Friday, August 29, 2008

Is the "freedom cage" the ultimate litmus test for Lefties?

There's something at the Democratic National Convention in Denver called the "freedom cage," and that some of the rhetoric spouted from within is decidedly anti-Obama in nature.
"[D]on't put all your hopes in Obama," said one Adam Jung, an organiser with the Tent State University protest group. "He's not an anti-war candidate. He's billing himself as that. It's not true."
I need not say anything else about this except, just how far to the Left would you have to be to regard Barack Obama as the antithesis to all the hopes, aspirations and principles you hold dear to your heart as a committed pinko? Cripes, didn't the man score 100 percent with the ACLU? (Just kidding, I know it's only 79 percent.)
Better tell R.E.M. Those dudes are flashing images of Mr. Obama on the screen behind them at their concerts. They ought to rethink that. In fact, I would actually derive great pleasure from hearing Michael Stipe tell foreign audiences, like the one in Ireland the other day: "We love our country, but hate our government. And it's not going to get any better over there. Just as Bush stole the Presidency from Gore, Obama stole the Democratic nomination from Hillary Clinton!" You want to get political, shiny happy people? There you go!
But, seriously, speaking of Barack Obama—I have nothing but the most serious contempt for the backward, toothless, rednecked crackers who attempted an assassination on him. It's about as dispiriting as things can get.
Bad enough trying to kill someone simply because you don't like their politics or way of doing things. But to qualify your reasons for attempting to take someone out as "because he's the wrong color?" It just blows my mind.
I certainly don't like Barack Obama, but I don't wish him dead. I don't even want him to stub his toe. (I even pulled for Bill Clinton during his heart troubles.) I am content that he lives a long, happy life should he be so blessed.
I only hope that he loses his bid for the Presidency.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

London 2012 makes me ponder the Fall of Rome

We went to the medieval English city of Lincoln yesterday afternoon, and it was a pretty nice day, except for when we decided to visit the Lloyds Bar pub in town. The drinks and food were good and so were the surroundings, but on the TV they were showing the closing ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics and the start of the celebrations for the Olympic torch being handed to London.
I watched all this thinking, "Hoo-fucking-ray!" To say that it put me in a sour frame of mind would be as obvious as Al Franken being turned down by any modelling agency he applied at. I also thought, "I am seeing a modern-day version of the fall of Rome here."
Wow, I really enjoyed the moving human tower. My life was so enriched by that. Fireworks exploding in the shape of the Olympics rings? Marvelous! That performance by the old rocker with the guitar and the young pop bint beside him? Spectacular! Seeing that red doubledecker London bus rolling into the stadium had tears of happiness welling up in my eyes. Just when I thought it couldn't possibly get more edifying and enriching to the soul than this, David Beckham appeared! And he kicked a ball into the crowd! Jesus wept, how I wish I'd spent the equivalent of my salary for the next five years just to have been there! After all, if David Beckham was there, it must have been entirely worth the several billions of dollars being spent on what only a grump would call a travesty.
Well, call me a grump, but it is a travesty. The Olympics are nothing but one huge, grandiose circle jerk. Spare me this misty-eyed "nations coming together in the pursuit of sports" garbage, OK? It's nothing but one colossal spunkfest.
And it's our money they're spunking away. In addition to already paying more for less, via council taxes, Londoners will have to pay even extra to fund the 2012 Olympics. It doesn't matter one iota that there are plenty of Londoners who didn't want this nonsense coming to their city, who didn't "back the bid," and who prayed to God every night to please, please let Paris or Moscow have the Olympics instead. This wasn't up for a vote, as it damn well should have been.
But, alas, you cannot fight or even argue with the mighty triumvirate of sports, consumerism and corporate sponsorship. Add to this trifecta cheesy "celebrity" kitsch, and you've got yourself a winner, me laddie! Karl Marx hadn't yet seen the ultimate opiate of the masses.
As far as I'm concerned, the 7/7 bombings in London were an appropriate mood-setter to London having been "awarded" the Olympics only the day before.
The United Kingdom, its capital London especially, is a time bomb waiting to explode: Hundreds of thousands of youths with nothing to do, nowhere to go, no career prospects. They can't even get a job, never mind a career. They can't spell; a lot of them can't even read beyond a five-year-old's level. You'd think that every single council would have a big youth center to keep these kids active and dispense advice to them. This is one form of development I'd heartily approve of. You keep children and teenagers active, you make them happy. And when they're happy, they're much more likely to accept advice, to learn, to start thinking of college and a possible career. Furthermore, kids with a place to go and stuff to do are far less likely to engage in criminality.
We hear about how we're failing Britain's youth day by day, how we've lost and continue to lose generations to idleness, unhappiness and a life of crime, and how nothing ever seems to get done about it. And so what is our response? To spend several billions of dollars, with the cost constantly rising, on a superfluous sporting spunkfest. The legions of unemployed no-hopers must be so grateful.
One group who will be most grateful? Terrorists. Security, according to Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, is "inadequate" and that plans for security need to be revised. This means, of course, in that time-honored British fashion, that adequate security will be an afterthought until it is too late. London 2012 must be as close as Al-Qaeda members ever get to a wet dream.
And yet we still have jerk-offs crowding Trafalgar Square and The Mall waving their "LONDON 2012" signs and shouting to the heavens of their joy and exhiliration.
Eat, drink and be merry today, oh foolish ones, for tomorrow we all die. A fitting slogan for the London 2012 Olympics if ever there was one.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Green belts not sacred; profit is

One of the things that really sucks about being a conservative is that you're expected to defend the douchebags ... er, developers who ache to turn every field, meadow or forest that fails to turn a profit into something only humans can make use of.
For instance, Policy Exchange, a right-leaning think tank, suggests that Britain's green belts are "not sacred" and that the debate about developing on the green belts should be conducted in a "less emotional" tone.
Policy Exchange seems to be under the laughable impression that 90 percent of Britain is undeveloped, thus the green belts don't matter.
Well, dear non-English reader, let me explain what the green belts are. The green belts are U.K. town planning policy which controls urban growth. A "ring" of countryside acts as a sort of buffer to every major city in the U.K., such as Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and, of course, London. These "green belts" were first proposed in 1935 and have since become government policy.
The green belts attact criticism these days due to the fact that Britain has a booming fertility rate, mass immigration and a housing crisis. The pro-development crowd asserts that, far from running out of land, we simply need to manage it better. They claim that most green belt areas are of unremarkable environmental quality and that it's far better to have green "wedges" than belts, and to preserve those areas of country around which no major city exists.
Sounds all well and good except for the fact that I do not trust the developers. They cannot convince me that their first concern is the environment when I know for a fact that it's profit. I am not fooled.
Admittedly, the Town and Country Planning Association, heavily credited for helping to enact the green belts in the first place, now argues that the green belts encourage development on countryside outside of protected green belts. I would be open to the idea of green wedges and corridors linking people and nature if only I could trust the ulterior motives of those who argue in favor of development.
And even if it was true that an amazing 90 percent of Great Britain was undeveloped, why does that mean we have to build on it? Why can't we say, "well, that sounds wonderful, let's protect all that land we've got left?" Why is our first instinct to create more towns, more roads, more strip malls? Is it because people are greedy fuck-bubbles whose primary opiate is consumerism? Quite possibly.
I can't help but think that if only Britain would enact a tough-as-nails immigration policy and if only the remaining natives would keep it in their pants more, then this whole debate over development versus the green belts would not be necessary.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The "height" of attractiveness

I'm sorry, dear on-the-tall-side female reader, but I have to be honest and say that my heart soared when I read the news of the latest body preference survey (you know, the "have you got the right body?" type of stories the media come out with three or four times a year). It seems the latest thoughts on body image stipulate that short women with long legs are the most attractive.
Now, personally, I've always favored short women with legs that are in proportion to the rest of them—like my wife, for instance.
The most shocking bit of news, however, was not what this report had to say about the attractiveness of long-legged short women to men. It was about the attraction that short-legged tall men command among the ladies.
Women prefer their men tall. Big surprise. When you're a short male, you learn that lesson many times throughout your trip toward and through adulthood. But, I do understand that it is deeply ingrained. (The other day, my wife said she had to stand on her tippie-toes to give me a full hug. I failed to notice, but I find that too endearing for words.)
What I don't quite understand is why tall men with legs that are shorter than they should be for their frame are the height— I'll leave it up to you to decide whether or not that pun was intended—of attractiveness for women. I mean, what the hell is the point in being tall if you've got short legs?
There must be truth in it though. My lovely mother-in-law married a tall bloke. But his legs were quite a bit shorter than you'd expect on a man of 6-foot-2. His height came mostly courtesy of his back.
And, come to think of it, my own father is 5'11", but, during my college days, I used to routinely borrow a pair of his jeans when all mine were in the wash. There were no problems with extra material down around the ankles, if you get my drift.
Actually, I wonder if height is even a factor at all. I knew a couple in Boston; the husband and wife were both 5-foot-10. She, however, had legs as long as they come—she took a 34-inch inseam—while the guy had legs no longer than my own. He was five inches taller than me, but I swear on all that's holy that my 30-inseam jeans would have fitted him perfectly.  But he had a long back and was broad-shouldered which is what women like, according to the report.
Food for thought on a drizzly Wednesday morning, at any rate.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Georgia: It's all about oil—and the "Make Peace Not War" crowd could care less

Let's see here ... Russia storms into Georgia, an independent country it never had any claim to—Russia annexed it in 1801—and lays waste to entire communities of innocent civilians.
If this was all about South Ossetia, then what the hell was the bombing of Gori and Tbilisi all about? Why bomb apartment buildings? And why, pray tell, did Russia decide to stir the pot in the autonomous province of Abkhazia? (Though, having said that, I would support Abkhazia's independence from either Georgia or Russia, in line with my beliefs.)
Did Georgia really deserve this kind of stomping to the curb just because she decided to flex her muscles a bit in South Ossetia? Russia has long bullied Georgia; why should the Russians stop doing so now?
Russia claims that Georgians were trying to "ethnically cleanse" Russians from South Ossetia. A load of bull. I don't believe one word of it. Look at any good map of that region. Does South Ossetia fit more cleanly into Russia, or Georgia?
Besides Russia playing the part of imperialist bully only too well, it's clear why they took the opportunity handed to them to beat Georgia to a bleeding pulp.
The oil pipeline. It's clear what Russia wanted. To control the pipeline, tell British Petroleum (BP) who owns it to screw off, and dictate their own terms with Europe regarding the oil.
Now, lastly, remember all the protests against the Iraq war? Millions taking to the streets in major cities, demanding that America (and Britain) back off? That it was an imperialist war, that it was all about oil?
How many anti-war marches were held in honor of the raped country of Georgia? How many people took to Western streets on her behalf? How many speeches did Stop The War deliver demanding that Russia back off, to stop being greedy for oil?
I think this only too aptly demonstrates the fickleness and hypocrisy of the anti-war movement. They're only interested in bashing America, Britain and Israel. Russia, of course, gets a free pass.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Don't stop the laughter

OK, since I talked at length about crying, and my utter disdain for it, I thought I'd share my thoughts on laughter with you, faithful reader.
In short, I find laughter to be beautiful, lovely. Gorgeous, even.
I like to hear people laugh. Grown adult laughter is a nice sound.
This is why I never went for sitcoms like The Office which lack a laugh track. A comedy without laughter, even piped laughter, just seems empty. The key to a joke is to hear the resultant laughter and that's what every good sitcom ought to contain.
Did you ever notice that when someone is laughing to the LOL or even LMAO stage, it becomes infectious? Many's the time I've heard my wife or a friend or whatever laughing and I would laugh too, even if I had no idea what was so funny. Just the sound of a person splitting their sides can start me off.
In fact, laughter is my release. You see, I don't cry to release tension. I'll find something to laugh at and I'll feel the frustration melt away, even if just for a little while.
I know it seems strange. Here I am, a lifetime member of the Piss-and-Moan-About-Everything Club, not exactly a warm, friendly sort, a curmudgeon who idolizes Archie Bunker, and someone who doesn't miss a chance to criticize and lob bitterly sarcastic remarks at anything and everything that ticks me off. My father once called me an angry young man—on Christmas Day, no less—and I thought that was one of the nicest things he ever said to me.
But I cannot for the life of me understand people who are so hacked off with the world that they don't laugh, can't laugh and reserve contempt for those who find it easy to laugh.
As long as I have laughter in my life, and the ability to laugh, I know my life is worth living.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

That dress would go well with your tears, fellas

A feature piece by the Daily Telegraph's Judith Woods entitled "Please Save Us From The Boo-Hoo Boys" recently appeared. Ms. Woods criticized the plethora of sports figures who get weepy at every disappointing result and society's acceptance that men crying in public is a good thing. Just a few snipets from this article should suffice to get her point across to you, dear reader:
Another sporting weekend, another great big crybaby hits the headlines. Forget this summer's metrosexual cardigan, these days the accessory du jour for any strapping bloke with a five o'clock shadow you could sand floors with is a nice lace-trimmed hankie—proper cotton, mind you, so as not to chafe his septum.
[T]he first step to reclaiming masculinity is to dry those pretty little eyes, reapply your manscara, touch up your guyliner and get right back to the testosterone-saturated stadium/building site/trading floor. Oh, and how about relocating your backbone while you're at it?
[I]t seems as though the keening and lamenting is set to continue as the Olympics are about to start. I shall be keeping my own score card, not of medals, but of bawling athletes.

Well, mee-ooow!, Ms. Woods! This demonstrates how men just can't win. If we don't cry enough, we're cold fish, emotional cripples, who should get in touch with our emotions more. But if we do cry, we're told that we're sissies. Honestly, ladies, you see the mixed messages you constantly bombard us guys with?
But Ms. Woods would love me. You see, I never cry. On occasions I've come close, but fought the tears back every time, harrumphed, and just got on with my life.
I have a huge problem with crying. Even if, admittedly, it would have made me feel better during times when I could have used a weep, I kept a stiff upper lip nonetheless. Personally, I would despise myself if I cried. My own consciousness says, "men just don't do that!" And so I don't.
I get angry. I rant and rave. And I also get sad. I have melancholy moments that keep me awake. Tears never get in the way of my anger or melancholy, though. Frankly, if I wanted to cry, I might as well throw on one of my wife's sundresses while I'm at it. Because that's how I would feel about myself.
I do remember the last time I was lachrymose. I broke down while watching coverage of the state funeral for Reagan on the BBC. I shouldn't have to apologize to anyone for that, not even to myself.
But, ordinarily, I just don't go for tears.
Ms. Woods quotes Kathleen Parker from her book Save The Males: Why Men Matter and Women Should Care:
"At the same time that men have been ridiculed, the importance of fatherhood has been diminished, along with other traditionally male roles of father, protector and provider. The exemplar of the modern male is the hairless, metrosexualized man and decorator boys who turn heterosexual slobs into perfumed ponies. But in the dangerous world in which we really live, it might be nice to have a few guys around who aren't trying to juggle pedicures and highlights."

Amen to that. And I'm one of those few guys. I refuse to give into the whole metrosexual craze. I'm one of those fellas who, upon waking up, throws on a t-shirt and jeans, runs a comb through his hair, is perfectly happy to ignore the stubble on his face, and just goes out to deal with the world and whatever it wants to throw at him. A few sprays of cologne is my only vice. (I do like to smell nice).
I do have my ways of dealing with life and all of its resulting frustrations. Crying is not, and shall never be, one of them.