Friday, May 28, 2004

More Wisdom from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Even though I know that most of you will be too lazy to read this whole thing, I'm going to post it anyway. This is the full-text of an interview that Kurt Vonnegut did with In These Times magazine. The war is a tired, tired topic and so is the president, but if one person can sum it all up in a neat little package it's Mr. Vonnegut. Please read it, and please enjoy it. Keep in mind that he's 80 years old...Just because you're 80, you DON'T have to be a conservative Republican.


You have lived through World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Reagan wars, Desert Storm, the Balkan wars and now this coming war in Iraq. What has changed, and what has remained the same?

One thing which has not changed is that none of us, no matter what continent or island or ice cap, asked to be born in the first place, and that even somebody as old as I am, which is 80, only just got here. There were already all these games going on when I got here. … An apt motto for any polity anywhere, to put on its state seal or currency or whatever, might be this quotation from the late baseball manager Casey Stengel, who was addressing a team of losing professional athletes: “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

My daughter Lily, for an example close to home, who has just turned 20, finds herself—as does George W. Bush, himself a kid—an heir to a shockingly recent history of human slavery, to an AIDS epidemic and to nuclear submarines slumbering on the floors of fjords in Iceland and elsewhere, crews prepared at a moment’s notice to turn industrial quantities of men, women and children into radioactive soot and bone meal by means of rockets and H-bomb warheads. And to the choice between liberalism or conservatism and on and on.

What is radically new in 2003 is that my daughter, along with our president and Saddam Hussein and on and on, has inherited technologies whose byproducts, whether in war or peace, are rapidly destroying the whole planet as a breathable, drinkable system for supporting life of any kind. Human beings, past and present, have trashed the joint.

Based on what you’ve read and seen in the media, what is not being said in the mainstream press about President Bush’s policies and the impending war in Iraq?

That they are nonsense.

My feeling from talking to readers and friends is that many people are beginning to despair. Do you think that we’ve lost reason to hope?

I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d’etat imaginable. And those now in charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka “Christians,” and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or “PPs.”

To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable medical diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete’s foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask of Sanity by Dr. Hervey Cleckley. Read it! PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!

And what syndrome better describes so many executives at Enron and WorldCom and on and on, who have enriched themselves while ruining their employees and investors and country, and who still feel as pure as the driven snow, no matter what anybody may say to or about them? And so many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick.

What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next. Simply can’t. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody’s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!

How have you gotten involved in the anti-war movement? And how would you compare the movement against a war in Iraq with the anti-war movement of the Vietnam era?

When it became obvious what a dumb and cruel and spiritually and financially and militarily ruinous mistake our war in Vietnam was, every artist worth a damn in this country, every serious writer, painter, stand-up comedian, musician, actor and actress, you name it, came out against the thing. We formed what might be described as a laser beam of protest, with everybody aimed in the same direction, focused and intense. This weapon proved to have the power of a banana-cream pie three feet in diameter when dropped from a stepladder five-feet high.

And so it is with anti-war protests in the present day. Then as now, TV did not like anti-war protesters, nor any other sort of protesters, unless they rioted. Now, as then, on account of TV, the right of citizens to peaceably assemble, and petition their government for a redress of grievances, “ain’t worth a pitcher of warm spit,” as the saying goes.

As a writer and artist, have you noticed any difference between how the cultural leaders of the past and the cultural leaders of today view their responsibility to society?

Responsibility to which society? To Nazi Germany? To the Stalinist Soviet Union? What about responsibility to humanity in general? And leaders in what particular cultural activity? I guess you mean the fine arts. I hope you mean the fine arts. ... Anybody practicing the fine art of composing music, no matter how cynical or greedy or scared, still can’t help serving all humanity. Music makes practically everybody fonder of life than he or she would be without it. Even military bands, although I am a pacifist, always cheer me up.

But that is the power of ear candy. The creation of such a universal confection for the eye, by means of printed poetry or fiction or history or essays or memoirs and so on, isn’t possible. Literature is by definition opinionated. It is bound to provoke the arguments in many quarters, not excluding the hometown or even the family of the author. Any ink-on-paper author can only hope at best to seem responsible to small groups or like-minded people somewhere. He or she might as well have given an interview to the editor of a small-circulation publication.

Maybe we can talk about the responsibilities to their societies of architects and sculptors and painters another time. And I will say this: TV drama, although not yet classified as fine art, has on occasion performed marvelous services for Americans who want us to be less paranoid, to be fairer and more merciful. M.A.S.H. and Law and Order, to name only two shows, have been stunning masterpieces in that regard.

That said, do you have any ideas for a really scary reality TV show?

“C students from Yale.” It would stand your hair on end.

What targets would you consider fair game for a satirist today?

Assholes.

The article is located at this address if you want to see it in context.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Favorite Spam 'O the Day

This is my favorite spam email I received today. I didn't open the email, obviously, but this was the comical title.

From: Leaky Girls
Subject: Girls Taking a Leak


Now if that isn't sexy, I really don't know what is.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Well-said, my friend.

Those of you who know me, know that I love no one in the world (well, ALMOST no one) more than Kurt Vonnegut. For this, I decided to let him do the talking today. Published by "In These Times", Mr. Vonnegut was asked to respond to the following question. Read, learn and enjoy. Then go out and buy all of his books.

What genuinely motivates al-Qaeda to kill and self-destruct? The president says, “They hate our freedoms—our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other,” which surely is not what has been learned from the captives being held in Guantanamo, or what he is told in his briefings. Why do the communications industry and our elected politicians allow Bush to get away with such nonsense? And how can there ever be peace, and even trust in our leaders, if the American people aren’t told the truth?
----------------------------------------------------------------------
One wishes that those who have taken over our federal government, and hence the world, by means of a Mickey Mouse coup d’etat, and who have disconnected all the burglar alarms prescribed by the Constitution, which is to say the House and Senate and the Supreme Court and We the People, were truly Christian. But as William Shakespeare told us long ago, “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”

And what remains the best-kept secret from the Second World War, because it is so embarrassing, is that Hitler was a Christian, and that his swastika was a Christian cross made of axes, an apt symbol of a political party for Christians of the working class. And there were simpler, unambiguous crosses on all Hitler’s tanks and planes.

Again: One wishes, for the sake of the whole planet, that the people in and around the White House nowadays truly mean it when they say, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” and that they respect as children of God the losers, the nobodies so loved by Jesus in the Beatitudes, in His Sermon on the Mount: the poor in spirit, they that mourn, the meek, the merciful, the peace makers and so on.

But such is obviously not the case. George W. Bush smirks and gloats unmercifully as he boasts of his readiness to loose more than a hundred cruise missiles, what I call “Timothy McVeighs,” into the midst of the general population of Iraq, nearly half of whom are children, little boys and girls under the age of 15.

His domestic policies, whose viciousness is peewee in comparison with what he is so eager to do to foreigners who don’t look like him and talk like him, who don’t have names like his, nonetheless inflict pain on those Americans of the sort enumerated in the Beatitudes, by depriving them of decent health care and educations, and of food, shelter and clothing when times are bad. It seems quite possible that his opinion of the American people has been formed while watching the Jerry Springer Show, which is Republican propaganda of the most pernicious kind.

But America was certainly hated all around the world long before this coup d’etat. And we weren’t hated, as George W. Bush would have it, because of our liberty and justice for all. We are hated because our corporations have been the principal deliverers and imposers of new technologies and economic schemes that have wrecked the self-respect, the cultures of men, women and children in so many other societies.

It’s that simple.

What are we to do when confronted by such hatred? Respond to Code Red and runaround like chickens with their heads cut off.

Keep in touch,
Kurt Vonnegut


Monday, May 17, 2004

Cute Little Worker Bee!

Ryan started his new job today. I gotta tell ya, kids....when he left for work this morning, it was just about the cutest little thing I've ever seen. He had on his brand new pants and dress shirt, plus a tie. He was pretending to be all nervous, saying "Do I look alright?" but you could tell he totally knew that he looked hot. He's gonna blow away all those girls at the Department of Regulation and Licensing. I better watch out...

The switchboard operator has 3 days off this week. Today she called in sick for the morning and is coming in at about 12:30. I guess that only working 2 days out of the week was too much for her.

On Friday Ryan and I and his mom and sister are going to Minnesota to apply for our marriage license. It seems like it will be a pretty easy trip, but Ryan and I are prone to unexpected bad luck and changed in policies. Hopefully nothing will come up like that, or else we'll have to drive back to Minnesota another time for the license. We're also going to make a side trip to Thayer's to see what's shakin' there and also make a detour to Mall America. I need to get shoes and some jewelry...that's really the only thing that needs to be purchased yet in regards to the wedding. Other than that, I've managed to take care of the whole thing and I'm rather proud of myself. I've never before taken on such a big task and actually succeeded. Well, I've succeeded so far but we'll see if it actually turns out that way...like I said, we're prone to misfortune.

Other than the little cutie-bug going to work today, there isn't much new going on. I only got 3 hours of sleep last night so I'm not entirely coherent...neither of us could sleep well. Ryan was a bit anxious for the new job and I just wasn't feeling well. Bah Humbug! I'm sure I'll fall asleep at about 6:00 tonight when I come home. That sounds about right.

I wish I had some money so I could take Ryan out to dinner tonight...he deserves it. Since I don't have any money, just know that I was thinking about it. It's the thought that counts...I think.

Lunch is really boring with no one to talk to. I don't know if Ryan is going to have his own cubicle or what, so maybe he won't even have a chance to email me during the day. That's pretty boring...45 minutes is a loooooong time. Maybe he'll have the same lunch as me and we could eat TOGETHER! Wouldn't that be a hoot???

I can't wait til we have duel incomes and we're rich yuppy bastards. Just one more month!!!!

Friday, May 14, 2004

To HELL with all digital television.

Okay, so me and Ryan broke down and bought a satellite dish. It was going to be the deal of the century! This is how it all fell apart.

So we bought the dish and had it sitting at home. We got a really swell deal because it was already an open item. Ryan called Charter and told them to come the next day and cut our cable. He was going to sit home and wait for the satellite installation people to call and then we'd have our magnificent and wonderful new dish installed.

So Ryan gets the call. They say they can do it on such and such weekdays. Ryan says we both work so it would have to be a weekend. They tell him that they don't do weekend installations, so it will have to be installed through another company. Ryan calls the other company. They tell him the date that it can be installed: they say the 22nd. We'll be in Minnesota that day. Ryan says okay, in the hopes that we'll be home when they get here. They say that they'll put us as the last installation that day.

Okay, great. Ryan informs them we live in an apartment. They say they'll have to have a letter than says it's okay to have a dish. Ryan has already gotten the letter...it says we can have one as long as no permanent damage is done. So Ryan tells the installer man this, who says we'll need to drill a hole in the wall and the deck. This will not do. Ryan says he can't do that. The man says okay, but we'll have to buy flat cables for 15 dollars a piece and we'll need at least 3. We can handle that, except he NEEDS to drill into the patio. This will not do. The man says he's never heard of installing a dish in a non-destructive fashion. Ryan agrees to the destruction and hangs up.

Ryan calls me at work and says that this is WAY more trouble that it's worth. I tell him to go outside and look at other people with dishes and see what THEY have. All of the other people with dishes have ground level apartments. No good. I go online and see that there are many devices available for non-destructive satellite installation, all of which cost about 50 dollars. This will not do. We decide to return the dish and get our cable back. After all, Ryan had been told previously that Charter was doing away with their price packages and everything with pricing would be much better soon. Great.

We return the satellite dish, and that all goes fine. We return home, happy with our decision. Ryan calls Charter the next morning to tell them not to cut our cable. The woman says okay, and Ryan asks if we can get the digital cable box back. The woman says okay, but since the packages are no longer in existence it will cost us 10 dollars MORE than it did before. Ryan says leave it as it is.

We are now paying 97 dollars a month for basic cable (60 or 70 channels) and a DSL connection. That is what we payed BEFORE we decided to get rid of the expanded digital cable box we used to have which offered us 140 channels or so. We got rid of it because they jacked the price up on us 10 dollars. We are now paying the exact same price we used to pay for 140 channels for 60 fricken channels. We are not happy. We weren't happy with the prospect of holes in our wall, and we aren't happy with paying for nothing. We might just pull the cable altogether and keep just local channels and DSL.

What can you do? Charter is the only game in town.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Could it be...?

As usual, I had to man the switchboard from 11-11:45 today while the main operator went to lunch. I approached her cubicle to let her know I was there, only to notice that there was something seriously wrong with her computer.

"What's wrong with you computer!?!" I said.
"What do you mean?" she replied.
"Look at it!" I exclaimed.

On her screen, the number 2 was repeating infinitely. The screen was just full of 2's, with hundreds more being added by the second.

"What's wrong with it??" she questioned.
"I don't know....what did you do?" I replied.
"Maybe it's because I spilled a can of soda in it..." she said.
"That's probably it..." I said, stifling a smirk.

She went to lunch in a huff after attempting to find someone to get her a new keyboard. In a few minutes the woman who keeps our supplies ordered came over with a new keyboard. I told her the story and we had a good laugh. She said this was the second keyboard in the last 2 months that had to be given to the switchboard operator. Last time, she said she "didn't know what happened" even though keyboard was sopping wet. Good cover.

So that's my little funny for the day...

Yesterday we went to Best Buy and bought a DirecTv satellite dish. We decided to tell Charter Communications to shove their cable up their a-hole. For the same price, we're getting over twice as many channels. We're keeping the DSL from Charter, but that's it. Hopefully the DirecTv installation will go as planned and we won't have any trouble with it. With all the rebates we received, we didn't even have to pay for the dish. It's pretty cool. Sorry Dan Aykroyd, but even you can't save Charter Communications.

Next Friday we go to Minnesota to get the marriage license...I'm really excited to get that taken care of as well as have a nice little mini-vacation. We might stop by Thayer's too just to say "hi" and pet the kitties. That will be fun.

In conclusion, Charter sucks and keep soda away from your keyboards.

Monday, May 10, 2004

My favorite spam email to date!

I received this spam email in my bulk folder and I think it's the funniest spam email I've ever gotten. All the keywords strung in a row are far funnier than it was ever intended to be. Enjoy.

hi there Hitzchica, my name is xangels babyx and i'm 19 years old. i
recently brokeup with my b0yfriend and feeling very lonely... i would
like to conversate with a cute single man
... so if your interested hit me up

byetill this evening
x angels baby x

http://www.ITookOutTheURL.com

the south a laugh under begin abash scene quite taken a wheat joins
a faith scout a girls swear aback wings creak forgo fires cadet basis

Please mail all written request with a copy of this announcement to:

Suite #186
4-1150 N. Terminal Ave.
Nanaim0, British C0lumbia
V9S 5L6
Canada

my email is hitzchica@yahoo.com just never write me another statement
again.
http://www.ITookOutTheURL.com

simon mouse saved alley sales added dairy saber color audio cream table
hello lambs kiosk vivid witch tough excel sacre audio medic field pacts
wheel safer cause
lover float panda loads digit stuff judge trail sweep blown taken ocean
kings
every modem fully moats pants flaps stops as bench
every basic clock drink whole moody saith south china chuck.
older heart drops could mouth heart

japan wants jails fluid jihad linux might dives hauls years least golfs
chose cairn abase stuff throw crack sharp abets never a judge noble
feels march koala
alley timid upper lying man quirk safes picks those green angle saith
fluid
licks towns spent salad three chevy thing least loves
ducks girls abide crack finch whore intel grabs snack crept.
a serve child scene label sound

maine shark swift a ocean karat might start yukon level
marry saith was again eagle sails

until
clock pants.

uncle
layer coyly.

hands
woods a.



Boy, she really knew how to charm me!

The politics of crapping.

For those of you who use Blogger, I'm sure you too have noticed that they've really changed things up! I'm not sure I like it...it looks sort of like AOL or something. Everything is big and round and easy on the eyes. Makes me feel sort of stupid.

Today I have a new annoyance: the public's lack of understanding of the natural order of bathroom etiquette. Everyone knows (or should know) that when you use a public bathroom, there is a natural order to which stall, urinal, or even sink that you should use. If you are the only one in the bathroom, you technically have free reign over whichever stall you choose to use. I tend to go to the last one in the row, or sometimes the middle if I feel like spicing things up. If you are the next person to come into the bathroom, proper etiquette tells you to select the stall FURTHEST from the one in use. As of late, I've been finding that many people at my place of employment are completely unaware of this rule. They select the stall right next to me and procede with their business as usual.

I find this bothersome.

I, like many friends I know, cannot go to the bathroom with someone else sitting 2-1/2 feet away from me. I freeze up and have to wait for them to leave the bathroom before I may go about my business. If you weren't already aware of this bathroom rule, please start putting it into use. I will appreciate it, and so will many others.

I experience something rather unheard of to me today in the bathroom. I emerged from my stall in order to wash my hands at the sink. I selected the sink closest to the paper towels for convenience purposes. Another girl was also emerging from her stall(she did, by the way, follow the stall rule) and headed towards the sinks. I got to my sink before she did, but it was clear that she had her eye on my sink. I looked her right in the face, and she looked back at me with a rather dejected face. Rather than selecting another sink, she just turned around and left the bathroom.

Now, whether you normally wash your hands or not, you should always wash your hands if there is someone else in the bathroom. Who wants to be known as 'that disgusting person who never washes their hands'? Luckily for her, I didn't know who she was and I'm not good with faces. I wouldn't recognize her again if I saw her. That still does not change the fact that she looked right at me, knowing full well that I would be aware of her lack of hygiene.

People around here are WEIRD.

Please think about these rules each and every time you enter a public bathroom. If you can't abide by them, please consider just holding it until you get home. Thank you.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Oatmeal again?

Today I have eaten oatmeal for breakfast and lunch. Why? Because I don't have money to buy food. We're out of oatmeal now. I wonder what I'll eat tomorrow?

I manned the switchboard at lunch. My co-worker's 45 minute lunch was an hour today. Not because she asked for a long lunch and not because she got stuck in traffic...you know, she just does that. She'll get paid for those 15 minutes.

Ever eat yogurt with a fork? It's not easy.

Highlight of today: message in my bulk e-mail folder from "Incredible Insertion" boasting the subject line "Girls stuffed to capacity." Do you realize that some people are turned on by that?

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Buh.

Today I have to man the switchboard ALL DAY (with the exception of the last hour of the workday) because the coworker from the last post is on a vacation day. Normally I eat lunch at 11:45 which is a good time for me because it doesn't give my blood sugar time to act up. Today my lunch was pushed back to 12:30. Another coworker was supposed to relieve me at 12:30 so that I could go to lunch. Well, It's 12:45 right now and the coworker just relieved me 5 minutes ago. After 12:30 came and went and I realized no one was coming, I went to the coworker and asked if she knew she was supposed to be on the switchboard. "No", she replied. I said, "Oh, well you are." and that was the end of that. My supervisor sent an email YESTERDAY outlining who was to be where and when, so this worker had no excuse. I have come to find that most people are very incompetent.

At 4:30 I have to man the front desk. I've done this on about 4 separate occasions now, despite the fact that I've never actually been trained to do the front desk. Someone forgot about that minor detail. That's okay though...no one really comes in during that last hour.

Macromedia is starting to anger me. I hate that I can't check my email without having a Macromedia window pop up and ask me if I want to download its product. I angrily click "NO" every time and always mutter to myself "NO, the same as last time, I will NEVER download your product.". It makes no sense. I said no last time, and I will say no this time. Why would I download their player so that I could have an annoying ad dance around? It's not going to happen. It makes no sense. Not to mention, I will (and HAVE already gotten) get yelled at if I download anything on the county computer. They really take all the fun out of slacking off.

So that's what's bothering me today. Hope your days are better!

Monday, May 03, 2004

Fat and Lazy People Make Me Mad

I am tired of fat people. I am tired of lazy people. Before you jump in, please note that I'm already aware that I qualify for at least one (maybe two) of these qualities.

I work 8 hours everyday. I get paid to work 8 hours everyday. Therefore, since I get paid a fair amount of money, I feel that I should spend the time I'm getting paid for doing something productive. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for many of my co-workers. Sitting on your ass and talking for an hour to another employee may seem like a good time, and it is. Here's the thing, though: who does your work for the hour that you sat on your ass? ME! That's right: ME! I am a new employee, but I sure don't feel like it sometimes. People who have been here for 10 years ask me questions. Something is definitely wrong.

One of my co-workers comes back from lunch and breaks at least 5 minutes late everyday. That would be fine, except who do you think loses 5-10 minutes of their lunch because of that? ME! I do, because I'm waiting at that person's post for them to come back. I'm not bitter, but somehow I don't feel it's fair that I should lose my own time because someone else has to stop and talk in the lobby when they're supposed to be back on duty. Tell your supervisor, you might say! Believe me, she already knows. No one wants to "tattle" on this worker, because no one wants animosity at work.

This worker weighs at least 275 pounds. I'm not joking. Every time I see her, she's eating. "I'm sick" she tells me every day. "I don't think I can eat my sandwich, I don't feel good." Well you're damn right you shouldn't feel good! You ate a can of Chunky soup, a bag of chips with dip, and a yogurt and it isn't even noon yet! What the hell? This, of course, is followed with "I need to watch what I eat. I'm getting fat." What can you say to this comment? Nothing. You can't say "You're not fat" because that's not true. You can't say, "Oh, maybe you should" because that's rude. Instead, you just grin like a fool. No one comes out well in this situation.

When the worker finally decides to come back to her post and let me go to lunch, I am relieved and angry. Mostly just angry. I go to the lunch room, and heat up my lunch. I walk back to my desk, and see in passing that the worker is not at her post...she has left to go to the bathroom or chat with a co-worker. She mans the switchboard. Five lines of angry customers are ringing endlessly. They will not get answered. They will complain. Nothing will be done about it. The worker will eventually be moved to another duty in the future, in hopes that this will improve her performance. She has been moved to different duties in hopes to perform her performance for 15 years.

I am glad that I work hard...I would feel guilty if I acted the way that this worker does and a few others I've come to know. Maybe someday I will be rewarded for this work ethic with a supervisory position, where I can tell lazy workers to get their act in order.

Yeah right.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

More Proof That Blogs Are Gay

The other day I decided I'd spice things up a bit and give myself a new Blog Template. Little did I know that in doing so, I would lose all of my links, my comments, my counter, and any other little bits of HTML I'd changed. For the last few days, I've been trying to regain what little ground I had established with this blog, so here is the new and "improved" Celia-Blog. Enjoy, alright? Thank you.