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Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Hurt Locker

OK, so it took me way too long to see this great film, and of course my first reaction is smart-assed. I was watching the scene where Lieutenant Sanborn and the crazy new commander are shit-faced drunk and punching each other in the stomach for fun, and I thought, "Wow, I take it back -- men actually do play games with each other that are even more profoundly stupid than golf."

But then I'm watching all the scenes with 'the suit,' and I'm thinking, hm. They only have one seriously armored suit per unit, and it weighs a shitload -- the guy inside it dies because he can't even run far enough to get to where the suit is actually good enough to protect him. The rest of the guys are running around with arms and legs apparently just covered in cloth; clearly they've got some body armor on, but their eyes are protected by sunglasses. Awesome.

I know, I don't know dick about military technology -- no more than I know about medical technology. But I've always had this little conspiracy theory about happy pills: if we weren't such friggin' puritans about not wanting anyone to feel pleasure, do you think we might be concentrating on actually having HAPPY pills instead of just pills that alleviate symptoms of abnormal mental states? Because, come on, even if you aren't seeing Jesus or suffering double depression, most of life is not exactly elation. We have all these pills to alleviate psychotic delusions, depression, anxiety, whatever. So what's stopping us having a pill that will make us feel seriously happy and free? Like being drunk or stoned, but without the cirrhosis and lung cancer. I have no proof, of course, but I still have the sneaking suspicion we could do it.

So now I'm starting to wonder about military armor. I mean, yeah, you want guys to be mobile, and the government, obviously, has a limited amount of money. But Jesus, I spent 300 dollars and got a computer with a webcam and everything else you could want, and it weighs two fucking pounds. We make spacesuits, for christ's sake. A vacuum isn't an explosion, sure, but it's still a pretty extreme condition for an Earth creature. We have smart bombs too, right? Although we don't hear about them that often anymore. Maybe they don't actually work so well. Maybe the U.S. military is just throwing darts at a board, they way they usually have to do with psychiatric meds. I dunno, I just think... all this stuff we build. Why not better armor? Why not a healthy drunk pill? Is that too much money to spend on grunts? Is that too much happiness for good Christians to want without expecting harsh payback? I hope it's simply that we can't figure this stuff out, because those are some stupid fucking objections, if that's indeed what's holding us back.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wrongful Birthday Suit, part II

I wrote a short poem this morning before going to work... I thought it was finished, but while I was sitting there in court watching all these bitter child-support disputes while I waited for the case I was translating for to come up, my brain started spewing what seemed like an endless supply of verses. One couple started fighting in front of the judge and had to be sent to sit down; another guy had to be asked to stop calling the judge "you guys," as though she individually represented the entire justice system... and all because none of them could remember to put on a condom. So here it is, in all its crescendoing, hysterical rejection of this mortal coil...


I hate being sober
I hate being drunked
I hate being captain
I hate being punked

I hate the cold
and I hate the bright sun
I hate getting started,
I hate being done;

I hate being alive
but I'm sure death is worse
All human existence
is simply a curse.

I hate being certain,
I hate being confused
It's too frickin' seldom
I'm very amused

I hate being naked
I hate wearing clothes
I hate all this stuffed-up shit inside my nose
I hate having jobs
but I hate being broke;
It kills you to do nice things like drink and smoke.

Women are mental
And men are disgusting
And rare's the example of either
Worth trusting

And if you should find one
They'll likely soon croak
Or someone will tell you they're dead
For a joke

Life starts with an ass-smack
then hustle and tussle;
My knee hurts, my tooth broke,
I have a sore muscle.

'Twas vile being young,
Now I'm scared to grow old
I might be attacked
And both my kidneys sold.

My job terrifies me,
My BA is worthless;
I hate a buffoon
Just as I hate the mirthless.

Employment is slavery --
Go ask the Greeks.
I just lay in bed with swine flu
for two weeks.

Wherever I go
I can smell a big rat;
My friends will all die some day
As will my cat.

Most people are hypocrites,
When they aren't rude;
Hunger's unpleasant,
And so is most food.

There's rape, plague, and boredom,
There's losing your mom,
And seven new nations this week
Got the bomb.

Misery en masse
is from time to time faddish;
Here are ten starving Slovaks
Dividing a radish.

There's loneliness, child abuse,
Tenement halls,
Plus the time that you e-mailed
And hit 'send to all.'

There's biting a sandwich
And tasting the mold,
There's watching Brett Favre get insane
And grow old.

You might lose your mind
And you could lose your pension;
There's helplessness, hopelessness,
Water retention,

There's nothing on TV
'cept medical dramas
Recalling unpleasantly
All of your traumas.

Bad writers, bad painters,
Bad singers, bad mimes,
Get rich and well-known
While you haven't a dime;

The masses might coat you
With feathers and tar,
But we'll all see a squirrel
Smashed under a car.

There's your growing stack
Of form rejection letters,
There's crying for weeks
And still not feeling better;

You've struggled for decades
And still aren't the best;
There's that scary sensation again
in your chest.

A friend stole the love
Whom you blindly adored;
cut corners, mass layoffs,
And beer that's short-poured

There's trouble with teachers,
the law, and the mob,
There's glimpsing a mirror
And seeing a slob.

Too few public toilets,
And all of them stink,
The person before you
Heaved up in the sink.

There are beatings and balding
And herpes and farts;
The camera killed most
Of the visual arts.

There's paperwork, busywork,
Shitwork, and gout,
There's lying, castration,
A surfeit of louts;

There's finding out there's
No such thing as the Force;
There's child support after
Your grisly divorce.

There's delayed retirement,
The failure of plans,
The sudden appearance
Of IRS vans,

That person who follows
Too close on the stair,
Hearing a noise
When no one should be there,
Being the only one not in a pair,
And fathers whose answer is
"Life isn't fair"...

There's perjury, penury,
Pissants and dearth,
And the number one cause of our death
Is still birth.

So think before you take your ass
Off the pill;
Your offspring might not wish to wait
For your will.

Wrongful Birthday Suit

I hate being sober
I hate being drunk
I hate being captain
I hate being a punk
I hate going to bed
and I hate getting up

I hate the cold
and I hate the bright sun
I hate getting started,
I hate being done;

I hate being alive
but I'm sure death is worse
All human existence is simply a curse.
I hate being certain,
I hate being confused
It's too frickin' seldom I'm very amused
I hate being naked
I hate wearing clothes
I hate all this stuffed-up shit inside my nose
I hate having jobs
but I hate being broke;
It kills you to do nice things like drink and smoke.
So think, think, before you stop taking that pill!
Your offspring may not want to wait for your will.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Koko the Natural Woman

I was going to write a post about how much cuter my adult cat is than any human baby I've ever seen (and just think what she must have been like as a kitten). But I know what kind of ass-hat assumption that leads to: "This so-called 'childfree' bitch is secretly seething with envy because she hasn't had any babies and feels worthless and unloved*, so she's stereotypically hoarding cats and trying to convince herself that they're really just as good as the joys of being a mombie. One of these days her biological clock is gonna catch up with her, and she'll cry her eyes out over the realization that it's too late."

Yep. Well, that's pretty hard to argue against, since it's so goddamn dumb, and people love to believe in stupid shit, particularly when there are so many romantic comedies that prop up their delusions. Women all really want to have babies! Motherhood is our natural state! It's the fulfillment of our existence! If people are really just animals, we'll only make ourselves miserable if we fail to follow our natural inclinations, right? I'm going to set aside, for the moment, the consideration of whether it's ethical to bring someone into this world for the sole purpose of making one's selfish self happy and fulfilled. I'm just going to present ye with a test case: is baby-making actually going to do that for one's selfish self?

Well, if you want to define happiness as giving in to one's most basic human instincts, then I present you with the one woman in the world who most perfectly walks the fine line between being able to speak her mind and being in a natural, primitive state, free of the BS and delusion of civilamazation: Koko the Gorilla.

Koko became famous about a quarter-century ago for learning human sign language, and for showing the ability to express not just simple desires and aversions, but hopes, fears, emotions, and a surprisingly complex grasp of stuff and stuff. When Koko learned sign language, your average mombie would have probably been gratified to hear that her fondest requests would run along the lines of "Koko want male gorilla no condom please want small gorilla to chew up nipples and ask depressing questions of why human can leave cage but gorilla no can leave."

But oddly enough, Koko never asked for such a thing; she may have gotten knocked up later on when they brought in a signing male gorilla, but something tells me it was an unplanned pregnancy on her part, and probably on the male's as well; like humans, gorillas naturally like sex. But also like us, I don't think they're necessarily going at it with a productive end in mind. Nature may trick us into having babies by making sex so appealing, but She (the wretch) relies only on our sense of grim duty to get us to take care of them once they've appeared. You see, Koko never expressed any desire for a baby. What did this natural woman really want? What did she demand for her birthday? I think you may have already guessed...

Koko asked for a KITTEN. Case closed.

*For the record, I have had men not only beg, but PLOT to make me the mother of their children, so don't even let your lil brainz think about me sitting on the pity pot, yeah?