Half Cocked

Posted in "American Values", Politics, Rants, Sex and Death on April 29, 2013 by yournativeson

My first blog post in many moons…

Oh you. America. I miss pies today, thought that might inspire some of you who have the privilege of quality pie at your leisure but do little about it. Love a pie for me today. Not like in that movie where the guy gets busted on the counter with his pants down, I know you thought that instantly. Just eat the damn thing knowing there are pie challenged Americans in the far recesses of the world longing for things you take for granted. I don’t even care if it’s sweet or savory, it could even be an (AWESOME!) pot pie as long as it has that crispy buttery crust and something tasty inside… Specifically hot strawberry rhubarb with ice cream is the one that’s haunting me if you really want hit the nail squarely on the head in my honor.

After such a long hiatus there are so so many things I could grab by the short and curlies and try to take for a run but I think I’ll go current events:

You guys are killing each other a lot and we are all very concerned. By we, I mean the people who don’t live there and for most of whom your news output is something we encounter only briefly (and with its own spin, bear in mind not everyone sees the “everyday happenings” of our fair nation in the same light) on the local news, by choice via the internet, or even at times a much coveted though slightly outdated copy of an American periodical someone accidentally left in a cafe somewhere.

Just pretend I’m your therapist here, a sympathetic third party who just wants to see you overcome your issues and be the best country you can be… Now dig deep. Why are you so angry?

Gun control is the hot topic of the day, and gun control advocates have some valid points: what kind of moron thinks it’s okay to give a gun to anyone over 18 without any proper training or even the time it takes to run a quick background check (that ten minutes might even be used to cool down and decide it’s a pretty bad idea to kill your whole family because someone puts the empty milk carton back in the fridge)? A gun is a dangerous tool, OSHA has standards as to who can operate a forklift because when untrained people operate forklifts, folks die. Accidental gun deaths alone should be incentive for nationwide gun training regulations, and stricter laws making gun owners legally responsible for their “tools”, where and how they are stored, and how they are used seem (to a “logical” human) a generally smart thing to have and no affront whatsoever to the constitutional rights of “law abiding” citizens.

But in my view, that’s just a reach around to the real issue at hand. WHY are people killing each other? Stricter gun regulations will help  decrease accidental deaths, crimes of passion (to a certain extent), and legal guns issued to people with histories of mental disorder… They would be a “victory” and definitely sate the “liberal” element for some time if they can get them past the NRA cartel (shit, I meant to say lobby). Gun control appears to be widely supported (80+%) and can happen by circumventing the big money and making it a ballot initiative. I think it will happen, much to my personal pleasure when perusing my facebook newsfeed. But it will only be a matter of time before folks realize a couple less rounds in a magazine hasn’t solved the issue, guns aren’t going anywhere and people are still running around with Bowie knives on college campuses serially stabbing people.

We Americans put too much stake in cure. Curing cancer is great but why do so many Americans have cancer? Is it a statistical anomaly? Ask yourself, “why do cultures with much higher rates of consumption of alcohol and tobacco products have lower cancer and heart disease statistics?” or “why do cultures who consume equal or greater amounts of fatty foods not have an obesity epidemic?” We have a problem and we try to “cure it.” Someone somewhere will soon “cure obesity” I have no doubt. Technology is grand, exponential, and it will prove quite profitable for some lucky pharmaceutical conglomerate. But it’s a superficial fix and just because it will make American beaches far more pleasant doesn’t get to the root of the issue.

Now “what is the issue” you might ask? I have some pretty strong suspicions, but you’re smart folks. Look around you. Most who will bother to read this already know something is (far less) rotten in Denmark (looks like they just cured HIV by the way (http://rt.com/news/hiv-cure-close-denmark-535/).

Locally we have more guns than people, one in ten Czech citizens has a gun permit. If you’re a student of history you will know they have good reason regionally to want them and I for one support that… There is also almost no violent crime.

Love you and stay safe,

Your Native Son

Long Division

Posted in "American Values", Politics, Rants, Sex and Death on January 27, 2010 by yournativeson

I find them fascinating but physics and theoretical science elude me almost completely. I read about them and almost grasp some things for a bit but the concepts are vast and most days my memory is kinda like that carnival duck game where you grab the little floating bastards at random and hope there’s something written on the bottom that might merit a much coveted Def Leppard mirror. I respect intelligence and I like to think I’m clever enough to know it when I see it. But I have no misconceptions about where I stand in the same world with the folks who could tell you how to map the human genome or wax poetic about a higgs boson. These people are very very clever and I would have put it differently if I wasn’t too lazy to look up the plural for genius.

So I never took the SATs, but I manage to tie my own shoes and I do have a few pet theories. One of them would be that what drives those incredible minds, the kind that could bring an iphone out of science fiction and into your everyday vernacular to keep learning is at least in part the understanding that we know so very little. I think we can all agree that those who “know” the most are in the greatest position to understand what it is that we don’t know, and those most qualified would be the first to tell you that we, in the collective sense don’t really know anything.

But surety is as much a commodity as it ever was and collective fear has never been so prolific, organized, accessible, or socially acceptable. Certainty, assurance, freedom from death, hunger, pain, disease, social, physical and emotional trauma are products we consume every day in the form of foods, brand names, medicines, political affiliations, nationalism, religion, and even fashion. We seek the path or buy the product that delivers certainty because if there’s one thing we’re all unsure of it’s everything, and if there’s one thing we’re all sure of it’s a sincere desire to be sure of something even if that surety amounts to little more than knowing that what we have in our hands is indeed “maximum strength.”

All around the world, the majority has this in common… We twitch at every little bump in the night. We’re afraid of each other, we’re afraid of ourselves, but most of all we’re terrified to be wrong, and so afraid of being wrong we will convince ourselves that we are right even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary (I believe they call that faith), even kiss our mothers goodbye and march to our deaths to prove it. We fight, bicker, stand above, push down, step on, and even crush each other for the right to be sure because if there is going to be surety, there can be only one, and it must be our own.

We separate ourselves in our subdivisions with more divisions, subdivisions, and divisions within subdivisions until we no longer trust the person next to us and we can be justified in doing so. We know full well that they don’t trust us either.

Knowing there are people so full of conviction they would be willing to sacrifice everyone I love with all the compassion of a 10 year old boy on an anthill with a fist full of firecrackers doesn’t help a person sleep at night. It gives me the sincere desire to pack up everyone I ever cared for and cart them off somewhere safe. It makes me want to protect them from those around who would do them harm. It makes me hate those who would cause me to fear for their safety because that’s what fear tells you; build a wall and build it high, top it with something lethal, brutal, and carnivorous, and kill anything that comes too close. If that fails, run.

What (often) begins as true care and love within our closest circle becomes a state of global sociopathy beyond the wall. Seemingly connected, intelligent, rational people, ready to allow the worst to happen next door so long as it keeps them safe. The state of uncertainty becomes morally crippling; so long as we fear we will do literally anything, step on the back of a drowning man to survive.

And there is plenty to fear, you can be sure of that. Though the question of what to actually fear I’m not qualified to answer. What I can say with the utmost of certainty is there are those who would keep us scared.
There is tremendous profit in our inability to sleep properly at night. If you’ve never done it before then do us both a favor, the next time you watch a television set, step outside yourself just slightly and take note of how it makes you feel. Experience with a bit of consciousness the emotional rollercoaster as you plunge from plot to information to marketing pitch. Listen to the music, take note of the images and camera angles, the lighting, the flashing text, then ask yourself “what is this designed to do?” Now stop thinking and let it take you where it wants you to go. Just give in completely and allow it to sweep you along… Are you hungry now? Horny? Angry? Content? Hopeful? Scared? Who are the heros and villians of the day and how will that effect what you feel and say, what you eat, how you vote?

Some of you may think I’m spouting conspiratorial nonsense here but it’s just simple fact. Advertising technology is every bit as sophisticated as that machine you are staring at right now, the sum parts of which are constructed with the sole purpose to guide you in the way that you think. At minimum our anxieties are a convenient marketing tool, at maximum, as we’ve experienced far too frequently in history, mere anxiety when mixed with a dash of conviction can cripple or control entire nations.

I have an agenda of my own so thank you for taking the time to allow me to indoctrinate you.

Before I sign off, just a quick note regarding “informational” media: Whether you consider yourself to the “right” or to the “left”, if your opinion is provided through “mainstream” media sources you should probably refrain from debate much more involved than asking yourself what you want at the drive through window. “Informational” media does every one of us an injustice regardless of affiliation. Whether the intent is outright manipulation or just a basic assumption we are too childlike to handle anything not passed twice through a mill and served with a straw, it informs no one, and those who rely on it may just as well rely on “General Hospital” for medical advice.

Thanks for listening,

Your Native Son

Social Disease

Posted in Pop Culture, Rants on September 19, 2009 by yournativeson

The concept of guilt by association is not a new one, being “known by the company you keep” is an age-old adage, and not without a world of merit. Many of you may be familiar with this feeling: a sense of impending doom… a voluminous gray cloud as certain people approach or a certain name pops up as the phone starts to ring… just a whisper of a hairs-breadth away is the game changer. I’m talking about the words that can change your entire life in a fraction of an instant. “Hey! Um, so, what you doin’ tonight?”
If you have never experienced this phenomenon you may just be incredibly lucky. Or maybe, just maybe, you are one of them.
There is increasing evidence that who you surround yourself with is having effects on you far beyond the shame of just being seen socially with a “serial repeater” or an ass-grabber.
Happiness, it turns out, is infectious. So is misery, obesity, alcoholism, drug dependence, and a cornucopia of positive and negative attributes we pass on from one person to the next in our daily interactions. According to a Harvard University study conducted over 50 years and including some 15,000 subjects, you are 57% more likely to become obese if your friends become obese. In fact, the study suggests that it even skips degrees of separation. You are 20% more likely to become obese if the friends of your friends become obese. I won’t quote the entire missive, but this applies fairly consistently across the board for everything from personal habits to the way we think and perceive.

We catch everything from viruses to concepts. The more integrated we become and the tighter the links between us, the greater the risk we will pass them on pandemically and exponentially among us at an ever increasing rate.
Avoiding the consumption of paint chips, or even frequent hand washing is no longer enough. Wearing protection for every encounter is admirable, but all the purell in the world can’t help you in a day and age where you can sit down and catch stupid merely by touching your handheld.
It’s “6 degrees of Kevin Bacon” on a global scale; we are all connected by ever diminishing degrees of separation. The internet and social networking sites in particular have simplified and expedited the transfer of information, everything from the profound to the inane can now be shared across the interverse at the speed of light (this blog being no exception) rendering us exposed to the inner most thoughts and brunch menus of all we “befriend” at the brush of a keystroke.
The television has been dumbing us down for generations and I won’t debate that the options today can be far healthier, but these are our friends, and in theory we actually listen to them. With ever expanding peer groups, we are now capable of maintaining “relationships” with people we would normally have long forgotten and often for good reason. It’s nice to see what they’re up to… See pictures of their families. But occasionally I’m forced to ask where it will all end.
The free transfer of thoughts and ideas is a tremendous thing with earth shaking implications, I might even imply if used properly it could literally unite us and save the world (or at least the humans).
Or it could have a quite different effect.

I’m of course dramatizing this a bit for the sake of entertainment, but I’m also culling my friends list as we speak.

Love,

Your Native Son

Community Chest

Posted in "American Values", Politics on September 14, 2009 by yournativeson

There’s a lot of talk going ‘round right now. They’re calling it “the Healthcare Debate” and it’s causing folks to draw battle lines. Pitting friend against friend, brother against brother, this polarizing “issue” has passions fueled with high-octane vitriol and ready to come out swinging.
I’ve alluded to this in previous posts but I’ll ante up and toss my two cents in the sling. There’s little hope to slay the giant, but if I can make some of Goliaths more rational and often unwitting henchmen pause for a moment that’s plenty for me.

First off: This is not an issue. There is (at least among those of us not poised to take a piece of the billions at stake) no debate that any rational person (aside from possibly a sociopath) would lower themselves to if they were not grossly misinformed.
I say it’s a non-issue in the same way I would consider murder a non-issue. Most of us know murder is wrong. We don’t do it, we don’t sit and discuss its’ relative merits, it’s not worthy of debate among rational sensitive people. Yet here we stand accessories to the fact, blood on our hands, driveling on and on about the motives, and the cost.
It’s nothing short of Stockholm Syndrome. America has been taken hostage by big business and held for ransom. The most unfortunate part is many Americans like it. Doing without has become a point of pride for us, those of us not strong enough to survive often feel like they deserve it; deserve to suffer, deserve what they get because obviously they didn’t try hard enough. This is the logic I hear every day from seemingly kind and thoughtful people (not in so many words of course). There is no more sense of community and little sense of family. Those who can’t provide for themselves for whatever reason are “not our responsibility,” the simplest of things, a human right, available to every person in every other free nation in the world, reduced to something enjoyed by only the strongest among us and often not even by those arguing against receiving it.
We do without then come to the defense of those keeping it from us. We’re even courteous enough to thank them for the privilege of taking the time to fleece and murder us. The wolves are tending the sheep my friends, and those whose sworn and appointed duty it is to represent and protect us are yet another commodity, purchased at the price of our lives.

In a rational world it wouldn’t matter what the cost. We would pay our last dime to assure the health and safety of our populous (think of the trillions we spend on “national defense” and police, courts, and prisons to “preserve the peace”). My argument is not about statistics, it’s about morality. It would cost us far less than we are already paying right now to set up a single payer system the likes of which have already been in successful operation for generations throughout the free world (not on the table unfortunately), but does it really matter what it costs?
The most disturbing aspect of this “debate” for me is people’s reaction to the issue. The media circus, the “town hall” fiascos, the intentional distraction and misinformation. If you step outside the bubble it’s very much like watching Jerry Springer in real time.
There is a lot at stake but it has little to do with increased taxes, bureaucracy, or government control. It’s about people vs. profits. Private companies are responsible to their shareholders, they will always do what is necessary to assure profits, it’s their job. Government is responsible to its people. Seeing the thirstiest horse in the race shun a bucket of cool water is a wonder to behold.

Your Native Son

Taps

Posted in "American Values" on September 12, 2009 by yournativeson

I, like most Americans remember vividly (as I will for the rest of my life) where I was when the twin towers fell. The fear, the disbelief, the apprehension. The overloaded telephone service as I tried to reach family and friends for what seemed like an eternity. The relief knowing everyone was safe. The weight of those not so fortunate.
Eight years later it stands not just as a tragic moment in American history, but as a reminder that no matter how big, how powerful, how isolated, or how insular we are, America is still vulnerable.
Many think the way to prevent the “freedom-haters” from striking again is to hermetically seal the entire country. They claim if we can somehow cauterize the nearly 2000 miles of border between the U.S. and Mexico, offer up our civil rights to the security gods, remain vigilant (read suspicious), and keep people from bringing their own soft drinks on airplanes we can sleep safe in the knowledge that we are protected from those who may do us harm.
This myopic fallacy genuinely fails to address the elephant in the room. We all know it’s there, even (read especially) those who might encourage us to ignore it. There is no way, no matter how many of our civil rights we forfeit, how fiercely we protect our borders, and how much we are forced to pay for beverages past the airport security gate, to assure that if someone desires to do us harm they will not find the means. The simple but unfortunate truth of the matter: there is equal or greater threat to our safety, security, freedom, and domestic tranquility already within our borders.
I’m not talking about taxi drivers in turbans or even the guys with beards who may occasionally slaughter a live goat in the basement of a university married housing facility. I’m talking about dangerous and irresponsible domestic and foreign policy.
America has a long history of “Manifest Destiny” and tampering in the affairs of other nations as it suits us. It was a long road that led to 9/11 and as much as Americans don’t like to address it, or even seem to know it, the vast majority of that road we paved ourselves in a quest for what the real geopolitical movers and shakers call “primacy.”

Anyone who believes we are safer today as Americans than we were 8 years ago, Sir or Madame, I have a bridge you might be interested in purchasing. As unpopular as the Iraq war could be (and is occasionally) domestically, it can hardly compare to its unpopularity internationally. We’ve managed to unilaterally alienate even our allies, and with documented civilian deaths just due to violence alone near 100,000, whether we “won” or “lost” means very little to the families and friends of those who died in our effort to “liberate.”
On the purely domestic level, the hundreds of thousands of troops now suffering from brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder will be a factor of their own for generations to come.
Stack this and plenty I didn’t even bother to mention on an already unhealthy and generally volatile social palate and what you’ve got can only be described in polite company as an unenviable steaming mess of unfortunate possibilities.
Yes I’m trying to scare you. But the fact that I don’t even have to be melodramatic, twist words, or skew facts to paint a fairly grim picture is testament to something.
A notable journalist/decidedly liberal friend of mine speaks frequently of “turning the car around.” This is a political analogy for a change in policy direction which he believes is nigh. I tend to think turning around is still a lateral move. We’ve already wrecked the car, it can never take us where we need to go. It’s time to get a far more versatile form of transportation.

Your Native Son

The Red Menace

Posted in "American Values" on September 9, 2009 by yournativeson

As we rolled down the socialized highway we stopped at a socialized rest station for a drink of socialized water. Our socialist destination was a socialized park called the Grand Socialized Canyon. On our way we saw many socialized sites, and often stopped to socialize.
Before our trip Daddy had stopped at the socialized office to renew his socialized drivers license, the socialized Law Enforcement enforces a socialized law requiring all of its socialized citizens to meet a socialized standard or they may end up in a socialized jail and a socialized court in front of a socialized Judge on their way to a socialized prison.
I had taken some time off my socialized school but still had some socialized homework for Social Studies so I rode the socialized bus to the socialized library to check out some socialized books so I could study Socialism while on the socialized road.
Daddy is a social worker who earns a socialized salary trying to help less socially fortunate people get social services and socialized housing. When I grow up I want to be a socialized Fireman.
Daddy says I shouldn’t limit my socialized options, that I can be whatever socialized thing I choose, some day if I work really hard I could even be the socialized President of the United Socialized States. That’s nice of him to say but my socialized grades aren’t so good so I’ll probably just wind up in a socialized College.
That wouldn’t be so bad though, I just hope I don’t end up in the socialized Military fighting a socialized war some socialized politicians say is socially important.

The End

Social Studies

Posted in "American Values", Pop Culture, Rants on September 7, 2009 by yournativeson

The bell rings and we salivate. It’s lunch time at Pavlov Elementary, P.S. 101. Within its walls generations of Americans have been educated in the three R’s: Respect, regulation, and restraint. As basic training centers for the future bread winners of America these institutions teach invaluable skills such as unquestioning observance of hierarchy, and the ability to endure long hours of mind numbing redundancy.
The information itself and subjects present have less importance than the way they are taught. Ringing bells and the shift from one task to the next, excellence is defined by the ability to function within the set parameters. Those not malleable enough to “succeed” in the given framework, if not elevated by the firm hand of nepotism or able to exhibit the strength and speed (or beauty and grace) of a prize piece of livestock, fall as chaff and fill the lowest (and most necessary) tier. By the time the lowest tier receives the news he or she is not worthy of a more respectable place in society, it comes as little surprise.
The chaff at this point have two choices: to lower their expectations and lay in the cracks where “they belong,” or seek alternative means of personal propulsion, outside of the established guidelines of what is commonly considered proper society.
Predominately from the patchwork of those dissatisfied with the options available come the Thieves, Slangers, Bangers, Dealers, Grifters, Playas, Druggies, Dropouts, Bums, Pimps, and Hos. The urge to “roll up and bust a cap in someone’s ass” a fairly natural byproduct; generations of dissatisfaction and educational neglect combined with the constant message that they can somehow physically possess that which constitutes happiness.
America is at war with itself. On the street and in the board room, Americans are robbing and killing each other at an alarming rate. A glance at global statistics will tell you America is number one, the number one 1st world nation in per capita crime, per capita consumption, and per capita pollution. It’s become part and parcel to our culture, and culture is our number one export.

I normally try to offer something that though often overtly condescending has some vague entertainment value, but I’m feeling pissy. I have a fairly decent capacity to laugh in the face of tragedy, even my own, but today I just don’t think it’s funny. I’m tired as hell of the ignorance and hate. I’m tired of the misinformation. I’m tired of the machine that grinds humanity down to the point where by the age of 30 a person can no longer even be identified by dental records as the once ambitious, creative, intelligent, and hopeful individual they once were.
I’m tired of the media focus; whether you think the press is in the pocket of the right or left (and many do), there is no question that on a mainstream level what passes for news and information is less than newsworthy or informative. What we’re left with is a form of entertainment, a polarizing cringe factor/fear based reality show we’re all expected to take part in.
It’s terrorism, and the Terrorists have won. They’re on television every day highlighting our differences… Sowing the seeds of fear and distrust from both sides of the field, making us wary of our neighbor, and tearing any semblance of unity we might hope for into bite size morsels.

At risk of reading more into this than just an innocent and innocuous quest for ratings, the words “divide and conquer” come to mind. The less we trust each other the less likely it is we will come together and realize we have more in common than we think.

Your Native Son

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