Portending nada, as usual
I watched the eclipse of the moon the other night. I've seen several of them before. They are soundless, slow-moving but spectacular astronomical events that usually occur a couple times a year. The moon falls into the earth's shadow and turns a reddish hue. Dim stars, usually invisible during a full moon, glow around the perimeter of the darkened orb.
The moon does not turn the color of blood, at least not fresh blood. It turns more the color of blood that you have gotten on a white towel when you cut yourself shaving and then tried to bleach out of it. But if you called it the Color of Bleached-Out Blood on the Guest Towel You Now Have to Hide from Your Wife Moon, nobody would buy your book about it.
Likewise, if you called it The Wet Leaf Moon, The Rusty Spot on the Toilet Moon or the The Color of That Old T-Shirt That Used to be Red Moon, shades that the moon actually turns to during a lunar eclipse, people would just think you were peculiar.
So if you're like the Reverend Mark Blitz you call it the Blood Moon and write a book
about it (and also publish a calendar and a DVD and make all three available for one low price of $43.34) claiming that it portends the end of the world and the return of Jesus. People who are looking forward to the end of the world and the return of Jesus, mostly because they confidently expect that He will consign all of their neighbors that they don't like to Hell, will buy this book. You will get rich, especially if you double down by claiming that these Blood Moons are unique because they all fall on Jewish holidays. You can also say it is ominous that all of your Blood Moons will be visible from the United States because, while the Bible mentions the US exactly zero times, most of your prospective readers live in the United States, within ten miles of a Wal-Mart, which is where most of your books will be sold.
If you point out that all lunar eclipses occur on full moons, and that the timing of all Jewish holidays is based upon full moons and that your Blood Moon falling on a Jewish holiday is not a portent but an inevitable coincidence, your sales will plummet. If you want to see them vanish into nothing, you might mention that lunar eclipses are visible to everybody on the night side of Earth, so the odds of any one being visible from the US is a less-than-scant 50/50.
But if you really want people to ignore you, you could make an end of the world prediction like my own, which is that when the human race finally gets hit with that cosmic pie in the face, Jesus will have nothing to do with it. If a comet is on course to crush us, astronomers will not see Jesus skateboarding on its tail as it comes sailing across the sky. If the Earth's magnetic field reverses, the Son of God will not appear in glory holding a compass upside-down and grinning sardonically; if robots take over the Earth, the head Terminator will not wear a robe and sandals.
So my wallet will continue to be empty while Reverend Blitz's swells with the dollars of those who happily look forward to all of humankind being turned into smutz. But I don't resent the guy. In fact, I'm grateful to him. Usually I miss lunar eclipses. I read that one is coming up, but then I forget about it until I realize that it's already passed. Thanks to the Blood Moon being on the front page of every Internet portal, this time I remembered to watch.
Thanks, Reverend. Don't expect me to buy the book, though.
The big news on the right this week was the angry reaction of popular right wing blowhards to the announcement that parody popular right wing blowhard Steven Colbert would be succeeding David Letterman as the host of Late Night. Bill O'Reilly called Colbert a "deceiver," while Rush Limbaugh said that CBS "has declared war on the heartland of America."
You'd think these guys would be grateful that Colbert was going to quit riffing on them in order to collect millions for looking up movie starlets' skirts while trading japes with his yet to be announced sidekick, but no. This is the natural human reaction to promoting a person who regularly exposes you to be a blathering pinhead, a screeching moron, or an intellectual prostitute and it would take another billion years of the evolution that right wing bloviators don't believe in for it to be otherwise.
O'Reilly even sneered that Colbert currently "only has about a million viewers" as opposed to the number that O'Reilly's show puts up, although if we analyze the viewer demographic of each show in terms of audience members that have actually read a book or flown in an airplane without being thoroughly drunk, the numbers are probably pretty even.
Still, Colbert is about to get much more famous. Right now many, many people would not know who Steven Colbert was if he showed up at their funeral, especially if they were being buried in someplace like Tanzania, although I say with confidence, and a touch of pride, that he is not nearly as widely ignored as I am.
In the category of We Can't Stop Spouting Idiot Feces No Matter How Much We Try, we had two notable entrants recently—Jim DeMint, a former Senator who now claims that the federal government had nothing to do with the abolition of slavery. It was natural Christian impulses that destroyed the institution, the ex-Senator claims. In DeMint's view, the Battle of Gettysburg was some sort of enormous church picnic with cavalry charges, and the fellow that made those remarks afterward had nothing to do with the outcome.
This minimizing of the role of the government in the Civil War begs two questions, the first being is there really another institution that can put down an armed rebellion like a central government, and the second being that without a central government, what exactly is the point of having an armed rebellion?
The second example of boldly burying one's head up one's gastrointestinal tract comes from the above-mentioned Rush Limbaugh, who opened up a whole new category of skeptics--"shoe truthers." These are people who believe that Hillary Clinton threw a shoe at herself during a recent speech, an incident that has been widely publicized. Now, most of the shoe truthers (or boot believers, or flip-flop flippers, however they like to be characterized) would happily toss a shoe at Clinton themselves. In fact, they could think of no more pleasurable activity that putting Clinton in some sort of carnival stocks, buying a box or two of shoes at a thrift store, and pelting her leisurely with them, all the while saying things like "This shoe is the exact same size as Monica Lewinsky's" or "This boot has the dust of Benghazi all over it!"
But when someone actually attempts to hit Hillary with a shoe, they give the attempted assailant no credit for being one of them. No, the truthers believe that Clinton caused that footwear missile to be thrown at herself, to advance her not-yet-announced Presidential campaign. Machiavellianly, she has completely cornered the support of people who will vote for anyone that has had a shoe thrown at them for President. Just add that demographic to the rest of her base, and you have to admit one thing:
She looks like a shoo-in.
Breakaway republic of I-15
BUNKERVILLE, Nevada (Reuters) - U.S. officials ended a stand-off with hundreds of armed protesters in the Nevada desert on Saturday, calling off the government's roundup of cattle it said were illegally grazing on federal land and giving about 300 animals back to the rancher who owned them.
The dispute less than 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas between rancher Cliven Bundy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management had simmered for days. Bundy had stopped paying fees for grazing his cattle on the government land and officials said he had ignored court orders.
Anti-government groups, right-wing politicians and gun-rights activists camped around Bundy's ranch to support him in a standoff that tapped into long-simmering anger in Nevada and other Western states, where vast tracts of land are owned and governed by federal agencies. News item I chanced across this bit of news yesterday after lunch and thought to myself, Well, there's got to be a reaction to this. Sure enough, I clicked on a Huffpost video and Senators McCain and Graham and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were sneering at Obama's lack of will in failing to provoke a Waco-style standoff over three hundred cows and an endangered tortoise.
MCAIN: Just another example of Obama's fecklessness. International bullies everywhere think that they can get away with anything because of Obama's refusal to plunge the nation into war, in this case civil war, over any small incident or another.
GRAHAM: True 'nuff, fellow Senator. Vladimir Putin will throw a girl band in prison for months just for messin' with him. That's why when he goes invading, he gets respect. Obama is going to regret not treating northbound I-15 near Bunkerville as a breakaway republic that needed to be cruelly stomped into submission.
MCCAIN: It only encourages America's enemies to see us refusing to open fire on our citizens. I mean, they're totally convenient. If we won't send a military column a few miles north of Vegas to shoot a few of our own outback crazies, can our allies trust us to defend them? It reminds me of Benghazi.
GRAHAM: Benghazi? How's that?
MCCAIN: Almost everything reminds me of Benghazi, if you hadn't noticed. But to get back to the subject of Bunkerville, it's my belief that if Obama can't stand up to a bunch of tumbleweeds armed with light weapons, the Iranians are absolutely going to go ahead and build a bomb.
GRAHAM: I couldn't agree with you more, Senator. How about you, Bashar?
BASHAR AL-ASSAD: I'm solid with you guys. I don't mean to brag, but when it comes to killing my own citizens, I'm a guy that can really bust a move, if you know what I'm saying.
MCCAIN: And we respect you for that. Right now Obama's only going after those rebel snakes in Nevada with "legal and administrative" means. What's that sound like to you, Senator Graham?
GRAHAM: Like the weapons of wimpitude. Like international sanctions, only for sun-baked armed idiots. What do you think of international sanctions, Bashar?
BASHAR AL-ASSAD: We in Syria have enjoyed them for years. I can tell you confidently that they don't work. Me and my inner circle have enough wine, prostitutes and Viagra to last us at least until our ally Russia invades all the countries in between us and them and rescues us from the rebels. Sanctions don't scare us.
GRAHAM: America would get back some of the international respect we've lost if we were more like you and Putin, Bashar.
MCCAIN: (Rolling up sleeves) You bringing up sanctions reminds me that you're a wanted international criminal, Bashar. How did you get on this show anyway?
At that point I woke up and realized it was all a dream, probably brought on by eating too many taquitos, causing me to fall asleep in front of the computer. I also noticed that the next link on the page was headlined ANGELINA JOLIE 'LOOKALIKE' FORCES CABBIE INTO SEX, THEN STABS HIM SIX TIMES.
Glad I didn't dream about that.
San Diego cops want to see all her tattoos
The San Diego Police Department is being sued by the workers at two strip bars in the city. The girls working these two night spots claim that the police held them in their dressing room for more than an hour while checking their licenses and also photographed most of them nude or nearly nude so they could compile a photographic record of "identifying tattoos" on their subjects.
The complainants object to this, but I think the rest of us can agree that this is police work at its finest. These cops know that lawbreaking abounds in the naked dancing field, not the least of which is unlicensed nudity. For non-San Diegans, I should explain that San Diego requires each naked dancer under its jurisdiction to have an "adult entertainer" license. This sets the stripper back a couple hundred bucks, and it comes straight out of her garter. This fee covers a background check, among other things. What could be more important to a strip bar customer in the throes of getting a lap dance than knowing that the creamy derriere being ground against the rayon of his trousers is not guilty of any felony convictions? Other than worrying about a potential dry-cleaning bill, that is.
Cynics claim that the purpose of the adult entertainer license is merely to generate income for the city and give the cops an excuse to hang out in strip club dressing rooms instead of taco shops and it is true that San Diego is unique in requiring them. In California, the most regulated state in the country outside of New York, you are required to have a license to do almost anything, from building a skyscraper to painting an outhouse, but only San Diego protects its strip bar customers by making sure their eyes, glazed by alcohol and lust, are not falling on outlaw boobies. Only unclothed entertainers need be licensed here; you can mime, or paint yourself gold and pretend to be a statue, or play the tuba at a subway stop, if you can find a subway stop, without any special permit at all.
And photographing naked girls with tattoos is certainly a legitimate police interest. The San Diego police lieutenant who defended the practice stated that the strippers could easily disguise themselves by changing their hair color or wearing wigs and the police could lose track of which stripper was which as they went about their nude business if they didn't have the photo gallery of intimate tattoos ("Sure, she's blonde this week, but she's still got that tattoo of Jimmy Kimmel riding a unicorn on her rump. Book her!")and it also helps keep the average cop's Instagram account a lot more interesting. One thing the SD cops aren't interested in is tattoos on male strippers. Professionally naked guys are trusted to go about town wagging their genitals without any police supervision. These hulking oiled men pose no threat to their customers in the judgement of local lawmen, at least not compared to girls with criminally taut tummies and temptingly tattooed behinds. It's Tawny, Amber, Desiree and the rest of their crew that the San Diego cops want to target in their panty raids, not Brock, Logan or Dirk.
So don't give us a lost of personal liberties bosh here in SD. If girls here want to have civil rights, they can keep their clothes on. We're old school that way.
Keep Spot Away From Your Stash!
The head of the DEA has urged Americans to reconsider legalizing marijuana because it may be bad for their dogs.
This represents major backpedaling on the part of the government, which, as recently as my personal youth, held that marijuana led to sex crimes (which back then were defined as black men having sex with white girls) insanity and death, or at least was a "gateway drug" which would lead to drugs that actually did cause sex crimes, insanity and death.
Many of us tried smoking pot anyway, probably in the hope that it would lead to sex, even if it was of the criminal variety, but discovered that, despite what we had been told. it only led to sniggering hysterically while watching Monty Python reruns and then eating a gallon of ice cream. This partially engendered the basic distrust of the government that most Americans are noted for today, and also made some of us notably fat as well.
Now all the anti-marijuanistas can find to say is that regular dope use is suspected to destroy personal drive and ambition. Today's useless stoners could be curing cancer instead of watching fail videos on YouTube if they weren't in a state of semi-permanent bakitude, weed-haters argue. That's probably true, but they could also be looting your IRA. Lack of ambition is a two-edged sword.
Mankind's history with dope goes back to the dawn of it. Smoking ganja probably predates drinking beer, since you don't need a lot of cauldrons and tanks to make the intoxicant. You just have to discover fire. Desire for beer has sometimes been credited as inspiring the first civilizations. Nobody gives marijuana credit for that. In fact, stoners probably got their original bad rap back in the Stone Age, when beer lovers told them, "Look, we need to invent civilization and agriculture so we can have tubs and grain to brew beer," and the stoners replied "Pass. There's a sunset scheduled for tonight that we plan to be completely blazed for. And we ate all your grain."
Here in America, we have by now, after years of putting tokers in jail or at the least forcing them to eat innumerable foul-tasting roaches when police flashers go on behind them, have mostly decided that they are usually harmless and it would be better to leave them be. The DEA has noted this, and in a desperate rearguard action, has decide to invoke the specter of harm to possibly the only thing that Americans love more than beer, pot and porn—their dogs.
Apparently, dogs are getting into people's pot brownies and ending up at the veterinarian's office, suffering from ill effects, according to Michele Leonhart, the DEA chief in question, and not just the ill effect of having their noses whacked angrily by pot brownie bakers. According to Michele, and the USA Today article she quoted:
...the effects of marijuana could make it more difficult for a dog to breathe or vomit up a product that could kill them, like butter.
Well, everyone likes a breathing dog over the alternative, so no argument there. But a dog that is unable to vomit doesn't strike me as a problem. Dogs live to vomit. It's their revenge for leashes. They consider it a canine duty. And your dog will only vomit one place-on your rug. Dogs will never toss their biscuits on a tile or wood floor. Try this experiment. Put the tiniest rug you own—the one with the little arms that hug your toilet will do—in the middle of an NBA basketball court. Bring in a sick dog. That dog will run all the way across the court to that rug before it yacks, even if it has to dart through the legs of the Laker Girls to do it.
So if legal blunt gives us an America where fewer dogs are hucking chow, I regard it as a positive, no matter what scare tactics the DEA may employ. Let the stoners be free! And let them keep their brownies away from their dogs. But if they don't, and they really want their dog to vomit, there's a simple solution—just give it some beer.
Action guy Steven Seagal weighed in on the international dispute over Russia's annexation of Crimea this week... he's siding with his friend Vladimir Putin and not with President Obama... In an interview with the state-run Rossiskaya Gazeta, Seagal called Putin "one of the great living world leaders," adding that he "would like to consider him as a brother." --News Item
HOW THEY MET—THE REAL STORY (Some dialogue reconstructed)
(A few years ago. Steven Seagal is wandering around Moscow, having just completed a day of filming on his latest direct-to-video action movie, I Kick People, in which he plays a martial arts person who takes justice into his own hands and then does unspeakable things to it, when he is approached by a limousine. The window of the limo slides down with an electronic purr.)
VOICE FROM THE LIMO: Get inside, Comrade Seagal.
STEVEN SEAGAL: Why? Is there someone I could kick in there?
VOICE: It is I, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia.
STEVEN SEAGAL: (peering inside limo) You are very short. Almost too short to kick. Are you sure you are Putin, and not Tom Cruise trying to punk me?
PUTIN: I am sure! Perhaps you would like to spend a few months in Lubyanka prison? That is the way I punk people.
STEVEN SEAGAL: There is no prison I cannot kick my way out of, but I respect the way you overreact to any perceived slight with a threat of punishment that is so disproportionate that it borders on psychopathy. We can be friends. (Gets into limo)
PUTIN: That is good, Comrade Seagal, for I have long been an admirer of your films. When I am confronted with difficult decisions, particularly ones concerning children held by terrorists and little countries that think I will not invade them, I ask myself, WWSSD, or What Would Steven Seagal Do?
STEVEN SEAGAL: When I am under siege, although hostages may be marked for death, I am hard to kill. Just like you.
PUTIN: See, even the titles of your movies provide inspiration for me and my oligarchs! How is your new wife?
STEVEN SEAGAL: The same as yours—a beautiful Eurasian woman much younger than me. She is terrified of me.
PUTIN: After a hard day of bullying at work, it is good to come home to that kind of naked, unrehearsed fear, nyet? How is your friend Sheriff Joe? Does he still make his prisoners wear pink underwear?
STEVEN SEAGAL: Yes, but I am a little worried about that. He confessed to me that he just likes looking at young Mexican guys with firm brown rear ends in pink underwear.
PUTIN: All of our friends have faults, Comrade Seagal. But they also have their strengths. If we had Sheriff Joe running the Gulag, I think he would have been the greatest concentration camp commander of all time. We would never have lost the Soviet Union. But we are getting it back, bit by bit! It will be my proudest achievement! What was the greatest moment in your career?
STEVEN SEAGAL: When Jean-Claude Van Damme cut off his pointless little ponytail. People stopped getting us mixed up.
PUTIN: It is good to have your own brand, comrade. Yet, not everyone admires us. Angela Merkel thinks I'm a preposterous little lying toad.
STEVEN SEAGAL: That's okay--Jenny McCarthy thinks I'm a bloated bag of dull-eyed perversion.
PUTIN: But others still believe in us. Some people really think I invade places because I actually care about what happens to other Russians, even though I've let hundreds of them die in badly botched hostage rescue attempts.
STEVEN SEAGAL: (touching his head) And some people believe this isn't a hair weave.
PUTIN: But our fans are dwindling, Comrade Steven. I fear I've won my last unfixed election.
STEVEN SEAGAL: And I'm stuck in a direct-to-video rut.
PUTIN: But we still have each other! So if I were to annex a little old peninsula south of Ukraine, would you have my back?
STEVEN SEAGAL: As long as I can always get cheap extras and English students writing tense, crappy dialogue for two bucks a page here in Russia so I can keep my films as low budget as possible, sure.
PUTIN: Comrade! (They lean towards each other so their heads are almost touching. A moment. Putin sighs contentedly, then pushes a button) Care to listen to some Michael Buble?
Wearing a dress. 'Nuff said
The Timberlake Christian School of Lynchburg, Virginia, has informed one of its students, eight-year old Sunnie Kahle, that her usual appearance "did not conform to Biblical standards" because Sunnie wore pants instead of dresses and liked to play rough in the schoolyard. They told Sunnie she'd better start coming to school wearing dresses. Miffed, Sunnie's grandparents, who are raising the child, withdrew Sunnie from Christian school.
At first glance, the persecution of Sunnie seems like an act of mindless intolerance, but let us look at it from a Christian point of view. A Christian school, where the students are busy every day learning what they should or should not think, is no place where the spectacle of an undergrown lesbian can be tolerated.
The most obvious reason that Sunnie got the boot out the door of Timberlake was the reason stated. Her regular uniform of pants did not conform to Biblical standards because Jesus usually wore a dress. 'Nuff said. Whether Sunnie's rough and tumble ways might have been appreciated more in Biblical times, where a sturdy, butch eight-year old might have beeen more useful to her people while they were camping out for forty years in the desert or storming Jericho or just enjoying a plague of locusts than an Old Testament "girly-girl" is not relevant here. The words of the Bible, or at least all the pictures inspired by the words of the Bible, show us clearly that Our Savior wore no pants, and neither should Sunnie.
But the Christian case does not rest solely on Biblical precedents, sturdy as they may be. The school sent a letter to Sunnie's grampies in which it said it was against:
"Condoning or supporting sexual immorality; practicing homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender; promoting such practices; or otherwise having the inability to support the moral principles of the school."
This paragraph shows clearly that Timberlake knows it is living here, in the present, the teen years of the third millennium since Jesus told us He was coming back to end the world in glory, even though we're still twiddling our thumbs waiting for that. Even as short a time ago as the 1950's, Hollywood was fond of depicting "tomboys," girls who could fight Indians or shoot mountain lions out of trees as well as boys, rough, scruffy females like Sunnie. These girls, however, only needed the touch of a special lad to immediately abandon baseball or bullfighting, throw on an apron and starting baking pies.
Nowadays we know better. "Tomboy" is just a code term for "proto-lesbian." Sunnie is only a few years away from having the same "roommate" for all four years of college, downloading all the tracks the Indigo Girls have ever recorded, and becoming a helicopter mechanic or a deputy sheriff.
You might think that sexual immorality would be beyond the reach of an 8 year-old, but once again the Christian school has the better of us in reasoning. It is never too soon to rip the monster of lust out of its hidden place, throw it on the school cafeteria tiles and stomp on it frantically like it was some kind of weird, mind-controlling protoplasm from a science fiction movie. Every time Sunnie tackles a Christian boy in the schoolyard while playing football, crushing his immature genitals into the gravel, a good Christian knows in his or her heart that child gets closer to the day he will start downloading lesbian porn to alleviate his shame.
It is also reported that Sunnie fields questions about her gender with aplomb. The other children regularly ask her if she is a boy or a girl, in the direct way of children. That they should be forced to do this, before learning the proper adult way to deal with an androgynous person, which is to point at them and speculate while smirking to conceal laughter, is another reason Sunnie has to hit the road.
That Sunnie does not belong in a Christian environment is obvious already, even before we mention that the very fact of her existence violates the deeply held Christian principle that she is choosing to be lesbian. Her grandparents must be Christians themselves, because they wouldn't have jammed her into Timberlake if they were not, so it is highly unlikely that they are filling her baby mind with gay indoctrination. She is too young to be seduced by her high-school gym teacher, or to wake up from a drunken sorority party next to a woman who has just fulfilled her in countless ways that a man will never be able to duplicate, or to take enough molly that she finds herself in the middle of a grinding, all-girl orgy that she wishes would never end, or any of the other ways women normally make the choice to become lesbians.
She is not a man-hater. Eight year-olds having different things to hate, like fractions, going all winter without getting a snow day and being put to bed early so the adults in the house can watch HBO.
She's just here. She might grow up to be queer. Get rid of her. Amen.
Author's Completely Unrelated Note: I just found out that last Saturday was National Cleavage Day, so in honor of my readers who collect arcane daily festivities and also those who just like cleavage, here's a link to a celebratory page:
I knew where she was going
My Significant Other and I are spending more time together lately, owing to her being constantly at home recovering from surgery, and we have had many wide-ranging conversations on history and current events during this interim of extra forced togetherness. We should possibly record these intellectual interchanges for history, or at least for YouTube, for otherwise future generations may be deprived of our mutual wisdom, which might actually be a great idea.
For example, just yesterday we were discussing the fate of Crimea. "Who lives in Crimea anyway?" she asked me, knowing that, while she owns the PhD in the relationship, I am the partner who is most crammed full of a arcane, useless knowledge that no one will ever pay me a dime for acquiring.
"Well, the Russians do now," I replied. "But before it was the Tatars. Stalin deported them to Siberia because he didn't trust them, and replaced them with Russians he didn't trust to be near him. Frankly, the guy had trust issues. A lot of meglomaniacal mass murderers do."
This is be mostly true, I think, although if I were asked to footnote it, I would give my usual reference, which is "Something I read somewhere a while back." Then I made the admission that turned the conversation all wrong, which was "I don't really know whether the word is pronounced TAH-TERS or TAY-TERS.
A sick gleam shimmered in my girl's eye. "I like TAY-TERS," she said. "Then you could call their children..."
I knew where she was going. "Tatar tots," I mumbled ashamedly.
"And the Russians?"
"Tatar haters, of course."
"People who make fun of them?"
"When they bring you food, you call them?"
"Tatar waiters. Please stop."
"Not until you get one wrong. If you marry one, you're a..."
"If you come across a Tatar who is the most miserable, despicable lowlife among the whole clan of Tatars, what do you call him?"
I was stumped. "I don't know," I admitted.
"LOWEST COMMON DENOMITATAR!" she howled, and went off cackling into the yard.
I felt extremely troubled by the entire conversation. Who were we to malign this ancient, long-suffering, lost tribe, who once aligned themselves with the descendants of Genghis Khan and kicked tail all over Central Asia, which my ancestors were certainly too shy to do? No one deserves being made fun of just because their name sounds funny in English. Ask the Hottentots, the Gullahs, the Weegers or the Tutsis. Or anyone who lives around Lake Titicaca.
And now Dictionary.com tells me that they are, in fact, the TAH-TERS. Never mind.
What Meadowlands will someday look like
It has been just about forever, it seems, since this column has covered its favorite subject, the end of the world and the utter dissolution of the human race. I know some of you are thinking to yourselves "Wait a second--I thought your favorite subject wasfecal transplants," and that is high on my list as well, but unfortunately, end of the world predictions and fecal transplant news have both fallen off the charts further than Busta Rhymes and have been failing to provide column material for months now.
So I have to be content with analyzing this study from a three university researchers who used NASA computers to predict the imminent collapse of our civilization, which is not exactly the end of the world but might prove inconvenient as well. These guys say that modern civilization is fated to cash in its chips because of resource exhaustion and income inequality.
They might have a point as far as resource exhaustion. Let's face it, an average American, sitting in his adjustable recliner while reading his friends' posts on Facebook and also simultaneously viewing "Cake Boss" on an HDTV the size of a patio door is using 60,000 times more energy than a comparable aborigine squatting on a rock in the jungle watching bugs have sex, and, sadly, is probably being less thoroughly entertained. But I, and all Americans who think that anyone who complains about income inequality is a certified, flag-burning traitor, deny that the disparity in between the fortune we pay people for making our IRAs disappear as opposed to the pittance we pay people for serving us sandwiches will have anything to do with the end of the American way of life. This is saying that while we return to howling savagery, socialist European countries will survive to produce even more masterpieces and old buildings. This is saying that the country that produced the Swedish Chef will outlive the nation that birthed Rocky Balboa.
That is nonsense. Also you have to figure that no matter what happens to America, there's going to be enough nine volt batteries and LED screens left over to preserve some kind of social networking. But if worse comes to worse and America vanishes forever, for whatever reason, there's one thing we can vow to do now—become the biggest, baddest lost civilization of all time. We're already halfway there.
First off, when future archaeologists dust off our playgrounds and taverns, what are they going to find the most of? Spherical objects of every size, ranging from pool to bocce to soccer. Right away they're going to realize the most important thing about us--we had balls.
And what did these other collapsed so-called civilizations leave behind? The Romans, a few old tubs, aqueducts and one stadium in a sorry state of disrepair and the Egyptians, merely a big bunch of stacked-up rocks. Where are the selfies? Think of how much more real the ancient Egyptians would seem to us if we had just one Instagram of a slave in a body cast posting with a message like "Broke both my legs falling off Sphinx today so now I'm croc food" followed by a sad face in a hieroglyphic Emoticon, or the Romans actually uploading a video of one of their famous orgies instead of just bragging about them in a dead language.
Well, they'll never say America didn't leave enough traces of itself for future people to examine. From sea to shining sea, both lined with marinas and rental condos, to our massive, well-marked and organized landfills to our Ginsu knives and toaster ovens, America will leave enough pieces of itself behind that archaeologists thousands of years in the future will have employment studying them for thousands of years in their future.
Plus Americans specialize in durable goods. When some future tomb raiders break into Ted Nugent's sarcophagus, not only will his ancient guns still fire but the Pop Tart he left on his counter will probably still be edible. And the flamboyant archaeologist who bites into it will probably make the same face that we all make today when we bite into a Pop-Tart, the face that says Why am I doing this?
The most important thing, though, will be the images. The billions of pics, the millions of You Tube videos, the Facebook posts beyond counting, all will provide a window into us that no prior tragically lost civilization could ever come close to matching and the message they offer will no doubt send the students of us in the future into paroxysms of uncontrollable envy.
"Wow," they'll think. "These people did nothing but eat and have sex." And then they'll vow to be more like us.
It's almost worth dying off for.
Walker, Texas Ranger
Walker, condo stepper
As a mentioned a few posts back, my Significant Other discovered she needed a fresh hip joint a few months ago and we packed off to a local hospital to get that done last week. The hospital was a bright, cheery, beautiful facility on Coronado, which is a bright, cheery beautiful semi-island across the bay from most of San Diego and about as far west as she could have the surgery unless she wanted to have it aboard ship, meaning it was a forty mile commute every day to see her.
The people who worked at the hospital were very proud of their facility. They pointed out to us that it was quiet and smelled nice compared to other hospitals. One person actually assured us that their food was "excellent." It was only after I tasted it that I realized she was using the word "excellent" in a manner not familiar to most English speakers, because most of us would not apply that word to purple guacamole and chicken salad drenched in relish. At night, when all the visitors departed, the hospital, like all hospitals, put on its special shift of people that really hate sick people, to keep the patients awake and annoyed so they have something to complain about to their visitors the next day.
Now, getting chopped open and having a titanium joint shoved into your bone hurts just as much as it sounds like it should, and the hospital solves this problem by pumping its patients full of drugs whose street value probably exceeds that of a stolen Escalade. After four days of mostly sitting quietly watching my girl hallucinate, we were discharged. As per rigid hospital policy, they waited until rush hour to cut her loose, so she could enjoy the healing vibe of being stuck mid-air on the Coronado Bridge for ten minutes.
She is on a walker for a few weeks until her body adjusts to its new parts. For the first few days, I hovered behind her at every move, thinking she would fall over, but now she's getting quite good at it—she may soon be ready for the all-walker version of Bring It On.
"Down with the bad—up with the good" she mutters to herself as she bangs around the condo, reminding herself which foot to place first when using the stairs but sounding more like a demented superhero making a mission statement.
Mostly it's me that has to take care of her, which is straining my stunted male capabilities of noticing things and paying attention to other people's needs to their limits. The man who would be my brother-in-law if I was married to my S.O. contributed by making two giant bags of peanut-butter cookies for her and bringing them over, then announced "I hate peanut butter cookies," ate all the rest of my Thin Mints instead and then slipped out the door without so much as throwing away the wrapper.
I'm not particularly fond of peanut-butter cookies either, and as far as I can tell the patient hasn't eaten a single one, but as she heals I sit around munching them dutifully and wondering bitterly why a man who would bother making cookies wouldn't learn to make cookies that he liked instead of depriving me of Thin Mints until next February. I also believe I became first heterosexual male to sit through a full episode of "Operation Runway—Under the Gunn" without making a single smart-ass remark, out of deference to my patient's sensibilities. Correct me if I am wrong.
One day at a time.