Monday, November 07, 2005

A Series of Things

Editor’s note: I have been experiencing difficulties with displaying images. I will get it fixed as soon as I figure out how. Until then, you’ll have to get over your mass media over-stimulation and learn to live with intelligent discourse alone instead of eye-drawing pictures and simplifying graphics. I know its hard, but do it for the children.

To steal a phrase from George Carlin, this is just a series of things that are pissing me off:

Automatic garbage collection.
The city where I live says it will save money. I enter my dissent.

It’s really not that complex. The city’s logic, as I understand it, is this: The city will buy a bunch of shiny new automated garbage trucks and fire half of the staff of the garbage collection department. The city will buy special garbage containers that can be picked up by the automated garbage trucks and residents will be forced to buy or lease them.

Now, I haven’t seen the financial tricks being used on this project, but I’m skeptical that spending millions of dollars on new equipment and adding more requirements and another “service fee” to residents will be in reality a money-saving move for the city or its residents. and if it is, that those funds won’t simply be added to the department of another budget.

It may be, that over a certain number of years, the garbage collectors no longer on the payroll will reach a point where the city has saved a little money in the long run. By then, we’ll probably need some replacement equipment beause the shiny new garbage trucks will be rusty, and the special collection containers will be corroded.

The city fathers are always giving away our money in the name of “job creation” and “economic development.” Well how about some economic maintenance, and let the garbage collectors keep their jobs. It seems to me they take care of business quite satisfactorily. I put it out my garbage in the morning, and when I get home it’s gone, and the can is set upside down. Without fail. They appear efficent. The automated machines have just a driver, who has to pull up to the right spot, use the arm, grab the can, dump it, set it down, drive forward 10 feet, line up the truck, use the arm, grab the can. . .
I like a guy who can walk a few feet and pick up cans of multiple sizes and shapes. Let the garbage collectors work. That’s fewer jobs the city will have to pay the casino to “create” in order to keep people living in the area to maintain the tax base.

While I’m in the mood, what the hell is the point of lawn and leaf bags and the overpriced stickers required to get rid of yard waste? They’re fricking leaves. They fall from the trees every year. It’s nature, dummy. You want me to pay for the growth of the trees and grass? Should I pay for the songs of the birds and the breeze in the air too? In that philisophical neighborhood, I guess the city’s new rain tax (it’s true) doesn’t seem so utterly illogical.

And all you people who love to hate and scapegoat smokers
– if you’re so worried about your precious air and lungs, look at the noxious fumes coming out in giant plumes from the factories all around you. Don’t blame me for your asthma when ADM and MidAmerican Energy are filling the skies with a toxic haze and turning our waters into a chemical wasteland. The mercury in those clouds should be a much bigger concern than second-hand tobacco smoke. We’re talking about first-hand chemical emissions. Seriously. Look at the size of a cigarette. Even all the chemical-laden smoke of a roomful of people puffing on Marlboro Reds can’t compare to the the towering Smokestacks of Industry. And that is merely on comparision of scale. If we were to discuss the various toxins and poisons contained in tobacco compared to many factory emissions, and their acceptable levels in the human body, we would find industrial sites represent a much larger threat to human health and comfort than cigarette smoke. Yet ignorant people demand strict regulation of smoking while promoting free reign of industry and dismissing environmentalist concerns. Go to your state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website and look at the tested levels of chemicals in the groundwater you’re drinking or bathing in.

Innocent until proven guilty? Following the recent indictment, both the President and special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald emphasized that vice presidential aide Scooter Libby is to be innocent until found guilty in a court of law, having been afforded all rights of due process. I noted and have seen others discuss the irony that to this day American citizens arrested in this country who have for some reason been classified as “enemy combattants” have been denied all right to charge, trial, representation or contact with the outside world at all. Are not average citizens innocent until proven guilty? With this renewed emphasis on the founding ideal of justice and due process, will the policy now be applied to those outside the echelons of power? I’d love to see it, but Methinks not.

Some people just don’t get it, that if one citizen can be called a “terrorist” or an “enemy combatant” and never heard from again, that means anyone can. It’s in situations like that where you put your money where your mouth is – so far we’re shown our love of liberty and justice is more rhetoric than reality.

Intelligent Design and Evolution. Actually, this one doesn’t piss me off. I find the whole debate hilarious. There are boisterous fanatics on both sides. My favorite part is that ID, as I understand it, could be interpreted by one so inclined to promote the alien intervention theory. For those unfamiliar, that theory revolves around the idea that an alien civilization influenced or even genetically engineered Humans. These “gods,” according to Sumerian mythology, created humans to be worker bees to help them mine minerals and metals from the Earth. Ninti is the god who “mixed the clay” to create man.

A universe Intelligently-designed: BY MARTIANS!!! I’d love to see that theory in a 6th grade science book, and the reaction from the parents. In a place like rural Oklahoma. I can’t help but chuckle that an attempt to give creationism scientific merit might result in such a thing. Creationism is a fine idea to believe as far as I’m concerned, but just don’t try and prove it with carbon-dating.

I’ll always wonder what the Martians were thinking when they designed parasites, especially intestinal parasites. Maybe they just knew that everyone needs a friend. In any case, I’ll take solace today in the fact that a quote in an advertisement for a popular radio program hosted by the son of a dead President showed that there still is such a thing as truth in politics:

“I’m the proudest homophobe on the planet.”
-Michael Reagan

That reminds me of a joke I heard on Garrison Keilor, Whaddaya Know, or some similar public radio broadcast:

“Recent polls show that 50 percent of Americans do not believe they have evolved

. . . and the other 50 percent agree.”

Seriously. That’s funny, no matter what you believe. Even my Martian buddy chuckled.


Disclaimer for the religiously sensitive, policitically correct, easily offended, perpetual whiners, constant complainers, sarcasm-impared, and other such troublemakers:

None of this discussion is meant to attack any of your ridiculous personal beliefs. I withold judgment on the merits of the various ideas on the origins of ourselves and our universe. I remain objective and will happily concede that Creationism, Intelligent Design, Evolution and other such theories are probably just as plausible as the Alien Intervention theory.


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