of them? How will Obama fare, with that slim torso and the skinny legs of a basketball player, when compared to the stouter Putin, more of a body-builder or wrestler? Maybe Playgirl will get interested. It will help keep our mind off the 700 billion dollar con job the banks and Wall Street just pulled off. That is what you might call a real Christmas present. Paulsen, who arranged this job, will now become the “car czar.” He will probably arrange for the sale of the big 3 to the Japanese, all in the spirit of big bidness (as dear Molly Ivens used to say).

I can tell you one thing for certain, the gift of truly good sight is the finest Christmas present of all. Dr. Michael H. Cunningham, at the Inland Eye Center in Spokane deserves all the accolades he has received and more.

LKBIQ:
Christmas is a holiday that persecutes the lonely, the frayed, and the rejected.
Jimmy Cannon


TILT:
Whist is a trick taking card game that was played for centuries before becoming auction bridge and later contract and duplicate bridge.

Monday, December 22, 2008

TGIM

Lonely German man
jumps into polar bear
enclosure to join lonely bear.

Thank god it’s Monday. I don’t know about elsewhere in the world, but here it seems to me that life begins again every Monday. Maybe if I went to church on Sunday? Naw, I’ve tried that. It’s horrible listening to all that drivel. Everyone should read Cenk Uygur’s piece in Smirking Chimp today about executing adulterers.

Well, apparently they are planning to do it. Who is they? The Pentagon. What are they planning to do? Double the number of American troops in Afghanistan. Is this insane? In my opinion, absolutely. I don’t know if this is being done with Obama’s blessing or not. He has said he wanted to increase our troops in that impossible situation. If they go through with this we will apparently have 60,000 troops fighting for a hopeless lost cause. We are not going to “win” anything in Afghanistan, at least not militarily. This is an absolute fool’s errand. I cannot believe Obama will go through with this. We should remove all our troops and replace them with peace corps volunteers (who would, of course, need at least some protection) who would seriously attempt to rebuild that shattered country, improve their standard of living, their schools, infrastructure, and so on. In fact, I believe this is what we promised to do in the first place, but like all our promises it faded away quickly in favor of more losing military adventures. No one has ever conquered Afghanistan, probably for good reason, it’s impossible and not worth the effort required. This will be Obama’s Vietnam, or at least a replay the Russian’s embarrassing defeat, and that is a certainty as far as a certainty can be. And we have no clear-cut goal in mind in any case. I pray (to the Great Mystery) that Obama will come to his senses in time to see this for the horrible mistake it is going to be.

I know this will strike everyone as even crazier than sending more troops to Afghanistan, but why don’t we send 60,000 troops to Gaza to protect the Palestinians from the Israeli genocide. They could force open the supply lines into that beleagured place and at least rescue some of the Palestinians from having to search the garbage dumps for food. What is happening in Gaza, to my way of thinking, is far more important, and much more urgent, than anything we can do in Afghanistan.

Bush/Cheney and several others should be arrested and tried for war crimes. Biden is totally wrong-headed when he says these things happened in the past and we should concentrate on the future. Biden’s statement is just plain silly, if it were true no crime would ever be punished. Of course I know we have terrible problems that need to be overcome, but I do not see why this should result in letting these terrible crimes go unpunished. Indeed, as I understand it, the failure to prosecute such crimes is itself a crime. Obama is a constitutional lawyer, he must be aware of this. Will he, too, just flaunt the Constitution as “just a goddamn piece of paper?” And let’s stop worrying so much about partisanship. Who cares what the Republican criminals think about partisanship? They certainly didn’t worry about it when they arrogantly and viciously shut the Democrats out for these long, miserable eight years. Obama’s “reaching across the aisles” threatens to hamper any positive changes that might be made, Republicans are not known for compromising. Indeed, at this very moment, instead of trying to cooperate in solving our monumental problems, they are union busting and even putting together a committee to investigate every move Obama makes. If Obama truly wants to make some important changes he should start by emasculating whatever Republican influence remains, not by inviting them in to sabotage his every move. Let them sit on their hands and twiddle their thumbs while they contemplate the terrible damage they have done to our great nation.

LKBIQ:

Those who seek consolation in existing churches often pay for their peace of mind with a tacit agreement to ignore a great deal of what is known about the way the world works.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

TILT:
A standard snooker table is 12’ by 6’ with pockets on all four corners and one on each side rail.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Journey to the West (4)

Another dreary Sunday. It is cold, snowed a bit, and there seems to be little news of note. Sort of par for Sunday here in the U.S. And, as everything that happens elsewhere in the world is of little interest to our MSM, aside from an occasional earthquake or tidal wave, we no longer expect to hear about it. So on Sundays I amuse myself with "remembrances of things past," and continue to sketch out the general framework of my life. The beauty of doing this on Morialekafa is that it is easy and convenient and no one has to read it unless they wish. So here is the fourth installment:

Safely home from our summer trip, and preparing to enter the fifth grade, I spent the rest of the summer doing what ten and eleven year old boys did in those days: played cowboys and Indians, detectives, Robin Hood, kick-the-can, hide-and-seek, marbles, and whatever took our fancy. I became more and more aware of our small mining town and its place in the world and my life. Mining was by far the most important industry, although there was some timber as well. The silver, lead, and zinc mines for years had poured their waste directly into the river than ran through town. We referred to this as the “Lead Creek,” although it was actually the upper portion of the Coeur d’Alene River. Ugly gray milky water ran over boulders and assorted detritus of all kinds: old bicycles, bottles, tin cans, discarded refrigerators or other appliances, parts of old cars, whatever it was people no longer wanted. As the river was already so polluted no one seemed to care what went into it, including unwanted puppies and kittens. It was foul. No living creatures could survive in it and we did not play in or around it.

The town was built in a narrow canyon with many of the houses built on the side of a steep mountain on the south side. On the other side of the Lead Creek, between it and the mountain, ran the railroad tracks. The mountain on that side rose steeply from the tracks. There were no houses there, merely some scrubby pines and a lot of rock. There was little level space in our town and it was taken up by the business district and most of the better homes. One could walk to anyplace within the city limits in a relatively short time. Concentrated in the roughly four block business district were two small movie theatres, a bakery, two butcher shops, a candy store and fountain, a furniture store, a couple of novelty stores, a J.C. Penny’s, a hardware store, a newspaper, a couple of jewelry stores, a men’s store, and a stationery store that also sold books, along with two small grocery store and a pool hall. Most everything one could desire. I almost forgot to mention the numerous bars and four whorehouses. Actually, within the immediate environs there were something like thirty-two bars in all. The town was the county seat with a relatively small population, except on weekends, when the miners and lumberjacks came in from the surrounding hills for a good time. A few of the bars also featured gambling tables, mostly blackjack, poker, and pan. Only rarely could one find a crap game. The gambling and whoring was illegal, of course, but ours was in those days a boom town and money flowed freely, mostly in the form of silver dollars. I think I was probably ten or twelve years old before I ever saw a dollar bill. There was barely enough ground for a football field, bare of grass, and hard as cement. Our teams took pride in playing on such a field. The High School was next to the football field and across from the Elementary School. I could walk the four blocks from home to school and did so regularly, going home each day for lunch. There was also a Catholic School, but it was further away and built in a purely residential area. Most of us had no idea what went on there, except that it was run by nuns who had a reputation for severity. I think they lived on the third floor of the building. Children from the two schools did not mix. We also had two hospitals, one a Catholic one, built on a slope away from the business district, and another smaller secular one located at the very end of one of the main streets. Only the Catholic hospital provided any kind of surgery. I had my tonsils out there. I remember it well as in those days they used ether as an anaesthetic. You had to count from 100 backwards and always were sick afterwards. I thought it was a weird place, quiet, with nuns moving silently and slowly around the corridors and crucifixes hanging from the walls. Thinking of it now, "surreal" comes to mind.

There was only one road through town, going east to Missoula or kind of southwest to Spokane, but both places seemed far away over narrow twisting roads and we did not often venture to either place in our 1932 black Hudson sedan that looked like it should belong to gangsters in Chicago or New York. My father had traveled to Spokane with my uncle Parm (more on Parm later), a farmer in Post Falls, Idaho, bought the Hudson new, and learned to drive it while returning to Post Falls. He never became a very accomplished driver, which didn’t matter much as we seldom went more than a few miles from home. The highway between our town and Coeur d’Alene was a very narrow two lane construction that wound rather crazily along the mountainside above Coeur d’Alene Lake. The trip took hours and I inevitably became car sick. But as my mother’s family lived in Post Falls, we sometimes made the trip. It was somewhat colorful as we always passed a Regina Stand and had a root beer, then another place that had a chained bear that drank soda pop, and still another place built in the shape of a giant trout. Post Falls, in those days, could not have had more than perhaps 50 to 100 residents at most, nowadays there are thousands. From the time I was five or six I spent part of every summer on my Grandparents farm near Post Falls. When they died the farm was continued by uncle Parm.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Responsibilities of Government?

What are the responsibilities of government? According to the Constitution of the United States, they are as follows:

1. Form a more perfect union.
2. Establish justice.
3. Insure domestic tranquility.
4. Provide for the common defense.
5. Promote the general welfare.
6. Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

Unfortunately, these do not really tell you very much. Establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and provide for common defense seem pretty clear. Forming a more perfect union is very abstract and, I think, not entirely clear. In this respect it is similar to securing the blessings of liberty…It is "promoting the general welfare" that I believe is far too general, at least for me. For example, I should think that promoting the general welfare would mean providing health care for all. My view is apparently not shared by those in government as we have some 47 million citizens without such care. We do have medicare and Medicaid, begrudgingly given, and still not wanted by some. This is fine, but a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed.

I should think promoting the general welfare would also include seeing to it that no one has to go hungry or starve. As I see ads all the time to help hungry children, and I am told that millions go to bed at night hungry, and so on, it seems our government does not interpret this the way I would. Why should I, without too many means, have to provide for hungry children in the richest country on earth? While on the one hand I feel guilty when I cannot personally solve the hunger problem, on the other I am angry as hell because I believe this should be a governmental responsibility. I am also informed, from time to time, that our elderly are sometimes reduced to eating dog and cat food, or having to choose between paying their rent and paying for their prescription drugs. It’s true we have social security, a blessing, but still hated by some who would like to take it away. Is this their idea of promoting the general welfare?

Similarly, I receive request all the time for donations to save the whales, the dolphins, the polar bears, the spotted owl, elephants, puffins, pygmy rabbits, sage grouse, etc., etc. etc. Why should it be my responsibility to save all these wonderful creatures? Isn’t looking out for them and insuring their well-being promoting the general welfare? Apparently not, our government chooses to promote the general welfare of huge corporations instead. This, too, leaves me very angry.

And what about maintaining and improving our infrastructure? While I do not get requests to personally contribute for this, I certainly have to pay taxes which presumably should be used at least in part for this purpose. But for more than fifty years it has not. Maintainting infrastructure, bridges, highways, schools, public buildings and so on clearly contributes to the general welfare. Where has government been?

Speaking of schools, one would think that a functioning democracy would only be as good as its informed citizens. But our citizens have been increasingly uninformed for years, with no emphasis placed on education and the affordability ebbing away even faster than ordinary inflation. We have become a nation of television addicts, with television programming so dismal for the most part that even semi-intelligent people cannot bear to watch it. Anti-intellectualism is rampant and even our beautiful language is being corrupted. Bush’s question, “is our children learning” sums it up quite well. While we used to lead the world in education, we have fallen badly behind in subjects that are absolutely crucial to survival in the modern world. Under the Bush/Cheney administration science has been replaced with religious fairy tales of one kind or another. Any society where a majority doesn’t believe in evolution is not going to survive for long in the 21st century, except perhaps, as a pitiful nation that once was a player on the international stage.

One only has to look at “providing for the common defense” to learn where our emphasis is and has been for a long time. We not only provide for our common defense, we revel in it, roll in it, overdo it to the point of absurdity, suck it up like catnip. With a defense budget larger than all the rest of the world combined we certainly provide for our common defense, and provide, and provide, and provide. This is so excessive, so insane, so obsessive, it seems to be designed for a science fiction “war of the worlds” rather than any realistic hostilities that could possibly happen here on earth.

Finally, our belief in free market capitalism, is basically opposed to promoting the general welfare of our citizens. Marx predicted long ago that under unregulated capitalism corporations and the wealthy would eventually cannibalize the workers. We have just witnessed the proof of Marx’s theory. Basic necessities like air and water and food and energy and transportation and health care are too important to be left to privatization and an unregulated market system. Let the capitalists concentrate on cosmetics and tobacco and liquor and such and let the rest of us try to live more sensibly. There are social democracies that work well while protecting their citizens from the greed and avarice of unregulated capitalism. They may have their flaws, but they, at least, are on the right track. We are not.

LKBIQ:
[Feminism is] a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.
Pat Robertson

TILT:
Cary Grant’s real name was Archibald Alec Leach.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Stupidity reigns

Michigan city bans being
annoying in public “by
word of mouth, sign or motions.”

It seems we are being inundated by stupidity. I said last night that I thought Obama’s choice of Rick Warren for his inauguration was more than merely a mistake, it was stupid. Today I believe it was even more stupid than I thought. It seems that Warren, in addition to being homophobic (which he hilariously denies), also does not allow gays to become members of his church. I’m not certain whether it is pedophilia or incest that he fears within his congregation. But what strikes me as really stupid is the fact that he apparently has people in his church who are attempting to “cure” people of being gay. Anyone who knows anything about the subject knows that being gay is not something that can be “cured,” and to believe otherwise is an indication of either ignorance or stupidity or both. As information on this subject is widely available, and presumably members of his church are literate, one can only conclude that in the case of Warren’s church it has to be some form of stubborn stupidity. Similarly, anyone who believes that evolution has not occurred is equally ignorant, stupid, or both. Warren apparently believes that the existence of homosexuality proves that evolution did not occur. I do not believe, with Obama, that we should reach out to such people when what they believe, and what they are teaching children, is not only false, but harmful to the future of our nation. To deny science in the 21st century is tantamount to national suicide. I thought when we got rid of Bush/Cheney we might actually re-establish our faith in science once again, and, indeed, Obama insists that he will follow science, but this pick of Warren does not indicate to me that he is going to do so. I am not only disappointed, I am disgusted by this stupidity.

If the stupidity of Obama and Warren is not enough, we can always depend upon Bush to further stupidity. Apparently his “right of conscience” movement was not quite stupid enough, now he has punted the auto problem to Obama, which probably was predictable, but he has appointed Paulson as the acting “car czar.” I guess he thinks that Paulson’s failure to bail out anyone but Wall Street is experience enough for him to be the car czar as well. Of course Bush has done so many stupid things it has almost become acceptable for him, the MSM has certainly never challenged any of them. Bush wears his stupidity like a badge of honor.

Then we have Dick the Slimy who apparently thinks we are all too stupid to ever hold him accountable for his war crimes, even though he has admitted them publicly. Unhappily, he may prove to be right. There is some doubt that the Obama administration is going to do anything to bring Bush/Cheney to justice, even though failing to do so will itself apparently be a crime, according to our Constitution (remember that “piece of goddamn paper”).

We also continue to pursue our failed and pointless “war on drugs,” at enormous expense that is little more than flushing money down the toilet. Most everyone nowadays knows this but it doesn’t keep us from stupidly carrying on. I would put the Afghanistan “war” right up there with all these other acts of stupidity. Our unconditional support for Israeli genocide is another case in point. The performance of our Congress in the past two years is also a textbook case of stupidity. There is no excuse for the failure to impeach Bush/Cheney who are continuing to damage our nation right up until their last second in office. This could have been, and should have been, prevented, but it wasn’t. So, I’m sorry to say it, but I believe these things are no longer understandable or tolerable as simply mistakes, they have been and are just plain stupid. I guess this is why I am so disappointed in Obama. Up until now I had not thought of him as stupid.

LKBIQ:
Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.
Jeff Valdez

TILT:
William Faulkner was also known as “Gibby.”

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A stupid choice

German man found with 1200
uncaged parakeets in small feces
and feather strewn apartment.

Thanks Bubblehead. My eye surgery went well and is a great success. In fact, to me it borders on the miraculous. Having been terribly nearsighted all my life I can now see better than I ever could before. I originally went to this ophthalmologist to have cataracts removed. I had been told by another doctor only three or four years ago that surgery would not completely correct my vision because it was so bad. Little did I know how far these guys have come in the last few years. I not only got rid of the cataracts, I had what is called intraocular surgery, in which they actually insert new lenses right in your eyes. And even more miraculous to me is the fact that this is done on an outpatient visit and takes only somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes. So, having had my teenage years ruined by having to wear glasses, and having to struggle with contact lenses for about fifty years, I now have perfectly normal sight (you might say, now that it is too late, if you were adequately cynical). Of course there was 17” of snow in Spokane last night and trying to get home was a nightmare. But my wife is fearless.

Anyway, on to other things. I have been and remain an Obama supporter, and I have real hopes for the future now that we will be rid of Bush/Cheney and their Hole-in-the-head-gang. I have watched with interest while Obama has picked his cabinet and others. While I have had some doubts about some, and wondered about others, I never thought he had done something stupid – until now. His pick of Rich Warren for his inauguration I believe is so atrocious as to be fundamentally stupid. Warren is an active homophobe, but worse than that, he doesn’t believe in evolution or stem cell research, contraception, (or even science, apparently), and believes that non-Christians should not be permitted to hold public office. In short, he is nothing but another right-wing bigot who has been as divisive as Falwell, Robertson, Dobson, or any of the others of that ilk. When challenged on this mistake Obama said, “it’s the American way to reach out to others.” I must say I do not agree that it is the American way to reach out to right-wing bigots who are so uninformed and doctrinaire they don’t even believe in science. It’s one thing, perhaps, to be merely homophobic, but to compare homosexuals to incest and other vicious practices is beyond the pale of decency. Reaching out to him is not only a mistake and divisive at this moment in time, it is just plain STUPID.

But if Obama’s choice here was stupid, it pales into insignificance when compared with Bush’s latest policy, Right of Conscience. I have mentioned this before, but I must repeat that I believe this is probably the single stupidest policy I have ever seen. It just emphasizes once again that Bush probably doesn’t have a brain at all, or if he does, he never uses it for anything other than trying to please his completely nutty evangelical base. This is a policy so broad and so stupidly conceived that it will allow anyone who works in the health industry at any level or in any way the power to individually decide who will get health care and who won’t. If a similar right of conscience was given to any other industry it would immediately be seen as insane. But as it is primarily aimed at abortion, contraception, and such, he was able to get away with it (actually, he won’t ultimately get away with it as it will be rescinded very quickly under a new administration). In any case, this policy elevates stupidity to an entirely new level.

Dick the Slimy is sticking to his “right to torture” theme. He now says, with an illogic virtually unmatched previously by anyone, that it would have been immoral, unethical, and irresponsible not to torture. In other words, it was right to break our laws, and international laws, to use a technique that was known to be useless for anything other than causing unnecessary pain and suffering because it would produce information that was useless and, in fact, worse than that, because it led us off on all kinds of unnecessary investigations that were basically no more than wastes of time. I don’t think Cheney, like Bush, is stupid, merely evil personified.

LKBIQ:

If it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever.
Woody Allen

TILT::
My wife believes she is the only person on earth who knows how to drive. All others are idiots. However, in her defense, I must say she is an excellent driver and is unfazed by even the most hazardous weather conditions. It took us well over an hour this morning to drive the 32 miles from Spokane to Coeur d’Alene. Interestingly, once we were back in Idaho conditions improved.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cheney's confession

Woman kidnaps demented
old man, marries him, takes
him directly to his bank.

Dick the Slimy, in an interview with ABC, admits to his role in waterboarding (torture), and says Guantanamo should stay open until the end of terrorism (in other words, forever). Put more generally, he has admitted publicly that he is guilty of a war crime. Is he just daring someone to hold him accountable? Will anyone?

I thought Obama’s pick for Education Secretary sounded pretty good. But Greg Palast doesn’t think so and I have great respect for him. Similarly, I’m not too crazy about Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture. In fact I’m beginning to have some doubts about the entire cabinet. It’s true there are all pretty much heavyweights, and it’s also true there is a lot of diversity, which could be a good thing, but it occurs to me it could potentially be a bad thing. I am also beginning to have doubts about Obama’s Israeli policy (if, indeed, he has one aside from just placating Israel constantly, a la Bush). This idea of offering a nuclear shield to Israel (and even others in Clinton’s version) I find most upsetting and in my opinion an absolutely terrible idea. Furthermore, I do not like the continued paranoia with respect to Iran. They keep insisting Iran is a threat to take over the Middle East. I don’t know what that means. Does it mean simply gaining influence in Iraq? Or do they think Iran is going to move on Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and etc., which seems to me far fetched. Anyway, I should think Iran has more legitimate interests in the Middle East than we do from 8000 miles away. If Benjamin Netanyahu becomes the next Prime Minister of Israel, watch out.

I have received Christmas cards from two of my oldest friends. When we were children we lived within about 100 yards of each other and played together almost every day. We are all still around and doing reasonably well, while most of our peers are gone. I have no explanation for this good fortune, just as I have no explanation for why I was born where and when I was, why I was born a Nordic, why I never had to go hungry, or fight in a war, or eat sheep’s eyeballs or hagis. Life, for me, has always been, and continues to be, a great mystery.

There will be no blog tomorrow night as I am having my second eye surgery. Hopefully, I will be able to see, perhaps not like an eagle, but maybe like a normal person.

LKBIQ:
In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language.
Mark Twain


TILT:
George W. Bush is apparently immune to insults no matter where they come from.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Shoes of Wrath

Four-year-old breaks into
toy store at 3:00 a.m
to play with toys.

By now everyone must have seen the shoe throwing incident at least a hundred times, and it has been analyzed and discussed ad nauseam. No one seems to have focused on what I heard Bush say, which I thought was revealing. I think I heard him say, “I don’t know what his beef was. It must have been weird.” How could Bush not know what his beef was? Does he really believe he is a hero in the eyes of Iraqis? Similarly, whatever his beef was, why would it have been weird? It would seem to me to be perfectly obvious what his beef was, and it was not in the least bit weird. He even said, I believe, this is for the women and children (you have killed). And even when it was explained to Bush that throwing your shoes at someone in Iraq is considered the ultimate insult, Bush said he didn’t feel insulted. Now that is weird.

In the excitement about Obama’s election, the transition, the auto bailout fiasco, and who the cabinet and the new Senators will be, everyone seems to have lost sight of the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians in Gaza. This has been likened to some of the worst of the apartheid events in South Africa. The U.N. has condemned it (but, like, who listens to the U.N. these days). The U.S., of course, is complicit in this illegal and horrible attempt by the Israelis to destroy the Palestinians in Gaza because they have the audacity to lob a few primitive missiles, mostly harmlessly, into Israel. So the Israelis have decided to punish all million and half Palestinians they have trapped in Gaza. They refuse to even let U.N. sponsored goods into that beleaquered place, have turned off their power supply and other necessities, refuse to let in reporters so the world would know of this atrocity, and so on. No one, least of all the U.S., seems willing to intervene in this clearly criminal treatment of Gaza. There is something very wrong with human beings that just stand by and watch this cruelty. And when you realize that Hamas is the legally elected government in Gaza, chosen in an election sponsored by the U.S. and others, the hypocrisy is inescapable. The election didn’t turn out as we wanted so we label Hamas as terrorists and refuse to support them. Democracy in action.

Most everyone seems to agree that we do not have enough troops in Afghanistan to “win,” whatever that is supposed to mean. So the solution is going to be to send in another 20,000 troops. This is clearly not going to be enough to “win” either. So will we send in another 20,000, and then another 20,000, and then as many as we sent to Vietnam? Short of perhaps an army of a million or more, equipped with all the latest stuff, and maybe even more than that, we are never going to “win” in Afghanistan. I think we should try a different strategy.

The Republicans continue their attempt to find some inappropriate relationship between Obama and the crazy Governor of Illinois, even though it is pretty obvious now that no such relationship exists. Attorney General Fitzpatrick asked Obama to not release his report on this for another week (a report that exonerates Obama and his staff), thus giving the Republicans more time to spread their slanderous accusations through their media empire. It’s like a Whitewater maneuver all over again. Even John McCain has suggested this is a time for cooperation to help solve all the many problems we are facing, but partisanship is so deeply embedded in his party they will not be persuaded. This is just further proof that most Republicans don’t care a whit for the country, only what’s good for them and their wealthy corporate benefactors. I don’t think they’ll be getting many votes out of Michigan for a very long time. They are being brought down by their own apparently endless greed.

LKBIQ:
There is no calamity greater than lavish desires.
There is no greater guilt than discontentment.
And there is no greater disaster than greed.
Lao-tzu

TILT:
After the assassination of Caesar, Brutus and Cassius were forced to leave Rome. Mark Antony took control.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Journey to the West (3)

It’s Sunday. Here is the third installment of my “sort of memoir.” This is to be the basic skeleton that could be fleshed out with much more detail, should I ever desire to write an autobiography, which is unlikely. Having been an avid reader of biographies and autobiographies, as well as a collector of life histories, I know that a truly factual and completely thorough autobiography is an impossibility. First of all, no matter how mundane one’s life might have been, it would be far too detailed to be book-length. Second, and more important, the writer would have to be willing to share moments of his or her life that would almost certainly be too embarrassing to admit. Even beyond that, one would almost certainly be privy to the secrets of others, their parents, lovers, and friends, that no honorable person would expose. Thus writing a complete and honest account of one’s life is, in a sense, the ultimate challenge a writer could face, a test of courage far beyond any other literary form. If I live long enough perhaps I will attempt it, but for now I am engaged in merely outlining my Journey to the West.

The end of the fourth grade, and the summer that followed, continued my predetermined journey to the west. I learned that school was more serious than I had previously believed (or even thought about). This was so because one of my closest friends, Donald, was held back and not permitted to move with the rest of the class to the fifth grade. Although we thought it was peculiar that Donald could still not tell time, we didn’t think that was a sufficient reason to fail him. Looking back, of course there were other reasons. Donald was a clown and a bit of a troublemaker. But it was a sobering moment for all of us.
That summer my mother decided to take me with her to Los Angeles to visit my eccentric Uncle Otto. There will be more on Uncle Otto later, but for now, let me just say he was building his own sailboat, a 35 foot cutter, and said he was going to sail it around the world. This was somewhat unusual in that Uncle Otto and his German wife, Ilse, had never sailed. But Otto, who did not like his first name, and insisted he be called Harold, was undaunted. He had a degree in engineering from Stanford and was also a master mechanic and builder. So Harold and Ilse became part of my life and, being the romantic I was, I immediately idolized them. I learned to use Otto’s drafting instruments and spent the summer designing boats of my own, swimming off the dock, and in general having a good time. Otto even arranged for my mother and I to take our first plane ride, in an old biplane above the city of Los Angeles. It was wonderful. I saw my first TV. In fact, it may well have been the first TV. It was in a window and crowds stopped to ogle it even though it produced mostly a kind of patterned static. Otto took us for rides around the city and the harbor. I wondered what he meant when he said, “they’ll be sending that back to us soon,” as we passed some freight trains loaded with scrap metal destined for Japan.
I also learned to read while I was visiting Uncle Otto. I mean I learned for the first time that what you read might be as important as the fact that you could read. I had always been an avid reader. I don’t know how this came about as I do not recall my mother or father ever reading to me. But I learned quickly and exhausted books in our elementary school library so quickly the librarian suspected me of lying about it. I especially liked a series of children’s books on American Indians. Anyway, at the time I was reading a Big Little Book. These were five cents apiece and were about four inches by two or three inches and were mostly just cheap adventure stories. One day Uncle Otto picked up my book and began reading it out loud: “Bang, the slender young cowboy jumped to his feet! Crash! He buckled on his six-guns! Boom! He leaped aboard his trusty horse…” and like that. Even I immediately understood that I was reading crap, and from that moment on I actually began to pick and choose more carefully.
I experienced one of my most traumatic moments, however, when Harold and Ilse took us to lunch one day. We sat at the counter and everyone ordered from a menu that was posted on the wall above the counter. Uncle Otto asked me what I would like. I said I couldn’t read the menu. He became somewhat upset and asked me again. Then he told my mother that she had to take me to an eye doctor as soon as we returned home. It turned out, of course, that I was extremely myopic and had to wear rather thick glasses. This totally turned my life around as I could no longer play the rough games we played or engage in athletic encounters, and so on. And I was teased, “four-eyes” and all that (see Morialekafa, January 1, 2005). I have no idea why neither my parents or my teachers had not discovered this. As for me, I guess I had assumed that everyone saw the world as I did.
Mother and I returned home by way of Seattle where we visited and stayed with Ausman and Annie. I have never understood just who they were or what their relationship was to us. But they were very nice. Ausman was a longshoreman and they lived in a small comfortable home in Ballard where they had a marvelous cherry tree. I spent the greater part of a day in the tree eating cherries. It never occurred to me there might be worms in them. Ah, the innocence of youth. My youthful innocence was beginning to disappear rather quickly. I stayed up late one night with Ausman listening to the radio. It was sometime in June of 1940. The announcer said that Italy had joined the war against England and France, on the side of Germany. Ausman tried to explain this to me, and although I didn’t understand it very well, I knew it was a terrible thing. I was going on eleven. I had to share a bed with my mother. For the only time in my life I wet the bed. Excruciatingly embarrassing. Fortunately my mother had not heard of Freud.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Perusing cookbooks

Strange drunken woman on his
roof refuses to come down
unless he gives her more beer.

Obama opened a web site to elicit questions from American citizens. Was the most asked question about the war in Iraq? No. Was it about the economy? No. Was it about gun control? No. Was it about gay marriage? No. Give up? It was, will you consider legalizing marijuana? It appears that a lot of Americans are fed up with our ridiculous laws respecting marijuana and want it legalized, grown and sold, taxed, and decriminalized. Obama’s staff is supposedly preparing answers to the questions. I can hardly wait. Can we at least hope that the new “car czar” will know more about cars than our drug czars have known about drugs?

I don’t know about you, but I find thumbing through cookbooks and cooking magazines to be terribly frustrating, for a variety of reasons. My wife works as a sous chef and has a lifetime interest in cooking. As a result she is a truly excellent chef/cook and has a large collection of cookbooks and cooking magazines. I cannot claim to be much of a cook, but I love to eat and even thinking about eating. Mind you, what I am about to say here is not to be taken as complaining. No, indeed, I count my blessings every day about how lucky we are to get such terrific organic food here in our remote corner of the world, both animal and vegetable. The problem is that what we can get is somewhat limited. It is the things we can’t get that annoy me. For example, in a recent magazine, dedicated to the art of roasting, I came across a recipe for a six rib veal roast. Alas! Your chances of finding a veal roast here are fewer than being struck twice by lightening in the same week. Not only could you not expect to find one, unless you are very rich indeed you wouldn’t be able to afford it anyway. The picture in this magazine just sits there making me drool while I am completely helpless to do anything about it. First of all, people here don’t eat veal. There seems to be no tradition of eating veal in this neck of the woods. When our Supermarket first opened they had veal a couple of times. No one bought it. I don’t think this was because it was too expensive, but that no doubt had something to do with it. If we go across the border into Canada we can sometimes find veal, but only thin veal cutlets. I have never solved the mystery of what happens to the rest of the veal. I guess they must send it someplace where people can afford it. The other problem with veal is that we cannot bring it into the U.S. when we buy it in Canada. Mad cow disease, you know. Of course it is common knowledge that a cow has to be three years old before it can have mad cow disease, but that doesn’t matter to those who control these things.

There are apparently no wild boars in North Idaho. I find this rather strange, given that they are exceedingly numerous in places as heavily populated as Germany and Italy. So the delicious boar recipes I read cannot be used. Once in New York City, walking down the street, I saw whole wild boar displayed in a window. What a lovely sight! I’ve never forgotten it. We do, of course, get venison, but you can’t buy it. We have friends who hunt and the deer here are so thick they are basically just pests. Venison is not considered a delicacy.

We don’t get much in the way of seafood either. This is partly understandable due to our distance from the ocean. But the fish we can get are limited, and the market doesn’t go in for anything that might be considered exotic. For instance, again, when the market first began, they once had squid. It was wrapped in cellophane so it was visible. The woman at the check-out stand refused to touch it and professed to not even know what it was. I was apparently the only person to want to buy it. They have never had it again. They do occasionally have clams and mussels, but never octopus or cuttlefish or geoduck or snails or anything remotely of that ilk. Once in a while we can get arctic char in Canada, and lately we can sometimes find frozen smelt (imported from Peru!). Mostly however, around here, it’s just salmon and halibut, salmon and halibut.

Strangely, at least it seems strange to me, they don’t eat rabbit here either. I have never seen rabbit for sale here in our town. We can travel to Canada and buy rabbit once in a while, but they want $25 for a single frozen rabbit. I cannot understand this. I know rabbits are easy, even eager to breed, and I also know they are not hard to dress (or undress as the case may be). So why the exorbitant price? I have no idea, but it is maddening..

Until just this past year it was also very unusual to find lamb here. There was apparently no tradition of eating lamb, just beef and pork. Lately we can get lamb, but of course it is expensive. One year, around this time of year, one of our butchers ordered some lovely racks of lamb. That was three or four years ago. He has never ordered them since. I innocently asked him once why not. He became noticeably upset and told me it was because no one would buy them until he had marked them down so far he was losing money. So we don’t enjoy rack of lamb very often, only when we buy a whole lamb and have it butchered, which we now do every year. We have had quite an influx of new people moving here in the last few years. I think this explains why we now see lamb in the market.

When you read about all kinds of wonderful food but can’t have it, it is upsetting. This is not my only problem with cookbooks, however. For example, I do not consider chicken breasts to be an edible substance. While there are literally hundreds of chicken recipes every year, you would be amazed at how many of them start out with skinless chicken breasts. I now just skip these after the first mention. There also seem to me to be a plethora of recipes for things like grits, okra, and eggplant, People tell me they actually eat these things, but personally I wonder why they even bother to include them. Of course I most usually only read the seafood and meat recipes anyway so I guess this doesn’t matter too much. Happily, here we never run out of pigs’ feet, pig hocks, sidepork, liver, heart, gizzards, drumsticks, tongue, ox tails, and other such staples. Things are not all bad. Pigs, especially, are our friends.

LKBIQ:
A man of sixty has spent twenty years in bed and over three years in eating.
Arnold Bennett

TILT:
W. C. Fields was born William Claude Dukenfield. He died on Christmas Day, 1946.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Union busting

In domestic dispute, she puts
ex-boyfriend’s clothes in storage
locker, sets off $100,000 fire.

It’s hard to beat Idaho Republicans for dumb. Republican Canyon County Commissioner, Steve Rule, compared Michelle Obama (in her red and black dress) to a frightful black widow spider and added that she was going to be in (infest?) the White House. When criticized for this he said, “Apparently some people were offended…” Apparently? I am offended by pig pucky, Mr. Rule, you should try to squirm your way out of it.

It’s no secret, the Republicans are out to break the unions, specifically the UAW. They see the current crisis as their opportunity to further the Reagan revolution and do away with unions for all time. They are demanding, among other impossible demands, that the UAW bring their wages and benefits in line with those of Toyota, Nissan, and the other Japanese manufacturers that have set up non-union shops in Southern states (with the benefit of generous tax breaks and such). So let me ask a na├»ve question. Why should American auto workers be told they have to lower their standards to match those of their Japanese competitors? Why should the Japanese car makers not have had to establish their standards to match those of Detroit in the first place? Why were these foreign companies allowed to come in and benefit from lower wages and benefits? Better yet, why are Republicans so against American workers having decent wages and benefits? They are, and have been ever since FDR. Do they not remember how it is that unions won their rights through rioting and battles with strikebreakers over a long period of violent and bloody battles. The UAW and other unions do not enjoy a 40 hour workweek, retirement and health benefits through the generosity of management. The strikes around the turn of the century and into the 1930’s were terrible things, but the conditions that workers had to endure were worse. Are we to begrudge them decent wages and benefits? Should we just return to the days of the robber barons and the sweatshops? Is this really what the Republican party wants? Obviously it is. How else can one explain that wages for workers in the U.S. have actually declined over the past few years. How do you explain the obscene disparity between the pay of CEO’s and the hourly wages of those who actually work to produce things. The inherent self-destructiveness of free market capitalism has finally come home to roost. This is precisely why we are now in this terrible situation we find ourselves in. Republicans not only want to keep it this way, they apparently want to make it even worse. By their actions the other night to kill the bailout of the big 3 automakers, and thus put some 3 million people out of work, they have now signed their own death warrant. Just as it took decades for them to recover from the Hoover disaster, so it will take them probably the same amount of time to recover from the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush fiascos. I believe this will happen unless the famous short-term memory of the electorate somehow comes once again into play. I don’t believe this will happen this time. People are too poor at the moment to worry about gay marriage and gun rights and abortion and the “war on Christmas.” The war on their Christmas pleasures has become all too real. Even their own Dick the Slimy warned the Republicans against voting against Detroit. And Bush will now have to temporarily bail them out and pass the problem on to Obama. The past few years of Republican rule have been an absolute disaster in ways we might not have thought even possible a few years ago. This is not to say they haven’t been aided by Democrats, whose behavior hasn’t been much better. It remains to be seen if Obama can really change things, or if we are now doomed through our own stupidity and greed to continue on our current path to third world membership.

Now we are being told by those in authority what we already knew. The torture at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was not merely the work of “a few bad apples,” but was orchestrated from on high. Rumsfeld is being labeled as the one chiefly responsible for this horrendous and disgraceful chapter of our history, but there can be little doubt who also approved this policy. Hire some lawyers to change the definitions to match what you would like to do, then do it and claim that it was legal, because your lawyers told you it was. Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice and a few others apparently believe we are all stupid enough to fall for this. Perhaps we are. No one has yet been found accountable, and there is some doubt that anyone ever will be. Under Bush/Cheney we have apparently ceased to be a nation of laws. What are we supposed to do now, just shrug and say, “stuff happens.”


Truly I love you
above all else that exists,
laughing, smiling son.

Morialekafa

TILT:
This morning the ground was bare. Currently this evening we have 8” of snow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Revisiting Vietnam and Whitewater

Embarrassed man handcuffs wife
to bed during intimate moment,
has to call police to free her.

Here we go again. Obama’s Vietnam is beginning. General Petraeus, who apparently believe his “surge” worked in Iraq, now is calling for a similar surge in Afghanistan. There is some doubt as to how well the surge in Iraq contributed to the decrease in violence in that unfortunate land. Even if it could be proven that it did work, will it also work in Afghanistan, where the situation is quite different? I admit to having no expertise in these matters, but as my brain still functions at least a bit, I cannot help but wonder what sense any of this makes. As I understand it, some 72% of the country is now controlled by the Taliban. They are said to be slowly encircling Kabul, the capital. Afghanistan is a large country of exceedingly rough terrain with few decent roads, most of which is controlled by various warlords. What can another 20,000 troops do in this situation? Apparently the plan is to protect Kabul and President Karzai, and to protect the citizens from the Taliban, establish schools, protect women’s rights, and so on. If there is some other goal for our being in Afghanistan it is no longer mentioned. It appears to me that we are apt to have another airlift as we did previously in Berlin, as the Taliban are actively cutting off our supply routes and slowly winning the “war.” Does this make sense? I cannot believe that 20,000 more troops can do much of anything other than protect Kabul. So, unless we come to some other plan, like sending even more and more troops as we did in Vietnam, the best we can hope to achieve is some kind of stalemate. Is that what we are going to do? Keep an insufficient number of troops in Afghanistan to try to prevent the Taliban from capturing Kabul? This would provide some kind of victory? This is crazy, as near as I can tell. It is our continued presence there that seems to be uniting the country behind the Taliban and against our occupation. Rather than sending more troops, which will inevitably lead to sending more troops, we should seek some way of getting out as gracefully as possible. While it might be a bitter pill to swallow, we are not going to “win” in Afghanistan, not without a million or more troops and some kind of full scale invasion. Obviously that is not going to happen, so why just send more sacrificial troops on a lost cause? Then there is Pakistan. Are we going to end up going there also? And then Iran? Obama had better rethink American Foreign Policy, and do it quickly, before it is too late to salvage anything out of the Middle East.

Not only does Obama have to face a dangerous Vietnam moment in Afghanistan, he now is also facing another Whitewater moment. Even though he is obviously innocent of having anything to do with the scandal in Illinois over his vacant Senate seat, the Republicans are going to try everything they can to link him to the crazy Illinois Governor. And the MSM are going along with this nonsense as usual. David Schuster, who is proving to be a poor replacement for David Gregory, just keeps on insisting there are important questions that need to be answered right now about Obama’s links to this episode of corrupt Illinois politics. Even when his own commentators tried to politely wave him off, he just kept on insisting there has to be something questionable involved. It is obvious that Obama is “clean” in this respect, and was not involved in picking his replacement, and, indeed, went out of his way to stay out of it, the Republicans and their media toadies are going to keep at it, in the most picky detailed way they can, just as they mercilessly pursued the Clintons. When Obama was asked what was wrong with Illinois politics he reportedly said something to the effect that when politicians are in politics for what they can do for themselves instead of what they can do for the country this is what happens. Is that not a perfect description of how the Republican party has acted for the past few years? Can anyone say they have done anything positive for the country in the past eight years? Name just one thing they have done for the country instead of their party and their corporate cronies. Now they are continuing along the same disastrous path. When I was a boy I was told that the Republicans were for business, whereas the Democrats were for laborers. This has not changed in my lifetime, except that the stakes have grown higher, the tactics more sleazy, the greed more apparent, morality more absent, ethics abandoned, and the common good ignored in favor of the wealthy, who have become now the obscenely wealthy, and still want more and more. And our pretense of democracy has been exposed for the lie it has become.

LKBIQ:
“What’s good for the country is good for General Motors, and what’s good for General Motors is good for the company.”
Charles Wilson

TILT:
Cats have been associated with humans for at least 9,500 years.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Carols

Three young ladies fired
from KFC for bathing
in oversized kitchen sink.

Perhaps I’ve just grown too old, but I confess I do not like Christmas Carols. I’m not certain I ever liked them, except for the fact that they symbolized Christmas which I do like. It seems to me you could not possibly find another collection of songs so insipid. I have reached the point where I cringe when I am forced to listen to them, and of course at this time of year you cannot possibly escape. I mean, like, the lyrics are absurd, at least many of them. What am I to make of “round yon virgin?” If she is that round it doesn’t seem credible to me that she is also a virgin. Then there are lyrics where the night wind talks to lambs, and the lambs, in turn, talk to the shepherds. I don’t believe in talking lambs. There are other lyrics that I cannot make head or tail of: “Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, Sealed in the stone-cold tomb,” does nothing for me, and it certainly doesn’t cheer me up for having a jolly good time. “Bruise in us the Serpent’s head” I don’t get either. An almost ubiquitous feature of these annual noises is the sound of angels singing, “sing, choir of angels,” or “Angels singing through the night.” Frankly, if I ever hear angels singing I’m heading for the nearest psychiatrist.

Also, this time of year, if you don’t like the religious carols, where can you turn? How about those old standbys like “Jingle Bell Rock,” a real musical treat. Then there is “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” a song so ridiculous it made Gene Autrey a millionaire. Of course “Frosty the Snowman” is a catchy little tune, especially if you are interested in anthropomorphic snowmen. “Must be Santa” is so dumb I guess it has universal appeal. I’ve always rather liked “Jingle Bells,” although there is a line that I wonder about: a gent drives by and the lyric goes, “He laughed as there I sprawling lie but quickly drove away.” As this is a Christmas song I assume this doesn’t mean that he just left the guy there to freeze to death. He must have just thought it was funny to see someone sprawled out in the snow. At least I hope that is the gist of the matter. Years ago I tried to pretend that I liked all these dreary or ridiculous songs but I’m old enough now so that I don’t even have to pretend to like them. So bah, humbug!

It has certainly been a great Christmas season for the financial industry that received a 700 billion dollar gift, no questions asked. There were other huge generous gifts as well. Today the House voted to give 15 billion to the Big 3 auto makers, but those Republican scrooges in the Senate may not agree to it. In any case, the 15 billion is apparently going to come with so many strings attached, along with a “car czar,” the bulk of the money will probably be eaten up by administrative costs before it ever gets to the auto makers. Seven hundred billion to the financial industry who got us into this mess in the first place, no strings attached. Fifteen billion begrudgingly to the auto manufacturers, many strings. This fits in beautifully with the Republican belief that the way to make money is to have money. They don’t believe in work, and believe that actually working with your hands to actually produce something is beneath them. They point to their Japanese auto plants in the South as examples of successful auto-making. But they don’t mention the huge subsidies they have given these companies in the form of tax breaks and etc., probably to the tune of billions. If I didn’t know just how much Republicans loved labor unions I might suspect there is a bit of union busting involved. I have a suspicious mind.

LKBIQ:

When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: 'Whose?'
Don Marquis

TILT:
The late Studs Terkel was named after Studs Lonigan, a fictional character in a trilogy by James T. Farrell.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The magical "if"

“Butt bandit” gets 13 months
for leaving greasy naked
butt prints on store windows

Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich has apparently taken political corruption to a new low (or high?). As four of the past seven Illinois governors have ended up in big trouble for corruption, this must have taken some doing. It appears that Obama had the good sense to keep a great distance between himself and this latest Chicago crook masquerading as a politician. As we will no doubt hear about nothing else for days I am not going to comment at this time.

I am more interested at the moment in considering the powerful, magical “if.” If is a word that carries a tremendous burden in peoples’ lives. Among other things, it allows us to believe in magic even when magic fails. When a magical act fails we say, well, if I had used a better doll and/or more pins, it would have worked. Or, if only I had used a more powerful witch doctor it would have worked. Or, if my ingredients had not accidentally got wet, it would have worked perfectly. Or, if I had obeyed the taboo on sex before casting the spell, it would have worked. But you get the point, the “if” allows one to continue to believe even in the face of failure. It allows magic to continue to flourish no matter what.

Interestingly, the “if” word also allows criminals to continue to believe in crime. If only that off-duty police officer hadn’t stumbled by at the wrong moment, or, if only the getaway car had started, or if I had wiped off my fingerprints, or if Jimbo hadn’t squealed on me, or if the alarm hadn’t gone off prematurely, or if…It’s magical, the “if” word. It allows one to rationalize failure time after time, and thus allows one to continue a life of crime no matter how many failures one may have.

We all use the “if” word all the time. Usually this occurs in relatively unimportant situations that require no particular emotion or significance. If we hadn’t taken the wrong turn we’d have been here sooner. Of, if we had some ham, we could have some ham and eggs, if we had any eggs. Or if I had dressed more appropriately I would not have been so cold. Or, if I hadn’t stopped to buy the beer I could have seen the sunset. And so on.

But the use of the “if” word, or especially its overuse, can have much more sinister implications. It can, I believe, in some individuals, lead to a full blown mental illness (although you won’t find any “if psychosis” listed in the Diagnostic Manual of the Psychiatric Association). It is when one starts to dwell on the “ifs” of one’s life that it can turn pathological. If my parents had been wealthy instead of poor, and if I had been born in a different time, and if I could have had a better education, and if we had known more influential people, and if I had had a better start in life, and if I hadn’t had to get married when I did, and if my wife was more understanding, I might have been able to get a better job and not be stuck here on the garbage truck. When one regards oneself as a relative failure, and begins to dwell obsessively on the “ifs,” it can become a genuine problem. Granted these are extreme cases but I know of a couple people pretty much like this.

Then there are all the political “ifs.” Think how different things would be if Al Gore had been elected President. Think what it would be like if Sarah Palin should ever be elected President. Think what might have been if the Democrats had impeached George the Dull, or Dick the Slimy. Think how better things would be if we had universal health care. Better yet, think how things could be if we had a Congress that had any interest in looking out for the public interest. Think of how little evil there would be in the world if there were no human beings. Think if there is any symbolic significance in the fact that live spelled backwards is evil. But if you think too much or too deeply on the human condition you may go mad. Yes, it’s getting that bad.

Desolation,
is the path of the Victors,
but also their shame
Morialekafa

TILT:
It is still Google 100%, Morialekafa 0. Alpowa is a word that does not appear in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but it does appear on Google. I’m trying.