Some people are larger than life

Think you’re having a bad day? Trust me, you’re not. Try donning your armor and charging against ebola.

I know the world’s been a little busy lately. But in case you didn’t know, a full blown ebola outbreak is in progress.

By the way, why do folks capitalize the word ebola? Like we have to name it, like its Steve or Othman. I refuse. Who decided it deserved to have capitalization? This virus can kiss my ass. Sooner or later we’ll find a way to brutally destroy it. So why should we give in to its unreasonable demands that we make its first letter big?

Doctor Sheik Umar Khan led Sierra Leone’s ebola response. He died at the front. Battling this evil. He was 39 years old.

You can read his profile here:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28560507

Some people are larger than life. Not everybody gets that call. That chance to battle on behalf of all humanity by doing the very simplest of noble deeds. We all wonder how we’d act if we got that call. Are we cowards? Would we fail? If faced with death or disgrace, what would we do?

Doctor Khan answered the call and did what great men do. It’s rather awful that he’s gone and that he had to die like that. I wouldn’t wish an ebola death on even history’s greatest monsters.

But if you have to check out, this is one of the ways to do it. On the line, in danger, helping your brothers and sisters to the end.

Say a prayer for Doctor Sheik Umar Khan. And let him inspire something good in your life today.

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I suppose, by the law, I should be in handcuffs

Just about every third show on television features a cop. Unfortunately, what the police actually do in today’s country isn’t reflected in entertainment. In case anybody hasn’t paid attention, the cop of the old days, the crime fighter and community servant no longer exists. Instead, your local beat walker is now just an enforcer.

I cannot make this distinction enough. There’s a difference between a cop and an enforcer.

A police officer is a guy or gal who protects you, your friends, and your family. They serve you.

An enforcer is a bureaucratic creature that protects and serves the law. Not you.

Now you probably think that the law serves and protects you. So if the police serve and protect the law, they’re doing the same for you. This used to be the way it was. It no longer is.

I want you to look around for a moment. Then realize that right now, this very second, you’re a criminal. There is at least one, if not several laws you are currently breaking. You don’t know what they are. You likely aren’t doing anything wrong. But you’re still breaking the law.

It used to be, and those not in touch with reality still claim, that ignorance of the law is not an excuse. This is literally no longer possible when the law is so widespread and convoluted that even the wisest minds in the legal profession cannot agree on what it says. Every single person in today’s America is ignorant of at least some, if not a substantial portion of the modern legal code.

And added to this problem is that we now ask an increasingly numerous and empowered enforcement arm to implement this law book. Once upon a time your local beat cop made sure you weren’t murdered or robbed. Now a deputy-assistant-agent-investigator from your state’s department of labor is after you for violating section 4.b.#.1 of the legal code.

Since the government needs your obedience to such a wide variety of laws, the government makes sure its enforcers are commanding said obedience. Your local police officer is in service to get the law obeyed. You’re not the objective anymore. The law is.

Add added to this problem is a completely risk adverse culture where folks are unsatisfied, outraged, and demand action at the simplest of deliberate or accidental mistakes. You can’t even say anything that offends somebody without being accused of making love to Stalin’s ghost.

In a world where it’s considered a fatal mistake to even say something wrong, you can only imagine the fury of the laws we’ve written to prevent actual actions that result in errors. Common sense and learning from our mistakes has given way to punishment, justice, and the brutality of hindsight.

And so a law book twelve feet thick, with a government that still demands you know & obey it all, enforced by enforcers who are empowered and demanded to enforce it all, and guided by a society that does not tolerate risk or mistakes. Well, here we are folks.

This is how battle armored attack teams end up kicking down doors to point machine pistols at illegal flower growers. Or why ten year old girls are handcuffed for acting like ten olds. Or why unarmed citizens are shot dead by police for crimes worthy of a fifty dollar citation. Or why there are twice as many Americans behind bars than serve in the military.

Think you’re free? You’re not. You’re just lucky. Lucky that you haven’t been arrested for violating one of the many laws you’re currently breaking. Lucky that your number hasn’t come up.

It might be your time eventually, your turn in the enforcer’s meat grinder. But until your day comes, maybe you can ignore the problem? Just about everybody else does. So why not you?

All of this has been on my brain lately. But then an incident happened that reinforced this mindset. So why do I belong behind bars? Because I drove ten minutes without my driver’s license. My driving record is impeccable. I have a license. I just didn’t have it on me.

I was at a blissful family event. I was completely unplugged. I intentionally brought neither my keys, cell phone, nor wallet. Later on, I volunteered to drive home given the inebriation of the car’s five occupants. I had three beers over three hours in me, so I put my paw up.

Only as I was getting behind the wheel did I remember I didn’t have my wallet. My options at that point, I guess, were to call us a cab, hand the keys to an intoxicated individual, or hang out for five hours until somebody with a physical license was sober.

Instead, with the above thoughts in my mind, I said fuck it. I knew what I was doing. I did it anyways. I drove us all home. I decided I was not in the wrong. The law says I was wrong. But I say I was in the right by the laws of what’s good with all humanity.

In the old days (maybe as recent as fifteen years ago), if I’d been pulled over under these circumstances, and explained the situation to the cop? Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d hope he’d have looked at me, checked his computer, used his best judgment, and sent me on my way with a wag of his finger.

I think today the enforcer, without the training, authority, or desire to use judgment would have arrested me, impounded the car, I’d have been fired from at least one of my jobs, lost my license, paid thousands in fines, and so on.

How would society have benefitted from this negative outcome?

What does the culture lose with handling it the old fashioned way?

Maybe you think my original argument and/or the circumstances of this situation are wrong. That I’m just a bad person. Or made a dumb decision. Maybe. If you do, I completely understand. But I use this as an illustration of what I think is so very wrong with where our society has gone.

Agree or disagree with me. I don’t care. Just promise me you’ll think about this.

All of this is happening around us. You’re either good with it or you’re not. I’m not. But for now, as long as you’re thinking about this. Even if we disagree, we’re good.

enforcers

I say, “To protect and serve” no longer exists

Let’s offend the sports media by putting them all in a trash compactor

One of the painful joys of 24 hour death ray media is 24 hour sports media. In comparison to the rest of the universe, sports are fairly simple. So eventually they run out of shit to talk about. So what do they do? They essentially make shit up. They get offended at each other, and then spend a great deal of time talking about how they’re offended.

Are you offended? Huh? Who the fuck are you? They’re offended. You don’t matter. You’re not a brilliant journalist like them. Your purpose is to sit there and watch them talking about how offended they are. Independent thought is not required. Just keep eating, watch their wisdom, and shovel your cash in their direction.

So Tony Dungy and Jerry Jones and Stephen A said things considered offensive to the sports media. And since the sports media has had their righteousness assaulted? They get to talk about it. All day. Apologies are demanded, justice is on the horizon, and, wait, no, wait none of that happens.

They just need controversy. They need a cause. What are sports? Uh, well, I guess it’s talking about how a fellow sports broadcaster talked about something. So you talk some about that. How you’re offended. So you talk about that. Lots of talking.

I’ve just consulted my Arcturan dictionary. The definition of stupidity is apparently an internal media dialogue where a sports journalist gets offended by something another sports journalist said. According to the dictionary it is, “the most senseless and worthless of human acts since the invention of disposable robot giraffes”.

So let’s go ahead and put these guys & gals inside the trash compactor from Star Wars. Together. While they’re bitching about their situation, screaming at each other about how offended they are with their situation, the rest of us can get back to watching the game. And eventually, via the trash compactor’s ability to effectively implement the laws of physics, the problem will take care of itself.

Smith1218a

If asked to define his occupation during the Apocalypse Judgment, what would he write down?

Everything’s going really well

I think you can put this last week down in the win column. Things have been a little rough, but who doesn’t hit a few bumps on their road to a happy destination. And when you run into trouble, at least you’ve got the opportunity to learn from your experiences, right?

I mean, think of all the things humanity has learned this week by experiencing:

– The desire for mass genocide by both sides in a neverending conflict

– The desire for mass genocide by one side in a newish neverending conflict

– Multiple major & minor airplane crashes

– The biological possibility of canine ruptured anal glands

– At least one botched and quite a few unbotched executions

– Satan shows up at the Luxor and wins six-figures on his first slot pull

– Continued political gridlock among leaders unfit to govern their pets

– Mosquitos

– The presence of a localized World War III conflict sans nukes

– Everything and anything associated with Fifty Shades of Grey

– The courts, judges, lawyers, and those who believe they deserve to steal our oxygen

Well, I actually feel pretty good though. Why? Well, it’s hard sometimes to think that we’re not under the guidance of some divine figure. Sometimes you get exactly what you need. So within this mindset, and knowing nothing about the plot beforehand, I watched Red Beard for the first time. Think we’re all fucked up? Beyond hope? Watch Red Beard.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsLQWwfPYsk

Mifune does not give up. Neither should you.

okey dokey

This isn’t going to change anything

The world’s rightly outraged. Politicians not normally given to drama are actually talking like real people. And so comprehensive, relevant action is on the horizon. Finally folks are going to get serious about confronting evil’s reality. Clearly an incident with so much death is enough to push policies over the edge and into righteous deeds.

Well, no, sorry. This crisis alters nothing. I’ve thought a lot about this the last few days. Nothing’s going to change because nothing about this shootdown revises the broader cultural, political, and practical factors that have guided this conflict from the beginning.

When Europe’s spent an eon walking down the self-aware path of military and political weakness, don’t expect them to be able to turn on a dime. Whether they’ll admit it or not, the average Dutch citizen cares more about their heating bill than their countrymen blown out of the sky.

Plus, they’re facing Vlad. You think one lost Malaysian airplane is going to stop him? Only a Makarov to the back of the head stops Vlad. He’ll find a way out of this. He always does.

So the solution is to still go for the long run, reference our previous Russia post. Short term changes remain unfeasible.

I know this is a horribly cynical way of looking at it. I hope I’m wrong. But I’m probably not.

mh17

Yet again, one gun toting thug, is more relevant to the outcome of a crisis than all the leaders of Europe combined

We support vicious teenage bar fights

Have you ever seen a movie of a future where the humans are enslaved or are otherwise some form of automaton drooling slug? It’s going to happen. Or is it? Yes.

Now most of you (none of you) are probably wondering what I think of the People’s Republic of Donetsk Air Defense Corps’ inability to read internationally recognized aviation identification codes. Well, to be honest, I don’t have it in me today. Maybe next week. I guess. Just say a prayer for everybody. Even the missile guy who pulled the trigger. Everybody. That’s enough for now.

So last week The Economist ran a long piece on why young folks aren’t the disaster society claims they are:

http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21606795-todays-young-people-are-held-be-alienated-unhappy-violent-failures-they-are-proving

They reference trends that show drug & alcohol use, sex, and violent crime are beginning to decline among the Western world’s youth population. These are clearly encouraging changes. So why is this happening?

The Economist roughly sites:

– Increasingly aggressive enforcement by the enforcers

(because the enforcers love to enforce the rules upon your soul)

– The increasing average age of population as a whole

(we’re having fewer kids than pandas)

– Rising education levels that make teens less likely to act like fools

(although the overall value of said education is in question)

– High pressure by society for kids to perform

(because it’s important to know lots of math so you can forget it later)

– More supervision by parents

(even though the parents didn’t have their own lives wired when they were young)

– And a whole slew of other factors which may or may not be important

(randomness can fog an article, just ask this blog’s author)

Kids can’t expect to have the time & money to burn on fun when they’re six-figures into debt before their 23rd birthday. When you’re just short of your 24th birthday, and you discover you’re again living with your parents, it’s harder to bring that person home for the night. How are you to overturn a flaming trashcan on Main Street when you’re trapped with Call of Duty or Instagram in your parents’ creepy basement (because they turned your old room into a Memorial to Satan)?

The Economist states:

For much of the 20th century, children were largely ignored and allowed to roam free. If they acted up, they were typically punished with violence. Now, however, parents are expected to be intimately involved in their children’s lives, says Ms Gardner. They supervise homework; attend parents’ evenings; go to prenatal and parenting classes; read blockbusters about child psychology.

How far have we gone in the other direction? In 1930 you probably had your 11 year old working in a sweatshop. After hours, they’d go screw off somewhere with their friends and the parents didn’t have a clue. Yet somehow the universe didn’t collapse. Go figure.

Now in Connecticut, if you leave your 11 year old alone in a lukewarm car, you get arrested and charged by asinine bureaucrats that rule our lives even though they’re all too stupid to run a newspaper stand:

http://www.wfsb.com/story/25982048/bristol-mother-charged-with-leaving-child-unattended-in-car

This brings me to the core of why I have a problem with all this. From the article, I’ll let the Leeds barkeep lead off with his view:

“Kids these days just want to live in their fucking own little worlds in their bedrooms watching Netflix and becoming obese,”

Even The Economist, that ends its article with the optimistic line, “They want to build something better.” is forced to admit the serious drawbacks of our newly well-ordered adolescence:

What this adds up to is a generation that is more closely watched and less free to screw up. So perhaps it is unsurprising that better behaviour has not, as yet, translated into greater happiness. For all their disavowal of inebriation and criminality, young people are still proving more likely to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety. They are often obsessed with their careers—and rarely satisfied. Young people repeatedly report less job satisfaction than their parents or grandparents.

In other words today’s youth are better behaved but depressed and feel worthless. Gee, doesn’t this sound fun! Aren’t we all so glad that we’re gallantly obeying the rules?

Their lives are completely controlled, by society, by the law, by their parents, but most importantly by their own brains. This is not a mindset that encourages creative thought, ambition, risk-taking, open brains, or all the other crucial things that make humanity special and enable our joy.

We’re raising a generation of compliant, faceless, joyless machines. To me, better a pot-smoking-hippie-douche than an internet-obsessed-sober-student-indebted-introvert. At least the hippie is outdoors and (in theory) believes in something.

I’ve got a better idea. How about we let a dozen teenagers roll off to a bar to drink (illegal), after the government mandated curfew (illegal), they blow ton of money on booze (unwise), they hook up with abandon (unhealthy), get belligerent with fellow bar patrons (unwise), and close out the night with a vicious teenage bar brawl (illegal).

Why do I advocate this? For two reasons:

1) Because after this one night there’s no disputing that those teenagers are alive. Truly hopping in mind, spirit, and body.

2) Because I guarantee you those teenagers will have learned more about themselves, each other, and life in that one night than all the required educational moments the culture imposes upon them. Even if every single lesson was learned the hard way? So be it.

So here’s to drugs, alcohol, sex, petty crime, and other nonsense teenage behavior. Because ultimately, we’ll all be a lot happier and prosperous that way. The alternative is a future room full of joyless ants, under the warm gaze & tireless orders of Grand-Parade-Ground-Major Obey.

Your choice.

bar fights

Keep swinging, pot’s in the corner, the girls & boys are all watching while thinking about sex, have another round on the house, feel alive, be happy.

Don’t eat at Il Giardino, it’s the place to avoid

Yet again some loser has used the courts to crush free speech. Instead of, you know, improving their product and/or service. It’ll happen to you soon enough, because it would seem the courts no longer defend liberty, they assault it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28331598

I’ve never eaten at this restaurant, but I can tell you based upon their immoral behavior, that they suck. You should never eat there.

I stand by the title and content of this blog post. Sue me, assholes.

JACKBOOT