Thursday, July 31, 2008

Karadzic and his brainless supporters do not represent Serbia

A recent news story reported that the pro-Karadzic rally in Belgrade planned by the Serbian nationalists did not draw as many people as expected.
There was footage on the news here of the riots, of literally toothless peckerheads with their arms around each other's shoulders and singing the Serbian national anthem.
I was beginning to regard the Serbs as being even further down the evolutionary scale than Southern (Fried) Baptists like Mike Huckabee. (And that's really saying something.) Earlier this year, I was appalled that Serbia did not acquiesce to Kosovo's legitimate reasons for independence.
But I must give Serbia and its people credit where it's due. Not all Serbs loathe Western Europe, the U.S. or NATO. Some Serbian citizens are indeed grateful to NATO for ridding their country of fascist madmen, for helping to avoid what could have been World War III.
The Serbian leadership itself is pro-West and is eager to coöperate with the European Union and America. And I don't believe for one moment that Boris Tadić is anything less of a patriot to his country simply because he desires integration into Europe and is complicit with sending Karadzic to The Hague.
It's easy to condemn the losers you see parading across the TV screen. It's another to say that the entire entity of Serbia must be that way. Certainly they have their fair share of thugs, but what country doesn't?
Serbia must have time to heal from their not entirely undeserved image as the tinderbox of the Balkans. Serbs must accept the reasons why this image of them exists and deal with it in a positive way.
It's sad to see anyone rallying in favor of a genocidal prick, but though these people are Serbian, they are not Serbia.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's better to bury ash than trash

It appears as though protests lodged by environmentalists against plans to build an incinerator in the southern England county of Sussex have been rejected by the High Court.
Sometimes I honestly have cause to wonder just what these enviro-types put in their tea. Have they thought out their objection to waste incinerators thoroughly?
Incinerators used to be clunky, marginally unsafe operations—true—but technology has moved on.
Incinerators can not only now act as energy suppliers by tapping the energy given off by the burning of society's debris and detritus, but safely handle all the toxic and biological wastes that laboratories and hospitals create. Are environmentalists honestly saying that we should continue to landfill that stuff? We're talking about some extremely nasty waste here, and burning it seems like a perfectly logical answer.
Think about all the soiled diapers that go into the garbage stream. Gonna procreate? Then incinerate.
And for all the recycling that some households and companies apparently do, there still seems to be plenty of trash around. Well, it's all plastic. Good ol' plastic. Plastic that can't be recycled or simply isn't profitable to recycle. All the styrofoam and polypropelene (so-called #5 plastics) that abound in cafeterias, makes up drinks containers and which nearly every single item in the supermarket comes packaged in. Not to mention all those plastic shopping bags that everyone adores and finds so convenient. All this gets thrown out by the hundreds of thousands of tons in every major city, every day.
Just think of the typical bag of rubbish that a business like Souper Salad, for instance, creates (all those disposable plastic salad trays and forks!), and multiply that by 100 billion. This is the sort of crisis we're facing because we're apparently too stupid as a species to remember how we ever survived without all this "convenience" before it got invented and started filling every nook and cranny in our lives such as it currently does.
So, until every business, supplier, packager and even—God forbid—the great unwashed public itself grows a conscience and stops relying so much on all this unrecyclable and completely non-biodegradable shit, it seems to me that we have no other option but to burn it all.
Just how much land do these environmentalists think we have available to us to continue to pack it all with the mind-boggling amount of residential, commercial and industrial waste that is created every second? If we don't build that incinerator in Sussex, what's to stop that land from becoming a dump, after all? Would that make the enviro-loonies happy?
Somehow I doubt it.
In fact, in countries like Japan, where space is at a premium—and before long this entire planet will be like Japan in that respect—incinerators are the primary mode of dealing with society's wastestream. Scandinavia, too, has long used incinerators; Sweden still has plenty of land for forests, their standard of living is still high and 8 percent of their energy is supplied from the 50 percent of solid waste that they burn.
And not only can incinerators provide energy these days, but technological advances have helped to deal with the dioxin—a toxic chemical—that incinerators admittedly produce.
In the United Kingdom alone, according to a 2006 BBC news report, incineration of trash and other waste is due to rise. It's no wonder why, given the extremely limited amount of space and resources on this tiny island.
It's time these environmental protestors hitched up their hemp jeans and took on whole new mantra: "It's better to bury ash than trash!"

Monday, July 28, 2008

"That's life," alright!

I swear, I don't know whether to laugh or cry at some of the shit-headed stories I read in my wife's "chat" magazines. You know, the sort of publications whose headlines announce, "Mum Gives Miracle Virgin Birth To Triplets!" or "Why I Became a Dominatrix!"
I only read these risible things when I'm having a bath because my wife keeps them right by the tub. It's something to amuse me while I soak the day's sweat away, and it's better than watching a certain part of my anatomy just bob up and down in the water.
The particular magazine I was reading yesterday morning is entitled That's Life!, and there was a story in there about a British girl who married some loser from the Barbados and brought him to England with her. Soon after arriving, her exotic piece-of-ass starting assaulting and behaving threateningly toward her. Just your typical, bone-headed, "but I thought this was true love" type tales.
Nothing so unusual in that. Thousands of British girls fall in love with foreign skanks every year and bring them into an already overpopulated island to start a life together—only for the women to be beaten up or have all their money and assets stolen or whatever. As long as there are dumb and drunk British broads abroad, there will be stories like this one.
No, this is the matter that really threw me: Belinda, the girl who wrote the article, summed up her situation before marrying the scumbag from Barbados thusly: "As a single mum, I had to think carefully before letting any man into my life."
Charming. She's a single mother and she had to think carefully about letting any man into her life?! Well, I guess that explains why you're a single mum, huh? You stupid, stupid person! Honestly, it's little wonder she got fooled into romancing a psycho.
But alas, sadly, most people wouldn't have picked up on this glaring discrepancy the way I did.
As the magazine so adequately states, that's life!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

An open letter to Barack Obama

Mr. Obama:
It's getting a bit ridiculous, isn't it?
First you tersely instruct the Republicans, "leave my wife alone" with regard to the fact that she may have said, "for the first time in my life, I'm proud of my country" and may have referred to people of Caucasian heritage as "whitey."
Now you're having a go at a literary magazine which satirized your image among right-wingers. When the New Yorker published a cartoon of you in Islamic garb pumping your fist at your wife Michelle in military fatigues with an American flag burning in the fire, they were making fun of the conservative image of you.
By reacting as you did to the New Yorker cartoon, you actually stuck up for conservatives, right-wingers and Republicans more than you did for yourself.
Attacking the New Yorker as you did, you essentially said, "Don't satirize me in any way because you will reveal to the world that I have no sense of humor."
Barack, seriously, you'd better toughen up, and, more than anything, you'd better learn who your friends are. The New Yorker is one of them. In publishing that cartoon, they were doing you a favor. It's too bad that you're so hot-wired that you failed to realize that.
You're not a dumb man, and I very much appreciate your commitment to the Afghanistan effort. But you have got to grow up if you want the presidency. You're 46, Mr. Obama, not 16, so get over the cheap shots and learn to recognize ironic humor when you come across it.
It's one thing that your policies scare the hell out of me, but your image should not.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

R.I.P., Mary

It was with deep regret that I report that our Mary had to be euthanized on July 4.  But she would have died many months ago had we not fought to keep her going with medications. She lived a lot longer than nature would have allowed.

She was our little Mary-bird, and we called her that because she liked to sleep on the bird seed tray in the cage (the cage was meant for big songbirds, like parrots, but it's perfectly suitable for small mammals too).

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sometimes, change is good

BOSTON, USA—I walked indoors moments ago, having arrived home from a trip into Harvard Square, where I'd gotten a "RAMONES" t-shirt and some vintage Omaha the Cat Dancer comic books. Dad, in his chair in the kitchen, turned around toward me and asked, "Hot enough for you?"
It's about 90 degrees out there and the dew point is near 70. And I'm loving it.
Yesterday, I walked all around Boston, to view the city after the Big Dig. I didn't recognize Causeway Street. With its elevated subway tracks that ran its entire length, from Haymarket to Lechmere, Causeway Street was always in perpetual darkness, just like some of the streets in Chicago's Loop district are. Now it's bright, it's airy, the huge Zakim bridge looms in the very near distance and the Fleet Center, while impressive, does not look anything like the old Boston Garden.
Of course, I received my first shock of the day when I discovered that North Station on the Green Line is underground. I whistled under my breath and thought, "I've been away too long!"
I walked through the North End, down the Greenway back to the Financial District, took the subway to Copley Square, then met a friend in the South End for drinks. I walked so much around Boston yesterday that I got blisters on the soles of my feet. But it was worth it.
And today I spent some time in Harvard Square, visiting old haunts such as The Garage and Grendel's Den.
No kidding, though: Boston just keeps getting better with every passing year. The city of 2008 is miles from the city of 1998 which itself was miles from the Boston of 1988. And in 2018, who knows? But sometimes change is good. For Boston—a bit of a dump if ever there was one during the '70s and '80s­—this couldn't be more true.

Monday, July 7, 2008

"F*** off": Basic skills?

BOSTON, USA—Further proof, if any were needed, of the brave new world we find ourselves living in:

Teacher gives kid credit for e'F'fort
Associated Press report as published in the July 1, 2008 edition of The Boston Herald

A British high school student received credit for writing nothing but a two-word obscenity on an exam paper, because the phrase expressed meaning and was spelled correctly.
The Times newspaper yesterday quoted examiner Peter Buckroyd as saying he gave the student—who wrote an expletive followed by the word "off"—two points out of a possible 27 for the English paper.
"It would be wicked to give it zero because it does show some very basic skills we are looking for, like conveying some meaning and some spelling," Buckroyd was quoted saying.
"It's better than someone that doesn't write anything at all."
Buckroyd said the student would have received a higher mark if the phrase had been punctuated.
Buckroyd is a senior examiner for the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, one of several bodies that grade British high school exams.
He said the expletive was used in 2006 by a student in response to the question: "Describe the room you are sitting in."

So, "fuck off" conveys basic skills that society is looking for? Let people wonder no longer why British youngsters have very little civility and why they are the worst educated in Europe.