Wednesday, June 28, 2006

the cost of free speech

Well, the War on the America has claimed another victim. No, I'm not talking about soldiers in Iraq. That's the so-called War on Terror. I'm talking about a much more serious threat, an attack on the very foundations of this country that have made it the great place that it is. Or was. Or could be, again.
Wha the hell am I talking about? I'm talking about the death of Treestory's blog. Dont bother following the link, because there's no blog at the end of it. Care to know why. Because Treestory has made a comment or two about their boss. And as remote as the possibility may be, somebody may connect the relatively anonymous blogger comment to the real human being making it. Never mind that we supposedly enjoy the right to free speech. Never mind that no names were actually used (unless The Satanic Barbie is really what the Boss goes by). Treestory was worried, and rightly so. Ask the Phantom Professor. She lost her job at SMU because somebody didnt like seeing their behavior described (not themselves named, mind you, just their behavior described).
I'd like to blame the Republicans for this, because they obviously hate America (except the money, duh), but as much damage as Republicans have done to the rights of free speech, I would have to lay the blame for the beginning of this trend upon the liberals and the PC movement.

Oh, who am I kidding. As obnoxious as PC-ism may be, it doesnt hold a candle to the Might-Makes-Right culture being fostered into full fascistic adulthood by the Right (Huh, "the Right". Ironic, huh?) .
Who do the courts almost always uphold anymore? Authority.
51%? Hey, it's a mandate for the Decider!
And if you're not in favor of the War, well, then, you're a traitor!

And, above all, what does Money and Power hate to see most of all? Someone else crossing them. Especially someone without money or power. So Money calls up Power, and Power lifts one of it's big, shiny jackboots up high, and proceeds to grind the Little Voice of Opposition in the wilderness down into a greasy spot. This is pretty much how things have worked in your average third-world country, or your average totalitarian dictatorship, or even many neatly ordered asian societies. Social order, or just plain Orders.

Sorry folks. I'm afraid free speech is messy. People get pissed off, secrets get told, gossip is spread. It's not tidy, but it is Free.
Can it be painful? You bet.
Can it be dangerous? Absolutely.
Would American even exist in the first place without it? Nope. Read your history.
Will America continue to exist without it? Sure, I mean Rome still exists, right? But dont expect it to amount to much, except for our glorious Oligarch Class. I'm sure they wont be inconvenienced. And all you'll need to join them will be a few hundred million dollars.

How hard can that be?

Friday, June 23, 2006

quote for the day

Bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down
and won.
And it was twelve o'clock before I realized I was having
no fun.

John Prine, from "Illegal Smile"

Thursday, June 22, 2006


there's a seriously absurd bunch of comments under a funny post about porn vs. reality at jakechristie. One of the best things there:
Canada failed in every sense. They could have had French cooking, American ingenuity, and the sophistication of the British. Instead they got British cooking, French ingenuity, and the sophistication of the Americans. Way to go Canada, way to go.
props to Spoonfighter

"god" save the king

The king aint dead yet, but let's forego the saving part, okay?The other day, my elder daughter went to Vacation Bible School with a friend of hers. I'm not sure I'll let her do that anymore. This could have been because of the bullshit little story they told about savage indians and their taming by Jesus (okay, that wasnt how the story was told, but it is how it boils down). Or maybe it was because of the Father's Day rock they made with the word "obey" on it. But it wasnt.
What got to me was a simple game of dodge-ball. Not the good old-fashioned kind, the democratic (anarchic, perhaps) free-for-all of toss-or-be-tossed-at. Not even the school-style team dodge-ball.
No, this was a different variant, one that might have been less sinister if it didnt have the stink of James Dobson all over it.
Here's how it worked: The kids were divided into two teams. On each side there was a "king", and the object was to protect this "king", even if it meant sacrificing yourself.
Had they been playing it in a synagogue, I probably would have been okay with it, but they werent. They were playing it at one of those big-ass Bible churches (the Wal-Marts of Christianity).
I was raised in the Methodist Church. I went to Sunday School, VBS, and Church Camp. I learned a lot of valuable lessons. Maybe those lessons are being sold at the Jesus-Marts, but I cant say as I like the packaging it comes wrapped in, and my kids wont be going to any more of those events (or, at least, not without some serious de-programming afterwards).
Everyone's got their right to have an opinion in America (so far, anyway), but that doesnt mean I have to expose my children to those opinions, especially the stupid ones (opinions, not children). As a parent, it's my job to give my kids the tools to be functional adults. Unquestioning Obedience is a crap tool, one which deserves to be tossed in that bin in the back of the garage, and used only to pry lids off of paint cans when you cant find a screw-driver.
Games arent just fun, they are also learning tools. And there are just some lessons I want my girls to be free of.

stage 5, maybe

am I wrong, or does commercial radio suck ass?Last year, I borrowed my Dad's pick-up truck. I've had it since then, partly because I sort of needed it (my car has bad struts and no A/C), but mostly so he wouldnt be driving it (he'd gotten a bit scary behind the wheel). For the last couple of days, I've been reprogramming the pre-sets on the radio. It's mildly disturbing, but, well, no one will be irritated with me, will they?

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Albert Earl AwayfromhomeOn June 7th, 2006, my father died. He was eighty years old and had lived a good life, I think. The impact of his death still hasnt totally hit me, mostly, I think, because I'm letting the idea into my head in small bursts. Like this one.
I mean, I know he's gone, but I try not to think about it, except in a controlled manner. Largely, I'm successful. Is this healthy? I dont know. Maybe it is for me.

He wasnt supposed to die so soon, though he wasnt in very good health. He was in that stage before the stage when you're counting the days. His kidneys were failing, but no one had said, "he's only got x length of time to live". He had, however, reached the stage where he needed dialysis, and while it cleared up the yellow tint he'd taken on, the process was apparently too much for his body, and it simply shut down.

Now he's gone, and I'll have to figure out problems with air conditioning, auto mechanics, and household appliance repairs all by myself.

So much of my childhood is a blur, a jumble of images without reference. Never having been one to dwell on the past, I now find myself unable to recall much of it with any sort of clarity, so the loss of my father is not only physical, but, I'm discovering, mental also, and this may be the worst part.

He would not have approved of my blog (amusingly, while talking to his brothers, uncles whom I'd not seen in years, I discovered that they were lifelong liberals). But it was the upbringing he gave me that taught me to question things, and that is much of what made me the person I am today. And I think of that and am grateful.

Thanks, Dad. I'll miss you.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Monday, June 05, 2006

just sad

I was talking to my step-son today, and he mentioned a friend of his who could tell you the height of each of the Marvel comic-book characters. I said, oh lovely, but I'll bet he couldnt name even four Supreme Court justices.
Said The Boy, "He couldnt even name one! I dont think I can either."

I made him vote in the last election, and now I am frightened.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

missed opportunity

I was planning to do a big narcissistic anniversary post on my one year point, May 30th. Except I found out on the 28th that my first post was written on May 23rd, so I'd totally missed it anyway.


Such is life. Things are just simply nuts right now anyway, so maybe the Anniversary thing can wait until August, which is when I really started blogging anyway (the two May entries are, quite frankly, shite).

Incidentally, can you guess which post I wrote that has gotten the most hits ever? That's right, this one. Not that it was intentional or anything.

personal baggage

mini miniLook at this little thing. Would you like to know where it goes? Ever seen one of those big RV buses towing a car behind? Ever seen one not? This may be why.