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November 29, 2004

(The Murdered) Theo Van Gogh's Film: Submission

Submission: Part I

Watch it.

And spread it around.

Supplementary reading: Look Who Isn't Talking

Posted by Jeff at 08:16 AM | Comments (4)

November 26, 2004

My McDonald's Experience

So I'm pulling into a discount-department store parking lot to look at some house plants, when my stomach reminded me that I hadn't eaten in a while. I see that the grocery store shares a parking lot with a McDonald's, and I begin to weigh my options: I thought about a hamburger, but McDonald's beef makes me gag; I considered chicken, but I prefer not to support that cruel industry; how about just fries? No way, that'd probably give me a headache. Wait...don't they have a garden burger or something like that?

I pull into the drive-through and before I can get the car stopped I hear a voice, in a thick black accent, ask me for my order.

[Huh? A "black" accent? Yeah, you know the one I'm talking about, the one that hardcore rappers think is "cool", and pre-pubescent white boys try to emulate. "Black" seems like an awfully racial way to put it, but race is associated with it by the people who indulge in it. It's not exactly a multi-racial phenomenon. It should be noted, though, that I personally suspect that less than 50% of the black-skinned individuals in America are part of that culture. Those that don't take part in that culture are given a bad name in the same way that normal Muslims are given a bad reputation by Muslim extremists. Don't blame me for the association, nor for pointing it out, blame the responsible parties who practice the behavior in question, instead.]

"Do you have a veggie burger of some kind?" I ask.

The heavily accented fellow asks me to repeat that.

"Do you have a veggie burger of some kind? I can't find it on the menu, yet, but I seem to remember getting them here before."

There's a long pause.

Still pausing.

Still pausing.

I'm wondering where he went.

He finally comes back and tells me that they do.

[Notice that I'm not attempting to quote him. I couldn't if I tried. Whatever it was that he was speaking, it wasn't English, at least no more than, say, punk rock is music, or porn is cinema. The Brits sometimes complain about Americans butchering the English language...they have no idea.]

"I'll take one of those and a regular order of fries."

He asks me to repeat what I said. The thought occurs that maybe he's having a problem with the word "regular", so, for convenience rather than out of desire, I switch to a large: "I'll take a veggie burger and a large order of fries."

"Dat'll be two-turteen at da fust windoe."

That's about as close as I can come to actually typing how he spoke. And there's something about how "windoe" looks which somehow seems to suggest a better fit than "window", even though they ostensibly seem to be pronounced the same. In print, what he said just needs to be spelled "windoe" to get the full effect of trying to converse with this guy.

At this point I'm pretty irritated. But why? I'm never irritated at accents or difficulty with English. We have lots of Mexicans in Utah who, I'm sure, know just enough English to be able to understand the menus of the restaurants they work in (which, conveniently, tend to be Mexican restaurants), but that never bothers me. I also encounter Greeks, Russians...all kinds of accented individuals. Do I get irritated? Far from it...instead my most common emotion is compassion for a person who is struggling, in a way that I've never had to struggle, to fit in and to survive, live, and be secure financially. So why am I annoyed at this guy?

I pull up to the first window and I see the guy. I realize that I'm surprised by his appearance. I expected to see some idiot standing there glorifying "black-trash" culture [edit: Who says it's black trash culture?], but instead I just see an ordinary human being, a bit conservative looking even, who probably just happened to be raised in a trashy area with trashy schools where they put up with trashy speech. Compassion, predictably, replaces my irritation and I feel sorry for the guy (though I'm not sure that Bill Cosby would've joined in with me in my compassion for him).

He opens the window and asks me if I want ketchup and mustard on my veggie burger. Since when does McDonald's ask you if you want condiments on your burgers? "No, thanks." I respond, and I think that he told me that he didn't know because he'd never heard of a "veggie burger" before; I think he said that, but I'm not sure - it was just so difficult to tell. He then asked for my money again: $2.13. I hand him $3.00 and he gives me my change and closes the window. I'm left there not knowing whether to pull forward to the next window or to wait there.

As I wait, I ponder why I am irritated by the "black-trash" manner of speaking, but not other accents, and it hits me: other people take personal responsibility to adapt themselves to their environments. But the "black-trash" culture glorifies itself. It says, "We're cool for being this way!" Instead of changing themselves to suit and to thrive in their environment, people in this category blame society for their failures, then they band together with other trashy people, label their trashy speaking patterns as "ebonics", and then attempt to force society to adapt to them. Get a freaking clue!

So while still sitting at the first window, I'm watching the second and I see a young girl go to the window with my order - I pull forward and accept the bag. I park in the parking lot, open the bag, and pull out the fries. In the bottom of the bag is the smallest possible burger wrapped up in a paper that says "cheeseburger" on it. I'm thinking that this couldn't possibly be what I want. I mean, when I've had these veggie burgers at McDonald's in the past, they've always been really big - they come in the flip top boxes. Then it occurs to me: $2.13 - that's all I paid. The fries alone were $1.59 without tax. What have they given me? I reach in, pull out the package, unwrap it, open the bun, and inside I find two slices of pickle, one slice of tomato, a sprinkle of lettuce, and two slices of something resembling cheese.

No burger.

I'm now thankful that I ordered the large fries.

And I'm reminded of a political principle: If the stupid people aren't given jobs, we're left to take care of them (welfare); if they have jobs, we're left with the products of their labor. Just remember that the next time you're forced to deal with below feeble service. As for me, I shall not complain. Instead, I'll choose higher priced restaurants from here on out.

I posted this elsewhere as well and someone responded with:

The school system forced my son into speech because he had trouble with s's and s blends. I asked if they were making the black kids take speech for R's and S's since most can't even pronounce them. I was told in a shhhhh voice that it was a cultural issue and they do not make any efforts to correct it.

My white child is expected to live up to proper English standards but his black classmates are accepted 100% with their refusal to correct theirs.

Well, that's certainly one way that society helps to "keep the black man down", eh? Low standards.

Posted by Jeff at 10:31 PM | Comments (135)

November 24, 2004

Dear Courier Post Online

Dear Courier Post Online:

I'm 37 years old last October, and I'd like to comment on this statement made in your article:

Dan Rather will be remembered for his reporting on the assassination of President Kennedy and stories from the jungles of Vietnam, not a questionable report on President Bush's National Guard service, some area residents and experts said.

At my age, I never saw anything about the assassination of President Kennedy, nor have I seen anything but forgettable snippets of Rather reporting on Vietnam. However, the "questionable report" (to use the most charitable term possible) on President Bush's National Guard Service is burned into my memory.

It is also true that, while virtually everyone who still has the capacity for memory of the Vietnam or Kennedy days is fully aware of the "questionable report", most of us who still have our mental faculties know, out of the three phenomena, only of the "questionable report", and not of Rather's Vietnam reporting nor his reports on the assassination of Kennedy. Again, from your article:

"It's certainly the end of an era," said Moriarty, 48. "It means we're all getting older."

Yes, yes we are, Moriarty. And with every passing day there are fewer and fewer people remembering Rather for anything other than his "questionable report".

ps: Note to Mr. Rather - THIS is what you leave behind.

Posted by Jeff at 02:17 AM | Comments (1)

November 17, 2004

I wonder how the Queen of England buys her toilet paper.

I mean...I was out of the stuff and I decided to purchase some from Costco. They had their own (Kirkland) brand, and another brand which was even less expensive - both two ply. So I bought the lesser expensive of the two. Now, usually I buy Charmin or Nice 'N' Soft from the regular grocery store. And, let me tell you, there's a significant difference. I mean, this stuff from Costco is not soft at all..it's like that stuff in public restrooms, except for two ply.

As I was contemplating this toilet paper as I put it on the roll, I began to wonder what kind of toilet paper the Queen of England buys. I mean, you'd think that it'd be some extra-plush super fancy stuff, right? I mean, no self-respecting Queen of England would have less than top of the line squares for her royal business. But how would she acquire the stuff? I mean, she wouldn't want people to know what she buys...after all, if it's Charmin, for example, the makers of Charmin might find out, use some hidden paparazzi video camera recording proof of the brand, then make a commercial out of it: "Charmin: If can wipe the Queen's derriere, it can wipe yours..." (or, obviously, something much more witty).

It's just something for you all to work on for a while. I've got 50 rolls to work through before I'll need to know.

Posted by Jeff at 10:11 PM | Comments (16)

November 07, 2004

Dear Democrats

Dear Democrats,

While you think about how to do better next time, please stay true to your core values and feelings. Don't restrain your anger; part of your problem in this election was that you didn't put it out there enough. If other Americans understood how truly mad you are it would make more of an impression.

You need to try harder to make them see that you're smarter and better than your opponents. Unleash your indignation and express your outrage and they will start to get your superiority to the religious fanatics, racists and homophobes who oppose you. You've got to make the point over and over that these people are intolerant stupid hicks while you are smart, good and wise.

Face it, you're just not getting your message across. You run mild, polite candidates who can't or won't let it all hang out. If everyone understood, really understood, your anger, intelligence and moral superiority, well, things would have turned out differently.

From The Opinion Journal. The post election is proving to be as entertaining as the pre-election shenanigans.

Posted by Jeff at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

The Bitter Left

"What did you all believe in this year? Hate? Anger? You ran your own campaign, one filled to the brim with bile and acidic spittle and you wonder why you feel so black today? You were pinning your hopes on the the wish that the rest of America harbored the same intense hatred as you and would vote with their clenched fists. Now that you are left without the hoped for victory party as an outlet for your rage, you have to direct it somewhere else. If not at the candidate, then at his voters, right? What I am seeing today makes me pity you, and it's a pity tinged with disgust and should not be mistaken for empathy."
--A Small Victory (an old weblog, the entry with this quote deleted)
Posted by Jeff at 02:18 AM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2004

Impotence

I read the following on another weblog which, oddly, I can no longer find:

Many of us asked [the liberals] after the drubbing they were subjected to two years ago if they would finally come to grips with the fact that they are now the minority party and adjust their beliefs, rhetoric, attitudes, and tactics accordingly. The answer was a resounding "No!"

What will it be this time? CNN reports that Kerry 'discussed' his concern about "doing something about how divided the country is" with the President during his call a short while ago, Let's hope he starts that process in his concession speech by encouraging his supporters to get behind the President and work with him for the good of the country. We shall see. But, given all the talk about how Bush needs to "reach out" and "work with the other side" - and the complete absence of any talk about how the Democrats need to set aside their poisonous rhetoric and align themselves with the consistently expressed will of the voters - the answer is almost assuredly going to be more of the same.

Part I: Prior to 9/11, anti-Americanism really didn't bother me. I regarded those who were anti-American as being either ignorant, unintelligent, bad people, or some combination of those qualities. And I considered that to be their problem, not mine. I considered them impotent, so I took a "live and let live" sort of attitude. Why should I care what they think?

Then the planes hit. That changed everything. Suddenly, the anti-Americans' matterred. They had the ability to cause harm.

And they still matter. And the "war on terror" is what they're getting for mattering.

Part II: This last presidential campaign has mattered as well. There has been a lot of far-left liberalism thrown at the American people over the last 18-24 months. And it got pretty scary for a while there. Mattered they did, and they mattered a lot. There was a lot to be concerned with.

Then the ballots were cast. That changed everything. Suddenly, the liberals stopped mattering. They lost their ability to cause harm.

Bush is in. Daschle is out. The Senate is strengthened. The House is as well.

The emotion, the urgency, the need to care what liberals think has dropped to nearly nothing. They can now participate in the process respectfully - a dynamic which has been completely absent from their hyperbolic, vitriolic, histrionics over the past election period - and perhaps get some of their agenda accomplished, or they can be ignored. The cancer is under control.

Post November 2nd really feels good, I think. I find it odd that there are still people who: a) are still spouting their vitriolic nonsense, in spite of how ineffective it has been rendered [liberals], and b) are feeling the need to be defensive about what the liberals are saying [the non-liberals].

It's time to work together.

Posted by Jeff at 12:37 PM | Comments (3)

November 03, 2004

Why don't liberals learn their lessons?

I just visited one of my favorite liberal weblogs, and I found this little line:

Right now I am fighting despair, and losing badly. It comes down to this: if we can't beat this guy, then who could we beat? If we can't make gains in this Senate, if we can't beat Bunning and Coburn, then what do we have left to hope for?

The election wasn't all that close. The so-called "divided" America, as judged by the polls, isn't all that divided. George Bush had incredible popularity 18 months ago - the country was not divided. And George Bush did not change at all since then. No, he's remained precisely the same. So if everyone was with him, how did we get divided?

That's right: The far-left liberals (Michael Moore, Moveon.org, the candiates, and the wackos), using extremely negative campaign strategy, pulled people away from Bush and to the far left. They divided America, not Bush, and in the final analysis - as judged by the 3.5 million vote win by Bush, they didn't really divide it all that much.

I would say to Rivka, the author of the blog mentioned above, and the people who empathize with her, that what you have to hope for is that you'll eventually re-examine the positions that you've tended to hold as well as your ideology, and you'll move further, and comfortably, to the right to land somewhere near the political center.

Think I'm way out there? Keep reading:

A congressman pointed out last night (on, I think, CNN), that if you've got 80% of the people in favor of banning gay marriages, and you've got bans being passed in states all over the country, then that is, by definition, the center. So that's where George W. Bush is. Yet the media has largely portrayed this issue as being "ultra-right wing". Well, if a person thinks that, then that person is clearly far to the left.

Personally, I didn't vote on my state's gay marriage issue. I'm very libertarian in my thinking and, as I see it, the state shouldn't be recognizing gay marriage - but neither should the state be recognizing heterosexual marriage, either. The government should respect individual rights, period, nothing else. Alas, my position was not on the ballot, so no hole was punched. Equality would seem to have favored voting against the ban, but two wrongs don't make a right...that would've just dug the hole deeper.

But, I'm not wacko about it.

You don't see me out there calling our president a liar, calling him a war criminal, or using hyperbolic hystrionics to attack our representatives with whom I disagree. If I can denounce the facts, sure, but I know not to make slanderous leaps like accusing someone of lying when there is only evidence available that the person was wrong (I've probably violated this principle in the past, but it's rare; it'd be that "the exception proves the rule" type of thing, particularly since I know better than to do it and wouldn't defend my act if I did).

But I digress. What is there to hope for? You can hope that the ultra-left will stop dividing America, and that they'll move toward the center. This election season was just too excrutiating to have again.

Here's a late addition from Mark Steyn:

In their desperation, the Democrats have wound up damning a big chunk of the American people as stupid, bigoted and a bigger threat than Saddam Hussein and al-Qa'ida. This is ridiculous. As Catalano continues: "You will not be thrown in jail for the sole reason of being a liberal. Your child's public school will not suddenly turn into a centre for Christian brainwashing. Your favourite bookstore will not turn into puritan central."

She didn't add to that list of phony terrors my own choice gem from this election season, courtesy of that eminent political analyst Cameron Diaz, who advised Oprah Winfrey's viewers: "Women have so much to lose. I mean, we could lose the right to our bodies. If you think that rape should be legal, then don't vote. But if you think that you have a right to your body, then you should vote." Poor Cameron. The scary people won. She's just lost all rights to her body. Unlike Alec Baldwin, she can't even move to France. Her body was grounded in Terminal D.

As long as Democrats prefer phantom enemies to real ones, they will be increasingly irrelevant. If I were a Dem, I'd support any candidate who pledged to de-celebrify the party and disown the paranoid Left. That's the big lesson of this election: on Tuesday, the bottom dropped out of Moore's underpants.

Well said.

Posted by Jeff at 02:46 PM | Comments (1)

November 02, 2004

Okay, So I Voted....

I woke up this morning, played a bit of guitar, paid a few bills, then walked outside to head to the polls. It was a beautiful day with no snow on my lawn, but lovely snow on Mount Olympus:
Mount Olympus


I approached the voting place, an elementary school, and surveyed the overwhelmingly large voter turnout mayhem:
Voter Turnout Mayhem


After entering the parking lot, I noticed that the school was still in session...what's this nonsense I hear about schools closing for he election?
School is in session


I proceed to take my place in the long, long line to get into the building to vote:
The crowded voting line


This fellow is on his way out as I am entering...it's a bad sign...I'm told that when he showed up to vote he was only 23 years old!
Growing old in line


I get inside the building and survey the number of people ahead of me in my district - it's lookin' pretty tough so far. Do I wait it out? Or do I give up and go home?
The line to get my ballot


I flip a coin and decide to stay. Here's my ballot - it's essentially the same as the last election. Fortunately, I was not educated in Florida, so I should be able to muddle through without too much trouble:
My Ballot


After punching my chads, I take a quick photo of the near riots and carnage at the polls. There simply must be some reform of this system! It's just crazy...how could anyone manage such disorder?
People in their voting booths


Finally, I escape the mayhem and see, once again, the sight that I saw as I left my home so very very long ago (15 minutes?) as I embarked upon my journey to vote:
Mount Olympus from the polling location

Posted by Jeff at 06:27 PM | Comments (3)

November 01, 2004

Howard Dean Said It Well....

After he lost the primaries and Dean began to sing Kerry's praises, he was asked during an interview how he can take such a pro-Kerry position when, for months, he'd been blasting Kerry's positions whenever he had the chance. Dean responded that during the primaries the candidates emphasize differences so that they voters can choose between them. After the primaries, however, they emphasize similarities.

Dean also said, in a recent speech in Quebec, that if Bush wins then he'll win with 51% of the popular vote, then he pointed out that such a win means that 49% of the people were against him (he was trying to suggest to the Quebecois that just because Bush wins, that the Quebecois shouldn't be mad at America, because 49% of Americans would have been against Bush [I don't know what that's all about...are Quebecois that anti-current U.S. policy???]).

The flip side of Dean's second argument is that if Kerry wins, then 49% of the people were against him and favoring Bush. And the principle behind his first argument tells us that, following the election, regardless of who wins, we'll be emphasizing similarities.

Everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike, know that Kerry just says whatever he feels he needs to in order to get elected. He says one thing to the people of Ohio, then precisely the opposite to the people of California. While this infuriates Republicans, Democrats don't care; they want him to say what is necessary for him to get elected, too. But, in the final analysis, Republicans and Democrats alike know that - in terms of the major decisions - Kerry would've done the very same things, in cases of foreign policy, as did George W. Bush.

People from Europe, Canada, and other countries might be thrilled with a Kerry victory, they may suddenly be happy with America for a short time, but in the final analysis, what they'll see from us will just be more and more and more and more and still more of the same as has come from us since 9/11.

And in terms of domestic policy, congress will thoroughly handicap all of Kerry's socialist notions. So it's no biggie here, either.

So, whoever wins:

VIVA THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT!

*Note: The only scary issue is the prevention of terrorism within the U.S. borders...while I feel as safe as is possible under Bush, I feel not at all secure about being presided over by Kerry.

Posted by Jeff at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

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