I didn't post anything yesterday because I spent the whole day in bed sick.
Nevermind my health, should I start dyeing my hair? Anyway I couldn't stand not feeling well enough to do anything, yet forced by illness to just lie around. Good thing I recovered quickly or I may have slipped into a suicidal depression. But at least then I would've been fashionable, with down in the dumps being all the rage these days.
Every Sunday since 1979 a so-called "peace vigil" has been held on the Amherst Town Common. Last Sunday they were handing out flyers with the following images on one side. Notice how Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is portrayed as a villain now that the Obama Administration has become the caretaker of the "war machine." (click to enlarge)
What is really infuriating to the peacers is Obama's announcement that no significant troop reductions in Iraq will occur for at least a year - which is essentially the same timetable as the Bush Administration intended. Meet the new boss - same as the old boss!
Now that's depressing.
On the flip side of the flyer was this essay, which I think is funny whatever your ideology.
by Will Durst
Can we stop with the waving of the sharp instruments for a minute and speak rationally to this whole ugly recession mess we find ourselves currently mired in? C'mon. You know what recession mess I'm talking about. You're packing a bag lunch and taking mass transit to visit the public library to use their ancient computer to check out the job classified on Craigslist for crum's sake. Yeah, THAT recession mess. Well, you'll be glad to hear we've positively identified the bad guys responsible for this meltdown and they end up having awfully familiar faces.
Go ahead. Guess who's to blame? No, not the subprime mortgage brokers or Bernie Madoff and his ilk or those reverse Robin Hood hedgefund speculators throwing trillions of dollars of derivatives around like paper towels at a chili cheese dog eating competition. Nope. The dastardly bums that created the world wide financial crisis is - us. That's right. You and me. And I hope we're happy.
For making former Silicon Valley start up CFO's toil as Indian casino valets. For driving down the price of two year old Porche Boxters to the level of a 96 Taurus with a blown head gasket. For forcing casseroles and meatloaf onto the menus of three-star Michelin chefs. It's all our fault. And how are we doing in? By not buying enough stuff. Damn us anyway. How dare we?
Who cares whether we're employed or not? Don't we realize we aer the pistons that drive the free market engine? It's our God-given patriotic duty to go out there and buy stuff we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like.
We don't do easy. We do compulsory.
Remember how good it felt to buy that brand new DVD we had no intention of ever watching? Aren't you just itching to tear the shrink-wrap off of something with your teeth right now? Anybody can conspicuously consume when things are going well and money geysers from the ground like it did between the Bushes. It takes a true retail soldier to run up credit card bills when banks are raising interest rates so high, it would not be too far off the mark for them to utilize a dorsal fin as a logo.
I wouldn't get this squishy if I wasn't seeing pubescent girls get punched in the guty with our selfish frugality. Girl Scout Cookie sales have sunk to levels not seen since Jimmy Carter was scolding us while wearing cardigans. The Girl Scouts! Okay, that's it. I don't know which of you commie pinko yellow rat cretinous toads managed to hypnotize the rest of us into believing we're so broke we can't afford a couple measly packages of Thin Mints, but you've gone too far. You fiend. How soon before we take out our parsimonious wrath on the innocent producers of Sham-Wow and Snuggie?
Ladies and Gentlemen, I implore you; open your wallets. Ask yourself, "What would Paris Hilton do?" It doesn't matter what you buy. A Jonas Brothers lunch box. A $75 grass fed, hand massaged, Kobe beef porterhouse steak, bathed in boysenberry infused truffle butter. A 96 piece Limited Edition Pewter Napkin Ring Set in the shape of the characters from the Lord of the Rings. Ford. Besides, this isn't about you and me people. This isn't about America. This isn't about Detroit. This is about the Girl Scouts.
Here's a comic book whose time has come around again: Despair Comix! I had a copy of this R. Crumb classic years ago, but I lost it on my various adventures. However I recently became aware of a friend's copy and so I give you this sampler:
Shifting from despair into tragedy, sometime this summer I want to explore the cemetery across from Wildwoods School in Amherst. It's too muddy now.
There is nothing morbid about my interest in cemeteries. I see them not as buriel grounds but as databases. For most people, especially before photography became commonplace, a cemetery headstone was the only permanet record of their lives. There's a story behind every stone, and not always a happy one. Take this one from that Amherst cemetery, for example.
Wow, just thirty years old, and with his own graphics company! The unique headstone is a good reflection of his artistic nature, yet that somehow makes it even more poignant. Well, at least when you die young no one can accuse you of not fulfilling your potential. Death is the one airtight excuse for failure!
Sometimes when I fret about getting older or what my life has become I try to remember to be grateful that I've survived to have a life at all. Many of my friends who did not live as recklessly as me are gone, and that makes me believe that I survived for a purpose - if only just to tell their stories. In any case I try to keep in mind the wisdom of that Pine Point philosopher Mean Mary Jean who once said, "Whenever I find myself worrying about getting older, I remind myself of those I knew who were denied the privilege."
Freddie Mercury of Queen was so flamboyant that people didn't always notice what a fantastic band he had. Unfortunately Mercury was promiscuous even by queer standards, allegedly taking on up to three partners at a time, and ended up dying of AIDS at the peak of his career. Too bad he didn't live to see today when the chorus to this song is sung by the audience of every sports stadium in the world.