Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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Oh dear where to start. 

I’ve said before that America is bad – that’s capital ‘B’, ‘A’ and ‘D’ – at foreign policy. The US Government should know this by now, I’m not the only one saying it. It is a well known fact all over the world – except in America which apparently doesn’t know very much about the rest of the world and also apparently isn’t going to learn any time soon.

There hasn’t been any time in history when America needed to take stock of what has happened and try to make a few friends out there in the big wide world rather than pissing everyone else off needlessly.

Sure if you’re the biggest and strongest on the field you can kick anyone around. But to what purpose when it’s just as easy to get people on your side. Most of the woes America faces, the rest of the world faces too. There’s more in common out there that you might at first think.

Cue the man who was going to bring in great change and had the power to do so. But, no, President Obama hasn’t changed a damn thing. He inherited a great big hole and he just jumped in there with his shovel and keeps on digging.

Worse, he has yet again allowed croneyism to take the place of innovation and good sense.

To help him he has given government positions to the biggest bunch of idiots that you could ever imagine.

Their first job it seems was to continue to piss off Europe. Hot on the heels of the NSA getting caught spying on German Chancellor Merkel,  the U.S. Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, was caught in a phone call recording saying “F*** the EU”.

Yes, you read that correctly. And she did all this as she was discussing who should be in the new Ukrainian government. 

Whoops! And Double Whoops!!

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Here it is if you want to hear it for yourselves.

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That’s the Secretary of State.

Now what about the Presidential appointeees, the Ambassadors.

You would think the main criteria for choosing your Ambassadors would be to get someone who has an in depth knowledge of the country where they will be posted. Someone well versed in the culture, history, politics etc. Someone who will fit in straight away and make a good impression on behalf of the American people.

Sound sensible?

Yes, of course it does.

Is it the way America chooses its Ambassadors?

No, of course it’s not.

America chooses its Ambassadors, not on ability, but rather on how much money they have raised for the President’s election or re-election campaign.

That’s what you call corruption in any other country. I’m not sure what it’s called in America but the consequences are plain and pathetic to be seen.

Nowhere better than in the most recent hearings for the ambassador positions.

In this lot of new Ambassadors we had Colleen Bell, a TV producer for a soap opera who was picked as the U.S. envoy to Hungary. Did she know anything about Hungary? No. She didn’t utter a word of sense, just relied on waffle and bluff.

The only thing that eased her humiliation was the new Ambassador to Norway who was so clueless he didn’t even know who was in Government there. He even called the Progress Party, which is part of Norway’s ruling coalition, a hate-spewing “fringe element.”

And last in these examples, but not least in terms of inability and unsuitability for the job, was Noah Bryson Mamet. He was the nominee for the Argentina ambassadorship despite the fact that he’d never even visited that country and can’t speak Spanish.

A couple of million dollars for Obama apparently goes a very long way to getting you the job of representing America on the world stage.

Incredible! And not in a good way.

I’ll give you the opportunity to hear Anderson Cooper’s take on it too.

Until the next rant!

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And Abbey Martin

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Last Saturday I talked about the movie ‘Lost in Translation’ and how trying to communicate in a language that you don’t understand can have comic consequences.

I have had a few dodgy experiences using things like Google translator or Bing’s verson or even Bable Fish, but thankfully none quite as bad as this next bunch of signs.

Enjoy.

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All of which goes to prove that it is easier to get the

message across using symbols instead of words!

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internationalmarriagesymbol.

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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There was a movie a few years ago called ‘Lost In Translation’ starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. It was about a jaded film star and a neglected wife who form an unlikely bond after meeting in a hotel in Tokyo, with the problem of translation between English and Japanese forming a sub theme.

It wasn’t a movie to everyone’s taste, but if you haven’t seen it definitely worth a look. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Bill Murray, and Best Director for Sofia Coppola, with Coppola winning for Best Original Screenplay. Scarlett Johansson won a BAFTA award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

All that is by way of introduction to today’s post which is also about how the real meaning of what you try to say can sometimes be lost in translation.

The following signs are good examples that illustrate the point and hopefully amuse.

Enjoy.

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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truth lies

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My father, who I loved and respected deeply, passed quite suddenly many years ago one August 12th. Now don’t worry, tissues not required, this isn’t going to be one of those sentimental posts as you will see in a moment, just setting a principle.

You see ever since that day I always know that when August 12th comes round that is the anniversary of his passing. Not that I do much to commemorate it or anything, but every year – same date – that’s it.

So why am I talking about something that happened in mid August now at the end of March?

Well, because they tell me this weekend is Easter and that always messes with my logic circuits.

Easter is a day that is honored by nearly all of contemporary Christianity to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which took place on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary.

So here’s a simple question.

If someone we know dies on a certain day of a certain month that date remains constant, it does not change, the anniversary is the same every year.

So why do we celebrate the Resurrection (death plus three days) of Jesus on such wildly varying dates?

For example in 2011 it was April 24th, last year it was April 8th, this year it is March 31st and next year it will be April 20th.

The only way that makes sense, is if the date we are told to celebrate has as little to do with the Resurrection and Christianity as have eggs, bunnies or candy.

It doesn’t seem to matter any more in America and many other western countries because the powers that be are intent on abandoning their Christian ethos for fear of offending those who refuse to abandon their religious beliefs. They are quite happy with the confusion.

It is, however, fairly clear if you do even a little bit of research on the subject, (and I encourage you to do your own research and not take my word for it), that most of the things people now commonly associate with Easter have in fact pagan, rather than Christian, origins.

And the pagan roots of Easter lie in the worship of pagan gods and in celebrating the spring equinox, which marks the end of winter and beginning of spring. Biologically and culturally, it represents for northern climates the end of a “dead” season and the rebirth of life, as well as the importance of fertility and reproduction.

References to a similar holiday have been found as far back as 2400 BC (that’s ‘B’ as in ‘before’ ‘C’ Christ) when, for example, the city of Ur apparently had a celebration dedicated to the moon and the spring equinox which was held some time during our months of March or April. “Ishtar”, which is pronounced “Easter” was a day that commemorated the resurrection of a pagan ‘god’ called “Tammuz”, who was believed to be the only begotten son of the moon-goddess and the sun-god. In other cultures he acquired different names, including “Osiris”, “Orpheus”, and “Dionysus”.

The Phrygian fertility goddess “Cybele”, was one of the most popular of these pagan gods, and worship of “Cybele” started in Rome around 200 BC. Ironically, a cult dedicated to her was even located on what is today Vatican Hill.

Even today modern Wiccans and neo-pagans celebrate “Ostara,” or “Eostre” which are derived from the Anglo-Saxon lunar goddess, “Eostre”. “Eostre’s” feast day is held on the first full moon following the vernal equinox – a similar calculation as is used for Easter among Western Christians. On this date the goddess “Eostre” is believed by her followers to mate with the solar god, conceiving a child who would be born nine months later on Yule, the winter solstice which falls on December 21st.

Two of “Eostre’s” most important symbols are the hare (both because of its fertility and because ancient people saw a hare in the full moon) and the egg, which symbolized the growing possibility of new life. Each of these symbols continues to play an important role in modern celebrations of Easter.

So Easter, like many other things the establishment encourages us to believe, is not quite what it purports to be.

I’ll leave the last word to someone smarter than me,

“See that no man deceive you.” Matt 24:4

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Remember the good old days?

In these difficult times there is a great comfort in looking back and remember how idyllic things were in the past. It is a place where all the summers were warm and sunny and the winters picturesque and pleasant.

At election times political candidates always like to remind us of times past and how good they were, implying that if they are elected they will see that all returns again to the way it was. 

Certainly some things were a lot better in many ways, but there are also a lot of things that were wrong too. 

It’s a subject I will probably return to again, but in the meantime here are a few old advertisements to remind you of how it used to be.

Reminisce and enjoy! 

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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We all happen to be living during a time when there are great advances and changes being made in the way we live our lives. Some of them are to our benefit, other not so much so.

Politically and financially the world is in turmoil. There is an accelerating and inevitable shift of power and influence towards the east, with former great powers like Britain and America declining in their influence and their economic might.

Perhaps that is a natural phenomenon, after all as they say “every dog has its day”, but I happen to believe that a lot of it is due to stupidity and mismanagement allied with a self-defeating philosophy that the west somehow has a duty to police the world and to create nanny states for its citizens where they will neither have to work nor want.

Technologically there have also been many changes and many more to come. During the past twenty years with the advent and growth of the internet everything has changed, from the way we interact socially, to how and where we work, and how we manage our affairs whether that be banking, shopping or whatever.

What a lot of these changes mean is that future generations will have no idea of how our lives used to be. Already many of us who have lived through the changes have forgotten how we used to have to do things. What would it be like trying to explain the ‘old days’ to a generation with absolutely no point of reference to the world we were born into?

To remind you of how it used to be here is a list of some of things we have known and lost, consigned to the rubbish bin of history. Feel free to add your own items to this list of things that your grand-kids will probably never know.

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Libraries as a place to get books rather than a place to use the internet.

Dewey Decimal System

Finding books in a card catalog at the library.

A physical dictionary — either for spelling or definitions.

Reference books such as phone books, encyclopaedias

Finding out information from an encyclopedia.

library_cartoon

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Having to manually unlock a car door.

Looking out the window during a long drive.

Using a road atlas to get from A to B.

Getting lost in a world without GPS.

gps_cartoon

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Being able to add and subtract without a calculator

Long division and multiplication

Trig tables and log tables.

Slide rules

Slide Rule

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House phones

Phone books and Yellow Pages.

Rotary-dial telephones.

Pay phones.

Phones with actual bells in them.

Answering machines.

Fax machines.

Not knowing who was calling you on the phone.

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Super-8 movies and cine film of all kinds.

Betamax tapes.

Video tapes and renting movies

Inserting a VHS tape into a VCR to watch a movie or to record something.

Laserdiscs.

8-track cartridges.

8-Track-tape-Player

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Casette Tapes

Vinyl records. Even today’s DJs are going laptop or CD.

CDs and DVDs

Playing music on an audio tape using a personal stereo.

Taping songs off the radio

A Walkman.

cassette tape

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Rotary tuners that scanned the radio dial and hearing static between stations as you went through the ether.

Shortwave radio.

CB radios.

Rotary dial televisions with no remote control. You know, the ones where the kids were the remote control.

Waiting for the television-network premiere to watch a movie after its run at the theater.

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DOS.

The buzz of a dot-matrix printer

5- and 3-inch floppies, Zip Discs and countless other forms of data storage.

Booting your computer off of a floppy disk.

Tweaking the volume setting on your tape deck to get a computer game to load, and waiting ages for it to actually do it.

Counting in kilobytes.

Joysticks.

Having to delete something to make room on your hard drive.

Waiting several minutes (or even hours!) to download something.

When a ‘geek’ and a ‘nerd’ were one and the same.

NCSA Mosaic.

Netscape

Alta Vista

Being able to get a domain name consisting of real words.

floppy disk

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Cash.

Writing a check.

Doing bank business only when the bank is open.

Shopping only during the day, Monday to Saturday.

Being able to buy something in Walmart that isn’t made in China

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Privacy.

Being able to take a drive or walk down the street without being surveilled on numerous cameras

Not knowing exactly what all of your friends are doing and thinking at every moment.

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Carrying on a correspondence with real letters, especially the handwritten kind.

Neat handwriting.

Spelling

Grammar

The fact that words generally don’t have num8er5 in them.

Typewriters.

typewriter

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Putting film in your camera

Sending that film away to be processed.

Having physical prints of photographs come back to you.

Film_Strip

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Vacuum cleaners with bags in them.

Ashtrays

Roller skates, as opposed to blades.

Ashtray

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Forget That The Criminals Are The Problem – Let’s Attack The Decent Law-Abiding People

Posted: January 20, 2013 in Politics, Rants, Uncategorized
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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Time for a bit of a rant today.

First one this year, I don’t know how I held out for so long.

Since the horrible massacre of schoolchildren and their teachers by a mentally deranged moron in Connecticut the real debate has again been sidelined into the convenient ‘to-ban-or-not-to-ban’ guns.

I can’t make up my mind as to what proportion of the gun-banning side of this so-called debate are idiots repeating what other idiots have said, how many are malicious, or how many are people trying to grab a handy headline or two.

The first lot can be easily compared with a flock of sheep. Sheep aren’t noted for their intellectual prowess, nor their debating skills, but when one sheep goes “baaa” you can be sure a lot more will say the same thing.

The second lot, the malicious ones, are deliberately rather than unintentionally refocusing the debate on to their liberal/fascist agenda of increasing bureaucratic interference wherever they see an opening.

And the third group are people, usually politicians or those with a political agenda, using the misery of other people to publicize themselves and their cause, but primarily themselves. Never one to let a band wagon roll past him, President Obama has jumped on this one, all guns blazing as it were!

For all these groups the ‘to-ban-or-not-to-ban’ guns debate is a handy, and a welcome, distraction.

It gives the first group something to say without stopping to analyze the real problem in detail. It gives the second group more ammunition (no pun intended today) to curtail freedom. As for the later group, the politicians love this distraction because it gives the impression that they are compassionate and caring and trying to find a solution, even though they are addressing the wrong problem.

.yes we can - no we can't 

On the face of it, Obama’s proposals can be dressed up as reasonable. If you haven’t seen them on the media (how could you avoid it?) they include:  

  • asking Congress to reinstate and strengthen a ban on the sale and production of assault weapons that passed in 1994 and expired in 2004;
  • a ban on the sale and production of magazines with more than 10 rounds, like those used in Newtown and other mass shootings;
  • criminal background checks for all gun sales, closing the longstanding loophole that allows buyers to avoid screening by purchasing weapons from unlicensed sellers at gun shows or in private sales;
  • banning the possession or transfer of armor-piercing bullets;
  • and cracking down on “straw purchasers,” i.e., those who pass background checks and then forward guns to criminals or others forbidden from purchasing them.

As I said, on the face of it reasonable, but I suspect this is just the first salvo of a much more comprehensive agenda.

However, the question of the moment is simply this  –  would a gun ban, whether partial or comprehensive, work?

And the answer is categorically, NO!

Gun Violence Plan Placibo

And the answer is ‘NO’, not because I am a champion of the 2nd Amendment – I’m not, it doesn’t even apply to me! The answer is ‘NO’ because taking guns away from law abiding people won’t stop the criminals or those with criminal intent.

It doesn’t take a genius to work that out, but no one in the gun-ban lobby is even asking that fundamental question. Nor do they want it to be asked!  

You see this is how gun bans work. I’ve seen them in operation in numerous countries.

If gun ownership is banned, law-abiding Joe Public won’t be able to go to Walmart and buy a gun as before. And he won’t be able to buy his gun because all that gun-banning legislation does is to make sure that no law-abiding citizen can buy and hold a legal firearm.

Joe Public is buying his gun (99.99 percent of the time) because he uses it for sporting purposes, or because he is a collector, or because he feels he needs it for his protection and the protection of his family.

The criminals, on the other hand, who don’t shop at Walmart, but are more likely to deal out of the trunk of a car in some isolated spot well away from prying eyes, will still be able to buy their guns and use them how they please.

Why?

Because they buy illegal guns from illegal dealers. And illegal guns from illegal dealers are not part of these new proposals. As a matter of fact the illegal guns are already banned which in itself proves that banning does not work! 

So what has to be the inevitable result of a ban on legally held weapons?

Simply this. When you ban law-abiding decent citizens from buying or owning guns all you can possibly end up with are armed criminals versus unarmed civilians, with the police (who would have been used by the politicians and bureaucrats to subjugate the law-abiding population and remove their protection) now being the only form of defense and they will be grossly inadequate in numbers to ever hope to do so effectively.

As another example of just how far up their own asses some people can stick their heads and still think they are getting a tan, an idiot reporter named Dwight R Worley of the New York Journal News recently published the names and addresses, complete with an interactive map, of people in Westchester and Rockland Counties who owned legally held firearms.

Like all such journalistic crap it was parceled up in ‘caring for the community’ and ‘public interest’ wrappers, but all this article did was to point an accusing finger at law abiding citizens who had done nothing wrong.

Well, when I say “all it achieved” that’s not quite accurate, because it also gave the thieves, the home invaders, the rapists, the thugs, etc., a map of the homes that were protected BUT equally the homes that were not.  

Thanks to dickhead Dwight R Worley (who incidently owns a .357 Magnum himself adding the crime of hypocrisy to his stupidity), Mr. Thief and Mr. Mayhem now know which houses in Westchester and Rockland Counties they can attack with impunity and those that they should stay clear of.

As it turns out, the people who should be most upset by this article are the ones who don’t have a gun, not those who do!

Zip this forward to a gun-ban country where all the law abiding people are defenseless targets for the criminals and there can only be one result. Not just an increase in violent crime but also a vast increase in petty crime. The detection rate for the latter is already minuscule, so think for a moment what it will be like when the criminals have little fear of their victims and even less fear of being caught.

The truth is that legally held guns probably save many, many more lives than they harm, and in most cases they do so without ever being used. But there aren’t any statistics for that.

The truth is that banning legal weapons will not stop illegal gangland shootings, which constitute the vast majority of deaths by gunfire in the United States.

The truth is that banning legal weapons won’t decrease the number of illegal weapons in circulation.

And the truth is that banning legally held weapons won’t stop morons or mentally deranged individuals from going on a murder spree – a knife, a bow or a can of gasoline will get the same job done.

The saddest thing of all is that the people and politicians who are calling for these bans know it. It would be nice to see them show a bit of backbone and integrity for once and attack the criminals and leave the law-abiding people alone. But don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. 

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Today was originally scheduled for the latest part in the short series about the curious and amusing phobias some people seem to have. But it’s a holiday week for most of us and I have put that post back until next week.

Instead I feel the urge to say something else. Two things actually.

First one is, have you heard of the herd? In particular the herd mentality, where people do something they have no need to do just because other people are doing it?

It happens a lot. Far too much in fact.

We witnessed it during the recent election campaign where people formed opinions not on the basis of their own analysis of the candidates and policies, but because of something someone else said or something they heard on tv.

We saw it again very recently after the dreadful murders in Connecticut where the unthinking herd ignored the real problem and  jumped on gun control as a solution to senseless attacks such as this. They might as well call for a ban on knives, axes, chainsaws, bows and arrows and gasoline when they are at it as any of these could do the same job in the hands of a mental defective.

And on December 24 we witnessed another example in grocery stores throughout the country (throughout the world even) as hoards of the unthinking joined the herd and bought up bread and food supplies like the shops would not be open again for at least a month. They are open again today you dummies!

These three examples have been going on for years and people never seem to learn, they just keep on following the herd without a thought in their heads.

And this leads me on to point two which is how little thought most of us give to what we are doing and what we are buying the already well off and pampered.

I know for a fact that Santa had orders for laptops and ipads and iphones and all sorts of other expensive playthings. And I also know that he hadn’t the sense to say no, but just bought them anyway. Mea culpa as much as anyone.

Then I got to thinking that life was a lot different when I was a kid. Yes we liked to get presents at Christmas, but they were a lot less sophisticated and a lot less expensive – even in relative terms. When I was eight, for example, I didn’t need a smart phone, or any phone come to think of it, nor was my social life so complicated and hectic that I had to have a chauffeur for all my must-do activities for every day of the week.

When I was a kid we had our toys, but we also had a thing called an imagination and we could make our own fun out of very little.

So what is the problem today? Why are kids so incapable of making their own entertainment? Why are they constantly “bored” without clicking a button on a computer consol or without someone else to do their thinking for them?

Like a lot of other things, it all boils down to money at the end of the day. Now I’m not advocating poverty as a solution to the world’s ills. Far from it. I like to make money, the more the better, and the thought of being, perhaps not rich, but comfortably well off is a very nice one. But if we had to we could all make do with a lot less. And I don’t think we would be any less happier in the process.

People in other countries seem to manage quite well. And they still seem to have the mental capacity to enjoy what little they have and make their fun out of next to nothing. In other words they are happy. If things do ever deteriorate to the extent that some of the doomsday preachers are telling us, there are a lot better prepared people in the world than there are in rich countries like America, or Britain, or Germany, etc.

Think about giving your kid or nephew or niece an old oil drum from the local garbage dump next Christmas instead of an ipod touch or some other overly expensive apple. I wonder how much music and entertainment they could get out of that?

Check out the video and you will see what I mean…

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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They call it Black Friday nowadays. It could just as easily have been Red Friday or Purple Friday or Green Friday or Any-Color-You-Like Friday. But the marketing men called it Black Friday and we’re stuck with it.

This is the day when people queue up for hours in the hope of getting something they don’t really need at a discount price they can’t really afford. And sometimes they lose their minds and fight and trample on each other for the dubious privilege.

Ah, the dumbing down of the dumb and the dumber!

When I say dumb and dumber don’t just think I am talking about the uneducated. Not in the least. Some of those for whom schooling was anathema have a lot more street savvy than most, something they have learned in what is sometimes known as the school of hard knocks – in other words, life!

I have learned that idiots come in all shapes and sizes and with all forms of learning and skills. There are smart football players and there are dumb ones. There are smart doctors and there are dumb ones. There are even smart academics and there are the well educated fools who may be exam passing machines but who haven’t the common sense to go to the local store and buy a loaf of bread.

A friend of mine, let’s call him Fred, was a guy like that. He had degrees by the yard, undergraduate, master’s degrees and even a PhD. I suppose I should have called him Dr Fred.

Academically he was brilliant. And a great teacher of academic subjects. He traveled the world and lectured in various schools and colleges to great acclaim.

But Fred hadn’t the common sense of a gnat when it came to commerce. All his life he bought things far too dear but always thought that he had bought them cheap. He was a car salesman’s dream customer, manna from heaven for a realtor, and bread and butter – and chocolate cake with icing – for any shopkeeper selling computing or electronic gear.   

The reason Fred comes to mind today is that he was also one of the idiots who would queue up half the night for a sale bargain, particularly where rare books were concerned. Fred was an avid collector.

Every year our local University bookstore held a one day sale where most of their books were discounted by at least 10 or 20 percent, but where one in particular was discounted by a massive amount, at least by half and sometimes by even more.

One year Fred spotted a book he had been after that was in the sale. It had been reduced from $500 to little over $100 and Fred was determined to have it.

So he spent the night and day before the sale getting as much sleep as he could. Then he made a flask of coffee and a few sandwiches, got a sleeping bag and set off confidently about 3 am in the morning to go to the bookstore to camp out until it opened.  

When he got to the store there was no one around, in fact nothing at all on the street, except for a large cardboard box sitting at the entrance to the shop. Fred quickly surmised that it was extra stock that had been delivered after hours for the sale.

He rolled out his sleeping bag, climbed inside it and settled down for the night. It was about this time of the year and cold, but not freezing or anything too extreme. He was comfortable enough.

The time passed slowly as it usually does at night when you aren’t able to get to sleep or when you are nervously anticipating some event that will happen in the morning. Four o’clock and five o’clock came and went, and at around six o’clock Fred ate his sandwiches and drank his coffee. He was very content. Just another couple of hours to go and the book would be his.  

By seven-thirty it was just beginning to get light. Traffic had started to move along the main streets as people began to make their way to work. The side street where the bookshop was however was still deserted, apart from Fred and the big cardboard box.

And then about ten minutes before eight the staff of the bookstore started to arrive. They smiled at Fred as they walked past and opened the door of the store. They switched the lights on and closed the doors again. Fred knew that they would open them again soon, when they had got themselves organized. Just a few more minutes he thought. Fred stood up and rolled up his sleeping bag, ready to enter the store.

That was when he heard the alarm. It wasn’t very loud and at first Fred thought it was coming from another street nearby. It wasn’t. Then he thought it was coming from inside the bookstore, possibly part of their security system. But it wasn’t that either. And then, before he could think up any other possibilities the alarm stopped just as suddenly as it had started.

Then to Fred’s complete and utter amazement the flaps of the cardboard box flew open and a head came out. It was a young man and as he got to his feet and stretched his arms he looked over at Fred and said, “Morning. You here for the book sale too?”

It was a classic ‘WTF’ moment. But Fred was having trouble grasping what had just happened and he couldn’t get any words from his brain to his lips. So he just stood there, mouth slightly open, trying desperately to piece together what was happening in front of him.

“I’ve done this before,” the young man said cheerfully to Fred. “Best place to be on a cold night is inside a cardboard box. Those old homeless guys know a thing or two I can tell you.”

This time words started to come to Fred. “Were you… did you… have you been… were you in that thing all night?” he eventually spluttered the question out.

“Sure thing,” the young man replied. “Had to get that first edition of..” and he named the book that Fred had his heart set on. “There’s only the one copy, you know.”

Fred did know, boy did he know. But it never occurred to him that someone else might know the value of the book or that they might want it too. It never occurred to him to look at the cardboard box, even though he had been there beside it for most of the night. And it certainly never occurred to him that there might be somebody inside it!

“FFS!” Fred exclaimed, more to himself than anyone else. He didn’t say another word after that. He didn’t go into the bookstore either. He turned and walked away, still not entirely sure, I think, what had just happened.    

 

As for me, you wont get me near a shop tomorrow, bargains or not. If you are going shopping then good luck, this might be what you are letting yourself in for.

===========================

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 .

I suppose this being an election year and all it would be remiss not to make some sort of comment on things political. I have to admit that I am not a great supporter of the democratic system as it currently exists.

I say this for a number of reasons. Here are four.

One, we never get to vote for the best candidate, only the candidates who can raise the most money, and who are selected by the party faithful.

Two, most people are so welded to the Republicans or Democrats that an independent candidate, even if he were by far the best of the bunch, has such an uphill struggle it is virtually impossible for him or her to get elected.

Three, our democracy does not require the voter (or the candidate I suppose) to be qualified in any way. The intellectual and the moron have an equal vote, even though the former has the ability to vote for the best qualified candidate with the most sensible policies, whilst the latter will vote for the one who wore the nicest tie in a TV debate.

And four, because whether we have Republicans or Democrats in power, or a white or colored President, they continue to allow the same sycophants and morons to populate all the important parts of government and crucial elements like the banking sector.  

“Yes we can?”

No we can’t.

Not with the present system. The current incumbent has proved that one beyond all reasonable doubt.

So what does all this mean? Well, it means probably that whoever gets elected, things will go on much the same.

But hopefully some people will actually think about who they are voting for and why. And try to cut through the electioneering promises and hype and think about what is practical and doable.

The following might help to clarify things a little.

Enjoy.

 

Death Of A Senator 

A powerful senator dies after a prolonged illness.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

“Welcome to Heaven,”
says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”

“No problem, just let me in,” says the senator.

“Well, I’d like to but I have orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in Hell and one in Heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.”

“Really, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in Heaven,” says the senator.

“I’m sorry but we have our rules.”

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to Hell.

The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a club and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him, everyone is very happy and in evening attire.

They run to greet him, hug him, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster and caviar.

Also present is the Devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes.

They are having such a good time that, before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a big hug and waves while the elevator rises.

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on Heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

“Now it’s time to visit Heaven.”

So 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing.

They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

“Well then, you’ve spent a day in Hell and another in Heaven. Now choose your eternity.”

He reflects for a minute, then the senator answers, “Well, I would never have said it, I mean Heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in Hell.”

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to Hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he is in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and all sorts of other disgusting things and putting them in black bags.

The Devil comes over to him and lays his arm on his neck.

“I…I…I… don’t understand,” stammers the senator. “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a club house, and we ate lobster and caviar, and danced and had a great time. Now all there is, is a wasteland full of garbage and awful stuff and my friends all look miserable.”

The Devil looks at him, smiles and says,

“Yesterday we were campaigning…

Today you voted for us!”


PLEASE VOTE WISELY THIS COMING ELECTION!!