The push to decriminalize or "semi-legalize" pot in California is growing. While the effects of legalization on the Humboldt County economy are largely unknown (will it destroy the black market for it that pumps inflated dollars into the local businesses?) it is known that if it were taxed there would be over a billion dollars in tax money in the states coffers. Maybe then old people could get their doctors bills paid.
This move is a good thing, and it seems inevitable that it will happen. I'd like to see it happen with all drugs, but pot is a good start. I don't smoke it. I am not fond of the whole loser/lazy vibe that goes along with it, and interviewing people who suffer from short-term memory loss is a huge pain in the ass, but I'm all for people being able to use it without fear of jail (not that that is a huge fear in Humboldt as we typically don't pursue legal action when it comes to pot). It makes good business and social sense.
Local Republicans, a group always in touch with reality, are concerned that minors may have easy access to it if it were legal. Of course, minors have easy access to it now, so how that will change is unknown. Republicans often seem to be behind the times when it comes to social concerns. (What if whites can marry blacks? Then what? What kind of baby will that produce? This is 2009! The science hasn't caught up to the carnal yet!)
I'll sign the petition to get this initiative on the ballot if asked. I'm all for the idea and will, of course, vote yes on it assuming it is worded correctly. It's obvious that some drastic measures need to be taken to bail this state of the financial swamp it has found itself in, and green energies just aren't moving fast enough (or are being taken seriously enough).
Besides, our governor smoked it! It has to be good.
The governor of California, who lacks the effectiveness of his National Socialist role models, is apparently using his veto power to strike down parts of the budget and is calling for more cuts to healthcare and welfare services. Time for honesty and brutality.
It's easy to cut these services. After all, the members of society who use them the most are looked at as "unproductive." There is some truth to this in general terms. They don't pay as much in taxes (a quality they share with another useless group of society -- the rich). They don't vote, so there is little chance of political repercussion. There are many who can't/won't work, so they also don't contribute much in the way of income tax. In other words, they are looked at as a drain upon society.
Of course, what isn't looked at is what happens when these services are cut, though plenty of healthcare and welfare providers have pointed it out. In short, it becomes a disaster. A bad situation becomes worse. People who can't eat aren't just going to go away. People who don't get their monthly rent money from the counties just don't disappear to go live somewhere else. In times of economic crisis substance abuse goes up, domestic violence goes up, crime goes up, health goes down (this happens across all economic sectors). The California governor, Schwarzenegger, may look upon these people as unimportant and unproductive, but the ecologist in me sees a disaster that will cripple the state even more than the legislators inability to act
There are tough decisions to made. No argument there. I just think that many people, myself included, are having a hard time seeing how these budget cuts really spread the misery, as those politicians have proclaimed. Perhaps they weren't referring to the cuts themselves but rather the outcome of those mercenary decisions.
I've been seeing more of them lately. The downtrodden. The jetsam. The scammers. They wait at intersections with their poorly spelled signs. They ask for "verbal abuse" for change. They offer "stress relief" by yelling at them for a buck. One sign I saw, propped in the window of a converted bus, let people know they could call the occupant a dirty hippie for something like $10. As tempting as all of that sounds, if I want to do it, I'll do it for free.
Those of us in the business know a lot of these folks already get monthly checks. Some of them have acquired budgeting skills and manage the make the checks last until the next one. Others have little impulse control or a habit to fulfill and that money is gone almost as soon as they get it. Either way, some of these people begging for your hard earned quarters don't need it or would only squander it if they had it. Not all. Many. Ride with anyone who knows and they can point out who gets SSI, SSD, VA money, GR. Not that those checks are always enough, but that needs to be taken into consideration.
Toward the end of the month these signs become more frequent. Everyone is low on dough. Some of them are going through withdrawals. Some have turned toward prostitution, but even that business has slowed down with the crap economy and police busts. The younger ones, dreads and Capitalist Casualties shirts crusted with filth, hover at the Bayshore Mall stoplight as their dogs threaten to run into traffic. (Can't feed yourself? Can the dog. It'll do better on its own.) They stay their until a regular comes, usually around the 25th of the month, and boots them to Arcata where the living is easier and the populace more sympathetic.
I was once asked by a man for a few bucks to help him get through the day. I was working for a little above minimum wage and had a new baby to take care. In this cretin's hand was a Starbucks cup. A big one. I estimated that his drink probably cost him about five bucks. It was still steaming. I imagine someone could've bought it for him or that he dug it out of the garbage, but I thought both scenarios were unlikely. I looked at the cup and shook my head. I declined to give him money I didn't have, but I wanted to launch into the fact that there was cheaper, better coffee two blocks away. I just didn't have it in me, though. You get asked so many times you just don't care.
Some of the folks around here, especially some of the ones who hit up Winco and the intersection by the Bayview, borrow each other's children in order to garner sympathy from passing motorists. I'm hoping the kids are taking this all in, seeing exactly how not to be, but I doubt it. Apples don't often fall far from the trees.
In Porter Street (a great bbq joint) we actually had one I've taken to calling Tinkerbell Skinflake based on his voice and skin condition ask us for money at our table. Just marched in to the restaurant and started walking from table to table. Thank God he didn't scratch his face. I would've lost it and put him through a window.
I'm not a big fan of the human race (shock upon shocks), but I'm even less of a fan of weakness. I know people who could really use extra money, who can't get a job due to disabilities either mental or physical, yet refuse to beg people walking by on the street. It's a matter of pride. Many of them even feel bad for cashing their monthly SSD checks.
I'd rather have my tax money go to disabled people instead of corporations. That's just me, though, and I know many don't feel that way. The beggars I encounter sometimes try to make me feel bad for my lack of giving, but I let it roll off my shoulders. I spend five days a week helping out those in need. "I gave at the office," is my refrain. I do it because I have to. I've even given out money when I can, but I gotta be rational about things. My .36 cents isn't going to help or hurt. Collectively, if everyone thought like I did, it would make a difference, but there are charities out there. There are people with far more money and heart than myself.
Me? I'm just tired of the misspelled signs. The evocation of God ("God bless and thanxs!"). The permission to degrade. Maybe in the future, when I'm writing full-time, I'll be able to toss a few bucks there way (and would have no problem doing it), but as of now I'm looking at this with honest eyes and seeing enough lack of responsibility, motivation and pride to make me wonder if I want to perpetuate that ... and I don't. Not today.
There but for the grace of a fictional God ...
I was waiting for my car to be finished, reading The Red Star of Cadiz for my return gig to book reviewing when the phone call came in. Somebody wanted his brakes checked out. The woman behind the counter manned the call.
"We're pretty booked up today," she told him. "If you can make it in by nine, though, we can have someone look at it."
That was the extent of the call.
9:20. He is in earth tones. Long hair in a pony tail. Beard. Sandals. No socks. Mid-twenties. A Northcoast Environmental Center hoodie on. Figures.
"I'm the guy with the Ranger with the brakes," he tells her. "I know I was supposed to be here fifteen minutes ago, but I had stuff in the truck."
Reason one I hate this guy. If you are supposed to be someone at a set time. Be there. If you are going to be late, don't play it off by minimizing the amount of time you are late. We can read clocks. You apparently can't.
"Okay," the woman said. "Are you going to wait with us."
"How long will it take?"
"Thirty to forty-five minutes to-"
"That quick? Cool," he says, cutting her off.
"To do the inspection," she finishes.
"Okay. Cool. So it will be done today?"
"If we have the parts," she explains.
"Oh, right. If you have the parts. Do you?"
"I don't know," she tells him. I have put my book down and am watching in amazement. "The technician has to do the inspection to see what is needed."
"Well, can't he just check to see if he has the parts?"
The woman does her best not to jam a pen in the guy's eye. "No. He has to do an inspection to determine what parts are needed. He's not going to stop the job he's doing to check to see if he has parts, which he doesn't even know which ones he'll need."
"Oh," the guy says. "Right on. It's probably just pads. I hope it's just pads. He can't check to see if you have the pads?"
"It could also be the rotor, calipers ..." she starts.
Reason two why I hate people like this. They, like many others, think they are the most important person in the universe. They exist in a bubble with everyone around them there to serve. It's a sense of entitlement earned by nothing more than a degree of self-awareness. This guy was late to his fucking appointment, he downplayed how late he was, and then he wants to pull the technician off the job he's working on to see if they have parts in stock for a problem that has yet to have been diagnosed. Doesn't matter that the person whose car is being worked on was there on time for their appointment, and was there first. That doesn't matter one bit. It's all me, me, me. Fucking child in the body of a man.
"Right on. Okay. So will it be done today?"
"If we have the parts." She has explained this twice. I have determined that if he asks her to have the technician check again, I will beat him to death with the sample muffler sitting on the rack in front of me. It will be marvelous, prolonged and applauded by all who have encountered the young moron. I may even get a fucking medal.
"So are you going to wait with us?"
"No. I'll take a walk. It's gotta be done pretty quick, though. I have an appointment in McKinleyville soon."
Reason three! Pretty fucking self-explanatory. Don't show up late and then expect people to meet your every demand. Don't make appointments when you know you have another one. Why isn't suicide more heavily promoted. It's not the depressed people who should be taking their lives, though. It's people like this asshole.
"We will get it done as soon as possible."
And with that he walks out ... taking his fucking keys with him! He realizes his mistake (one in a long line of mistakes to be sure) and returns scant moments later, but the damage has been done. I want this fucker's skin on a line drying in the sun.
Never let someone else's bad planning and emergency become your problem. I beg of you. Don't give in to this sort of thing. It encourages this behavior. Let these morons dangle and suffer. Make them pay. I hope they charged this guy extra, but I doubt it. I would've tacked on a self-absorbed asshole tax, and it would've been steep.
Between my post here and a letter that appeared in our local free paper, I've been taking a lot of flack on my stance on buying local. I've been told that I need to support local businesses, that a good anarchist supports the little guy (true, but doesn't necessarily support capitalism, idiot), and that I am an apologist for big box retailers. Most of this came about because of my letter in that paper.
The Buy Local Brigade acts like real Nazis ... only without the cool, sexy uniforms.
I am not totally against buying local. I will repeat that. I am not totally against buying local. I am against hypocrites (as I pointed out in my letter) and the whole idea that this business owners mask their love of money in the guise of community well-being. I do believe many of them have a strong community values system, but I am willing to bet more of them have a stronger capitalist value system. The two don't combine well.
One of the buy local commercials even seems slightly threatening. If I can ever find it on YouTube I'll post it here. "We are very disappointed in you." Jesus.
I'll support local businesses when they have something I want at a price I like and I don't feel like their politics and morals are too disgusting. Period. I won't be bullied or shamed into buying local because it's the "proper" thing to do. It won't work, so stop trying.
Nice efforts, though. Oddly enough, the folks that have been trying to convince me come off as apologists themselves ... for capitalism ... and they don't even get it.
If I could sue people for wasting my time, I would. I wouldn't sue for money, though. I'd go after their time. I know it can't be done, but that's what I'd do. I hate time wasters, people that by their very nature waste your valuable minutes because they have nothing to do with their own.
Every time I'm standing in line somewhere and some jackass starts talking to me, thus holding up the line, I want to smack him in the teeth. Not a light smack, either. I just want to grab a stapler and smack it hard enough to chip a tooth or two. Not so talkative now, are you?
A few weeks ago I was in line at Taco Bell. That was problem one. Taco Bell. I realize I go there a little too often and eat these burritos filled with some sort of meat that may or may not be thirty percent dog and seventy percent worms. Regardless, I was there, and there was this pick-up truck in front of me within sight of the menu board. When he pulled up to the loudspeaker, the stoner employee asked him what he wanted.
"Can you give me a minute?" Truck Driving Man asked. "I'm not familiar with your menu."
He had a clear view of it for the past five minutes ... and it's Taco Bell! How familiar do you have to be? Then he asked the employee if tacos and burritos were pretty much all they had.
That drooling pus boil should not have been driving. I should've rammed my car into the back of his truck and shouted obscenities.
Neither of those things happened, though. The ass ordered some tacos (I can imagine the stress he felt trying to decide whether it should be a "soft" or "crunchy" taco) and I was able to proceed with my day.
Pollsters who call my house waste my time, too, so I screw with them. Sue me. I think it's fun.
I want all my wasted time back so that I can spend extra moments with my daughter. I want it back with interest. Seeing Blind Date in the theatre? I want it back. Seeing that horrible opening band when I saw Mucky Pup at Obsessions in New Jersey? I want it back.
I want it all back ... or I want their blood.
We wait with crossed fingers and hope in our hearts. Our faces turned toward the sun, wishing that the answer, like a majestic California condor, will fly by and relieve us of our worry. When, oh dear saintly governor, will there be a budget.
As Californians wait to hear if they'll lose healthcare, have a job or even be able to afford gas, the state's legislators have once again postponed a meeting because Speaking of the Assembly Karen Bass had other plans.
How long until we can get rid of all these fuckers? They should be locked in a room, not flying off to meetings. Maybe they should be made to feel the stress we all feel. Citizens can pay a nominal fee (which will go into the state's coffers) to go in there and hold a gun to the head of their chosen politico.
"Start negotiations, bitches!" Gun pressed harder against the temple. Ahh, the sweet smell of fear. It's the same smell all those Welfare-to-Work receipents have been giving off these past few months.
Now there apparently won't be any news until Monday morning around 11 a.m.. Splendid. Another day. Another billion dollars.
These people can't be trusted with choices, let alone the world's eighth largest economy. Take it away from them. Send them off to where they will be semi-functional (like Eureka's Taco Bell). Do it, and do it soon. At this point, I'm pretty sure the Taliban could do a better job.
Humboldt County is home to a lot of quirky conservative and liberal groups. As most people know, I consider conservatives and liberals to be the same shit separated into different piles. One of these piles is made up of the Humboldt Tea Party Patriots (the "Tea" means "Taxed Enough Already" or some such nonsense). Tonight's KIEM broadcast focused on a protest (how left-wing) in Old Town by this conservative group. The protest focused on the government's proposed health care reform. The Humboldt Tea Party Patriots don't think the rich should be taxed more for the benefit of others. Fair enough. I don't like my tax dollars going to buy corporate welfare and missile guidance systems. We all have to make sacrifices, though.
The point behind this post is not to destroy the Humboldt Tea Party Patriots (or even examine possible links to Odinism, Peter Sotos and ritualistic child sexual abuse). No, Sir! It's a mere observation and it all starts with what one of these enlightened souls said on camera ... for all of Humboldt to see ... forever captured on film.
The woman was pissed. She said the working poor shouldn't expect the government to pay for everything for them (agreed). That they need to get their priorities straight (agreed again). That you see them (the working poor) with their new "VCRs" and "new cars" and they need to think about those purchases.
VCRs? Really? I bet they bought Swatches with their left over dough, too, or maybe those expensive Izod shirts you see all those children of working poor wearing.
With that one statement the Humboldt Tea Party Patriots showed how out of touch with reality they really are. It was surreal, incredible and sad.
I will admit that our working poor (and anyone who works is fairly poor) need to prioritize (don't shop local, first of all -- too expensive -- and let those business owner Tea Party Patriot members know it, too). They also need to upgrade to DVD players. Jesus.
It's not the working poor who expect the government to foot the bill for everything like AIG, the auto industry, Lockheed and a host of other businesses do. (When they do it, it's important to keep the economy going. When people demand more of the government it's greedy.) It's a lot of poor people who don't work and corporations who speak a lot of positive nonsense about laissez-faire economics but are so scared of it that they ask the government to intervene. Those are the people and groups who, in the words of Dire Straits, want their money for nothing and chicks for free.
The Humboldt Tea Party Patriots seem to target the people but not the corporations. Why is that? Which soaks up more of the government's resources? Maybe they are so angry about the poor and their cutting-edge VCRs and touch tone phones that they can't think straight. Or maybe, just maybe, they like going after easy targets, though they really fucked up when that lady mislabeled their scapegoats the "working poor."
A vast majority of people in this country are working poor. Had the Humboldt Tea Party Patriots targeted the usual suspects (welfare mothers and welfare cheats) they may have had a chance of gaining some sympathy. (And for those of you who think that's a good idea, well, I work in Social Services and I don't see a whole hell of a lot of welfare fraud.) As it stands, the Humboldt Tea Party Patriots have not made me a fan no matter how much I might sympathize with some of their message.
I'm all for people taking responsibility for themselves and their actions. I also think that if you have a government (which I don't think is absolutely necessary, by the way), it should take care of its people. That's a role we've given it. Corporations can fuck off. I'm way too tired of the usual "socialize the losses, privatize the profits" mode that we've been running at since Rockefeller got an erection. That said, when you put yourself at the mercy of the government in asking it for help, you have to understand that society (if not the government) may eventually turn on you. But I hate when groups target one segment of society and then leave out another guilty of the same exact "crime" because its a corporation. How many of these Tea Party pussies have gotten tax breaks. How many have businesses that may have benefited from local or federal subsidies? How many of them actually pay their fair share, and how many of them take advantage of loopholes? How many of them have asked the government for help?
The Humboldt Tea Party Patriots had a booth at Eureka's Fourth of July Old Town celebration. One of the local contact people listed on Tea Party sites is a Dorice Miranda -- not a very common name. Locally, there is a Dorice Miranda of Ferndale (Humboldt County) who, in 2001, was attached to Miranda Dairy. In 2001 Miranda Dairy asked for a loan from Humboldt County (actually, the county had to apply for a grant which would in turn be loaned to the dairy -- or at least that's my very basic understanding of it). You can read the actual Board of Supervisors Agenda Item here. Now, I'm not entirely sure this is the same Dorice Miranda, but it seems quite likely. What I find odd is, if this is the same Dorice Miranda, the one who is a member of the Humboldt Tea Party Patriots, why would she ask for a loan from the government?
Yes, loans must be paid back, but so do certain forms of welfare (in Humboldt, General Relief must be repaid, for starters). So why would Miranda, if indeed it is the same person, want to be part of an organization that speaks out against the government "destroying" the free market system yet engages in something that is anti-free market in even the purest Ayn Rand sense. Accepting loans from governments is not the prime example of the free market at work. A loan from a bank, yes. Government? That gets a bit iffy and falls into that privatize the profits, socialize the losses (or risks). You can't really have it both ways. It's okay for government to give money to businesses, but it should not engage in health care reform if it means a higher taxing of those people whose businesses prosper thanks to help from -- drum roll -- the government?
Again, if these are two different Dorice Mirandas I humbly apologize, but really, what are the odds?
Speak the truth as you see it. Just make sure you're fucking consistent. And don't forget to keep those heads clean on your VCRs. Some VHS movies cost upwards of $80 new. You don't want to wreck them.
Because there are no more serious crimes to pursue ...
Police did a bust outside the Eureka branch of the Humboldt County Library, an area notorious for prostitutes. Something like four of the little ladies were arrested after the police say they received numerous complaints, which they probably did. Imagine, if prostitution were legal in Eureka, and brothels were re-established (Old Town used to be a hot bed of hot beds), we would have all kinds of tourist dollars, and the the hooking would leave the streets.
I've never been to a prostitute, though I've been lucky enough to talk to a few. They tend to be nice women with good stories to tell. They are trying to make a buck (often times to support a drug habit), and they have a very dangerous job, but that doesn't stop them from doing it. And lest you think it's a pleasant job, would you like to be paid $20 to suck your penis? I think not. So don't knock them until you've taken several dozen strange penises in your vagina, okay?
With this story making the top five minutes of KIEM's news, I thought I would mention it, as it falls in line with my last post and the decriminalization of things like drugs and prostitution. Granted, in front of the library isn't the best place, but it's closed most of the time and is away from restaurants, so at least they thought it out somewhat. When the police flat out state they did this to send a message and make the hookers more cautious and less bold, it actually starts to sound like the police realize that its a problem no amount of arrests will make go away.
Why keep tossing money at it? Couldn't everyone's time be better spent, too? And if the police were really serious about stopping prostitution (which they don't seem to be), why not go after the johns instead of the hookers? This sting operation reeked of by the book annoyance. How bold. How daring. What next? Jaywalkers? School yard bullies? People who tear the tags off furniture?
I feel for the people who don't like prostitutes in their neighborhood. I wasn't always fond of it. You can get rid of them without involving the police, however. Just start taking pictures and video footage. Works every time.
Since Eureka won't take the innovative step of decriminalizing prostitution, I'll personally extend a invitation to those outside of our city limits. If you are thinking of traveling to Northern California why don't you stop on by and experience one or two of "ladies of ill repute." The police rarely bust prostitutes, and it's even rarer that they go after johns. You can usually find hookers working outside the library on 2nd Street, but they also can be found throughout Old Town after business hours. They typically have on jeans or sweats (and for some strange reason either denim or black jackets), and walk slow. When they hear your car, they will look back or to the side and try to make eye contact with you. If you indicate you are interested, they will come up to the car and tell you they need a ride. What you do after that is up to you, but I hope you drop some dough here, as Humboldt really needs it.
And while you're at it, why not pick up a bag of weed, too? You can smoke it in your hotel room and say things like, "Look at me! I'm the governor of California!"
Once again there are talks of decriminalizing pot in California in order to grab those almighty tax dollars. As to be expected, there will be opposition.
I personally think all drugs should be decriminalized along with a host of other things, though my feelings have less to do with taxation and more to do with freedom. I think people have the right to be stupid and harm their bodies, and they should be left to suffer the consequences. It's called responsibility. There's that word again, and that's one of the reasons we may never see the day when someone can walk into Walgreens and come out with Wal Green.
Religious leaders, many social advocates, and some politicians have nothing but fear when it comes to responsibility. For whatever reasons, mostly those of control issues, they are scared shitless about what would happen if people were made to responsible for their actions. I think it's obvious what would happen the first few years.
When parents stifle their children, protecting them from the outside world and restricting everything they can do, those kids eventually lose it when they hit the "real world." Binge drinking, questionable sex (thanks!), drugs and so on. When the chains come off, the animals run free. It will be the same with society, and that's why we have to do our best to make sure people really are responsible for their actions because that's how they learn.
When it comes to drugs it seems we are slowly easing the restrictions, which is a good thing, but I want it all now. I think the way we are doing it is slowly teaching responsibility, but I don't think we should be making social/legal policy for the people who can't handle responsibility. We need to make it for the people who can and let the "law of the wild" deal with the rest.
I don't know anyone who says they don't smoke pot because it's illegal. We all know it's next to impossible to get in any kind of trouble if you are smart about it. Why should pot smokers have to hide it, though? Some of them have jobs and pay taxes. Some of them profit off the taxes of others. Some of them do neither. Pot smokers, like cigarette smokers, soldiers, and office executives, are just like everyone else. It's time to start treating what they do as nothing more than a personal choice issue, like dating someone with a different skin color or the same genitalia. But they need to be responsible or suffer the consequences.
That's where people will have problems. Lately it seems like any kind of consequences for your actions are met with pleads for mercy or to be treated as the exception. That's weak and doesn't deserve a response. Be proud of who you are and your actions or don't do them. It's pretty simple.
Our governor, Mr. Schwarzenegger, has enjoyed pot. My guess is there are plenty of other politicians who have who would not admit it out of fear or guilt. Again, cowardly. Arnie should be pushing this idea of decriminalizing pot, as should the Obama Administration. The situation is bad, more freedom is not a horrible idea. Tax revenue is necessary ... unless we all think that cash-aid and medical benefits disappearing is a good thing, and I am far from convinced of that -- and that's not just me trying to protect my job (I have nothing to do with cash-aid). This is me looking at the long-term picture, something politicians seem unable to do. Why should they be any different from the rest of society, though?
I refuse to beg politicians for anything. I'll write letters when I think they are being out of line, but I refuse to plead for my freedom, as I wouldn't deserve it if I did that. If I want to smoke pot (and I don't -- I ain't no stinkin' hippie), I'll do it. If I want to snort a line (and I don't -- I ain't no stinkin' Wall Street drone), I'll do it. I think all of you are the same. Maybe, just maybe, enough politicians will get their heads out their asses and realize the country can profit off others idiotic behavior. It's better to get their tax money than to put them in jail and feed them with our tax money. It doesn't take a genius to see that.
It's okay to lie to others. We were all taught it was wrong, but we all do it. They may be little lies, they may be lies to keep a tradition going, or they may be lies to cover your ass or get you laid. They are lies nonetheless. Lying to others, though, makes it all that much easier to lie to ourselves.
Lying to yourself leads to problems. You can't function properly when you don't even know what you are. You can't know what you feel when you lie to yourself in order to make yourself feel all right. Honesty, especially when it comes to introspection, is a good thing ... a necessary thing.
If I told people half of the things I thought about them, I would be unable to get through the day. Instead, I keep my mouth shut most of the time. Honesty with others leads to all sorts of problems. Feelings get hurt because when it comes to honesty even a fifty-year-old can get like a four-year-old. Friendships are ruined. Love is destroyed. But what happens when you no longer start to care and decide to start being open even if it means pain and hatred?
That is far trickier.
I'd love to be totally honest with people. Call them weak when I think they are acting weak. Tell them that they are destroying themselves. I have that relationship with some friends, but I think most people overall are far too fragile for that sort of frankness, and quite honestly if someone starts whining and complaining about something I said the issue suddenly becomes that instead of the real meat.
As a society, we have allowed ourselves to become weak, irresponsible, and self-centered. This is a dangerous combination. This leads to people thinking they are all kinds of things they aren't, all while lacking the basic skills to defend themselves. It's starting to make me sick.
I used to enjoy American Idol. I liked watching some person go on camera and say what hot shit they were. They'd tell viewers that they were going to Hollywood and that the judges would be blown away. Then they get in front of the judges and it is so painfully obvious that these people have no talent for singing. They would, most times, be dressed down by the judges -- rightly so. They provided great entertainment, but wasted everyone's time. The contestant, the one who had been lying to his or herself about his talent, would usually become indignant. They would become belligerent and unable to do anything but spout obscenities and give the camera the finger. They would say the judges (who are professionals in different capacities in the music industry) have no idea what they are talking about. It was pitiful and it proved my point. Those who lie to themselves don't know how to handle truth when it is thrown at them, and they can't even defend themselves.
I don't watch the show anymore. Not that I wouldn't enjoy watching the clueless get their heads served to them. I just don't have the free time.
I can't wait to wash my hands of all of this. I'm getting to that point. People around me can feel it. It has been commented on. I cannot wait to be free of the luggage that is humanity. I will isolate myself, only venturing into their world when absolutely necessary ... and I think I'll remove all my filters so that those who can't handle what I have to say are totally driven away.
The day can't come soon enough.
I picked up this business card at Eureka, California's premier Taco Bell. Since the junkie they had hired died, they are now looking to fill his position. This business card is supposed to entice young upstarts into wanting to work for The Bell.
Let's deconstruct, shall we?
There's a strapping young lad named, of all things, Juan. He works at a Taco Bell in Canoga Park. I imagine local whites aren't afraid of him because he wears a button down shirt and does not sport the standard slicked back hair the media has equated with gang violence.
Juan, again struck by person Taco Bell chose for this hiring campaign, appears as if he is either running to work or from it. It being Taco Bell, I imagine he is running from it. Perhaps, since he is not in the standard uniform, he only came in to get his check. This would explain his pained smile as he remembers how hard he worked for so little money.
As a hiring tool, this business card is fairly ineffective. Easy enough to pick up and small enough to forget, Juan's incredibly insincere look is enough to remind any potential employee that working at Taco Bell will not only not be a fun way to spend the summer, it could also lead to being used in a hiring campaign where you are forced into some ridiculous pose for business cards.
Whenever I've seen anyone applying at Taco Bell (and even I first did so when I moved to California), the look on their faces is not one of excitement at the potential of a job. It is more of resignation and sadness. Sort of like when your favorite dog dies and you realize he'll never lick your face again. I've never seen anyone either applying or working there who looked even a tenth a bit as happy as Juan. No one.
Next time, Taco Bell, think outside the bun ... and get someone named Bob or Tammy to do your campaign. Juan is a little too much a reminder of how your food is nowhere near anything anyone can consider Mexican, yet a little too on-the-nose.
California, as many of you know, is in the depths of a budget crisis the likes of which is almost unimaginable. In case you haven't heard, the state is giving out IOUs in lieu of cash. (It's a great idea! I'll be paying my bills that way.)
Almost everything is on the chopping block. The poor, as is usually the case, are targeted, as are libraries, city services, police, fire and state parks. Furloughs have been extended to yet another Friday, and astute citizens are beginning to choke on fear as it were an oversized penis being slowly shoved down the throat of the populace.
The police are not taking this sitting down.
Instead, police are doing the usual. They claim they won't be able to "serve and protect" (which we already know is a joke), and 9-1-1 calls won't be answered in a timely manner (and in some places already aren't). Talk has been made of issuing more concealed weapons permits. They are painting images of the poor accosting citizens in the streets and drug dealers breaking into your home to fondle you and make off with your flat screen television.
It's the same images they only use, only know they paint them with the budget crisis brush.
Why should the public fall for this other than the whole public be sheep angle? The answer is: They shouldn't. When the police have had larger budgets most still haven't been able to do anything with crime. The reason is fairly simple in that police aren't the reason crime drops. Yes, they can change their tactics (not increase their budget) in order to target crime better (something which has worked), but police presence just drives crime somewhere else. Crime drops for various different reasons, and police have so very little to do with it.
Citizens need to protect themselves. End of story there. The police, who as a group seem to enjoy fanning the flames of fear, need to take their cuts like the poor they most fear. Mayors, who are no strangers to the fear mongering, need to do the same.
Or do they?
Are these cuts to the budget necessary? California has other avenues of revenue. Avenues that are starting to be looked at, and while they may not help with this budget crisis (treated like a game of Risk by our elected officials who should be strung up by their intestines at this point and beat like pinatas). Decriminalizing drugs and prostitution and paying serious attention to green energies could be the key out of this. God knows that if you tax pot and poon you'll get a decent chunk of money (and can help keep those ladies disease free making less likely that dad brings home HIV to the wife). Drug users won't stop using pot because it's taxed. And green energies are the future.
Of course, police will balk at this. They will use the same tired arguments meant to boost their budgets, ranks and egos. Most of the public will buy it, shivering with fear behind closed doors as reruns of Two and a Half Men tickle their child-like funny bones.
At some point in this budget crisis, my job may be on the line. Because elected officials (those same ones who deserve the lynching) can't stop pissing in the sandbox, my daughter and I and a lot of my friends may suffer. The people whom we call our clients will suffer. And heads haven't rolled yet.
Maybe we should start using the police's tactics. Start telling the politicians that if they don't pass a reasonable budget, we'll be sneaking into their houses and making way with their computers, credit cards and attractive females. We'll be shooting up in their bathrooms, leaving dirty needles and heroin vomit in their tubs. The wolves will come home to feast.
Satanism, Social Darwinism and fascism have all sorts of connections. I'll admit to having an interest in all three if only from a practical and sociological view. Satanism I think is interesting in what it puts forth and how it freaks people out. Social Darwinism appeals to me in that it tends to thin the third (or should). Fascism is what I think of when I think of ways to control the herd that has not been thinned.
But how does this fit in with my anarchist leanings?
It's a balancing act. I believe morals and values are fluid things, but my desire to see a world free of governments and unjustified authority remains solid. I believe people should be free to do as they want as long as it doesn't infringe upon anyone else's rights. Sometimes this belief has led to confusion and arguments with people, but it is how I live my life and how I will continue to live it.
Yes, I call the police ... but only when I think I can use them to my own ends better than I can control things myself. Yes, I believe murder is often justifiable but not when done by the state. Yes, I think we are far better off when people are responsible for ourselves, but that the responsibility has been taken away from us, so you are left with people who don't know how to be responsible for themselves. On a small scale I have compassion, but when it comes to a grand scheme picture it becomes a disaster.
I see people every day, wandering the streets of Eureka, who have left society behind, but yet depend upon it for their very survival. They dig through the trash for scraps of a society they no longer contribute to, and that has left them behind. Their are people whose survival depends on an institution they hate, and I have a job in government that helps a lot of these people out. Don't think I haven't pondered the contradictions or how it fits with my political beliefs. I have, and justify it (correctly or not) by saying that if I work for the government I'd rather it be in the capacity to help rather than to harm (though the definition of "help" will depend upon who you are asking).
And this is where the three sisters (Satanism, Social Darwinism and fascism) come into play. The first two are all about personal responsibility, which falls in line with my anarchist views (though anarchists tend to believe in helping people out to a far greater extent than Satanists). The third sister is what you do when people lack social responsibility. It's a means of control to make life better for those who think they alone are responsible for their well-being.
Unfortunately, fascism is often equated with the use of force, but so is communism, capitalism and democracy and that is because they are all systems of control. The reason fascism is far more appealing to me is simple: it's scarier and sexier. Black suits, bold symbols, and an unwavering use of violence strikes fear, and fear is a great motivation tool. Is it effective? To a point, but it eventually falters. I think, however, personal responsibility can be brought about without such extreme measures, but it will take fear, and that fear is based on actually being held responsible for your actions.
I don't want jack booted thugs marching the streets instilling some dictator's idea of might is right. I'd be one of the first to go because I speak out against that sort of thing. But I don't want people to know that there are some people you should not fuck with. If that takes the fear of violence, then so be it.
I firmly agree with Satanists when they say you don't disrespect someone in their lair. I also feel that if you bring stupidity and weakness to a person, you can't expect respect. You invite scorn and loathing. When you beg for help, you must take what is offered, or turn it down. Don't take it and complain because you have put yourself at someone's mercy and deserve only what they see fit to give you.
Yes, there will be those who find this morally reprehensible to say the least, but I am being honest, which is more than I can say about many people. If you don't think of yourself as a responsible, trustworthy, productive person, what's the point of going through life? If you see yourself as those things, you'd have to agree that those who stand in your way are at the very least a waste of time. If you think about it, time is the one resource you cannot renew, and therefore any waste of time is a threat unlike any other. Some transgressions should not be ignored, others should be celebrated.
Your morals and values are your own. You can judge me or not. I really don't care. My morals and values have been dwelled upon for over twenty years and have only become stronger as I witness the world around me lose its sense of self. Now that I have a child, I am even more convinced that the future of the world rests in a form of tough love that will (hopefully) lead to freedom for all, for at the end of the day I want to live in a place where every man, woman and child (no matter their religion, skin color, sexual preference, etc.) is free to act as they want while at the same time giving others the same freedom. I also want to live in a world where the people who fight that or abuse it are dealt with swiftly and surely. I don't want freedom at the barrel of a gun, however. I want it at the fear of something worse. I want it at the fear of losing your individuality.
There should be no stronger motivation.
Eureka, CA. My home base. Lately a lot of commercials have been advising consumers to "shop local." Of course, you have all the usual reasons given. More money stays in the community. Preserve community spirit. Don't support the slave labor big boxes use.
It's all bullshit.
I used to buy into the shop local campaign, but I had to think about what mattered to me more. Consumers? Community? Workers? Business owners? Workers won out.
There's little doubt in my mind that more money stays in the community when you shop local. There's also little doubt in my mind that consumers save more when they can shop at a big box which buys in bulk and can offer lower prices. Business owners, big and small, profit when you stop in their stores no matter the size. Workers, however, are doing what they do for the money. (Know many workers who work at the mall or your local restaurant simply for fun?) So I had to think which business benefited the workers more.
Workers are exploited, period. That's all there is to it, but there are degrees of exploitation. At a big business workers often get benefits, have opportunity to advance, and have better job security. These things are sorely lacking at smaller businesses, which may actually call upon their workers to work harder (in order to make the owner more money).
In that sense, shopping at big boxes benefits the workers.
Big businesses lose the personal touch when it comes to their workers, however. Small businesses often tend to care more about their workers on a personal level. You become part of the family in most cases.
But workers are, for the most part, still just doing it for the money.
The outcome is the same. When you shop somewhere, be it local or national, you are making someone else rich. They are getting rich off your money and the hard work of others. Businesses exist to provide services and goods, and worker exploitation is concomitant. When you shop, you are promoting this atmosphere. Shopping local does little to change that. It's just more obvious that local business owners are all that much more desperate for your dollar. They see threats from big businesses, so they play upon that social guilt. I'm just amazed so many "progressive" types fall for the empty "shop local" slogan without giving the exploitation aspects of both local and national businesses as much as a glance.
Shop local is an empty term. When you watch our local commercials, look who is telling us to do that. It's many local small business owners. What they are saying is: "Give us your money. It's good for you. It's good for the community." They forget to mention that it's very good for them. Local businesses feel it when bigger businesses can come in and offer better goods at cheaper prices and can draw employees away with better benefits and wages.
You bet they want you to shop local. Their house payments depend upon it.
I've always been withdrawn. People who know me well think it's ironic that I can be so at ease with people and charming, yet hate them so much. (I wonder how many serial killers have had the same things said about them?) Part of the truth is that what I hate in them I hate in myself and by isolating myself, I shield myself from that which pains me.
A male friend (lately I seem to have more female friends than male ones because, as I was told, I'm getting a little too deep for those sporting a penis) today told me I was inconsiderate, mean-spirited and I "refuse to hang out." I countered by saying I was honest and rarely hang out because I spend all my free time (of which there is very little) writing. In fact, on those rare occasions I do go out I feel guilty as hell because every second I'm out is a second I'm not honing my craft and getting one step closer to being able to leave my job for a life of travel, book signings and royalty checks (and perhaps the odd movie deal).
I have no illusions about the perceptions people have of me. I've been dealing with it since high school. Didn't care then. Care less even now. I made up my mind about people quite some time ago, and if anything I think my views have even more validity now. Many of the things people think of me are true. Many are not. I can't control their thoughts and ideas, and I don't care to try. But what I don't think I ever covered is why I choose to have friends in the first place.
Here's the deal: If I'm friends with you it's because I think you have something to offer. I think I can benefit from my association with you. I think you can either make me think, make me laugh or be a kind ear to bounce ideas off. Few of my friends are just like me. I already know myself. I don't need to be surrounded by mirrors. One thing my friends have in common is there is something in each and every one that I think makes them unique. Most of them have shared things with me they've shared with few, if any people. I don't spread it around, and I think they appreciate that. I think some of the things I know would blow some minds.
And now my thoughts on what a waste most people are is only becoming stronger. I find the human race, as a whole (and this is obviously speaking in general terms as you have to do when painting with a broad brush), composed of pathetic people who refuse to take responsibility for their actions. People who lie to themselves and others. People who are saved from their own stupidity to the detriment of us all.
It's been said that justice is when stupid people are made to feel the ramifications of their actions. As a society we have taken responsibility away from people and they have acted in kind. If you don't have to be responsible, you won't be. These people then become the problem of those of us who refuse to let society take away our individuality, strength and will. These people, the ones who aren't made to be responsible for their actions, sicken me. They aren't worth saving. They aren't worth helping. They aren't worth a glance in the street. I won't go out of my way to harm them, but I'll be damned if I'll enable them.
I remember being in school and seeing a guy in a wheelchair give a speech about how lucky he was. He was driving drunk and killed his best friend, but he made it out alive. Crippled, but alive. I remember thinking of how much of a prick I thought he was. He caused all kinds of chaos in innocent people's lives, and now he was giving speeches to school kids, telling them not to drive drunk. As if he was any real sort of example. He got to live. Yeah, he may be confined to a wheelchair, but was his friend going to get to see the latest summer blockbuster or eat a hamburger again? No. I wondered why I would ever take this jackass' advice in the first place. Because now he was sorry? Why wasn't he thinking of this shit before he got behind the wheel? Reason: Why would he? The world is full of people like this, and far too many of them get to wheel away. If there had been justice in the world, the father of the dead kid would have put a bullet in the back of the head of the moron who couldn't handle his beer.
And that isn't done often enough.
Think about how often your day is ruined by some dick who thinks that not only does the world revolve around him, but that he is the only person in the world. The guy on the cell phone holding up the line and when you say something he gives you a look. The guy who breaks into people's homes for stuff to steal in order to be able to get his next fix and then cries "addiction" when caught. The woman who cuts you off and just smiles, oblivious to the fact that your heart is pounding in your chest and your kid is complaining that he was almost killed.
We've all been those people at one time or another, but here's the rub. The good ones feel bad about it and try to avoid doing it again. The bad ones never see what's wrong with it in the first place.
I gave up on the human race a long time ago. I wrote it off and closed the book on it. I don't make any bones about it, and I don't fake sympathy. I still have empathy and feel compassion, but I'm careful of who gets that.
If you travel around Eureka, California, you'll sometimes see a homeless lady. She has a sign. Totally pitiful. It says, "Will take verbal abuse for money." It's pathetic on many different levels. Pathetic that she would let people do that to her. Pathetic of her to think she won't take the abuse for free. When you set yourself up for that, you get it whether you want it or not. I don't feel compassion for that person who would sublet her soul that easily. I understand that people have to do what they have to do for money, but I think you have to draw the line when you start to debase yourself. You have to ask yourself if .53 cents is worth it.
One morning, in Old Town (again, Eureka) I spied a drunk urinating on the side of my building. He couldn't stand still. It wasn't even eleven a.m.. I berated him. Called him a human pig, told him I was sick of people like him pissing where I live. Said I was tempted to grab a bottle, break it and plunge the sharp end into his neck. All he could do was look at me with his bleary eyes. Here I was calling him a pig, and he was too gone to do anything about it. He could've been a victim had I so chosen that fate for him, and I'm just as sure he couldn't do anything about that, either.
I witnessed a car accident caused by kids who blew past me without a car in the world. They were driving recklessly. Not paying attention. Ahead of me they lose control and hit a pole. They hit it damn hard. Hard enough to deploy the air bag and stop that constant motion of teenage energy. Never called 9-1-1. Drove right by. Didn't care if they were bleeding to death. I didn't put them into the pole. Honestly didn't even think they would end up that way. But at that point I had a choice. I could call an ambulance so they could make sure these kids who blew by just moments earlier, screaming and driving like lunatics, would be all right. Or I could let nature take its course. That's what I chose. Right or wrong, this is how you learn. Sometimes you don't get second chances. Sometimes the guy you almost drive off the side of the road is the only guy who can save you. Who says he has to?
I'm not without feelings. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my daughter and care about my friends. I strive to be fair, and I try to be compassionate. I just don't have it in me to be anything less than totally open with people anymore, and this is starting to bug them. Believe it or not, I've been pretty guarded with most people. Not so much now, and it is starting to freak some people out. I understand. I'd be freaked too if a person I was friends with was now telling me he thought I skated through life and would never make my mark on the world. That in the end I'd be forgotten. Another nameless cog in a nameless machine. I would contribute little to the world around me because I had nothing to contribute. Yeah, that would freak me out and hurt me.
But if you fear truth, why ask the questions in the first place.
I never claimed to be an ignorant person who would just let anything fly. I've always been open about my misanthropy and my capacity for violence. I've always tried to treat people the way I've wanted to be treated, and take myself to task when I fail. I beat myself up over every bad move and wrong decision I've ever made, and people who know me well know that is true.
I just don't care how my friends react to it anymore.
I won't apologize for wanting more out of my life. For wanting to make my mark. I won't apologize for thinking people should be free and be responsible for their actions. I will apologize, however, for thinking people would eventually understand.
I want my girl to grow up in a world where people are held accountable. I want her to see that those who make stupid choices are made to pay for their actions. As of now, though, I have to teach her that not only does she have to take responsibility for her actions, but she has to be alert for those who don't because they don't learn. They make the same mistakes again and again, and sometimes you are on the wrong end of that.
This was a lot of venting, but it is needed, as I've had far too many people attempt to take me to task these last few weeks for perceived transgressions against the status quo. Today was the last straw for that. Honesty should not be called anything other than what it is. One should not be made to feel guilty because they won't waste time. Time is the one thing I can never get back. If I could sue for lost time, I would. Every minute wasted is one I will never see again. It's why I don't watch crap movies, and it's why I don't "hang out" very often.
I've made mistakes in the past, and I will continue to make them. I won't, however, be played and manipulated. What you see is what you get. Don't guilt me into acting the way you think I should act. Don't ask for honesty and balk when you get it. And don't, whatever you fucking do, expect me to be as weak-willed as you. I don't look for your acceptance, and I don't need it. The only person whose opinion of me I really care about is my daughter. She did not ask to be brought into this world. She did not ask to have me as a father. Because I chose to bring her into this cesspool of humanity we all share responsibility for, I have to make sure I am doing right by her. And if I'm serious about that (and I am very serious about that), her opinions and thoughts about me give me a good indication of how decent a job I am doing. Everyone else is free to go if they please.
I told my friend I wasn't put on this planet to hold his hand and ensure him that the world was an all right place. I told him he needed to act like a man and stop fucking crying about the fact that I'm honest.
Cruel? Yes. Honest? Yes. I've got a hard enough time dealing with my own demons, though (as any self-respecting human should be doing), and don't have time for his. If he didn't want to hear what I had to say, he should've kept his damn mouth shut.
You know who you are, man. You read this and never comment in the open. Just text messages and little jabs in person. I could name you, let people know your real feelings on some mutual friends, really go into some depth on what I see as your problems. Problems you admit to, but only to a point.
But what I said in the opening paragraph remains true. The things I hate in you are in me, too. And like Nietzsche says, when you fight monsters you have to watch you don't become the thing you hate. The difference between you and I? I'm not afraid to confront them and understand why they are there and what their purpose is.
You? You'd rather ignore them and get upset when they are pointed out to you. The biggest difference between us, though?
You believe your misconceptions are truth. I believe your truths are misconceptions. You believe you are right. Me? I don't care. I only want the truth and have no stake in being right or wrong because truth can't be denied. Truth knows no sides.
Truth should always be your companion. Honesty should always be by your side. If you have those, the rest follows. Heed my advice, though. Dole them out in small doses.
Some folks just can't handle them.
Every year it's the same. The Fourth of July in Eureka, California brings out some the dumbest people saying and doing some of the most ridiculous things. This year it was just me and my daughter, and she wanted to check out the fireworks.
I'm not big on displays of patriotism. I'll admit the fireworks look cool, but I see no need to celebrate false notions of freedom with explosions. Most people see it differently, however, which I guess explains all those 9/11 DVDs in the porn store. My daughter didn't even remember last year's display, so I felt like it was taking her for the first time. Not that that would matter, as I would take her a hundred times if that was what she wanted to do. I enjoy every minute with her ... even if it is something I don't like doing.
I thought the fireworks started at nine, but knew from living in Old Town for years that the good places to view it would fill up fast. Nothing brings out a crowd of morons like colorful lights in the sky.
My daughter and I arrived at our spot a little after seven. We stationed ourselves up near the Ignomar Club. There was actually an older couple there already. They would not stop talking to us. The guy kept assuring me that if we waited people down below would be setting off little displays as soon as it got dark. That's one thing I never understood, either. People go to see these things to see huge displays costing thousands of dollars. Why do two guys with a sack full of Roman Candles even try to compete? The only good that can come out of that is a trip to the ER. (Later, when some of these yokels lit some Jumping Jacks or something, my daughter said, "I'm not very impressed." She also started calling people "bitches" and "shits." I don't know where she gets that from, but I couldn't correct her because she was right.)
The spot we picked quickly filled up. Men wearing flag print jackets. Women wearing cowboy hats with flashing lights on them. Cars with flags on their antennae. Shouldn't that shit be illegal?
A little after ten the fireworks begin, and it was the usual awe-inspiring display. As the explosives shot into the fog, muted flashes of green, white and red led some people to just nod their heads. Every year it's the same. Fog. Morons. More fog. This year my car got boxed in by some "shit," as my daughter would say, who double parked. In her defense, she almost ran over a group of people at the end of the display by not looking behind her when she backed up. I was tempted to dial 9-1-1 and report her for being drunk and adding to dispatch that she loudly proclaimed she'd kill any cop who tried to pull her over. (I did something similar to that once. I imagine it worked wonders.)
On the way home, stopping every ten feet for some jackass trying to cross the road, we saw an ambulance loading some guy in. I kept hoping he had been lighting fireworks and a quarter stick turned his hand to mist. I couldn't tell, but I imagined him saying to a group of his friends, "This fucker is gonna be loud!" And then it goes off. He falls backward almost in slow motion. He can't hear anything because his ears are ringing too damn loudly, but he sees his friend Paul, his best bud and co-worker, mouth, "Fuck!" His right arm is throbbing. He holds it up, but something is wrong. It seems lighter. Where did his hand go? It's just a stump. A bloody, burned stump. Shock sets in. The shakes. The throb threatens to put him under.
And that's why I love the Fourth. It helps dumb shits remember that sometimes, just sometimes, Social Darwinism works. We can protect people from themselves until we drown in our stupidity (and the only reason we haven't is not from lack of trying), but we can't do it all the time. Had I seen him blow off his hand, I would not place the call. I'd let him bleed out. I'd say, "It's about the the stupid were made to be responsible for their own actions." It's called justice, and if you want real freedom you have to understand that with it comes some real responsibility.
Happy Fourth. Here's to hoping your neighbors are liquored up with a bag of M-80s. And here's to hoping you have a video camera and can't "find" the phone.
I've got to review Glenn Beck: Unelectable for Film Threat. He's a conservative, alarmist, jingoist commentator and "comedian." I'm watching this three days before the Fourth of July, and I can't help but think this is my own private form of Hell.
I wish Boyd Rice would be given his own show. Now that would be interesting.
I wish Boyd Rice would be given his own show. Now that would be interesting.