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Archive for April, 2007

I Don’t Burn

Please beat me the next time I say that.

Because apparently now, I do.

I dont burn

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DO SOMETHING!

DO SOMETHING!

Death is ready
for you
always

it would be impossible
to tell how many true close calls you’ve had

the drunk in the pickup that swerved behind you inches from your bumper
you glanced down to change the station and didn’t see
his truck slam into the culvert
and flip over three times

the lightning that hit the tree right there in the field a few feet away
scaring the shit out of you and your little sister
who peed herself and cried and you held her shaking body
while trying to find your parents in the sudden torrential rains

the last of the Christmas candy, the butterscotch
that you had saved to savor when all the family had gone home
lodged in your throat- breathing barely just barely long enough
that it dissolved enough to swallow gasping and leaving your throat raw for days

we have had these, and we are thankful we are still here

but this is America

In Darfur starvation and rape
In Iraq explosions at the market
In Brazil Death Squads in the slums

Death is everywhere- we don’t feel it like the rest of the world.
When a calamity hits us, the world grieves with us
Even though the world itself is usually in mourning
Already

Imagine being a Jew
surviving Hitler
and war
unknown lands
and languages
and rising above it all
to become a distinguished professor
at a quiet college
to die being shot to death
holding a door closed
yelling at your students
to get to safety

the absolute best
and the absolute worst
of humanity separated
by
an inch of wood.

32 incredible lives lost
That a simple law would have prevented
We know these peoples lives
We cry with their family and friends

We need not to forget
The hundreds of other
Incredible lives lost daily
Just as brutally
For equally senseless reasons

We have only
Ourselves to blame.

Comments

We do not need gun control

We need a licensing system- just as with any other device that has the potential to be lethal and can be grossly misused- there needs to be system for buying and owning guns.

Would you let any shmuck walk into a Ford dealership and drive off with an F-350 without first knowing that they A. know how to drive and B. are permitted to hold a drivers license?

No.

Why should guns be any different?

It should be, to own a gun, you need to apply for a license. This means there’s a background check (no prior criminal offenses, history of mental defect, etc.), a written and a practical test and a statement of self-liability if used for unlawful means.
There will be class restrictions. You need to pass a test for each class of weapon you want to use. Pistol, rifle, howitzer, etc.

The fee will be nominal- $75. Needs to be renewed every two years (background check) for $25.

No specific data will be collected about what the owner purchases, just that the seller has checked the license and made sure it’s valid. It can be done via computer or 1-800 number. Must be accompanied by a drivers license, state or military ID. The same things required to write a check.

That’s it. Very simple. Even personal sales can make a 1-800 phone call to do due diligence.

If such a simple system was in place, it would have made the Virginia Tech shootings much less likely to have happened and with the added responsibility of taking liability for purchasing the firearms, maybe the parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold would have taken more care and locked up their gear.

Abridging the right to bear arms I am wholeheartedly against. I don’t trust our government either. But the right to bear arms does not abdicate the responsibility of owning arms.

Comments (1)

this might take a while to work out…

screen from Kurt’s site vonnegut.com

notice the favicon

vonnegut.com

and just when i thought I was all cried out…

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(Un)Intellectual (Dis)Honesty and Just(ifiable) Desserts

Anyway you want to discuss the Don Imus incident, it was just wrong. Joe Conason @ Salon.com as usual succinctly states the argument and regardless of the motivation, MSNBC and CBS did the right thing by firing the ignorant ass.

The argument I have heard from friends and cohorts most often is twofold and incorrect:

1. Black people use these terms all the time (they don’t)
2. Firing Imus over his comments is a slap to free speech and the first amendment (it isn’t)

On point One, Imus claiming he’s heard these words in rap songs and didn’t really think they’d be all that offensive is just an outright lie. He may be a schmuck, but he’s not a complete idiot. Imus has a long history of racial slurs and had admitted as much (hiring Bernard McGuirk to do the “nigger jokes”). using the “I saw them do it” defense for a person like Imus is the worst in unintellectual dishonesty.
First of all, anyone that is not black that knows people that are, knows that even inner city kids aren’t constantly always using slurs on each other. While you might hear it more in the street because “cred” is important, you rarely hear it in individual conversations or small groups. Maybe it’s because I’m pasty that this is my experience, but regardless the idea that African Americans across the country are always using racial slurs to refer to each other and it’s all okay is ridiculous regardless of what the stereotypes promoted through gansta hop and television promote.
I’ve hated Imus since I first heard him on radio in NY around 1974 (I was 9); but any possible shred of respect (little-to-no chance) I might have for him is lost in that he can’t even take responsibility for his own words and opinions. A great line in the last episode of season 3 of “The Wire” discussed a vile racist man that had owned a mortuary in West Baltimore who claimed the only way he’d take on black people and bury them through his business is if he could “take them all at once.” Councilman Carcetti responded that the comment was reprehensible and Colvin, a black man, responded “yeah- but at least you knew where the man stood.”

We know where Imus stands- behind whatever he can until he’s forced to accept otherwise.

On point Two- This is much more simple- no first amendment rights were abridged or denied and free speech is alive and well. The decision to withdraw advertising or fire Imus outright is not impinging on anyone’s right to call people “nappy headed ho’s” or any other despicable word- Imus is still free to say whatever stupid ignorant thing he wants.

He just won’t be getting paid millions to do so. And this proves that free speech is alive and well.

Millions have spoken out loud “We don’t want to hear your shit Imus- go away.”

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Vonnegut reading the passage that changed my life

from Slaughterhouse Five

I wept for what seemed like an eternity after reading the passage of the WWII movie going backwards for the first time. I couldn’t see the pages and the tears wouldn’t stop flowing. My heart had burst with an elation of freedom and love and thought- “When the bombers got back to base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating day and night, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again”

This passage alone shattered my world and opened a million windows and gave me something that even at the age of 13 I had little of.

Hope.

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Goodbye Kurt

Kurt (Source A.P.) I know death is inevitable, but I am crushed. Discovering Kurt Vonnegut was like discovering taoism or breasts for me- it was revelatory and life-changing and I never looked at the world the same ever again.

I met Kurt once-I should say I drooled on him once as it’s more accurate- back in 1988 when he spoke at the Boston public library and met with the crowd afterwards. He decided to read a commencement speech that he originally gave to MIT students I think it was- which wasn’t well received at the school since he was trying to tell these engineers to make sure they put their genius to work for the betterment of humankind- and the realized that most of them were already signed up with G.E. and Dow and Marietta-Martin. So he thought maybe we might appreciate the speech more.

Afterwards, I stood in line clutching my copy of “Bluebeard” and thought of all the things i wanted to say to him- how much I loved his works and his fucking HUMANITY- How reading his fiction and essays taught me that nothing has to be as it is or how it’s supposed to be- that nothing is black and white and that there is humour even in the darkest and worst aspects of everything.

Instead- when it was my turn- I approached the desk where he was sitting and looked up smiling– deep soulful eyes behind glasses and hair everywhere and I said “Mr Vonnegut- i just wanted to say…” and a huge gob of saliva fell from my mouth which i promptly tried to catch with my right hand, splashing everywhere and finishing with “… thank you. I love you- thank you. can you sign my book?” and I extended my hand and he stopped- and looked at my hand and extended his own and gave me a full firm handshake and said “You’re welcome- what’s your name?” and signed my book with an asterisk next to his name (re: Breakfast of Champions) and I walked away and my fiancee turned to me and said “You just drooled on Kurt Vonnegut”.

My college friend Tommy Hanlon once lamented for the Rastafari “What do you do when your god dies?” in reference to Bob Marley succumbing to cancer.

The answer is you learn to live with a heart-wrenching profound sadness that sits beside the omnipresent glow of joy that god brought into your life.

My heart aches, my world just grew a little darker; but the universe just grew a little richer.

So it goes…

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it’s happening again…

I have so much to write about- so much squirming around up there. Yet when I go to write, I can barely squeeze out a word or two and it just stops. I don’t understand it. If it’s a masochistic self-loathing causing it, wouldn’t that like just be an award-winning novel right there? 11 years now… the 20 years prior I couldn’t stop writing. The past 11 in small fits and spasms some words come out.

I hate it.

I’m broken.

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