Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama Wins Nobel Prize...

Did you ever get the feeling that, perhaps, the Nobel Prize has lost some of it's lustre?

I mean, they gave one to Jimmy Carter for getting two guys to shake hands, and another to Al Gore for making a movie full of lies. And now Barack Obama gets one for....? The standards are really slipping, aren't they? Are we getting to the point where a Nobel Prize can be found in every box of Cracker Jacks? Are they now little more than those little treats with gold foil sandwiched around a soft-chocolate center?

When you stop to consider that Obama is supposedly getting this award for his 'work' on the Iranian nuclear problem, three things leap immediately to mind:

1. I'm taking bets on just when Tel Aviv gets nuked. I figure it's sometime in the very near future thanks to the 'work' the President has done in reigning in Iranian nuclear ambitions. I'm almost positive that once the mushroom cloud appears over the Holy Land, the Nobel Committee will demand the prize back, right?

I'm also taking bets that on the same day the President accepts this 'prestigious award', the Israeli air force manages to drop some GPS-guided love on whatever Iranian targets it can find.

2. It's now official; Europeans are batshit crazy. Out-of-their-minds-cat-skinning-hopping-and-spitting-axe-murderer-crazy. So are their American copycats. This worship of Obama has gotten so far out of hand, and is so disgusting, that makes one want to vomit. People who are venerated by the great mass of the public used to have some kind of achievement behind them. Most past winners could point to some manner of tangible achievement. They are at least known and recognized for having done something first, besides being the highest-ranked elected black man in American history.

Considering Obama's competition in that election, and the circumstances under which that election were held, a three-legged billy goat with halitosis could have won.

In some circles, the man's race in relation to the past sins of American history count for far more than they ought to. In some quarters, it has elevated Barack Obama into a state of near-godhood. This is yet one more shred of evidence of that circumstance.

This is bad. This is the sort of stuff, the kind of fawning, drooling, knee-knocking, thoughtless, reflexive, baseless, stupid sort of worship of an unworthy figure that leads people to crash airplanes into aircraft carriers...or office buildings. That is, incidentally, not hyperbole. Ask Emperor Hirohito.

3. The Nobel Prize is absolutely worthless, if you can get one for doing basically nothing. The prestige has been torn off in recent years. If non-achievement and appeasement in the face of a religious fanatic with a WMD is now grounds for eligibility for a Nobel, then I should have had about 30 Nobel Prizes in my lifetime. I've achieved far more; I've learned to walk and chew gum at the same time. I can tie my own shoes. I know which fork to use with a salad. I'm getting a fucking lawyer, and I'm suing for the rightful recognition of my own special brand of mediocrity...and the checks that come with it! I know another 30,000 people, perhaps, who think they deserve one. If we're going to give them out for letting Ahmed-doo-wah-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy-doo continue to acquire WMDs, and deny the holocaust, with nothing more than a stern look and some mumbling of mealy-mouthed leftist boilerplate platitudes, then the guy who invented the Fried Twinkie should have gotten five Nobels!

I'm going to do some more research and reading on this today, and I'll be back with a better-formulated screed on the subject. Right after I finish vomiting.

Update: Geraldo Rivera calls this a 'good thing for America', believing that Obama's outreach to the Muslim world warrants international recognition. I'm taking up a collection to have Geraldo deported; anyone want to send me some cash? Video to follow.

My Old School...

I was recently working near my old high school and decided to pay a visit. I had not seen the place since my graduation in 1985, and the place was no longer familiar to me; there had been quite a bit of new construction (an athletic center, a football stadium, the main building had a new facade and extensions).

I stood in the parking lot, trying to take it all in, and wondering about whether or not it was a good idea to actually go inside, or to just wander around the grounds. I made the decision to walk right in head straight for the office to see if, perhaps, someone was available to talk to an old alumni. Imagine my surprise when not only was someone available, but it was his job to deal with alumni. I didn't think we'd have one, but we do. And it's a good thing, too.

A little background:

I attended St. Peter's Boys High School in Staten Island New York, c. 1981-1985. It is a Christian Brother's Academy (the Christian Brothers of St. John Baptiste De La Salle are an order of Catholic brothers dedicated to Education), and there is a sister school (St. Peter's Girl's High School) which I know very little about except that my girlfriends, at the time, went there.

The curriculum was rather rigorous. Each incoming freshman was required to take a year of Latin. Most classes were geared to preparing the student for a Regent's Diploma (the NY State Regents Exams were once a gold standard of Academic achievement), as well as College Prep. Discipline was strict. The Brothers understood that 'boys will be boys' (they never came down on us for things like smoking on campus, goofing around in the hallways and such), but they also understood that if you let a teenage boy shirk his educational responsibilities, and his duties as a citizen, that he most certainly will. You'd better believe that they cared not only about your schoolwork, but on how you represented the school.

My freshman class was the largest in the history of Staten Island. Just over 900 boys in 1981. Four years later, only 186 had graduated. The Brothers and lay faculty had done their job of weeding out the students who couldn't hack it and the disciplinary problems. Those four years were tough academically, I can assure you.

There was quite a bit to like, as well. I was a soccer player at St. Peter's (my team had won the NYC Championship in 1982), and fooled around a bit in band (I was a drummer, but never really got into band, and so I floated around the periphery before giving it up). I had a great bunch of friends. Actually, two bunches of friends.

There were the soccer players. Mostly geeks, like myself. And then there was the Fun Bunch; these were the Wiseguys. The jokers, the smokers and the slackers. That was the bunch that turned the senior lounge into a casino; the Brothers were forever breaking up poker and blackjack games, confiscating dice, and so forth. Boys will be boys, indeed.

Anyways, I went into the office. I justified the incursion by reminding myself that my nephew will soon be a freshman, and we've been sort of hoping he would choose to go to St. Peters. Maybe I would see something to help him make a better decision, when the time comes.

I was amazed that not only has the place changed beyond all recognition (in my day, St. Peter's was three buildings in the middle of a muddy field, with a concrete track in front of it), it has become, in effect, a college campus. There's a football stadium (football was not available in my day because, as I heard the tale, a student had been killed back in the days when they wore leather helmets). An athletic center that includes a state-of-the-art weight training room. The interior had been completely redesigned and included a new chapel and new labs. The library had been expanded and rebuilt. So had the computer labs. It was unrecognizable. It wasn't the same place. And they did it all without raising tuition. They raised the money from local businesses and alumni. Everything had changed.

And then, once you got past the new exterior, you find that it hadn't really changed at all.

The Assistant Principle had been my Chemistry teacher in sophomore year. The Principal had been the Assistant Principle. My Algebra, History and Geometry teachers were still teaching there. Brother James (who had kicked my ass in freshman year, and remembered it!) was still there. One of my classmates had returned to teach math (I think AP calculus). All of a sudden, in a way, I was 18 again and standing in a place that felt like...home.

I can remember much about being a teenager, and most of that time was spent wishing I could leave places -- I wanted out of school, I wanted out of my mother's house, to be on my own and do as I pleased. How stupid I was! Standing there, on the front steps of the new-and-improved St. Peter's, I was suddenly wishing that I could come back and stay, to do it all again. In retrospect, what had once been thought of as a prison and yet one more torment of adolescence, was now The Greatest Place There Ever Was when seen again through the eyes of an old man.

I left feeling nostalgia, not just for this place, but for a better time; I was young, I was good-looking, and I was part of something much larger than myself, which actually stood for something. I was suddenly very proud. It was as if I had completed some great pilgrimage, to return to where it had all begun.

The Alumni Director (himself a graduate; he was one year behind me) has given me a list of my old classmates and their contact information, which he had laboriously collected over the years, since the Alumni Association takes great pains to keep in touch-- the recent newsletter contains information the recent comings and goings and achievements of alumni going all the way back to the school's founding! And they get together, all these men from every graduating class, often. This is something I had never worried about before, and now it seems like the greatest idea in the world to join their ranks, to talk of things past and take up the mantle of shepherding the next generation into manhood.

I hope my nephew (hell, all four of them!) makes the right decision and attends my old school. He will learn there. He will grow there. He will be cared for by dedicated individuals who see him as more than just a student -- he'd be part of a family. I'd be pleased as all hell to one day attend an alumni event with him, sharing our experiences of our school days and passing on the traditions that made St. Peter's such a special place.

And, here it is.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Redefining the Argument...

Conventional wisdom:

"When you're losing an argument, change the subject."

Everyone knows that, of course. But, sometimes, you can change the subject all you want, and the other person in the debate is sharp enough to recognize mere logical evasion, and insists (how rude!) on having the discussion return the to the original subject. Some people are weird like that: they insist on consistency and silly stuff like that.

When that happens, simply changing the subject is not enough to throw off the most tenacious opponent. Now you'll need to bring out the rhetorical big guns. Now you have to redefine the basic premises of the argument. This is a time-tested tactic of propagandists and the apologists for the worst criminals and dictators in the history of mankind.

So, if you oppose a certain President's policies on everything from the War on Terror, to the Economy, or the fake crisis of health care, you are not an independent thinker exercising your faculties, weighing pros and cons to arrive at a rational position. Nor are you a patriotic American taking advantage of your right to dissent and conscience -- like you were in the days when it was cool to protest Vietnam and the Iraq War (Apparently, those were 'bad wars' as opposed to the 'good ones'. Good Wars are defined by who happens to be in favor of them and how little fighting actually occurs). If you oppose corporate welfare for companies who's management obviously failed to read their textbooks in Economics 101, or worse, giving welfare to politically-powerful unions in the form of nationalization of formerly-profitable companies, you must not be very smart or compassionate.

Why, you're incapable of being a rational, thoughtful, politically-savvy person if you oppose those things.

No, opposition to those things now makes you a racist.

Now the terms of the argument have been fundamentally altered. Now, the argument is no longer about inconvenient things like verifiable facts, matters of record, direct quotations, and nonsense like that. It's all about your prejudices -- whether you have any or not (According to all leftists, anyone who disagrees with them automatically has prejudices and questionable thought processes). No muss, no fuss, and it keeps democratic party flapping rectums gainfully employed on (P)MSNBC.

The word racist has now been completely redefined. It had already been thrown about so carelessly for so long that it no longer had much of a meaning, anyway. But the present circumstances we live in have given it a new lease on life, as it were. Now, racism is not the reflexive and irrational hatred of 'the other' based on differences in race; now it's simply principled opposition to a particular individual. Imagine the consequences of that concept!

Since racism has now been redefined to apply only to The Savior, the great and Omniscient Obamatard, the next time I hear a reverend or a rapper throw that word out I shall take great pride in informing them that racism no longer exists; at least as far they understand and define the term. Barack Obama brought some of that Hopenchangey fairy dust of his and changed the meaning of the word 'racism', and by extension, 'racist'. I now reserve the right to call black folk nasty names, attribute to them or expect of them, stereotypical behavior, and offer them all the fried chicken and watermelon I can get my hands on, free from any burden of guilt or shame, and legally and morally protected from their righteous indignation -- if not from an outright ass-kicking.

Thanks to Barack Obama and the democratic party, I can use the N-word freely again!

Because now it's only racism if it means opposition to Obama.

Now, go pick me some cotton and then gimme some soft-shoe, Boy!

Update: Before the hate mail rolls in; I would never behave this way in real life. I'm simply trying to prove a point here, which is that words and ideas have consequences. Perhaps it's about time we stopped throwing the racism tag about so freely and stupidly; it's an issue much bigger than any President and his quest for beatification and elevation to sainthood.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is...

As if I needed any sort of confirmation....

Today, as I was making my appointed rounds, selling Green Energy, I made an executive decision and decided to change my hunting grounds. Things were rather slow this morning, and I've always believed that you do your best hunting where the herd is. I figured that if you really, really, REALLY want to sell Green Energy, you should go to a neighborhood where the residents are rather well known for their social consciousness and hippie lifestyle, someplace where that sort of thing might truly have mass appeal.

So, I fixed my bayonet and headed into Tribeca (for those of you who don't know it, it is a neighborhood on the lower west side of Manhattan. The moniker stands for "Triangle-Below-Canal Street"). Surely, if there were Green-loving, tree-hugging, save-Mother-Gaia types anywhere in New York City, they would most likely be found here. After all, the neighborhood is absolutely plastered with all sorts of fliers and posters and whatnot extolling the virtues of environmentalism (it apparently being lost upon those who post such things that trees have died so that they can post public notices and announcements on lampposts and every bare, vertical surface). There are literally hundreds of small businesses in the area who make a huge production about how Green they are. They're almost giddy when they run down their competitors who may be less green, wearing their Green 'lifestyle marketing' as a badge of courage and honor, denoting moral superiority. But guess what I found out?

I've discovered that while quite a number of people were perfectly pleased to see someone who represented a Green company, and even eager to discuss all aspects and benefits of Green Energy, one was actually willing to buy any.

Now, having a day where you've drilled a number of dry holes is a rite of passage in the world of sales. I didn't expect everyone to sign on the dotted line, after all. It's unrealistic to think otherwise, but you'd think at least one upscale bistro serving hand-crafted coffees (that was a phrase one store actually had painted on their window), or a gluten-free bakery or two might actually do something about a subject they apparently care about and take great pains to inform their customers they care about.

So, I figure the problem is one of three things:

a) I had a bad day at the office. These things happen. Shrug it off and go get 'em tomorrow.

b) Everyone is full of shit. Most people are. In fact, I believe half the problems in this world could be cured if three-quarters of the population were given a high-pressure enema.

c) "Green" as a term no longer has any meaning, and like a great many things in our present society, it has simply become part of a marketing plan.

Now, I've run down Greens in this blog quite a number of times. Usually for some of their dumber ideas or more insidious excesses. But, come on! You scream that capitalism is evil and never does anything that's good for anyone, and then when evil capitalism finally responds to your desires you completely ignore it? Or worse, you decline exactly what you've been crying for because it might actually cost you money. Confronted by a choice between consciousness and pocketbook, the pocketbook still always wins. And the people who shout the loudest about the 'rape of the planet' are usually the first people to avoid taking any meaningful action.

They're also the first to insist that while they can talk the talk, they don't necessarily have to walk the walk. "Caring" is simply enough. Making others "aware" is apparently a full-time effort. They don't truly mean it; it's simply an affectation.

The next time I see someone waving a "Save the Whales" placard, I'm going to punch them in the mouth.

Update: Heh. Check THIS out.

Janeane Garofalo and Flapping Rectum Syndrome...

Caught this from JammieWearingFool.

Far be it from me to disagree with the worthy personages over at JWF, but in this case, I must.

The main argument against Garofalo in the post is that she's dangerous because there is a segment of the population that might treat something she says seriously. I say let her whine all she wants, for two reasons.

Firstly, what makes you suppose that anyone who counts (Hollywood folk and mentally-constipated left wingers don't count) actually cares about what she has to say? In fact, I'd wager that anyone with a room-temperature IQ who heard that load of nonsense that she unloaded on Bill Maher's show were not nodding in agreement, but either seething with anger or more than likely laughing at her. Yeah, I know the rabid left wing votes and stuff, but mostly, they simply whine. Incessantly. Mostly, they whine about how someone else should do something about whatever their pet peeve happens to be today. Left to their own devices they might make a lot of noise over a subject, but it's far easier to make noise than it is to muster an effort. One thing you can always count on with regards to the Garofalo type is their inability to make any honest, meaningful effort. These are people who live by words and empty, symbolic gestures. It's why they want the government to do everything -- so that they don't have to.

I refer to this sort of person as a 'flapping rectum', in that they're sort of like a really long and ululating fart: lots of noise, perhaps a lingering stench, but in the end, little more than a mess of hot air.

Secondly, African-Americans don't need Janeane Garofalo to provide an excuse for a lack of success. They have the democratic party for that, and when the dimwits fail them in this regard, they have their own legion of apologists, racial hustlers and bomb-throwers to pick up the slack. I'm certain that if you asked a black person, the chances are pretty good that they might actually resent a white girl making a racial argument for anything on their behalf. They have a battalion of inarticulate "reverends" for that, and a Congressional Caucus, after all.

If you're going to make an argument about why your race seems to be failing, it's better that it comes from someone of that race, it appears. Unless you're Ward Connerly, Thomas Sowell or Bill Cosby and present what can be construed as a conservative (i.e. common sense) solution to the problems of the African-American community.

Let Janeane Garofalo say whatever she wants, then. It's a pretty safe bet that 95% of the people who can read without their lips moving don't agree with her, or will just ignore her.

And if you're one of those people who absolutely wallow in racial grievances, then you don't really need her help and advice on how to do it better, do you?