Monthly Archives: May 2013

Use your head

— America’s newest veterans are filing for disability benefits at a historic rate, claiming to be the most medically and mentally troubled generation of former troops the nation has ever seen.

A staggering 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related. That is more than double the estimate of 21 percent who filed such claims after the Gulf War in the early 1990s, top government officials told The Associated Press.

What’s more, these new veterans are claiming eight to nine ailments on average, and the most recent ones over the last year are claiming 11 to 14. By comparison, Vietnam veterans are currently receiving compensation for fewer than four, on average, and those from World War II and Korea, just two.

It’s unclear how much worse off these new veterans are than their predecessors. Many factors are driving the dramatic increase in claims – the weak economy, more troops surviving wounds, and more awareness of problems such as concussions and PTSD. Almost one-third have been granted disability so far.

If you had the ability to walk on water, or, perform other magical acts that clearly defy the laws of nature would you perform such acts in front of other people?  If your answer is yes, as Jesus’ answer seems to have been in this picture, I only have one more question.  Did you really expect to get even one fucking moments peace from that moment on?

So, here we have two totally unrelated issues that are screwing with Mrs. N.’s head at this very moment.  Or, are they unrelated?  I will leave that decision to the reader.

#1. The unbelievable number of people I come in contact with, here in America’s Bible Belt, who aspire to nothing more than a life-long disability.

#2.  How Jesus ever could have thought that his friends wouldn’t pester the crap out of him to perform magical stuff for them as a token of his friendship?

Both of these issues deal with human beings and, it seems to me, even a crude and rudimentary understanding of what it means to be human would lead one to conclude that, with regard to both issues above, there wasn’t much clear thinking going on.  Not on the part of the American Military and certainly not on the part of Jesus.

#1.  America has an ALL volunteer military!  What that means is ONLY young people with absolutely nothing better to do than have people shoot at them and try to kill them in many different nasty ways are going to join up.  These kids, on the whole, did rather poorly in school and had little hope of finding a job and supporting themselves in todays economy.  Even more than that, these kids had only a poor hope of even finding their home country on a map of the world.   They have little or nothing going for them and are ripe and ready to swallow the bullshit fed to them by military recruiters.  Hero status is, after all, but a signature away for this generation of gullible rubes.   It comes free with the uniform!

What, it appears, the geniuses down at the Pentagon didn’t count on is the fact that this generation of cannon fodder has never had to compete for anything.  Trophies were awarded them for just showing up.  Even spelling Bees were eliminated from their educational environment lest they be psychologically traumatized by their own poor performance.  Disability, in one form or another, was their lot in life pre military service and should have been expected to loom large in the future of each and every recruit, in one form or another, with few exceptions.    Somehow that appears not to have been the case.  Go figure.

#2.  This is truly baffling.  How could Jesus have thought that he could do something like walking on water, or, turning tap water into wine and NOT totally ruin his life from that point on?  Think about it.  If you knew someone who could do those things would you EVER leave it be… leave them alone about it?  Could you walk past a pond, or, even a decent sized puddle with Jesus and the rest of the boys without saying… “Jesus… show us, show us the walking on water thing… COME ON JESUS!… Ralph hasn’t seen you do it yet, have you Ralph?”

Who would kill a guy like that?  Better yet, who would throw a party or celebration of any kind without making sure to invite Jesus so he could provide the refreshments?  Jesus would have to show up, of course, because no to do so would be rude.  Talk about being in demand!

And what are the chances that Roman, or, Jewish entrepreneurs, theatrical booking agents if you will, would fail to notice a guy, a hot property, like this?  Was he signed to a multimillion shekel contract to play 10 sold out weeks at The Coliseum…? No.  We are supposed to believe that all the talent was just ignored… disregarded like it was nothing.  And nobody stood around yelling…. “Haven’t you seen what this guy can DO?”

We are supposed to believe that someone could walk on water and turn water into wine and everybody didn’t go crazy over it.  Come on.

We are supposed to believe that a generation who never had to compete for a damn thing could fight a war and come home again in one piece.  Come on.

When it comes to things like this Mrs. N. wonders why people just don’t use their heads.

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Perhaps it’s Just Me.

So far there have been 36 hours of non-stop news coverage and discussion of the tornado that hit Moore Oklahoma.  Every network has a crew on the scene and all the talking heads are falling all over themselves to interview what’s left of  the bedraggled inhabitants, and assure all involved that their prayers are with them.  “We are all praying for you” they claim.  My television is flooded with requests for donations to every conceivable “organization” claiming to be dedicated to helping the people.  Before I hit the hay last night the Pope in Rome was on TV claiming to be “with” the people of Moore Oklahoma.  He did not take that opportunity to remind them not to use condoms.  I thought that was a nice touch.

So, what’s really up with this?  Twenty-four people were killed.  That’s roughly the number of people killed from texting while driving every three days.  Oddly enough, texting while driving and getting killed, or, killing someone else doesn’t kick up nearly the hubbub that a good twister does.  No one is awed by, or, glued to their TVs over the coverage of a car accident.  No network, let alone all of them, will ever consider dedicating round the clock coverage to the carnage caused by texting while driving.  Even the Pope isn’t praying that people give it up.  Mrs. N. finds all this very curious.

Ever since I read about Terror Management Theory in Scientific American  I have had a hard time not seeing that American corporate media is out there 24/7 trying to fuck with our brains.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fear-death-and-politics

They never seem to miss a good opportunity to drill home the idea that if we are not currently terrified about something we are not really with the program here in the good old USA.  A few weeks ago it was getting blown up by crazy people while running a marathon.  Today it’s a twister.  Tomorrow it will be another school shooting or some other crazy bastard doing what crazy bastards are want to do… (crazy shit that kills people).  There will, again, be round the clock coverage and intimate portraits of people in pain, and prayers, lots and lots of prayers directed at the God who has a (seemingly insane) plan for us all.

The people of Moore Oklahoma were hit and flattened by another tornado less than 15 years ago.  Mrs. N. was struck by the fact that almost none of the people have tornado shelters in their homes or back yards.  I saw some of the residents on TV and heard their answers to questions from the talking heads with regard to why that is.  The general consensus seems to be… the ground is pretty hard in Oklahoma.  “It’s red clay don’t ya know”.  One Hispanic family was interviewed, and they all made it through without a scratch, and the father said that digging a shelter in the back yard was the best $2000 he ever spent.  $2000 it seems will save your ass in Tornado Alley, and yet it appears to be too much expense and bother for almost all the people who live there.  Go figure.

I’m sorry to have to report to all my friends at corporate media that Mrs. N. has not been left terrified by all their expensive coverage.  I don’t subconsciously hate people different from me any more after their coverage.  Any political leanings that I may have had have not become more rigid.  My plutocratic masters will not find me more easy to manipulate.  My life is just as absurd now as it was before.  If anything, the constant level of embarrassment for my species that I float in like a swimmer in a warm sea has been increased ever so slightly.

The Governor of Oklahoma took time out of her busy schedule of fighting abortions, birth control and any reasonable control females in her glorious state may wish to have over their reproductive systems to assure the world that the stupid bastards who live there and vote for her… WILL REBUILD!  The people I saw interviewed on TV all stated that they had every intention of staying in Moore Oklahoma, smack dab in the middle of Tornado Alley.

Oh, how much better Mrs. N. would have felt, how wonderful it would have been if just one person interviewed on TV would have said when asked if they planned on rebuilding…  Are you fucking nuts?  

No such luck I’m afraid.

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.

 

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Business as Usual

Mrs. N. has been safely back in the Homeland, the good old USA, for more than a full week now and everything is back to normal.  I’m swimming alone in a vast sea of absurdity, as I always have been, with that uneasy feeling in my gut that, just behind me lurking in the darkness there is something with big sharp teeth closing in to bite my legs off.

I have had many conversations with my fellow citizens of this capitalist utopia in the past 10 days.  As is my way I have talked to the young and the old with an eye to learning what makes them tick.  This past wednesday I had a conversation with a young man who is graduating High School in a few weeks.  I asked him his intentions and he informed me that he was joining the United States Air Force with the hope of becoming a drone pilot.  I know his family well.  They are Bible thumping Born Again Christians.  I told him that his career choice confused me.  I asked him how he could adhere to the Christian command that he “Should not kill” while putting himself into a position where he would be called upon to do just that.  He appeared confused at first, but, eventually took all the wind out of my sails by replying, “Well, that’s different.”

I have learned through painful experience not to attempt to engage in rational conversation with the religiously dissociated.  Instead, I attempt to concentrate my efforts to aid the youth of today on something that will, hopefully, do them some good.  Just viewing the young people here in the Great American Southland can at times be very painful.  Neck tattoos, outrageous piercing and religious symbols & cartoon figures, in garish colors, permanently etched on their young skin up and down their arms and legs.

This past week I have attempted to convince as many young men as I could to sport a Hitler mustache.  I inform them that, just as it was when I was a boy, it is the duty of the young to outrage their elders.  I ask them when was the last time they saw someone sporting a Hitler mustache?  I go on to assure them that NOTHING would piss off the authority figures in their life more than them attempting to look like Hitler.  I explain that “It’s free!”… I remind them that it involves no needles, painful holes in their anatomy and carries no risk of nasty infections.  I also remind them that, one day, should they ever change their mind, or, entertain the idea that they may wish to pursue gainful employment, they can simply shave it off and live the rest of their lives as if it never happened.  To date I must report that I have had, shall we say… limited success.  But, I have not given up.  I have learned through extensive research that cultural changes of this magnitude move, if at all, at a glacial pace.

On a more fascinating note.  While working in my extensive perennial beds and raking up billions of magnolia leaves in the roadway and along the margins of my vast one-third of an acre estate I have been approached by a few of my neighbors with the news of a new member of our little community.  It seems that I have a new neighbor across the street and a little to the right.  I had noticed that the grounds around the home in question had taken a distinct turn for the better.  The lawn is now well manicured and neat.  The flower beds have been planted with annuals and the porch is hung with gayly colored baskets and lush ferns.  In the driveway sits a shiny new BMW, a late model SUV and a Jeep.  My neighbors informed me that the home was purchased by a single mother with one young child.  The mother in question is a shapely young woman who purchased the home specifically because it was located next to the elementary school and her young daughter could both walk to class, and enjoy playing in the school playground during the summer months.

It’s a typical American success story actually.  “Local girl makes good” if you will.  It seems that mother has found entrepreneurial success and substantial monetary rewards in the entertainment industry.  Through hard work, imagination and “True Grit” she has parlayed her good looks and computer savvy into what can only be called a 21st Century home business empire.  In her own right she has become a Star.  She collects no Welfare and her daughter does not dine of food purchased with food stamps.  They are both, from what I have observed from across the street, always impeccably dressed.  Unlike the majority of young unmarried mothers in my community, my state, and my nation, she asks for no hand outs from my financially exhausted government.  As we are fond of saying here in the South…. “She is a maker, not a taker”.

What she “makes” and what she is famous for are high resolution videos of herself, and other people, shoving various objects up her behind.  She also maintains a web site where interested consumers of her “art” can receive one on one anatomy lessons, in real time, directly in the comfort of their own home simply by providing her with a valid credit card number.  Now, what could be easier than that?

So, if you hear that American enterprise has seen better days and the future looks anything but bright…  You tell them Mrs. N. knows better.  I have seen the future.  It lives right across the street.  Mrs. N. knows where we are all going.  Hey, if you have a valid credit card my neighbor will be happy to show you too.

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.

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My Triumphant Return

Mark Twain said… “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”  I don’t think that is true.

Having just returned from ten days of wandering through beautiful gardens, consuming magnificent beers in ancient Trappist Monasteries and stuffing myself with exquisitely prepared meals in gorgeous locations I find that, if anything, I’m more of a prejudiced bigot now than when I left.

Popeye The Sailor said… “I am what I am and that’s all what I am” and I’m going to have to agree with him on that.  Standing in line for one hour and forty-five minutes at the airport just outside the capital of the once greatest nation on earth just to get to see a Customs Agent who treated me like I was an agent of some Al-Qaeda sleeper cell brought it all back in spades to old Mrs. N. like the snap of a rubber band up the side of your head.  I’m home.

Just moments before I was a part of a magic act that involved me and a chair that flew through the air at over 500 miles an hour.  I returned from a land that was flatter than flat, manicured, and inhabited by people who were not obese, did not drive pick-up trucks and did not dedicate their lives to the endless accumulation of “stuff” that someone on TV told them would make them happy, but, never did.

For a full week and a half I didn’t see a Jesus fish sticker on the back of a car.  I didn’t see a pick-up truck.  I didn’t see a State Trooper, County Sheriff or local police car lurking behind a billboard… I didn’t even see a billboard.  Never spotted a fat kid with a video game in hand.  Not once did a stranger come up to me and ask if I had heard “The Good News” about Jesus.  I saw no litter in the streets.  Public transportation was clean, fast and ubiquitous.  Compared to the Capitalist Paradise I call home it was… different in ways I admit I was not quite prepared for.  It’s going to take Old Mrs. N. some time to process all this now that she is home.  I will be out in the garden this weekend.  There will be lots of time alone to think, to sterpulate, and to go over what I have experienced and what, perhaps, I have learned.  It’s too soon to try to make sense of it all now.  To early to go jumping to conclusions without having lengthy conversations with myself first, out among the magnolia leaves and seedlings.  It all hasn’t jelled yet.  It isn’t ready to be handled, let alone handed to anyone else.

I can give you this.  I learned that The Netherlands is a country that was made.  Only 7% of the land that makes up the country was there to begin with.  The rest was under water, or, under water at least part of the time.  As the saying goes… “God made the world, but, the Dutch made Holland”.   They did it over centuries by digging canals, building dikes and using over ten thousand windmills to pump out the water.  In the process a culture developed that put a high value on engineering skill, hard work and never, ever, disobeying the rules.  Showing off is considered exceptionally bad form and children are taught from the very beginning of their education that rules are meant to be followed without exception.  Life in The Netherlands is nothing at all like life in these United States.  I mean… Nothing at all.

I’m back now and so much of what I see and hear seems stupid.  Not that it didn’t seem stupid before, but, it’s even worse now knowing that here we sit, telling each other that Americans are the “exceptional” people and that everything we do is not only better, but, the only right way to do things.

Again and again and again Mrs. N. finds herself embarrassed at what it means to be human.  The other side of the coin is drinking beer in a Trappist Monastery…

Wandering through a garden of 7,000,000 tulips…

IMG_0630

Walking the streets of ancient towns that are clean and lively…

Drinking beer again…

and again…

and again…

Now, Mrs. N. doesn’t want any of you to get the mistaken notion that all she did in the Netherlands was drink beer and stuff her face with good food.  That would be far from the truth.  So, I will close this little piece of nonsense, this little slice of the absurdity that is my life with a picture of how one trains a tree to grow into the shape of a cube.  No doubt, like myself, many of you have always wanted to know.   Take a good look.

Now you do.

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.

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