Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Pizza Palace Just Went Online

Click For A World Without Secrets

First of all, if you have not seen this little video clip, I highly recommend that you watch it. It is funny in the extreme and very well done. It made the rounds about 9 months ago and most of my friends saw it through e-mail.

However, that isn't why I am posting it here.

After I got done chuckling at this little skit and the paranoia that it was supposed to instill in all of us, I started thinking about 'why' the content was so funny.

The skit references a world in which 'big brother' has gone wild and can control our lives. There are no secrets, everything you do, buy, say and think is documented and can be used against you. Sort of George Orwell's 1984 come to life in the present day. The ACLU and the American left wing want you to be very afraid of this and want you to fear the idea of being 'exposed' for all the world to see.

Over the years, I have trained myself to ask the question "why" a lot. If someone tells me I should like something, or that I should be afraid of something, I ask "why". Seems to me, that too many of us take what others say (be it a friend, the media or the President) and take it as truthful.

If Exxon / Mobil says 'toxic sludge is good for you', I sort of ask "why". Could Exxon / Mobil be lying to me? What is THEIR motivation for telling me this.

So with this sort of warped mindset, I watched the ACLU's version of Pizza Palace and started asking some questions. Why is this so bad? If this type of world came to pass, what would it entail?

A world where neighbors had no secrets about one another.

1. A world where you knew if your new neighbor was a PhD scientist or a pedophile.

2. A world where you knew if they were taking out a 3rd mortgage on there house to deal with a gambling problem.

3. You knew that their last 3 houses all burned down within 2 years.

A world were no spouse had to worry about the other one cheating.

1. You knew that your spouse had filed suit against 3 previous employers, all for sexual harassment.

2. Your husband had really been at a strip club when he had told you that he was visiting a sick friend in the hospital.

3. That your fiancé was under the care of a psychiatrist for bi-polar disorder and extreme depression.

A world where employees and employers had nothing to hide and knew who was incompetent.

1. You would know before you took a job that the company has the highest turnover ratio during the last 8 months of their 15 year history.

2. You would know that your new female supervisor's maiden name was the same as the company founders and she had just gotten out of 2 years of drug rehab.

A world where your status and monetary prowess was known to all, and not masked by clothes, jewels, cars and homes.

1. You would know that the person driving the Hummer in front of you was in debt up to his / her ass and about to go bankrupt.

2. You would know that the bum on the street sleeping on a bus bench was really worth 8 million dollars and that he "chooses" to live the way he does.

3. You would know that the strange folks living across the street from you were actually using the home as a drop house for immigrant smugglers or a meth-lab.

A world where everyone knew what each others physical frailties where and they were all accepted.

1. A world where you knew what your friends, office mates, lovers and neighbors all had to deal with in their personal lives.

2. What diseases they had, what medication they were on.

3. What trauma they had faced in life.

4. How many kidneys' they had.

5. Do they know what chemotherapy is really like?

In short, this all sounds like the world of the 'good old days', when we all lived in small towns and knew our neighbors and everyone helped each other out and was compassionate to their plights.

Instead, the ACLU fosters the fear of having all your 'secrets' found out. We don't want people to know that we have AIDS or are about to go bankrupt, that we cheat on our spouses or don't know the first thing about our jobs. Because that would make us appear 'lesser' in the eyes of others and hurt our chances to 'improve' our situation through deception.

Seems that we are more in fear of having our ego's bruised than of having the world a better place and understanding others.

That was the answer to the questions of "why" that I kept asking myself after seeing this little video.

All of a sudden, it did not seem that funny.

Hmmm, I wonder "why"....

Monday, June 27, 2005

Hummer - The Urban Assault Vehicle

Outta My Way Punk!

First there was the H1, built for the military. Then there came the H2, built on a GM truck chassis, but made to 'look' utilitarian. Now comes the H3, boxy but smaller. Say hello to the Hummer Family. Another really good reason why the rest of the planet thinks we are friggin nuts.

Never mind the fact that you could build and staff a school in central Zimbabawe for the cost of one of these things. Not to mention feed a whole town in Uganda for a year based on what these things guzzle in gas every year. In a time of diminishing fuel sources, global warming and ozone depletion, this monster gets 9 miles per gallon!

Every time I see one of these things, with their bling-bling alloy wheels, garish chrome and 'thumper' sound systems I have to wonder what sort of statement the driver is trying to make:

"I am filthy rich and you aren't!"

"My Oscar Meyer Weiner is really a Vienna Sausage!"

"I got beat up on the playground as a child....BUT NEVER AGAIN!"

"I just turned 55, got a toupe and all my divorced buddies have Corvettes!"

"Someday, I'll be brave enough to drive down a dirt road!"

"I am paranoid as all hell and live in fear of being hit by a bus!"

They have become and icon of our times. Excess consumerism in a world of shrinking enconomies and limited resources. Are they sort of the prize we have given to ourselves for winning the cold war? The Navy has nuclear powered aircraft carriers, the Air Force has stealth bombers, the Army has M1 Abrams tanks, and the American civilian has their Hummer. Gives a new slant on the concept of an Army of One.

I think deep down, this vehicle just represents another step in the downward spiral of our self isolationism. I mean look at this thing. Could it look more unfriendly? It is the 'bank vault' that we drive around town. No one can touch us in one of these things. In here the rest of the world can't touch me. And if they try, I will just drive right over them.

I miss my Yugo...

Friday, June 24, 2005

Days of the Future / Past

(Click the Picture for an Instant Tan)

The random connections of the past and their affect on our lives.

I am often pondering the decisions made in history and how they affected / affect our lives today.

Back in the 30's, life was rural. There were no interstate highways, there were no trans-continental airlines, and there were barely any long distance telephone calls. No television or McDonalds. No nuclear power, no ICBMs (inter-continental ballistic missiles), no gas shortage, no HIV, no MTV.

We tend to think that all these things were just the natural progression of history, and they would have come about one way or another. But we are wrong.

History is a fluid thing, just like the future. We stand in the middle of stream. We don't know where the waters came from and don't know where they are going. But they do tend to sweep us down stream from time to time. When history floods, there is no way to tell where the waters will spread and what they will cover, or what they will fertilize and make grow.

Japan became industrial in the 1920s and followed the lead of the other world economic powers and expanded their territories for much needed resources to feed their ever growing factories. The United States and Europe didn't want the competition and threatened to blockade oil from their homeland. Result.....Pearl Harbor (what would you do if your country was backed into a corner?)

Germany was a major player in European politics for centuries until the end of the First World War. The victorious nations repressed the fatherland and drove it into depression and bankruptcy. Fertile ground for a right wing idealist to make his vision of a Wagnerian Utopia a reality with the Hebrew nation (and the Slavs and the gypsies) as his whipping boy.

Could the Japanese Diet have forseen a North Korea bristling with Nuclear weapons? Did Hitler in his wildest nightmares see his vision of the Germanic super race fostering the state of Israel?

My point being, that the western powers reaction to the empires that they helped foster changed everything for the next 100 years. Those superhighways that we all love to drive on in America were modeled on the German autobahn that General (soon to be president) Dwight D. Eisenhower marveled at when he invaded Germany. Those nifty cruise missiles that drove Saddam Hussein out of Baghdad are the children of the V-1 Buzz Bomb that the Nazi's terrorized London with in 1944. Toyotas, Hondas and Mazda's, all come from the new factories that were built from the ashes of a fire bombed Tokyo. And that Bomb... the one that makes the nifty mushroom cloud. Would never have been made (nor the power plants that sprang form it) if we hadn't needed a really BIG stick to finish the job in 1945.

So where has all this led us, and more importantly, where is it all leading us? It has led us to a consumer society that is mostly urban. And the more you pack people together, the more crime, fear, greed and envy you get. It has given us an individualized transit system that is only 'mass' in its size, not its purpose. Prior to the Great War, there were few people who owned cars. You walked or took the trolley. Most old world countries still work on this premise.

That nuclear power is really cheap, but there is that little problem of those spent fuel rods. And try as we might, we have not been able to keep that nuclear bomb secret from the Israelis, the Pakistanis or the North Koreans.

So what of the internet, virtual reality games, universal translators, world currency and countries without borders? Where is it taking us? A world where secrets are harder to control and to find? A world where the repressed see any option as valid, even flying airplanes into buildings or strapping explosives to school children and putting them on a bus. A world where reality is relative? Right and wrong a matter or interpretation?

The leaders of the great economic armies could not have seen the world of today on September 1, 1939 when Hitler rolled into Poland. Or understood what would happen to North Korea and China on that sleepy Sunday of December 7, 1941. But after those dates, the future was sealed in one way or another. They fought the war for the immediate goal. Then the fight was for national honor and economic security. Today we are fighting a war on global terrorism while still seeking economic security, only now the marketplace is global and interconnected. Have we really learned from our mistakes? Are we able to understand the ramifications of our current actions?

The future 25 years from now is being sealed by all of us today. What will that future be? What are we doing right now, and where will its flood waters come to rest?

Hope you have a good inner tube.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Church of the Three Jimmy's

The Church of the Three Jimmy's

I have been holding off on this little tirade for quite a while, but I suppose I should open the flood gates and let it all go. This is all about religion and the devastation and genocide that it has rote on all humanity. I am not here to bash anyone's god or means of worship. If you want to believe in a higher power, hey, more power to ya buddy. You believe in anything you want. I am not here to slam religion per sea; I am here to slam 'organized religion'.

This particular beast rears its ugly head when ever the huddled masses put their faith in one individual or institution. The masses believe (either through ignorance or self doubt) that someone has a higher understanding or direct connection to the almighty than they do. When ever I hear of this type of 'organized religion', I think of membership in the Church of the Three Jimmy's.

Since there may be some of you that don't know the biblical history of these three riders of the apocalypse, let me give you a brief refresher course.

James Baker: Was the founder of Heritage USA (along with his wife, the infamous Tammy Faye Baker) and was the odd mixture of fire and brimstone and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood on evangelical television circuit. When Jimmie got going, watch out! He would speak in tongues, threw the bible and screamed and yelled, all while Tammy Faye cryed her eyes out in the background with her eye makeup running down her face and pooling on the floor. It was really a site to see. Only problem is. It was all a sham. The money that folks sent in to buy a piece of Heritage USA (some sort of Holy Theme Park) never went anywhere but Jimmie's pocket. Then there was that little tryst with one of his virginal secretaries named Jessica Hane, and by the time the law and the IRS caught up with him, Jimmie was off to the hoosegow. So much for the 'Father'

Then came Jimmy Swaggart. This guy was breed to be a television evangelist. He was a real fire and brimstone thrower. He had the roots for it. His cousin is Jerry Lee Lewis of 'Great Balls of Fire' fame, so he had that hell and damnation upbringing in the rural south. He would work his way into a frenzy with bible in one hand and microphone in the other and would really set the soul on fire. Only problem is, while he was off camera, he was masturbating with a prostitute in a hotel room while his wife waited at home. His tearful confession of his indiscretions to his 'flock' was a real sight to behold. Unfortunately, his flock forgave him, but they were not so handy with their tithing after that and he pretty much faded into obscurity. We like our brimstone throwers to be pure instead of possibly hurling manure at us when we are not looking. I think he is still out there preaching, but he is a shadow of his former self and considerably poorer. So much for the 'Son'.

Finally, there was Jim Jones. This Jimmy really took the holy cake to the point of megalomania. Starting out as a poor inner city preacher ministering to the down trodden ethnics in urban cities, he became an all encompassing father figure to his small band of worshipers that eventually saw him as god's presence on earth. When he could no longer control their lives to the extent that he wanted, he moved them all to a remote South American 'paradise' in French Guinea where he ruled their lives like a dictator with no oversight. When the United States Federal Government got wind of his forced servitude of American's abroad they went to investigate. So Jimmy did what every religious megalomaniac would do. He staged an apocalypse and had his 'flock' drink poison Kool-Aid. Those that refused to drink the divine refreshment were just shot on the spot. All told, over 400 dead....all in one mans name of religion. So went the 'Holy Ghost'.

There have been hundreds of other evangelists that have fallen from grace, but as far as I know, not too many of them have been named Jimmy, so they didn't go with the theme of this blog.

So when ever I hear the head of ANY religious organization tell me that "God says you are supposed to do something"...the first thing I ask is, "Is your name Jimmy?" Because I think all of God's true profits on earth are named Jimmy these days.

Never mind the fact that almost 90% of all wars perpetrated against our fellow man have been in the name of religion, there is also the oppression, the guilt, and the dogma through history that has shown us that every organization that has any sort of power base will seek to perpetuate itself at all costs.

Did you ever ponder that the Arabs and the Israeli's all worship the same God? They just argue over which profit of God has more precedence.

Ever ponder that Catholics and Protestants slaughter each other wholesale in Northern Ireland, just because they disagree on how to worship the same God?

If there is one great God, don't you think that God is looking down and sort of giggling at what became of the stupid apes he created so many years ago?

With all the churches springing up all over the city that I live in (Phoenix, AZ) I have to assume that all these folks are not 'finding God'. I think they are looking for tax free networking clubs and places to pick up divorced mothers looking for 'spirituality' or new husbands with a good moral center. In short, religion is a business anymore. It involves a lot of money, land, power, politicking and guilt. If you want to find 'God', climb a mountain or wander into the deep forest, lie on your back and look at the stars. Trust me, 'God' will speak to you in some sort of way. He sure as hell won't do it through some guy wearing a funny collar standing in a 3 million temple built with tax free money from the faithful.

It was either Marx or Lenin that said that religion was the opiate of the masses. They were right, but they failed to see the fact that the masses need some sort of opiate. The masses can't all pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Unfortunately, there are a lot of folks out there that will help them get up, but they are called clergy. And they won't want you to stand on your own. They will want to be a crutch for you for the rest of your life. So, run ... run away as fast as you can, until you find the higher power of the universe on your own. Don't be seduced by the Church of the Three Jimmy's.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The American Fantasy...

Ah yes, the age old question to ponder why you are waiting in traffic... what would I do with 100 million dollars? I would not have any problems or cares. All this crap I have to put up with in day to day life would be history and I could flip the finger to all those bozos that constantly piss me off. Come on, admit it, you have all thought about this great little American fantasy. It is what fueled Manifest Destiny, the Star Wars Sextet, Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, Paris Hilton and all the rest.

So what would you buy with all the money if you found out that you were Donald Trump's illegitimate offspring from that prostitute that he bagged back in 1966? Have you still got that list rolling around in the back of your mind that contains all the things that you know will make your life a paradise here on earth?

Well, I have a reality check for you. One that is going to make you question all the things you have ever been told in life by every billboard, magazine ad, television commercial and rich neighbor you have had to live next to.

The ultimate luxury is 'NOTHING'.

That is right, nothing. To be able to live your life with 'nothing' is the ultimate luxury that almost none of us can attain, and that no self respecting capitalist would dare utter (in fact the CIA is probably looking for me right now just for uttering it here). Now bear with me while I explain this and try to fight off that urge that is telling you at the same time to kill me and to try and commit suicide after realizing that you have been lied to all these years.

The concept of capitalism is based on greed, and the human desire to have what others have, or better yet, to have 'better' than what others have. That is why you are 'trained' to want a Hummer, when it is more logical to ride the bus, why you 'want' an iPod instead of taking all that time to learn to play the piano. Why you want to vacation at DisneyWorld instead of taking a long walk in the woods behind your house.

This whole concept sort of hit me like a bug on my windshield when I was driving to work one day. Actually I was waiting in traffic that was moving at about 10mph on the freeway. The age old thought of what I would do if I won the lottery was dancing through my mind and I started thinking about what the best car would be to sit in while going 10mph on the freeway. After running through, Mercedes, Lamborgini, Bentley, Hummer, it started to dawn on me. If I won 100 million dollars, I wouldn't have to go to work!, so I would not need a car!, and I would not have to live here, and anything that I always thought I wanted, would become irrelevant, since the value was in desiring it, not actually having it. If I could have anything, nothing had any value.

The only real values in life are the intangibles. Those things that you can only experience and not buy are what are important. What is the value of having one day with a dear relative that has been dead for 10 years? To see your child head off to school for the first time, knowing that he or she is taking the first step in a long journey that you will never see the end of? Knowledge, travel, experience, emotion, health, empathy, compassion are the things that have infinite value, that you can never buy. Jet Ski's, jewelry, Harley's, Corvettes, Yachts, Lear Jets and private islands are just various types of closet stuffing. Things we buy because we think they will bring us joy, when in fact they are only egotistical distractions.

So if you had that 100 million dollars, the real VALUE of it, would be to have nothing, need nothing and just be free to interact and experience as many things as possible and touch as many lives as you can. And come to think of it... you don't even need the 100 million dollars to do that! You can do all that pretty cheaply.

Just thought I would give you rats out there in the rat race a different perspective. Now I have to get out of here since the black helicopters are circling and the boys in the black suits are walking up the driveway. And besides, I need to pick up another scratcher ticket at the local Circle K.

No need to thank me....I feel so much better now.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Riding With My Dad...

(click the picture)

OK, today I am not going to rant. I am in a rather contemplative mood. Got a lot of things going on upstairs in the old noggin. So I thought I would share this with you all. Came across it today on the net. Another example of why the internet is so much better than television. Doubt you would ever see this on MTV and lord knows how Good Morning America would butcher it, and I don't even want to think what Oprah would do with it. This is a very dear little cartoon, and while the animation might look somewhat simplistic, watch it all the way through and see if you could draw something like this. I think not! Enjoy.