Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Myopia in the Land of the Millepedes

Another whacky day on planet Earth, punctuated by a persistent growling rumble from an unspecified external source, although some sort of inner ear malfunction in progress cannot be entirely ruled out.

Outside, despite a sudden snow storm and continuing sub-zero temperatures, signs point to a seasonal shift. For the next 30 seconds, at least (30 seconds of visual ecstasy), the cherry blossoms are in bloom, the sheer swooning luminosity of which can literally blind a man. Whatever you do, don't look directly at them. Mass communal blossom viewing parties are arranged, in which thousands sit around happily averting their eyes. Paramedics in tinted goggles stand by, just in case.

Yesterday a couple of centipedes were spotted in the bathroom, a definite indicator of something.
Bug invasion imminent, residents hunker down, clutch cans of insecticide, pray to Jesus for a bug-free afterlife.
Hard to see the evolutionary point of a centipede - truly ugly insects, and seriously, who the hell needs a hundred legs?  Good thing they don't have to worry about finding jeans that fit.

Meanwhile, legions of elderly amblers have taken to the streets, culturally cajoled into believing that slow-as-a-funeral-procession walking can prolong life indefinitely. Oddly enough, statistics tend to bear this out. Hardly matters that it takes half a day to walk around the block. It's not as if these people have a whole lot else to do. Problem is, some of the ancient travelers leave their homes, start walking and almost immediately forget where they live.
 One neighborhood woman admits that she hasn't seen her grandfather in five days. I'm guessing she's sixty if she's a day, so you can understand the strain on my already overtaxed faculties trying to imagine how old her grandfather must me. I attempt to explain the fugue phenomenon to her, but she insists her musical aptitude is next to nil, so why bother?
"Just how old is your grandfather?" I ask her.
"I have no idea," she tells me. "But if you really want to know, we can go inside and ask his father."

In other news:  Talked to one of the kids, via Skype, whose connection was typically murky, a jittery, time-delayed jumble of sounds, mostly incoherent, highlighted by howling banshees simulations in the background. (for those of you who have never heard the howl of a banshee, consider yourselves lucky)
Think of trying to talk to someone in the Andromeda galaxy, using two Dixie cups and a very (very, very, very) long string.
Actually, if you did try to call someone in the Andromeda (aka M 31), it would take 1.5 million years for them to pick up the phone (or cup, as the case may be), and 3 million years for you to hear them say hello.
Not to suggest you shouldn't make the call, only that you should be prepared to be patient.

Note: The Andromeda galaxy is scheduled to collide with our own Milky Way galaxy in approximately 3.75 billion years. Probably too soon to add this cosmological certainty to our list of things to have anxiety about. Very little chance that any of us - with perhaps the exception of a select group of senior citizens from my neighborhood - will be around to see it happen.

Anyway, I couldn't be exactly sure what the kid was trying to tell me. There's a chance she was intentionally filtering her voice through one of those homemade fish aquariums. She either said that her new boyfriend works with plants, or believes he is a plant.  She either saw Chris Isaak in a San Francisco restaurant, or believes that the ghost of Issac Newton is currently haunting the San Francisco subway. As improbable as that would be.  But hey, San Francisco, right?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mostly Brainless and Armed to the Teeth

 By now hopefully everyone (and by everyone I mean all six of you who occasionally read this blog) has had a chance to see the most recent propaganda video courtesy of North Korea (if you haven't, it's definitely worth tracking down). The basic plot line is that the vast majority of American people are impoverished and desperate, forced to live in leaky tents, drink melted snow from styrofoam cups (provided free by the government) and eat small birds to survive.

Close up of a barren tree: The narrator, curiously enough some guy speaking in a deadpanned Brit accent, says, "Look at this tree. There are no birds in it because Americans have eaten them all."
 Cut to another tree, as barren, but with two sparrows perched on its branches.  Narrator says, "Two birds have suddenly arrived in this tree. They will be eaten by the Americans on Wednesday." 

Doubting my credibility on this?  Here's the link to the actual video.


As propaganda, it clearly leaves something to be desired - apparently even the 27 North Koreans with Internet access aren't totally buying it; the remainder of the population only wishes it had some small birds to eat - but as one more pathologically creative element in the Theater of the Ridiculous that the North Korean regime increasingly represents, it's nothing short of brilliant.
Call it Parody Propaganda from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.  PP/DPRK, for short.

Not that the pathological and the ridiculous are strictly confined to Northeast Asia.
Back in the land of leaking tents and homeless bird eaters, the gun debate sputters on, more or less incoherently.
 Kudos to the psycho-Conservative Right, by the way, for providing the American people with yet another example of how, with a skillful blending of banality and cynicism, an issue can simply be talked to death, thereby removing the need to shoot it.
 The basic conservative plot line is that since the vast number of American gun owners are normal, mentally healthy, law abiding citizens, only interested in hunting and/or self defense, there is no logical reason to deprive them of their military type assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
And the spineless Liberal Left, as personified by, among others, CNN's Piers Morgan, who may actually be an exotic species of British waterfowl (and possibly the narrator of the North Korean video), lets them get way with it.

It bears repeating: There is nothing either normal or mentally healthy about a person who hunts and kills animals for sport.

Ancient Hindu proverb: A man who slaughters a family of deer today is as likely to slaughter his own family tomorrow.

 Lacanian therapist, Fritz Klepperwitz:  "Contrary to common belief, any member of an advanced, consumer culture who continues to engage in the primitive ritual of hunting cannot be regarded as a rugged individualist resisting the forces of socially-induced conformity. Rather, such a person must be viewed as emotionally and intellectually undeveloped, almost certainly tormented by a deep-seated sense of emasculation, attempting through acts of violence against animals to sublimate feelings of sexual desire for the mother and an irrational hatred of the father. The typical hunter's conflicted self is frequently expressed in secretive behavior which glaringly contradicts his projected tough guy persona; for example, cross-dressing, having pedicures and, at the extreme end of the spectrum, watching Gossip Girls."    

Admittedly, the self defense thing does make a bit more sense, since, as we all know, hordes of potential evildoers roam virtually every street in America, day and night, seeking out vulnerable, unarmed households to loot and plunder. Sure, they may resemble girl scouts out on a cookie drive, or vaguely disembodied Jehovah's seeking the mother ship, but don't be fooled. These people have nothing but mischief on their minds.

A recent survey asked conservative gun owners to rate the likelihood of the situation depicted on the popular TV show, Walking Dead, actually happening.
Here's a breakdown of the results:
43% - Could possibly happen
31% - Very likely to happen
26% - Has already happened

Maybe you want to wake up some morning in a gun-free house only to find a mob of the crazy undead trying to break down your front door, but not me, pal.

Note: During a zombie attack, always aim for the head.   Shoot the head, kill the Undead.

And finally, this juicy tidbit from one of those States that most of us could probably find on a map but would not particularly ever want to visit.
A man walked out of his house at 4:30 in the morning and fired his gun at a tree. The bullet hit the tree and ricocheted back into the man's chest.
The news headline read: Man shoots tree, tree shoots back.
Talk about a normal, mentally healthy gun owner. And why, if you're going to shoot a tree, would you decide to do it at 4:30 in the morning?
Local law enforcement is apparently investigating the tree, trying to determine if it is perhaps an overly aggressive species, possibly non-indigenous to the area, although an anonymous police source admits that proving premeditation will be a serious challenge.
In the interim, a group of local conservative lawmakers have issued the following joint statement:
It is precisely this type of random violence, inflicted upon unsuspecting individuals by an unruly and ungodly nature, that justifies the right of all law-abiding Americans to arm themselves, the more firepower, the better!

Amen to that, brother!