Friday, April 2, 2010

Charity: An Opiate for Humanity

When hearts bleed, minds numb. My vitriol is engorged. Sick children, 'eh? I'll cry for Jerry's Kids later. Perhaps normal childrens' mockery of short-bus kids becomes pity in adulthood. If anyone is to be pitied, it's those who are retarded yet well. Worse still are cheerful givers without cause. Charity is glorified in a world of greed and inequity. Makes perfect sense. A "good cause" is a feelgood cause, nothing more. Many causes go unnoticed, the best of them have already been lost.

Our motives for giving, to whom we donate, and under what circumstances all reveal the true meaning of kindness.

Contradictions and hypocrisy elude softened minds amidst happy talk. Leaving my apartment is a daily adventure in annoyance of dysphoric ferocity, but we've all got billionaires to feed. I bag groceries from the conveyor as duped, spoiled cashiers whore on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

"Cough up just another dollar which will be added to the cost of your opulent shopping order, and you'll be a hero whose handwritten name shall be temporarily immortalized on a paper "shamrock." Please tear the $1 Borden milk coupon off your shamrock not as compensation, but a token of humanity's esteem." There goes another exalted soul, answering the call to help the sick. All concerned were pleased to rack up another "good deed," a phrase which means nothing more than whatever the Hell you wish it to.

Mass layoffs do good for some people--selfish bastards. The "selfless act" theory is probably the cornerstone of idealism destroyed most easily. Barring thoughtless mistake, we do everything to either feel good or avoid feeling bad. Common knowledge, but reality can feel good to eschew.

"I feel bad every time I don't do it [donate to MDA at checkout], a customer told a cashier for whom I was bagging. How likely is it that he feels bad for enjoying his middle class leisure rather than volunteering at inner-city soup kitchens? What of the homeless bums such a man perhaps encounters during his white collar life downtown? When prompted to donate by a cashier, the most common responses are "not today" and "I already did." That was a yes or no question and "no" is only one goddamn syllable. How revealing, you people sicken me.

Steaks bagged, paying customers whip out a wallet packed with what they do not correctly recognize as tantamount to wealth. This would be the appropriate time to donate to whatever cause: to reassure oneself that he's a "good person" by ostensibly feeling pity and acknowledging that certain types of people determined by the preconceived notions of that individual donor are indeed less fortunate and deserving of help. Pavlovian dogs.

"Of course not," I responded to a floor supervisor who asked if I would donate ... after searching his eyes in anticipation of a punch line. My feelgood money is best spent on rotgut. "As soon as someone donates $1 to me, I'll donate 25 cents to somebody else. If I'm not getting anything, why should I give a fuck.?" Fun retort, indeed. My contributions are to the few, borderline trustworthy who have shown me such kindness absent of some ulterior motive I found bothersome. To "give back to the community" incorrectly implies I've received something positive from it. Find an anomalous example of someone who has and come after that tightwad. I feel good when things make sense.

If doing good for nobody in particular for no concrete reason gratifies your neurons, indulgence is the clear choice. Just don't be so eager to consider it an act of pure altruism.

What of those Pavlovian do-gooders? Was their heart in the right place after all? Will Western civilization grant exception to a revered cliche and tell us the ultimate result matters more than the thought behind it? As usual, a lack of thought has done the damage. If people really cared about anybody but their own--which of course we don't because we're only human--they would make an effort. Donating some amount which is minuscule relative to your income to some minority with exceptional bleeding-heart appeal really helps nothing. As with voting, you can at least carry on with your little life as if anything at all had been accomplished by your gesture.

Forget about the sensationalistic, think of common problems that destroy everyday people. Diseases of the mind, bludgeoned souls, and the epidemic of poverty cost more lives and dollars than muscular dystrophy or even demon cholesterol. Hearts cry like a Hallmark card over only the sob stories that sell. People think they care just because they feel they must. Callousness is almost as socially unacceptable as smoking. The truth is cold, which many Americans only think they know something about.

Consider the winter parking lot. Perceiving discomfort as calamity, the soft majority seek heat with a frenzy only to bewail their suffering once inside the building. People are obsessed with warmth--bullshit provides an infinite supply.

The Haitians are getting bumrushed, what else is new? Nobody gives a floor fuck about poor blacks in South Dallas; provided we haven't heard their inspirational human interest story on a local newscast within the past few minutes. Hence, these nobodies have no justifiable reason to give those Caribbeans their cash. My bad, Haiti's failure is excused by natural disaster, whereas any broke ass in this country must be a degenerate loser.

No, I don't claim to be any different. If I had a damn left to give, I'd enjoy it alone.

It's logic time. If the Haitians don't like the situation in their homeland, let them flock to ours like the citizens of a Third World country obviously should. They might get more than the Red Cross has to offer. Donate on April 15 with your typical gung-ho generosity. If your income is substantial enough to annoy me on the grounds that you are a pampered waste of space, then quit your tax-time bitching. Third World immigrants take jobs of vital importance from America's Third Estate. Right, we're degenerate losers anyways.

Nevertheless, giving to the genuinely needy makes good sense. Equally true is that they should receive only what they need. The evening before my store began taking donations for the MDA, a horrifically obese family of three procured $425 of groceries at the taxpayers' expense. Quite common. Food Stamps, or EBT as the debit cards are commonly known, in many cases exemplify the despicable side of forced altruism. For a good while, I would spend no more than $1 a day on food. Items like meat and real cheese are a luxury. That such is considered a need is demonstrative of how strongly the "spoiled bastard mentality" is encouraged. People have to eat even when they can't pay, but not ribs and ice cream for fuck's sake.

Selling one's Food Stamps for 50 cents on the dollar is common practice. This is illegal, of course, as attempts at survival often are. There's certainly no moral reason why people shouldn't make money when they can. Nevermind the current recession, the job market has sucked for quite a while longer. Underemployment has always been the economic damnation we hear nothing about. Getting a job is only a fraction of the struggle, as it probably means part-time employment whether you can live off that or not. Forty hours is typically out of the question, 25 being more likely.

Several years ago, I was forced to work only 18 hour weeks and unable to find a second job. I truly considered myself fortunate to live off $470 a month. I could actually pay my half of the rent, so things were alright. Most adults' lives aren't so simple. Where were our silver-tongued and silver-spooned presidents? They'll damn sure make televised appeals to our wallets on behalf of Haitians. Truly moving.

People obviously don't care but few can resist high drama. We've been conditioned to yield to our emotions. This is exactly how power is taken and profits are made.

My employer's last day of collecting for the MDA was March 27. As usual, I got off at 10 pm. On my way out, that same floor supervisor asked if I would donate--this time in jest. He thought it unfortunate that only three hours before closing time, the store was 20 shamrocks short of it's goal. That's what it was all about, a corporation's silly little goal. When it comes to helping others, does anyone have a goal that means anything?

Setting aside my personal annoyance, charity is a good thing. Perhaps we need more of it. However, it must be based in reality. Donate or simply refuse, just think before deciding. Many people would like panhandling outlawed, I wonder how many of them bought a shamrock.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pipes Supplant Cigarettes

Carcinogens of love burn in my bowl of joy. From a hobby to a reminder of a dead family patriarch, pipe smoking is many things to many people. Cigarettes are despised, yet aromatic pipe blends never fail to charm. Many times, bystanders just toss a glance of mockery or assume the pipe merely serves as an attention getter.

For smokers who know, it's not about winning the approval of non-smokers and certainly not a fashion statement. It's really about the love for the leaf, and a cigar just won't do. Cigarettes assailed my lungs, and then pipes won my heart.

Switching from cigarettes to pipes is nothing new. After buying my first pipe in 2001, I was told my father did the same in the '70s. Him and probably most fail at this; I did a few times until my recent success. Pipes are never to be inhaled; also most blends are too strong for the human lung. As smoking goes, cigarettes are pretty lame, but superior at nicotine delivery, filling the lungs with satisfaction.

Pipe tobacco offers nicotine of course, but only that which is absorbed through the mouth lining. The pipes' true advantage is the smoking experience, not mere addiction.

Common smokers apologize for smoking, smoke "light" cigarettes, and see little else in their habit but feeding a drug addiction. Mostly outdoors, I'm sure. This is one reason why living alone is a must. If you lower yourself to "ultra lights," you may as well quit and suck on toothpicks.

They probably started as part of adolescent rebellion or some such asininity. If this is their idea of smoking, they should just give up. Common smokers have already - at least politically and socially. I have no regrets or apologies. I love the leaf dearly and avidly.

Pipe tobacco is now my poison of joy and for the most popular reason. I live at the poverty line, and giving up cigarettes was my only way out of the hole. Pipe smoking, my favorite smoke, costs me less than 75 cents a day compared to roughly $6.70 on cigarettes. The latter figure is also my hourly wage. I might as well have been swilling Vicodin.

Even before Texas' latest tax hike, it became clear that a heavy smoking habit was unrealistic even for a full-time worker having no dependents, a car, or cable TV. After cigarettes and bills, I only had $80 a month for food, my cat's needs and everything else. Cutting down probably wouldn't help, while any less than 30 a day is just enough to piss me off.

Pulmonary love was dead to me; I no longer needed it. I retired my special chrome cigarette lighter and consulted my pipe rack, a pristine beauty I scored at a thrift store for $2. Prince Albert Crimp Cut is the all-day smoke I crave every day. It's been around since 1907 and the reasons are clear. The stuff burns well and tastes like pipe tobacco should; this is the real deal. At $3 a pouch, money is no object. At present, that is.

I just "Googled" the Prince's illustrious name. Oh, my God. Against all remaining decency in the not actually free world, the blend's image has been unspeakably defiled by present-day vulgarians. Formerly known as a dear piece of Americana, "Prince Albert" is now slang for some goddamn male genital piercing! Damn the purveyors and partakers straight to Hell just so I can watch them burn.

Obviously, "male piercing" is an oxymoron. Jewelry is great; I wear a men's ring and a men's bracelet, but there is no damned piercing that a man should wear. Paying to have your penis mutilated only proves you are disturbed in addition to tragically stupid. Put on a dress and go die somewhere, dolt-ass loser.

Freaks obsessively strive to make a statement and always in the most moronic way possible. You didn't need any piercing; we already knew you were an ass clown. These worthless, degenerate wads of gutter-trash would film a filth fetish orgy on the American flag just to act cute and piss off your mother.

I digress. I couldn't live without mentioning that. Now the healing can begin.

Quitting cigarettes took a bizarre turn. At work in the produce department, I craved the old surge of nicotine. Not wanting to cripple my transition to pipes, I opted for dip rather than smokes. I've always thought of smokeless tobacco as vomitous to witness and only for disgusting losers.

This occurred to me as I spat brown into trashcans in the produce backroom. This became my workplace norm for the week; working front end affords no opportunity to spit putrescence all day. Actually, the "straight" variety is tasty - in a mouthful of poisonous saliva sort of way.

By my second week of dip experimentation, I was dipping at home. By this time, I was looking forward to trying chewing tobacco, thinking this would provide a more intimate relationship with my poison. Sucking on straight, long cut at my computer, I was feeling pretty good. Smokeless gives an even stronger nicotine fix.

A spit that should have been just like any other was "oh, damn!" red with my blood. I spat even more blood into the sink, cleaned up, and swore off smokeless. I'm thankful something saved me from myself, because that was most repulsive and just plain wrong.

The Prince and I are happy together along with my rack of straight brairs. I carry a pipe all day and keep lighting up with my specially ordered solid brass Zippo pipe lighter. Whether I'm taken by cancer or natural causes, smoking is my favorite indulgence and I'm keeping it for life. It's great to finally be at peace with the right smoke for me. It'll be damn fine to spend that extra $50 a week - on booze, of course.

Pipe smoking is at least worth a try. You've got Internet access, so I recommend researching before smoking. Maybe you're one of those lost souls who should try quitting - again. Whatever your smoking preference, keep it burnin'.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Civilization's Weather Obsession: Please Shut Up

Texas is just a warmer version of Hell. I burn in the Nazi war criminal section. In a region where the weather changes continuously, one might expect that people would tire of talking about petty cold and heat. Sadly, weather trumps war, impending global depression, and all manner of human suffering on planet entropy. Ultimately, people just need to talk about nothing for no actual reason and to dissect the obvious. I work with the general public; I get to hear all about it.

I've never understood the popular obsession with the weather. Aside from sports, weather is the most trivial segment in any newscast, yet Americans just can't live without an update. Many disbelieve meteorologists' projections and listen to them anyway.

I've also never found any good reason to follow the weather. I ride a bicycle to work and go shopping on foot. I should know the importance of weather conditions more than most drivers. Who in reality ever holds a picnic? Nobody ventures to parks unless it is to do "cardio" in the gayest outfit possible or to attack said joggers. Clearly, America is placing quite a value on what amounts to chump change.

North Texas has been stricken with what passes as a heat wave this time of year. Customers blither with joy over the sunny pestilence and expect me to join in on "praise and worship." Warm weather, excellent. Perhaps we'll see putrid man feet spreading over those damned flip-flops John Q. Dirtbag treasures so. Already we see the cotton vulgarity that is the T-shirt littering the streets of Dallas like used condoms and syringes.

I rant because they rejoice. How intolerable of them.

Is nobody bothered by that sickening sweat? How about the insect plagues enabled by warm weather? Inexplicably, some people look forward to the heat of the year. By the same token, squalor abounds and many filth-enrobed hands will never feel the lather of those bars they were forbidden to embrace.

Scantily clad women often don't elicit thoughts of a tactile sampling. All the wrong bodies are showing too damn much. Shake what the Arches gave ya'. There you have it, a walking cautionary tale akin to waving lung disease photos at us tobacco fiends. Emphysema is looking like a real winner.

The concept of dressing for the season always struck me as ridiculous. This would mean leaving half of the wardrobe you went into debt for lying dormant at all times. I own no short sleeves, only dress shirts and the obligatory wife beaters. My solution is to wear exactly the same type outfit every day and keep a trench coat for winter. Besides, the popular idea of summer clothes burns tastefulness at the stake.

Nature's everyday trivialities get more airtime than hyped up hurricanes, but reality scoffs at the obsession. We spend the bulk of our time indoors where centuries of innovation provide the comforts we call necessities. Few lives are claimed by the daunting sojourn from office to air-conditioned car. Sure it was hot, but there's little whining at the bus stop. Seemingly, those with the greatest luxuries bitch the most about their discomforts.

I've made three-mile walks under Texas heat. I didn't whine because it didn't seem worth lamenting. The pain and purple hands dealt by wintry winds, rain soaked clothes, and even the miseries of summer I loathe are soon dismissed. Dwelling on the uncontrollable makes it unbearable; it must therefore become irrelevant.

We resign ourselves to seasonal discomforts and keep moving. I'm referring to Dallas, Texas - not any region home to hockey fans or the French-speaking. In your locale, you just might be screwed.

If conversing must be a nervous habit, perhaps we could talk about what we may actually be able to control. If that's insurmountable, we could at least exchange real viewpoints and observations. If none of these options are suitable, then everybody shut the Hell up, because we have no reason to speak. I'm damn tired of listening.

How many people did they discuss the weather with before accosting me? Afterwards? Either weather conditions so captivate the forefront of their consciousness or they just favor the popular excuse for interrupting a bystander's train of thought.

Show me someone who was actually thinking of the sky's hue and I'll show you a bag of liquorice with greater intellect. If they weren't senselessly blithering, a worthwhile thought might have made it out alive. Only God knows how many brainchildren were aborted.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Neo-Illiteracy

R U illiterate? Sure, our educational system sucks, but school is a mere half measure. The greatest threat to modern literacy is the 21st century itself. Technological advancement has exacerbated age-old dumbness, as the lowest common denominator writhes in glee.

Essentially, we learn all the English we need in elementary school. That's right, not even indolent dropouts like me have an excuse. We all have a responsibility to grow intellectually rather than let our minds shrivel up and die.

When the Hell did Dickens or Hemingway ever write in pigdin English? As a conscientious literary mind, I gasped in horror upon cracking the “LOL” code. Freshly evolved gray matter reverts to ooze. Mark Twain wants to see us all in Hell. There are neither “Xs” nor “Os” in “hugs and kisses.” Both forms of human contact are too much to bear, yet not enough to get me there. How does an intellectual pig write, “go die somewhere.”

E-mailing forged barren frontiers. Reading a friend's e-mail can be like finding him with a corpse and shovel. Bewildered like a kitten in snowfall, dimmer wits use their keyboards like preschoolers drool on finger paint. To their credit, the little tikes are more likely to wash their hands after licking. Cruel imagery. Why do I nauseate myself?

I suppose some people thought the term “spell check” a chat room come-on. For decency's sake, this basic word processing function was made with their cerebral desolation in mind. It's also for stoned writers - so I've heard. Commas are a myth and periods are obsolete, as the only punctuation to be found are streams of exclamation points. Damn you, dullard scum! That's an exclamation point in its proper place and one is all it takes.

Although a star reporter as a college freshman, I kept failing English 101. Terms like “participle” and “gerund” are meaningless. I don't even know what a damned predicate is, nor do I care. Education is overrated and college English is no different than that of grade school. A fifth grade education is all we need to write a proper e-mail. Intellectual growth and rejecting popular sloth is the key.

Knowing how to write wins supporters and opens doors simply because most people lack that ability. During my practice as a student entrepreneur, a dolt I affectionately addressed as “Hooked on Phonics” was my biggest buyer of college essays. No deadline was impossible and no fee too low as I laid it down for nimrods who found it easier to pay than think. That's true sloth.

We use money and technology when brainpower trumps them both. Thought is bypassed with acronyms and teenage girl-esque slang. Even a dog's bark is a language. Is alpha grunting the next hot fashion?

If letter writing is indeed a lost art, true literacy will succumb to the domino effect. Skillfully writing an e-mail is an utterly basic way to make a good impression and even distinguish yourself. Yeah, this is my good impression; in person I just seem pissed and insane.

Our great language is found everywhere, yet competent usage eludes so many. Slang is used whenever possible: I prefer old-fashioned profanity. Books are available at supermarkets, yet only tabloids are sold. Many Americans subscribe to Christianity, yet are unaware the book of Proverbs calls them “a fool.”

Before cable TV and the Internet, it was either dull TV shows or a good book. I read most of the classics; read them again, ran out of books, and resorted to encyclopedias. Yes, I'm a scholar of useless information, but you have to give a damn about Shakespeare to be on Jeopardy!

Five minutes later, every youth is plugged into one idiot box or another and engaged in techno-mindless activity whenever possible. A new variant of illiteracy is poised to pervert the way we use language and intellectually maim our country's future. What a Hell-bound future it is.

How can one have any genuine train of thought when playing with a goddamn cell phone at all times? I write down more thoughts than I blurt out as if it were urgent business or the meaning of life. I've got a cell phone, but I can't figure out text messaging for some reason. Oh, yeah, that's because I'm fully literate. I've read more cogent statements on bathroom walls than on cell phones. Convenience store owners use less broken English.

Future generations are pretty much screwed regardless, and adults' minds are just as easily influenced. Whether scholars or nimrods, we became literate by practice. Practice can also have degenerative effects on the mind.

Writing ability and intellectual growth itself is a lifelong process. Articles of mine that were hailed in college I now see as preschool finger paintings. My developmental milestones since then have been my sweetest moments. Nothing would please me more than to see my mind grow further.

America is fine with becoming fat; shall we grow dumber as well?

Monday, July 14, 2008

American Democracy: Suicide by Representative

America is the new Russia. As weekend patriots backed up freeways and blew off their hands in remembrance of the rockets' red glare, they should have been reminded of the black haze in lower Manhattan. The fallout of September 11 is the fall of the United States. Why revere the desecrated flag of a vanquished nation?

Just like oppressive Russia and Commie-ass China, our "land of the free" is listed as an endemic surveillance society by civil liberties organizations worldwide. Given a disaster on American soil or a tidy false flag operation, our president has full legal authority to unilaterally transform the 50 states into a police state. By "police state" I of course mean a nation ruled by a dictator and raped by martial law as dissidents are whisked away to concentration camps. Executive orders are a bitch, just like our impotent Congress.

Without Congressional oversight, George W. Bush is whoring for a burgeoning conspiracy to form a borderless trinational government with Canada and Mexico by 2010, complete with a unified currency. Barack Obama and John McCain support the plot. Anyway, let's all wallow in complacency and find out the hard way; I hear compulsory biometric identification is way cool.

These and other velvet gloved bitch slaps were dealt under the pretext of saving us from terrorism. Enjoy the security.

Freedom doesn't come free. Is the price to be paid solely by members of the armed forces, or will average citizens ante up? Who will bother to vote in November, or has the democratic process become irrelevant and our ballots a punch line to the ruling class? These byproducts of capitalism hate our rights and have declared war on the American people. The elite among our elected officials are silver-spooned treasoners. Those who undermine the Constitution have been glorified at rallies by patriotic Americans. Half measures are the offspring of cowardice and sloth — voting itself just won't do.

Neither will CNN. I gather that a great many Americans wouldn't know what much of this article refers to. Dismissing it all as conspiracy theory born of psychosis would feel soothing. The feel good approach is the American way. Conspiracy, yes; but all fact. In the 21st century, a conspiracy theorist need only point out the blatantly obvious. This and much more is readily available from reference websites, credible sources and independent journalists. If they seem insane, go to the source and take note of our fearless leader's executive orders. At this website, you can even subscribe to an online newsletter. If you want the real news and have a Google account, I highly recommend using Google alerts.

It is actually quite easy to spot the morons and wack jobs among us bloggers. They are borderline illiterate and use phrases like "dastardly deeds." Although references to 1984 get old fast and George Orwell was clearly an optimist, they are typically not indicative of a rebel without credibility.

Clearly, you have Internet access. What do you know about: NSPD-51, FEMA camps, the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act of 2006, the Protect America Act, Oliver North's REX-84, RFID, and the Real ID Act? These are the complete foundation of an American dictatorship, and all are undisputed fact. That's right, think of Stalin and the Schutzstaffel.

So, the FEMA camp theories have been debunked? Debunkers are after every cabal, including the Holocaust. I refer you to the YouTube report recorded at a FEMA camp and encourage you to fit a Google search into your day and draw your own conclusions. Our logic is that theorists are morons and debunkers must be right, yet denying the Holocaust — which I do not — is considered tantamount to blasphemy. Ignorance abounds, everybody has an agenda, and the truth is often difficult to accept.

What's more troubling than concentration camps is how we may arrive there. National Security Presidential Directive 51, an executive order, gives the executive branch supreme authority in deciding what constitutes a national emergency and when the emergency ends. Sounds trite and harmless, but prepare to wet yourself. In the event of such an incident, whether it be another massive hurricane, demonstration or "terrorist attack," martial law may be declared by the president with nothing more than a signature from the attorney general. Under martial law, the Constitution would be suspended and FEMA would assume control of the government.

Such a coup was engineered by Iran-Contra conspirator Lt. Col. Oliver North in Readiness Exercise 1984, code named "REX-84." Under this contingency plan, those deemed a threat to the government would be taken to FEMA camps. The list of potential detainees dates back to J. Edgar Hoover's "security index" in 1950. Hoover told the White House that in the event of an emergency, those on the list would be detained. The list, which includes writers and scholars, was allegedly maintained and updated until the '80s, when it was turned over to FEMA.

Paranoid Hoover suspected thousands of being pinkos and dangerous radicals. According to one ostensibly credible source I know of, some 8 million American names are currently listed in a master database referred to as Main Core. Numerous sources state that approximately 800 FEMA camps nationwide stand ready to detain these citizens. Nevertheless, the exact figures remain unknown and little is known about Main Core — including the database's true name or if it actually exists. Other such lists, however, we all know of. In post September 11 America, technologically advanced, ruled by lawlessness, and under surveillance, all bets are off.

Under martial law, the legislative and judicial branches would have no actual power, making the executive branch the only authority. Just as detailed in REX-84, military commanders would assume control of state and local governments. In this event, the president-turned-dictator has every right to cancel the elections.

Imagine Bush's delight as he's mocked as a buffoon on comedy shows. If he did take the short bus to Air Force One, he'd be too harmeless to rape the nation and get away with high treason. By a majority vote, we're the retards.

The John Warner National Defense Act of 2006 made the illegal perfectly okay, allowing the US military to be deployed on American soil in the event of a "natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack, or incident." Incident? Seems like they'll find any excuse. This was passed in 2006, when the nation seemed safe again and "terrorism" was little more than a word thrown around by government officials.

I merely pretended to know what I was talking about when I decribed NSPD-51. In reality, none of us know how far it's gone. Congressman Peter DeFazio, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee sought access to "classified annexes" in NSPD-51. DeFazio and the chairman of that committee were abruptly denied access.

"I just can't believe they're going to deny a member of Congress the right of reviewing how they plan to conduct the government of the United States after a significant terrorist attack. Maybe the people who think there's a conspiracy out there are right," DeFazio said. This poetic declaration was made just before he bowed to the beast and encouraged us to trust our government. Accountability is obsolete and corruption is accepted, yet we should have faith.

If this is news to you, you're what's wrong with America. Perhaps you heard the theories, maybe you dismissed them with a snicker. That was my reaction — then I did some reading. Why should we bother? This could never happen; a decade ago we must have thought the Twin Towers invincible. Screw it, let's hunt for money and sex, watch TV, and let the nation we take for granted go straight to Hell.

By law, this great country could be transformed into a police state literally overnight with the presidential election canceled. Our sellout mass media remains silent as typical Americans are reveling in couch time rather than protesting. Obviously, we deserve absolute subjugation and have done less than nothing to make us worthy of enjoying Constitutional rights. So long as this remains the case, patriotism and Independence Day will remain a national joke in the eyes of pragmatism.

Lowlife Bush is not the true culprit and only a delusional person could think Obama or McCain will save our asses. No government in whatever utopia would volunteer to relinquish the powers of a police state.

The real problem isn't gas prices or even the war. I'm an unskilled laborer, not some scholarly, lily-handed prick with a thesaurus under his pillow. Perhaps America can still be saved, or whatever. Her fate will not be determined by the powers that be, but by commoners like you and me. Let's try not to screw ourselves over.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Demise of Joe Camel

Just as Marlboro killed two Marlboro Men, R.J. Reynolds has disemboweled Joe Camel. Cigarette makers can't help but turn on their own. Although the new package design for Camel cigarettes seems innocuous and perhaps even alluring, it should come with a warning. The Surgeon General? Screw him. Flavor conscious smokers beware: Camels now suck with reckless abandon.

R.J. Reynolds has been pulling asinine tricks with Camels for some time. Think of all those nonsense smokes like "Turkish Royal," "No. 9," "Exotics," and "Turkish Silver." I've had most of these, which are generally "light" cigarettes severely lacking in genuine tobacco taste and laced with silly flavorings. In my defense, I'm sometimes dead broke and such putrescence is often on sale.

As if their cigarettes weren't jerk-off enough, they thought it clever to sell them in slide boxes and "art packs." Even worse than marketing to children, they have been pandering to the club going, light beer drinking, Starbucks-ass college kid demographic and obviously to California's gayest one percent. Clearly, we should have seen this coming.

The bold, rich flavor that Camel smokers like myself have fallen in love with has been gutted in an apparent appeal to slouching, skateboarding-ass schoolboys who smoke Marlboro Lights. R.J. Reynolds boasts of "world-class smoothness." Precisely the problem. The new generation of Camels are smooth to the point of blandness, having the flavor strength of a "light" cigarette. It's like smoking mayonnaise. Apparently, they contain excessively more of that "Turkish" tobacco they're so damn proud of. Camel Filters now taste much like those pitiful Turkish Golds.

I cracked open my first carton of the new Camels, lit up, and thought about quitting. This corporation has twice shafted us, as this punk move comes after the abolishment of Camel Cash, which scored me cartons of free smokes. Conspiracy theory: R.J. Reynolds has been surreptitiously infiltrated by rabid anti-smokers and Philip Morris stockholders.

I did quit. For 11 days I traded up to a real smoke: Carter Hall in a straight briar. Cigarette cravings were abruptly quelled by the troubling memories of those bastardized Camels. Sensibilities vanquished by addiction, I bowed to the beast and began smoking Marlboro Red. In the days before my palate hit puberty, I smoked these fast-burning losers. I stumbled upon a superior smoke when a recession hit. I was unemployed and Camels were on sale - and so it began. They were exquisite, and paired marvelously with dark beer or coffee. Swilling coffee and chain-smoking in a working-class diner is the enlightened man's meditation.

It was slick marketing rather than actual tobacco that made Marlboro the international favorite. The uneventful flavor becomes loathsome and tastes of chemicals. The ash flies everywhere. Walk in any measurable rain with one and watch how fast the flimsy stick disintegrates. If presented with a smoldering Marlboro Red, I'll put it out in my best eye rather than smoke it. I have a full carton and I'm looking for a buyer.

Utterly desperate to smoke something that damn sure wouldn't taste like Reds, I sullied my Zippo with Marlboro Menthol Lights. Menthols are ridiculous, and smoking "light" cigarettes is a pointless waste of lung capacity. Crack must have been in my quarter bent that day. Camel non-filters are still the same, but cost an extra $1 per pack and are not universally available. The same is true of the rich, delicious, toasty Lucky Strikes. These two brands are undoubtedly the best cigarettes in America. True, high-end smokes like Nat Shermans are sublime, but hardly comparable to a serious smoke like Luckies.

Winstons are my new smoke. They are touted as "additive free" - like I care; additives may taste good for all I know. "Naturally smooth," the pack reads. As demonstrated, smoothness is overrated. However, they actually do "taste good like a cigarette should." Although robust and positively superior to Marlboros, the flavor strength isn't quite that of an old Camel. I suppose this is as close as it gets. Winstons are a satisfying smoke with a round, distinctive flavor.

According to R.J. Reynolds, the tobacco in Winston Selects has been aged longer for a richer flavor. As I recall, they have more depth of flavor than standard kings, but produce a horrid room note and are available at few places but cigarette shops. Personally, I prefer the classic taste of regular Winstons.

Times are changing, and smoking is going the way of the once-venerable Joe Camel. To change with the times is to wallow in defeat. Nevertheless, some of us have been dragged down to the level of "compromise." Ironically, switching to Winstons only continues to reward the Camel-butchering scum. Cigarettes are with us always and they should always satisfy.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Smoking in the Free World

"Live free or die?" Just go kill yourself. As the insidious alliance of activists and legislators decide how smoke free the world will be, the masses must define freedom and defend liberty. Many things are obsolescent these days. Personal choice is vanishing like payphones under a democratic government empowered by the fears and intellectual sloth of its' constituents.

I've been subscribing to daily online newsletter Tobacco News since March. Flipping through these sloppy e-mails, I see the systematic disembowelment of a cherished pleasure and one facet of the repressive future our complacency has earned us. Every day, smokers lose ground to the passage of legislation driven by political correctness and conjecture. The California cancer has mestatized throughout the United States and the erosion of smokers' rights is a global crisis.

The standard pro-smoking argument is well worn, so I'll beat a horse that still displays minimal brain activity. In the interest of basic common sense, all smokers must not be lumped into one group. There are many cigar and pipe smokers who indulge in healthy moderation not for a nicotine fix, but for the love of the leaf. In addition to my cigarette habit, I've been a pipe smoker for several years. Visit a pipe smokers' website. You'll find health conscious connoisseurs examining the finer points of what they refer to as a "hobby."

A 1979 revision of the Surgeon General's 1964 report on tobacco found that pipe smokers with a daily consumption of four bowls or fewer live longer than non-smokers. Theoretically, this may be attributable to the remarkable psychological comfort delivered by a good smoke. A Swedish study of non-smoking twins and pipe-smoking twins basically drew the same results. Although an overlooked minority, many people enjoy tobacco to the fullest without addiction or untimely death.

Clearly, these and other facts are irrelevant to the anti-smoking cabal. The recently debated issue of shisha, or hookah smoking comes to mind. The delicious tobacco blends used in shishas are predominantly composed of molasses and fruit. The shisha offers an incredibly mild, cool smoke even non-smokers can enjoy. I find that unlike cigarettes, the shisha induces a strong relaxation through deep inhalation rather than nicotine.

Anti-smokers don't care about the common man, either. A smoking ban for shisha cafes in England will take effect in June 2007. "It will break my business," owner of London's Palms Palace shisha cafe Qais Siza told CNN. "This is the only business I have, how would it survive?" English Arabs are up in arms, as shisha smoking is a cultural activity. No smoking in establishments built around smoking? To the most self-righteous, loathsome people on earth, this ban may seem appropriate and fair.

Despite what some organizations would have you believe the positive side of smoking is real. Truer still is our inherent right to indulge and abstain without regard to Hitlerian trends, political correctness and personal health. Those who would have it otherwise are a blight to free society. Increasingly, one-fourth of America is treated with disdain and intolerance merely for lighting up. Tolerance means so much more than speaking carefully and kissing minority ass.

I once interviewed a neo-Nazi who reluctantly accepted a cigarette I offered him, saying he had quit smoking out of devotion to the values of the infamous National Alliance. In fact, xenophobia incarnate Adolf Hitler was a pioneer in the anti-smoking movement. His legacy endures as the United States--ironically a country of pornographic obesity--aspires to the questionable goal of national health.

Moments after Hitler's suicide, officers and gentlemen throughout the Fuhrerbunker began lighting up--celebratory cigarettes, I presume. Across the Atlantic 62 years later, an advancing political force armed to the teeth is swallowing champagne rather than cyanide. Although change is underway, today's victorious Germany is a shining beacon internationally known as a smokers' paradise.

England's King James tried and failed to quell smoking 400 years ago. He thought heavy taxation was the ticket and made the mistake of setting the levy too high, forcing a massive tax reduction. When the laughable Volstead Act loomed over our "free country," some states enacted an equally ineffectual cigarette prohibition.

History's failures have taught present-day anti-smokers valuable lessons, I suppose. In the 21st century, smokers' worst enemy is not Big Brother. A misguided consensus of our peers, brainwashed apologetic smokers and people who would rather muzzle themselves via Big Mac than speak out are the instruments of this generation of anti-smokers. The gun pointed at Joe Camel's head is a perennial onslaught of PC propaganda created by ivory towered demagogues and their minions. We've given the government a mandate to pull the trigger. I think Hitler hated democracy merely because he didn't know how to work the system.

Incensed by news of a proposal to ban smoking in my city's restaurants, I tossed my newspaper aside and created the Smokers' Club at Richland College. In what could have been my fledgling club's finest hour, I tried to organize a protest of the smoke-Nazi mayor for her scheduled speech on campus. Student Programs and Resources refused to approve drafts of fliers for the event and only one student showed up. Maybe I just wanted a cheap thrill. Months of campaigning only to wait in vacant conference rooms forced me to abandon the club project.

At Richland, I couldn't fathom the purpose behind students' little Sierra Club activities. Saving the world from ecological holocaust; what a laughably futile endeavor. We could play into the illusion of democracy and vote with our lungs. As for activism, this national joke only works when aligned with political correctness. Should one person try to stop the advance of the machine in a world where the common man's life is cheaper than ever? Recycle if it makes you feel better, but entropy conquers all.