Thursday, February 22, 2007

Democracy?

Our troops in Iraq are search-and-destroying journalists?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I admit I'm an obsessive/compulsive

but I"ve never sent myself an email.

Paradox

Because of the conflict many of my fellow peace-marchers and I have over the "all-volunteer" military that we've sent off to foreign lands, we've stopped chanting,"Support the troops, bring them home." I mean, as this article points out, when it comes to the nature of those who're fighting over there, this isn't VietNam and our troops aren't victims. Hard to say it, but true.

Outrage cubed

Okay, first they craft a financial system (tax policy, trade policy, monetary policy, anti-union efforts) that favors the rich and widens the gap between rich and poor. Next, the impact of this disparity is felt most acutely in small-town America, where financial prospects are bleakest for the young. Then they offer financial incentives to the kids from these towns, incentives too grand to resist, so that the Army ends up with an inordinate percentage of its soldiers from towns with fewer than five thousand souls. Then, having started a war and given the soldiers insufficient equipment to fight it, they don't deliver the remains of those killed in action to the hometown of the soldier because it doesn't have a major airport, so that the family must travel miles to pick up and transport the body to its final resting place. Ya know, at some point I'd get really pissed off if I was one of those families.

Unwitting supporters of Bush/Cheney

This article by George Monbiot in The Guardian says it so well, I'll add only this observation. Since I've become a somewhat recognizeable antiwar person locally (my ubiquitous sign gives me away), I've been accosted by these nutcases many times, most recently at an art gallery opening. The fellow sidled up to me and hissed into my left ear, "You know about the third tower, right?" When I said, "Uh?" he went on. And on and on, whispering "facts" (a typical one: "Jet fuel is basically kerosene, and can't possibly burn hot enough to melt steel girders") into my ear, moving to my left as I tried to turn toward him. I finally faced him and said, "Interesting."

Unlike Monbiot, I've learned not to engage these oddballs. I don't humor them, but I don't argue with them either. I say, simply, "Interesting," and move on. Maybe, I reason, they'll thereby lose interest and restrict their rants to each other.

I do have this query, however: How crazy do you have to be--how deeply paranoid about government, how downright delusional about the reality of events and human behavior--must one be to foster these conspiracy theories? I mean, I can understand beliefs in burning bushes (no pun intended), immaculate conception, even Roswell (although that's a stretch for me). These have some spiritual basis or factual possibility. But a mass murder and a mass coverup like 9/11? All I've got to say is, There are crazies on all sides of us--and each of them has one vote. So, guys and gals, vote early and often.

An fitting epitaph

for this fellow might be, "Rot in hell."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Why I love the internet

Yesterday, as I was surfing the net among my usual sites--iCasualities.org, Buzzflash, you know the drill--I was eating an avocado. I've found the best avocados in the world (I have a fetish for the fruit, having lived here in avocadoland for ten years, and being a regular at the annual festival in Carpinteria). These "best" avocados are sold by a particular vendor at the SB farmers' market (he only attends two a week, the Saturday market on Cota Street and the Tuesday market on State). His avocados are of the Haas variety, but, says the Latino vendor, they come from a particular type of tree that has been transplanted from Mexico. The fruit is almost spherical, has a slightly wrinkly deep-black skin and is heavier than other avocados. (To my dismay, the vendor told me the season for this type was ending soon.)
So anyway--I was surfiing the net about Iraq when it occurred to me to wonder whether there was a significant caloric or nutritional difference among the varying types of avocados. I know, by experience, that some are watery, some have a stringy quality, and none are as rich and heavy and creamy as my favorites.
So--I clicked on Google, entered "avocado calories" and searched for about five minutes. Among the hundreds of available, relevant sites I learned that indeed there did seem to be a difference in calories as well as fat content among avocado types, and that it appeared that Haas was the highest in both calories and fat. I couldn't find the values for my particular vendor's version (his name's Manuel and he lives in Santa Paula), but oh well.
Love that internet, except of course as an inveterate calorie-counter this was not good news. I suppose, however, I should at least be grateful that it's the end of Manuel's trees' harvesting season.