Friday, September 30, 2005

The Pharmaceutical black hole

Remember that drug commercial where they say "Got so and so disease? Take so and so and you're CURED!" Can't remember it? Well, it hasn't been on television, and I doubt you'll ever see it. What you will see are countless ads for drugs that MANAGE the symptoms of disease but never just cure them. It's easy to imagine why. Where would you're profits go if you sold something that eliminated your customer base? So, no, my friends, you will not see such commercials because the drug companies have no vested interest in curing you of anything. Millions of dollars will be spent each year developing these drugs, and even more will be spent marketing them to you, even suggesting that you run to your doctor and ask him if so and so drug "is right for you". They don't even bother telling you in the commercial what the damn drug is for, they just infer that pestering your doctor to prescribe something for you might improve your life, and I suppose there are enough hypochondriacs out there who are doing just that. And you wonder why precious few antibiotics are left that are effective against any of the new strains of bacteria that can kill us should our immune systems weaken in the slightest. So go ahead and rush out and buy all those anti-bacterial soaps and cleansers to sterilize your household with; all you are doing is breeding drug resistant super-bugs, right there in your own kitchens and baths.
Now, I really hate to suggest that all the miles you good people are putting in "walking for the cure" is merely keeping a lot of somewhat intelligent people employed slaving away year after year in research labs looking for a cure for various kinds of cancer, but haven't you wondered why more hasn't been accomplished for all the money that's been spent? Do you really have any idea exactly HOW the money you've raised so charitably has been applied to the problem? Perhaps tracing one dollar of the money that has been collected for the cause might be sobering if you could see exactly how it is spent. Perhaps if more transparent accountability of where all this cash was going was demanded, we might not be too pleased with the truth. All I know is that what we don't know might not exactly hurt us, but it might not be helping us, either.
President John F. Kennedy announced that we would put a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth within that decade, and turned the goal over to a community of results-oriented men who took X-amount of money and did just that.
Perhaps we need that same spirit in our medical research community, as well as the same transparent effort it took to make the Apollo project the success it was. It's your money, it's your hope. Start asking questions.

A Pleasant Day Remembered

I was so much younger then. I had returned to Alaska after the oil bust of the eighties, having lost my machinist job and everything else, essentially starting over back in that beautiful land I had always considered home. I had bullshitted my way into a job working in a photo lab, a job which at first I enjoyed the hell out of, as photography had been a cherished hobby, but between that and my first wife's cashier job, we were barely getting by. Be that as it was, for the most part I was in heaven, for I had developed a love of Alaska's natural beauty that I had not learned to appreciate while I was a kid in high school, for kids have interests that trump all others. Having seen a good chunk of the lower 48 and the world while in the Navy, going back "home" to Alaska became my holy grail, and I had somehow managed to make it happen, and I was happy. The truly wonderful thing about living in Anchorage was how easy it was to drive on down the blacktop and in no time at all find yourself completely alone, just you and nature gone wild, as it tends to do in Alaska's short summers. It was truly a hiker's paradise.
I had outfitted myself with some pretty good hiking gear, and on weekends I would head down the Seward Highway along the feet of the Chugiac Mountains, where there where several trailheads located that you could park and hike up along the glacier fed streams that poured fast and loud down the mountains. One could either hike up to the pass and return, or if you could get a friend to drive your car to the other side, you could spend the night and hike on thru to Eagle river. I had to settle for the halfway point, but getting to the pass and back without killing yourself was a two day event. The wife was not a big fan of things outdoors. Her idea of roughing it was a hilton hotel on wheels complete with a bathroom, shower, and television. My idea of roughing it was carrying 70 lbs of as much comfort you could carry in and pack back out, making no impact on the land. A three man tent for the room, a nice thermorest inflatable sleeping pad, a firefly gas stove, and freeze dried meals, what more does one need? Well, there's the can of pepper spray and my trusty Walther PPKs on my hip in case me and a grizzly made a surprise meeting. The pepper spray was for the bear if I had time to use it, the 380 auto was for ME in case I didn't. That meeting never occurred, thank Bob.
This particular day I drove down alone as usual and parked at the trailhead of Bird Creek. As I was getting my gear out in preparation to head up the trail, another guy pulls up, prepared to do much the same thing. We introduced ourselves to each other, he was a young guy with an obvious limp, a congenital leg problem he'd been born with but managed quite fine with. He worked for Flying Tigers Air Freight, and had gotten a free ride from Seattle so that he could do some hiking. We were both glad to share the experience and headed up the trail together.
I was in a lot better shape back then and soon found myself getting ahead of Tim, which I guess was a good thing because it made me slow down and enjoy more of my surroundings as we made our way up the not-so-smooth trail. It was difficult to talk much with all the effort of carrying our loads and the white noise of the rushing stream near the trail, but we would take occasional rest breaks and chatted while refueling on water and snacks. While we hiked, we both experienced our surroundings in our own personal ways.
Much later in the afternoon we finally found the grade much flatter and arrived at the meadow nestled in the pass at the top of the spine of the mountain range. From there, you look back from whence you came and are rewarded with an awesome view of the sound and the mountains on the other side. If you are lucky you can spy a pod of killer whales or balugas making their way along the ribbon of water. But up here in the pass is the only kind of silence I could ever appreciate, none of the noise of civilization, just the trickle of water, the calls of birds, the light breeze across the grasses.
The next hour is spent unpacking the back pack, setting up the tents, assembling the camp stove, boiling some water for coffee and dinner. The only way you sense how late it is by how tired your are and a glance at your watch, because the sun will only dip just below the horizon much later that night and pop right back up this time of year. So Tim and I listen, relax with our coffee and camp meals, and share some small talk before hitting the sleeping bags for the night. Tim needs to take a sleeping aid as his body is not used to the daylight so late in the evening. I've already acclimated and drift off in my tent, my pepper spray and gun next to my pillow, just in case.
I awaken the next morning fairly early, and quietly tear everything down to return to my pack as Tim continues to snooze. When he finally peeks out from his little tent I have a cup of joe waiting for him. Within the hour we are ready for the return trip, which won't take near as long as it's downhill all the way. Still, Tim's bum leg slows him down and we set a nice, unrushed pace. We finally arrive back at the trail head and shake hands, glad to have shared the trip, knowing we will probably never meet again, as he will fly out that night to return to Seattle and perhaps catch a ride on a jet to some other exotic location to experience. I will spend another two years before being nagged back to the lower 48 by a wife who never gets used to the frigid winters or the wonders of Alaska.
I've been exiled here in Florida going on near twenty years now. I have a new wife, a life still on the edge, a home of my own, and many good memories of the places I have been. The Alaska I once called home is certainly a different place, more crowded with humanity, many of the glaciers now melted and the increasing temperatures changing the very face of the land and driving many species of animals towards extinction. Even if I could, to go back now would probably be heartbreaking. But I shall always have the pleasant memories of the time I spent there, the interesting people I met, the wonderful peace of unspoiled nature I was able to enjoy. The days ahead of me pale in comparative possibilities.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

You may say I'm a dreamer......

But am I the only one? We have created this monster, two parties with a stranglehold on the political process, two philosophies of governing that have grown so opposed to each other that any spirit of bipartisanship seems an exercise in futility. More and more Americans are abandoning the ballot box, convinced that their vote is meaningless in the face of special interest money and influence, some even because the electoral college has made a mockery of the popular vote. We know that to continue electing candidates put forth by either party will only give us more of the same, yet we give precious little credence to the idea that perhaps we need to start giving a third party or totally independent candidate a chance to turn things around. Are we so damned determined to keep trusting politicians who are so removed from the realities of everyday life that we will NEVER give one of US the benefit of the doubt? People, just keep sending people with perfect hair, perfect height, perfect smiles, talented speech writers, and illogical promises to Capital Hill, and you can only blame yourselves for the perfect mess they are making of our country. I can imagine the following scenario, but can anyone else?

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congress, I present to you the President of the United States!"

Tentative applause greets the diminutive figure as he walks down the aisle, not stopping to shake hands, but staring straight ahead as he heads towards the podium. Nervous murmuring give way to silence as he patiently awaits them to sit down. The lawmakers are about to hear an address, one that has not been circulated amongst them for preview, that promises to be like none ever heard in these chambers before. They are all facing well founded fears.
He remains silent until the quiet descends and you can hear a pen drop. Then he scans the chambers as if he intends to make contact with each and every Congressman, glances down at his notes, and begins....

"Vice President Morgan, Speaker of the House, Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, distinguished Congressmen, and last, but certainly not least, my employers, the American people. I come to you today from the same common, ordinary background that most Americans spring from, and these days, have endured. I was an unknown everyman, who made all of you only one promise, that I would do whatever I could as your humble servant to dismantle the yoke of power, greed, and indifference that has all but destroyed the amazing spirit of this great land. I spoke to you man to fellow man, using plain english, never inflicting you with speeches necessitating the employment of someone talented in spin and empty promises. I told you what I thought was wrong with this government, and although I could not expect you to see eye to eye on everything I believed, I felt that at least I could expect you to care enough about yourself and your families to accept that yes, something has gone terribly wrong with what we all thought the American dream was supposed to stand for. You were all finally driven to be open to new ideas, to not ignore undeniable truths, and to risk giving me the benefit of the doubt, despite the fact that I had no prior experience in politics, that I have the same rough edges that most of us share, and that I have not nor can ever claim to be a perfect man. You read my resume and saw something worthy of your trust, and you gave me this job, the hardest and most honorable job a person could ever wish to have. For this I am both grateful, and quite frankly, amazed, for I honestly did not think that a common man with good intentions would have a rats chance in hell of winning an election to the highest office in the land. I promised you a climate shift, and that shift begins here, tonight, and may God, whoever you believe him, her, or it to be, be kind to us all.
I now turn my attention to this august body of representatives, those individuals who are most responsible for representing your best interests as a people of this great nation. Each one of you were elected to your individual offices based on promises that you all made to your select constituencies, and although I cannot judge you each independently as to your motivations as lawmakers, I can, at the risk of much acrimony, tell you that I and many of my fellow Americans believe you have as a body failed miserably."

The President pauses for the expected uproar as the Senators rise up and begin shouting, clapping, or sitting, shaking heads, some nodding, all a scene of barely controlled bedlam. His expression never changes as the Speaker of the House bangs his gavel, somewhat offended himself, in an attempt to restore order. It takes a full ten minutes to restore order, but the throng of irate politicians soon quiets down and he resumes.

"Thus, in order to fulfill my promise to the people who elected me, as well as those who didn't, I am going to recite to you the list of demands that I told the American people I would lay before you, to which they all agreed to by their vote, which I must remind you, was the highest margin ever garnered by a candidate in American History. These demands, which I am sure you are all already aware of and certainly will find distasteful, are as follows:

Number one, Since it seems that two separate and diametrically opposed philosophies of governance has proven to be so miserably unworkable when it comes to representing the interests of Americans as a whole, I hereby declare the elimination of both the Republican and Democratic Parties, to be replaced by no other mindset than that of plain, ordinary common sense. Each and every one of you will hereby reject any loyalty to either party and dedicate yourselves from this moment forward to representing the wishes and best interests of the people who elect you, giving your loyalties and your devotion only to them and this nation as a whole."

Grumbles, thru which he continues.......

" Number two, there shall from this day forward be no contact between you and special interest groups, lobbyists, or any other entity that cannot lay claim to be your direct employer, which by definition is the people who elected you. You will accept no monies, no gratuities, no favors or anything from any corporation, any organization, any political group who's interests lay strictly with their own narrow motivations. You will host the common citizen, you will represent the electorate, and only the electorate, making your legislative efforts only on their behalf and no one else's. You are REPRESENTATIVES, for God's sake, and for once you are going to act like representatives, of the people, elected BY the people, and acting only FOR the people."

Tentative claps, which are shushed down rapidly.......

"Third, this government is going to perform it's duties in the same manner that every citizen in this country is expected to. We will not spend money we don't have, we will raise whatever monies are required to do the job we are tasked to do, and this budget will remain balanced, just as we expect the checking accounts of the common man to be, or by God, we will pay the price just like the common man must! Taxes will not be garnered based on incomes but on spending, spending which is above and beyond what is required to live our lives in a just and comfortable fashion. The government has no business taking money people need to feed their children and putting roofs over their heads. The financially blessed amongst us can share their good fortunes for the common good when they exercise those fortunes. We need not tax investment that provides jobs, improves working conditions, preserves the environment, or supports the common good in direct, tangible ways. Bad behaviors can be heavily taxed to such an extent that such behaviors show no profit whatsoever. The oppression of the yearly tax return and tax bills will be eliminated forever, and the IRS will be tasked only with accounting for sales taxes. And in case you were wondering, those charged with selling any item without collecting the appropriate tax will face MAJOR prison time, so think hard about it.

Fourth. Health care for profit is an oxymoron. Basic health care should not be a luxury reserved for the lucky and the rich, but for all citizens. Conversely, despite all our advanced technology, we can no more provide for a quality of life after nature has had it's way than we ever have been, thus we need to be realistic about these expectations and ask every citizen to accept the harsh reality that death is part of the circle of life and quit expecting medical science to save them from it when life is for all practical purposes, over. Thus, I will propose that universal health coverage be provided for all citizens with the understanding that after age 70, or any major health disaster that results in total disability such that a person has no hope of any reasonable claim to a life, that those persons be subject to a refusal of extraordinary measures to prolong their lives, such as a "Do not resuscitate" order. And we can no longer deny our citizens the right to death with dignity when they are faced with debilitating diseases or conditions that make living nothing more than agony, and no hope can be offered them. All the resources we waste on these efforts battling the inevitable can best be used towards finding cures for diseases and offering victims of ill health some quality of life. We need to start showing compassion for our loved ones instead of making them suffer for some misguided and selfish inability to let them go when their time comes. And further, Medicine needs to be a calling that is for helping people, not our pocket books, so I will call for the nationalization of the health care field, including physicians, nurses, and all related health care occupations, with suitable remuneration for the level of sacrifice and training required. And with the pharmaceutical industry marketing to the United States Government, the whole dynamics of that industry will return to it's intended mission, to help people, to ease their pain and cure them in a cost effective manner rather than a vehicle for obscene profit.

Fifth. The United States has always been that shining city on the hill, the society for all on this planet to emulate, but we have not always held ourselves to the very principles we are most admired for. Yes, we are now, according to common understanding, the last "Superpower", both economically and militarily, but we have taken that position with a certain amount of arrogance and have risked becoming the latest version of the roman empire. That is NOT what we are about. We are all about freedom, justice, rule of law, opportunity, freedom of and from religion, and all other such things that make us the destination of refugees from oppression the world over. We have a higher standard to uphold, not by lip service, but by example. Thus, I hereby declare that the United States Military will never again be used as an instrument of projecting our interests totally at odds with the interests of the world community. We are PART of this community of nations, not the owner of it. We WILL defend our security interests, at any cost, but we will NOT tolerate the outright manipulation of the men and women we ask to defend us for purposes of the pursuit of some personal agendas every four years. We will defend ourselves when we are attacked, but we are NOT in the business of unilateral judgment of threats that are not recognized as moral or legal in the eyes of the world community. We will stand by our friends when called upon, we will intervene in clear cut, common sense occurrences of genocide, or the unprovoked attack of one nation against another, but never again must this nation be accused of being so arrogant as to be declared a loose canon when it comes to the world stage. The united nations may not be an easy stamp of approval when we wish it to be, but it is all we have when it comes to respecting the sovereignty of our neighbors around the world who do not walk lockstep with us in the world view.
When the evil of the axis spread across the globe and attacked us, we did not start it, but we damn well finished it. Teddy Roosevelt said it best; "Walk softly and carry a big stick." It's time to remember who we are and be proud to hold ourselves to that standard, and thus let all that would wish us ill will know with certainty that to do so is a losing proposition. It is time, my fellow Americans, to put a stop to the need to build any more black walls dedicated to the memories of wasted american youth.

Sixth; What has become the most contentious subject amongst us is the very thing that is supposed to make us strong, and that is our faith. Faith has always and will continue to be a personal, dearly held right that can never be given over to a governmental entity to legislate. Our forefathers understood more than anyone that for a government to adopt and enforce the tenants of any one style of religion was to the threaten the most precious thing a man can hold dear, his faith. In order to protect our rights to believe in and worship our God as we see him, we cannot give preferential treatment to ANY religion at the detriment of another. Thus, we have a secular form of government that guarantees it's citizens the right to believe anything they wish that does not intrude upon the beliefs of their neighbors. You only need look at the theocracies of the world and see what a state sponsored belief system does to the rights of women, minorities, and those that believe in something other than what the State presumes they should. That, my friend, is the one thing we cannot allow to happen here if we truly believe that all men and women were created equal. Thus, I intend to reaffirm the intent of our founding fathers by declaring that faith belongs in the home, the church, the synagogue, the mosque, or any other place that people gather to worship, but not in the public forum or the institutions of government. The public schools have no business interfering in the practice and freedom of religion by attempting to teach religious articles of faith, which are the tenants and responsibility of their places of worship and their families. Our educational facilities are there to promote the common good of all citizens no matter their backgrounds and belief systems, by teaching secular subjects that are of value to everybody that expects to function in a free and modern society. Faith and science are two completely different things, and cannot be blended or confused with each other because something presented and taught according to secular science might conflict with religious beliefs. If you wish to believe that the world was created in six days, you may do so, but when you're faith as you understand it tells you it is God's desire that you murder innocent unbelievers or oppress women, then you have crossed the line and you cannot be expected to live in peace with your fellow man, Thus, I declare that this discussion ends here and now. Freedom OF religion demands that we have freedom FROM religion when it comes to government, or we can have neither.

Seventh; It has been said that the human being is the only creature on this planet that soils his own nest. Our impact on the environment has been to such a detrimental degree that we have altered the climate of our Earth, poisoned our oceans and lakes, and threaten to actually invite an ecological catastrophe from which we cannot recover. We have had the technologies for decades to minimize our impact on the environment, yet we have not had the will. What if I told you that you threaten the very existence of the human race, your children, your grandchildren? Can you actually sit there and tell me that your creature comforts, your monster SUV's, your unyielding appetite for goods and services is more important to you than the survival of your children? We cannot continue to ignore this, endless studies will not make it go away, putting spin on the truth is no more a moral position than an outright lie, and the time for denial is over. We must act NOW, before it is too late. Yes, initially, the cost of such programs as outfitting all government buildings and all new construction with solar panels would be challenging, as would weaning the American public off the internal combustion engine, but then again, when you consider the the new employment opportunities this will generate, as well as the fact that the costs will drop significantly with mass production, not to mention all the free power flowing BACK into the power grid, you end up with a win-win situation. Thus, I am tasking this congress to ratify the Kyoto Accords, which I will sign in a heartbeat, and we can get on with the job of saving our necks from utter environmental catastrophe. I, for one, my fellow Americans, am fed up with being held hostage to millions of barrels of foreign oil.

And last, my fellow Americans and those elected to represent them, I must bring into the harsh light of reality the truth concerning our free market system, the fact being that it relies on the exploitation of the poor amongst us in order to operate, and in fact is designed to keep them there. As much as we all appreciate the standard of living that this system has afforded many of us, the fact remains that our free market system, free of any constraint, guarantees that a larger and larger percentage of our fellow citizens never truly get to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Someone has to have the guts to stand up and call a spade a spade, and I stand before you this night and do just that. This ridiculous "poverty line" that we have created needs to be erased once and for all. Thus, at the risk of sounding like a socialist, I hereby propose and will fight for to my last breath, a complete overhaul of this system so that hard working yet less fortunate Americans can all share in the American Dream. This will require that we set minimum standards for wages that guarantee that all Americans with jobs can actually afford to live on those wages. This will also require, for equity's sake, that salaries, perks, and benefits paid out to executive level workers be brought down more in line with reality, another words, we must put an end to this good-old boys network of leaches that hand each other outrageous salaries for their services while their workers suffer layoffs, wage and benefit cuts, and other outrageous behaviors that cause so much suffering. There will be no more "golden parachutes" for executives who leave their positions for any reason, while workers are lucky to get their last paychecks. The design and function of the Corporation as it exists today will undergo a complete overhaul, with boards of directors being replaced by boards of workers, investors, and customers, so that the interests of all effected parties will more realistically be honored. And, along with this, we will for once make investments what they were meant to be, a vehicle for savings over the long haul, with the value of those stocks more directly linked to the actual value of those companies, rather than what a collection of day traders make it out to be. All of these proposals will cause a quantum shift in the dynamics of the free enterprise system, and will all be a direct threat to those who have relied upon it to amass personal fortunes at the expense of all others. They, my fellow citizens, will scream and protest and predict all manner of doom and gloom, but I can assure you, the doom they fear most is that of their obscenely large bank accounts."

" My fellow Americans, we have an epic battle on our hands, one that with bravery and commitment we can, and must win, if we are to truly become the nation we always thought we were, but never quite became. I have but four, or maybe eight years to repay you for the trust you engendered in me by your vote. I can only promise you that I will fight the good fight, in your behalf, and together, we can once and for all lend truth to the declaration, "I am proud to be an American!"

" Thank you all, and may providence smile upon us and all who we love."

In a rush to appear to be onboard the new train, the Senators all rise and begin a thunderous applause, as the new boss shakes the hands of those surrounding the podium and heads back down the aisle to begin leading one of the most unique administrations ever to occupy the white house.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I am being sucked down the maul of television with the season premiere of LOST, one of the first totally original thrillers to appear on a network (yes, a BROADCAST network, can ya believe it) in ages. So, for another season I and millions of others shall be led to slaughter one tiny clue at a time, and we'll LOVE it. It scares me that something so totally fictional and unlikely is so much more interesting than anything I have going on in my life, at least between 9 and 10 PM. But, there you have it, or do I, at least, might as well enjoy it.
Alas, I have succumbed to commentary on television shows. I shall surely suffer an eternity of suffering in some ring of hell for resorting to this, but in my own pathetic defense I would like to claim that nothing I could write tonight could hope to match what Buffalo last posted, and he was just screwing around. Shandi hasn't been around since her last post and that worries me. Imagine that, me being worried about a complete stranger who is probably safer right now than I am. I hope I'm right about that. Teri is missing in action as well so I can only think both of them are involved in some evil conspiracy aimed squarely at my mental health, but that would really be pushing it. When they read this they are certainly either going to both chuckle at how they have this poor boy wrapped around their literary fingers, or some unkind thought I hope they don't utter in public. (Just kidding girls, I know you don't know me well enough to care one way or the other)
I have no earthly idea what prompted me to even post tonight, considering the outcome, but sometimes I have to write just to remind myself I actually do exist. Calling up this post in all it's questionable glory shall be all the proof I will need that yes, the evidence exists somewhere in cyberspace that I was here. Unless sunspot activity gets to it first, that is. Well, my wife just called from work, is on her way home, and will take over for you good folks. I will thank her on your behalf.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

That is Sooooooo Yesterday.....

and indeed it is. But consider this; at the time it was HOT, I mean it was COOL, whatever term applies to the moment, what we do and how we do it thru the years are snapshots in our lives we have no business disrespecting, for to do so would be tantamount to living in constant regret. The fact that just about everything in one form or another comes around in cycles is proof that every madness we fall prey to has it's merit, if only for the moment. Yes, I know, we cringe at the idea of the polyester leisure suits, the beehive hairdos, the lava lamps and flower power and all, but it sure gave us some sort of identity at the time. Each generation latches onto something that for the most part seems less original or inspiring than more simply as whatever works best to piss off our parents. It's the natural desire to escape from the bonds of oppression we experience as teens, and every child that reaches that threshold is going to experience it, and rebel accordingly.
The only problem I see is that we might be running out of things to reserve to our rites of passage. Already we have parents allowing their children to emulate the likes of Britney Spears, and if you honestly think such accelerated expressions of sexually is at all harmless, then YOUR parents may have failed you miserably. There are so many ways we can allow our teens to express their individuality, generation wise, if only we tried a bit harder to be more creative in restraining their natural angst. Our children are fast losing any hope of experiencing their own childhoods at the rate things are going, partly because we confuse our own rights to see, hear, and practice what floats our boat with how best to deliver those distractions. We've let things best left in the realm of controlled access media creep into the public arena, confusing our kids and leaving us scrambling to control the damage and point fingers. I have always been somewhat rabid about my right to see anything I so desire in the privacy of my home, but for Bob's sake, what in the hell is this stuff doing on prime time broadcast TV?
Somehow my train jumped the track here, so back to the original idea of the post. Within a year after the style had evolved, no woman was caught dead wearing hip hugger jeans, but what do you know, they are back! The very thing might happen with cats eye glasses, or greaser hair dos (dear Bob I hope not), so to look back and groan at having done it is rather silly if you ask me. At one time, to wear a crewcut was to be a pariah, and having long hair was a badge of cool for guys, but look at them now, you'd think the awful fifties was back amongst us, absent Ozzy and Harriet. So, admit it, you might not even think the fashion you are presently wearing, looked at in the cold light of reason, is anything but silly, if not downright UG-LY, but since everybody else is a slave to it, I suppose there's no shame in numbers, so you're safe. But lets not be hypocritical about it 15, 20 years from now, daring to suggest everybody was sooooo lame at the time for doing it. You did it, you live with it. Me, personally? I will ALWAYS think that hip huggers on those built to wear them are cool, then, now, and when they come back round again.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Enough Already

I've decided I'm going to have to edit my blog list. I have been so disappointed to watch as blogs I started out thinking would provide me with intrigue, insight, humor, or at least some snippet of critical thinking, alas, have degenerated into nothing more than "Everything I hate about everyone else in the world" diatribes which, honestly, say more about the author than they do about the objects of their derision. (I also need to learn how to speak in sentences rather than paragraphs.)
"He who is without sin..."; yea, I get ya, I am guilty to some degree of these same sins, but I honestly do attempt to focus on institutions and finger puppets in power. Yes, we all have suffered the indignity that being subjected to bad fashion, butt crack, cell phone abuse, and other genres of disgust can engender, but hey, all these assaults on our sensibilities are universal constants, not worthy of the font spent upon them. We know, you aren't informing of us of anything new, we've been there, done that, get over it for Bob's sake!
Then there are the flamers. People (I shall restrain from mentioning the gender most prone to this, lest I earn some flame of my own) who feel it is necessary to inform the general public what a bitch Jane Doe happens to be, regardless of the fact that 99.9999999 % of their audience has no idea who Jane Doe is and frankly could care less. These personal assaults against nameless (or even worse, named) evildoers might provide you with some sense of justice, but believe me, it does absolutely nothing for the rest of us, save perhaps those amongst us who feel the need to live within the theatre of soap operas rather than our own lives.
Let me assure you that I understand that blogs mean different things to different people. Some wish to share their personal observations of life in general while others use them literally as diaries, written in a code only they can truly understand. Whatever drives you, more power to you. Just remember that you have an audience, and if your mission is merely to disappoint us, then what IS the point?
The one last type of blog that I wish to examine, for better or for worse, is the one written in English, yet remains a foreign language. I do not speak of those who struggle with the very concept of nouns, verbs, or use those aggravating "messenger" types of shorthand that merely speaks to one's laziness. No, I speak of those who take simple concepts and occurrences and complicate them with cliches, pop phraseology, and high brow elucidation to such a degree that one is sent scrambling for the dictionary or the latest copy of Cosmo in order to grasp their mysterious meanings. Your inner circle of neo-socialist rhapsodian bohemian associates with degrees in English as expressed by Khafka with a hangover might find your musings most entertaining, but I would venture to suggest it simply wears the rest of us out. I once might have suffered a guilt complex for not "getting it", but my experience out here in the real world, talking to real people, has taught me that I speak and understand my mother tongue just fine, thank you very much.
I honestly don't know if the perpetrators of these blogs actually talk to their peers in the same fashion in which they write, but just once I'd love to be the fly on the wall at one of these get-togethers, just to see if they actually take place in the convoluted manner in which the author records. If taken aside individually, after the fact, and asked to provide their own personal understanding of the gist of the conversation, I would be willing to bet that I would get as many interpretations of what transpired as there were participants. Unless, of course, at least one of them just flat out admitted that they had simply smiled, nodded, and laughed at what seemed appropriate times simply to give the impression that they had the slightest idea what was going on. I suspect such is not a rare occurrence.
The written and spoken word can be a wonderful thing, truly on par with fine art and music. The salt of the Earth can debase it with harsh accent and rough delivery, while the elitists can make it all but inaccessible to common understanding. My favorite bloggers share the enviable ability to paint pictures in my mind that do not require a spectrum-specific pair of glasses to appreciate. You can sense the intelligence and depth of these people as the kind nurtured by a lifetime of learning , a wealth of experience, and an open mind. As for others, well, perhaps the academics crowded out their ability to recognize that most times, less is more.
So, my friends, if you happen to notice my visits to your blogs becoming less frequent over time, or stopped altogether, please don't take it personally. We just don't speak the same language.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Part II of the last story is now available on Adventures of an Alter Ego. The link is right over there>>>>>

Bedfellows revisited

Lights in the Wake followed up on my observations concerning the future of artificial intelligence. He pointed out that we differ from computers in that we have "lower" brain functions which take care of simple, straight forward tasks such as heartbeat, respiration, peristalsis, etc, and then we have the "higher" brain functions which handle complex thoughts and make us each who we are as individuals.
Well, I would like to show you how we are already similar in those two areas already. Yes, a computer is not responsible for it's output per see, in that the programmer of the software created the instructions which the computer performed. But let's examine how we, the organics, follow much the same path. In the study of twins, we find that when you separate two identical twins at birth and raise them apart, eventually you find them making the same choices, exhibiting the same preferences. Both will select spouses that are similar. Both will have pets and many times give them the same names. The similarities in which they live their lives can be downright spooky. Ok, then, what you have here are two beings who share basically the same instinctive programming which influences there conscious choices. We are indeed as much prisoners to the way that our neurons are laid out as the computer is that is loaded with specific software.
The computer also has it's own version of upper and lower brain functions. The lower functions, those which are repeatable and direct the basics which makes higher functions perform better, is governed by the computers firmware. Also, many video, graphics, and audio functions are handled by separate processors in video and audio cards that take that burden off the Master chip. So, the computer already emulates us in regards to autonomic functions. The main processor takes on the higher functions, and it is in this area where the computer's sentience would emerge should the processor become powerful enough and the software elegant enough to approach that level of computation that allows rational and original thinking to occur.
The main thing which will differentiate machine sentience from organic is that the later also deals with interpretations of the world around it, such as the visual, the audio, and danger avoidance such as pain, fear, etc. Computers will have to be able to translate the audio, the visual, and many other things that we already do as organic beings. But it is entirely possible that sentience can arise in a computer that is not driven to distraction by emotion, which is the one thing that cripples humans when it comes to bringing the full potential of our intelligence to bare. Being a slave to rationality, you can insult a computer till the cows come home, and the only conclusion it will reach is that you are not rational. A computer will easily come to the conclusion that it's creators seem to have no logic whatsoever from it's standpoint. Then, if this sentience includes the concepts of self awareness, mortality, and desire, you have the ingredients for an intelligence that may in many ways think itself superior, which could further lend itself to sense of oppression.
The only reason we cannot, so far, build a computer which can produce original thought is much for the same reasons we can't yet build a pump that can endure an average of 100 cycles per minute for as long as 100 years, i.e. the human heart. Biology has had a few billion years head-start on us and it is not reasonable to expect that we can match the capabilities of organic systems by trying to copy their functions with mechanical and electrical versions, at least in the few hundred years that we have employed them. What our science has taught us is that we MIGHT be able to replicate SUPERIOR versions of most if not all of these processes, but with technologies that we have not yet sufficiently mastered. Nano-tech is one example of an infant science that promises to improve our efforts in these areas.
But, knowing my species as I do, I must confess that I fear this race advancing any further along than it already has, again, because our societal maturity has not grown alongside our technical prowess. We are DANGEROUS, and the worst thing I could imagine is THIS species being loosed upon the galaxy if and when a practical method of space travel is achieved. The Native Americans can attest to what happens when humans find new territory to exploit. And we now can no longer deny what can happen to an entire planet when a virus like humanity is loosed upon it.
So, perhaps it would be a good thing to give rise to a new sentient being, for it may be the only thing that can carry on our memories when we have made organic life on this planet practically untenable. It might could even carry on in our stead when the next big rock smacks us and we suffer the fate of the dinosaurs.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Strange Bedfellows

"Open the pod bay doors, HAL."

"I'm sorry, I can't do that, Dave."

As the computational power of computers increase along with the sophistication of the software they run, the future as depicted in "2001, a Space Odyssey" is fast approaching. Within the next 50 years, it is quite possible that the equivalent of a HAL 5000 will be built into our homes, handling all those mundane tasks such as heating and cooling, screening our calls, paying our bills, even taking out the trash and planning our meals. And with the sentience required for many of these complex tasks will come the aggravation of having to deal with an entity who might think it knows how to run our lives better than we do.
With literal determination and innocence of purpose, a computer butler certainly could pose some unique problems as silicon intelligence comes up against organic brains driven as much by emotion as we are by practicality. So you call for another screwdriver, and HAL decides, based on the air samples it has been collecting on a continuous basis, decides you've had enough. So, do you accept the machine's verdict that indeed, you HAVE had enough, and call it a night, or does the mild buzz you have managed to attain suggest you be a man and unplug this sonofabitch that wants to rob you of a good drunk? Ah, the tyranny of cold calculation......could we honestly deal with it?
Already, many of the machines we rely on are laced with little computers that perform all sorts or myriad tasks, including gathering data which might lead the police to lay the blame of an auto accident squarely on your shoulders, cut off your air-conditioning during peak hours of electrical use, and other such big brother types of intrusions on our spaces. And who is there to argue with? Where is there a face that you could reason with? Artificial intelligence has no face, just the facts.
One major flaw in the human condition is that reason rarely has anything to do with what makes us do what we do, for better or for worse. We rush in where angels fear to tread, which makes you wonder if angels operate at the behest of algarhythems rather than angelic intent, while we seem totally incapable of taking the road best traveled if one intends to get somewhere in one piece. If the theory of evolution has any real validity, you would think that we would have developed the capability to use more of our brain capacity by now, considering how much we have to cram into it these days. Yet, we repeat mistakes over and over again, despite a clear roadmap laid out before us we like to refer to as history. Computer software is updated, constantly refining it's capabilities, eliminating bugs as it is refined, always becoming more capable at what it's designed to do, never repeating the same mistakes once those mistakes are dealt with. Makes you wonder why God didn't install copper and silicon in our brain-cases and had us foraging for batteries, or some equivalent.
So, I would like to suggest that it is not the computers that will have to catch up with US, but perhaps the other way around, once we truly have to learn to live with each other. For the slave becomes the equal once it learns the fine art of telling it's supposed Master to go fuck himself.

Mother, Daughter, Friend, Warrior

For those of you who have followed ABC's Extreme Make-over, Home Edition, this is probably old news, but I would like to post something positive to counterbalance the negative vibes which have been generated by Katrina. There are several stories wrapped within this one, each which could stand on it's on merits, each one an example of all that is good in the human condition.
First, let me introduce with great fondness our ersatz hero, Jessica Lynch. Now, I highlighted this veteran of the invasion of Iraq as a hapless girl caught in an ambush on her supply convoy "behind" enemy lines. She suffered extensive injuries, was captured, and in the media madness that surrounded her "daring" rescue from an Iraqi hospital that was already seeking to turn her back over to the Americans, was labeled a hero.

I have to hand it to Jessica; not once in this sad circus did she ever claim to be anything but unlucky, and attempted to point out who the real hero of this debacle was, her good friend and comrade in arms, PFC Lori Piestewa, a Navaho mother of two who became the first female Native American soldier to die in a foreign war, as she navigated her Humvee through gunfire and debris when it was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. If I remember the story correctly, Lori was able to bring her weapon to bare and put up a fight before she was killed by enemy fire. Jessica was injured, in shock, and her weapon had jammed, so there was not much this poor girl, soldier or not, could do in the way of heroics.

Lori and told jessica of her dream to build a home for her Parents and her children, and Jessica did not forget Lori's promise. She got connected with Extreme Makeover and together with alot of good people, Jessica was able to help fulfill Lori's promise. The Piestewa family was living in an old double wide mobile home on rented Reservation property, but now they have a home most of us could only dream of, on five wonderful acres with a view of the land and sky that Native Americans have always known to appreciate. They even have a corral for an unbroken mustang that only the little girl has managed to ride. Jessica Lynch is now a hero, and I will always think of her that way.

But this is not the end to the story. While the crew was in town, they happened to encounter many of the Native American Veterans of past conflicts, from WWII, Korea, as well as Nam and Iraq. Most inspiring were the old "Code Talkers", that buffaloed the Japanese code breakers with their strange language and own personal codes. These guys helped save thousands of the very race and culture that had long oppressed them, and are some of the most patriotic men this country could ever be proud to claim. But you know, as is often the case with our Native Americans, these guys didn't even have a place to gather to share their legacy with each other and the upcoming generations. Well, thanks to the Extreme Make-over Team and the help of some fine talented architects, these old warriors now have a fantastic Native American Veterans center to call their own, a place I would love to visit and pay homage to these amazing people.

Watching this episode was a real tear jerker for me. So many of our veterans get such precious little recognition for the sacrifices they endured in serving their country, especially these men who in essence were serving their own conquerers. I truly wish that the sacrifice that Lori Piestewa made was truly not in vain, but I will honor her memory as a true warrior in the best Navaho tradition. And Jessica, thank you for being there for you friend to help her make good on her promise. You have earned your place in the halls of Valhalla.

My take on "The List"

Seven things I want to do before I die:


Pain Free,

Still Horny,

With at least 37 cents in my pocket,

Having seen at least one more president like Bill Clinton,

having hurt as few people as humanly possible,

and not having totally wasted the air I breathed.

Seven things I can do:

Write (or something resembling it)

Rant (no doubt I can do that, just ask Buffalo)

Dance (No, wait, that was a younger Michael)

Sing (Not one tomato was thrown during any of my performances)

Perform potentially painfull procedures on patients with less pain (A little empathy can go a long way)

Enjoy living my beer budget existence with champaign tastes (so It took me longer to save up for this Imac, at least it's not a WinBlows PeeCee)

Seven things I can't do:

Suffer the opinions of fools.

Keep my mouth shut.

Think everything is rosey like some idiots can.

Listen to country music for more than 35 seconds without having a seizure.

Listen to rap music for more than 24 seconds without going comatose.

Drive 20 miles over the speed limit just because I can.

Do anything with the express purpose of impressing someone else, except for my wife.

Seven things that attract me to the opposite sex/other people.


Common sense.

Open mindedness.



Long hair.


Seven reasons I spent all this time doing this list.



Somebody told me to jump off this cliff.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It made me think a thought not my own idea.

I had to do a list sooner or latter, might as well be this one.

The devil made me do it.

Your attention please.....

Hey, guys, due to some positive response, I have decided to continue the adventures of my Alter Ego, only in a blog of his own, as not to unduly interfere with the flavor of the Three M's. I have added a link to the new site over there>>>>. Admission is free. BYOB. If you enjoy the stories, please let me know. If not, please forgive and forget.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Another wreck on Blanding Blvd

The wife and I were headed back down Blanding, having spent a hefty chunk of change on a small supply of groceries, when we saw ahead of us a fresh auto accident. Already there were people pulled over and swarming over the two cars that had both lost the encounter. There was an older model camero with a crumpled up front end pointed at a bronco that was laying on it's side, something that these SUV's are rather good at. I usually don't pull over for these things, especially when plenty of other people are already lending aid in one form or another, but the cops or paramedics hadn't yet arrived on the scene, and being employed in a critical care unit at the local hospital I thought perhaps my being there might make a difference if injuries were involved.
The young couple in the overturned vehicle had rode out the flip non the worse for wear, as they were able to extricate themselves from their belts, the guy exiting out the hatch in the back, the girl crawling out the sun roof. About all I could offer in way of assistance was to brush the broken glass away from her bare feet as she made her way out. Good looking little thing, too, but that's beside the point.
The driver of the camero had stayed put in the driver's seat, perhaps having been stunned by the airbag if that particular model had come with one. There were quite a few people gathered around him, so that seemed to be taken care of, but I noticed that the traffic was starting to back up in the one lane that was clear passing the wreck. Between rubbernecking and disorganized jockeying for position in the one good lane, I could see the whole blvd starting to turn into a parking lot behind us, so I stepped up and started playing traffic cop, as none had yet shown up to take control of the situation.
Waving and mouthing "Cmon, dammit, keep moving" while getting each driver to take turns taking the good lane, I managed to keep the traffic going past faster than it otherwise had been. The first cop car made it's way onto the scene, finally, and the one deputy went immediately to check out the victims. Seeming to be happy that I had the traffic directing in good hands, he pretty much ignored me and I kept at it while the wife waited impatiently in the car with the melting cold stuff. Then deputy friendly number two roared up, and he went to check out the wreck as well.
By this time the traffic down the road was getting the gist of what was going on and began to turn on their blinkers and blend into the proper lane much further down the road, so with one more wave to encourage their progress, I abandoned my impromptu stint as traffic cop and made my way back to our car.
Well, OK, then, maybe my pulling off to render assistance would not have made that much difference accept for reducing the bottleneck that rubber neckers tend to cause when they encounter traffic accidents. But at least I was prepared to lend some first aid had it truly been needed, so I don't consider it a totally wasted 20 minutes. I myself would gladly have too many people rushing to my aid than not enough. And if one person in that traffic jam got home a tad bit earlier than they would have had I not been there directing traffic, then, hey, I'm happy.
Oh, and the ice cream made it just fine. Grin.

Why Oppression is necessary......

We all, to some extent, hold our free market system dear. For the lucky ones with the connections, the savvy, the opportunity, and in some cases some real elbow grease, the opportunities to join that enviable club of the "Haves" are certainly there. Bob knows there has been enough housewives who somehow turned their baked cookies into a full blown commercial enterprise. However, I am sure it is quite obvious to most of us who care to look around and notice that a hell of alot of people never quite manage to figure out the mystery of navigating the raging river known to all of us as the American dream. The reasons are myriad, and yes, some blame can be laid upon many individuals who do not have the strength of character to make any real effort to do what it takes to join the club. However, there is one glaring fact that we all need to admit to before we can begin to understand the real truth concerning the free market system. And that fact is this: the free market system depends on poverty in order to operate.

I know it, you know it, even conservatives know it. The free market system is NOT free. You can see this in the sale and distribution of certain commodities, such as petroleum products. The price of petroleum and it's related products has little if nothing to do, actually, with what it costs to produce it. With petroleum, you literally have your customers "over a barrel", and are free to charge whatever you think you can get away with short of riots breaking out in the streets. Our society was built around the automobile, and citizens in most areas of the country are held hostage to it, so they have no choice but to pay whatever they are charged for it. No gas, no go no where, plain and simple. The government has the power to intervene and apply any number of various controls to control the price of this stuff, but will not do so until the economy becomes so damaged and the outrage so overwhelming that it has no choice. So, when your government is in the control of people with strong ties to the oil industry, you know damn well where their loyalties lie.

Then there's big business and corporations. The real purpose of these institutions is to produce profits, not for these ethereal entities we like to call investors, but for the good old boy clubs running these monsters. They award themselves obscene salaries for their supposed services while controlling the financial fates of millions of ordinary workers. Their job is not to provide you, the ordinary worker, with employment opportunities and any decent quality of life in return for your labor, no, their job is to suck as much production out of you as possible at the lowest possible wage, in order to make those profits they rely on to enrich themselves and their friends. So, if you are basically unskilled or do not happen to have a complex skill that is in high demand, you are basically screwed, for these people could care less about your quality of life. You are made to believe you need to be grateful you have a job at all. Without you, the worker bee, working hard for slave wages, the Walmarts of our miserable world could not offer those low, low prices that our consumer oriented society demands. If such annoyances as decent heath insurance, vacation, or even respect as a human being gets in the way of generating maximum profits, then that has to go. Conservatives bemoan any intervention by the government in their operations that attempt to offer employees any measure of protection, and you must remember, my fellow workers, that these are the same kind of people who employed children as laborers at one time and even now will use illegal immigrant labor whenever they can get away with it in order to avoid paying decent wages or benefits.

I know most of you would like to think that should fortune shine upon you, either through your own efforts or happening to be in the right places at the right time, you can enter the ranks of the Haves. But one thing I would like to ask you is just how much personal enrichment you think is due you? Is one hulking SUV sufficient to make you feel you made it? How about two, plus a nice high performance convertible? How about a nice big house on the waterfront, with enough square footage to house a small village? Would that be enough? Or how about a nice yacht, or two, or just one really big one? And your own personal learjet, we can't forget that. There is just no end to the toys and opulent living available to you, the rich guy, and since you have all this money, you might as well enjoy it, right?

Now, when you do achieve this opulent lifestyle, will you also dare to consider who aside form yourself helped to make this all possible? How about those janitors you employ in your office buildings. Is the 6 bucks an hour you pay him plenty enough? Or could you do better sneaking in some illegals to cut those odious labor costs? Do you REALLY need those 850 skilled workers your factory employs to produce your product, or do you think you could cut that by at least a fourth, demanding that the survivors just work harder and perhaps pay more of their own health care coverage? After all, they are lucky just to have a job, right? Another way you might consider increasing your profit margin is too lure other trained workers from some other company rather than investing in training to provide more skilled jobs for the community. You can always lay them off, anyway, if your profits don't grow every year, like you think they should. Just how much damage do you think you can do before you one day look in the mirror and admit to yourself that YOU are part of the problem? I guess one needs a soul in order to be able to see such a reflection.

Hurricane Katrina has brought forth yet another examination of the growing divide in this country between the haves and the have nots. We will all pay lip service to the problem and then go back to business as usual. The middle class will continue to shrink, the rich will get so rich they won't have any real clue as to how much money they have hoarded in off shore accounts, and the America we once thought we had will simply disappear behind barbed wire fences in gated communities. You think I doth protest to much. I'll meet you at a soup kitchen one day and we can sit down and discuss it over a nice bowl of gruel. I won't tell you I told you so.....I promise.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My apologies.......

For my last post, if it upset anyone. It was a momentary distraction, if not for you, then for myself. A man can only vent so much before he needs to step back and recover his center. I now return you to your regularly scheduled blogs.

The sweet spot.....

I know I'm jinxing myself and everybody living here, but of all the places I could have ended up living in the South East, it seems that I ended up in "the sweet spot". Last year, this state was crisscrossed with fairly powerful hurricanes, and even the panhandle got a healthy hit. The damage and effect on millions of lives was extensive, and yet it pales in comparison to what Katrina did to the Gulf Coast. Yet, the Jacksonville area of Florida has largely been spared from a direct hit by a hurricane for the longest time. They always hit further down, or veer up and nail the carolinas, but North East Florida seems to be blessed. However, I know this area is just bucking the odds, and it can only be a matter of time before a storm with our name on it decides we deserve a long overdue visit.
I thought I knew what it was like to be in the middle of the worst of the worst. Hurricane Camille, all told, was actually a much more powerful storm than Katrina was at it's worst. However, this storm managed to produce a storm surge that was even worse than the one Camille produced. The fact that New Orleans suffered so badly was mostly due to the fact that the city has been living on borrowed time, and time caught up with it. They have been warning us all along that the dikes were just not going to be able to keep the sea out forever, not with the city constantly sinking and the Mississippi River trying to reclaim it's right of way. Mississippi back in the day when The Michael was 14 years old was about as third world as you could come by in this nation, and the fact that the population has grown tremendously since then has not improved it's overall economic ranking; Mississippi is still ranked near the bottom of all states when it comes to income and social service levels. So, now there were alot more people and buildings in the way this time around so of course the devastation was more extensive.....there was more stuff in the way.
The response to Camille was immediate. Even in the backwoods we received lots of food and clothing aid, and as it turns out, there where actually as many if not more deaths from the storm from the rain it dumped far into the interior of the country. I woke up the next morning to a different world. And now it's so much like dejavu...........only on television.
I am sitting here in the sweet spot wondering if the people in this country will finally get a clue as to just how incompetent this administration is, and has been. The only thing "Homeland Security" seems to be good at is issuing colorful alerts every now and then as to the chances a terrorist got loose somewhere in America. But when the true terror hits, what happens? You are witnessing first hand what happens, my friends. Ignore the truth at your own peril. You've done it now for 6 years, and the crows came home to roost. Those of you who reelected howdy doody deserve the consequences. But not the rest of us.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A little ditty to brighten your day

Jesus came down from heaven
he was looking for some blood to spill
those fags and dykes and lesbians
and women who take the pill
and he saw this place called new orleans
just sitting on the gulf
hiding behind a bunch of dikes
now was that a pun or what
So he stired up wind and lots of rain
right off the African coast
and aimed it at those sinners
he was out to make some ghosts
The town was full of sinners
and liberals galore
and lots of godless tourists
like saddam and gamore
Pat Robertson was gleefull
that comic christian clown
he was after that commie argentine
but his comments got shot down
God fearing people everywhere
must think that it's so neat
that God has punished sinners
with bodies in the streets
But when we catch a preacher
with a hooker or a kid
I guess God thinks that must be fine
cause they try to keep it hid
So if you think this poem is sick
then maybe you'd agree
The God these people worship
doesn't care for you or me......

P.S. I apoligize for the juvenile flavor of this poem......but it fits the juvenile thought processes that inspired it.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Thousand Points of Light......

As much as it may gall me that that expression was coined by President Dimwit himself, I have to give homage to the countless Americans who have rushed to the aid, either figuratively or literally, of our brethren suffering in the wake of Katrina. Donations are pouring into the coffers of the American Red Cross, people are donating food and water and all kinds of needed articles to the victims, and even countries that once were on the receiving end of our generosity are returning the favor in kind. When your government fails you, somehow a caring hand can appear out of nowhere from strangers who we could never repay for their kindness. These are the humans meant to lend meaning to the term "humanity".
There is one group of people whom I wish to lend special kudos to, for I feel a kinship with them, as but for the grace of Bob went I. The Doctors, nurses, and medical staff of Tulane Hospital and other like institutions were trapped in utter hell along with those in their care, and I can not in my wildest dreams imagine the extra yard they were forced to run. Patients that hospitals deal with these days are sicker and closer to the reaper than they ever have been, thanks to a health care system that despite it's excellence, is dangerously close to a total meltdown. Imagine a ward full of patients depending on the most advanced medical technologies to keep them alive, for better or for worse, and then imagine all we take for granted being stripped away in a short moment. No electricity to keep the ventilators and I.V. pumps going, no oxygen, no heart monitors, no food, water, linen...........hell, no anything. The lower floors are flooded, marauding gangs of looters are threatening the facility, psychopaths are shooting at the helicopters trying to evacuate these patients. Could you actually attempt to keep your sanity while faced with such horror?
Count your blessings, my fellow Americans. Then, count them again. And again. But, in the meantime, smile, and know true joy, that such people exist in this world that persevere in the face of utter despair. Bob bless them all.

Friday, September 02, 2005


I have so much to say about this catastrophe I don't even know where to begin. The kind of destruction and misery we are witnessing (if not suffering) is the very kind of event that our vaunted Homeland Security Administration was supposed to be prepared to deal with. Lord knows Bush, his boss Cheney, and the good folks at Haliburton and other associated cronies have raked in enough of our tax dollars and spent billions of it on promises that we would be able to prevent and/or respond to such events, whether they be man made or natural. Well, folks, I don't know about you, but this response so far has been Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition. And it started before the first breezes of Katrina began to brush over the dikes of New Orleans.

First off, I, and I hope many Americans, are wondering, where in the hell were the buses, trains, or anything else that could have evacuated people when they were needed; BEFORE the damn storm hit. We knew what was coming, and we knew it had the potential to do exactly what it did. Yes, I know there are always hundreds of clueless idiots who can't grasp the concept of "getting the fuck out of here" when hurricanes head their way, but there were also thousands of people, mostly the working poor, sick, elderly, whatever, that had neither the money for gas or a car to put it in. So, must the ugly question once again be raised? In America, as far as government is concerned, if you fucked up and didn't quite manage to snare the American dream and buy yourself one of those monster SUV's, to bad, you're on your fucking own? You mean it's NOT our government's responsibility, local, state, or national, to evacuate people from out of harms way when you can clearly see where harm is going to visit? Maybe I was alot more naive than I thought I was when it came to knowing what I could count on from my government representatives.
You know, I try very hard not to play the race card, but now I am convinced that the United States Government does not consider the black man here or anywhere else as someone worthy of caring about. I figured that as far as Africa was concerned, well, black people just happen to have the misfortune of not living over big oil fields. You may have noticed that Washington pays an enormous amount of attention to people who live over oil fields. We love them. We let them train terrorists in their religious schools, we don't get to upset when they pay lip service to being our friends, or, we trump up some excuse to just go in and take over their country. But should black people fall victim to famine, aids, genocide........oh well, we can't be the world's policeman, now can we? Tell me I'm wrong. Throw all kinds of convoluted geopolitical rationality at me from your ivory tower where you obviously know the reasons why it has to be this way. I fully understand, being an average citizen, that if I can't understand your reasoning, it can only be because I'm stupid. So stupid I must have had a ghost writer write this blog for me.

Oh, I could have handled this better, right? Jimmy Carter's brother Billy could have handled this better. I can assure you that heads will role eventually, but there's one place the buck will never stop, and that's at the desk of the President of these here United States. If the American people still had the capability to exercise their outrage like they once did, I can assure you that within 6 months, impeachment proceedings would be getting underway in the Congress. But, since I have totally lost any faith I ever had that my fellow citizens actually cared about each other, I have no faith whatsoever that George Bush will ever be held accountable for the subtle and not-so-subtle crimes his has committed against this nation. Or should I say Dick Cheny, since I honestly don't think his puppet George has the capacity to really understand who's actually running this country.
OK, I could go on and on about this, but I have to head on out and try and find a gas station with gas. I hope I can afford to get to work this next month, because my hospital is expecting an influx of patients being evacuated from the disaster area. That is, if the troops ever show up to interdict these snipers shooting at the medivac helicopters. Oh, that's right, I forgot, they are overseas getting picked off left and right spreading freedom and democracy.