Saturday, January 21, 2006

Don't Read This!

OK, now you've gone and done it! You're now on the government's list of suspected terrorists. All because you've read this. Ya see, the problem is, I have a student who is from the Sudan. Never mind that is from the Christian south. He's from a country that has known terrorist operatives living in it (you know, a lot like the United States). It gets worse. He regularly communicates with people from the Sudan, both by phone and with email (you know, things like, "Hi, mom..."). Therefore, he fits the United States' definition of someone that could be spied on. Since I gave him my email (it's one of those things I regularly do with my students; it's called "communication"), then I communicate with him, and by extension, with everybody he communicates with. And since you read this, then you communicate with me, and by extension, Osama Ben Laden (you know, it's what's called being fucked...).

Tell Laura we all said, "Hi!"

Clap if you Must

My commute this morning was, well, strange. So I'm behind this car and I read the bumper sticker, which says something about our heroes in Iraq. And it gets me wondering. I have a hard time believing that everybody stationed in Iraq is a hero. That's not to say that some, if not many, are. But all of them? I joined the service once upon a time, and there was nothing heroic to it.

The problem is, we've so watered down the meaning of "hero" that it truly means nothing anymore. There is nothing heroic about being conned into joining the Marines by a gung-ho recruiter who will tell you any lie you're willing to believe just so he can make his monthly quota. My guess is that the majority of service personnel over in Iraq (and let's not forget Afghanistan) really have no clue why they're there -- honestly and truly. Certainly, they've been told what to believe, and maybe they're content to believe their government. I, for one, believe everthing my government tells me...

So next time you see that commercial where everybody starts clapping at the service people in the airport, just imagine that those soldiers are returning from the Middle East in shame, that the first time they were under fire they wet themselves and ran away like little children. And they're returning, at best, because they're not fit for service.

But then, maybe joining the service is a heroic thing to do. After all, it means you're willing to trust the government with your life.

Safety First

Orange traffic cones. They have many uses. I can see why they would be useful, say, if a lane is being closed or, say, you're trying to warn somebody that the bridge is out. But why do they put them in front of a broken guard rail? You know, that spot where someone crashed into the guard rail, so until they can fix it, they put those plastic cones there. I mean, really, what's the point in that? If your careening down the highway out of control do you think, "Oh, I can't crash there; there's no guard rail to stop me"?

And while we're on the subject, why do people use their turn signals when they're coming down an entrance ramp onto a highway? I mean, what choices do they have?

Marquee Evangelism

So, I'm driving down Glenstone this morning, before I get to the McDonald's billboard, and I see the marquee for a local Baptist church (appropriately named Glenstone Baptist Church). The marquee says: "A vision with out a task is but a dream." Pardon me, but what the hell does that mean? Is it just me, or does that make no sense at all? I mean, I always thought vision and dream were pretty much synonymous. So I'm sitting here at my keyboard trying to figure out just exactly what that might mean, and the only thing that comes to my mind is what better things I can be doing.

I'm Loving It!

OK, so there I was driving down Glenstone this morning on my way to job #2, and I see this billboard that I've passed by like a gazillion times before, but this time it sinks in. It's a billboard showing a very perky young lady holding up a McDonald's gift card. The caption states: "Finally, a gift I won't return."

Wow. First of all, it implies that this insensitive bitch regularly returns unwanted gifts, which begs the question: How many people regularly receive unwanted gifts?

Has McDonald's marketing research shown that people really are that shallow? I mean, if you really thought that everything you gave to your Aunt Lois she was just going to return, why would you bother giving her anything at all? And could you even return a McDonald's gift card if you wanted to?


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Elvis' Last Supper

OK, I'm serious this time. Since such a painting apparently does not already exist, I'm going to paint it. Yup. Stretch out the velvet and get me the brushes. Admittedly, my artistic talent is not the greatest, but hey, it's on black velvet. How good do you need to be?

Here's the problem. Who would be there? Elvis, of course. Then there has to be Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Bob Marley, Keith Moon, and John Lennon. But who else?

Topping the list of hopefuls is Freddie Mercury, followed closely by Sid Vicious (though I'm not sure anybody else would want him there). In no particular order after that are Ronny Van Zant, George Harrison (yeah, I know, there's already one Beatle), Johnny Cash (I like him, he had the drug thing goin', but wrong crowd), Buddy Holly (would he really want to be there?), John Entwhistle (yeah, like, Harrison, we've already got Moon), Tu Pac, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Sonny Bono (I like him because he's the only one up there killed by a tree). The obvious problem is they can't all be there. Who stays? Who goes?

Who have I forgotten? I'd love to get some more women up there. Women, though, don't seem to be as stupid as the guys. They live longer. I mean, should I put Patsy Cline up there just because she's a woman? She doesn't really fit the profile, if you know what I mean.

And then there's the whole problem of who sits by who (or whom, for those grammarians out there who need to just be quiet--and don't mention split infinitives, either). Would Morrison really want to sit by Cobain? Would Marley know who he was sitting next to? Would he care?

Luckily, I've already figured out what's on the menu. Fried chicken (the Colonel, of course) and big ol' jelly donuts.

Be part of history. Throw in some suggestions. Some day, you may be in Paris at that museum that's not spelled anywhere near how it's pronounced, and you can say to your mistress (who else would you be with in Paris), "Dude! Having Dale Evans there was my idea!" (She would have to be a stoner to dress that way.)

Wedding Band

A used wedding band
in the glass case of a second hand store
begs the question:
What went wrong?

Was this a relationship that was doomed to fail,
ticking off the days from the honeymoon,
or maybe even before,
like the countdown of a rocket with wobbly fins
and no guidance control
and only the slightest hope
of the geeky-eyed scientists
who feign enthusiasm
while secretly hoping nobody gets killed?
At least nobody innocent.

Or did they just wake up one morning
and finally have the courage to say to each other:
I don’t know who the hell you are anymore.
When did the pod people sneak into our house
and switch you out for such a convincing a replica,
all the way down to how you clear your sinuses in the morning?
Yet I know, and you know,
that I’m on to you.
And we no longer have to pretend.

But there is a third choice.
Maybe the two of them lived together happily for 80 years,
and then they just died.
First one, and then the other.
Whoever went first deciding not to bury the ring.
I mean, why would you?
And then it becomes part of Grandma’s Things.
And then great-grandma’s things.
Until no one remembers whose things they were,
so we might as well sell them,
since it’s not really that nice of a ring anyway,
the filigree has worn away,
and the inscription has long since gone.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


If the universe were made of chalk, would the eraser be god?

The Senator Leonard K. Bullfinch Newsletter #9

Finance Reform

Scandal has rocked our government. Elected officials from the county dog catcher maybe all the way to the President are being paid off, accepting illegal money, in the hope that it will influence them. And it does. Lobbyists are running amok across our land, offering money and free vacations and, most importantly, votes to those officials who can change the laws to favor their companies and causes.

All of which has led to a cry of reform. And I agree. We need to completely eliminate all finance laws. That and split infinitives. Fragmented sentences, too.

After all, our country is based on capitalism. It was founded on the principle that ultimately anything can be purchased. Why should lawmakers be any different? Why shouldn’t hard work -- the hard work it takes to inherit a boat load of money and the hard work it takes to hire a lobbyist -- be rewarded? This is the entrepreneuristic spirit that has made our country great.

And then, what kind of message are we sending the children? We encourage them to work hard, save their money, and for what? How can we truthfully tell our children that thrift is worthwhile if they can’t ultimately buy off their teachers or hire someone to get rid of their principal?

And who would argue that the presidency, the highest office in this country, is based on merit? We don’t care who can do the job the best. We only care who can sell themselves the best. And that takes money. We could save a lot of time and money if we just cut to the chase and auctioned off all public offices. The government would be out nothing for elections, all profits could go to the national treasure, and people would be reassured of what they’ve known all along – that their votes aren’t worth doodly squat. Because, after all, we would end up with exactly the same people in office but be spared a whole lot of insidious commercials and having to pretend that we’re truly concerned with debates.

Ultimately it comes down to who has money anyway. Rich children will go to better schools, get a better education, land better jobs, and have better lives. It only goes to follow that they should have better representatives. If you agree, let your voice be heard. Send cash.

Thank you,

The Honorable Leonard K. Bullfinch

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Requiem for a Squirrel

Squirrels have to die,
I suppose.
Those that don't drop in front of cars
or get captured by cats,
eventually they have to die.
That's when
they'd fall out of a tree
and land on the sidewalk
that runs hidden behind your house.

Leaving you to decide
to bag it or bury it.
Burying seems the more humane thing to do
even though rationally you know
that humane really makes no difference
after they're dead.

Leaving you to decide,
should you say a few words
or at least religate to the spiritual.
Contemplate your own mortality.
Even though rationally you know
that even if squirrels did have souls
and the freewill to sin,
their fate is already sealed
well before you're standing there
deciding what words you should say.

An Epiphany

Sitting in a meeting yesterday where my bosses (collectively) were introducing more stuff that we need to do, I realized that I can--I really can--do an infinite amount of things as long as I don't do any (or at least most) well. I know that seems like a no brainer, but it's apparently something that my bosses don't seem to know.

Black Gold, Texas Tea...

How thirsty are we really for oil? Take the following, fun quiz!

1. Would you let Saddam return if it caused gas prices to go back to under $1.00 a gallon? Keep in mind he would have just as many weapons of mass destruction that he had before, and he would be killing as many of his fellow country men as before.

2. Would you support invading Venezuela if you knew for certain it would bring gas prices under $1.00 a gallon, regardless of how many Venezuelans were killed in the process?

3. Here's the choice. There are two types of gas at the pumps. One sells for fifty cents a gallon, but is so nasty that if you start your car in the garage you will probably succumb to the fumes before you can get the door open. The other sells for $5.00 a gallon, but burns so cleanly that you could breathe the fumes safely under water. Which would you buy?

4. Do you really give a damn about democracy anywhere?

Demand to Know

This one's for Russell.

The next time someone says, "TGIF," or (especially) the next time you go in the popular restaurant of the same name, demand to know. Which is it, God or goodness? Because, darn it, it matters!

¿Pelo del Perro?

Do you suppose other dogs look at poodles and say, "Bad ass fro, dude"?

And while we're on the subject, do Mexican hairless dogs ever wonder, if even on the most basic, subconscious level--maybe just a nagging feeling at the back of the cerebrum--that there is something horribly wrong with the universe? After all, who would take the time and the trouble to painstakingly turn a wolf into a bald dog the size of hamster? It makes you wonder. If there is reincarnation, just what would you have to do to come back as a Mexican hairless?

And do people who have Mexican hairless dogs really understand the phrase, "Hair of the dog?"

¿Porque se querria ser sin borracho? (y, si, que sebo la diferencia de ser y estar)