Other bits and pieces

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)

Friday, April 16, 2010

One Giant Leap

On May 25, 1961, Democratic President Kennedy issued a bold mandate—that the United States would send a human being to the moon by the end of that decade. 8 years 1 month and 26 days later, it was done. This was zero to hero in less time than it takes to boil a really big egg. In 1961 we knew basically nothing…at all…about space flight. There were still people working at NASA that thought space was full of sea monsters. (I made that up.) Only two percent of American households had color televisions, and our most sophisticated computational device was a slide ruler. But, we did it. A bunch of dudes with 50lb brains teamed up with a handful of dudes with 50lb balls and they just made it happen. At the end of 2010, the United States of America, for the first time in over 50 years, will not have the capability to send a single person into space—not even low-Earth-orbit. What happened?

We Americans used to get up to all kinds of crazy adventures. We explored everything. The English were kind enough to drop us off on the eastern edge of a really big hunk of dirt with no one on it. Well, there were Indians, but they just had sticks and we had guns, so it’s just as good to say there was no one here. Once early Americans figured out that there were far too many liberals on the East Coast, they explored west. Nothing could stop us. If it was wet, we forded it, or dried it up. If it was in the way, we went over it, around it, or moved it. If it was hostile, we shot it, cooked it, and ate it (or pushed it westward and onto a reservation). Exploration was in our blood--handed down to us from the explorers of Europe who were basically willing to sail a vessel of pretty much any size as far into the unknown as possible, and never return. (Long live the queen!)

When we got bored walking around in circles between the two oceans, we just looked up. When JFK said we were going to the moon, we were like fuck yeah! We worked really hard, bought a used spaceship from an Alien (at least that’s what a couple of websites suggest), loaded up a couple of dudes who really wanted to die very far away from home, and we were off. (We also sent them with bananas so that their potassium levels would not drop. No one wants cramps in space) After we planted a few flags on the moon, played some golf, stole some rocks and did some off-roading, we basically just got bored with it and quit. Let me say that again: We got bored going to the moon. There is no amount of internet porn that can fix that.

The easy out is to blame the President. You thought I was going to didn’t you! Which president? NASA’s budget has steadily decreased (in terms of % of federal budget) under every sitting president since Kennedy. The 2010 budget for space exploration is 10% of what it was 1966. Blame NASA? Maybe a little, but how boldly can you go when your pocket book will only send you where everyone’s gone before? NASA’s operating kitty is 9.7% of the aggregate budget for social programs at the federal level, and only 2% of the leviathan that is the DoD Benny Hill. What about Congress? Congress writes the budget. Yeah, but congress does what it always has: get itself re-elected. Congress chases the whims and trends of the populace, and the populace of the U.S. seems to be about as interested in space travel as Schrodinger was interested in feline welfare.

Unfortunately, the exploration of space has been a shrinking interest with Americans since the first few Space Shuttle flights. You could argue back and forth ad nauseum whether the tail is wagging the dog: Did NASA fail to inspire? Did they run the shuttle program too long without anything new and different? Or, did the public just chase a different shiny penny no matter what NASA served up? I’d say both. Upon encounter of a mirage of vision and leadership, people will drink the sand. While NASA has languished away in LOE, the American taxpayer has, over the decades, turned their attention towards plebeian pursuits of entertainment. But, I think they could be inspired to get behind the space program, once again, and with vigor. All they need is our new Democratic President to mandate something bold and nonpareilly American!

President Obama outlined his bold way-ahead for NASA on 15 April, 2010:
"By the mid-2030s I believe we can send people to orbit Mars and bring them safely back to Earth. I expect to be around to see it."

Hopefully, 20 some-odd years from now, mankind might accomplish something within today’s technological and financial capability—to visit a place we’ve already been sending surface spacecraft for 30 years. My grandchildren might get to witness an endeavor that my children should have read about in high school history class. I’m sure there will be a Chinese flag waiting for us at the foot of Olympus Mons.

©Raymond Smith- 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Preparedness Part I from Sootch00

Quote of the Day

All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.

---John Adams

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Everyone Loves the Media

"It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I'm readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I'll, in turn, do my best for the Cause by writing editorials — after the fact."

— Robert E. Lee, 1863

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Wolf and the Winter Cold

Last night I watched the movie '300'. I've seen it before, but what an awesome movie. The beginning of it got me thinking though. They raise their kids to accept pain, to get up when they're kicked to the ground, to wipe off blood and continue to struggle. Then they send their seven year old man children out into the cold wild to fend for themselves. That's pretty much how we raise our kids today, right?

It used to be. Well, maybe not to that extent, but with the same spirit and intent. When we got in trouble, we got paddled. When kids called us names, our parents told us to blow it off or call them a name, but either way, quit whining. Our parents actually used phrases like, “Don't be a baby.” When we got into a fight with a kid at school, our fathers debriefed us on technique. I remember once when my mother, after I was whining about something that happened at school, said, “Well maybe I should just run out and buy the little girl a dress!” Was it insulting? Did it damage my self esteem? Hell yes, and it also had its intended effect. I quit whining, went back to school, dealt with it like a man, and took my dignity back. These are the tools of life. And we all used to get them dished out to us by the dump-truck load.

The overwhelming majority of human accomplishment is born, not out of intelligence, creativity, or sense of well-being, but out of the courage, the tenacity, and the confidence to put one's talents to purpose. It does no utility to a human life to have great talent and yet be too timid to use it. Warren Buffett, for example, is smart, but it takes balls to have taken the financial risks he has taken to get where he is. The same is true of Bill Gates, Zev Siegl, and Martha Stewart (Talk about balls). John Hancock didn't sign his name to the Declaration of Independence in 72 font because his mother used to hold his head to her bosom and whisper, “There there, my precious Johnny, the other boys are just mean, you should go play with your sister.”

I am willing to venture to make a guess that our current social trend in parenting may be sliding away from the paternal model that created these individuals.

Today, depending on where you are in America, if your child doesn't receive a passing grade on school work, they receive that dreaded 'E'...wait, what? What the hell is an 'E' grade? I had to ask Athena because her report card showed the grading scale A-E. She told me that her teachers told her that 'F' stood for 'fail', and that it made kids feel bad. Well, boo frickin hoo! It's supposed to make them feel bad! Failing is supposed to make you feel bad! You're not supposed to like it—that's the incentive to make decisions in the future so as to experience less of it. Schools haven't been cutting players from sports teams for years now. We wouldn't want to think that hard work and dedication might make the difference between success and failure. And it's just not fair that some kids are born stronger and faster than others, we can't have genetics keeping kids from being on the team. Besides, once they're out of high school, the rest of the world is pretty much a veritable cornucopia of fairness right? Are you kidding me? There's a reason these kids are getting out into the real world today and getting COMPLETELY OWNED!

We are obsessed with children's self esteem. Never mind the idea that they are supposed to earn it. It's issued now. And if they don't have enough of it, we'll pull the rest of the school back to their level so they don't feel bad about themselves. There are schools doing away with honors programs because it makes the dumb kid's self esteem diminish. Wait; did I say dumb kids? Was I supposed to say the intellectually disadvantage or some crap like that? Yeah, I'll stick with 'dumb kids'. Because, honestly, they only reason they're 'dumb kids' is that more often than not they just don't work very hard.

There is even a school district in Maine, right now, that is pushing to desegregate boys and girls restrooms and locker rooms because last year a; what do you call it..a trans-gendar...trans-sexual...trans-former...FRUITLOOP kid was emotionally damaged because he/she/it/they couldn't use the girl's bathroom. I'm sorry, we are talking about a 12 year old trans-gender boy...I suspect there might be something slightly not right with him to begin with. He's TWEELLLLLVEE and thinks he should have girl parts! They are going to make adolescent girls change clothes in the same locker room as the guys so that some prepubescent tranny won't have his feelings hurt.

This morning, watching the morning news, they were running a story about schools that feel the need for recess education. Yes, you read it right. They are having teachers out on the playground to teach...the kids...how...to...play. Young Skywalker, your pussification is now complete. What have we done that our kids need this? What series of disservices have we meted out on our children that they can't even play outside without hovering helicopter adults micromanaging their every move? The reality is...nothing. Our kids need this kind of micromanagement about as much as they need second helping of pudding with their lunches. I fear for what kind of ill-adjusted, terrified, fickle, hipster douchbag adults these children will grow up to become. They'll be a hell of a crop: Completely unprepared for hardship, failure, success, setbacks, weakness, strength, second place, etc.

The only way our kids are going to become the next Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, or General Patton, is if they grow up strong. You can't issue them confidence, courage, resilience, and fortitude. They learn through trial and error, falling down and getting up, taking risk and sometimes getting hurt. They build character (remember that phrase?) by trying and failing, and trying something else. That's how they find and follow their feet. You can't manage your children into viable, strong, productive citizens. You have to teach them.


© Raymond Smith- 2010
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