Archive for the ‘sociology’ Category

This Culturally Diminished Generation

July 16, 2017

[RANT – ON]

Maybe I’m in a crappy place right now…

I am a bit saddened by the state of the country these days.

No, not about Trump getting elected or any of the BS the Media keeps heaping on that dung pile. If that’s what’s worrying you then you ARE the problem.

We have had a war going on for the past fifteen years and I do not see anyone protesting it. Fifteen freakin’ years, folks!

Sure you have the time to march in your fancy vagina and penis suits, or marching glibly behind a couple of media puppets for what passes for “science” but is really more politics. Yes, they’ve got time to march for those “issues” but I guess millions of people dying is not an issue for those self-centered muffins.

No, their music today is all about they’ve been offended, or they want more – money, cars, whatever – or how badly they’ve been treated by their biatches.

Yes, it seems the eternal litany of “me, me, me” is alive and well in America these days.

In the sixties, there was a war. A little thing over in Southeast Asia… you may have heard of it – unless your neuter-specific history classes sort of gloss over the embarrassing affair – the Viet Nam War.

It did not go on for near as long as the present conflict in the Middle East but the youth of America were incensed. They rioted, they marched, they protested in great numbers and their music reflected it with things like “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and “For What It’s Worth” by the Youngbloods. (A reason why this blog has the same title.)

How could we wind up with an entire generation with its collective head rammed up its collective butt more concerned about themselves than anything else. And don’t give me the yap about their feigned uproar over “Global Warming”. I have yet to see any of the loud-mouths mouthing that crap to actually do something useful. Sure DiCaprio and Bono are all for fighting global warming but neither of the pair has quit flying, using their yachts, or driving their fancy cars, have they? Of course not! Why? Because they are just mouthing rather than doing.

In the sixties there wasn’t much mouthing. We got off our butts and did something.

We had a candidate primed to take us there in Robert Kennedy but they killed him.

Today, when Bernie was railroaded – not killed, mind you – his followers folded tent and went home, whining. Hey! They did not kill your candidate, people!

Christ!

These young people better reach down and find a bigger and hairier pair pretty soon or there won’t be any planet left to pass down to their own grandchildren.

And, believe me, the “runaway global meltdown” is going to be the least of the problems you’re gonna face. (That is, if that imaginary fairy dust apocalypse ever does come about.)

Okay…

[RANT – OFF]

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Natural Acts, Public Places

March 21, 2016



[an (almost completely) imaginary scene]



An older couple sat eating at the table to our right as we were seated and given menus. We engaged in small talk after making our selections, waiting the waitress’ return.

Meanwhile, to our left, a young mother was given a seat and she propped her baby-carrier on the table. The infant seemed to be content or was sleeping quietly.

Presently, the waitress arrived and took our drink orders. We both took water.

On our left, the infant began to make some noise. The mother stood, unstrapped the baby, and sat again. Then proceeded to open her blouse, drop a cup, and begin to feed her child.

To our right, I heard a gagging noise. I turned to see the old fellow was having a hard time swallowing something. Before I could rise and offer the Heimlich, he had regained control of his faculties. He signaled the waitress over.

I thought perhaps he was going to order a large glass of water but what he asked for instead was a request that the young woman should be removed from the restaurant, either to a restroom or a private area not in full public view.

The manager got involved and she told the old fellow that she saw nothing wrong with the public display.

“It is a completely natural function, you know.”

After a moment of working his jaw, the old fellow nodded. “In that case, my dear, would you please bring me a chamber pot.”

My wife and I departed even before the water arrived. Or the chamber pot.

Nor did we know if he ordered toilet paper on the side.

Some natural functions are meant to be private.





Another Reason to Avoid Kentucky

September 2, 2015





Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis, still refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite losing two court battles to uphold her position.

She even called the local sheriff’s office to have the malcontents removed from her office after they said they would not leave without a license.

Yes, you heard that right: in Kentucky the Sheriff uses his force to uphold law-breakers.

The author of the article I read said the woman cannot be fired because she was elected.

Hmmm… Most elected officials I have seen have to take an oath on taking office to uphold the laws of the state and the nation in the conduct of their duty. Since she is obviously in violation of her “sacred” oath, her removal from office should be a no-brainer.

The clerk’s husband, Joe Davis, said she has received death threats but remains committed to her faith and is “standing for God.”

Joe Davis said he believes in the Second Amendment and is not afraid: “I’m an old redneck hillbilly, that’s all I’ve got to say. Don’t come knocking on my door.”

He pointed to the gay rights protesters and said: “They want us to accept their beliefs and their ways. But they won’t accept our beliefs and our ways.”

By “our ways”, I assume him to mean “whatever else they decide to uphold whether or not it runs counter to the laws of Kentucky and the United States.”

Anyone – except I suppose for one who is “an old redneck hillbilly” – would see this has nothing to do with “accepting their beliefs” but rather following the laws of this great nation as they have been entrusted rather than follow the opinions of some random opinion maker handed down from a pulpit somewhere.

When asked to show where in the Bible it is that God forbids same-sex marriages, these people are at a general loss. You see, it’s more of a generalized religious opinion than any hard-and-fast laws… you know, like the laws of the nation they are violating.

I wonder if someone coming in for a license to marry multiple women would find an easier course in Rowan County. All they would have to do is point out all the people in the Bible who had multiple wives.

I’m sure that would suit Ms. Davis and her trigger-happy hubby just fine.

God Bless America!

(But I will avoid that state on any future travels. Having a law enforcement agency that supports the law-breakers and having elected officials using personal beliefs rather than national laws…

Hey, is that banjo music I hear coming through the trees?

I’m outta here!)





Ban Them ALL!

August 4, 2013

I know there has been a lot of BAN talk going around lately and I have kept quiet about the issue but I think that time has ended.

It is time to stand up and be counted!

Many people claim they use them for sport, others for hunting, some people use them only for work, or getting to work.

Some people claim they only collect the antique ones for show, like they’re not going to harm anyone.

But enough of this pandering to special interests, corporate bigwigs, and several societies and support groups, lobbyists and so forth.

These things have been proven to kill, individually and in mass, regardless of the “mental health” checks and testing done.

And now, according to the experts, the damned things are killing even more. Yes, they are killing the planet.

So I would like to stand up and be counted as one of those opposed to the madness. Let’s end the suffering.

Let’s ban the automobile and stop the senseless killing.

The air will be fresher, the world will live longer, there will be no more road rage and acts of violence with these weapons.

Write your congressman and let them know you support the auto ban today.


Out of Order… Completely!

March 2, 2013

restroom

A woman in Erin, Tennessee, went to a restaurant called “the Flood Zone” and used their “customers only” restroom without making a purchase.

Now, keeping in mind that this is Tennessee we’re talking about and with a name that includes “Flood”, the situation is simply rife with humor.

In the area I live (Northern Virginia), we have plumbing services with names like Flood, Waters, and even Peed.

But… no, I won’t go there.

Anyway, the really odd part of this story is that a couple of weeks later the lady received a bill in the mail for $5 for using the toilet.

Hey, Conspiracy Theorists, wake up!

It seems the proprietor of the Flood Zone had raced outside after the woman left without purchasing and copied down her car’s tag number. Then she talked to the police and they gave her the address of the offending woman.

The local cops said they did this “as a courtesy” to the restaurant owner.

“Wrong” is written in indelible ink on this behavior.

In Arizona, forty years ago, they passed a law to stop the local cops from giving out the addresses of motorists to just anyone who called in and asked. The reason? Several young women had been tracked through this “public service” by stalkers, and several were even killed thanks to the loose lips of the law enforcement agencies.

But then, Tennessee is a little further behind the times, I guess.

So, if you have to go and you’re in Tennessee, hold it until you see the friendly golden arches.


Another Martyr?

January 13, 2013

I read about a young man named Aaron Swartz who was so upset about his upcoming trial and pending jail time that he committed suicide.

Sure, it is always sad when young people (he was only 26) take their own lives when faced with really difficult situations. It is hard on the family and the friends as well as, in this case, people who were followers of the young man.

You see, he was a leader in the cause of free and open internet access. He did not believe things should be kept FROM people if it was data that should be freely accessible. And rather than make some new version of the FOIA, he created a manifesto and started a digital revolution.

Several articles say he was a martyr for the cause…

They claim he was a suicide…

Both claims are just wrong. Having been suicidal – in my younger days, so you don’t have to worry… they canceled that “suicide watch” some forty years ago – I have a pretty good understanding of what that entails. I have done volunteer work as a suicide watcher for cases of very depressed people and I don’t believe the very depressed kill themselves.

Why? Suicide is self-murder. Murder is a crime of passion and self-hatred is usually beyond the framework of the clinically depressed. They are usually so apathetic that though they may think of suicide, it is more a case of “what’s the use?” and though some may take too many pills or some such, a hangman’s noose is a little too active for those depressed. (I am, of course, not an “expert” in this field and I am sure I will get complaints from professionals in the area who will say I am dead wrong. Or something.)

The young man did not let on to anyone that he was A) despondent, B) depressed, or C) suicidal. There was no note, nor any clue as to the why of his action. And as his lawyers were fairly certain he was going to walk for his supposed crimes, what was his rationale for ending it all?


As for the man being a martyr… It is a subject I have studied in some depth (see my forthcoming volume How to Be a Martyr (or Die Trying) for more details) and I cannot see how an intelligent person would have chosen this method for martyrdom.

There should have been some statement about the reasons behind his death, whether a suicide note, a rant about his cause(s), or something.

Yet the press is calling it a suicide and a martyrdom when it seems to be nothing more than a simple murder. Conspiracy theorists are probably going to be all over this one but I cannot see that a conspiracy is required for someone to have had a motive.


Whether or not the police ever investigate the case further, there is another death recently that comes to mind. In July, a Chicago man, Urooj Khan, won the lottery and then dropped dead. It was reported as a simple “death by natural causes”.

Several members of his family fought to have more done on the case as they suspected foul play. It took four months before they re-examined the evidence and found cyanide. It has now been declared a homicide.

I can see something like this happening in Swartz’ case. Suicide and martyrdom make absolutely no sense. Revolutionaries and visionaries are not in the habit of bailing out when the going gets tough.

At least, none that I have ever seen.


Never Too Early to Screw Up, Huh?

December 17, 2012

I was listening to the radio this morning and the DJ was talking about his New Year’s resolution and I thought, Hey, you still got a coupla weeks, why rush into foolhardiness?

Years ago, I made New Years resolutions and – usually – failed miserably.

The ones (quite a few) to quit smoking simply went up in smoke too quickly to even bother. I finally did quit several years ago but it was in the middle of June and not tied to any such “resolution”.

The one to get back into exercising was continued for a few days before it ran out of steam.

The one to start eating healthier likewise fell wasting by the roadside. I do it now, so many years later, but – again – not from any silly NY resolution.

I cannot even remember all the crazy things I decided I would start with the new year that got lost in the holiday shuffle.

Except ONE.

In 1979, I finally made a resolution I have stuck with. It not only lasted throughout that year but through all the years since.

It has made my life better, less stressful, and happier.

The resolution?

Simple: to stop making New Year’s resolutions!!

And I am happy to say I have been a complete success at that one.

And though it is still two weeks away, have yourself a happy new year.

Whether you resolve to or not.


Today, A Man’s Word is… Ballpark

October 20, 2012

When I was younger, the one thing a person held most sacred was their word. A promise was a promise and if a person discovered they could not meet the expectations, they would apologize and go the extra mile to make up for the failing. To err was human, and all that.

Today, it doesn’t seem to mean much. Heck, in today’s world it seems a binding contract isn’t much either.

We hired a contractor to build a shed at our place and he said it would take four days. It has been six months and it is still not finished. The usual excuses are the truck broke down, something came up, or the dog ate the homework have all been called into use.

We contracted another to have a heating/cooling system installed and the contractor said it would take two weeks and we would be enjoying a nice cool summer. And, yes, it only took the ten days but he stretched it out over twelve weeks and it was not a very cool summer after all what with the house being ripped open to the elements and the bugs for the three months of summer.

Another contractor told us it would take four days to paint the house. After three weeks, and only half the job being down, we fired him.

Then we hired another contractor to remodel a room and I stressed to him that it had to be done in one week. He said, “no problem”. After four days of good progress, they disappeared.

I know life is hard and these guys have more than one job they’re working on. I don’t have a problem with bungled scheduling and the like.

What I dislike is their disappearing for days on end without calling to say what’s going on. And the worst part is they will not even return my calls until they decide they are ready to come back and work another day, like when it can somehow fit into their schedule.

And then it’s “hey, man, I’m so sorry but [ – insert lame excuse of your choice – ] and we’ll be right over to get back on it”.

But the picture is not as bleak as I paint it because there are still people who believe in their word. And I’m not talking about the repair-person who says they’ll be there between 10 am and 7 pm or such nonsense…

We have a couple of people who said they would be there like Thursday at 10am and called the day before to say they would not be there until noon.

I don’t mind that sort of thing at all. But if they had called again at, say, ten minutes to noon to say they weren’t going to show up until next Tuesday, I would have gotten upset because I have to take off work to meet these people and let them in the house. Yes, believe it not, I too have to work for a living and my company would not like me calling in repeatedly over appointments that are delayed again and again.

Communication helps tremendously and oils the wheels marvelously when life throws dirt on the axles.

Unfortunately, the dirt is usually the mud that their word has become.

Makin’ Mama Proud

April 11, 2012

Mothers always stand proud of their children’s accomplishments. Whether it is something as small as learning to tie their shoes or finally conquering the beast that is “potty-training”.

As the children grow, so do the opportunities for mothers to show them off to their friend, neighbors, acquaintances, strangers and the odd passer-by. It may seem vicarious but you gotta remember who it was that raised the child. Mothers take this stuff very seriously.

The maternal bond even holds strong for children who have taken a path much less traveled; a path that takes them into the limelight for some serious missteps. Yes, the world may turn against these but their mothers will forever stand by them and cry aloud, “Oh, my poor baby!”

Mothers. You gotta love them. Without them, none of us would be here. Literally. The male of the species does not have the physical capability nor, for the most part, the emotional qualities required for mothering.

But there are two professions I have found that make the mother most proud. If their children are stars in film or sports, famous at writing or such, they may rather quickly let that be known. But these two professions are exceptional and seem to be make the mothers more proud than simple fame could.

These mothers will likely make this known even during the introductions. As they shake your hand for the first time, or just after the “pleased to meet you” they will make the pronouncement.

“My son is a doctor” or “my son is a pastor/priest” are the ones that seem to make momma so proud they cannot hold back on. And after the announcement, they will beam proudly.

Why these two professions? Perhaps because they are known to be the most “helpful” occupations, critics notwithstanding. Or perhaps something else.

So if you really want to make your momma proud, forget that legal career, or the teaching credential, or whatever else you were considering.

That holds for sons, but “what about daughters?” you ask. Well, that one is simple. To make your momma proud you only have to become what she is: a mother.

In fact, I think they love to talk about the grandkids even more than about their own kids or their kids’ professions.

With the possible exception of the two mentioned above.

Another Look Back

September 11, 2011

Here we are, ten years past the tragedy that was visited on us on 9/11/2001.

It was a far different 2001 than that visualized by Stanley Kubrick in his famous film”2001: a Space Odyssey” but far more realistic.

I keep waiting for the “healing” to begin, to put us beyond that which we are being constantly reminded of, constantly commemorating. I would like to move through an early September without the constant reminders of horrors all to human to ever possibly forget.

So, in our effort to bring some meaning to the senselessness of the thousands that died that day we have taken a war to the Middle East and killed so many thousands more to repay someone who we have finally wreaked our vengeance on…

Does the story have any sort of a happy ending? And should it?

Or are we supposed to carry the pain with us always and ensure that others come to know the depths of our suffering by doing unto them?

Seeing how we have been so readily able to move beyond the tribulations of a nation torn apart by the “Civil War” – (NOT!) – I fully expect this commemoration to carry forward for another century, at least, while we still tear the scabs open and reawaken the wounds. And as the blood flows freely again, we can somehow feel some solace for our loss.

So many of the Civil War commemoration protesters today cat-call the Rebel-biased lamenters with that famous phrase: “You lost. Get over it!”

As humans, we do not seem to be able to “get over” such large scale tragedies.

So, while others lament at the foolish sentiment wasted by the Rebel-lovers during the current Civil War Sesquicentennial, let us all take a moment to remember the cause of our righteous indignation against an innocent people half a world away.

Have a thoughtful 9/11.