Other bits and pieces

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturn May Have Been Onto Something

What seems like 300 years ago when I met Big D, I was working construction and living in an apartment with my brother.  I made $8/hour and spent pretty much the bulk of that on rent, bills, pizza and beer.  Well, you could call it beer--Keystone light was the beer substitute I could afford in any measurable quantity.  When D and I got married and joined the service, we started out in a one-bedroom apartment.  We had her 14 year-old car that she had paid cash for with money she’d made waiting tables after high school.  (You’ll have to ask my sister what happened to my car)  Alexis’ crib was under the dinning area light next to the kitchen.  We had a bed, a card table, some handed down pots/pans, etc., and …well that’s about it.  Our disposable income after bills, gas, and food was about $30/month which we would use to rent the occasional movie.  And we were happier than a fat kid with a spoon and a jar of paste. (No offense Josh)

Now this isn’t intended to be some “up hill both ways” post.  We were also not alone in our situation…all our friends were in the same boat.  It’s just how it was; it was how you started out.  “Starting out” being the key phrase here.  You left home under whatever circumstances, maybe you had a little parental starter kit, but for the most part were on your own to scrape and scratch together a living.  The best thing about it was that there was nowhere to go but up, and having basically nothing was the greatest incentive in the world to work hard, get promoted, get educated, and make it better.  The current generation of young people starting out seems to have an entirely different set of expectations.

18-20 year-old kids today want it all, and they think they’re supposed to have it walking out the door.  The entitlement mentality issued to them by the boob-tube has them thinking that you are required to have a six-figure income, fancy car, omni-tron T.V., a bustling social ’lifestyle’, and all the responsibilities of a s 6-year-old hedge hog.  So, what follows is a few tips and pointers for all the young people just getting their first taste of that freedom from their evil parents they’ve been longing for.

  • Do this first.  Walk around your parent’s house.  Notice I said ’parent’s’ house because as much as you may believe that everything around you is your personal field of green to use and abuse with impunity, I assure you it isn’t.   You will notice a lot of nice things.  There’s likely a nice T.V., nice furniture, a reasonably spacious accommodation,  cable entertainment and internet, etc.  Outside a few exceptions to the rule, all of this stuff did not well-up from a magic hole in the ground so your parent’s could pluck it like Manna from heaven when they were 22.  They accumulated all of it over the course of your life by working very hard for years and years and years.  And none of it is yours, so maybe you should start appreciating it.
  • Assess your job skills.  You don’t have any.  In case you are wondering why the saint of an employer who agreed to take a risk by paying you to be a productive cog in his/her machine of his/her dreams isn’t willing to pay you $45/hour to take the trash out and mop floors, this is why.   The only reason they are paying you minimum wage is that they have to.  Your contributions to their evil corporate empire are likely to be worth about half of that…if you’re lucky.
  • Understand that your social life is not the center of anyone’s world but yours.  It’s in everyone else’s way.  Your parents tolerate the narcissistic emotional mean attraction that is your life-consuming gregariousness with more patience than a Cambodian landmine waiting for a goat.  Your budding romance is annoying.
  • Your high school education makes you smarter than a lot of people.  You already know this.  What you don’t know is the actual demographic--I will help you.  Your HS diploma is a certification that you are smarter than: A) Everyone who doesn’t have one. B) No one else.  Contrary to what you’ve allowed yourself to believe because your teacher lauded you for your last writing assignment, or by that debate you won with arguments you  Googled, you actually…truly…I mean really really really really…don’t know shit.
  • Moving out of your parent’s house is not going to be a sweet release into nirvana.  (And yes, nirvana is a word that actually means something, it’s not just a bad band from the 90’s).  If you think the world of your parent’s making is ‘oppressing your free expression’ and ‘smothering you with rules’, wait until you get out of it and into your own world.  It will wrinkle your mind!   All that time you thought you were going to have for heavy petting and kanoodeling with your heart-throb romantic interest--yeah there isn’t going to be any.  If you’re going to college, you will be spending every waking second either working, studying, or taking care of your apartment so that your roommates don’t evict you.  And yes, you will have roommates because otherwise you will starve to death.  Oh, and roommates could give two shits about your social life either…they just want you to pay your bills and do your share of the house work. 
  • Life experience:  You don’t have any of that either.  All that stuff your parent’s tell you that you think is unreasonable, stupid, and just because they just ‘don’t understand you’, is actually real knowledge that they picked up over many years by making choices--some good, some bad, but they learned something over the years and they’re trying to help you cut that corner.  There is only one thing your parent’s haven’t learned:  Trying to help you won’t work because you’re arrogant and all-knowing and insist upon learning hard lessons the hard way.  So…knock yourself out.  But in a few years (hopefully you’re not in jail, dead, or a single parent), you’ll realize that they actually knew what they were talking about.

Of the few people who read this, some will agree with me and others will lambaste me as a complete fool.  Those people fall in to two categories respectively: Old bastards like me who know stuff, and under 20’s that will think I’m full of shit because they already know everything.  So I guess I probably should have just spent my morning eating pie instead of writing this because it won’t make a lick of difference.

© Raymond Smith 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

You'll Put Your Eye Out!

"The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool...but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog" --G.K. Chesterton

I never thought I would say this in a million years.  But, last week, the Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, actually did something reasonable, sensible, and intelligent.  Of course, a week later he was undone by his own city council, but at least we can give him points for trying.  I may actually lay a golden egg for writing this, but….wait for it…there are actually people in this world more liberal than the Mayor of San Francisco!  Yeah.  I think I just divided by zero.

During the November elections, San Francisco law makers approved a city ordinance that would ban fast food restaurants from including toys in kid’s meals unless those meals met a certain standard for healthiness.  I would put the figures for actual healthiness here but I don’t want to and because your Google works just as well as mine.  Anyway, the week after the elections, Mayor Newsom, defying the laws of man and god, vetoed the measure saying, “That law is totally gay.”  (He didn’t say that, but that would have been really funny if he had.)  Not to be outdone, the city counsel promptly brushed other, less important city business to the side in order to rally in support of the measure.  Because, honestly, if one more week went by it could be your child killed by a Happy Meal.  The counsel voted to overturn Boromir and allow Frodo and Sam to take the ring to…wait…what just happened.

So let it be written, so let it be done!  The good city of San Fran has saved your children from salt and fat and badness of all types by keeping your child from being tempted by the $.04 treasures that accompany the junk food we’ve enjoyed by choice for over a thousand years. (That’s an estimate)  That’s one way of looking at it, here’s another:  The city of San Fransicko has decided that you are not responsible enough to raise your own children in the manner you see fit.  You are not smart enough to decide how often your kid should be allowed to eat this or that.  You are stupid and the city must step in and do your thinking and your choice-making for you--you poor miserable uneducated stupid citizen. And sadly, there is a lot of this country that doesn’t see a problem with this.

Have we really ascended to such an advanced stage of progressive enlightenment as to be willing to abdicate our personal liberties and responsibilities to a higher “thinking body” just to satiate our laziness?  Month after month we hand over more and more of our right to choose so that the government, be it local or federal, can make those choices for us.  Several years ago people thought it was pure insanity when New York City first banned smoking inside places of business.  Now it’s everywhere.  We have laws telling us what we can eat and drink, and what restaurants can put in your food.  Our noble fathers keep us safe with helmet laws, seat belt laws, bicycle laws, and yes…roller skating laws.

There is a proposed law in Missouri to force liquor stores to only sell beer over 60°F (not the outside temperature, I’m talking about the temp of the beer itself).  Some brain trust thinks this will curb drunk driving.   There are taxes on unhealthy ingredients in food.  Laws stipulating the portion sizes restaurants can serve.  Have you heard of ‘Keg Tracking”?  Your beer keg has a GPS device to track  your movements.  Someone thinks this will stem underage drinking.   Playgrounds have “No Running” signs.  Normal childhood games, like Tag and Redrover, have been banned because there is the potential that your precious little snowflake might not return home from school in the package-perfect, unopened collector’s condition in which you sent him.  At what point is the general proletariat going to accept compulsory bubble-wrap before we are allowed to venture outside of our choice-proofed safety dwellings (government approved) to ride the seatbelt-secured walking-speed personal conveyance system (government supplied) to get to the grocery store where you can purchase four different flavors of ‘Food’.

The entire country is going to look like it was gobbled up by Fisher Price and we’re going to be eating USDA Choice Soilent Green!  DAMN IT!!!!

People need to be free to live their lives.  They need to be able to make their choices and live and learn from the consequences of those choices.  If you want to be a paragon of health, have fun.  If you want to be a fat lazy bastard with Cheetos hiding under your man-boobs--go nuts.  The best part of life is living it, enjoying it, taking the risks you want and not taking the ones you don’t.  If you want to smoke…smoke.  You know the risks,  but you’re a grown ass man so do what you want.  You want to really live on the edge and drive to the mail box without wearing your seat belt…be extreme my friend! Get down with your bad self and put a little ketchup on that corndog so that it can reach its full goodness potential.

I’m not a fan of Woody Allen’s movies, or his glasses, or his voice, or well, mostly Woody Allen, but I do like this quote from him, “I could live to be a hundred, but I’d have to give up everything that would make me want to.”

So stop letting your lawmakers stop your fun!  And for those of you worried about the consequences of other people doing stupid shit that can hurt them: Dr. Darwin is always there waiting to take care of them in his own, special way.  That, and there’s Youtube.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

God's Lovely Turnip

Last week Big D and I had the opportunity of visiting Monticello.  For those that don’t keep up on the large houses of old dead rich white dudes, Monticello was the home of Thomas Jefferson back when he was writing really wordy things and making mulatto babies.  The house and grounds are both impressive and T.J. was an impressive man.  That said, there was still a glaring contradiction about his life that no one during the tour was able to completely reconcile.  How could the man who wrote the operating system for the freedom of all people own slaves his whole life?  The tour guide (who was actually quite knowledgeable) attempted to speak to this, but didn’t really have any answers.  And there’s something else.  How is it that 250 years later we still haven’t learned a damn thing from it?

The efforts behind the Declaration of Independence were a grass-roots movement to break from one of the longest held traditions in human history: The idea that person’s worth and station in life was issued at birth.  The American soon-to-be traitors to the crown had an interesting idea; that everyone born into this world should be afforded the right to go about their life in the manner of their choosing, and so long as they don’t try to hinder someone else from doing the same, make their way however they saw fit.  T.J. penned a document clearly stating that people should be free to practice any religion tickled their nipple, adhere to whatever values enriched their lives,  and basically get their business done without the government putting it’s wiener in their chili about what god they pray to, what color is their favorite, or whether they like to date fat women or not.

As most people are aware, approximately six seconds after the ink dried on the Declaration, the sky opened up and started raining big fat turds of hypocrisy as more than 80% of the old white dudes drafting up these lofty notions of utopia owned and mistreated human beings, and beat their wives for not cleaning the microwave oven after cooking ox tales. (That really messes up the nuke)  But we managed to evolve beyond  this contravention…eventually and with a bit of a skirmish in the mid-late 1860s.  So smooth seas on the good ship Freedom after that right?  Yeah….no.

Freedom of religion was a major tenet of the DoI. (Most people don’t know that John Adams tried like hell to include verbiage decrying Jefferson as “A giant doosh.)  Religious values go with religion (Yeah, I know, it didn’t take a rocket surgeon to come up with that)  The majority of colonists at the time were puritanical Christians who’s morals and values led  them to lead exciting lives wrought with adventures like “Missionary Position” and  rumpus sex for the sole purpose of procreation.  They were expressing their religious freedom. And what’s the first order of business when celebrating religious freedom:  Organize the government around your idea of God and hammer out a 36 volume set of laws establishing protestant values as a legal framework for America.  Okay, something doesn’t match up.

Why is polygamy and bigamy against the law?  Why are we having legal battles over whether gays and lesbos can get married?  Why is prostitution illegal?  Who decided that the nuclear family of the 1950’s was the only unit of ménage acceptable within our legal system?  These laws come from the moral underpinnings taken from a snapshot through a window of time in human history.  They reflect the values of Puritan Protestant Christians between 1600-1800.   In fact, all of these practices (and a lot of others) existed for centuries under Christianity, Judaism, and Islam and were perfectly acceptable.  So how did the greatest endeavor for freedom and enlightenment turn right around and impose a singular religious will on society and its legal framework?  But, more importantly, why are we still freaking doing it?

If one man is crazy enough to think that it’s a good idea to have ask for a kitchen pass from three nagging women (I mean, beautiful maidens of goodness and virtue) what do I care?  Does their goofy 4-person marriage somehow stand in the way of my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness?  A couple of years ago the feds and local cops in Texas (pronounced ’Tayhas’)  raided a compound of polygamists, took their children away, threw the men in jail, and basically up-ended their entire apple cart and made a hot mess of it.  And what evil did they uproot?  What pestilence of human misery did the stalwart do-gooders save us all from?  These people were just living their lives in accordance with their values.  Their children were loved, cared for, and educated.  While their pursuit of life, liberty and happiness was unconventional, it worked for them.  Were their kids likely to grow up and rob convenience stores to buy meth?

People make the argument that a gay couple can’t  raise well adjusted children.  Because, yeah, heterosexuals are doing a bang-up job of that lately.  I’d hazard to guess that a loving couple of flamers or lipstick lesbians has a much better shot at raising a rug-rat to become a productive member of society than a single hetro-mother of six on welfare with a cocaine habit.  And that’s not even the real point.  Does their way of life get in the way of yours?  What are they taking from you?  How is it that a polygamists values are criminal because they differ from yours?  How does some dude paying for sex impact your financial future?  What do you care?  I may not like your way of life and you may not like mine.  That’s the beauty of this place…or at least it was supposed to be.

This country was founded on the principle that anyone should be able to go about their life in the manner of their choosing, so long as they don’t hurt the poor saps around them trying to eek out a living of their own.  Yet still, 200 years later, as the fabric of American destiny includes threads that follow religions ranging from Scientology to Eckankar and the whole VHF spectrum of values, we continue to allow our laws to reflect the values of one religion…and even that one only selectively.   This is America, the land of the free…so long as you prescribe to the values of Christian European dissidents of the 1700’s.  If you want to celebrate freedom, try just living your life and letting someone else do the same.  Because that, my friends, is America.

© Raymond Smith 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tobi Keith for President

Folks: This is why the Republican Party comes off as a bunch of backwards hicks.

Kurt XXXXXXX I want Obama to look directly in the faces of families who lost loved
ones on 911 and the military families who lost there loved ones fighting
those terrorists after that and tell them he supports a Mosque at
ground zero! That's it for me...Impeach now!!!!


See More
4 hours ago ·  ·  · Share · Report
  • 4 people like this.
    • Raymond Smith I get that it may not be a well thought out decision for the owners of the mosque to 'want' to put it there, but unless someone re-wrote the bill of rights last night, we still enjoy freedom of religion in this country. They have just as much right to purchase private property, file the same zoning permits and put a mosque there as any other religion with any other church.
      4 hours ago ·  · 
    • John XXXXXXX
       zoning rule #1 To promote and protect the health, safety, comfort, morals, welfare, convenience and necessity of the public. The public is generally uncomfortable and think its morally wrong for this to be in "this location". if the govt wasn't bought and paid for they would do their jobs and stop this. following the zoning rules and leave the religion part out of it would be a great idea.
      4 hours ago · 
    • Raymond Smith 
      That is a ludicrous argument. I'm pretty sure the 1st amendment trumps a local zoning guideline. (one which I suspect you just made up) Do you think the general public is thrilled to death to have the Westboro Baptist Church in their backyard? If this organization isn't violating a law through the practice of it's religion then it has the legal right, as much as any other church, to practice there, period...and there is absolutely no law, state, local, or federal that would prevent them from doing so.

      The zoning rules exist to ensure that commercial enterprises don't intrude on residential, etc. If this was a Christian church, would you care? Leave the religion out of it? That's all your pissed about. If ANY church of ANY kind would be allowed to operate there, so can this one.

      Yes, it's a 'bought and paid for government' that's allowing a group of faith-seekers to exercise their constitutional right to build a church. That's the dumbest thing I've read in at least a month.
      3 hours ago ·  · 
    • Kurt XXXXXX  
      Ray. Yes, I understand your argument. However, putting the mosque 2 blocks from ground zero is a extremely poor decision. At some point someone has to say "enough" and stop this. Perhaps we could put some big pictures inside the mosque of the terrorists that committed this act? Then we could say that they were martyrs against the west and heroes of Islam. Would this be enough? Yes, the bill of rights needs to be addressed here.

      The second amendment provides the right to bear arms. Do you think that means it's OK to carry weapons into a school and start killing the innocent? No, our forefathers would be absolutely appalled at what this country has become. Granted I wasn't there when it was written however, I'm sure that this was NOT the intent. Someone MUST exercise their civic RESPONSIBILITY!! and call for a re-write or analysis of the bill of rights. However, you as well as I, know that no one will agree on what to do. That is called politics. That is why Obama is holding the safety of AZ and the Nation hostage because he can't get of his a** and make congress and the house address this issue. What then. Will it take the Martyrs brigade marching thru the border going to Wal-mart to buy weapons to facilitate committing crimes and kill people because they have rights?? more to follow...
      3 hours ago · 
    • Donnie XXXXXX You're wrong Raymond, it was a WELL THOUGHT out decision by the owners of the mosque. Just as it was a WELL THOUGHT out decision to take down the towers and park a plane in the Pentagon. Had it been a bunch Catholics, Baptists or Protestants that took down the towers I'd be just as pissed. Another difference being you can visit any demonination church you'd like without joining. Try going to Mosque to visit and see if you can get in.
      3 hours ago · 
    • Kurt  XXXXX I'm tired of hearing that people have rights and they are not LEGAL citizens of this country. I have rights!!!

      Yes this is the same thing as building a mosque in NYC. The bill of rights is outdated and antiquated. It needs revision.
      3 hours ago · 
    • John  XXXXXX When you reach a point in which law trumps common sense and the will of the people....then your on the verge of collapse. Were almost there.
      3 hours ago · 
    • Raymond Smith 
      ‎@Donnie: Unless I missed a memo or news report somewhere, I'm pretty sure the owners and parishioners of this mosque weren't the people who brought down the towers. I'm fairly certain that it was a terrorist organization based in the Middle East. You do realize that not all Muslims are terrorists right? You really need to re-read the bigotry you just wrote mate. That's the same way of thinking that motivated the people who attacked our country.

      @Kurt: You're tired of hearing how people have rights? How sad for you. You say you are a patriot of a country the most important strength of which is its rights, but you want to take those rights from someone of a different faith and ethnicity than you?

      @John: When you reach the point that ignorant hatred, xenophobia, and bigotry trump the rule of law you have chaos. Justice falls by the way-side and the only people left are the people of hate...that would be people like you and Al Qaeda.

      All three of you need to take a breath, put your hatred back into your pockets for a minute, and really re-read the things you've just written. You call yourselves Americans, yet you're championing everything that's wrong with the world and wholly un-American.

      The terrorists hearts are twisted, and you will become the same as that which twisted them.
      2 hours ago ·  · 
    • John  XXXXXX Ok ray... basically your reference to me and Al Qaeda is pretty out of line. Being prior military and considering you know nothing about me , it leads me to believe you could be an incredible prick. Please bleed somewhere else
      2 hours ago ·  ·  1 person
    • Donnie  XXXXX 
      Unless I missed the memo, if ANYONE builds a memorial, that is what this mosque is, near someplace that has deep seated wounds with someone else. that pretty much tells me that they are spitting on the very people that protect their right to build such a thing.

      How do you know that these folks don't have ties to the ones that brought down the towers?

      Let me guess, you voted for Obama didn't you?

      You don't have to answer that one.
      2 hours ago · 
    • Raymond Smith 
      ‎@ John: My reference to you and Al Qaeda is accurate. You think they way they think. You and people like you are part of the problem. You're prior military? Well I guess it's good that you're out, because I don't need ignorant hate-mongers in the military I still serve.

      @ Donnie: A Mosque is not a memorial, it's a place of worship for people of the Muslim Faith. And they are Americans too. Did you miss that one? Are you aware that over 350 Muslims died in the WTC? Do you know how many Muslims fight in the U.S. Military in Afghanistan?

      There is absolutely no merit whatsoever to either of your arguments. They don't even pass the test of the most basic logic. You're just spouting rhetoric and bullshit. Clearly neither of you have the faintest idea of what you're even trying to talk about.

      You're so ignorant that you've even mistaken me for a liberal...fools. Your arguments aren't conservative, they're retarded. Real conservatives believe in America, the United States Constitution, and the rule of law.

      Let me guess, you were too lazy to research a candidate and just voted for whomever Sean Hannity told you to vote for.

      And no, I didn't vote for Obama.
      2 hours ago ·  ·  2 people · 
    • Jason  XXXXXX  
      I think we are losing focus here...I dont have a legal right to say what can be build or where (just like all of you as well), I think it would be in extremely poor taste to build it that close. I think the 60 plus percent of New Yorkers (that said the didnt want it that close) should have a say in the matter though.

      But, during this argument today the US has lost atleast one more soldier and other coalition forces have had atleast one casualty in Afghanistan as well, trying to fight the war that started this arguement.
      about an hour ago · 
    • Donnie XXXXXX  
      You Raymond are the f'n idiot. It's people like you in the military that has caused it to go downhill the way it has.

      I served my 22 yrs in the Air Force so I know quite well what I was fighting for and sure as hell it wasn't so someone could come in here and slap us in the face. But hey, it's the kindler, gentler America now. Let's just open the broders and let them all in. Oh that's right, NObama is trying to do that also.

      I should have said, that is what THIS mosque is. You know damn good and well that if anybody were to go to their country and try and build a church what would happen.

      You're not worth my time anymore.
      20 minutes ago ·  ·  1 person
    • Raymond Smith 
      I'm so glad I don't live in their country. I'm glad I live in this country where people respect each other (or, at least we used to) and actually believe in our own constitution and our code of laws. I would rather the mosque wasn't built there. I would rather the owners did it in a location less inflammatory. But, taking measure to prevent them from doing so is exactly the same thing that goes on in the countries you hate.

      You just said it yourself...good grief, I can't believe you can't see it. You just said that basically their countries suck because they do EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO DO...prevent a religion other than your own from exercising it's rights.

      How do you not fall down more?
      a few seconds ago ·  · 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thoth Was Telling Porky Pies

Sitting at my desk yesterday forced to endure endless repetitions of circular news on the office television, I was treated to the opportunity to witness the compelling story of Lindsay Lohan being sentenced to jail for whatever jack-assery she's been up to since doing whatever she does that makes the world move. The other big story—breaking news that would change life on this planet as we know it was something about Mel Gibson fighting with his ex-girlfriend. These and the thousands of other inane non-events that the news outlets pretend have some sort of bearing on daily life, slanted stories vilifying BP, stock brokers, and the government, and the endless 'everybody panic' attempts at fear-mongering over whatever is going to kill us all, poison our children, and rape our grandparents begs the following question: When did the media turn from noble journalism, keeping the public informed of what's important, into a tabloid of sensationalist diarrhea?

I know what you're expecting from me right now. You're expecting me to wax-philosophic about a better time when journalists were honorable fact finders serving nothing but the public interest; serving as the 4th pillar of government and voice of the people. You would be wrong.

The up-ending of journalistic integrity didn't coincide with the creation of cable news and its “24 hour a day infotastic cluster-f$%k of factish like material” (America (The book), Jon Stewart, 2004). This isn't new. It started the first time someone with a printing press had to sell what he printed to make a living. And that's it—right there; news is a consumer product, not a public service. Think about that for a minute. There will be a quiz at the end.

The early years of journalism in America started with the publication of pamphlets while the British, on their quest to make the entire world drink tea and play Cricket (A game the English invented, only they understand, yet the whole world beats them at), were still trying to convince pesky colonists that they owed their allegiance to an insane property owner 3000 miles away. Notable pamphleteers included Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Pain, Alexander Hamilton, and Ben Franklin. Surely these cornerstones of the American foundation wouldn't print anything but the unadulterated truth, right? Yeah, not so fast.

Not only were these early saints of truth and light using their pamphlets to spread unmitigated fabrications about the British and all their evil plans to sacrifice goats and babies in public, they ruthlessly competed against each other for market share. Journalistic integrity? Fox News has more integrity and than Ben Franklin. These guys printed articles in their pamphlets specifically to tell readers how bad the other pamphleteers were and how no one should read that crap. (I think Alexander Hamilton actually wrote, “Thomas Jefferson is a fat syphilitic git who can't even spell his own name and he smells like a yak.” Though, that quote may be difficult to independently verify, so just take my word for it). Ben Franklin used to write 'letter's to the editor' under false names to praise his on publications and demonize the competition.

In 1728, in order for Ben and his partner in business to pwne* the local news market, Franklin wrote a series of essays under a pseudonym for a competing newspaper critical of the Pennsylvania Gazette, eventually driving it bankrupt. Then he bought it. Yeah, because you wouldn't get your short and curlies yanked into a lawsuit for that today. And they all did this stuff. They were in the business of selling a product. People didn't have ye olde www.getthynewsheare.com/britishsuck/colonistsrule/htm, so competition for a captive market was fierce, even more so in an economy where most people could really only afford to by one of these pamphlets. So they better buy yours. Okay, so they play to win, but they would have never misled the American people, right?

In 1770, Paul Revere decided to go at play in the fields of journalistic hedonism when he used (and by used I mean ripped off) a drawing by Henry Pelham to make an engraving of the events of the Boston Massacre that so accurately portrayed British tyranny that the whole of America jumped on board the 'Down with Britain and Man.U.' train. I'm kidding. The engraving and accompanying story printed by Benjamin Edes had about as many actual facts as a government report on how happy America is. They conveniently left out the part where hundreds of local colonists besieged a small customs house manned by less than 15 British soldiers for nearly 6 hours throwing snowballs and rocks until one of the soldiers was hurt quite badly, snapped, and opened fire. Oh yeah, and a BRITISH court found the soldiers who fired guilty of murder. That didn't make the papers either.

Paul Revere went on to later ride a horse and tell a bunch of people something about British troops going for a walk, and there was a lantern or something, I don't remember.

So before you post a sign telling people to get off your lawn and for those damn kids to turn that music down so you can reminisce about how the entire world was better up until 3 minutes ago when bad people who want to make a living came and ruined it all, take a look back at your history books, (or just use the interweb like I do) You'll be amazed to discover that, guess what: Corruption isn't new, people have always stolen from their neighbors, the concept of doing whatever it takes to make money wasn't invented by Bill Gates, and that, for all it's ills, the world you live in may not be going to hell as fast as you think.

* That's not a typo, either look it up or play more online games.
© Raymond Smith - 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Want My Two Dollars!

When I was in high school, I took a job at the local newspaper in the mail room. The minimum wage at the time was $3.25/hour, which gave me enough money to put gas in my 1978 Mercury Capri, buy a couple of gigantic microwave burritos from Circle K®, and score a couple of beers off the guy at the Liquor World who could be easily persuaded by my thin, cabana-boy mustache to mistake me for the guy in the Dos Equis commercials. I know, I know...walked to school in snow all year 'round uphill both ways. Still, it wasn't much. But it was the right wage for a job that required the scholarly accolades common to those stuffing the B section of the paper into the A section.

In 2009, the nannies in Washington declared that everyone in the country should earn a 'living wage'. Whether you were a teenager, or a single parent of 6 boys named Irvin living in a single-wide dumpster, whatever job you have should pay you enough money to buy a small town home in the burbs and hire a hot French maid. Now, my daughter makes $7.15 an hour at her first job EVER and can probably afford to encrust fine zirconium decorations on her cell phone that for some reason I pay for.

Here's a little tip regarding the worth of your labor: Your work is worth what someone is willing to pay you to do it. That's it. Minimum Wage has got to be one of the most ill-conceived economic retard hugs this country has ever embraced. Labor, from the point of view of the laborer, is a service—a good to be traded. It is a good that is needed by the employer. Market forces would self-regulate this aspect of barter just as well as any other. If the owner of Pump 'N' Munch convenience store wants to pay $2.00 an hour for people to stare at the hot dog roller thingy and pretend to clean out the slurpy goop, he's going to get two kinds of employees: 0 employees, or workers that are worth about as much as a barrel of monkey nuts. Any would-be worker without 3 felony convictions for raping farm animals, or a penchant for hurling racial slurs at customers isn't going to work for that little. They don't have to because someone else is paying more. It's called market correction, and it works.

The establishment of a minimum wage removes a pivotal market variable from an economic model. Like the aggregate supply of produced goods and services, labor is a commodity to be bought by employers. When the aggregate demand for products and services falls, a surplus is subsequently seen in the aggregate supply, ceteris paribus. The company producing said products, creating the supply, will have to reduce production in order to bring the supply down and reestablish the equilibrium price. Reduced production will result in a reduced demand for labor and, directly, a surplus supply of labor. This will lead directly to a decrease in the market price for that labor. This would bring about a self correction in the labor market as workers not willing to work for prison wages without prison romance would seek other jobs.

Instead, we have the owner of The Dirty Hoe Garden Supply paying a king's ransom to some meth-crunching teenager to squirt water all over the parking lot. (I don't actually know if meth can be crunched) And as for the segment of the population that Minimum Wage is supposed to help: single parents with apparently no more skill than an adolescent manatee—they make up about 1% of those working minimum wage! You can look it up and www.google.com if you don't believe me. And if that's your situation, you need to re-think your direction in life because $7.15 an hour is no way to go through life my friend. Read a book, learn how to do something that puts you a cut above the average elder child! And if you're not willing to do that—to make a minimum effort to compete in a real work force, then you've made your own bed now lay with the dogs. (I think I screwed that metaphor up)

“Better if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf, that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labor in. Who made them serfs of the soil? Why should they eat their sixty acres, when man is condemned to eat only his peck of dirt?”
--Henry David Thoreau
© Raymond Smith - 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Zo Notion: This man gets it!

This Guy's got it, and he can talk it  at ZoNation. Go there and see his vidoes...just click it...do it now!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tonight We Dine in San Diego!

Mi nombre es Miguel Ernesto Rodríguez. Yo vine a los Estados Unidos desde Guatemala con mi familia hace tres años. Estamos orgullosos de nuestra patria, pero sólo pudo permanecer por más tiempo. Fue largo y peligroso viaje para cruzar el México. Pero valió la pena llegar a Estados Unidos para encontrar la paz y un buen trabajo. Cruzamos la frontera exterior de Nogales en junio. Tuvimos que pagar a estos hombres casi todo lo que teníamos que nos contrabando en Arizona. Yo trabajo como jornalero. Es un trabajo duro, pero nos paga lo suficiente para tener un pequeño apartamento y un coche que corre. Al menos los niños están a salvo e ir a una escuela americana bien. No me siento orgulloso de haber entrado en los Estados Unidos de esa manera que lo hicimos, pero me alegro de que estemos aquí. Este país es maravilloso.


My name is Miguel Ernesto Rodriguez. I came to the United States from Guatemala with my family three years ago. We are proud of our homeland, but we just could stay for no longer. It was a long and dangerous journey to cross the Mexico. But it was worth it to get to America to find peace and a good job. We crossed the border outside of Nogales in June. We had to pay these men nearly all that we had to smuggle us into Arizona. I work as a day laborer. It's hard work, but pays us enough to have a small apartment and a car that runs. At least the children are safe and go to a good American school. I am not proud to have entered America the way that we did, but I am glad that we are here. This country is wonderful.

To: Miguel
From: Dante's Infuego

Get your shit and get out. You are a criminal in this country. Your very presence here constitutes a felony.

Dante's Infuego

How is it that so many bleeding hearts in the country can sit quietly and tolerate what is essentially an armed invasion by a foreign sovereign nation? These hordes of people, encouraged by their governments, trample our laws and our culture by enveloping this land like one of the plagues of Egypt, and we do nothing. Why? Oh, that's right, because, as so many apologists will remind us, they do jobs no one else wants so that makes it okay. Yeah: Bullshit.

I don't care if they've come here to rub my feet, take my wife shopping, and make sweet love to my sister, they broke the law! That is not acceptable, and there are no post facto placations that can make it so! We don't treat other criminals with such kid gloves. Why should these law breakers get a pass? The logic behind the idea that because they provide a function, which can be seen as a good, makes their previous transgressions acceptable, is counter citizenry and basically retarded. This implies that any crime that benefits society is okay. Fine, I'll start driving around in an ice-cream truck full of rocket pops and cap every drug dealer I can find. (I can't watch with a straight face as someone eats a rocket pop...ditto a banana, unless they eat it like corn on the cob.) I'm breaking the law, but it's basically a service to the community, so it's cool. Criminals should be brought to task for their crimes, period. That's you Miguel, now take you litter and go back to your mud hut in the jungle of Guate...Gueta....oh to hell with, I don't have to know how to spell your stupid country, just leave. (I know how to spell Guatemala, I was just being dramatic)

The fact that they are doing jobs that no one else will do and that it's good for our economy is about as intelligent an idea as when Olaf the hairy, King of all the vikings, ordered 80,000 battle helmets with the horns on the inside.1 These people are not just picking asparagus folks! I don't know how that sparkle got into so many otherwise intelligent people's eyes. They are doing landscaping, roofing, handyman work, and other construction jobs. These are not jobs 'American's won't do'. For the love of deep fried pickles—these are the jobs that WE DID WHEN WE WERE KIDS! In 1990, what high school kid didn't want to work a construction job, even if it was just ripping out old carpet ahead of skilled carpet layers? Are you kidding me? When I was 19 I took a job working in a pipe ditch, placing slippery, lubed up rubber gaskets on the end of a stick of concrete pipe. (yeah...I'm really going to open myself up for ridicule having let that one out...oh well) I got paid $8/hour in 1991 and I was happier than a puppy with two peters. Sure, kids today all want to work at Abercrombie & Fitch where they can learn to be men that act like girls, but given certain market wage incentives (i.e. In the absence of cheap illegals, employers would have to pay wages that attract other workers) these kids would be pried from their low-wage job at Filthy Larry's BBQ & Foot Message and start working real jobs. (There is another entire discussion regarding minimum wage that plays into this, but that is for another day)

The influx of illegal aliens is not simply a crisis of emigration. The problem is systemic all the way up through the upper class and governments of Mexico and other Central American countries. Pay attention to this! Don't look at the T.V. right now, Nancy Grace is not that interesting. The rich and powerful in Central America do not want these people living in their countries! They are considered lower class and burdensome by the most amicable of the elite, and racially inferior to most of the rest. Mexico, by POLICY is doing everything it can to export it's lower class Mestizo population to the United States. Mexico's upper crust is primarily aristocratic parvenu heralding a Spanish lineage. They hate the lower class, Indian-mix Hispanics and will do whatever they can to expel them. Is it sad, sure, but it's not our problem (well, it shouldn't be, but we're too pussified to stop it). Maybe they should uprise or something. Just look at Kyrgystan. Uprisings are all the rage this month.

There are lots of different avenues we could take to avert this American crisis. We could put the National Guard on the border. (Not 'On the Border', the restaurant. I'm sure that wouldn't do any good). We could dig a moat, build a bigger fence, shoot border crossers, or put out land mines. We could crossbreed rattle snakes with woodpeckers that could buzz around and jab you with their venomous beaks! I don't know the best method, and it doesn't matter. What is important is that people in this country realize just how harmful illegal aliens are to America and that something must be done to stem this invasion. Now, where's my celery?

¡Viva el soberano Estados Unidos!

1. Blackadder Goes Forth © BBC

Text © Raymond Smith - 2010 Image courtesy of youtube.com®

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sixteen Tons

"The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom."

So, I was sitting on my good chair, watching something on the television, (I don't remember what it was but it was probably something involving one animal tearing apart another in the glory that is the food chain). During the commercial break, which I don't see that often due to the sweetness that is the DVR, there's this advertisement for some auto handy-man service or something like that. The she-nag is prattling on about how she's been ragging her husband to mend something in the backyard. (What? I don't know it doesn't matter, now pay attention to the story) Of course, when she finally did get him to take a break from the 6 minutes to himself he was probably getting after building a hospital for the deaf children, (or whatever awesome thing he was doing for too little pay) he tries to fix the thing. She giggles a little...she knew from the beginning she should have hired one of the professionals at We'll Take Care of Your Wife While You're Out Drinking®, indicating that whatever he had attempted to repair is not only not fixed, but will now cost them $7426.78 to have taken care of.

You have all seen this trend over the years! I know you have! It's in sitcoms, T.V. Ads, you name it. Apparently, the middle-aged white male is predominantly capable of basically nothing. We can't fix anything, clean anything, remember to do anything, or do any of the things that we can do correctly. We can't be trusted to pay a bill, feed a cat, bath ourselves, or even decide which hand with which to wipe ourselves. If we change the oil in her car, it will explode. If we put a pair of jeans in the washing machine, it will explode. If we pound a two-penny nail into the wall to hang a three-ounce picture of her mother, it will explode. In fact, it is apparently quite difficult for women to understand how we make it through the day without destroying all of mankind while just taking out the garbage.

Somehow over the last, oh, I don't know (when did the feminazi movement and emasculation of the American male begin?) about that far back (I'd look up the exact date, but my wife's not here to show me how.) the overwhelming public image of men has been shifting away from the strong, capable, father figures of the late 50's and before into one of two figures: The incompetent boob you've seen lambasted in T.V. and in comedy clubs, or the metro-sexual retard that, aside from having a penis and just enough of a thin beard to say, “Look, I don't care about societal conventions!”, is about as much a man as Rosie O's sausage-fist knuckles. (Actually, I bet those are pretty manly) Now of course, these lamentable sissies are out there, there's no doubt about that.

I saw one today in the cafeteria at work—weighed about 135lbs and was carrying a 'messenger bag'. It's a purse--period, and you are not a man for wearing it! And sure, you've got the business men and the techie geeks that would probably die of hypothermia while trying to survive the first 4.2 minutes after a flat tire. But these detractors do not represent the majority of men. Strong men are still out there, and are more prevalent than you've been led to believe. They've been quiet because they don't have time to defend themselves; what with all the building America that they've been up to.

Real men are out there welding things, sometimes just for fun. They are fixing shit that women keep breaking, properly I might add (yeah, I said it, and you know it's mostly true so back off). They can cook (especially if it's something they killed), clean, and do laundry with the efficiency of a nuclear leaf-blower. They work fishing boats,  and drive humongous construction machines that define awesome. They dig holes; penetrating deep into mother Earth (she likes it) to bring out precious diamonds—which men will then use as a tool to shut her up. Men will cut things down that are in the way and use that shit to build other shit that makes women's lives easier. If your new hairdo is all on fire while your house is burning down, don't fear, a strong fearless, fire-proof manchine will drag your screaming ass out. Men know things about earth, fire, wind and water. They understand guns, knives, and large BBQs.

Men invented beer.

So, while the she-people on the telly may lampoon the silent strength of real men, when it comes down to brass tacks there will be a man there when he is needed. The sensitive little guy at work that is so cute and smart and 'understands you' is not going to help you fix your broken screen door. He is probably unable to use the simplest of tools. (His man-purse is not a tool, it just makes him a tool) When you are stuck on the side of the turnpike with a flat tire, it will likely be a man, who may not be hip to the trendiest new band that only you and your friends have heard of, but is kind and knowledgeable. He won't mind that it's raining, because he's just not a pussy. You may offer him money for his trouble, but he won't accept it. And, when the job is done, as he turns to walk back to his truck, he'll be sure to cast a knowing glance at the three 'men' in the back of your car.

©Raymond Smith- 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Marcus Aurelius Just Wanted His Pudding

Welcome to Morningwood retirement and assisted living. You'll love it here! There is so much to do and the food is great. We'll entertain you, exercise you, feed you, and look after all your needs. Live out your twilight years free of the mental anguish wrought by burdening your children. Your final years of existence will bother no one. Now eat your Jello and take your special pills so the orderlies can go out for a smoke.

Why do we do this to people?

I don't understand this pervasive assumption that old people just want a comfortable place that's out of the way so they can die. I get people that need medical assistance just to eat and breathe, but it is more often the Moirai of people that are fully capable of looking after themselves and pursuing whatever avocation suits their ancient fancy. Instead of enjoying what should be the most rewarding epoch of life, they get stuck in a hamster cage and given a wheel to keep them busy and diverted until they croak; a perdition of sorts aimed at dissolving their dignity as they are transformed from something sentient into something farmed.

Bullocks to that! Are you kidding me!?

First and foremost: To the adult children of these poor souls, whose lives are what they are by the hands of those they wish to put in the back of the pantry—You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You owe. Period. Those people suffered for 18-46 years (online game addiction dependent) to set you up to become the ultra success that you are. They wiped your butt, sacrificed their dreams, suffered through your refrigerator posted 3rd grade poems, and (by the strength of Krom) resisted many urges to eviscerate costumed characters at themed pizza places. Everything you are and everything you'll ever be or accomplish is owed to these people. How are you paying them back? You're putting them out of your misery. And, you know, the only reason they agree to do it; smile and pretend to be happy about it, is that they don't want to be a burden—once again, allowing your interests to supplant their own.

If my kids ever put me in a home while I still have the means to harm them, they better watch their backs. I will abscond, ford the river, kill an alligator with my false teeth, break into their homes with my walker, and crap in their cereal bowls. (That's pretty crass, but old dudes are like that, I think) The sunset of my life will be consumed by the desires (and sometimes the avarice) of my entertainment, travels, and adventures. If I require assistance, I will seek it. If I can't climb to the top of the Zugspitze, I'll spend a little more of that dwindling inheritance on a helicopter.

So, to my girls: Once we, your parents, have seen all we can see and are barren of money—and believe me, we will be out of money—we are coming to live with you. There will be nothing left to pass on. We will have long since sold the house to buy legal marijuana for the glaucoma I guarantee you I will have. The life insurance policy will have been cashed out so we could host numerous parties out of our beach condo. The rest we will spend on travel, booze, and Viagra.

We changed your diapers on the way in. You're changing ours on the way out.

© Raymond Smith- 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Quote of the Day

"What shall I say? But thus we lost him, that in all his proceedings, made justice his first guide, and experience his second; ever hating baseness, sloth, pride, and indignitie, more than any dangers; that never allowed more for himselfe, then his shouldiers with him; that upon no danger would send them where he would not lead them himselfe; that would never see us want [in want of] what either he had, or could by any meanes get us...whose adventures were our lives, and whose losse our deathes."

-1609: William Fettiplace, Colonist of Jamestown commenting upon the betrayal and departure of John Smith.

(Love & Hate in Jamestown; David A. Price,Vintage Books, ©2003)
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