I have absolutely had it with the 2012 political scene. Yeah, okay, the President isn't everything we hoped. We had such high hopes, it's not surprise he couldn't deliver on all of them.
But the alternative? If the alternative doesn't scare you to death, you must be a lunatic.
Why? I'll tell you. Strap in.
Rick Santorum and the other current Republican Presidential candidates are the American Taliban.
If you really listen to what they say, their beliefs and policies are not all that dissimilar from the Taliban:
1) THEIR radical form of conservative Christianity and no other morality should dictate our lives just as the Taliban believe that radical conservative Muslim principles should dictate;
2) Women are second class citizens who should exercise no - or at best a tiny token - control over their bodies and destiny just as the Taliban restrict and control women's mode of behavior, dress and education;
3) Higher education should be discouraged just as the Taliban discourage "secular" education, particularly among women and the other dispossessed;
4) Gays and lesbians are the ultimate sinners and not worthy of human or civil rights just as the Taliban refuse to acknowledge existence of gays/lesbians. To be fair, the GOP candidates to my knowledge don't advocate imprisoning and executing people based on their sexuality.
Santorum, Gingrich, Romney and even Paul are always preaching religious tolerance and freedom yet where were they when an American Muslim group wanted to build a community center a few blocks from Ground Zero? They all were vehemently opposed to it. Where was their stalwart support of religious freedom and tolerance then?
You see, it's only their version of religion that they want to impose on everyone else. You, me, everyone: Americans will only be "free" to practice their version of religion and morality. They want to do whatever they please, and be damned to everyone else.
Am I the only person who can spot the double standard and hypocrisy here? On one side of his face, the GOP candidate will advocate less-intrusive, smaller government. Out the other side, he - or, more alarmingly, she - will advocate governmental intrusion into your home, your morals, your ethics, hell, even your body.
At best this is lame inconsistency. At worst, it's in insidious invasion of America by totalitarians because we, the electorate, are too stupid or lazy to denounce. And the masses rise up to shrilly bleat their support for them, in rallies and self-congratulatory frenzies. While I hesitate to use the term "fascist", as an historian I am painfully aware of the very close comparison which can be made between the fascist movements of the 1930s and now. The GOP candidates are pandering to their base, with the assistance of a sophisticated, powerful propaganda machine, a machine which is so finely tuned that it can convince people hovering near the poverty line to denounce those protesting against the 1%. It can convince people that the Founding Fathers, who risked everything to throw off tyranny, want us to impose tyranny on ourselves. There is always someone to blame - welfare cheats, Obamacare, the list goes on - while behind the obfuscation the oligarchs line their pockets and chip ever more merrily away at individual freedoms.
I'm sick and tired of it. I know I'm not the only one who sees this bullshit happening. But I feel like I'm trying to stop the tide with a teaspoon; I'm teetering on the brink of despair at the very good chance our country - my country - might slide into a 21st century religio-fascist dictatorship.
We woke this AM to some snow. Maybe 6 inches, so not a lot. But enough for me to fire up the snowblower and get cracking.
Some starter fluid and cursing - the snowblower is 30+ years old, a hand-me-down from kass_rants 's father - later, the Briggs & Stratton is purring nicely and I'm throwing snow off the driveway.
I make a couple of passes and wend my way to where the driveway meets Route 611, which is nearly as busy this morning as it is on a morning with normal traffic conditions. (It's a fairly major route from Easton to points south, including Philadelphia.) As I'm slowly grinding away the present left by the PennDOT plow truck, I see a mid-1990s Honda Accord careening towards me, completely out of control.
RIGHT. TOWARDS. ME.
I hurl myself away, abandoning the aged snowblower to what I assumed was an awful fate. The car jolted off the field-stone retaining wall at the front of the house, missed me by inches, and cracked into the snowblower before coming to a rest facing north in the southbound lane.
This is where it gets really interesting.
Three Asian gentlemen clamber out of the car. The car is really none the worse for wear. The front bumper has a crack and scrape where it fought the wall and lost, but the airbags didn't deploy. After using a mix of single-syllable English and pidgin sign-language, I determined the car's occupants were uninjured. They righted the car's direction and pulled slightly off the road to inspect the damage.
I was inspecting the snowblower - which didn't even move when struck - when I saw one of the men walking towards me with a mobile phone. "You call 911?" he said.
"Sure," I replied. "Are you OK?" (NB: "OK" is the only two-syllable word I used.)
"Yeah, yeah, all OK."
"Bring the car here," I said, making motions of putting it in the driveway. "And wait here."
I went into the house, grabbed the phone, and dialed 911, who connected me with the PA State Police barracks (PASP are the police presence in the township). The nice Trooper got the story, then told me to send the fellows on their way; if there are no injuries and the vehicle isn't disabled, it's between the driver and his insurance, and the PASP don't need to get involved. I asked him if he was too busy to wait a moment while I attempted to translate - I didn't want to ring off before I was certain the Asian blokes understood what they needed to do.
I don't know if you've noticed, but it's damned near impossible to tell someone to go home and call their automobile insurance company using a ten-word vocabulary and sign-language. I could hear the Trooper giggling at my distress and frustration - thanks heaps, officer - when one of the blokes handed me his mobile and said, "Talk to friend?"
The friend was obviously also Asian by his accent, but spoke excellent English. I had the mobile pressed to right ear and house phone pressed to left, and explained everything. With the assurance of the English-speaking friend that all would be explained, I rang off with the Trooper - still giggling, I might add - rang off with the friend, handed back the phone, and told the Asian blokes to sod off.
"GO SLOW," I advised. They waved and skidded off.
But then I noticed the orange monster of a snowblower, sitting in a pile of snow at the bottom of my driveway, dead to the world.
Not only do I have less than half of the driveway done, that f*cker weighs about 7,000 pounds, and if it's dead I'll have to drag it uphill before shoveling the rest.
Well, nothing for it. Let's see if it starts...
The 4hp motor leaped to a mighty roar on the first pull. Hurrah!
The older-than-I -am, inherited snowblower that I've never maintained beyond changing the oil - once, the year I inherited it, say, five years ago? - CANNOT BE KILLED, EVEN WHEN STRUCK BY A CAR.
The damn thing will probably outlive ME.
So that's my Snowpocalypse Story. Thanks for listening.
A different flavor of FMK, this is Shag, Marry or Shove Off A Cliff, brought to you by bad_gustav . If you reply to this I'll give you three fictional characters. Then you post to your LJ with pictures of each and label which one you would shag, marry, or shove off a cliff.
Black Cat, aka Felicia Hardy
Nowhere really to go with this one. Hot, certainly - ranks highly on my list of Hottest Comic Chicks EVAR - but ...
There's baggage there, if you know the back-story, that makes it difficult to just leap on the "SHAG, Oh my God, please, let's shag!" One doesn't like to play in to stereotypes, after all.
We'll mark her as "Shag".
Wow. Too scary. Anyone - man or woman - this crazy and dangerous should be killed. Before she kills me.
I mean, yeah, you could shag. The shag would probably rank highly in the tally of Athletic Shags I Remember. It would probably involve a trampoline and parallel bars.
But mark my words - she'd turn into some Fatal Attraction nutjob and blast you out of an airlock.
So this one is "Shove off a cliff".
Rose is the bomb. She's a smart, determined, funny, hawt arse-prodder. I love that. She's also girly enough to be emotionally vulnerable.
The chav accent is a bit off-putting, but some things can't be helped.
Rose wins the Marry part.
Okay, also Shag. I mean to say, you can't look at the picture at right and not think "Shag", can you? Marble statues look at that picture and think "I'd really like to shag her."
Inspired by hugh_mannity , who notes today is St Crispin's Day, I am compelled to note it is also the 156th anniversary of the famous Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War.
Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. 'Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns' he said: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!' Was there a man dismay'd? Not tho' the soldiers knew Some one had blunder'd: Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to the left of them, Cannon in front of them Volley'd and thunder'd; Storm'd at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell Rode the six hundred.
Flash'd all their sabres bare, Flash'd as they turned in air Sabring the gunners there, Charging an army while All the world wonder'd: Plunged in the battery-smoke Right thro' the line they broke; Cossack and Russian Reel'd from the sabre-stroke Shatter'd and sunder'd. Then they rode back, but not Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them Volley'd and thunder'd; Storm'd at with shot and shell, While horse and hero fell, They that had fought so well Came thro' the jaws of Death, Back from the mouth of Hell, All that was left of them, Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wonder'd. Honour the charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred!
From vairavi comes this latest time-waster she calls "F*ck, Marry, Kill". Here's how it works: You get three names assigned to you by the original poster. You then tell the world on your own LJ your choices. Her choices for me were as follows.
Elizabeth I of England
Kill. I can imagine myself as either a suitor or advisor - Dudley or Cecil, for example. Either way, she was such a hard-headed bitch that she'd have to die to make room for a proper succession to take place.
Elizabeth II of England
Marry. Talk about a posh gig! I could be the Anglo version of Prince Philip, bouncing around the Scottish estates in my ratty old Land Rover, searching for the best sites to get at some grouse come shooting season...wait, that'll have to wait until next month, because Ascot is coming up...wait, that'll have to wait until after the state visit to Monaco...
And before she gave birth to all those Royal Whelps, she was a bit of a looker with a great figure (look at those cans! Like two possums fightin' in a sack!). She could also maintain and repair her own motors.
Where's the flaw? Rich, royal, sexy and can change my oil for me.
This qualifies as the world's biggest no-brainer. You can't spell "hottie" without using letters from "Elizabeth Taylor". No, really; try it. Honest.
Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra can best be described in two words: Yuh Mee. Plus I hear she had a tongue like an electric eel and she loved the taste of a man's tonsils.
So yeah. I'd hit that.
Those who want their own FMK can comment below opting in. I'll do my best to give you interesting choices.
Eileen Nearne, MBE, died 2 September 2010, aged 89. She was a wireless operator in France for SOE, where she won the Croix de Guerre.
Arrested three times and tortured by the Gestapo in concentration camps including Ravensbruck, she died alone after a hermit-like later life in Torquay. Her story was only uncovered some days after her flat was entered by local council. It was several days before her body was found, together with documents and medals which hinted at Eileen's remarkable story.
Her funeral on 21 September 2010 was to have been a quiet affair organised by Torbay Council, but the emergence of Eileen's courage and bravery has ensured a heroine's send-off.
Representatives of the armed forces attended the service, and Last Post was played by a French bugler.
God bless and rest you, Rose/Didi/Eileen. You were a true heroine, and an inspiration to us all.