China is 6,146 miles from here.
The fruit cup cost 47 cents, and what I wanted to know was it really fruit? What tortured economic system could make it cheaper to ship a little cup of fruit halfway around than globe rather than from a nearby orchard? What personal value system would make a person buy this fruit cup, rather than the local one next to it that cost twenty cents more? What lack of business ethics would permit a store to sell this to its consumers—God know what chemicals it is slathered in to make its oceanic voyage still intact and colorful…
I went on a quest and also found dried mushrooms from China. They were dried, though, so it seemed reasonable. What was that fruit soaking in? Ahh!
I had just been reading about Country of Origin labeling in food. It had been pushed by farmers mostly, but is ending up a double-edged sword. The farmers erroneously assumed that Americans would choose American food over foreign, thus putting a country origin of label on it was like giving themselves a raise. In the world of tomatoes it seems to be having the opposite result—more and more Americans are avoiding American tomatoes because, frankly, they taste like shit. American tomatoes are put in large rooms and treated with ethylene gas to force them to ripen faster. Mexican tomatoes are ripened on the vine and thus still kind of taste like tomatoes. Many Americans, it seems, are actively looking for Mexican tomatoes.
So the guys who pressed for country of origin labeling want protection from foreign food that tastes better than American food. They want the government to make it cost more, that way they don’t have to compete in the brutal free market system, an idea we Americans love to worship but which we haven’t actually practiced since before the Depression (for obvious reasons). Imagine if they had to actually make a good tasting tomato???
I still can’t get over it—a fruit cup from China. I stood there before the refrigerated display rack, mesmerized, trying to get people to buy one.
"Come on, I bet it tastes like lo mein."
They laughed at me and scurried away.
I couldn’t blame them.
China is 6,146 miles from here.
I wish I was kidding about this, boys and girls, but I’m not. It’s true, San Francisco, once thought of as a bastion of liberalism in a largely provincial and backward America, has banned the playing of chess in public.
The ban began on October 1st, with the actual confiscation by police of chess gear, including tables and chairs. Chess, you see, attracts illegal gambling. Well, that is the excuse used by city officials for the ban. I know this internet loudmouth spent many a night down in the dark and smoky chess dens before he got help, blowing the rent money and making his wife think she married poorly—which, of course, she did. One time, I even lost a whole $800 on white. I chalked it up to Affirmative Action and soldiered on, looking for that big pay-off I knew was just around the corner. The kids, though, didn’t get anything to eat that entire week, apart from the occasional can of dog food and whatever the little lady dug out of the Safeway dumpster.
Actually, I’m kidding. No one bets on chess, not even in San Francisco. Why they really banned public chess playing is anybody’s guess. Boredom, I’d bet. You see, when you elect a group of people to do nothing but sit around in a room and think up rules, rules is what you’re gonna get, both metric and standard shitloads of them.
People aren’t happy about the ban either. This past Sunday they staged a big chess protest, gathering in their favorite spots and playing the game openly, right in public. Like any protest these days, it won’t change a damn thing, but at least it lets people believe they still live in a free country.
"Land of the free!" they cry. "Check!" But they go home that night still outlawed from playing chess in public.
San Francisco mayor Edwin M. Lee says chess promotes violence. “It’s a very war-like game. One of the pieces is even called a knight. A game of chess is nothing but simulated bloodshed.”
When it was pointed out to the mayor that the official excuse for the ban was illegal gambling, he replied, “Oh, yeah. But, whatever. Did you know that one of the pieces is actually called a bishop? I’m pretty sure that violates separation of church and state. And why do you suppose white always gets to move first, huh? Think about it.”
Homeless man Kyle Carnuba, who plays chess with other homeless people along Market Street, says the ban won’t stop him from playing the game outside, simply because there’s nothing else to do. “What do they expect us to do, look for jobs?” Throwing his head back and laughing, he added, “Yeah, right!”
Violators of San Francisco’s public chess ban could be fined up to $1000 and/or sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Once they figured out it was Bin Laden, and that he was in Afghanistan, I woulda gave them 48 hours to turn his punk ass over, and if no Bin Laden, leveled the country flat. LEVELED IT.
This is what I thought was gonna happen, but instead nothing happened for a long, long time. And then, um, we attacked Iraq.
Bin Laden who?
It wasn’t until ten years later and George W. Bush was gone from the Presidency that the U.S. government decided to kill Bin Laden. He was hanging out in a mansion in Pakistan, which I’m pretty sure we knew all along.
My anger at being attacked, and I was attacked, MY COUNTRY WAS ATTACKED, was very visceral. The only thing right George W. Bush ever did as a president was interpret the attacks on New York City as an act of war. Then he went off on some bullshit tangent and lost me.
What the hell happened? Now we got the NSA tracking our every move, while brain-dead dipshits think having a gun equals freedom.
Looking back on it, I am surprised by my anger. I remember immediately after it happened playing Metallica’s For Whom The Bell Tolls over and over again, almost like a mantra.
Yes, I would’ve bombed everything. I would’ve demanded Bin Laden, and, if no Bin Laden, fucking bombed. Everything.
I would’ve leveled every country he was suspected of being in. Without regard for innocent life.
Am I better or worse than George W. Bush?
You tell me, but that’s how I felt about it.
I thought it was war, but it turned out to be fucking chess.
After that monster shot all those little kids in Connecticut, my state passed a “School Sentinel” law.
Mostly it was a reaction to the anti-gun fervor which swept the country and then died down immediately, resulting in absolutely nothing because, as Americans, we are trained to have really short attention spans.
The next time some whiny little dick gets rejected by his girlfriend or his peers and stamps his feet and shakes his fist at the sky angry because he has been told since day one that he is important and special even though he is not important or special at all, even remotely, the next time that rolls around and he goes and shoots up some people, well, that’s the smell of freedom, not blood, my fellow Americans.
So the stupid “School Sentinel” laws says a school in South Dakota can give some ordinary citizen a gun and have him or her walk the halls like a fucking Clint Eastwood, spurs a-jingling a-jangling, protecting all the little Dereks and Codys and Courtney Ashleigh Brittanys, none of whom are even remotely important or special by the way, protecting them from guns.
Today on the local news they were scratching their heads as to why not one school has done it, has gotten itself a “School Sentinel”, why such a brilliant and good idea like STILL MORE GUNS hasn’t come to fruition. Why o why.
It’s because of insurance, you fucking redneck tools. Schools have to carry both metric and standard shitloads of insurance and not one insurance company is going to insure a school with an armed person on its grounds who is not a trained police officer. Sorry.
But it’s good that we stomped our feet and shook our fists at the sky and said GUNS STINK OF FREEDOM NOT OF BLOOD—RIGHT MOMMY?
And Mommy cooed in our ear WHATEVER YOU SAY, JUNIOR. WHATEVER YOU SAY.
My Conservative Friend(,)
I actually have one. He is not someone that I tolerate, but someone that I like, someone whose company I actually and often seek out. It’s the same for him, i.e., he likes me—he really, really likes me!
Generally, we don’t talk politics or social issues, but it’s pretty hard. We’re both fairly intelligent people who are aware of and curious about the world in which we live. We also both have pretty strong principles. So it’s kinda hard not to end up talking about SOMETHING—especially after we get a few beers in us.
So what we do is look for common ground. Believe it or not, if you look, there’s quite a bit of it. For example, he fucking hates Obama, always has, clear back to 2008. Me, I loved Obama in 2008, then grew to like him. Eventually, I became disillusioned with him and now, today, I, too, fucking hate him.
So we’ll sit around talking about what a shitty president he is. We won’t, however, talk about WHY he is a shitty president because we don’t agree on that. He hates Obama because he is a liberal Democrat (so he thinks). I hate him because he is a conservative Republican pretending to be a liberal Democrat. Obama supports a couple liberal social causes as a misdirection, sleight-of-hand type of thing, but other than that the guy is totally fucking Reagan.
We agree on Snowden and the NSA and all that shit. We talk about how the bill of rights used to have ten articles and now only has—sorta—nine. The 4th article has been completely deleted. We speculate on what line of bullshit they will feed us (and that we will all eat, spoon-fed by the media because that’s its job), so that they can get rid of the other nine.
We give it another ten to fifteen years…
The surprising thing, I guess, is that we can and do find things to agree on. We actively look for them. There are things we both hate about our particular bents. He hates the religious aspects of conservatism, what he calls “the fucking Jesus people”, and I hate the religious aspects of liberalism—you must think and especially say things a certain way, EXACTLY, otherwise you are a homophobe, sexist, racist, whatever nasty name they call you to get you to conform to their precise way of thinking. (No one does shaming like a liberal aware of how effective it actually is.)
If a plumber and a writer in South Dakota can do this, why can’t Congress?
— George Zimmerman, muttered as he followed Trayvon Martin.