Friday, December 17, 2010

...And Since We're Talking About Diversity Training...

A few readers want to know just what kind of vile human being I must be in real life to have had so many experiences with Diversity Training (see: passing mention in previous post). They figure I must be the worst sort of racist/sexist beast, and openly wonder how it is that I've ever kept a job if how I write is how I behave in real life.

To begin with, I have been "sent" to Diversity Training four (4) times.

The first time, it was "required" by management as part of a company-wide policy, itself the result of a series of lawsuits. One of those lawsuits was brought about by members of my own staff, who contended that working in our department subjected them to a "hostile working environment" in which minorities were denied access to higher-skilled (and thus higher-paying) jobs, subjected to racist/sexist humor, and otherwise made to feel "uncomfortable". These complaints were directed mostly at higher management, not me, personally, and were presented as a form of "institutional racism" that direct supervisors (like me) were powerless to overcome, even by direct action. Never mind that the plaintiffs were all, almost to a man, routinely late for work, unprofessional, and on the lower end of the competency scale.

The argument was that it was the COMPANY itself that was racist, not the individuals who worked for it (it's difficult to pin anything on an individual in a court of law without evidence, and only hearsay on your side, you see, so you have to attack The Institution), and that the "racist" policies and tendencies of this inanimate, unconscious, ambiguous, amorphous entity have become part of the overall "culture". So, I was sentenced -- along with the 16,000 or so other people who worked there -- to mandatory Diversity Training. It was a 16-hours-over-two-days tour-de-force of absolute bullshit, where the overriding theme was that "You White-Christian-Male-Straight-Guys are the absolute worst excuses for human beings ever documented...but you don't mean to be, really."

If you've never disliked people before, listen to that kind of crap for two days and then you most certainly will be disgusted by just about everyone.

The Second Time, was when I made the mistake of responding to a vile tirade of a female co-worker by getting just as obnoxious as she did. This particular person was infamous for her foul language and off-color humor and peculiarly-sexual comments, especially about how nice my ass looked to her, and what she'd like to do with me if she ever got me alone. She didn't even make any of that a secret; she would often yell it across several rows of cubicles to me, and everyone got a chuckle out of it (especially the gay guys). It was never a problem between us to trade in these heated-one-day/good-natured-the-next/naughty-all-the-time exchanges, but there was always a healthy respect; a recognition that there were, indeed, boundaries that should not be crossed.

Until she came at me one day like a menstrual banshee for some piece of work important to one of her projects that I was going to be, unavoidably, late with. Then the good-natured-foul-mouthed ribbing became a dressing down of my inadequacies as a human being. To which I replied:

"Take it easy, Jean...Don't get your tits in a knot."

Now the woman who openly remarked about my bodily features and sexual desirability was suddenly mortally offended by my reference to hers. In my defense, though, she did have an awesome rack. Anyways, off to an 8-hour "refresher" course in Diversity for me. I only stayed employed because Jean was known to use the foulest, coarsest language, and to comment frequently and loudly on the looks of the men in the office. That cost me a bonus that year, too.

The third experience was another "mandatory" situation; I would have to complete the Diversity Course as a requirement of employment. It didn't matter that I had two previous "Training" sessions; they didn't count so far as XYZ Corp was concerned because it wasn't their Diversity Course. I spent more time in that classroom than I did working there, because it wasn't long after that my contract was cancelled when the project I was hired to work on was no longer considered necessary. That particular session was a laugh riot, because there were several Hispanic employees in the room complaining that they couldn't get promotions because they weren't native English-speakers.

The "instructor" in that cluster-fuck, herself Hispanic, would sometimes have to switch to Spanish in order to explain a concept to someone who couldn't understand it in English. You can't make this shit up.

My final experience with Diversity Training came when I had a black male employee complain to me that he was not considered for a job (I had hired another person, a black woman, no less), and that he felt that in not giving him the job, I was a racist, showing a definite bias against black men (who made up about half of my staff, at that time. None of them got the job, nor complained about it, either). He called me a racist about 17 times during this exchange, and my temper had finally gotten the best of me, so that I blurted out:

"You didn't not get that job because you're black; I didn't give it to you because you're a fucking retard!"

Well, you can't make that kind of remark, even if it happens to be true, so off to Diversity Training for me once again. Once more into the fray of whining people who don't realize just how fucking ridiculous they sound with their petty, and often-unprovable, accusations. Accusations they only make because they're a) encouraged to do so, and b) know they can get away with the worst exaggerations or baseless claims, and c) hope to extort something for nothing by making them.

You Don't Know Gay!

*Sigh* It was bound to happen one day. As sure as Evolution created Little Green Apples and Snooki, at some point in my blogging journey I was certain to find a mailbox of angry readers all full of piss and vinegar about this viewpoint or that. That's okay; it's part of the process, and when you express your views on everything under the Sun, you have to expect that not everyone will agree with you, and that many people will take exception with something you've written.

There are four kinds of blog posts that you can write that will bring you an automatic, and often overwhelming, visceral response. The first is to defend the Jews. The Second is to make fun of Christians. The Third is to tell the truth, as you see it, about minorities.The Fourth, and perhaps the one that evokes the most visceral responses of all, is to write something about Gays.

The first accusation of all my gay responders is that I must be one of those super-secret self-hating gays myself, the sort that's deep in the closet and who just hasn't come to grips with my own sexuality. My personal confusion is expressed by the most vitriolic hyperbole upon the page. Sorry fellas, but this is patently false. I'm not Gay; I have no desire to pork another man in his ass, accept a penis in my mouth, or dress like Lady Gaga. I don't buy FDNY Beefcake calendars. I detest Enya and k.d. lang, and the Village People and Tim Gunn are not my personal heroes. My rectum is Exit-Only, thank you. I like women, and the more feminine they are, the better I like them.

And besides, it's about time you guys came up with a better retort than this one. It's worn and threadbare from overuse.

The second accusation they usually make is that I don't understand the problems of being a homosexual in modern society. To a certain extent, this is true, but then again, I don't engage in disgusting sexual acts that require you to wipe another man's shit off your appendages. Other than that, we all have the same problems; life is unfair, we will all eventually die, no one gets everything they desire.

I've heard all the complaints about the difficulties of being gay, mostly because I've been sent (banished) to Diversity Training more times than most people have had hot dinners. Modern American business makes a fetish of "Diversity", which is just a code word for "Black people get to be openly racist for a couple of days, just so we don't get sued". If there's anything that is absolutely-bet-the-farm-on-it certain to come up during a Diversity Training session, it's the eternal struggle between Gays and Blacks to compete with one another with overwrought horror stories as to who's discriminated against more. Once that fight starts, we White Guys, Jews and Asians sit back and watch the fireworks show. It's entertaining. Most of it is bullshit, too, but that's beside the point.

So no, I don't have first-hand experience of being gay. However, I've been surrounded by gay men and women most of my adult life, about two decades now. I have a highly-developed sense of "Gaydar", however, it's not foolproof, and my response to being confronted by an obviously-gay person is to...behave in the way I would expect them to behave towards me. This close and personal (but not too close and personal, if you get my drift) contact with the homosexual community in my daily life has given me some insights into the Gay Lifestyle (most of which, I would have been happy to remain ignorant of), which just reinforced something I think I always knew: it takes all kinds. It's just that some kinds are more entertaining than others.

I've known your stereotypical, flaming, Oscar Wilde gays. Your buttoned-down-deep-in-the-closet gays. Your I'm-so-fucking-gay-other-gays-say-holy-shit-you're-fucking-gay! gays. I've known the campy kind, the catty kind, the ones that never speak about it, and the ones who can't shut up about it. The ones that have been married to members of the opposite sex at some point in their lives and have families. The ones who think no one else knows they're gay and try to keep it a secret, but are betrayed by their behavior. The ones who can't stop cracking jokes that invariably have a gay element to them, and the one's who try to stick their gay attitude right under your nose 24/7. The Militant Gays, the Passive Gays, the Happy Gays, the Dramatic Gays, the Gays on the verge of suicide every goddamned day. The Attention Whores, the Out-to-Offend, the ones who use their Gayness as a weapon to extort better jobs, raises, and other benefits.

The Drama Queens, the Bomb-Throwers, the I Wish-I-Were-A-Man/Woman/Hermaphrodite kind, the I-Can-See-That-Guy-in-Gossamer-wings-and-Magic-wand-Ensemble. The Rugged Individualist, the Betty-Crocker-I've-Made-a-Pear-Tarte-Tatin-for-the-office, the Boy/Girl Next Door, The Always-on-the-Make kind,The Self-Mutilators, The Drug/Booze Addicts, The I-Have-No-Sense-of-Humor, the Can-Wake-The-Fucking-Dead-With-Their-Gay-Banter, and the limp-wristed-caricature, the Bon Vivant, and the Light-in-the-Loafers varieties.

I've made a list. I have known approximately 70 people (male, female and who-the-fuck-knows) who I either knew to be gay, or suspected of being gay, including the three-piece-Brooks-Brother's suit who was unceremoniously fired and escorted from the building for downloading Gay Porn, and who, come to think of it, hardly ever left his office or spoke a word to anyone. That one was a surprise.

I've heard the stories; freely-told, spilled in a moment of drunken camaraderie, or loudly proclaimed to the world during Diversity Class so as to ensure that a claim has been staked. This doesn't make me an "expert" on Gay, but it does make me an expert on this: you'll find as many varieties of Gay as you will Straight, and it's only individuals, not identity groups, that have ever made we want to attack someone with a ball-peen hammer. And perhaps a blunt butter knife.

So, please, spare me your drama about how "difficult" it is to be gay. It's difficult just being a human being, on a good day. Your "persecution" is my belly laugh; my "persecution" is to have to listen to your incessant whining about how "special" you are. Guess what? You aren't; at some point in all of our lives, we're all whining, whinging, hypocritical, heartless, careless, clueless douchebags with burdens to bear.

Such is life. Get over yourselves.

Update: In response to Jimmy H. in Lindenhurst, N.Y. who wants to know:

"Who was the most offensive/funniest gay dude u ever met?"

I don't know if Jimmy is looking for a date, or what,but to answer the question:

That would be the Jamaican gentlemen Iworked with on my first real job in 1985, and his phallo-centric Carribean lunch menu, which included such fine faire as Cowcock soup (yes, the description is accurate), goat balls cooked a dozen ways, and as many permutations of meat-on-a-stick as you might imagine.

After he had put on a show in eating it all, he would then settle in to read his Bible for the remainder of his lunch hour.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Insanity Begins Anew!

Yesterday, it was being "ready" for when the physical therapist arrived. Three hours in advance, armed with socks and shoes. The last two hours prior to the therapist's actual arrival went something like this:

"Where is this girl, already?"

"She's coming at 9:30, Mom. It's barely after 8:00. Relax, she'll be here."

"What's taking her so long?"

"She's usually on time. I have no doubt she'll be here when she said she would."

"But I'm ready NOW! I have things to do!"

"Like what?"

"Oh...shut up! Call her, and see where she is!"

(This conversation will be repeated, almost word-for-word, for the next hour, until I decide that I've had enough and go and blog some stuff).

This morning it is the anticipation of having the staples removed from her leg. The suspense is killing her; she foresees a painful and bloody nightmare of torture ahead of her. The whining has started. The whimpering soon follows, and ultimately, tears. She's frightened. As if having the surgical staples removed is something on the order of an amputation, or worse, a death sentence.

There is no amount of hand-holding, no level of cheerleading, no amount of positive reinforcement that I can offer that can overcome this level of acute anxiety. You can remind her that this is a very simple procedure, something the nurse probably does 50 times a week, a mere routine, and the words and logic go unheeded. You can dispense a Percocet to calm her nerves, and it doesn't work; my mother must the only person in the Solar System immune to Percocet.

But really, it's the anxiety that causes the Percocet to not work. It's the anxiety over something that's pretty trivial that causes this extreme emotional turmoil. Twenty years of being best friends with a psychological counsellor, and my mother somehow STILL has an anxiety problem that can blunt the effects of an opiate. Some friend. So, the conversation begins anew.

"Where is this girl, already?"

"She's coming at 10:00, Mom. It's only 9;00. Relax, she'll be here."

"What's taking her so long?"

"You're not the only patient on her list today. She'll be here on time, and then this will all be over."

"But...I have things to do!"

"Like what?"

"Oh...leave me alone! This isn't easy for me! I know this is going to hurt. I hurt already. My back! My leg! My head! I'm so cold: turn the heat up again! Oooooh, I won't be able to watch this, Dear God -- take meeeeeee!"

(This conversation will be repeated, almost word-for-word, for the next hour, until I've decided that I've had enough, and go and blog some stuff).

Welcome to my HELL. This is almost every hour of every day for the last week. If it isn't the Visiting nurse or physical therapist, it's "where's your brother? He said he was coming last week". If it isn't my brother, it's "Where's the mailman? Dammit, he never comes at the same time two days in a row!". If there's a bright spot in today's insanity -- thus far -- it's this: she at least doesn't have a To-Do List for me this morning. Yet. I fully expect, however, that once the anticipated auto-de-fay-like "ordeal" of surgical staple removal is over, and she finds that her leg is still attached, she'll act as if nothing has happened, as if she were the bravest soldier on the battlefield ever... and decide that I need to call Newark Airport to complain about the aircraft flying over the neighborhood on final approach...and "as long as you're up", do you think you might ___________?"

Stay tuned.

Update: I've just gotten a good glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror. I look like I have malaria. I have more bags than Kenneth Cole under my eyes. I'm tired, cranky, irritiable, and think I might be developing a menstrual cycle. Still no visiting nurse, and I have been asked to call her twice in the last half hour, because it's 9-fucking-58 and she's still not here. More to follow.

Postscript: The trials and tribulations are now over. I don't have any children of my own (well, none that I know of...wink-wink) but if ever I shall have them, I am now prepared for the excruciating crucible of the Delivery Room. When my Good Lady Wife (as if!) gives birth to quintuplets, I will have been prepared for the blood-curdling screams, the appalling language, the absolute howling of bitter agony.

The service sent a Russian nurse, which in and of itself is no big novelty, but it always makes me laugh. I keep thinking "I have been sent by Comrade Moose and Squirrel to remove staples. You vill comply!" But she's a lovely lady, nonetheless. The process of removing the staples took all of 10 minutes, at most. It was the preparation that was the killer; Mom would not hold still, behaving like a skittish toddler confronted by a pediatrician weilding a foot-long hyperdermic needle. With flames coming out of it.

Once it started, visions of Charlton Heston popped into my head. I see the angry man in snow-white beard and flowing robes, lifting his staff high into the air and calling down the wrath of God upon the wayward Isrealites, the skies darkening, the holy fire of the Almighty called from the Heavens to smite the Golden Calf. The earth shakes. The very air seems to burn. Thunder reverberates in the distance.

She called upon the ancestors;

I want my father!

I want my mother!

Dear God, why do they do these things to people?

Daddy, come and help meeeeeee!

And when it was all over -- just as I had predicted -- you would have thought that absolutely nothing had happened, but she did apologize to the nurse because she was embarrassed by all the carrying on. Big baby! Of course, I get no apology for the ten trenches she's dug into my arm with her fingernails, my Mother suddenly having developed a G.I. Joe Kung-fu grip while she was thrashing about like Linda Blair bathed in Holy Water.

And then she sent me out for a sandwich. She's suddenly ravenous, you see.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Trip Through My Mailbox, Part II...

In this post, I will respond to Nyomi, Jesse, Luis and Terrence who are under the mistaken impression that I'm a homophobe and hater who wants gay people marched to the ovens. They objected to the "obviously biased against homosexuals" nature of my posts, when they weren't complaining about "gay slurs" and "harmful and hurtful negative stereotypes" about Gays.

No, I'm not a homophobe. I neither fear nor hate gay people. Had any of you searched the blog a bit further, you would have seen this -- and a whole lot more - where I have defended gays against all sorts of stupidity. You should also probably take a course on how to recognize sacrasm and satire when you see it. I've known a large number of gay people (you can't swing a dead cat on Wall Street and not hit half a dozen of them), and find that the great majority are no different than I, except for what they like to do with their privates.

I never hated them or wanted to see them harmed because they were gay, and if I did dislike someone, it was because they were an asshole. Oh, sorry...shouldn't use "gay" and "asshole" in the same sentence, should I?

If I have an "issue" with homosexuals, it would be this;

I don't care if anyone is gay (I have my own problems, thank you very much). I don't lay awake at night worried about a GayTide that threatens to destroy America and civil society. What I object to is constantly being told -- by gays, the media, Hollywood, politicians and professors -- that I should care -- nay, ordered to care -- and more so, that I should check my own feelings and opinions on the subjects swirling about homosexuality and adopt every "mainstream" gay view of everything, without examination or critical thought. Because otherwise I'm an intolerant homphobe, and probably harboring latent homosexual feelings myself which accounts for my "hostility" (it's amazing how many of my gay detractors trot out the pap psychology for me, but never look at their own mental defects as critically or as honestly). I simply dislike people for whom their sexual "identity" becomes the center of everything in their lives and the only subject of conversation, in the same way that I dislike rabid religious people who can't go three seconds without quoting The Book of Romans.

You can do whatever you want in life; that's your business, and I don't need to know about it. Why you feel it necessary to make it my business bewilders me. And as for for the Gay-Rights-is- the-New-Civil-Rights motif that was present in all of those e-mails I have received on the subject, that is pure bullshit; no one is denying your basic humanity, or suggesting that you should be treated as second-class citizens -- if not property -- it's just that society as a whole has some traditions and values that no amount of shouting in the streets or radical judges' decisions will ever change. Get used to it, and stop whining. I don't get everything I want, most people don't, and neither should you. If you ever wanted to see just how good you have it, I suggest that you take a trip to Tehran to see how they treat their homosexuals over there.

What most of you want isn't equal rights; it's extra-constitutional rights. You want to become a government-protected species, like bald eagles and welfare mothers. There are, unfortunately, some places where society as a whole demands that some lines be drawn, and this happens to be one of those places. I can sympathize with your frustrations and can see how you might feel put upon, but that's life; it's often unfair.

You'll live.

A Trip Through My Mailbox...

I have garnered more attention that usual this week, and naturally, this results in a torrent of e-mails. Some are positive, most are negative (I think I've earned at least three fatwas this year!), and many more are clueless. However, most of the clueless ones are sent by well-meaning people who just don't get my sarcasm, or who are unable to read without looking for something to take out of context to grind their personal axe upon.

I usually don't respond to people's e-mail, unless they've made a very valid point, or it seems to offer an interesting argument-via-correspondence.

This week, however, there were some respondents that actually should be answered, if only because there's some serious misunderstandings that have arisen from an inability of some people to recognize humor when they see it, or because they're dumb as a fucking stump, and don't see what is so clearly before their own eyes. More likely, they refuse to see it, because in making the discovery of the obvious they may actually make painful realizations -- about themselves --that they'd rather not.

So, rather than answer each mail individually, I will respond to them, en masse, and knock off a couple of blog posts while I'm at it. I'm about nothing, if not efficiency.

In this post, I would like to respond to Annabelle, Babs, May and Thomas L, who objected to this post about having to care for my sick mother. They object mainly to the appalling lack of compassion that I seem to show, and they are shocked that I would publish such things about my own mother in a public forum. Some of them are also offended because they're in a similar situation, only their parents happen to be terminally ill, and my mother only had elective surgery, after all. How dare I belittle their experience by complaining about my own petty annoyances? As if we're into some "My Mom's sicker than your's" sort of schoolyard dustup!

There's a word that desribes that kind of post, folks. It's called "sarcasm". And while some of the experiences related within have been slightly-exaggerated for dramatic effect, they haven't been distorted all that much.

So yeah, while I don't have it as bad as some of you (she isn't dying while I stand by helplessly awaiting the inevitable), it's bad enough. I don't expect sympathy -- and never asked for any! -- that wasn't the point of the post; it was that people who care for the sick and inured for a living must be a) insane, and b) given far more respect than I previously would have afforded them.

But just in case you were under the mistaken impression that I'm just complaining for the sake of it, and that no one could be THAT bad, I will say this:

No, my mother isn't EVIL, she's just a pain in the ass. Yes, the tasks she sets me to doing are, in and of themselves, not particularly difficult, but they come sequentially and no sooner have I started immediately upon the first request, when the second, third and fourth requests come flying from her pie hole. I don't mind making her comfortable, or doing whatever I can to speed her recovery (this is my mother, after all), but please, tell me how I'm supposed to take your breakfast order, vacuum the carpets, get you an ice pack AND ask the guys doing construction across the street to stop hammering so loud, or to turn off that godawful table saw, all at once, and right this very second? Because that's what she expects. She's impatient. I hear it all day "What's taking you so long...?"

Or, try this: you've buckled and given in to her request to send for take-out food (the docs specifically told me to watch her salt and fat intake), because she wants something "with flavor for dinner". I, apparently, don't cook well enough to suit her as I am deliberately not salting anything I serve her. Her eggplant parm arrives, and I've done the unthinkable -- and plated it for her. I then get a load of crap about how she wanted it kept in the tin, the idea being that doing so would mean one less dirty dish in the house. As if we don't have a dish washer, and I'm not capable of washing a plate on my own (I don't wash anything according to her tastes and preferences, you see). The idea that there might be a dirty dish, glass or piece of cutlery somewhere in the house, or that they might be laying about in the kitchen sink, drives this woman crazy, so I was dressed down for my sin of using a perfectly-clean plate to serve her dinner on...with an attitude.

I wouldn't be surprised if my mother doesn't put plastic slipcovers over the plates, saucers and coffee cups someday just to keep them perfectly immaculate. I believe they call this "being anal".

This morning brought an entirely new low. I almost lost it, as I'm exhausted. The scene: 6:15 a.m..I'm asleep. Suddenly, I am jolted out of a bed-wetting slumber by a bellow of MAAAAATTTTYYYYY! You would think a moose was being dismembered whilst still alive in the next room. I run into my mother's room, thinking she may have fallen trying to get into the walker, or might be in pain. Nope, nothing of the sort.

She was trying to dress herself, and can't put her own shoes and socks on.

"Why are you putting shoes and socks on Mom? Where do you expect to go?"
"My physical therapist is coming."
"About 9:30".
"You do realize that's 3 hours from now?"
"Yes, but I wanted to be ready..."

Her newest pet-peeve is the gnarly old tree out in front of the house, which has a mass of spindly branches sticking out of it which hang over the sidewalk, which must be pruned (there's a landscaper who comes every week, let him handle it). Why this should consume her waking hours is beyond me, and she refuses to explain (I rather doubt that she can!) why it looms so large in her thoughts. I'm just expected to "take care" of it.

Here's my schedule for today (not that I'm asking for any sympathy):

* Make Mom Breakfast, argue with her because I have served something, yet again, that doesn't have salt/sugar in it.
* Bathing Mom
* Help the visiting Physical Therapist (if needed)
* Bathe myself, if I can find 10 minutes.
* Give my mother her once-daily injection in the stomach, set out her daily pain meds, thyroid meds, blood-pressure meds, and what have you.
* Do the laundry (this will require at least two trips to the laundromat, four blocks away, without a car. If I'm lucky, my sister will reluctantly agree to do it for me)
* Try to find a permanent job...again.
* Work on the one (small) contract job I do have for this month
* Make and serve lunch
* Deliver my newspapers (I deliver newspapers in the afternoons to make some extra cash)
* See to Mom's needs (thrice daily cold water basins to soak her swollen feet in, rearrange the furniture because it impedes her walker...again... rub liniment on her aching back from her ass to her shoulder blades, and whatever else she decides she needs)
* Begin Dinner, listen to complaints about how her sciatica is acting up again, stuff pillows under her to relieve her pain, adjust them several times during the course of the evening.
* Clean everything in the house within an inch of it's life. Twice. Because she "knows" I didn't "do it right the first time", like she has X-ray vision.
* Serve dinner, listen to the stream of complaints because it has no salt, and whatever spices I do use don't meet with her approval, then force her to eat the fresh fruit that I (try to) serve her every night. She'll invariably take the bananas, but pass on everything else.
* Help her dress for bed.
* Babysit my four (4) nephews this evening for approximately two hours while my sister and brother-in-law do whatever the fuck it is that they do.
* Prepare for a night of Hell, which will require that the heat be turned up or down several times, pillows be rearranged and fluffed repeatedly, and standing by while Mom makes every one of her dozen or so bathroom trips during the night (the record is 13 in one night).

I have a younger sister who lives 8 blocks away and who's first response to any request is "I have a husband and four kids to take care of, you know", and who otherwise does the barest minimum she can get away with. I also have a younger brother who might as well be on the side of a milk carton; I haven't seen him for the better part of three years, and have spoken to him probably twice -- on the phone -- in all of that time, who swears he'll drop by to see how she's doing... but then never does.

No, I'm not watching my mother waste away from some dreadful disease that fills all who see her daily degeneration in all it's grisly detail with a sense of helpless dread, but that doesn't make my experience any less easy to take.

Excuse me if my preferred method of handling this stress was to blog about it all, with humor, and not, say, smothering her with a pillow.

And yes, I do feel for those of you who have to deal with the ravages of cancer, or a parentin a vegetative state. I was at my grandparent's bedsides when they were stricken with cancer, too, and did much of the same work as I'm doing now. Only they appreciated it, and didn't turn the smallest of complaints into federal cases.

I'm not a heartless prick -- just a harried and exhausted one. I never intended to make light of the experiences of those with parents in far more dire straits than mine.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Charles Schumer: Delusional Peckerhead...

Via HotAir, Senator Chuck (Schmuck) Schumer says he interpreted the Tea Party victory this past fall as the triumph of average Americans who didn't want tax cuts for the rich.

Personally, I don't think Chuckie has ever told the truth a day in his life. In fact, I'm pretty sure Schumer did what the rest of the democratic party did this past summer and totally ignored the Tea Party, thinking they were either just some lunatic fringe, or even better, a force that was going to tear the republican party apart, leaving democrats holding far more levers of power than they ever had before.

Chuck Schumer wouldn't know a Tea Party from a hole in the wall. Primarily because he's an elitist snob who doesn't mix with the hoi polloi, but mostly because Chuck Schumer couldn't find his own ass with both hands and a compass, on a good day. Clueless Chuck probably lives in a Washington fog so thick you couldn't cut it with a chainsaw.

Schumer is a machine. The purpose of this machine is to spew libtard boilerplate 24-7-365, and to occasionally advance stupid ideas past the point of prudence, or even of good taste, and still call it "governance". The machine exists to get Schmuck on the front pages and before the television cameras as much as possible, your presumed effectiveness and professionalism as a legislator somehow corresponding to the number of times you're seen by, or mentioned in the media. Therefore, it has been programmed to advance stupid causes that no human being could adequately explain or advocate for with a straight face.

There is absolutely no "issue" that Chuck Schumer won't "fight" for.

I'm positive that if someone contacted the Senator's office today, and complained that the practice of putting a cotton ball at the top of the aspirin bottle was offensive to African-Americans (who would have to pick the cotton in order to get at the aspirin), Schumer would rush to be on (P)MSNBC this afternoon to announce he's introducing the Cotton-Free Aspirin For African-Americans Act, and that it was necessary to bring forth legislation to deal with this serious problem which has now reached crisis proportions. Millions of African-Americans suffer from needless headaches, he'll say, because the simple act of getting an analgesic reminds them of the legacy of slavery.

And of course,we'll need higher taxes to finance it, Big Pharma will have to be sued, and the nasty Republicans will try to block this vitally-important legislation because they're gangsters, thugs, and former slave-owners, all, who are angry that a (half-) black man is in the White House.

Schumer stopped being a figure that one might take seriously a very long time ago. He is a caricature of the old-time 70's-style liberal who never met a bad-idea-poorly-executed-by-government that couldn't be lavishly funded beyond belief by someone else's money.The great mystery to me is how it is that such a lying, self-important, self-promoting dickhead manages to get himself re-elected.

New York State has, perhaps, the worst and most-embarassing Congressional delegation in all of America.

Hamid Karzai: "I'd Join the Taliban..."

That was a quote from an article in yesterday's Washington Post.

Good to know that we've built President Karzai a wood-panelled conference room, complete with glass-topped table. Perhaps the only glass seen in Afghanistan, ever. Someone should point out that he's storming out of a wood-panelled, glass-topped conference room paid for by American taxpayers, and how dare he criticize us from it. What the article doesn't say is that he probably stormed out of American-built-and-paid-for wood-panelled, glass-topped conference room to his American-built-and-taxpayer-paid-for-wood-panelled-and-glass-topped luxury Presidential mansion.

Loved this part:

Skeptics of the strategy contend his actions, particularly in the six months since the Obama administration started to embrace him as a partner, demonstrate that he cannot be rehabilitated. As a consequence, they maintain that the overall U.S. mission should be scaled back because it is impossible to conduct a counterinsurgency campaign without a steadfast ally in Kabul's presidential palace.

Wrong strategy. How about we try this one:

"...Skeptics of the strategy contend that his actions, particularly in the six months since the Obama Administration (contradiction in terms) started to embrace him as a partner, demonstrate that he cannot be rehabilitated. As a consequence, they maintain that the overall U.S. mission should be scaled back so as to ensure that Afghanistan is a smoking, glass-topped radioactive crater, liberally strewn with the radioactive ash of perhaps the most violent and inbred retards on Planet Earth ...".

I rather doubt the American taxpayer would object to this, as it would mean no more "insurgents", no more stone throwing from a man who is kept alive and in power by American blood, and no more fucking pesky Afghans, the true descendants of Ghenhis Khan. It would mean greatly reduced government expenses, meaning lower taxes. It would remove Afghanistan as a "safe haven" for Al' Qaeda (itself a misnomer; Al' Qaeda's safe haven is actually Pakistan), it would show them sandy Iranians who was boss, and send shivers down the spine of every so-called "moderate" Muslim state, sending the message that if you don't get with the program and try to pull your society out of the fanatical mire of the 7th century, and restrain it's more radical elements, you just might not have a society anymore.

At some point our political "leadership" is going to have to recognize that this "War on Terror" is going to have to involve a Carthaginian Peace. Some might say this is a draconian mindset, that it's simply too terrible to contemplate, but I say this: When was the last time the Carthaginians gave anyone a problem?

The current, I suppose you might call it a "strategy", isn't working, in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Primarily, this is because the American political "leadership", from Bush I to Obama, has forgotten that in order to win wars, one must make the other side suffer horribly until they are pushed beyond the limits of their endurance. Instead, we're trying to bribe ignorant savages into behaving in a civilized way with glass-topped conference rooms, schools, wells and hospitals, which are things the savages place no value upon in the first place. For many Afghans, the word "freedom" has nothing to do with personal, economic or political rights; it simply means a return to the status-quo, in which every sheep-shagger-in-dirty-laundry has the "freedom" to regularly beat his wife and rape his livestock, for as long as his AK-47 can manage to secure him this petty power.

Primarily these grandiose plans of turning Iraq or Afghanistan into a pluralistic, democratic republic come to ruin because the leadership of this country is completely ignorant about it's own pluralistic, democratic republic. Very few of our political class studies history, and when they do, it's of the romanticized sort (tinged either by the American Founding-Fathers-Manifest-Destiny myth on the one side, or the crazy fantasy of Progressive Revolution on the other) in which the mere opinion of some douchebag with a Harvard PhD replaces actual facts. We are in the position today of having a country run by people who profess their faith in the American System, but who are in complete ignorance of how that System came to be, or even of how it works. The Blind-and-Stupid in this country lead the Blinder-and-Stupider in the Middle East, and somehow this is all supposed to workout for the best?

Somehow, these people (our current political leadership) believes it can "give" freedom and democracy to a bunch of desert-dwelling child rapists and psychotic killers who don't value such things, cannot comprehend them in the abstract, and would surely reject the Law of Man as being inferior to the Law of God, how, exactly?

I'm reminded, once again, of the old saw regarding chimps and handwriting. It goes something like this:

If you try to teach a chimp to write, he just might learn to. However, he's far more likely to just stick the pen in your eye.

In this case, the chimp is named Hamid Karzai.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Rewards(?) of Caregiving...

Insane blogger becomes frustrated nurse...and gets interviewed by the New York Times!

Go figure!

Anyways, it seems that my rant about my mother and having to take care of her during her convalescence has struck a chord. Initially, this post was picked up by a professional caregiver's website, and reprinted in (almost) it's entirety, suitably edited for language. The next thing I know, the thing gets picked up on Twitter (it's still a bloody mystery to me how that thing works), and then something incredible happens;

I get an e-mail from a New York Times elder care blogger who would like to interview me. So, I figured, what the hell, why not?

And then something even more incredible happens:

I managed to top the Google search list with that post sometime this past afternoon. Just type the words "Lunatics Asylum" into Google, and there I am...Numero-fucking-Uno! I had no idea this had happened until my friend... in England... told me. Then I noticed that my traffic has basically doubled in the last three days (I'm on par for 2,000 or so hits this month, at that rate).

I find that absolutely amazing, considering I never thought anyone would actually read this piece of crap when I started it seven years ago. Now, 2,000 hits is paltry by the standards by which "the great" blogs are rated, but I find this baffling from the point of view that this blog was never intended to be a mass-media sensation -- not that it really is. Still, the idea that 2,000 people would look me up just to read complaints about my sick mother -- and perhaps they have similar problems, and can just relate, or they think I might help them with some sort of sage advice? -- is sorta-kinda incomprehensible to me.

So, I might have a line or two in this week's Times Caregiver's blog. I say might because my interviewer was kind enough to inform me that having reviewed other posts here, if she recommended that anyone take a walk around the Asylum, they're likely to be offended to the point of physical illness (my words, not her's. She was at least diplomatic about it). And if there's one thing the sainted Times never sets out to do, it's to turn people on to a point of view that might be considered offensive.

Unless you're a conservative, of course.

The point of the interview was that mine was a point-of-view the Times blog doesn't normally give voice to, or hear. The original post was sarcastic and full of gallows humor, and that's what made it interesting.

Which reminds me; for some reason, the interviewer found it necessary to ask about my political views. Apparently, even your personal story about having to care for a difficult parent is somehow political. Or maybe she was just curious? So, I told her the truth: I'm to the Right of Hitler, and to the Left of Pat Buchanan. She said she wouldn't print that. Anyway, the access to "offensive" material (hey, offensive is in the eye of the beholder!) on this blog might not pass muster with her editor, and that might be reason enough to call the whole thing off. Heaven forbid the Times should turn people onto a nutcase, racist, homophobe, who wants to snuff the elderly, and kill Muslims by the millions, like me, right?

In which case, she's wasted 40 minutes or so of her time.

However, I have to admit, it's all a bit of an ego trip.

As for Mom, she's getting much better, and after a frank exchange in which I've told her that her complaining and whining -- while understandable given her circumstances -- makes me want to set fire to an orphanage, has relented slightly. She has agreed to be slightly less critical, and actually uttered something that might be construed as appreciation for my efforts...just before she asked me to prune the tree out in front of the house. Right after I get the haircut she's been busting my balls to get for the last month.

Sick people have entirely too much free time on their hands. The smallest annoyances and pettiest details somehow manage to consume their every waking moment.

So, the appreciation lasted for approximately 5 minutes, which I guess, is progress. In the meantime, I'm learning that patience takes practice -- especially when the list of tasks and the criticism come just as you're about to give someone a potentially-lethal injection. That's when, I've discovered, self-control becomes a fine art.