Saturday, December 17, 2005

Roadside Crosses

I see a lot of roadside crosses on my daily commute. I just want to go on the record that if I ever am killed on the roadside, I do NOT want a little cross stuck there. I want a great big one. I want that baby to be over 10 stories high. I want spot lights on it. I want it to be seen from outer space. I want it to be the Shrine of the Fallen Michael, with my entire life history inscribed in stone. That would be nice.

And while we're on the subject of roadside crosses, has anybody else wondered why it is that Christians are such lousy drivers? I mean, you never see any Stars of David on the roadside. Or crescent Moons. Or little Buddhas. The moral: If you see any cars with those little fish stuck on them, give them a lot of room. It's just a matter of time.

And what would you put on the roadside for an atheist? A stick?

Continued Fun with Language

Yep, that semi-regular installment where my loyal readers learn just exactly what you can do with a degree in English (other than write blogs that absolutely no one will read). Today: More stupid phrases (or How to Feel Superior when You Hear Others Using Sub-Perfect English).

In my life I have learned to live life one day at a time...

First of all, in who else's life would you do anything? And what other choice do we have than to live one day at a time? Would you really want to live two at once? I might be interested if I could live a half day at a time. Actually, sometimes I feel like I do.

He's a real survivor.

Yeah, I know. People use that when they want to acknowledge that someone has gone through a lot of hard times. But technically, the only qualification you need to be a survivor is not to be dead. Get in line.

Make an attempt...

How do you "make" an attempt? I know how to attempt, but I don't know how to make one.

I would have to say...

Well, then, say it!

You know what I mean!

Yes, I do. You don't have a clue half the time what you're saying and therefore must rely on cliches and euphemisms to talk at all while hoping someone else can fill in the cracks of your ignorance.

God, it's great to be an over-educated snob!

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Senator Leonard K. Bullfinch Newsletter #8


My Fellow Americans:

The United States is a diverse country. We have a history of openly accepting people of different races, ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, and traditions, and it’s time it stopped.

People get offended too easily. It’s gotten to the point where you can’t say anything for fear of offending somebody. If you say Merry Christmas to a Jew, he gets offended. If you say Happy Holidays to a Christian, he gets offended. If you use he as a pronoun, she gets offended. If you innocently call someone a coon or jewboy, a whiny bitch or a God damned atheist, they get offended. Sometimes even people who aren’t even coons or jewboys get offended. And you weren’t even talking to them!

The problem is diversity, and the problem’s gotten out of hand.

Whereas it’s easy to tell if someone is black, it’s impossible to tell if he is an African American. So if you call an African African, African American, you could offend him. Or her. Or them. You never know. You don’t want to offend someone with multiple personalities. Same with homosexuals, Jews, women...the list goes on. People are just too easily offended.

It’s not that I’m opposed to diversity. It’s just that it’s too much work. And people should not get offended with me if I don’t want to put forth the energy to be politically correct. They’re not worried about offending me, by God, if I have to be politically correct.

At first, it was suggested that we require everybody to wear some sort of identification on their chests that will clearly mark them for all of their diversities. That way we could know what offends them and adjust accordingly. For instance, a rainbow colored “G” for Gay, a PB&J for Protestant Baptist Jewish-convert, or a Star of David for Jews. But this clearly got too confusing. Imagine meeting someone with FAGGOT on his chest (a French American who wishes to be recognized as a Global citizen with Gaelic roots originally from Ontario and who happens to be a Taoist). It would be easy to get the wrong idea.

The solution is simple.

First of all, we must realize the cause of diversity. People are diverse because they are different. If people are different, there must be something that they are different from. Otherwise they’d all be the same. And if there is something they are different from, it means that there is something that is more right than the others. And in America, the standard by which diversity is measured is being a white, protestant (preferably an evangelical fundamentalist Baptist), English speaking, middle-aged, male of northern European descent, hitherto known as: Us. History is on our side.

Therefore, having identified the standard, it would be easier to label Us than them. I am in favor of a simple, inexpensive outfit that could easily be worn over your daily clothes, such as a white sheet. A hood would be optional.

I do not advocate signaling out anyone who is not Us. I do not advocate concentration camps or deporting people to Alaska or organizing a mob and meeting this Saturday night in my front yard (say, around 7:00). That would be wrong. But if you do show up, bring your own cross.

Thank You, and God Bless America,

Senator Leonard K. Bullfinch

Thursday, December 15, 2005

We May Be In Trouble

It may not be over until the fat lady sings, but there are a lot of fat ladies in America...

More Fun with the State Game

I'm well on my way to 50. For those of you new to the game, the object is to get all 50 states with names that actually describe the state. Have fun. Join in. Send money. Suggest that your local state drop their current motto and adopt mine. I mean, who was New Jersey kidding when they called themselves "the garden state"? More like "the swamp state" or "the toxic waste state." Of course, those are names that probably won't inspire tourism. And Arkansas...they used to call themselves "the land of opportunity." When they realized they weren't kidding anybody, they changed it to "the natural state." I'm still trying to figure out what is naturally there. Hey, here's a good motto for South Dakota: It Could Be Worse. Oh well, On to the game!

A state of trepidation -- I'm just showing off with a big word. I'm tempted to say NY, but I really don't know why.

A state of confusion -- Florida (2000 presidential elections; say no more)

A state of despair -- Missouri (Come visit sometime.)

A state of mind -- I'll be damned if I know. It sure as hell isn't Missouri.

A state of anxiety -- Louisiana (say no more)

A state of decay -- Michigan (just think Detroit)

A suicidal state -- New Jersy (see above)

A state of denial -- Texas (think environment and Houston; think Bush; and while we're on the subject of Texas, why is it that you don't see bumper stickers that say "Don't Mess With Delaware"? I've been to Texas. They can keep it.

A psychotic state -- California

A persistant vegatative state -- Idaho

An emotional state -- Nevada (gambling, legalized prostitution, and a god-forsaken desert -- what more could you want?)

You get the idea. There are 40 to go.
And here's the fun part. Now that I've put the idea in your head, try not doing it.

Thought of the Every Once in a While

It is impossible to think too much, only not enough.

Willful Ignorance

Did anyone catch the president's press conference the other day? Bush used a big word and then jokingly commented that he was "showing off." Wow. I often use big words myself. I sometimes use words with three syllables. Even more. I don't use them on purpose. I just use them. And I never thought I was showing off. I guess I was wrong. I always assumed having an expanded vocabulary was just a by-product of being educated.

What really bothers me is that what is implied is that there is ultimately no value in being educated. At best, having an education is silly--something to be laughed at, and at worst, people who use big words aren't to be trusted. Who needs an education when common sense will do? And we all know that common sense is always right.


Dear World

Just yesterday as I was mowing the lawn
I realized that I no long have the patience for a house plant.
Maybe patience is the wrong word.
Maybe it’s energy.
Is it motivation?
When I think of the effort required,
the work,
I just don’t want to do it.
There’s probably something significant there,
the symptoms of a much deeper problem.

Pardon my intrusiveness.
I guess that’s the sort of thing
that people really don’t want you to share,
regardless of what they say about friendship and trust and openness.
But the truth is,
I never really liked you that much anyway.
I never really liked you at all.
I was just being kind
in an inoffensive sort of way.

How Much Is That?

I've been thinking about some pretty big numbers lately, thanks to our government. I mean, what is a trillion? To put it in perspective, if you had a trillion one dollar bills, and you were to put them end on end, they would go the entire 92 million miles (give or take) to the sun, and even at that, you'd have money to burn when you got there. Bring me back a t-shirt. Here's another one. If you sang "A Trillion Bottles of Beer on the Wall" (something to do on the long drive to the sun) and you could average 10 seconds a verse (that's some pretty fast singing), it would take you over 250,000 years, and that's only if you never stopped, and you never lost your place.

How about a smaller number? The US Government is wanting an additional 100 billion dollars for the war in Iraq. That's one thousand millions. Roughly speaking, that's 300 dollars for every man, woman, and child in the United States, which doesn't sound like that much. But would you be willing to fork out $1,200, right now, for a family of four, to continue fighting in Iraq? Or even just $300 for yourself? Or better, would you allow the government to put it on your credit card with 25% interest? I mean, why not? That's where they're getting their money.

Let's look at it another way. If 100 billion dollars were divided up equally among all fifty states, it would be 2 billion dollars a state. In Missouri, for instance, if that money were then divided up among its roughly 500 school districts, that would be 4 million dollars per district. That's enough money to run many of the smaller districts for the next 20 years. How far would that money go for, say, child care? Health care? AIDS research? Developing country relief? Wouldn't it be nice if our government cared more about any one of these things than a senseless war in some godforsaken desert?

Could all the oil in Iraq ever eventually repay the American tax payer?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Fun With Redundancy

Or how to stretch that 300 word essay to 500 words.

OK, so admittedly some of this stuff is just snobbish, but what else are you going to do with a degree in English?

"Needless to say..." If it's really needless to say, then don't.

"It goes without saying..." Apparently not.

"When is enough enough?" Always.

"The bell's getting ready to ring..." How does it do that?

"We're going to attempt to try..." Aren't they the same thing?

"At this point in time..." Now?

"At that point in time..." Then?

"To me, I personally think that maybe it might be a good idea if..." Wow.

"I was thinking..." Did you stop? Well, yes...

"Consider the fact that..." Sounds intelligent, adds four words, says nothing.

"You may go at some point in time..." How about, "You may go..." ?

Five Turtles

Five turtles met on the roadside,
all wanting to cross the highway.

The first turtle threw caution to the wind
and took out across the pavement,
and was promptly smashed flat
by two semis and a bus.

The second turtle decided to wait on the shoulder
for a break in traffic,
and was promptly smashed flat
by a motor home pulling over on the curb
to switch drivers.

The third turtle decided to walk a half mile down the road
and cross over on a bridge,
but was chewed on by a dog,
dropped over the railing,
smashed on the pavement below
and then run over by a Honda, a pickup, and a minivan.

The fourth turtle decided to go under the highway,
and got halfway through the culvert
when a sudden rain storm came up,
drown him in the tunnel,
and washed him back out the other side,
where he was smashed flat in a rock slide.

The fifth turtle said, "The hell with this!"
suddenly seeing no real reason
why he ever needed to get across
the highway in the first place,
and went off and lived happily ever after
in a little clump of trees
at the edge of a junkyard.

Based on the traditional Mexican folk tale Cinco Armadillos

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Senator Leonard K. Bullfinch Newsletter #7

Capital Punishment

My Fellow Americans:

Crime is rampant in our country. Whereas many solutions have been offered to stem the tide of this lawlessness, such as alleviating social injustice, educating the poor, and offering hope to the hopeless, it is obvious that these are only getting at the root of the problem. The true problem is that people are not afraid of the consequences of their actions. Quite frankly, criminals are not afraid that ultimately we will kill them if they cross that line.

The biggest argument offered against capital punishment is that it does not work. But there is no doubt that it does work. If you pump someone full of deadly chemicals or zap him with a bazillion volts, that person is going to die. And further, he is not going to commit another crime ever again.

The problem is that we don’t execute enough criminals fast enough. It can be decades before justice is done, what with mandatory appeals, reviews, and retrials. This process needs to be radically speeded up. However, we wouldn’t want to give those awaiting the ultimate punishment less rights, less opportunities, to prove their innocence than, say, a shoplifter. Therefore, I propose we take rights away from everybody. What could be more fair?

What I propose is mobile justice.

Say you are driving home from work and you’re pulled over because you and your vehicle match those involved in a murder. It could be years before you are finally able to prove your innocence. And during that time, you would be forced to spend a small fortune. In essence, simply being accused could ruin your life. And it is no doubt that the current standard of American jurisprudence is that you are as innocent as you can afford to be. My plan would solve both of those injustices.

Mobile justice is the answer. Every police force would have available to it a mobile courtroom. This would simply be a bus with the judge and jury right there. These would be professional jurors. After all, selecting an impartial jury is a difficult process. Once you find one, why let it go?

When, say, you were pulled over as in the above example, you would immediately be put on trial. Everyone would have a public defender to represent them, so the playing field would be made even. If you are found innocent, you would be on your way home. It would take no more than half an hour out of your life, and you would be happy to have performed your civic duty. If you’re found guilty, then you’re executed on the spot. That guy would be on the bus, too.

Further, to avoid the argument that the death penalty is being unfairly applied for differing crimes, I propose the death penalty for everything. After all, what cold-blooded killer didn’t start small? Speeding today, cannibalism tomorrow. Call it pre-emptive crime prevention.

It is true that innocent people might be executed. However, for the safety of the population as a whole, it would be worth it. Everyone should be willing to do their civic duty to make America safer. Besides, if you’re innocent, you have nothing to worry about.

And if a family wanted to pursue litigation for a wrongful death, they would be welcome to. After all, this is still America. Anybody could hire their own private lawyer to prove someone’s innocence. However, to avoid complicated litigation and outrageous settlements, my office has calculated the average worth of a human life on the planet. If you could prove that, say, your spouse was unfortunately wrongfully executed, then the state will be compelled to send you a check for $1.97. This amount will be regularly adjusted for inflation.

My proposal is fair. It will make America safer. It will alleviate prison over-crowding, thus reducing the tax burden on our law-abiding citizens. It will decrease unemployment and increase the average wage paid, since the fewer people there are, then the greater demand there will be for their labor. And it will reduce immigration, since no one will want to come to our country.

Remember, together we can make America a safer place.

Thank You,

The Honorable Senator Leonard K. Bullfinch

Tookie Williams, 1951-December 13, 2005

Monday, December 12, 2005

Waitin' for the Medication to Kick In

I’m waitin’ for the medication to kick in.
I’m waitin’ for the good times to begin.
Lord knows how hard I’ve tried,
but you can be more dead than alive.
Tell me what time it is again,
‘cause I’m waitin’ for the medication to kick in.

It’s not lookin’ like I’ll get paid,
and it’s not lookin’ like I’ll get laid.
I’m just gonna be waitin’ here by the side,
waitin’ for that familiar ride.
It comes blowin’ in like a nervous wind,
while I’m waitin’ for the medication to kick in.

There’s no one left for us to trust,
when we’ve all become radioactive dust.
What’s the point of gettin’ up at all
if all you’re gonna do is fall?
Don’t tell me you know where I’ve been,
I’ve been waitin’ for the medication to kick in.

Some days are better than most,
but usually I cut it way too close.
The preacher tells me that it is a sin,
but who wants to spend eternity with him?
I’m waitin’ for the good times to begin.
I’m waitin’ for the medication to kick in.