September 23rd, 2004

flavored with age

More Whorin'

If you go here, you will see the contributors page for the upcoming 215 Festival, the literary shindig in Philadelphia in which I will be a participant in a few weeks' time. Said page is probably the closest I will ever get to being mentioned in the same context as Harvey Pekar and Neal Pollack.

Take a look; there's some swanky motherfuckers presenting their cases at this beer-soaked to-do. If you live in Phila or not far from it, why not take time out of your busy schedules of sitting around gazing slack-jawed at the internet, and come gaze slack-jawed at me instead? I can't guarantee you'll like me, or my writing, or my reading, or anyone else's stuff, but at least there will be alcohol.

flavored with age

Some people call it another Viet Nam, but I don't remember any civilian beheadings in Viet Nam

Meanwhile, a new report shows that law enforcement operatives performing security tests on American airliners were able to smuggle weapons and bombs aboard with ridiculous ease (weapons detection was given a "below average" rating, and bomb detection a "poor" rating). I'm sure this has nothing to do with the fact that Bush decided from day one to fight the terror war on the cheap, insisting (against the opposition of people like Max Cleland, who paid for it with his political career) that the TSA branch of the new Department of Homeland Security be staffed with low-paid, unskilled, non-union workers.

And, in the rest of the world, terrorism is at a global peak with the number of incidents increasing every year since 2001; everyone from the US military command to the Senate to the people of Baghdad are beginning to admit that the Iraq war was a poorly-planned, ill-thought-out, blindly executed mistake that is beginning to turn into a quagmire at best and a disaster at worst; Iran and North Korea are developing nuclear weapons if they don't have them already, and we respond by making the deportation of a washed-up pop star and a college professor a priority; we have no idea where Osama bin-Laden is or what he's doing; of the two countries we 'liberated' from tyranny, one is largely back in the hands of tribal warlords and the other's major export after oil is the decapitated bodies of foreigners; Israel is still locked in its stubborn, bloody-minded death spiral with the Palestinians; America claims to be the vanguard of democracy and freedom, while we suppress voter rights at home and torture people to death abroad (as articles like this and this make depressingly plain); and our Justice Department, after a high-profile campaign of racial profiling, mass arrests, civil-rights-trampling detentions and endless amounts of tough talk, is exactly 0 for 5,000 in terror convictions since September 11th.

Bush is running on making America safer; it's essentially all he's got. The job market is flailing, his tax policy is a disaster for everyone but those at the top (and worse still, a ticking time bomb that will explode in 2006 and again in 2010, no matter who's president), and uncertainty and fear are the rule of the day for the financial health of anyone who isn't already rich, so he can't really push the economy too hard. His social policies are divisive, prejudiced, and crude (and, like all backlash hot-buttons, a mere distraction, railing on issues about which nothing will be done once the election is won). And his history of coming up with big-ticket, moon-shot accomplisments is laughable: a joke of an education reform policy, total inaction on health care, and a laughable non-starter of a plan to send men to Mars. All he's got is security (which is what we call war nowadays). War on Afghanistan, war on Iraq, war on al-Q'aeda. But how are we safer? How is he able to make the claim that he's made America stronger? The coffins of our soldiers come home at a faster pace than they did before the war ended. Videos of severed heads show up on the internet more frequently than pop-up ads for 10x spy cameras. Nuclear proliferation has begun again, conjuring a fear and paranoia not seen since the early '80s. The man who supposedly masterminded 9/11 is hardly even mentioned anymore; he's either been forgotten or he's sitting in a cell waiting to help the Republicans win the election, neither of which bring comfort to troubled minds. The man who masterminded the anthrax mailings that killed a handful of Americans and made millons more fear for their lives is similarly a distant memory, as immediate in our collective memory as Tamagotchis. And for all the ramping up of security we've supposedly done, for all the measures we've supposedly taken to protect ourselves, we've done it on the cheap: Bush's terror funding plan is a twisted fun-house mirror of a program, providing as much protection to Wyoming as to New York and L.A., and the color-coded terror alert system is a national punchline, good for little more than distracting the press when bad news about the administration looms in the background. Everyone I talk to of any political stripe seems to think that it's only a matter of time before we get hit again. So how are we safer?

Maybe I'm missing some key victory against the forces of oppression, terror and indiscriminate murder, but it seems to me that all our war president has done is assume a lot of reassuring macho poses. And while there's a lot of good words for people who talk tough but don't do anything to back it up, "President" shouldnt be one of them.
flavored with age

And now, to close out this ridiculously huge amount of daily posting, a poll

Okay, it's a total fucking pain in the ass when you have a bag of chips, okay, and you get to the bottom and there's like three ounces of chips left but they're all totally crumbled and smashed into small pieces, so you can't dip them into the salsa or dip or whatever you're putting on them.

Poll #354624 Goodbye, Mr. Chips

What do you do to combine dip/salsa with the last few pulverized chip segments at the bottom of the bag?

I stir the chips into the dip and eat them with a spoon even though this makes the chips all soggy and gross
I attempt to dip the chip fragments into the salsa even though they're crushed and tiny and I get salsa all over my fingers
I pour the chips into my mouth and chase them with dip like I'm some kind of dumb animal or something
I just eat the chips without the dip because there is no sensible way to combine them (frustrating as it is to admit this)
I throw out the last few ounces of pulverized chips because I would rather waste food than sacrifice a shred of my precious dignity
I have another and more innovative method of combining the two which I will explain in comments and it will totally blow you away and change the way you think about chips and dip
I don't do any of these things because I am not a disgusting repulsive fat human cockroach like you are
I don't eat chips and dip because I value my beautiful body and treat it with respect and not like a sewage treatment facility
This never happens to me because since God loves me he makes sure every bag of chips I buy contains nothing but complete, intact chips
William Shatner