Category Archives: Uncategorized

Yet another chapter in the reality vs. fakeality story

An update on the reality vs manufactured reality thing:

A woman named “Ellie Light” has written letters to the editor supporting Barack Obama. A lot of letters. Well, more like the same letter a bunch of times. Like in 42 different newspapers in 18 states.

And at the end of each letter she lists some address that’s within the geographic range of those newspapers.

Astroturf, anyone?

Actually, the fact that these were the same letters sent over and over again by someone with the same name seems to suggest that either Ellie Light is a real person and she just wasn’t quite savvy enough to change her name (along with her address) for every letter, or the government agents in charge of this stuf didn’t think anyone would catch on.

And ya know, there’s just something about the name Ellie Light that makes me wonder…it almost sounds like a code name, or a joke…or at least some kind of anagram. Or does L. E. Light mean something?

I suppose now the propaganda guys will have to disguise themselves better. But I hope they don’t. It’s kind of fun to find stuf like this, kinda like finding the Easter Eggs on Lost or something.

Hmmmm…….legit helli?…the legil il?…heil git lel?…get hill lie?…ill lee thig?…hmmmm…..

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Buy Nothing Day or Black Friday?

November 27th, Friday–

Thanksgiving’s over! I’m so thankful!

Now, today, of course is another sort of “holiday”, and which one you celebrate depends largely on your financial circumstances.

The people running the stores want you to go and shop! shop! shop! til you drop! ‘cuz they’ve got big! big! big! savings on everything you need for Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!

And then they cue “Santa Claus is coming to town”. All those Christmas songs they play in the malls and Wal-Marts aren’t just because the store owners are jolly–it’s an musical reminder. “It’s Christmas”, says the song, which reminds you of all the things you have to buy. Buy! Buy! Buy!

For some of us, the day after Thanksgiving is Buy Nothing Day. This is the holiday I am currently celebrating.

Now, I could act all smug and say the reason I buy nothing on Buy Nothing Day is because I want to protest unbridled consumerism and rapacious capitalism, but the honest truth is that I just don’t have any money to spend. Who’s got money after laying out for all that food on Thanksgiving? (You know most people on food stamps are out of them by the last week of the month.)

Plus, if you got up early Thursday morning to make extra pies, and stayed up late Wednesday night doing the same thing, you’re probably too burnt to get up at some godawful hour to go buy Christmas presents. I slept till almost seven this morning, despite the guinea pigs squeaking at me at six, demanding to be fed at the usual time.

But, now that I think of it, if someone was really wanting to do their Christmas shopping early! early! early!, and that person had money, it’s entirely possible that their family ate out on Thanksgiving rather than do the traditional feast at home.

Hey, that’s not a bad thing, either. If I had money I might do that, too, on one of these turkey days. But I kinda like the day after Thanksgiving being an easy one at home. Sometimes I think I’m more thankful just after Thanksgiving than on Thanksgiving. The guests are gone so the pressure’s off to keep the house all perfect looking, there’s a ton of food still around so you don’t have to cook much, don’t have to run the kid to school today, etc. Who would want to ruin that just to get up early and throw oneself into the Christmas chaos?

I like Christmas ok. I’m not anti-Santa or anything. But I suspect that even if I was rich enough to just hit some buffet on Thanksgiving rather than cook at home that I’d still rather not do the “Black Friday” thing.

By the way, who came up with that stupid name? “Black Friday”? Yeah, I know, it’s when businesses hope to “end up in the black” for the Christmas season…but every time I hear it I think of the stock market crash of 1929 (didn’t they refer to that as “Black Friday” too?). And of course there’s that Steely Dan song called “Black Friday”, in which the term seems to also refer to a day when all the stock markets would crash, etc.

When Black Friday comes, I’ll stand down by the door

And catch the gray men when they dive from the fourteenth floor

Yep, I’ve got that running through my head now. Good think I like Steely Dan. Beats the hell out of you-know-what music.

I’m starting to resent Christmas taking up so much space on the calendar. It used to be they didn’t start playing you-know-what songs on the tv until after Thanksgiving…this year, I swear I started hearing them before Halloween. It’s just too much. Giving gifts is nice and all, I like giving ’em and getting ’em, and shopping can even be kinda fun when you have money and you’re into it, but jeez, it seems like they just want to beat Christmas into us.

Also, I think Christmas is a perfect demonstration of why we need real public transportation in the US, instead of everyone driving around in their individual cars. I like being able to drive in my car, wouldn’t want it taken away from me, but the worst thing about Christmas shopping is the traffic and the trying to find a parking spot. It makes the whole experience suck.

For what it’s worth, I think every Wal-Mart in the country oughta be required by law to pay for putting a traffic light in at their entrances. I don’t know about everyone else’s W-M, but ours in Hilo is a bitch to get into or out of. They could afford to put in a light if someone made ’em do it.

(Don’t have anything against Wal-Mart, particularly…my mom worked for Wal-Mart…my brother worked for Wal-Mart…my daughter-in-law worked for Wal-Mart…I think my nephew still works for Wal-Mart. Just to clear that up.)

When Black Friday comes, I’ll fly down to Muswellbrook

Gonna strike all the big red words from my little black book

Gonna do just what I please, gonna wear no socks and shoes

With nothing to do but feed all the kangaroos

Now, if you’re just bound and determined to buy something, you could buy stuff online. Avoid those crowds! You could sit butt naked in front of your computer and shop if you want. Like…you could buy some beautiful handmade crocheted snowflakes on etsy.com.

(Who, me? Plug my own etsy shop in a blog entry decrying consumerism? Uh, yeah…but in my defense there’s a good chance that y’all might not be reading this right on the day after Thanksgiving…and if you are, you certainly don’t have to buy anything today…and if it does offend someone, well, there’s only a handful of people reads this blog anyway! So, the two or three people that might be offended are welcome to think of me as a total hypocrite.)

When Black Friday comes, I’m gonna dig myself a hole

Gonna lay down in it till I satisfy my soul

Gonna let the world pass by me, the Archbishop’s gonna sanctify me

And if he don’t come across I’m gonna let it roll

I bet I’m gonna hear this in my head all day. I don’t mind.

PS–was just looking up those song words and found this little blurb about “Black Friday”:

The driving shuffle “Black Friday” (from Katy Lied, 1975) was the first single released from their fourth album. Black Friday occurred on September 24, 1869, a day of securities market panic in which thousands of Americans were financially ruined, but the term is now applied to any financial crisis on either side of the Atlantic.

Single payer quietly croaks

Oct 30–

Well, it’s official.

No single payer option single payer option in this health care reform bill. Maybe we’ll get the public option, but states won’t have the option to set up a single payer system in their states even if they want to.

Surprised? Me neither.

Not that I’m all that sold on the public option, I think single payer would have been better, but, hey, I’ll take what I can get. But I’m wondering if the public option will survive this whole process.

Atheism gaining ground in America

Hey check this out. 

 

This has some statistics about how popular or unpopular religion has become in America between 1990 and 2008.

 

(You’ve gotta see the picture! “A priest, a minister, a rabbi, a generic Christian, a Muslim, and a mainline Christian walk into a bar…”)

 

When looking at the graphs, remember that the first two bars in each graph represents the percentage of population that considers themselves to be in that category; the second two bars indicates the actual population in millions. Since population is always rising, the first two bars probably tell the story better than the second two.

 

Most religions have become less popular between ’90 and ’08. Only the Muslims picked up a little, and they only went from 0.3% of the population to 0.6%.

 

It’s the “no religion” category that really picked up steam. In 1990, 8.2% of the respondents indentified as non-religious; in 2008 that had climbed up to 15%.

 

Alright! Now, see, there is some good news in the world. 

Faiths turned hate cults

 

Sep27–

 

Whatever they might have been in the beginning, both Christianity and Islam have turned into hate cults.

 

When you read a little of their histories, both faiths started out with good intentions and a sense of brotherhood with their fellow man. Both were improvements on what came before them. They were progressive religions for their time, when they started.

 

Centuries go by and they get all established and they have regular buildings and money and hierarchies and established holy books and holidays and all the extra rules and traditions and superstitions and crap that seems to attach to a religion after time, like barnacles clinging to the bottom of a boat.

 

(Do y’all know if there is any religion this hasn’t happened to? Just wondering, haven’t studied them all.)

 

Now anytime you hear of either Islam or Christianity doing anything, it’s some action based on hate. Islam’s got its suicide bombers and roadside bombers and Christianity’s got its doctor killers and wannabe domestic terrorists. 

 

I used to be a Christian. I was one of those annoying Christians who would come up to you and ask if you knew Jesus. Yeah, one of those. (I apologize. I’m better now.) So I’ve heard a few sermons in my time.

 

It’s amazing how much of an “Amen” them preachers would get once they start talking about how all the homosexuals are going to hell. Gets the crowd all fired up. That “blessed be the peacemakers” crap just doesn’t do it for them.

 

And it’s not just the gays that they bash on. Uppity women get it too, or at least they used to in the church I went to when I was a kid. (Of course, I was raised in Oklahoma and I’m pushing 50. They might have softened up some since then.) Boy did they ever drill that “wives submit to your husbands” verse into our heads. I never want to hear that damn Bible verse again. And they made sure to tell us that it was a sin (with no book/chapter/verse reference, of course) for white people to marry black people. (“Why?” “It just is.”)

 

But you gotta understand that there’s variation in different Christian churches. They’ve all got their different little quirks and beliefs and just because one weirdshit church somewhere believes some Biblically unsupported belief about marriage, or race, or the devil, or how the end of the world is supposed to happen, doesn’t mean that all Christians are into that. 

 

I suspect Islam may be similar. I haven’t spent any time in any mosques. Feel free to comment and enlighten me but don’t send me any links to any Islamic websites ‘cuz I might need to get on a plane someday! ;-)

 

I know I should probably be all politically correct when I’m talking about Islam but every time I hear about anything they do, they’re bombing something or oppressing their women or destroying some ancient art in the name of Allah or some other horrible thing. I can’t help it. It makes me take a hard right turn. I hate those fucking ragheads. Maybe it’s a terrible attitude. But there it is. 

 

Even before 9/11, I used to read this feminist paper and every time I would get it, I mean every time, there would be some new atrocity that the Taliban was doing in Afghanistan. The women couldn’t go out without a male escort. They couldn’t work. They couldn’t show a damn ankle. They couldn’t wear loud shoes. Then the Taliban wouldn’t let people listen to recorded music, or fly kites…it just went on and on. It made me so damn mad I just wanted to pick up an AK-47 myself and go over there and waste their asses. 

 

I remember a picture of a woman in America dressed up in a burka with a sign protesting the $43 million dollars we gave the Taliban that year. That was before 9/11, so no one cared. Then the twin towers got dropped and suddenly Bush acted lilke they were bombing Afghanistan ‘cuz they were suddenly so concerned about Afghanistan’s women. As if.

 

Ok, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be going off on a hate rant, especially when I’m talking about religions turning into hate cults. But since I have put that little part in there, I think when I post this I’ll put in some tags like “ragheads” or something like that, and I’ll see if it makes more people read this article. Building popularity off of hate seems to be working for these religions, why not my blog? But I kinda hope it doesn’t work. If that was the only way I could get people to read this blog, then I probably oughta just quit.

 

But religions, being human made systems that outlive their makers, may not enjoy such self-consciousness and therefore won’t necessarily recognize their mistakes or correct them. 

 

You know, if there was such a thing as Satan, I would be inclined to believe that he had personally infiltrated those religions just to ruin them. I mean, think about it–if you were the Prince of Darkness and you wanted to erase Jesus’s message from the memory of humanity, you could promote the worship of Jesus (and his mom, and his friends and whoever else) as a diversion and layer the religion in ritual and bullshit until no one even remembers what the heck Jesus ever said. 

 

You can see this same thing happening today in the press–for instance, on Martin Luther King Jr. day, notice how they practically worship Dr. King but they don’t repeat more than a few token lines of anything he said. “I have a dream” is nice and poetic and today sounds non-threatening. You won’t be hearing any of his quotes about poor people or the Vietnam war. You won’t be hearing any advice about how to run a boycott or a peaceful demonstration. But he’s got his own day! 

 

“I have a dream…that someday all the government workers will get a day off in January…”

 

Sooo…if Satan had taken over Christianity, and perhaps Islam as well, wouldn’t it make sense to completely abandon those religions and start over? Just saying…maybe you should ask yourself if your church smells like brimstone.

 

Or you could go all apostate like me. I recommend it.

Woman baked to death in cage in Arizona

 

Sep 27–

death by heat

psyche drugs

begging for water

 

 

Marcia Powell

Marcia Powell

 

 

 

 

This is one of those stories that makes me so mad that I just have to post the link up here.

 

This poor woman was baked to death in a shadeless cage in 108 degree heat in the Arizona desert. 

 

Why did they put her in a cage anyway? Did she become violent? Did she attack someone? Kill someone? What did she do that was so bad that they had to put her in the heat in the sun until she fell into a coma?

 

She was on anti-psychotic meds and she said she was suicidal…then she passed out…then she said she was having trouble breathing. Yep, that’s right. She had medical problems, probably caused by the anti-psychotic meds she was being given.

 

She was put in the cage awaiting transfer to a psychiatric unit. 

 

Powell passed out in her cell on the morning of May 19. A few minutes before, she had announced she was suicidal. She was taken to an outdoor cage to await transfer to a psychiatric unit. But the sergeant who saw Powell lose consciousness never reported the incident to supervisors, despite the fact that Powell said she was having trouble breathing.

 

So they put her in a dog-run type cage outside in the 108 degree heat. (Well, it could have been higher. 108 is as far as their thermometer went.) 

 

(Have you ever been to Arizona? It’s so hot that even living there should be considered cruel and unusual treatment. Most people who live in permascorch places like that go from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car to air-conditioned work to air-conditioned grocery stores. They don’t actually live out in that heat.)

 

• At least 20 inmates told investigators that Powell was denied water for most or all of the time she was in the cage, despite regular requests. Corrections officers said Powell was given water.

 

The most bitterly disputed aspect of the case concerns whether Powell was denied water.

Nearly all of the inmates interviewed by investigators reported that Powell screamed out for water regularly but was repeatedly denied. Others said she was granted water only once or twice in nearly four hours.

 

“I need some water – just a drop,” one inmate overheard Powell tell a corrections officer, who reportedly ignored her.

Another inmate reported that a corrections officer mockingly repeated Powell’s requests for water back to her, without giving her any.

Both inmates and staff members said Powell’s history of mental illness and frequent erratic behavior meant that some of her requests were not taken seriously. She did not get the staff’s undivided attention until she collapsed at 2:40 p.m. 

 

• Powell was apparently denied a request to use the restroom and defecated in the cage. A corrections officer discovered that Powell had soiled herself but left her where she was. Medical personnel would later discover feces underneath her fingernails and all over her back.

 

Doctors on the scene said Powell’s body temperature was at least 108 degrees but may have been higher, since their thermometers topped out at 108.

 

They finally took her out of there in a coma. She was taken to a hospital where ADC (AZ dept of corrections) head Charles Ryan made the decision to terminate her life support, without even checking with her appointed guardian, the Mariposa County’s Public Fiduciary.

 

Now ain’t that a thing? (A thing that rhymes with “witch”.) Not only did they put her in this cage in the sun for merely having some medical problems, left her there with no water until she defecated all over herself and went into a coma, but then they even just decided to pull the plug without waiting to see if she had a guardian to make the decision.

 

These articles I’m reading suggest that Charles Ryan should resign or be fired. I think he should have to spend four hours in a cage on psyche meds with no water.

 

In case you’re wondering, she was in prison for prositution. She reportedly had severe mental problems, and from these stories I’m reading it sounds like she was a tweaker.

 

Even toothless tweaker whores shouldn’t die like this. 

 

I have a suggestion. I think every one who’s about to become a cop or a lawyer or a judge or a parole officer or a warden or anything having to do with the prison system should first have to spend 3 days and nights in a jail or prison just so they know what it’s like. Don’t tell the guards or the inmates who they are or why they’re there (so they won’t get preferential treatment from guards and so they won’t get killed by inmates), just tell everyone they’re in there for a DUI or something and just let ’em hang out. Even if nothing bad happens to them personally, they’re liable to hear stories from the other people in there. They’ll see how the guards actually react to the inmates when they think no one important is paying attention.

 

Yes, I’m serious about this one! I’m not just talking out of my butt. 3 days, minimum. Maybe a week. 

 

Politicians should have to do it, too. Especially the politicians, since they get so much political capital and attention out of their “throw away the key” speeches. (If a politician actually spent the three full days in jail, and still wanted to act tough on crime and all that, I’d respect them a little more for it. At least they’d know what they heck they were sending people to.)

 

Oh, you say that jails and prisons are too dangerous for that? We can’t send innocent people into those pens of rape and iniquity! Well, guess what? If they’re so durn dangerous, maybe somebody should do something about it. 

 

And as for innocent people being put in prison…you know it happens. I’m not saying Marcia was innocent, or that I can even name any innocent people that are incarcerated right now. But just statistically, it’s pretty likely that there’s some innocent people in there. Sometimes the system works right, but you know how it is: shit happens. 

 

I’ve been in jail once. For two weeks. Yeah, I know, two weeks, big deal. But you hear things. And you see things. And you get a sense of how much it would suck to be treated like that for long periods of time. A few days or a few weeks in jail can feel like a long, long time when you’re in there. And I handled it fairly well–I was bored, sometimes appalled and treated like crap by the guards, but at least I wasn’t crying and screaming and freaking out like some of the gals in there were. Of course, I knew I was only spending two weeks. It still felt a lot longer.

 

Here’s Marcia’s online eulogy.

 

One thing that struck me while I’m writing this: Marcia Powell is the same age as me. There but for the grace of God go I. I remember when I was explaining the meaning of that phrase to my son: it means that you shouldn’t look down on people in unfortunate circumstances, ‘cuz if your life had gone just a little bit different…if your brain was just a little messed up…if you or your parents or the other adults in your life had made a few bad mistakes…that could be you there. Don’t think for a minute that you’re so good and so smart that you couldn’t end up at the mercy of some sadistic creep with the key to your cell. 

 

If you’re not in jail right at the moment, and no one’s treating you like crap, and you feel fine and have plenty of water to drink, I want you to thank your lucky stars right now.

 

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Your Voice or British vs. Southern accents

 

When you’re watching tv or some other conduit of culture, have you ever noticed how a British accent is used as a sort of audio clue that implies that the speaker is well-educated, intelligent and therefore seems like a superior person in a way?

 

Think of Simon Cowell on American Idol or that chick that was on You Are the Weakest Link. Don’t they seem just a little extra snobby and superior with those accents? The Weakest Link in America died shortly after they replaced her with an American man. Can you imagine American Idol without Simon? No way–no matter how some people may hate him occasionally, if he left the show, it would be over.

 

I don’t have a comprehensive list of all the characters that have British accents on tv, but is it my imagination that most of them seem to be either snobby and self-important, or genuinely well-educated and important? Ok, maybe not “Charlie” on Lost…but you know what I mean…

 

Now, how often is a Southern accent (as in Southern US) used as an audio clue to show someone being a dumbass? I don’t think there’s quite as many examples of this, due to Southerners being touchy about it, but unfortunately some of our brothers from the South are busy being idiots in real life, making all the rest of us look bad.

 

Surely I don’t need to point out that not all British people are well-educated, snobby, self-satisfied, superior or intelligent–and neither are all Southern Americans a bunch of ignorant religious right-wingers hell-bent on establishing a Christian regime in America. But you know what people think when they hear those different kinds of voices!

 

(I’m fascinated with how the actual sounds of words and dialogs and songs affect us.)

 

So you could write a skit with two people having a debate–let’s say they debate creationism vs. evolution. Or something where one side uses logic and the other side uses fuzzy thinking. Tweak it so the dumb one talking is really stupid.

 

Then give the smart one the Southern accent and give the dumbass the British accent.

 

Hee, hee.