10 October 2007

23 July 2007

On behalf of the U.S., I apologize

We spent the weekend with friends on the southern Oregon coast, and we took a side trip to the oh-so-cheesy Trees of Mystery in northern California on Saturday. One of the features of this tourist trap is a seven-minute trip in a cable tram thingie up to the top of a large hill. While we were waiting for our turn I overheard snippets of conversation between two couples behind us. One was from Holland and the other was (apparently) local.

They chit-chatted about things to see and do in the area and I sorta tuned them out after a while. Suddenly, the female half of the local couple said, "So do you go to church in Holland?" The Dutch woman said, "No, we don't." The other couple then proceeded to lecture them on why they should be Christians. The victims of this tirade remained polite and non-confrontational, but I could hear their discomfort with the topic. At one point, the crusading husband said, loudly, "You just gotta love the lord!" I just about lost it there, but we were having such a fun weekend I didn't want to ruin it with a confrontation.

So let me apologize to the visitors right now. Not all Americans are as rude as those two. Please don't let those two ignorant buffoons color your opinion of the rest of the U.S. Contrary to what they may think, this is a secular nation and there are many of us that are embarassed by the American Taliban. And forgive me for not speaking up.

Enjoy the rest of your stay!

14 April 2007

Electronic crack

I hope this site is blocked at work. I find it insanely addictive. Don't say I didn't warn you!

30 March 2007

My newest internets obsession


See if you can guess which-- if any-- are mine...

Oh, and there's cryptonomic, too. Same idea, but not as robust.


17 March 2007

We the sheeple...

I went to the local retailer (who shall remain nameless, but its name rhymes with "Rite Aid") yesterday during my lunch hour. One of the things I needed was a box of matches. After searching the store, I finally located them behind the counter with the tobacco products. A little inconvenient, but OK, it's their merchandising decision. I finished my shopping and returned to that counter to ask for the matches and to pay up.

As he was ringing up the sale, the clerk said, "I'll just need to see your ID for the matches." I started to pull my DL out of my wallet, but caught myself and stopped.

"Forget it", I said in my firmest, irritated voice. I am not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure there are no restrictions on selling these things in Oregon. I have bought them from other stores many times without incident.

The clerk, clearly embarassed at this ridiculous requirement, said, "It's OK-- just tell me your birthday."

"1960", I tersely replied.

"I need the month and date to put in the register"

"January first."

He dutifully typed it in and we concluded our transaction. (Our cash transaction, I might add. Due to the relative anonymity of the cash sale, I could have-- and did-- simply pick a random date. So what's the point of asking?)

What the fuck is wrong with this country? OK, I can understand that a company doesn't want to get sued if it turns out that the matches a twelve year-old used to burn down his house were bought at their store. But for fuck's sake, I'm a middle aged man! My hair is rapidly becoming more salt than pepper. Not to mention the tranaction was undoubtedly captured by any number of video cameras. Even a lawyer could ascertain the benign intentions I signalled by the purchase of light bulbs, a tin of Altoids and a Cadbury cream egg.

To the dimwitted managers of this nameless retail behemoth: Nothing in this post will cause you any sleepless nights. The total sale was about five bucks. But I find myself shopping at your stores less and less because of stupid harassment policies like this. And I will be telling everyone I know about it. Perhaps you should reconsider the words "Customer Service."

04 March 2007

Sunday afternoon screed

"George Bush doesn't care about black people." -- Kanye West, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina

I make no secret of my contempt for President* Bush. He's a lying, conniving war criminal, and perhaps the worst President in the history of the United States. His actions in the world arena have damaged our country for decades to come.

However, I never felt he was a racist. I always felt his disregard for the victims of that hurricane were motivated mainly by their political leanings and not by the color of their skin. (No Republican votes down there, so why bother?) After this weekend though, I'm not so sure. Yesterday the news media bandwidth was filled with images of him visiting people in Georgia and Alabama whose lives were impacted by the tornados that hit there last week. Aside from the obvious attempt to appear more "presidential", it seems that all of the victims were white! Hardly any people of color were shown. Could be just a coincidence, but who knows with that guy?

Maybe it's just more evidence of the institutionalized evil that is the Republican party. They have truly elevated hate to new heights. Also this weekend, Ann Coulter called John Edwards a "faggot" at some Klan meeting, er Republican gathering. No surprise there-- she's an attention whore. The clown princess of the right. But I do notice that there is not much effort on the part of the right-wingers at distancing themselves from her bile.

And one more thing in this rant: The election is over. You wingnuts got stomped. The few vocal haters that are attempting to keep "illegal immigration" an issue can feel free to crawl back under from whatever rock you slithered. We get it. You hate Mexicans. Now bugger off!

* Selected, not elected, 2000