Sunday, February 25, 2018

More Gun-Related Insanity, Courtesy Of The Middle American Helicopter Parents' Movement

DATELINE:  PARMA, OHIO, February 8, 2018

Joey Mertel was suspended from Greenbriar Middle School for failing to RUN SCREAMING TO AN ADULT and tell on the kid who pointed a toy gun at him.

A TOY gun.  

Never mind, peeps: It COULD have been a real emergency and they COULD all be dead now.  They were right to suspend 11-year-old Joey.  The rule must ALWAYS be:  IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.  

This error on Joey's part is NO DIFFERENT, either in quality or severity, from the usual reasons kids get suspended, like STEALING, DESTROYING PROPERTY or CLOBBERING OTHER KIDS IN THE RECESS YARD.  I'm sure we can all agree on this.

Friday, February 16th, 2018

A school bus was stopped and SURROUNDED BY POLICE after a kid riding in it overheard someone else talking about bringing guns to school.  He did what Joey Mertel should have done and CALLED 911.  Later that day, the county school superintendent released a lengthy statement to the effect that this phone call led to "NEEDLESS PANIC AND CHAOS" after it transpired that the kid in question was talking about those guns that shoot Nerf darts.  Like the DEADLY WEAPON shown above.  The superintendent, Eddie Tyler, summed up by saying that IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING, but only if there you're not reporting a bunch of IDLE TALK AND GOSSIP.  

Because kids can invariably distinguish between IDLE TALK, GOSSIP and SERIOUS BUSINESS.  Right?

Because kids on the school bus are ALL BUSINESS and would never indulge in IDLE TALK.  Right?  The kid who called 911 certainly thought so, the overreacting little whiner!

Because if this had been an actual emergency and the kid's call had headed off the next school shooting, the mayor would have given him the keys to the city.  Right?

That's why the SWAT team responded.  Right?

I just think it's kind of DUMB that kids are given their own private phone lines, instructed to use them in situations like these, and then penalized for it when they do exactly what they're told.  

Meanwhile, Joey Mertel is the real winner in this deal:  he's been given a 3-day, a 5-day, maybe even a 10-day vacation with the school's blessing!

Now Here's A GREAT Idea...

About five minutes after I got through recommending Gene Sharp's books on nonviolent social change strategies in the previous blog entry, I stumbled across a column written by this guy, Mehdi Hasan of (among other periodicals).

THE MAN IS BRILLIANT.  He suggests, in this piece, that in a country with between 3 and 7 million Muslims -- often viewed with terror by many other Americans -- a SIMPLE SOLUTION TO SEVERAL PROBLEMS AT ONCE is simply to have all of them join the NRA. 


>> There are only about 5 million NRA members in total.  What if 4 million more signed up this week -- and they were all Muslims?   That's what you call a CONTROLLING INTEREST, my friends.

>> We all know what the NRA does if anyone, anywhere suggests any sort of minor gun-control law.  What if the 3 million new members had a different perspective on that?  Would the NRA's stance have to change?  YES INDEEDY.

>> The NRA is well known to have the United States Government by the short hairs.  Nobody wants to risk losing all those political campaign contributions.  What if the people contributing all that money to the cause were tired of taking all the blame for everything ISIS, al Quaeda and Boko Haram ever did, and wanted the country to get back on a saner footing?  Then what?

>> What if the new members -- who might actually outnumber the existing ones -- wanted to back the Green Party for a change, or the Libertarians?  Even those damn vegetarian Democrats??? What if they wanted to back a Muslim presidential candidate?  No, NOT Barack Obama -- a real, live Muslim.

>> The NRA has always been about gun safety and responsible gun ownership.  What if the new members not only AGREED with that -- and I assume you'd have to agree with that before they'd let you join -- but they then started suggesting NEW MEASURES to make that really work, like the ones used in countries with little to no gun violence?

>> What would the foaming-at-the-mouth white supremacist doomsday preppers in the NRA do if 3 million Muslims showed up at the mixer for new members?  I don't know, either, but it would be interesting to watch!  I mean, they might QUIT!  They might be forced to discuss their views with someone who doesn't agree with them 100%!  They might not know a Muslim when they saw one -- especially those sneaky-pants Indonesian, Uighur or white guy Muslims who don't look Middle Eastern.  THEY MIGHT EVEN MAKE FRIENDS WITH THEM AND FIND COMMON GROUND WITH THEM BEFORE THEY REALIZED WHAT WAS HAPPENING.

Man, I'd like to change my name to Bulbul Faroukh and sign up JUST TO SEE.

However it came out, this bold experiment would be the finest expression possible of the Discordian saying, 


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Another Discordian Lance Saint Lost To Us!

Gene Sharp, good Discordian saint material, has gone to the Great Wherever after a long, illustrious career spent teaching ordinary people to PROTEST. 

Here are a few of his training manuals:

All of his books are GREAT STUFF and there is a big pile of them for you to read.  The principles apply to all issues, from the tall to the small, but of course in THIS country we are all about making sure people have their civil rights, and being sure there's no taxation without representation, no unpopular wars, but also no gun control, and that kind of American protestamenta.  

In fact, no matter WHAT your issue, Gene Sharp will probably have some good suggestions for you.  And see the word "nonviolent" in some of those titles?  He's not suggesting Molotov cocktails or anything else that's going to get you arrested. 


Discordia Rules OK In Post-Literate USA

It's just endlessly entertaining, the way people in this country have  COMPLETELY LOST THEIR GRIP on the meaning of what they are saying, because they HEARD it once, GUESSED at the meaning of it, not to mention the SPELLING, and never had the chance to clarify it in their minds because they never READ it anywhere in their lives. The inevitable result:  COMEDY GOLD.  

If you belong to the post-literate ORAL SOCIETY in America, you might be heard to say, or seen to post on the Net...

"Is this true, or is it an old wise tail?"

Before Discordia came to rule the USA, this speaker would have known s/he was talking about old wives' tales.  S/he would have understood further that old husbands help perpetuate such tales...

...But I digress.  Such a person might also be heard to say, or seen to tweet, "We're under the throws of a winter storm," when s/he really means "We're in the throes of a winter storm."

Or "I just play it one ear at a time.  I just play it ear by ear."

Or "I'm having a nervous breakthrough!!!"  (This probably also qualifies as a class-A Freudian slip.)

Or -- my all-time favorite -- "This shit hits me like a fan!"

(and you know that sucker really hits hard!)

Because of this effect, very day is a A STRAIGHT-FACE CHALLENGE for erudite moi, and I'm having the time of my life writing all of it down in a notebook.  When even English professors and wealthy stockbrokers are making comments like this at the dinner table or on the Net, well, it makes us look like a bunch of refugees from a Walt Kelly cartoon strip.  Pick up a copy of I Go Pogo and see if I'm not right.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Market Volatility: the Drinking Game

I wish I could find the original tweet posted a few days ago by some renowned financial whiz I'd never heard of before.  I stumbled across it reading stuff on Google and then lost it. I apologize to the author of this brilliant idea, whose name I have also misplaced.

The early-afternoon tweet said, more or less, "NEW DRINKING GAME.  TAKE A SHOT EVERY TIME THE MARKET CHANGES DIRECTION TODAY.  I'D BE DRUNK ALREADY."   He posted that on the day the market slid 500 points, then shot back up higher than it was originally, then dropped almost as far as it had before, but not quite, then rose again to just about the original position it had been in when the bell rang that morning. 

When radio announcers tried to say whether the market was rising or dropping that day, they kept giggling and apologizing.  One actually sounded near tears because she didn't want to commit to whether the market was better or worse, and she just kept backpedalling before making a wild guess. 

I gather this is the combined effect of those cutting-edge robo-investors that make zillions of transactions per minute, Trump's quiet deregulation of the market -- the ONLY thing he's done quietly in the past year -- and the emotional shock of the massive, not-at-all-quiet tax cuts he just signed into law, handcuffed to his loud promises that he's going to SPEND, SPEND, SPEND on infrastructure to the tune of grillions more dollars.  

I used to work on the Consumer Attitude Survey at the Institute For Social Research, which simply asked 500 people a month how they thought the economy seemed to be going and how they thought it was headed in the future.  The results of the survey proved to be so deadly accurate -- because peoples' feelings about the economy dictate their financial decisions -- that it was finally added to the Index Of Leading Economic Indicators.  I would really love to know what kind of results they are getting lately.

What should we start with, the Jose Cuervo or the Midori?  I still have some of that raspberry Smirnoff if you want to finish it...