Thursday, July 12

The Pounds Will Just Melt Off! (Literally)

Reports are in, and it looks like overweight Americans may get a leg up in their quest to shed pounds, although from the sounds of this article it may only be water weight they're losing. The geopolitical importance of fresh water is quickly becoming apparent, as wars have already - and soon will be - fought over access to the stuff (see here).

Now, living as I do next to the largest collection of freshwater lakes in the world (gotta' love Cleveland for something) there's little sweat off my back if the rest of the world runs dry. However it seems like water isn't the only thing drying up due to the strange weather patterns caused by mankind.

The poor Gray Whale, a Pacific whale breed known for it's hardiness seems to have lost it's feeding ground to a culmination of man-made factors. President Bush and his 'science advisers' had originally lamented 'Whale Anorexia' as the cause of the precipitous fall in the whale's weight. Luckily for the whales not every scientist in America learned the trade from their bible. "This is enough to cause alarm," says article's researcher. I say this is cause for celebration!

Americans have been battling obesity on several fronts (well, mainly the front... there's alot hanging off the sides and back as well), global warming may just have provided the solution to our nation's "fattitude" towards global warming.

Here's the prescription - which Georgie W. and Co. have been following to a T:
1. Drive up CO2 emissions by subsidizing SUV's and the assholes who drive them.
2. Ramp up meat production (and all the unfortunate by-products like deforestation/methane gas, etc..) and drive the ground animals to McDonald's as fast as possible for consumption.
3. Increase the amount of heat each citizen gives off, by wrapping them in huge layers of subcutaneous fat (a.k.a. 'thinsulation' in W's double-speak)

Finally - watch the weight melt off as everything around you dies!

Obviously people will lose tons of weight when there's no more food to devour during commercial breaks. Now, the past 7 years of 'whack-a-mole' politics and go-nowhere policies don't seem so mysterious.

Wednesday, July 11

You're (not) Special!

Struggling this past week to find a good topic to write on, I've stumbled into an idea that seems to be picking up steam in the US. The fact that coddling youngsters' self-esteem may not be in their best interest.

Besides the obvious implications for stuck-up suburbanites who bestow their little princes and princesses with titles like "Gifted" and "Accelerated" - the coming generations are in for the same mighty shock I faced upon entering the workforce. The cut-throat world of American capitalism cares little for titles, and even less for unfounded claims of genius.

Fox News is pointing the finger at Mr. Rogers and his "you're special, no matter what" feel-good brand of entertainment. While the laughable circularity of one dumbed-down television show pointing fingers at another brain-deadening TV slot is entertaining to us cynics, this time Fox may be on to something.

A Personal Story: After showing exemplary scores on the standardized tests issued to youngsters (The Iowa fill-in-the-bubble type), myself and a small coterie of classmates were elevated to "gifted" status. This meant that once a week we'd be removed from regular classes with our unintelligent peers for an hour of mind-stimulating games and activities with specialists in the "mobile unit" (a trailer parked out back of the elementary school). My participation waned once my grades dropped precipitously from the effects of bullying and extreme levels of stress at home. I was quickly shuffled from a "Gifted" program, to a tutoring program whose instructors eventually gave up on 'rehabilitating' me - failing to see that a horrid home-life, when coupled with ineffectual anti-bullying techniques led to a complete disinterest in what I was being taught. As such, the rest of my educational career was fraught with complaints about my "failure to achieve" in the face of "stunning potential" that followed nearly every review of my accomplishments.

What part did being labeled "Gifted" play in my own tragic history of youthful existential depression and eventual rejection of my pre-ordained path through college, careers and more?

I'll never be able to say for sure. After years of internalizing every bully's attack on me, and taking my failures to live up to 'potential' as personal faults I've merely grown cynical, apathetic and unwilling to exert effort towards any goal. Perhaps this was Mr. Roger's sinister goal all along, to turn potential leaders and inventors into malleable adults, fraught with uncertainty and the emotional trauma that comes from being told you're worth so much more than you are.

Self-esteem may feel good, but just as reverence to icons of perfection turns humans away from bettering themselves, the good feeling that comes from loving yourself comes at a cost - namely the feeling that comes from accomplishing what you thought was impossible. The costs may be even more extreme as my generation of "feel-gooders" shies away from the initiative that will be required to tackle this world's greatest problems.

Thursday, July 5

the Redundancy Movement

Finished... Done... In one short week I've blown through every single Hitchhiker's Guide story. The culmination of years of work by one charmingly witty Brit has passed through my brain. I never understood the whole concept back when I originally read the first in the series (I was maybe... 11 at the time). But now, with years of cynicism and knowledge under my belt, Galactic Understanding is mine.

And it tells me this: Everyone is, inherently, an asshole. So I should approach those whom I don't already have a good grasp on with the same caution I'd use facing a rabid Black Bear wrapped in explosives and muttering something about abortion clinics. Of course, I've never been one for caution - and assholes are important,,, I mean - how would we get rid of all our shit without 'em? So my initial lesson learned needs to be applied in a different way.

That's why I propose the REDUNDANCY movement. It's tenets, which came to me in a dream as I was driving in the countryside yesterday, are these;

1. In accordance with the second law of thermodynamics - everything will turn to shit anyhow.

B. The fact that everyone is, inherently, an asshole.

And C. Whatever you will do, have done, or have never considered doing, will be canceled out by someone not doing, doing better or being on the opposite side of the planet from you.

This is truly a call to apathy. From apathy arises... nothing. And nothing is something that's been known to move mountains (figuratively speaking, you know). Of course, people will wonder how the REDUNDANCY movement will ever make it's mark. Perhaps we'll be that final, unavoidable brown stain on the tight conservative briefs of America. The marked path to a turbulent washing-machine of revolution (not THE washing-machine revolution, which is another group entirely). The mark that shows how deeply this nation has fallen from it's roots of freedom into the hands of a rabid and heartless consumer drive.


Tuesday, July 3


Another day, another terrorist attack. At least that's what I was expecting this past week, as news reports rolled out with info on the string of recent attempted (or 'successful') car bomb attacks. The only "moderately successful" attack of the past week happened at Scotland's Glasgow airport - and it involved driving a flaming Jeep into the front doors of the terminal. Sparking fears once again that our air travel system is going to bear the brunt of attacks from 'Islamic Terrorists'. At least that's what the global corporate media seem to be drilling into our skulls in the sort of rote pageantry usually reserved for American Idol finals and the sort.

This all reminded me of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy which I'm currently re-reading. It didn't just ring bells because of the obvious implications for sarcastic commentary and disbelief at the ridiculousness of this "threat" we're all supposed to fear... (early reports of Asian men running flaming from the Jeep and being forcibly 'subdued' by brutish Scots in full security get-up made me laugh, and maybe a little horny) If this is the best they can throw at us, let 'em. I still have the sinking feeling that this is just a government orchestrated scare tactic, mixed up with some heavily-placed name dropping for the Jeep brand, which has seen rapidly declining sales over the past couple years. This type of global branding will be a shot in the arm for gas guzzlers everywhere. Who would refuse a car with the power to smash through airport doors while on fire! Gosh! I can already see the commercials.

Getting back to THHGTTG, I think everyone could use a refresher course on this classically ridiculous tale. Not only does it chronicle the turmoil that arises from having your entire home planet destroyed by aliens looking to build an intergalactic off-ramp - but if offers up some simple, human advice on dealing with the unexpected, the unpredictable and the dangerous. Simply DON'T PANIC. Rushing off to grab your gun, locking up brown people to assuage your fear... these aren't tactics that garner results. Although they've certainly been used to garner votes in the US and UK.

Those of us with experience in reality tend to find all the bluster of red-faced politicians pretty tiring, especially when reflecting on news that 'Republicans Are Falling Behind in the Terror-Scare Rhetoric' that seems to have obscured all the vote rigging and chicanery during the last two election cycles. Is it proof that Americans are finally chilling down? Maybe people realized that the fastest way from Point-A to Point-B is not to FREAK OUT in between. I can only hope that a bit of common sense has arisen in our poor reptilian brains. All the confusion and terror that can be garnered by a worldwide media conglomerate is no match for the man with his feet firmly planted in reality.