Monday, June 23, 2008

The Old Man Died

Spirituality: the last refuge of a failed human. Just another way of distracting yourself from who you really are.

After the death of some person (even many years after) you will often hear someone refer to the deceased by saying, "I get the feeling he's up there now, smiling down on us. And I think he's pleased." First of all, it's extremely doubtful that there's any "up there" to smile down from. It's poetic, and I guess it's comforting. But it probably doesn't exist. Besides, if a person did somehow survive death in a non-physical form, he would be far too busy with other things to be smiling down on people. And why is it we never hear that someone is "smiling up at us." I suppose it doesn't occur to people that a loved one might be in hell. And in that case the person in question probably wouldn't be smiling. More likely, he'd be screaming. "I get the feeling he's down there now, screaming up at us. And I think he's in pain." People just refuse to be realistic.

Road rage, air rage. Why should I be forced to divide my rage into separate categories? To me, it’s just one big, all-around everyday rage. I don’t have time for fine distinctions. I’m busy screaming at people.

Beethoven was a pupil of Haydn, and Schubert lived near the two of them. Supposedly they all frequented the same little cafés. I wonder if they ever got together and gang-banged a lady piano player. Just a thought.

I wonder if a classical music composer ever intentionally composed a piano piece that was physically impossible to play and then stuck it away in a trunk to be found years after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy.

As far as I’m concerned, humans have not yet come up with a belief that’s worth believing.

Suppose you took an oath by placing your right hand on the Bible and raising your left? Would the oath still count? Does God really give a shit? Does anyone?

Middlebrow bumper sticker in California: IF YOU CAN DREAM IT, YOU CAN DO IT. Yeah, sure. Unless the thing you're dreaming is impossible. Then, chances are, you can't do it. But try to enjoy life anyway.

One objection to cloning human beings is that there’s a chance for abnormal offspring. Yeah? So? You ever take a look at some of those families in the South?

You see it on packages in the supermarket: homemade flavor. Folks, take my word for this, a food company operating out of a ninety-acre processing plant is functionally incapable of producing anything homemade. I don't care if the CEO is living in the basement, wearing an apron and cooking on a hot plate. It's not gonna happen. Same with restaurants. Homemade soup. Once again, it doesn't matter how much the four-foot, amphetamine-laced waitress with the bright orange hair smoking the three Marlboros reminds you of your dear old mother, the soup is not homemade. Unless the chef and his family are sleeping in the kitchen. And if that's the case, I'm not hungry. Sometimes the advertising people realize that homemade sounds too full of shit, so they switch to home-style. They'll say something has home-style flavor. Well, whose home are we talking about? Jeffrey Dahmer's? Believe me, folks, there's nothing home-style about the boiled head of a Cambodian teenager. Even if you sprinkle parsley on the hair and serve it with oven-roasted potatoes.

I don’t understand why prostitution is illegal. Selling is legal, fucking is legal. So why isn’t it legal to sell fucking? Why should it be illegal to sell something that it’s legal to give away? I can’t follow the logic. Of all the things you can do to a person, giving them an orgasm is hardly the worst. In the army, they give you a medal for killing people; in civilian life, you go to jail for giving them orgasms. Am I missing something?

Michael Jackson missed his calling. If he had become a Catholic priest, he could have spent thirty or forty years blowing all the little boys he wanted, and no one would have said a word.

The IQ and the life expectancy of the average American recently passed each other going in opposite directions.

What is all this nonsense about angels? Do you realize three out of four Americans now believe in angels? What are they, fuckin’ stupid? Has everybody lost their goddamn minds? Angels, my ass! You know what I think it is? I think it’s a massive, collective chemical flashback from all the drugs smoked, swallowed, snorted and shot up by all Americans from 1960 to 2000. Forty years of unadulterated street drugs will get you some fuckin’ angels, my friend! Angels, shit. What about goblins? Doesn’t anybody believe in goblins? And zombies, where the fuck are all the zombies? I say if you’re gonna buy that angel bullshit, you might as well go for the goblin/zombie package as well.

Americans are fucked. They’ve been bought off. And they came real cheap: a few million dirt bikes, camcorders, microwaves, cordless phones, digital watches, answering machines, jet skis, and sneakers with lights in them. You say you want a few items back from the Bill of Rights? Just promise the doofuses new gizmos.

I keep hearing that America lost its innocence on 9/11. I thought that happened when JFK was shot. Or was it Vietnam? Pearl Harbor? How many times can America lose its innocence? Maybe we keep finding it again. Doubtful. Because, actually, if you look at the record, you'll find that America has had very little innocence from the beginning.

What’s all this stuff about motivation? If you ask me, this country could do with a little less motivation. The people who are causing all the trouble seem highly motivated to me. Serial killers, stock swindlers, drug dealers, Christian Republicans. I’m not sure motivation is always a good thing. You show me a lazy prick who’s lying in bed all day, watching TV, only occasionally getting up to piss, and I’ll show you a guy who’s not causing any trouble.

Here's a thought: If you have a perfectly DNA-matched identical twin, technically, it's possible to go fuck yourself.

The male disease includes the need to be in charge at all times. In charge, in control, in command. A "real man" sees himself as king of the hill, leader of the pack, captain of the ship. But all the while, in order to fit in and belong, he has to act like all the other men and do what they do, so he'll be accepted. And get a good job and a promotion and a raise and a Porsche, and a wife. A wife who will immediately trade in the Porsche on a nice, sensible Dodge van with folding seats so they can be like all the other boring families. The poor fuck. The poor stupid fuck...So, little boys learn to hide their feelings, and society likes that because, that way, when they get to be eighteen, they'll be able to go overseas and kill strangers without feeling anything. And, of course, the bargain includes a certain reluctant willingness to have their balls shot off: "Honey, I have to go overseas and have my balls shot off, or else the rest of the guys will think I'm too afraid to go overseas and have my balls shot off." The poor fucks. The poor stupid fucks.

Art, music, and philosophy are merely poignant examples of what we might have been had not the priests and traders gotten hold of us.

The keys to America: the cross, the brew, the dollar, and the gun.

Conservatives say that if you don’t give the rich more money, they’ll lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they’ve lost all incentive because we’ve given them too much money.

Let's start with faith-based, which was chosen by right-wing holy people to replace the word religious in political contexts. In other words, they've conceded that religion has a bad name. I guess they figured people worry about religious fanatics, but no one's ever heard of a faith-based fanatic. And by the way, none of the Bush religious fanatics will admit this, but the destruction of the World Trade Center was a faith-based initiative. A fundamentalist-Muslim, faith based initiative. Different faith, but hey, we're all about diversity here.

With all this natural selection going on, why doesn’t the human race get any smarter? Is this it? Why are there still so many stupid people? Apparently, being a real dumb jackoff has some survival value.

Another empty sentiment concerning the death of people; you hear it on the news, and you hear it in real life: "Our thoughts are with the family." What exactly does that mean? Sympathies I can understand; prayers, as ineffective as they are, I can understand. But thoughts? Why thoughts? What kind of thoughts? Just thoughts? Like, "Gee, he's dead"? How does that help?

After every horror, we’re told, “Now the healing can begin.” No. There is no healing. Just a short pause before the next horror.

In years past, it went like this: "The old man died, so the undertaker picked up the body, brought it to the funeral home and put it in a casket. People sent flowers and held a wake. After the funeral, they put the coffin in a hearse and drove it to the cemetery where the dead man was buried in a grave." But in these days of heightened sensitivity, the same series of events produces what sounds like a completely different experience: "The senior citizen passed away, so the funeral director claimed the remains of the decedent, took them to the memorial chapel and placed them in a burial container. Grieving survivors sent floral tributes to be displayed in the slumber room, where the grief coordinator conducted the viewing. Following the memorial service, the funeral coach transported the departed to the garden of remembrance where his human remains were interred in their final resting place." Huh? What's that? Did someone die or something?
Thank you, George. I'll miss you.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Whoomp! (There It Is)

Finally, a concise summary of the Iraq invasion/occupation:

Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of
negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq
, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.
Same as it ever was.

Added: Atrios sorta gets it, sorta doesn't:

The Bush administration is not a monolith, it's made up of a large number of players. More than that, even to the extent that it's about money in broad terms, there's more than just oil. Remember that military industrial complex that dirty fucking hippie Eisenhower warned us about? Bush obviously had messianic delusions about the world being reshaped by the power of his mighty codpiece. And there were crazy people around who I think genuinely believe that Saddam has been behind every negative deed in the world in the past 15 years. Others, I think, simply believe in American hegemony and figured the Middle East was a reasonable place to expand it. Due in part, of course, to the presence of oil. Absent oil or some other valuable resource that part of the world would be much less interesting to us. Oil's a big part of this story, but it isn't the only piece and even if one doesn't grant any genuinely positive motivations to those who brought us his disaster, there are still plenty of malevolent ones in addition to oil. Sure it's about oil, but it isn't the only thing going on here.

Here, let's let George Kennan explain it:

Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3 of its population... In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction...In the face of this situation we would be better off to dispense now with a number of the concepts which have underlined our thinking with regard to the Far East. We should dispense with the aspiration to 'be liked' or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers' keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague — and for the Far East — unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

"Slogans", exactly. I'm sure there are idiots in the administration who believe their own bullshit about terrorism and evildoers, but were it not for the fact that this one happened to be sitting on top of a lot of black gold, nothing would have been done about it. (What was the first thing Cheney's Energy Task Force started salivating over upon entering office? Democracy for all? Terrorists? None of the above?) The military-industrial complex he mentions exists primarily for things like this - does anyone really believe we're under threat of military invasion and therefore need to spend several hundred billion each year to prepare for it? And Bush's fantasies of being a new Alexander the Great are irrelevant even if they are more than just an after-the-fact rationalization.