Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dumb Idea: putting kid's name on their clothes

One of the dumbest and most dangerous and rapidly spreading trends right now is plastering your kid's name on every article of their clothing. Can you possibly make it any easier for child molesters to grab your kid than to broadcast their name to everyone? "Johnny! Johnny Smith! Come with me now!"

It's just about as dumb as putting everyone's name on stickers and putting them in the car window. "Hi, we're the really stupid family from this town that you can look up in the phone book or the Internets any time you want."

Imagine the fun. Here's the family traveling in another town and a quick phone call to someone in their town: "Just spotted a place to break into. Their sticker says we're the Morons from Idiotville and they list mom and dad's name as Fred and Wilma, so should be easy to find."

The same with putting a dog's name on their doggie shirt. "Hello little girl. Your beloved pet whose name is Fluffy is hurt and needs you right now!"

What got me going on this was seeing all the customized Halloween shirts at Cafepress. It's bad enough to display family and pet names on your car windshields, but it's downright stupid to send your kid out among strangers saying "My name is your future little victim because you know my name now."

Before people get all excited and tell me I'm being paranoid, get on that internets thing and do a search for level three sex offenders within a mile of your home and then tell me you're comfortable letting your kids wander around branded with their names.

Instead of making it easy for predators, send your kids out wearing this and train them that their names are private and available only to a privileged few. It may very well save their lives some day.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bushco Fascism

Buried deep in the long list of damage inflicted on our country by the Bush administration is the generational harm of turning lying, cheating, racism, warmongering, and bigotry into actions that have no consequences. It is this new "morality" that will bring us down faster than any bombs. And this is not something that happened overnight. It's been in the works for a while because these ethically-impaired cretins took and continue to take lessons from their heroes--the Fascists and the sordid Nationalists that gave rise to the Nazi Party. Here are the lessons they took to their greedy and hateful hearts:

1. In order to control a population you need to make them ignorant and obedient with programs like "No Child Left Behind" that rewards cronyism at the expense of education. You need to make religion a baseline to quality for dollars like in "Faith Based Initiatives." This assures that a poor black neighborhood with lots of Liberal, religiously diverse residents is going to get far less funding than a white Texas suburb that voted the party line for a generation or two and says howdy to you in church on Sunday. The cronyism comes in the form of awarding (Neil Bush) contracts to provide the software that spews out the message you want to perpetuate such as war is good, Democrats are bad, homosexuals need to die unless they join the Republican party and don't get caught in public bathrooms with their pants down. Sometimes it's as simple as using the same kind of tricks that made voting machines malfunction only in heavily Democratic precincts. Or making all the bad guys dark and swarthy and speaking bad English and all the heroes blond, blue-eyed and church going and clicking their heels together whenever they see a swastika. A picture is worth more than a thousand words to an illiterate and poorly educated society as the Fascists found out and put their own disgusting use.

2. It's not enough to control the school system so that most of the graduates can't find places like Iraq on a world map. You also have to get them once they move to the world outside school. The most effective way to do that is by dumbing down the information they take in after leaving the indoctrination pit that is school these days. You do this by making blockbuster successes of movies that glorify being stupid. (Dumb and Dumber, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, George Bush) You do this by reducing critical information into soundbites that can be broadcast over and over again until people actually believe it is news that Britney Spears doesn't wear underpants.

You do this by having such a rigid control over the book publishing industry that only the most mediocre of authors enjoy success. (Pop Psychology get rick quick books about dogs who talk to Jesus) You do this by making fun of people who are intelligent, who look smart, who can put a sentence together without an uh or a gosh or a shucks or a fucking this and fucking that. (Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter) You attack and belittle those who actually served in the military (Cleland, Murtha, Kerry) in favor of the chickenhawks (Bush, Cheney, Neo-cons) so everyone will believe war is wonderful and necessary rather than the ultimate failure of a culture and its people.

But most of all you study how all this worked on demonizing the Jews, the Gypsies, the Homosexuals, the Communists, the Atheists. You can study how the Fascists-Nazis accomplished this and then you change the words from Jew to Arab, Gypsies to the poor, sexual orientation to something with "an agenda," Communists/Liberals/Democrats as Darth Vader minions, and Atheists as a population dismissed as not worthy of equal rights by morons who can't even spell the word.

3. Those are the basics but in order to get cannon fodder for wars that make your munitions buddies wealthy and allow you to steal everything that isn't nailed down you have to demonize everything that is a threat to that. You start with the kind of religious fanaticism that outlaws abortion, especially for the poor, because they are the ones who will provide the soldiers you need to die in your wars. You make them go through religious ceremonies called "marriage" so you can control how they mate and with whom. You put restrictions on sex because throughout time those who wished to control others understood that was the only time people were beyond their control. You make free speech a crime because it can be used to dispute any lies you want to spread around. You hire desperate people to post propaganda on the Internet, in newspapers, on television so the truth won't be the only facts out there. You make protests take place in cages called "Free Speech Zones" so when the jackbooted thugs come calling, they find everyone conveniently in one place. And when everyone is in one place, you can beat, kill, stomp and abuse them away from the prying eyes of witnesses.

And you start drugging the population early by raising kids on Ritalin so they grow up with a taste for Meth and other nerve pounders. After all, it was the Nazis who took full advantage of the hatemongering, warlike tendencies of the drug and whose studies were incorporated into today's military that sends young kids out into battle wired to indifference and seething with rage at something, anything. And in honor of the historical significance of brainwashed, jackbooted youth, you blast Wagner at them once again. And for the folks back home and the basket cases that come back forever damaged from your wars, you create a huge market demand for Prozac and other drugs that take away any objections to the horrors committed by your own government.

But none of this works, none of this will penetrate the masses enough to be controlled unless you inflict them with the ultimate weapon to be used against them and to help further your own agenda: you make them live in fear, in complete terror of the government, in total subjugation to your demands. You humiliate them by making them stand in an airport line holding their shoes in their hands. You monitor them by making them have mandatory identification (driver's license, state identification card, passport, social security number) whenever you demand they present it...or pay huge fines, get turned away, or other wise punished for daring to step foot outside their homes without "Your papers please." You do everything you can to scare them into complete and total obedience because anything less and they will turn on you.

And that is why what Bushco is doing is so dangerous. Through their actions and through our inaction, they are indoctrinating and creating future generations who will never protest, who will go along with daddy government, and who will go marching off to war drugged to the gills and pounding their empty little chests.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Healing Power of Nature

To say that I've had a rough last couple days is an understatement. I've been dealing with a friend's imminent death from breast cancer. Three pairs of friends are no longer pairs, and one set of those live in town so they have to get the backstabbing losers contingent involved or it wouldn't be a proper Bellingham breakup. My shops are all wonky from Cafepress's server issues the last few days so I can't get any work done there.

However, I have been getting lots of work done on my Printfection shops (links to them on the right in the side bar) and also my Imagekind Gallery Here's one of the photographs I just put up in my gallery:

And I've received some amazing and wonderful emails over my last post. There are some good people in the world and it helps to understand that what I'm experiencing here is just the crap that goes on in small towns where people have nothing better to do than use each other for entertainment and/or therapy. I've had some beautiful invitations to come live in their towns and I'm considering a few of them because I really am ready to leave this pathetic "desperate housewives" pit of a town.

And as always, Nature heals in a way nothing else can. I went up to Mt. Baker and walked Horseshoe trail, took lots of pictures and came back feeling more able to deal with life and all it throws at me sometimes. Life goes on.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

More Thoughts On Where I live

There's nothing uglier than watching someones relationship implode, except maybe watching the community around them strip away all the pretenses and expose themselves as the ugly people they really are. I've had my eyes opened once again by the incestuous community I've called my home for the last couple decades. It's not the first crumbling marriage among my friends but it is the one that will finally drive me away from this place. It's the one that exposed the really ugly side of many of my acquaintances that I just didn't want to look at too closely because I wasn't ready to leave here yet. I only knew something smelled very bad and often I would get dragged into whatever caused that stench.

When I first moved here I was a young graduate student who came from a small group of solid friendships formed from long weekends camped out together in nature. We may have disagreed about many things, but those disagreements served as the glue that strengthened our bonds. We are all still friends, still close, still in touch even though time has scattered us all over the world. We trust each other. We would never betray each other, never talk crap behind our backs, never disrespect each other so much that we would use one of us to punish another. We are firm believers in the theory that once you share a campfire with someone they become part of your soul forever. We are decent, ethical human beings every one of us or we would not be friends.

The mistake I made in this community I immigrated to was in letting my new world become overly populated with the pampered and selfish children of the rich and upper middle class--people with no real goals, no ambitions beyond ego gratification, no skills that contribute to survival. Far too many of them do little but wait for rich relatives to die and leave them varying fortunes so they can continue their parasitical existence. This abomination called "community" is the outer skin that will never learn what was formed around campfires shared with the handful of friends I've made in this part of the world.

My campfire friends are the ones I am close to, the friends I trust with my life. They are the balance that keeps me sane in a community of really mean crazy people. They are people like me who grew up believing what really mattered in life are things like honor and ethics and loyalty. Most of us didn't even have a credit card until we were adults on our own. We worked our way through school and life. Most of us grew up with friendship having a value beyond anything that could be bought. Most of us inherited or will inherit only debts when our relatives die so we had to make our own way in life, we had to make our own dreams come true.

I've never had a roommate from a poor family run out on a bill, but I've had every single child of the rich stick me with unpaid phone and power bills and their share of the rent. The burden it placed on me was invisible to them just as their lack of purpose in life is invisible to them. And the problem many of them have is that their purposeless existence makes them bored and bored people do a lot of damage in order to entertain themselves.

Usually this damage is directed at those they perceive as being different than them, people like me who came from dirt poor parents, who is solidly Atheist and who won't go to church no matter what frou frou new age crap they call it these days. And let's not forget the most important difference--a loyalty to my friends that grew from not having anything to rely on but another human being. They can't relate to any of that so they attack it all, and they attack me without even thinking about why they do it. It's small town, small minds crap and it stinks.

Most of the time I'm quite skilled at staying out of the way. My small circle of campfire friends and I move back and forth between the other circles with a skater's ease. We are very much the same, this small handful of us within the larger hand of community. We are the children of their parent's servants. We are the children of the people who waited on them in fancy restaurants, who picked up the clothes they left on the floor of the dressing rooms, who picked up the garbage they couldn't be bothered to put in the trash, who fed their pets when they got bored with them. We are the children of those who taught them the piano, the violin, the guitar, the painter's easel, the stage, the dance, the words that would go in books. We are the ones who gave them all we had to give--our art, our talents, our services. And we are the ones they turned on first because to turn on each other would be a violation of some unwritten rule that elitism does not attack elitism.

So we became to them people they could use when they needed someone to complain about each other to, when they needed numbers in their side of the wars, when they needed someone to use who wasn't already used up by them. We became the ones they blamed when they couldn't take responsibility for their own actions. We are the ones they gossiped about and made up lies about just to entertain and fill their tedious little boring lives. We are the ones they hurt because they envied our ability to love and live without a price tag on everything we did and felt. They quite simply hate us for being something they can never be but in a strange sad way recognize as having a value beyond anything they can buy.

In so many ways they are the children of the Reagan years, children of the Bush years, children who were born too late to live through times when you had to take to the streets to get heard, when you had to put yourself out to make things happen, when you had to care enough about people to make sure the laws were changed to make us all equal and subject to the same laws. They came of age believing they deserved it all and so they took whatever their greedy little hands could grab...clothes, cars, homes, the best looking lovers, the most prestigious vacation trips, the highest credit limits. They took and took and took and continued to take because giving was not something they ever learned.

But life has a way of turning on you to keep the sense of balance even, and the way life has turned on them is simply by making them look in the mirror and seeing the awful truth they just can't escape: old age is the great equalizer and boy does it creep up on you fast. My friends who grew up like me and who weren't the prettiest, the most accomplished, the most privileged learned to rely on something inside ourselves. It is what made us strong enough to take on injustice. It's what made us able to create jobs for ourselves in dismal economies. It's what made us able to provide for ourselves without having to depend on anyone.

I now see these privileged acquaintances starting to panic when they realize the relatives they've been waiting on to die are healthier than ever, no matter how much they run up their credit cards, no matter how much in debt they get trying to spend their way to happiness, no matter how much they deny they are setting themselves up for a lonely, dismal and poor existence while we, the children of the poor will have a much happier and complete life. And the final insult is that their own children, the ultimate status symbols they gave birth to are very much like me and my campfire friends. I see in their children the ultimate fuck you and rejection of the shallowness they grew up with.

It's the way life balances out. It's the way the circle connects and reconnects over and over again. It's what makes me have hope that our planet will survive the utter and complete selfishness of people I made the mistake of thinking were good human beings instead of selfish mean petty tyrants who just can't wait to hurt another human being with gossip, with lies, with confessions of transgressions and other stupid shit. I never understood someone who would call up another human being only to tell them the sordid details of their spouse's affair, and I don't ever want to understand that, I never want to get close enough to that kind of mean-spirited shit to ever understand it. I only know that I live in a community of awful people who think such things are okay, and for someone like me who can't even hurt a fly without suffering massive guilt and anguish, well...let's just say we've come to the end of my time in this part of the world. I can't live around people like that when I have a choice to live somewhere else.

So, in the next year I will leave here as most of my campfire friends have left here, as most of the selfish people's children have left here. I don't know yet where I'm going, just that I am going. For now that is enough to keep me halfway sane and functioning and still believing in the awesome power of love and compassion in the people who truly are my friends and always will be. They are my wealth, my stability, and my future. They are solid and true. They are real. They care about the world. They care about each other. They are mine and everyones hope and always will be, long after the selfish and cruel assholes in this community are long forgotten and have only each other left to abuse.

Image of Mt. Shuksan available at Ursine Logic Photography section.