Sunday, January 31, 2010

Five Guys

Five guys identifying themselves as "Five Guys," have caused quite a stir in Toronto, Ontario this week.

Claiming to be followers of the "Visageban" religion, Five Guys have been seen around Toronto businesses and public areas clad in black ski masks and wearing black gloves.

The Five Guys claim to be victims of recent incidences of racial profiling and harassment, and are bringing a case before the Ontario Human Rights Commission against Toronto Metropolitan Police.

Their leader, Aqua Shirt Guy, had this to say: "Wherever we go, people stare and gawk as though we are not human. When we go into restaurants, we're refused service. We can barely set foot into a convenience store before counter personnel brandish bats or hockey sticks, or simply call police."

During a recent interview, Toronto Now's Phalguni Fanibhusan responded, "But you are wearing ski masks. Although they're widely seen on ski trails and slopes, they're more often used to disguise the identities of perpetrators of crime within a city setting."

Aqua Shirt Guy became testy. "That's just the sort of prejudice we're fighting! We have committed no crimes! We wear these headdresses as part of our religious observance!"

"You've indicated in other media interviews that you belong to the Visageban," Phalguni Fanibhusan. "Could you explain some of its tenets."

"Certainly," Aqua Shirt Guy said, speaking with an accent that by turns sounded Massachusian, British and Ukrainian. "We believe the human face is supremely ugly, and therefore we cover ours because it is not fit to be seen by the eyes of God. We also believe that human hands are guilty of such brutality and ruthlessness throughout history, that we cover them with black gloves."

"But surely you can understand that people are uneasy when they encounter someone concealing his identity," Fanibhusan said.

"You're uttering racist speech!" Aqua Shirt Guy said. "We're not from this part of the world, originally. We came to Canada because of its reputation for religious freedom. Instead, we found a people who call police every time they see us! This is outrageous! And we to unleash an unbridled Sheietqa against it!"

"What is a 'Sheietqa'?"

"It means we're going to fight back."

None of the other Five Guys would speak to Toronto Now, preferring to simply glare at reporter Phalguni Fanibhusan when he inquired.

"Since the Canadian people don't know much about your religion," Fanibhusan said, "could you please share some of its other aspects?"

"We only eat dogs," Aqua Shirt Guy said. "We believe all animals are sacred and should be treated as gods. However, dogs being of a lower social nature, and being so plentiful, they're obviously here for us to consume."

"Do you have a place of worship?" Fanibhusan asked.

"Yes -- the MENS room of any subway station. We need to be close to water because it is another sacred element to the Visageban. We use it to moisten our eyelids. Also, each Visageban disciple is to pour an Imperial pint of water into his right pants pocket six times a daily while imagining the sun wearing a black mask."

"Have you had many converts yet?"

"No, but we're considering suing the City of Toronto on the grounds of cultural ignorance."

"How many Visageban are living in Toronto?"

"I can't discuss that. We don't believe in numbers."

"Really? But you do call yourselves 'Five Guys,' do you not? 'Five' is a number."

"Only in Canada," Aqua Shirt Guy said. "'Five' to Visageban is a holy word."

"Is it? What does it mean?"

"It cannot be translated into English."

"What do you do for fun?"

"We do not have fun."

"But you wear ski masks. You must snow ski."

"We do not believe in any physical activity, particularly frivolous sports. Although a little bit of harmonica playing is permitted. But only a little bit!"

"Then how do you spend your time?"

"We're working with the Ministry of Education to make some changes to textbooks used in schools."

"What sort of changes."

"First of all," said Aqua Shirt Guy. "We do not believe in either the English monarchy, nor the French nation. All mentions of England or France are offensive to Visageban. We're working with the Ministry of Education to have these offensive things eradicated."

"Are you having any success?" Fanibhusan asked.

"Yes, we are. We've found a very receptive audience in the Ministry of Ed. They're very accommodating. No one there wishes to offend."

"What is the ultimate goal of Visageban?"

"That all people of earth devote themselves to our religion."

"That's a very lofty ambition," Fanibhusan said. "Do you have any shorter term goals?"

"Yes. We seek to change the name of this country to 'Canadeban.' You see, we find 'Canada' to be too western a name; too secular. It offends our religious and cultural sensibilities. So, we're working with a United Nations liaison to Canada on having it changed to something more appealing to our religion."

"Good luck with that," Fanibhusan said with an obvious edge of sarcasm.

Aqua Shirt Guy didn't catch the sarcasm. "Thank you very much. So far, we've found some people in the Canadian government who are very receptive to our deman-- I mean, ideas."

"Forgive me, but I find that hard to believe," Fanibhusan said.

"We also do not believe in forgiveness," Aqua Shirt Guy said. "We have found common ground with the Canadian government: It doesn't wish to offend anyone -- literally no one at all. And we seek to make Canada a more holy place for ourselves."

At this point, the interview was terminated when the Five Guys were accosted by members of Metro Police, asking for identification. As the Visageban do not believe in any forms of identification, they were taken away by the officers.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday

This blog has a soundtrack.

The Rolling Stones "She's a Rainbow"

I started a new job a few weeks ago.  One of my colleagues is a startlingly pretty woman named Daniella. My second morning in the office, she stopped by my desk and said, "Do you remember me?" I knew her the moment she said her name.  She had been a few grades ahead of me in school and I was surprised she remembered me.

A fun routine soon developed, where Daniella came by my desk and dropped long lost names on me.  I remembered them all.  She then provided updates, courtesy of Facebook.

Daniella's gotten older, as we all have -- she's a mom now, too -- but there are moments while we're talking that I find myself thinking, Were there girls in my neighborhood who looked like this when I was growing up? They went to my school?

Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here"

And I remember. Yes.

Among them, there was Leslie.

We went through elementary school together, kindergarten to eighth grade. She had blond hair and brown eyes.  She had a great laugh and a deceptively subtle sense of humor.  I stole so many furtive glances of her in class, over the years, I'm sure I wore a tunnel in the air that hung between us.  Decades after the fact, I can say without hesitation that Leslie was the first girl I ever loved. Or, more powerfully put -- liked

You remember how it was among kids, particularly if you were a guy: at some point, during recess or gym or free time in the library, being confronted in the most intense, delicious, laughing manner by a girl's friends, who asked, "So, do you like her?"  When Leslie's friends asked me, the air around my face ionized, the blood slammed through my skull like the Music Express at the Freedom Festival, and nerves I never knew I had awoke and turned in the direction of the sun.

And I would say, "No! Of course not!" 

We went to school together, day-in, day-out, surrounded by our friends, their siblings -- particularly their older siblings -- and their siblings' friends. That was an army of laughing voices just waiting for a personal revelation. Admitting to liking someone was like having your heart raised on a flagpole like a pair of dirty underwear.

The Romantics "When I Look In Your Eyes"

At times, there was a perverse pleasure in saying No because it was so obvious the answer was Yes. Leslie's friends knew that, but they wanted to hear me say it. I never could.

The pang of longing was most sickly-sweet during the autumn and spring afternoons, after school, when I sat on my bike at the corner of Curry and University, looking down Leslie's street, hoping for a glimpse of her. I had known her years before I even knew which house on the block was hers.

A friend lived on her street.  His older sister was friends with Leslie.  Sometimes when I was there, his sister and Leslie would walk in and my nervous system would suddenly feel like an air plane veering through turbulence, and my inner town fool took over and I'd try to be funny, or start wrestling with my friend. He'd look at me like I was crazy and accuse me of showing-off.

There was an afternoon when my friend and I were playing in his back yard.  Leslie and my friend's sister came in. Next thing I knew, I climbed one of the steel T-shaped ends of the backyard clothesline and hung upside down from the crossbar. When I attempted a fancy dismount, it seemed like I had performed accidental magic -- I let go of the clothesline stand and my feet remained in the air.  I looked up and saw the cuff of my jeans had caught on one of the clothesline hooks. As I dangled by one leg, everyone broke out laughing. By all rights, my skinny, showboating ass should have slid out of my jeans, dumping me in my blue Fruit of the Looms right there on the grass before Leslie, but the universal malignity had mercy and I somehow remained lodged within my trousers. My cuff ripped and I landed in a heap.

The echo of Leslie's sudden laughter stayed with me for weeks. It's still with me.

When we were in fourth grade, a rumor arose that Leslie liked me. The news -- sketchy as it was; third- or fourth-hand as it was -- hit me like a cannon blast. At some point, Leslie's friends upped the ante and telephoned me to ask if I liked her. Even at home, the schoolyard was always near.  Part of me wondered if Leslie's friends were playing a joke.  Maybe the rumor wasn't true.  Regardless, it was impossible to admit my own feelings. Personal information was paraded in the schoolyard like a captured enemy flag. 

All I had to do was recall the drubbing I took the day I let it slip that I liked a Supertramp song -- a band that the guys in the schoolyard considered unequivocally fag. The only way to quell the teasing was to go through the unwritten -- yet formal-as-a-courtroom motion -- act of saying that I was "only joking", that "yes, Supertramp was fag... everybody knows that..." and the teasing tapered off.

That was just over liking a song. The reaction to revealing how I felt about Leslie would have resulted in nothing short of public crucifixion... or worse.

So, I told Leslie's friends, No, I didn't like Leslie. But of course I did. They knew it. I knew it. But I hid behind the filmy, cowardly shield of denying the obvious.

Other times, Leslie got on the phone, and we stumbled through an awkward pantomime of a conversation.  Once, her older sister, Christine, got on the phone and asked why would I bother with Leslie, anyhow, when her friends were prettier.  Then she laughed and handed the phone off to someone else as Leslie protested in the background.

And what the hell did I know? Nothing. Less than nothing. I've spent a lifetime just digging myself out of the immense deficit of knowledge I was shouldering when I came into this world.

Leslie's older sister Christine was going out with a guy on my street named Bill.  Bill had the courage of an astronaut, of a firewalker.  Christine and Bill were three, or so, years older than us.  He didn't care who knew he and Christine were together.  He should have been an example of someone who could make that admission and survive, but I was no astronaut... I was no firewalker.

But Bill could do anything. He once hurdled the frontend of a neighbor's TR-7 sports car that was blocking the sidewalk.  He hit half-court jumpshots like free throws.  He could be funny at will, doing scathing impressions of a teacher who furtively picked his nose when he thought no one was looking, or kids in the schoolyard who had a funny laugh or an awkward walk.

On top of it all, Bill owned an electric guitar and played it with preternatural skill. He brought it to my next door neighbor's house one day.  Seeing an actual electric guitar was like beholding King Arthur's sword.  Bill plugged into his tiny amp and launched into "Limelight" by Rush, followed by "Over the Hills and Faraway" by Led Zeppelin.  It was like he knew a secret language. He heard I had just started taking guitar lessons and asked if I wanted to try it out. I strummed through a few chords of the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" making it sound like emasculated AM radio, then handed the guitar back to Bill.  He ran through a few more songs, playing as though he'd co-written them with Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend.

The phone calls from Leslie and her friends tapered off after a few weeks. Soon, the rumor winds carried news that Leslie liked someone else, and that was that.

Time passed, life went on. 

The thing about memories is that, for me, they're often similar to dreams -- I can't remember how I came to be in certain circumstances, I just recall being there.

Somewhere in this timeline, on a cool, rainy late afternoon when it just becoming jacket weather -- either late autumn or early spring -- I found myself riding my bike, alone.  Muscle memory brought me to Leslie's street.  I was killing time before dinner, riding down her street... and it never hurt having another look at her house. 

So, I pedaled along, listening to the drizzle in the trees, my wheels zzz-ing along the road when...  I couldn't believe my eyes: As I approached Leslie's house, there she was, sitting alone on the front porch. 

Normally, I would have clenched up, my brain heaving into vapor lock and at best, I would have muttered a quick "Hi!" and sped home... to spend the rest of the evening hating myself for the missed opportunity. 

On this one evening, however, I shocked myself by steering up a driveway, coasting up Leslie's front walk and stopping at the first step of her porch.  She was her usual sweet, softspoken self, smiling at my sudden appearance.  And there I stood, straddling my bike, chatting with her with none of the guile and guardedness of the schoolyard. Next thing I knew, I sat on the porch next to her. My gawd, there I was, at Leslie's house, where she lived, where she slept at night, where she woke in the morning, where she lived her life, where her parents and sisters lived with her. It was like being invited into Graceland by Elvis himself.

We chatted about nothing in particular.  My inner village idiot was occupied elsewhere.  I didn't even ask why she was sitting alone on her front porch on such a dismal evening.  We just talked. And though I had parents who loved me, friends who accepted me, a brother who tolerated me, that moment I shared with Leslie was one of first moments of perfect peace I ever experienced with another person.

At some point, the front door opened and Leslie's Mom called her in for dinner.  There was no grand goodbye.  We each said, "See ya" and she went inside and I got back on my bike.  But I was a very different guy pedaling home through the damp evening.  I felt like an archaeologist who had discovered a lost civilization.  I had caught a glimpse of Leslie's life beyond school, and I carried it away with me like an artifact.

Led Zeppelin "Fool in the Rain"

Meeting Daniella at work has had the feel of weird, neighborhood magic about it -- the same magic that kept me from sliding out of my jeans when I hung upside down from my friend's clothesline stand; or, deciding to take a chance riding down Curry Avenue in the rain. The kind of neighborhood magic that propels a guy over the front end of a TR-7 blocking the sidewalk, or hitting a half court jump shot.

Daniella's updates about people whose names I haven't heard in 30 years has been like archeology of the heart, opening long dormant chambers.

Yesterday, she told me that Leslie died a couple of years ago.

I asked Daniella if she was thinking of the right person. She went through the schoolyard lineage of Bill and then Christine, and Christine's younger sister being Leslie. Christine's younger sister had died of cancer a couple of years ago.

I may not have seen Leslie since high school, twenty-some years ago, but I learned in that moment just how close she was to the surface of my thoughts -- she was right there. 

Every guy has that girl who's the archetype of all he finds beautiful.  Who, as Billy Dee Williams once said, "Sings your heart's song." 

Leslie was mine.

The Rolling Stones "Goodbye Ruby Tuesday"

Bob Dylan's "Series of Dreams"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Collision of Taylortucky and Corporate America -- final remains make it home nine months later

Nine months after my last job ended, leaving me on the sidewalk during the worst recession in several generations, the contents of my old desk was mailed to me. It got me thinking of my old boss. Here's the email I just sent her:
Dear Mary,

Never let it be said that InsuranceUSA isn't making responsible, frugal use of its subscribers' funds.

Today I received the contents of my desk drawers in the mail. I'm sure the people who've had medical procedures and tests declined by InsuranceUSA would be thrilled and heartened to know that, nine months after my wrongful dismissal, you finally got every last Niki's Pizza take-out menu, stray, tarnished penny, comb, ATM receipt, vitamin pill and scrap of meaningless, useless paper back to me.

Never let it be said that Mary Moore is not there to tackle pressing issues, or that she's not tackling them in a timely fashion.

If sending me that ancient, unwanted detritus was some sort of dig at me, you missed. I'm back to work and haven't spared your spindly, tea-cosy-topped self a thought in months. Not since the last time I heard someone mispronounce a word in common usage, or scuttle a simple sentence by saying, "Well, you know what I mean!" followed by a laugh like someone starting an old gas lawnmower.

As I'm sure you didn't spare a thought for your former shaved ape, Denny Carter, who was not even competent or trustworthy enough to properly clear out a wrongly fired employee's desk.

As I'm sure you spare no thoughts. Can't spare what you don't have.

I hope the occasion of sending this old junk to me is that you've finally hired a fine, upright, Bible-reading tech-writer-QA-HTML-Web-designer who donates blood and reads to the blind, to share in the work done by your group -- work you never seemed capable of understanding. Or, maybe the garbage was mailed to me because InsuranceUSA is now selling its office furniture to stay afloat. I don't think that'd be the case. I'm sure the shell-shifting-shysters have found new and innovative ways to wrench yet more premiums from widows and orphans.

I have no doubt you're probably thriving in the hothouse of InsuranceUSA. Weeds can grow anywhere, and long outlast the flowers. I'm also very sure you're still making life difficult and miserable and unbearable with all the chaos your double-digit IQ empowers you to concoct -- like throwing confetti into a spinning ceiling fan.

I miss my former colleagues. A truer bunch of professionals, I have never known. And marvelous people, too.

You, I miss like an ingrown toenail. From your A.D.D. galloping around the office, to your Appalachian white-trash screeching out of office doors for the next poor wretch to go in and explain to you how a fork is used, or what the funny symbols on your computer screen mean, or how to work the zipper on your purse.

Nor do I miss your vicious, ham-handed politicking, or feeling embarrassed for you every time you used a patently wrong word in one of your fractured sentences in yet another miserable meeting.

Nor do I miss your cheap, scheming ways, your continuous lying, double-dealing, back-stabbing, petty, mean-girl, adolescent, fang-ridden management style. When you were the absentee landlord of eBiz, that was fine. But once you clawed your way up another rung on the ladder, your noxious, radioactive presence made my watch stop, my eyes hurt, my skin crawl, my paperclips to bend and link together for comfort. Particularly being exposed to your constant Taylortucky shouting around the office. Your graceless guffaws at jokes that weren't funny. Your total and complete and utter lack of sensitivity, humanity, empathy, compassion, common sense or simple decency.

No, I spared you not a thought until I came home from work today to find a bulky, awkward envelope waiting for me; black-bordered like death notices used to come in the mail. And there was all the old crap from my desk drawers; receiving it nine months after your incompetence, stupidity, and stone-heartedness cost me a job I quite enjoyed during the worst recession in several generations. That you could do that to me and my family speaks volume upon volumes about the tainted, feculent, canchre sore you have for a soul. And Denny "Blind Man's Bluff" Carter tasked to empty my desk, couldn't even do that right.

Well, I hope you have a fun-filled and fulfilling 2010. That your Blackberry is never silent, and that you don't ruin too many lives as you conduct your career at InsuranceUSA like a cage-fighting-cannibal.

Just please know that the fading memory I have of you is that of a bizarre, in-over-her-head incompetent-who-fools-no-one, with the vocabulary of a cocker spaniel, the tact of a mortician, the compassion of a Supermax guard, and the lizard-brained-unreasoning nature of a fanatic.

You see, I don't need profanity to tell someone to go to hell. That was your first clue that Denny Carter was lying through his teeth about the incident that got me fired.

I am back to work, and praise whatever demented gawd there is, I don't work for someone like you.

With Revulsion,
Whetam Gnauckweirst

Ted Haggard Totally Cured of Being Gay, But Still Vomits After Sex with Wife

"The first time it happened," said Gayle Haggard on The Oprah Winfrey Show, "I thought Ted was in the bathroom crying with joy after we had sex. Then I realized he was vomiting."

Ted Haggard, sober and contrite, seated next to his wife, said, "My counselor has told me that this is a type of bulimic-like psychological reaction -- that I experience so much joy making love to my wife, that my body just gets overwhelmed and responds the only way it knows how."

Early in their marriage, it was revealed, Ted vomited copiously while in the act of coitus -- sometimes simply at the moment he saw Gayle naked.

"Ted told me it was some weird sex thing he'd picked in divinity school," Gayle explained. "Not that he'd ever engaged in anything like this, but Ted said he'd heard of people who . . . you know, vomited on one another as a sort of . . . you know, sex thing."

"And you never participated in any such sex games in divinity school?" Winfrey quizzed Ted Haggard.

"No, no, not at all," Ted was quick to reply.

"Ted had heard of such disgusting things," Gayle went on, "and being so divorced -- I mean, being so far away from his own experience, it stuck in his head. And like a song you can't get out of your mind, this disgusting act stayed with Ted and tormented him until he performed the act himself."

Brought in by Skype, on a large in-studio screen, Haggard's personal physician, Dr. Broderick Muntz, commented on his star patient. "It only proves -- all the more -- that Ted's 100 percent man. This involuntary regurgitation has nothing to do with the sex act, but emanates from a rare digestive malfunction that occurs due to over excitement following coitus."

To which Winfrey turned her coal-fire gaze on Ted Haggard once more. "So, other than this small, side-bar affliction, you've been completely cured of being gay?"

"Oh, absolutely!" Haggard said, show enthusiasm for the first time. "Oh yes, without question! Without any question at all! That's all behind me, now!"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The New Chrysler DNA

DETROIT - Chrysler CEO, Robert Nardelli, announced a bold new direction for the embattled auto maker.

"Since Chrysler is unable to compete in the marketplace on style, mileage or price," Nardelli said to the capacity audience at the news conference, "Chrysler is going to lead the way in auto security."

Behind Nardelli, a shrouded posterboard was uncovered.

"Introducing the Chrysler DNA," Nardelli boomed with pride. "It's a keyless car with a difference. The doors and trunk are opened with a thumb print scan -- the thumb prints of up to three different drivers can be entered into the DNA's system.

"And once inside the car, the ignition can only be engaged once the driver provides a DNA sample."

Gasps rippled through the gallery.

"Merging Diabetic finger-prick technology with Chrysler's proprietary navigation satellite system, and the efficiency of Chrysler Labs, only the verified DNA of up to three different drivers will start the car. Auto theft will soon be the stuff of distant memory."

A hand-out provided to journalists explained that giving a DNA sample was a simple, painless process, placing one's finger of choice on the steering column where the ignition key goes in other cars. Chrysler Labs receives details of the sample via satellite, and verifies the driver's identity within three hours. Once that occurs, the car starts --

"And from there," Robert Nardelli said, concluding his personal introduction of the Chrysler DNA, "the world is your oyster. Thank you."

After years of failure at the helm of Chrysler, industry insiders say that Robert Nardelli is hoping to pin his legacy on the new DNA.

It wasn't long, however, after the announcement to the press that bloggers and industry analysts began raising doubts about how the Chrysler DNA's safety features will affect its entry into the car rental market.

Chrysler had no immediate response.

As for the three-hour delay between a driver giving a DNA sample and the vehicle actually starting, a Chrysler spokesman said that based upon Chrysler's offerings in the past, "consumers have proven they can get used to anything."

He then added, "In the age of underwear bombers and H1N1, who's not willing to sacrifice a little convenience for a lot more security?"

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rush Limbaugh: One red, white and blue striped dick

He looks like he's going to take that flag somewhere and try and fuck it.

I Don't Even Want To Be Alive Anymore by Rush Limbaugh paid for by the OxyContin-For-All Lobby

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Don't look at us! We're a band!

That's what I love about music -- people don't take themselves so seriously.

Two fauxhawks, guys? Honestly? Two? Was no one inventive enough to drive a rail road spike into their forehead?

To Catch a Milkshake

"Where do seniors meet?" sang the TV ad. "At the doctor's office? At the medical supplies store? At the complaints department of Wal-Mart? No! They're meeting at!"

Playing on elder peoples' memories of "the old dime store with the soda fountain," the ads were enticing, what with smiling, healthy, affluent seniors showing their fluorescent teeth and bemused expressions of blissful retirement. The number of users on the site swelled each month by the population of Woodstock-1969.

Friending became frenetic.

Groups sprung up: Paddle Boat Pirates, The Golf Course Gang, Power Walkers' Blog, Branson or Bust. Activism took hold with groups organizing and demanding "free, sterile catheters" and posting updated lists of "Where you can buy everything you need for a DOLLAR!"

Along with the uploaded pictures of new golf drivers, ambiguous beige "comfy" shoes, and bathtubs equipped with sportscar doors, a darkside emerged: septuagenarians trawling for women twenty or thirty years their junior.

There was no question young women were drawn to the Web site in search of "sugar daddies." No one excused or condoned such crass, materialistic behavior, but it was nearly impossible to prove. discouraged "ageism," and imposed no birthdate restrictions. And so, a crude and perverse minority MilkShakeParlorites lurked in the cyber shadows, targeting the innocent and the vulnerable.

In response to this growing social blight, NBC launched a new investigative program called To Catch a Milkshake. The program rented a bungalow in Tar Paper, Florida and rigged it with half a dozen cameras. The place was stocked it with peanuts, crossword puzzles and Applebee take-out cartons for authenticity. Local police posing as vulnerable 39, 41 and 44 year old women, respectively, created profiles on and waited for the rancid overtures to roll in.

It didn't take long.

Unfortunately, many of the potential milkshakes either fell asleep on the evenings they arranged to meet their "dates" or they simply couldn't find the place, being unable to see all that well at night. So, the set was relocated across the street from a locally adored specialty shop called 51 Flavors of Metamucil. That was the game-changer.

The first man to arrive confounded the cameras outside that were equipped with "night vision" because of the intense brightness of his white athletic shoes. When his shoes were finally out of frame, authorities saw that he carried something under his arm that looked like a thin binder or folder of some sort. One law enforcement officer viewing the live feed from a bogus cleaning van out front surmised that the perp may have arrived with a board game.

The old man rang the doorbell and was invited to enter by a 44 year old actress hired to impersonate the "date." The tread of the man's athletic shoes on the living room's deep pile carpeting made it appear that he was walking through sand, as he approached his "date" who stood behind a bar at the opposite end of the camera-rigged living room. When he came to within five feet of the bar, the actress escaped into the kitchen off to the side, and the host of To Catch a Milkshake leaped out to confront the (un)invited guest:

"Wha?" the man gasped as the coiffed journalist took his position behind the bar. "Who in tarnation hell are you?"

"I'm Blaze Sandalwood," the journalist laughed. He placed a sheaf of pages -- the man's chatlog with the "date" from -- on top of the bar. "Would you like to tell me why you're here?"

"Uh -- what? No! Where'd Cheryl go?"

"Ah, 'Cheryl,'" Sandalwood mocked, fondling the chatlog. "Yes, you had quite the chat about hibachi cooking and architecture magazines with 'Cheryl,' didn't you?" He looked at the object the man carried under his arm. "And what is that?"

The man held it up. "It's a Birdseye frozen dinner. Macaroni, clam chowder and baklava. You wouldn't believe how hard that was to find."

"Does your family know what you're doing tonight -- right now?"

"I'm seventy-six years old! It's none of their business what I do!"

"Well, it is now," Sandalwood smirked. "You're on NBC's To Catch a Milkshake. You know, people are not going to sit idly by and see Internet social media like misused this way."

"What way? We're both adults. I came to play Scrabble and eat some Birdseye baklava."

"Right," Sandalwood said, incredulous. Then he glanced at the chatlog and saw that was true. "But still, you've never met 'Cheryl' before. And you just make arrangements online and then show up."

"That's how you meet new people, isn't it?"

"What's your name, sir? Surely, you're family doesn't know you as RobertSmithson1148."

"In fact, they do," Robert Smithson said. "Except for the number. There're more Robert Smithson's out there than you'd realize." He looked around. "So, this was just a setup? That woman who was here wasn't Cheryl?"

Sandalwood smiled and nodded, smug.

"Well, you've wasted enough of my time," Robert Smithson said. "And I'm taking the frozen dinner with me."

"I'd like you to stay for a moment," Sandalwood said, "and answer a few questions."

"Answer a few questions? Two consenting adults agree to meet for an evening of Scrabble, and you think I've got a single goddamned thing to answer about that?"

"Come now, sir -- Robert, if I may," Sandalwood said. "Everyone knows that 'Scrabble' is a euphemism for 'orgy.' Surely, you don't think we're so naive."

"This conversation is over," Robert Smithson said. As he turned and trudged through the deep pile carpeting, law enforcement got into position outside for their take-down. The moment Robert Smithson stepped outside, four shadowy figures run, hunched, toward him. One gruff voice ordered him to get down on the ground.

"Get on the what?" Smithson said.

He was then tasered for non-compliance of a police order. The officer whose turn it was that night to use the taser, held the weapon "gansta style," which caused the electric prongs to strike Smithson in the throat and the bridge of his eye-glasses. The electric charge set Smithson instantly on his back, his sideburns burst into flames.

* * *

As it turned out, there was nothing illegal about 70 year old people hooking up with 40 year olds.

Although the video of Robert Smithson's sideburns exploding went viral on the Web, Blaze Sandalwood's career shriveled in an instant. He returned to parking cars at a steakhouse in Reno.

And's web continued to ensnare bemused, fluorescent-toothed elfen elderly connecting the world of coupons, Jerry Lewis videos and Parcheesi clubs.

Friday, January 22, 2010

If corporations are people, they should be subject to arrest

Since watching the documentary The Corporation, I've been aware of the psuedo-personhood corporations enjoy. It's sick. It doesn't make sense, although it does help bring into focus the feeling so many people have of being raped by a corporation. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has all but drawn a mustachio and eyebrows on corporate personhood, wound its wristwatch and given it car fare. It's now no-shit personhood.

I don't see this as a bad thing, so long as we follow through entirely with this humanification of entities.

For instance, the term "lay-offs" should be eradicated. From now on, when corporations fire huge numbers of its workforce, we should term this an "abortion" -- a "late term aborition" if any of the employees have worked there longer than 7 months. Because that's what it is. And I think it would be worth some entertainment points to get the Right to Life crowd mixed up in this mess. I want to see headlines like, "General Electric trimmed its workforce by 9,000 people this week bringing the number of corporate abortions up to 300,000 for the month."

Let the Right to Lifers go after those abortionists.

Maybe now that they're designated "people," corporations might finally get around to paying their gawddamned income taxes.

Better yet, in the same way human beings can be involuntarily committed to mental institutions with two or three signatures of our nears and dears, I'd like to see corporations subject to this treatment, as well. After all, one of the startling facts to come out of the documentary The Corporation is that when a typical corporation's character traits were tallied and tabulated, it fit the profile of a dangerous psychopath/sociopath. As any other person who is a danger to themselves or to someone else can be taken off the street against their will to undergo psychological evaluation, I believe that Halliburton and AIG and Xe Services (formerly known as Blackwater -- Eric Prince, you vampire, you're not fooling anyone with that name change), among many, many others to be chased down by men carrying butterfly nets, taken away (for their protection and ours) and made sane.

If corporations are people, then they can be arrested. I want to see AIG, Bank of America, Bear Stearns and Newscorp arrested on charges of widespread fraud, and every other manner of criminality in which they've engaged which has been aired in the media like a bedridden, shut-in's underwear.

If corporations are people, then mergers are marriages. Two companies whose leaders are the same sex should no longer be able to merge because gay marriage is not legal. I think California's Proposition 8 should be enacted retroactively against all corporations whose CEO's are the same gender.

I mean, all men were created equal says in the United States Declaration of Independence (and we all know the mention of men there means all people). So, if corporations are people, I think they should be treated like people. OK, let them buy unlimited political ads, but also make them serve jury duty. As people walking their dogs must pick up the dog's shit on the spot, so too should corporations be immediately on top of the messes they make. They should be cleaning up after themselves daily. Hourly.

If corporations are people, they should be required to have passports, Social Security numbers and health insurance. But first, let's mobilize the psychiatrists and psych wards. Let's get an army of Justices of the Peace and signatories declaring that corporations are a danger to themselves and to others. Let the evaluations of these peoples' sanity begin.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"We Will Never Forget!"

As per the edict handed down so many years ago, no one could precisely pinpoint its exact origin, the banners were hung throughout the town on the appointed day. We Will Never Forget! they proclaimed in bold, Pillar-of-the-Earth font face, in the colors of patriotism, waving picturesquely in the breeze, against the blue, postcard sky.

Replica lapel pins were worn by all, proclaiming in small, sturdy letters -- in national anthem colors -- We Will Never Forget!

The grandstand had been erected out front of the Town Hall, and the public square thronged with the eager, though solemn, citizenry. Not all of them supported the mayor, but year after year, everyone turned out to be told in no uncertain terms how none of them -- big or small, rich or poor, young or old, man, woman or child -- would never forget.

Dugan was on vacation and his car had broken down while passing through the town. Because it was We Will Never Forget! Day, he'd been told he would have to wait until tomorrow for the local mechanic to look at it. He wasn't thrilled about the unscheduled stop, but it was a pretty town, and he managed to arrive on what appeared the most important day of the year.

After lunchtime, the church bells rang, and the townfolk moved en masse toward the town square. They gathered around the grand stand as their ancestors once gathered for public executions.

Dugan followed the crowd. He thought to take out his camera and photograph the event, but the solemn expressions surrounding him, the banners that flapped with martial crispness, and dagger-glinting lapel pins silently advised him to leave his camera in its case.

As the church bells wound down their clarion call, Dugan found himself standing beside a stern-looking man in work pants and a lumberjack shirt. The man's hair appeared to be flattened against his skull with Vaseline. Next to him stood a frail, weary-looking woman in a dusty house dress, along with two small, tow-headed boys. The man stared straight ahead as though readying to utter a sacred oath. Dugan hesitated speaking to him, but his curiosity was too great. He figured a simple, whispered question couldn't do any harm.

Dugan leaned over and spoke in a low voice: "Excuse me, sir, I'm a stranger in this town. What is it, exactly, that nobody will forget?"

The man turned his hard eyes on Dugan. "Are you crazy, or something?"

"I'm not from around here," Dugan said. "My car broke down and the mechanic won't look at it until tomorrow."

"'Course not," the man snapped. "Today's a sacred day!"

"I understand," Dugan said, wishing he could just slip away into the crowd. "It's just that, not being from around here, I don't know what special day --"

"Sacred day!" the man snapped.

"Right," Dugan said. "What sacred day is this? What is it that we won't forget?"

"The great tragedy," the man said in a low voice, suddenly overwhelmed with emotion.

"I'm so sorry," Dugan said, and stepped away.

Dugan meandered through the crowd, and found himself next to a woman he guessed was either a high school English teacher or editor of the town newspaper. He caught her eye and nodded. "I'm from out of town."

The woman looked at him; a glimmer of suspicion in her eyes. "You're not here to mock our grief, are you?"

"No, no, of course not," Dugan said. "I was just passing through when my car broke down."

"You won't get it fixed today," the woman said. "It's We Will Never Forget! Day."

"Yes, of course." Dugan paused, suddenly wondering if it really mattered all that much if he ever learned what exactly would never be forgotten. It did. "Pardon me, but what is the town commemorating today?"

The woman tensed as though he had just given her bad news. "Why, why," she stammered, "the . . . the horrible . . ." Tears filled her eyes.

"I'm very sorry," Dugan said and moved away as quickly as he could without drawing attention to himself.

When he came along side a man who unabashedly reeked of alcohol, Dugan relaxed. He wasn't a drinker, himself, but figured that his chances of offending someone liquored up at this hour of the day were minimal. "Excuse me, sir," he said to the drunk.

The drunk turned his rheumy eyes on Dugan. "What's 'at? Do I know you?"

"No, you don't. I'm not from around here."

"Who --? Whaddya want?"

"Would you mind if I asked you -- what is it that no one will forget?" Dugan said. "I'm from out of --"

"What?" the drunk bellowed. Dugan cringed, but any thoughts of escape were extinguished by the people crowing the square. The church bells had gone silent, so the drunk's voice carried all the more clearly. "You wanna know wha' we'll never forget?" he trumpeted.

Heads turned. Dugan burned under the heat of urgent, dismayed gazes. "I'm not from around here! I was just curious -- !"

"Is he an agitator?" a voice nearby inquired.

"Today of all days!"

Voices buzzed around Dugan, and a sudden, sickening sense of claustrophobia gripped him. There was no way to shove his through all of these people. The buzz of voices moved around on all sides of him, growing louder, angrier, more outraged. Finally, pinned within this maelstrom of queries and growing accusations, Dugan shouted, "I just want to know what you'll never forget!"

That set the voices into a frenzy of inarticulate offense, speculation, and patriotic angst. No matter which direction Dugan turned, he couldn't make out what anyone was saying.

An old man -- probably a former judge, or alderman, or state senator -- came forward. He had a pushbroom mustachio and wore a dusty bowler hat. In the midst of his confusion, Dugan wildly thought, I'll bet everyone calls him Gramps.

"You're not from around here," Gramps said to Dugan.

"Yes, that's right," Dugan said from the edge of hysteria. "I don't mean any harm! I was just asking a question."

"What we'll never forget," Gramps spat. "Well, lemme tell you, we will never forget, even after a thousand years!"

People around Gramps loudly and antagonistcally agreed. Some cheered. A few applauded.

"Fine, fine," Dugan said. "I understand. I see the banners, the lapel pins. I was just wondering what you'll never forget."

Gramps worked his lips a moment; looked like he was chewing his words before speaking them. "Well . . . the thing," he said after a moment.

"The tragedy!" a voice nearby offered.

"That's right," Gramps said. "The terrible, terrible, terrible tragedy."

"But what was it?" Dugan said. Whatever his fate would be among those people, he knew a few more words couldn't possibly makes things any worse.

"The thing," a voice said.

"The tragedy," said another.

"The . . . the . . ."

Suddenly a voice -- no doubt, the town's choirmaster -- struck up the hymn "We Will Never Forget." Everyone joined in with militant fervor.

As the people sang, Dugan felt he was witnessing the impossible -- everyone's attention moved away from him. Everyone was so caught up in the hymn, they no longer cared at all about him. Dugan decided he wouldn't wait to see what would happen when they finished.

He was just moving to leave when someone came up behind him and rammed the shaft of a long, rusty screwdriver into his back. The pain was blinding. As the assailant withdrew the screwdriver with the same violence with which he stabbed Dugan, the world for Dugan went askew and the voices around him melded into a single, gonging note. He fell to the ground, and his blood flowed out in a great pool. The people around him stood their ground, singing their hymn.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Letter to the Onionfield Purveyor: "There are podia-vangelists in my neighborhood!"

Dear Sir [Editor of the Onionfield Purveyor]:
There is a growing pestilence of foot-born podia-vangelists roaming around Onionfield neighborhoods. They travel in pairs seem to have some sort of knuckle-upon-door fetish, because they go from house to unanswering house, knocking on doors until their craven hearts are satisfied.

Since they come around at approximately 10 a.m. on workdays, there are obviously few people home, so actually speaking to citizens is not the focus of these podia-vangelists. I refer to these beings as such because they carry under their arms leatherbound books with gold-gilt edged pages. If these are not Bibles, then they are the most luxurious dictionaries I've ever seen (spied through a side window as I wait for them to depart my stoop).

I have not chanced answering my own door upon the sound of their depraved knocking because I believe in the urban legends surrounding the fates of those who interrupt fetishists as they seek to satisfy their subterranean deviance. I refuse to risk being turned into a pillar of salt, or having a hump spontaneously emerge upon my back.

Would the Onionfield Purveyor please send a team of its crack investigative journalists to get to the bottom of these strange, ritualistic convergences upon innocent, snow-pillowed neighborhoods in the Proud Town of Onionfield?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Sleight of Mind: How conservatives continually dupe ordinary people into voting against their own interests

According to the United States Geological Survey, America's own oil reserves might be substantially larger than anyone ever thought possible.

From a blog on How Much Oil Does the US Have in the Ground???

[E]enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 2041 years straight.
. . .

HOW can this BE? HOW can we NOT BE extracting this? Because the environmentalists and others have blocked all efforts to help America become independent of foreign oil! Again, we are letting a small group of people dictate our lives and our economy.....WHY?

. . .

Don't think 'OPEC' will drop its price - even with this find? Think again! It's all about the competitive marketplace, - it has to. Think OPEC just might be funding the environmentalists?
Yes, those almighty, omnipresent, all-powerful environmentalists -- those Doctor Evils in burlap and Birkenstocks.

Whenever conservative Americans come across someone who doesn't agree with them, they make that person or group out to be much more powerful than they really are. So, environmentalists are keeping America from energy independence? Conservatives despise all regulation, even that which makes life livable. If working conditions had been left in the hands of conservatives a century ago, we'd still have children working 18 hours days in factories. There would be no Workers' Compensation, no unemployment benefits, no laws governing workplace safety. I'm sure the person who introduced legislation outlawing child labor was vilified and demonized.

A few years ago when gay marriage became legal in Canada, and marijuana use virtually decriminalized, conservative media in the United States made it sound as though Canada was the more powerful neighbor who was about to ram similar social changes down America's throat. Right.

That said, if such enormous oil reserves are present in America, they should be extracted. Personally, I want to buy an electric car because I'm sick of paying for gas. But is it the environmental movement putting the brakes on extracting this oil? American oil companies have no interest in keeping those reserves secret and off the international energy market?

The less we have of a commodity, the higher the price it commands. That was once the reasoning for the high price of diamonds -- they're so rare. If diamonds were as common as driveway gravel, they'd cost the same as driveway gravel. Many people now know that there's a company called De Beers that's been stockpiling diamonds for decades in order to keep the price of diamonds high. It's not a very difficult concept to grasp.

But somehow, the conservative American media has a way of convincing citizens who hold conservative views to vote and act against their own interests. The Teabaggers and health care reform opponents are a prime example. And so, this unhinged blogger on Resistnet blames environmentalists for stymying efforts and doesn't consider for a second that possible American oil companies -- not OPEC -- are the stoppage.

What conservatives won't allow themselves to think is that corporate executives have absolutely no loyalty or love for anyone or anything but profits. If they selling the glass eye out of their mother's head would increase profits, they'd do it. American executives couldn't care less about America. Look at the economic meltdown that's crippled the country for more than a year. It could have been headed off or softened, or possibly avoided. Except for the greed.

So, I'm dubious about all-powerful environmentalists thwarting attempts to access oil reserves in the northwestern United States. Oil companies have so much more to gain with oil prices remaining high. Remember, Exxon made a record profit in 2007 of $40.6 billion. That wouldn't happen if oil was $16 a barrel.

And $40.6 billion would buy a lot of a burlap and Birkenstocks.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Mr. Mayor, what we need is a Towne Fool

I've lived in the proud Town of Onionfield for six years now, and I'm surprised that the town believes it can get by without a Town Fool.

The Town Fool is a "figure of fun," a tradition that dates back to the time of Shakespeare. The Town Fool is usually a pitiful, dissolute personage, someone who is a sort of man/child, a buffoon, whom the town looks after. During festivals, the Town Fool is usually found at the center of activity, entertaining with pratfalls and inoffensive silly behavior. In the case of the Strawberry Festival Parade, the Town Fool would ride a float. In the grand tradition of buffoonery, the Town Fool would stand with his back to the assembled crowds, waving at the empty areas along the parade route, as though not intelligent enough to understand that he should be waving at the people.

Other duties of the Town Fool include bearing the brunt of the community in times of distress or dismaye. For instance, if one year the crop doesn't come in very well, the Town Fool would be flogged in front of City Hall. If severe weather pummeled the proud Town of Onionfield, the Town Fool might be paddled before City Council as symbolic punishment, or scapegoating of our bad luck.

In very rare times of very grim civic befallments, such as pestilence or plague, the Town Fool could be offered as a human sacrifice to appease the angry gods.

With the advent of the horseless carriage, the Twist and the Internet, so many of our grand traditions have gone by the wayside. I understand that this is "progress," but with progress there should also be room for hallowed, community-building traditions, such as the naming of a Town Fool before the the harvest.

I would like to come before Council sometime soon to deliver the names of some potential candidates for you to mull.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Big Gust O' Wind in the Pillar T' Post Tavern

It was always lively at the Pillar T' Post Tavern: jukebox blasting, laughter, the clink of beer bottles, animated conversations.

Amid the merry-makers there stood a large man at the bar. His enormous, bloated torso was sheathed in a gingham shirt. The man's name was Big Gus, but he was known around the Post as Big Gust O' Wind. He was six-foot-three and weighed 320 lbs. He wore an enormous cowboy hat and spurs on his cowboy boots. He had one of those boots perched on the rail at the base of the bar as he drank his beer.

Whenever Big Gus got drunk -- his lips glistening with beer, his bleached blue eyes wide and dull -- he would declare there "weren't no situation" he couldn't handle with his two fists. He guffawed and swilled beer, grinned and shook his head. The more he drank, the louder he spoke, the more spit he let fly, the more backs he slapped, the more brilliant he became.

The other patrons weren't so enamored with Big Gus' drunken extravagances. He bellowed over the country music playing on the jukebox. His backslaps caused men to spill beer on the ladies they were trying to pick up. Everyone cringed from the flying spittle.

As the evening wore on, and more and more of the Pillar patrons tired of Big Gus' carry-on, they took up the easy task of antagonizing him.

First, someone would walk by and bump into him, causing Big Gus to spill his own beer. Then, some good ol' boys would refer to him as "Big Gust O' Wind" within his hearing. The nickname infuriated him. Finally, one of the good ol' boys would walk past and mutter something to the effect: "You ain't so tough."

It was all Big Gus could bear, and more. As predictable as a sunrise, Big Gus would turn from the bar -- eyes blazing, lips slick with spit, face flushed -- and take a swing at the first good ol' boy going by. Big Gus fancied himself an accomplished bar brawler, but in truth it was merely his tremendous, unwieldy size that kept him from getting the good and proper ass-kicking he deserved. The object, though, wasn't so much to hurt Big Gus, but to merely get him ejected from the Post.

His haymaker punch was easily, laughably ducked by his target, and he took a few shots to the belly. Big Gus' next few punches were delivered with such sloppiness that he struck someone who wasn't even involved in the altercation. That didn't much matter to Big Gus. So long as he hit someone, he was satisfied. This often precipitated a wider brawl that left a trail of broken chairs, tables and spilled drinks.

Aside from the ever-present risk of heart attack, the worst Big Gus ever got was a pool cue in the face that broke his nose.

The moment the brawl got anywhere near the jukebox, the Post's owner, Utne Newman, vaulted into action. He was a small, fireplug of a man who was incredibly strong and knew the pressure points of the human body like a taxi driver knows his dashboard. He jabbed his thumbs into a few incapacitating zones on Big Gus, and hustled him toward the door. Although he was a heavy bastard, Big Gus' girth made his involuntary, lumbering dive out the Post door very satisfying to Utne.

As Big Gus lay in the dirt outside the Post, many of the patrons gathered at the open door and at the windows, pointing, laughing and jeering. There might have been a single kernel of a moment in which Big Gus wondered if his carry-on was worth a trip into the dirt, and being the focus of drunk derision of the Post patrons, but it never lasted long. He always gathered himself to his feet and stumbled home, quietly soothed by the John Wayne clink of his spurs.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Did Dick Cheney Watch "Leave it to Beaver"?

I recently canceled my Cable in favor of the free HD channels available in my area. Never in my life did I think I would one day enjoy decimal channels. For instance channel 4.2 gives me This! channel, which runs excellent old, forgotten movies like Jodie Foster in the 1976 film The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane. On channel 7.2, I get the Retro Channel, where I watch Kojak, Quincy, Emergency! and The Incredible Hulk. I love old television. I just wish they aired the original commercials that went with those shows, but alas, this is not an a la carte world.

I recently saw an episode of Leave it to Beaver in which a new kid in Beaver's class took to stealing things and giving them to people, so that his classmates would like him. After a misstep led him to being caught in possession of a stolen item, the new kid panicked and said that Beaver was the thief. Beaver's teacher, Miss Landers, took the bull by the horns and got to the bottom of the controversy, unearthing the fact that the new kid was, in fact, the thief, and Beaver just an unwitting dupe. There ensued several lectures and soliloquys about the evil of stealing, given by Miss Landers and Mrs. Cleaver. Stealing was spoken of with same dread and gravity as incest or murder, if not with slightly more disgust. Mrs. Cleaver, in particular, mused mournfully over the sad, degenerate state of "the new kid" felt he had to steal in order to get others to like him. All was put right by the end of the episode, but I, along with the original audience, was left shaken and contemplative.

Amid my contemplation, I wondered if Dick Cheney had seen it when it originally aired in the late '50's. Being a member of the Woodstock Generation (albeit, non-participating), I wondered if Cheney watched Leave it to Beaver and what he made of the lessons it taught. I then wondered how he would fair under the virginal, holy light of Miss Lander's gaze. What contortions would the fluid-sac that passes for a soul within Dick Cheney perform under the stinging, just weight of Miss Lander's interrogation?

Unfortunately, I think Cheney would have merely lunged forward and bitten Miss Landers on the face. Surely, her holy-water blood would have curdled in his fetid mouth, but the damage would be done.

Maybe the pompadored 17 year old Cheney opted to watch more manly fare, such as Chuck Connors in The Rifleman (another staple on my Retro TV station), what with its distinctly masturbatory opening of Connors bracing a rifle butt against his groin and rapidly firing the weapon. I'm sure Cheney was re-enacting that classic opening when he accidentally shot his hunting partner in the face a few years ago.

It's an oft-debated subject in the media whether violence on television and in video games gives rise to violent children. If there's any merit to such dubious logic, then I wonder what it was about Howdy Doody, Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, My Three Sons, etc., that gave us the Vietnam War, Enron, AIG and Rush Limbaugh. A thorough study should be made of Daniel Boone and Ol' Yeller, among other popular films of the time, to ascertain just what about those movies planted the seeds for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and soon, in Yemen.

A congressional investigative committee should be assembled immediately to determine: Did Dick Cheney watch Leave it to Beaver?

Friday, January 01, 2010

Intel officer: CIA officers' deaths will be avenged

From Intel officer: CIA officers' deaths will be avenged.

Excellent. The CIA is beginning the New Year by finally revealing themselves as the gang of thugs they've always been. Nothing more than a street gang that "avenges" deaths of its own like John Wayne or Lieutenant William Calley.

The problem is that the CIA has 62 years of crimes against humanity under its belt. I'm sure their current blood-soaked bravado plays well with the FoxNews crowd, but it must be remembered that the CIA is not Jack Ryan, it's MKULTRA, it's Dan Mitrione, it's E. Howard Hunt, it's Osama Bin Laden, it's Manuel Noriega, it's cocaine smuggling and the crack epidemic that's plagued communities throughout the United States; it's the 23 CIA agents convicted in absentia in Italy for the kidnapping and "extraordinary rendition" of so-called terrorism suspects to countries where these people could be tortured with impunity.

That said, there are seven families who lost loved ones recently in the quagmire of Afghanistan, families who probably didn't even know what those loved ones did for a living. If the CIA has proven one thing during its 62-year reign of crime and terror, it's shown how cheap human life is in this cynical, damaged world. Just ask President John F. Kennedy about that, the president who had planned to dismantle the CIA.

One thing that's become clear in my reading about the CIA, is the startling fact that so many of its operations and crimes (usually one in the same) are based upon personal vendettas, power-grabs, peccadilloes, and individual psychoses of CIA personnel. I can't imagine the horror that will be perpetrated by these faceless, soulless jackals as they "avenge" the seven recent deaths in Afghanistan.

Mike Ruppert speaks about CIA drug-smuggling

Crack the CIA

Secrets of the CIA: Part I

Secrets of the CIA: Part 2

Secrets of the CIA: Part 3

Secrets of the CIA: Part 4

Secrets of the CIA: Part 5

Secrets of the CIA: Part 6